Libertarianism

Rise of the 'Unholy Alliance' of Libertarians and Leftists

How libertarians and leftists are changing American politics, from foreign policy to Ferguson.

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Ralph Nader
Sage Ross / Wikimedia Commons

In 2010, Lindsey Graham could see it coming.

"You know what I worry most about?" the Republican Senator from South Carolina told CNN about the growing opposition to the war in Afghanistan. "An unholy alliance between the right and the left." If the war continued to yield no clear victories for the U.S., libertarian-leaning Republicans who believed it was "impossible for us to win" could join with "people on the left who are mad with the president because he is doing exactly what Bush did and we're in a war we can't win." Such a coalition would pose the gravest threat to the joint war-making project of the Republican and Democratic establishments. "My concern is that, for different reasons, they join forces and we lose the ability to hold this thing together."

Six months later, progressive icon Ralph Nader saw the potential power of a libertarian-left alliance, too, but welcomed it. Appearing with Ron Paul on Judge Andrew Napolitano's "Freedom Watch" show on Fox Business Network in January 2011, Nader issued a manifesto for "a dynamic political force" that would not only stop the war in Afghanistan but radically re-shape American politics. What he called "genuine libertarian conservatives" were "great allies" and together with "many liberals and progressives" could challenge "the bloated, wasteful military budget," "undeclared wars overseas," "hundreds of billions of dollars of corporate welfare," "invasions of our civil liberties and civil rights," "the sovereignty-shredding, job-destroying NAFTA and World Trade Organization agreements," and the "completely out-of-control" and unaccountable Federal Reserve System. Nader could also have mentioned the criminalization of drugs, police abuses, and immigration restrictions, which the left and libertarians have fought together against for years.

In fact, Graham's fears and Nader's hopes have now been realized. Never has there been a greater convergence of libertarian and leftist activities, never has it given more trouble to the powers of Washington, D.C., and never has it been a greater cause of concern, hope, and conflict among the political intelligentsia.

Eight months after Nader's "Freedom Watch" pronouncement, Ron Paul supporters along with socialists, anti-market anarchists, and other lefties of various stripes were the first to set up camp in Zuccotti Park and launch the Occupy Wall Street movement. There were arguments over whether advocates of free markets belonged in the movement, whether the economic crisis was caused by deregulation or by government encouragement of high-risk financial speculation, and whether the solution to the crisis was greater or less government control of business, but the libertarians stayed. As Occupy spread to other cities, libertarians were almost always a visible—though minority—presence at the encampments. "One would more reliably come across vocal Ron Paul supporters at Occupy events than vocal Obama supporters," reported Michael Tracey in the American Conservative. "It was not lost on the Zuccotti Park crowd, for instance, that Ron Paul personally expressed a measure of support for the movement earlier than most any other national U.S. politician–aside from Sen. Bernie Sanders or Rep. Dennis Kucinich."

Occupy is often derided as having been leaderless and ineffective, but in conjunction with the Tea Party, few if any social movements in American history have done more to identify and discredit collusion between government and corporations. "Corporatism," once a term confined to academic discourse, is now routinely used to describe the general relationship between government and business in the United States. Moreover, it seems safe to assume that because of the efforts of Occupy and the Tea Party, which began in 2009 largely as a protest against the Troubled Assets Relief Program, few if any members of Congress will vote for another massive corporate bailout in the foreseeable future without fear of upsetting their constituents.

Since the start of 2013, the "dynamic political force" has proved itself to be just that. Obama's second inaugural address was greeted with tepid approval and grumblings of discontent from his formerly orgiastic supporters, who were likely more chastened by four years of relentless exposures and criticisms of their hero's policies by leftists and libertarians than by the policies themselves. In March, pundits who otherwise consider Rand Paul to be an exotic white supremacist cheered the Kentucky Senator as he filibustered the nomination of John Brennan as director of the CIA in protest of the administration's use of drones to kill U.S. citizens suspected of terrorism. At Salon, David Sirota called Paul's stand "heroic" while Jon Stewart celebrated him for "using the filibuster the way it's meant to be used." Straight-up communist columnist Ted Rall went further, declaring that Paul had become "the most, perhaps the only, establishment political figure expressing a progressive vision on a host of incredibly important issues… issues that have been abandoned by the state-sanctioned Left."

At the libertarian International Students for Liberty Conference in February of this year, Jeremy Scahill, whose associations include the International Socialist Organization, Democracy Now!, and The Nation even though he has consistently allied himself with libertarians on national security and foreign policy issues, forthrightly declared that Rand Paul was "reflecting what should be some of the core values of liberals, when it comes to questions of civil liberties, of the rights of Americans to know whether they're on a kill list, on the right of the Congress to know what assertions the White House is making about who it can assassinate around the world, how it determines the guilt of individuals that it wants to target for drone strikes." Scahill acidly noted that "not a single Democrat" would join with Paul in his protest.

Though various polls show that roughly two-thirds of Americans support Obama's use of drones against suspected terrorists in foreign lands, that number would almost certainly be greater were it not for the continued protests against the drone program by an amalgamation of libertarian-leaning Republican politicians, such as the recently-retired Ron Paul and his son Rand, Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, and Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina, anti-interventionist libertarian intellectuals and pundits, and public figures such as Scahill and Glenn Greenwald who are to the left of the Democratic Party establishment. This is the group that publicized the executive-ordered killings of U.S. citizens Anwar al-Awlaki and his 16-year-old son Abdulrahman, gave force to Rand Paul's filibuster protest, and turned public opinion against one of the administration's most significant, autocratic, unconstitutional, and dangerous foreign policy initiatives. Following Paul's day on the Senate floor, Gallup reported a majority of Americans opposing drone strikes against U.S. citizens, even against those on foreign soil suspected of terrorism.

In the summer of 2013 the "unholy alliance" wreaked havoc on the national-security and foreign-policy establishments. Edward Snowden, a Ron Paul supporter, received passionate support from both libertarians and a broad array of leftists for revealing, at the risk of imprisonment, the NSA's dragnet surveillance of American citizens. Snowden's disclosures were publicized by the journalist Glenn Greenwald, who is a regular speaker at the International Socialist Organization's annual Socialism Conference, a recipient of the Nation Institute's I.F. Stone Award, and according to Rachel Maddow "the American left's most fearless political commentator." But Greenwald is also, like Scahill, an eager collaborator with libertarians. He authored a study for the Cato Institute on Portugal's decriminalization of drugs and frequently praised Ron Paul for being "far and away the most anti-war, anti-Surveillance-State, anti-crony-capitalism, and anti-drug-war presidential candidate in either party."

According to USA Today/Pew Research Center polls, attitudes toward "the government's collection of telephone and internet data as part of anti-terrorism efforts" turned decidedly negative after Snowden and Greenwald began their exposé. In June 2013, when the public first heard of the NSA's program, 48 percent of those polled approved of it while 47 percent disapproved. By January 2014, approval declined to 40 percent and disapproval rose to 53 percent. That disapproval turned to rage that spilled into the streets and across the World Wide Web on "The Day We Fight Back," a global protest in February when more than 6,000 websites and tens of thousands of flesh-and-blood protestors in 15 countries demanded "new laws that curtail online surveillance." Supporters of the protest included the astonishing combination of FreedomWorks, Ron Paul's Campaign For Liberty, the Libertarian Party, Greenpeace, and Green parties across the world.

Less than two months after Snowden and Greenwald took on the surveillance state, the Obama administration received yet another setback from the unholy alliance. While liberal and neoconservative pundits cheered the President's announcement on August 31 that "the United States should take military action against Syrian regime targets" and his submission of a draft resolution to Congress seeking authorization for an attack, an unprecedented vanguard of limited-government, anti-government, and workers-government activists led thousands of people into the streets to stop the intervention. At demonstrations across the country, Ron Paul signs and Gadsden flags shared sidewalk space with banners of the Party For Socialism and Liberation. Even The New York Times noted "some unusual newcomers" at anti-war rallies—Tea Partiers mobilized by their local organizations and by FreedomWorks, which organized a phone bank of its members to lobby members of Congress to oppose intervention in Syria. Meanwhile, in the Congress members of the Republican Liberty Caucus joined with the independent socialist Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and left-of-center Democrats to argue against Obama's resolution. That resistance compelled the White House to abandon its plans to send Tomahawk missiles into Syria and seek an agreement with Syria's Assad regime to destroy its chemical weapons cache. Widely derided by Republican hawks as "a failure," Obama's decision to forego lethal action should certainly be counted a great success for the antiwar left and libertarians.

In addition to these impressive achievements we have seen long-standing collaboration of the left and libertarians bring two revolutions to the consciousness of Americans. The movement to decriminalize drugs, which since the early 1970s has been led by left-libertarian organizations like the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) and the Drug Policy Alliance—an organization that receives funding from both George Soros and the Koch brothers—not only succeeded with the passage in 2012 of initiatives in Colorado and Washington legalizing recreational use of marijuana but also with a sea-change in American attitudes. In October of last year, Gallup reported that for the first time a clear majority of Americans—58 percent in their latest poll—said the drug should be legalized. When Gallup first asked the question in 1969, the year before NORML was founded, only 12 percent favored legalization.

Most recently, libertarians, progressives, and even many establishment liberals flooded social media and the airwaves in response to the police killing of the unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and to the subsequent use of tanks, snipers, and tear gas by the St. Louis County Police to counter protesters. The phrase "militarization of the police," first popularized by the work of former Reason senior editor Radley Balko, is now coursing through American political discourse. Noting that Rand Paul and the Congressional Black Caucus were leading the push on Capitol Hill for police reform in response to Ferguson, the liberal Washington Post blogger Greg Sargent welcomed this "left-right alliance" for focusing "national attention on the over-militarization of our police forces."

One might think all this would be cause for celebration among those who share Nader's objectives, but many find it more a cause for grave concern. Since last summer, liberal media outlets have streamed out warnings to their readers to "Beware of Libertarians Bearing Gifts," as the Center for American Progress put it. Any alliance with libertarians, even for a cause as worthy as reining in the NSA, "could kill the New Deal." Salon has frequently trafficked in hysteria over the libertarian "threat" to progressivism. "Don't Ally With Libertarians," admonished one of many headlines about the "fatally compromised" coalition that produced "The Day We Fight Back." At The New Republic, Princeton history professor Sean Wilentz explained to the "liberal establishment" that had fallen in with Snowden, Greenwald, and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange that these purveyors of "paranoid libertarianism" were outside the bounds of respectable politics. They occupy "a peculiar corner of the political forest, where the far left meets the far right, often but not always under the rubric of libertarianism." Where unwitting liberals have "portrayed the leakers as truth-telling comrades intent on protecting the state and the Constitution from authoritarian malefactors, that's hardly their goal," Wilentz warned. "In fact, the leakers despise the modern liberal state, and they want to wound it."

Some left-wing observers have offered more constructive evaluations of the alliance. Ralph Nader continues to lead the way, with a new book on the "Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State" and a lengthy interview promoting it on Reason TV. Perhaps the most notable among the left-wing sympathizers to Nader's cause is Peter Frase, an editor at the socialist Jacobin, who questioned "this obsession with people like Greenwald and Snowden as vectors for noxious libertarianism rather than people who are doing courageous and useful work even if their politics aren't socialist." Frase identified "an instinct among some on the Left to suppose that defending the possibility of government requires rejecting any alliance with libertarians who might criticize particularly noxious aspects of the existing state." For those on the left who share Nader's optimism about libertarians, Frase's conclusion should serve as a manifesto:

One should not have any illusions that critics of the national security state all share socialist politics. But we should judge these critics by what they say and do and what their political impact is. An endless inquisition into hidden beliefs and motives, and the attempt to unmask a devious libertarian hidden agenda, makes for a satisfying purity politics for those who want to justify their own inaction. But it does nothing to contest the predatory fusion of state and capital that confronts us today, which must be confronted in the government, the workplace, and many other places besides.

Hear, hear. So let us say to leftists and libertarians: Unite! You have nothing to lose but your ideological chains.

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226 responses to “Rise of the 'Unholy Alliance' of Libertarians and Leftists

  1. Amanda Marcotte is a fucking idiot.

    This country is shameful. I can’t believe that violence against an unarmed man leads to profits for the gun industry.

    Here’s the article she links to:

    “Probably a dozen or two dozen guns to females, single mothers. We’ve sold to black people, white people. We’ve sold to asians who have businesses on West Florissant.” said King. “They’re just afraid of whats going on and they’re coming in to purchase either additional firearms or their first firearm.”

    Those monstrous black single moms, trying to protect their kids!

    1. I also love that the unarmed guy was shot to death by a cop which is why private citizens shouldn’t own guns and only cops should.

      1. I love that in one comment you’ve completely eviscerated the ‘irrational exuberance’ behind Russell’s thesis.

        1. When you are utterly immune to cognitive dissonance – that isn’t a problem.

    2. People only buy up guns in situations like this because they know the progressive reaction will be to work toward prohibition. They just want to exercise their rights while they still can.

    3. And what is necessarily wrong with profits to the industry. That’s a free legal choice people make. Also I just bought a new Browning 12 guage shotgun and want to brag about it…

      1. poguemahoney|8.16.14 @ 8:47PM|#
        “And what is necessarily wrong with profits to the industry.”

        Uh, you need to calibrate your sarc meter.

    4. There’s ignorance, stupidity, brain-dead, and then there’s Amanda Marcotte. Whatever residual brain activity was left after her cheerleading for Duke Lynch Mob, she must have flat-lined from the strain of trying to pretend that Fluffy the Ambulance Chaser was a credible candidate.

      -jcr

  2. “You know what I worry most about?” the Republican Senator from South Carolina told CNN about the growing opposition to the war in Afghanistan. “An unholy alliance between the right and the left.”

    I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at a member of TEAM BE RULED bloviating about the feared alliance of right and left.

    What the fuck does he think we’ve been ruled by? Who does he think he rubs shoulders with, gets all bipartisany with, and works in harness with, every single day?

    1. That and the fact that I’m pretty sure Graham’s biggest fear is that somebody actually got pictures of him and Barney Frank in the Senate mens room. NTTAWWT.

      1. I highly doubt Graham would be into anything as wholesome as that. More likely, he’s accompanying Menendez on his trips to the Dominican Republic.

        1. It’s rare to see the word “wholesome” linked with either Graham or Frank.

    2. Hate Lindsey Graham.

      LOVE that he is wetting his pants over this.

      But there will not be a left-right alliance.

      Unless the right is willing to be bitches for a bunch of people who are incapable of not being smug, authoritarian assholes.

      Plenty of smug, authoritarian assholes on the right, but also some people you can have a beer with.

      Yeah, I know. I’m a racist and a fascist for even bringing this up.

  3. Yes, and I see the fruits of this Unholy Alliance every day, with the reduction in military spending, the revocation of existing laws and regulations, the administrative orders lightening the weight of the dead hand of the EPA, IRS, DEA, DoJ and other agencies and administrative bodies from the throats of American citizens.

    I see it EVERY DAY. We’re winning! Mein Fuhrer!!!

    *rises from wheelchair – Earth explodes*

    1. lmfao

  4. “An unholy alliance between the right and the left.”

    The horror.

    The HORROR.

    1. I very much prefer an alliance, holy or unholy, against the right and the left.
      Two wings of the same bird of prey.

      1. “Bird of prey”? Not likely.

        Birds of prey hunt and feed on other animals. Such birds are raptors.

        Leftists and rightists hardly could be mistaken for eagles, falcons, hawks, osprey and owls. They’re more like crows, seagulls and vultures, you know, scavenger birds.

        The left and the right are two wings of the same scavenger bird.

        1. eagles, falcons, hawks, osprey and owls will scavenge just the same as any other bird

  5. critics of the national security state all share socialist politics

    PS That was the stupidest thing you wrote, in a whole PILE of stupid, Mr. Russell.

    I got yer “socialist” RIGHT HERE.

    1. Now, this is a dumb article, but you didn’t actually read it, did you? That sentence wasn’t written by Russell, and the full sentence reads like this:

      One should not have any illusions that critics of the national security state all share socialist politics.

      So you’re blaming Russell because someone else wrote a sentence that is completely different from what you’re complaining about.

      1. Huh. I don’t know how I missed that first phrase, but you’re correct.

        “Never mind!”

        /Emily Littela

      2. PS I did read it, but NOT VERY WELL.

    2. Dude,

      he was quoting “”Peter Frase, an editor at the socialist Jacobin””

      who said,

      One should not have any illusions that critics of the national security state all share socialist politicsBut we should judge these critics by what they say and do and what their political impact is.

      .. An endless inquisition into hidden beliefs and motives, and the attempt to unmask a devious libertarian hidden agenda, makes for a satisfying purity politics for those who want to justify their own inaction.”

      The Lefty was *criticizing* other lefties for requiring ‘fellow-travelers’ in opposition to the NSA to be ‘socialist’ as well.

      i.e. He was advocating alliances across ideological lines.

      Which is what Thad’s piece is mostly about = lefties who seem to be crossing over on specific issues, if not core beliefs.

      His only example of Libertoids coming to their side was OWS (in my quick scan)…which is weak tea IMHO. But whatever.

      I think you missed the point a little

      1. Yeah, I misread it. I blame Bush.

        1. LOL

          an area we can all agree on! Any mistake i make is BOOOOOOOOOOOSH fault.

          1. I’ve taken to blaming racism for literally everything. Late for work, slow internet, too hot outside – its all RACIST!

  6. I’m sure that if we ally with the socialists they’ll send us to the camps last as a reward, that’s the angle, right? Because otherwise giving political cover to the state-yest statists of them all sounds like a pretty fucking stupid thing for a believer in self-ownership, the NAP, and negative rights to do.

    1. Forget it, Dances. It’s Thaddeus-town.

    2. “…if we ally with the socialists they’ll send us to the camps last as a reward,…”

      Doubtful. If they promise that then my money is on being first.

    3. What camps?

      1. Do you mean fat camp? Clown camp? Burger camp?

  7. Thaddeus, it’s irrelevant if progs and libertarians agree a problem exists when their solutions are completely opposed. Let’s say I and someone else agree that there is a problem with crime. My solution is to decriminalize drugs on the theory that a large portion of crime is related to the illegal sale of drugs and that eliminating the black market would result in less violence between rival drug gangs. Someone else thinks we should stop crime by locking up as many people as humanly possible for relatively minor crimes. We agree a ‘problem’ exists, but we are not allies.

    Similarly, progressives and libertarians don’t actually agree on issues of police violence because progressives don’t have a problem with police brutality. They have a problem when police brutality is committed against people they like, such as black people and the homeless. Look at that Marcotte quote up above. I’m sure Marcotte claims to be against ‘police brutality’ but if police needed to beat up, imprison, or even murder gun owners in order to get guns off the street, Marcotte would be applauding that action and would claim it was necessary for the safety of American citizens.

    If both progs and libertarians are anti-corporatism, but libertarians want more freedom and progs want the government to simply nationalize industries, we aren’t on the same side.

    We’re not allies. We’re enemies who both happen to hate the status quo.

    1. They have a problem when police brutality is committed against people they like, such as black people and the homeless. Look at that Marcotte quote up above. I’m sure Marcotte claims to be against ‘police brutality’ but if police needed to beat up, imprison, or even murder gun owners in order to get guns off the street, Marcotte would be applauding that action and would claim it was necessary for the safety of American citizens.

      I strongly agree with this. This whole Ferguson thing has got me relatively turned off because all the wrong lessons are being learned by the mainstream media. Or maybe I should say, “all the wrong lessons are being taught”.

    2. “We’re not allies. We’re enemies who both happen to hate the status quo.”

      ~ Irish

      You have it right Irish. Many readers here at Reason.com do not.

      Freedom (aka liberty) is that realm where politicians are content to leave alone anyone. In short, freedom means all aspects where there are no laws in the presence of politicians, politics and government.

      Libertarians seek max freedom and min politics, politicians and government. There cannot be freedom where law exists as all law imposes duty and right, hence all law controls behavior.

      Those who support legalization of elicit drugs, illegal aliens, gay marriage, are supporting liberal, progressive politics and not libertarian politics.

      1. Is it lonely in the Libertopia Crystal Palace, where all things are semantically perfected are purified of all relevance to the lives of mere mortals?

        1. Ah, how does it feel when that cognitive dissonance monster grabs hold of you?

          As listening to rap music, wearing droopy jeans and speaking BEV doesn’t transmute anyone’s Y DNA from R1B to E1B1, so too does calling for the legalization of elicit drugs, illegal aliens, gay marriage doesn’t make anyone a libertarian.

          You should free yourself, come out of the liberal-progressive closet in which you inhabit. It’s OK.

          Your political philosophy shall be wrong, but at least no longer will you live as a hypocrite.

          1. I really wish you could embed images in the comments, because there has never been a more appropriate time for this GIF.

            1. This one also seems appropriate.

          2. “Illicit”, the word is “illicit”.

            1. Thanks for the spelling check. Nice. You are useful for something.

              The word is the word. Words are sounds, dummy. Writing is symbolic.

              1. Thats deep.

              2. You are useful for something.

                Certainly more than anyone has ever said about you.

                1. Aw, Marshall is another one desperate for status among his peers in the puny cult of Reason.com.

                  How brave of you to attack the outsider Marshall.

                  Let me know when you can scrape together two original thoughts. Be sure to provide a URL so you can dazzle or at least amuse all.

                  1. Your Superior Intelligence Is No Match For Our Puny Cult!

          3. “Smacky Mac” is also an expert on Glock Pistols

            The condescending laugh is unmistakable

            1. Aw, I see. You are looking for the group to pat you on the head and elevate your status, so you attack the outsider.

              Aw, group dynamics and the mindless who need protection from a group as well as identity from the group are oh so predictable and well, mediocre too.

              Good luck Gil!

              1. Smack MacDougal|8.16.14 @ 8:19PM|#
                “Aw, I see. You are looking for the group to pat you on the head and elevate your status, so you attack the outsider.”

                It’s not that you’re an outsider. It’s that you’re an ignoramus with an entirely unwarranted opinion of yourself.
                An idiot who believes his idiotic ravings are worth something. They’re not.

                1. Aw, Sevo, there you are hanging on my every word, yet again.

                  One day, if you are lucky, you’ll come to see that never were you a libertarian because you don’t know the first thing about libertarianism.

                  You might get lucky and come to see that you have been little more than a Rockefeller Republican with libertine tendencies.

                  Good luck doof!

                  1. Oh no!!! BUT I WANTED TO LEARN FROM YOU!!! COME BACK!!! PLEASE TEACH ME!!!…

                  2. Smack MacDougal|8.16.14 @ 10:58PM|#
                    “Aw, Sevo, there you are hanging on my every word, yet again.”

                    OH, NO! Did I miss one?!

          4. If you think drugs should be illegal there is absolutely no way for you to be anything other than a statist shitbag.

    3. Exactly. Most on the left will correctly diagnose the problem, that the big banks and corporations control the government. But then their proposed “solution” is bigger government. You can’t argue with useful idiot logic like that. I have tried to explain why that is counterproductive to every leftist I’ve ever come across, and gotten absolutely nowhere.

    4. Wow hootch…paranoid much?

  8. So let us say to leftists and libertarians: Unite! You have nothing to lose but your ideological chains.

    I don’t even know what this is supposed to mean. If by “ideological chains” he means “principles”, then I’ll pass, thanks.

    1. Have you also noticed that whenever people need to ‘jettison their principles and behave pragmatically’ it’s only the people on the right or libertarians who are required to do so? You see, leftists aren’t ideologues, they’re just rational and science-minded, and as such it’s everyone else who needs to get rid of their petty ideological fetters and do whatever the left wants.

      This is why leftists have been victorious all over the western world for the last 70 years and we’re now living in a slowly rotting and hyper-bureaucratic culture in which westerners have essentially been neutered by their governments and turned into serfs for the bureaucratic class. It’s why police officers in Sweden refuse to arrest people who are setting cars on fire, but still found time to issue parking tickets. Because modern governments have become such an incompetent, bureaucratic mess that they punish their own citizens through a thousand petty, often contradictory regulations while failing to protect them from outside threats.

      This will get vastly worse if we ally with the left given that the left is essentially a religious cult that will never even consider the existence of their own biases while demanding we get rid of ours.

      1. “….whenever people need to ‘jettison their principles and behave pragmatically’ it’s only the people on the right or libertarians who are required to do so? ”

        Well Irish, those are the ones who have the potential to jettison principles. Leftists do not.

        1. This is why you see so many accusations of hypocrisy being thrown at the right and not the left. Hypocrisy is a matter of your actions betraying your stated principles and only one side actually has principles to be betrayed.

        2. “Well Irish, those are the ones who have the potential to jettison principles. Leftists do not.”

          That’s what Bo needs to understand when he complains that there are too many people on here who come from the right.

      2. I’ve said this before: Thank god Mexico is on our southern border.

        1. Interesting you say that. Mexico is looking better and better for retirement every day.

          I’ve been mulling it for a few years now.

          1. Look at Costa Rica too.

            Are you old enough for retirement?

            1. Or, you could retire here.
              Under a million bucks, next to Bora Bora, and you can run it as a bed & breakfast.

            2. Are you old enough for retirement?

              That’s not really the question. I’ve been “old” enough for retirement since about my mid thirties. The question is, am I solvent enough? Sadly, not yet.

    2. I don’t even know what this is supposed to mean. If by “ideological chains” he means “principles”, then I’ll pass, thanks.

      Usually it means “abandon your principles and adopt mine.”

      1. Nah. Statists don’t have principles. What it means is “abandon your principles and obey me.”

        -jcr

    1. I totally thought that was going to be about robot sex.

      1. It is. 😉

      2. I’ve seen evidence of this on Youporn.

        Jus’ sayin’

          1. 1 Sybian + 1 Raspberry Pi + 1 flash drive with a well-written algorithm = ?

            1. Profit……and maybe dog semen.

                1. “Karen Vi,” is *that* your wife?!

                2. HM, I will find you and I will kill you.

    2. I really, really want my driverless car. WHERE’S MY DRIVERLESS CAR, BITCHES????

      1. 10 years. My kid will be 16 then.

  9. When I try to think of anything presently like a left/libertarian alliance, I think of legalization of marijuana in Washington and Colorado and criticism of the militarization of our local police.

    I think it can be fairly said that to the extent the left supports libertarian causes like this, it’s coming from the grass roots and being forced on the left’s leadership.

    The left’s leadership doesn’t want people smoking marijuana any more than they want people drinking sugary soft drinks.

    The left’s leadership doesn’t want people criticizing the police unions or the police spending money on military hardware any more than they want people criticizing any other government employee union or any other form of government spending.

    This isn’t an alliance of the leadership of the left with libertarians.

    It’s an alliance of things that resonate with their respective bases.

    1. “This isn’t an alliance of the leadership of the left with libertarians.”

      Precisely. It is exactly not Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton saying “come into the fold Libertarians!” It is far left people who feel betrayed by the Democratic Party establishment who are starting to be less picky about who they form coalitions with.

      Oddly, I think Frase’s line that “An endless inquisition into hidden beliefs and motives, and the attempt to unmask a devious libertarian hidden agenda, makes for a satisfying purity politics for those who want to justify their own inaction. But it does nothing to contest the predatory fusion of state and capital that confronts us today” describes a lot of posts on this page if you just change “libertarian hidden agenda” to “socialist hidden agenda.”

      1. “socialist hidden agenda.”

        It’s hidden? They’ve been very open about it for decades, to those who were paying attention.

    2. “The left’s leadership doesn’t want people smoking marijuana any more than they want people drinking sugary soft drinks.”
      True, and evidence for that is Obama’s “evolution” on the issue.

  10. I want an ironclad pre-nuptial agreement before I get in bed with the liberaltarians. Because I can’t shake the feeling I’m going to get find myself on the outside looking in, ten seconds after I’m no longer useful, with nothing to show for it but a sore ass.

    1. I wouldnt even go that far.

      Ive tried reading Bleeding Heart, its so bad (with the exception of the payday loan piece) that it is unreadable. If that is what passes for liberaltarian thought, Ive no interest even talking with them.

      1. ^^^^This! A thousand times this. I’d rather hang out with a Euro-socialist than that mongrel beast the “bleeding heart” libertarian. I want my lefty slogans delivered by someone who at least knows he’s a whore for the state.

  11. Please. Everybody knows that libertarians are just republicans that smoke pot.

    1. Drink?

  12. It’s lefties that shy away from libertarians. Libertarians by the very essence of their credo don’t have marching orders. This is an article that belongs in the HuffPost with maybe a link in Reason.

    1. The left’s leadership views our ideas about capitalism as criminal.

      1. “Corporatism,” once a term confined to academic discourse, is now routinely used to describe the general relationship between government and business in the United States.

        But to the Left, corporatism is those evil greedy capitalist pigs injecting money into politics and enticing the otherwise morally spotless public servants to unwittingly serve Mammon rather than God. Breaking the connection between Big Business and Big Government is a matter of keeping business out of government by increasing the amount of government in business.

        1. Breaking the connection between Big Business and Big Government is a matter of keeping business out of government by increasing the amount of government in business

          And speaking of cognitive dissonance!

        2. Well, there’s that whole “Separate of Corporation and State” in the Constitution.

          1. Um….Separation

      2. And the left’s ideas about capitalism ARE criminal. Or, at least, morally obscene.

  13. Not to disagree with anything specific in TR’s piece (which from a quick scan seems mostly a list of examples of ‘coincidental’ alliances more than anything)

    Here’s an example where I found myself on the same side as ‘lefties’

    I opposed the invasion of Iraq, and I went to a bunch of rallies in NY in Jan/Feb 2003 protesting the war. Dominating these rallies were speakers from your typical panoply of hard-left orgs. Speeches were made about how this campaign was solely to ‘enrich the ruling classes’ and was the inevitable result of a ‘predatory capitalist system’, etc. Also included were many pro-palestinian groups who saw this as motivated by “Defense of the Zionist state”, etc.

    I got into some convos with people around me, and they were trying to get me to sign their petition to “ban oil” and get the ICC to try Bush for warcrimes, and kept trying to explain to me how this War was the inevitable consequence of the international banking system.

    I explained that i thought the War was a bad idea… because i wanted to invade Pakistan instead, where the ()@#*$@ taliban was still fighting from, and where what was left of Al Q was hidden. I thought Iraq was a distraction.

    Naturally, they LOVED me. Right?

    not so much.

    Just because we were, on the surface, agreeing about the basic thing (i.e. ‘don’t invade Iraq’), the reasons WHY were so completely different and incompatible, that it was otherwise a meaningless coincidence.

    1. You’re lucky you didn’t get a lecture on “the internal contradictions of monopoly capitalism!”

    2. Did you at least get some decent halal food when you were down in Zucotti Park?

      1. as a side note:

        I was working in lower manhattan during the OWS thing.

        I tried looking for the ‘ron paul’ types that Thad mentions were so common. There was ONE guy. He was loud, he was proud, and he was very articulate about how the financial crisis was a product of Fed meddling and Fannie/Freddie trying to artificially create housing demand.

        No one, as far as i could tell, listened to him at all. He seemed to have equal pull in the OWS collective as the Primitivist/Paleotribalists who thought we should burn money and return to sustenance agriculture (*no meat, i assume)

        As to my earlier point: Thad mentions how the Ron Paulites were ‘present’ in the OWS movement.

        ‘Presence’, in my mind, has little/nothing to do with the actual cross-pollination of ideas.

        Even less to do with how these various groups respect each other’s actual POV. I tried explaining to a few OWS types about how loose-money leads to asset bubbles, but they were like, “That’s all the Devil’s Talk! Finance is a lie! End Credit Markets!”

        Not exactly fertile ground for libertarianism

        1. Ok, so did you at least keep some bourbon in your office drawer so you were well prepared for such encounters?

          1. No. Although fortunately there was a bar not far away.

            But i did post a story one here about how i was walking past the OWS guys, and this gender-studies-and-pottery-degree-holding idiot was trying to “explain” the financial crisis to me…(a financial analyst)…

            …and i was like, “You’re the one they picked to be the ‘smart’ one, right? because you’re the one that gets the whole ‘markets’ thing…? Jesus. You’re not fit to carry Abby Hoffman’s jockstrap”

            And he goes, “oh, Abby ‘Hoffman’?? who’s that? = your CORPORATE FINANCE OVERLORD!!?”

            … i went back to the office and told everyone about this. It was a big hit.

            1. You ever been to Ohara’s. It’s the closest bar I can think of to that park.

              1. yes, but i don’t think i ever went in.

                when in lower manhattan i tended to drift down towards SS seaport and some bars near there. I knew a guy who knew a guy.

            2. Heh, nice. You’re too wise for those fools, GILMORE.

        2. I was working in lower manhattan during the OWS thing.

          Me too, but I don’t like smelly hippies so I didn’t get close enough for a good look.

    3. I was in graduate school at the time, and got in trouble with the mobs for suggesting that while I agreed there were very good reasons for opposing the invasion, “No Blood for Oil” was perhaps an oversimplification that was unlikely to persuade those who didn’t already agree.

      Most were unable to make any distinction between the point I was making and the simple fact that I was opposing them, which made me their enemy.

      Coalitions are never an easy question, but I see the phenomenon TR is pointing to in this article has having to do with the leadership of both parties having fundamentally lost touch with the public in many ways that are started to force these coalitions between unlikely parties.

      I’ve noticed for long, long time for example, that Greens and Libertarians have always agreed about decentralization and localization of control – your average Green just doesn’t realize that this isn’t really compatible with International Socialism.

      But we’re to the point where a lot of things people agree on don’t get addressed because the two major parties are so good at driving wedges and insisting on “ideological purity tests” that keep socialists and libertarians from doing anything besides jerking knees at each other.


      1. Most were unable to make any distinction between the point I was making and the simple fact that I was opposing them, which made me their enemy.

        Heck, the same thing happened to me yesterday on the payday loan thread. You would think libertarians would understand that thinking something should be legal and thinking it is immoral isnt a contradiction.

        1. I would also think that you would understand someone can disagree with you on a practice’s morality or lack thereof while acknowledging that you don’t think it should be illegal.

          1. Yes, I do. But that wasnt what was going on, from most in that thread.

      2. we’re to the point where a lot of things people agree on don’t get addressed because the two major parties are so good at driving wedges and insisting on “ideological purity tests” that keep socialists and libertarians from doing anything besides jerking knees at each other

        …such as? A few examples here and there come to mind, but by and large there isn’t much beyond tinkering at the edges that leftists and libertarians agree on wrt either scope of government or propriety of the bureaucratic state.

        (This is, btw, part of the reason that “secular” politics don’t get very far in the ME; everything from liberalism to socialism is compressed into about 12-25% of the electorate at most and there isn’t much cohesiveness about what “secularism” actually means.)

    4. because i wanted to invade Pakistan instead

      I don’t know that that would have been any better. But your central point remains. Sharing some areas of alliance with a competing philosophy does not mean much. Often times, people arrive at correct conclusions but by faulty intellectual premises and reasoning.

      Libertarians are generally pragmatists, traditional foreign policy realists, where it concerns our non-interventionism. We oppose intervention largely based on an inherent skepticism of govt, both in its intentions and its efficacy. But I also think libertarians generally wish to see the more liberty-minded voices in the world succeed.

      The Left has this problem of becoming enamoured with forces that these wars are waged against. But for libertarians, just because we don’t want to go to war with them doesn’t mean we think those forces are good, or even above absolute derision.

      1. Hear, hear. There’s the thing about the NAP (violence of all kinds is bad)…but then there’s the realpolitik of the world.

        There exist vast forces that want to destroy liberty. Even if most people on the street agree with liberty in general, they still largely live in statist/socialist societies and will follow the flag to war. Envy and revenge are strong substitutes to reason. (zing!)

        Personally, and hating to sound cynical, I think this is why so many Lefties align themselves with obviously murderous regimes that are either socialist or fundamentalist Islam. The commonality is the destruction of natural rights and free association, both of which are “evil” in the eyes of the theocrat or socialist.

        1. “I think this is why so many Lefties align themselves with obviously murderous regimes that are either socialist or fundamentalist Islam.”

          Can you give examples? Are you saying there is an exclusive “lefty” alignment (what the fuck does that even mean exactly: “lefty?”) It seems to me that our foreign policy is pretty much the same whether it is run by Republicans or democrats.

          1. Leftists are not necessarily Democrats, nor Republicans the opposite of the Left.

            Lefty is short for Leftist, which is synonymous with Socialist. From now on, I will simply say Socialist or Authoritarian.

            The ideal of authoritarianism is not restricted to political parties as both many conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats (both parties are neither, really) subscribe to what are essentially authoritarian belief structures. From the mid-19th century to now, aside from theocracy, Marxist ideology is the leading “philosophy” of authoritariansm.

            The true believers of Socialism desire centralized command over society and economy – ergo, they demonize private property and free association/spontaneous order. All things are subject to the State, which is the intellectual vanguard, which has absolute power to make sure that capitalism never returns. To do this, human nature must be altered, and all IP must be tightly controlled to ensure that false consciousness does not return.

            That’s what I mean when I say “lefty.” From now on, Socialist it is.

      2. I have yet to hear a good argument why we shouldn’t have carried the war in Afghanistan in 2002-2003 ‘post Tora-Bora’ into the NWFP territories

        if we really wanted to clarify to the pakistanis that subsidizing the TTP/LeT/Hekmatyar clans was a losing game, we should have done them a favor and done what they regularly fail to do

        as an alternative to “stay in afghanistan pretending to dig holes and babysit the ANA/ANP”, i think it had some military merit. I’m generally a believer that militaries do their thing best when ‘on the move’ as opposed to sitting still. When they start sitting still, you get them out.

        my $.02

        1. I took it to mean a war against the official Pakistani state initially (especially as an alternative to the war with the officially Iraqi state). In that context, it would’ve been as bad if not worse in Pakistan because it was an extremely radical Islamist hotbed at the time, more so than Iraq.

          If you meant it as a military operation, perhaps signed off on by Musharraf, than maybe it wouldn’t be too bad an idea. But for all we know they tried getting Musharraf to sign off on such and he objected. His legitimacy and rein on power was tenuous at the time.

          Either way, we both agree that keeping forces around for supposed nation building is generally a bad idea.

          1. The latter, not the former.

            what little I know about the attempts to get sign-on by Musharraf et al, the issue in that kind of negotiation is to present a ‘offer they can’t refuse’.

            Cross the border, make it a fait d’accompli, and force them to either help or look powerless to stop it.

            Negotiating in ‘good faith’ with Pakistan has never been a genuine prospect. They are literally incapable of doing so.

            anyway, its a moot point. Bush/Obama effectively decided to Drone the region to pieces, which in my mind is actually the worse option in terms of cost/benefit

    5. To be fair, you would also not have gotten much love from libertarians about invading Pakistan. Invading other countries involves a whole lot of coercion and state violence without clear justification.

  14. Melissa Harris Racetroller was on the “militarization of police” beat this morning. Surprisingly, the institutionalization of absolute immunity for police misconduct was not on her radar. In fact, some mopey woman actually was moaning about how this isolated incident might make the people of Ferguson lose confidence in the fine men and women of the police department.

    1. Melissa Harris Racetroller

      Zzz

      1. Sss

          1. Oh…my…god…I must watch this film (and hate myself for it after).

          2. And it stars Dirk Benedict, the original BSG Starbuck, and Strother Martin, the most awesome chain gang warden. 🙂

          3. Nice. That movie scared the shit out of me when I was little.

        1. No thankth, I’m thill finithing my thithles.

    2. …”some mopey woman actually was moaning about how this isolated incident might make the people of Ferguson lose confidence in the fine men and women of the police department.”

      Cop’s wife, teacher or bureaucrat.

    3. So…what exactly did she do to piss you off? (and don’t say she walked on your lawn!)

  15. I think I have another definition of a cosmotarian – someone who believes Ralph Nader is a potential ally on some issues – a defensible proposition – but that Rick Santorum is an Enemy of Freedom whose suggestions (in his book *Blue Collar Conservatism*) for reining in federal spending and the welfare state shouldn’t even be mentioned because icky icky, get him off me!

    1. Rather than collectivize people under the label “cosmotarian” I prefer to say that those simply examples of people engaging in simple ad hominems when they ignore Santorum’s suggestions (even though I think Santorum is probably lying whenever he proposes a small-government solution).

      1. Santorum is probably lying

        Because his lips are moving when you read his book?

        1. More because when he was in office, he voted for Medicare Plan D and. No Child Left Behind.

          Politicians’ votes are a more accurate indicator of their beliefs than anything they or a ghost writer put in their “autobiographical” publishings. When Santorum was in the Senate, he was as big government as any of them…he’s just paying lip service to small government beliefs now because his usual schtick got him voted out of office in 2006.

          Give him any power, he’ll revert back to who he really is. So I can understand why they would dismiss a small government argument just because Santorum makes it (even if it’s a logical fallacy)…because Santorum doesn’t believe it either.

          1. As I like to point out sometimes, not all logical fallacies are fallacies in the real world.

            1. True. I just can’t blame someone for not wanting to take the argument of a dishonest person at face value.

  16. The real question is whether a large but transient coalition can be built, one that can work together on certain issues and then split into groups that will fight bitterly on other issues. Finding a small group of politicians willing to do that is one thing. In addition to being able to operate in a smaller, calmer, and more strategically motivated climate, they can also get to know each other on a personal level, which can engender respect. Doing that with a group of larger political movements is harder. How do you prevent them from reflexively devolving into a team vs team mentality?

    1. Leftist and Libertarians have almost no ability to build a coalition. While in theory both kind of agree on some civil liberty issues, they are opposite ends of the spectrum on economic freedom.

      It isn’t Team vs. Team to try to reverse big government spending and the regulatory state. I will never have respect for somebody who wants to control my life and confiscate my wealth.

      1. No, it’s Team vs Team to say that you won’t work with the left on civil liberty issues or military adventurism because they are on the opposite end of the spectrum on economic issues.

      2. Good points. I wish there was more clarification on the economic freedom aspect of Libertarianism. Is it an Adam Smith kind of credo, free trade, zero regulation, or only necessary regulation? I think if this were explained better more minorities, (of which I am one) and lower income people (of which I am not) would vote Libertarian, as I think the benefits are apparent.

        1. poguemahoney|8.16.14 @ 9:11PM|#
          “Good points.[…]
          I think if this were explained better more minorities, (of which I am one) and lower income people (of which I am not) would vote Libertarian, as I think the benefits are apparent.”

          Your posts suggest otherwise.

  17. Strother Martin, the most awesome chain gang warden.

    “What’s yore dirt doin’ in Boss’ ditch, Boy?”

  18. Drug Policy Alliance?an organization that receives funding from both George Soros and the Koch brothers

    Impossible. I have it on good authority that the Koch’s only support program that would allow them to pollute with impunity and exploit the Common Man.

    1. I have it on good authority that the Koch’s only support program that would allow them to pollute with impunity and exploit the Common Man.

      In fairness, if we had a really witty drug warrior teetotaling troll, he could say that is what the Drug Policy Alliance actually does.

      We really need to attract a better quality of troll.

  19. Every time I try to give a prog the benefit of the doubt because we agree on the same issue, it always very quickly becomes obvious that they completely lack principles and by principles I mean a shred of decency and morals. I very quickly realize that they are all utilitarians who wouldn’t hesitate two seconds to brutally murder me or the people I love if they believed it would create their utopia. Fuck ’em. Fuck. Every. Last. One. Of. Them.

    1. This is true. They only have reactions to issues where they have either personal stakes or desire power.

      I’ll grant some are young and deceived, believing leftist propaganda (socialist stuff helped the poor)…but any real Socialist craves absolute power when you Socrates them enough.

      1. some are young and deceived

        I think it’s a fair bet that anyone still holding such beliefs after escaping the bubbles of childhood and college – i.e. who is now dealing with the real world – is not to be trusted.

        1. Yeah. I used to joke that college kids are socialists until their first real paycheck.

          If not, then they’re dangerous. Hahah

    2. Banjos speaks the truth. No getting around this. You can talk alliance all the way to the re-education camp.

    3. Oh god…that’s a bit extreme and silly…change your diaper.

      1. Oh god…that’s a bit extreme and silly…change your diaper.

        Why, so it can catch the shit you’re spewing?

  20. It’s been said several times already, but it always bears repeating:

    Don’t trust the Left! Especially those who openly label themselves as Socialist. IF they’re not dangerously ignorant, then they are dangerously knowledgeable of what Socialism really is.

    The Marcotte thing up there sums it up nicely:

    She, and they, don’t disagree with the violence, just who wields it.

    Socialists want absolute power over everyone that isn’t them or their socialist allies. History has shown this, it’s the central tenet of Marxism, and when you whittle down any socialist through discourse they all believe in the same thing:

    The vanguard dictatorship.

    Poor Thaddeus. He thinks the Left is joining the liberty movement. THEY ARE NOT. They, being deceivers in their lust for power, are aligning themselves with Libertarians just to coopt the liberty mantra and take it as their own.

    1. I read her piece, where does she advocate violence?

    2. Or. They believe that control (benign or otherwise) is necessary because they don’t “trust” people to do that right thing or make the right decisions. That is, according to their views. It’s an exercise I do with many of them – getting them to admit this. Once I follow them along that path, they always – ALWAYS – admit this.

      Some variation of their responses: “Yeah well, it’s for their own good! Why can’t you see smoking is bad for you?”

      They can’t or refuse to accept that just because I think the war on cigarettes is silly (and downright unfair from a civil liberties perspective) doesn’t mean I don’t think smoking is unhealthy.

      In addition to being vulnerable to group think, they think linear.

      I laugh my ass off whenever I hear them or read articles talking about how ‘free and independent’ they are while everyone else are ‘sheep.’ They’re the biggest asswipe sheep there is.

      1. Rufus – Hear hear. I’ve found that too – it’s totally about control.

        Even the smoking thing uses junk science. Get them whittled down, it’s just that they don’t like the smell or people putting things in their mouths.

        Or having fun without utility. (I’ve met a couple people like this where “fun” needs to have a practical purpose or social use.)

        Smoking, food, sex, whatever – they want to control it because…well, they know better!

        Besides! It’s not YOUR body…it’d society’s man! Free your mind and spirit from the shackles of capitalist slavery ahahah

  21. There is a dude that knows what time it is.

    http://www.AnonWays.tk

  22. Since Thaddeus’ main point has already been critiqued enough, I will say this: there is a difference in between ad hoc alliances of convenience with leftists on *issues* where left and libertarian converge for whatever reason (say, marijuana legalization), and a project of convergence of ideology (say, supposing that “opposition to corporatism” is a legitimate philosophical tie between libertarianism and leftism). The former is not only possible but desirable. The latter generally has the effect of drawing libertarians into the leftist orbit, rather than the other way around. The leading lights of liberaltarianism resemble court libertarians writing apologia for the reigning liberals rather than being an independent reference point. It devolves into a form of supplicantism, wherein libertarians extoll the good nature and rationality of the left, and merely beg that they consider throwing them a “pro-market” bone to solve the vexing issues of sexism, transphobia, and any litany of side issues fabricated by the left to establish a pecking order with themselves on top.

    The left is the reigning power in the US government, particularly within the bureaucracy and educational establishments. Eliminating the government’s harm in domestic issue necessitates taking on the left in these realms. A libertarian who is unwilling to do this might still be a libertarian, but he is a coward and an ineffective weakling.

    1. Plus ten points for using “supplicantism”. And yeah. I agree. I don’t see how the Left is subverting the government when the FedGov is essentially Leftist in theory and practice right now.

    2. As eloquently stated as I’ve ever seen.

  23. “Nader could also have mentioned the criminalization of drugs, police abuses, and immigration restrictions, which the left and libertarians have fought together against for years.”

    ~ Thaddeus Russell, Reason.com Cult Handler

    Legalization of rec drugs is leftist politics and not libertarian politics. Legalization of illegal aliens is leftist politics and not libertarian politics.

    Libertarianism means living by liberty predominantly. Liberty, which is the Old French word for the English word freedom, means that realm where politicians are content to leave alone anyone.

    In short, freedom means all aspects where there are no laws.

    Where there is law, there is duty and corresponding right, right and corresponding duty. There cannot be law without matching duty and right.

    Those with authority impose duty upon some and confer right to others (e.g., right to welfare, duty to render welfare, right to collect taxes for welfare, duty to pay taxes which fund welfare).

    Legalization expands the size and scope of government. Legalization is the antithesis of libertarianism.

    Reasonoids become ReasonVOIDS when they champion the legalization of marijuana, the legalization of illegals (rather than ending welfare and opening the borders), and the legalization of gay marriage. ReasonVOIDS show the depth of their indoctrination by their handlers at Reason when they babble on about legalization of drugs, illegal aliens, gay marriage.

    1. Just asking, but wouldn’t argue for “legalization” rather than decriminalization be falling into the positivist legal theory trap?

      1. I’ve not heard that expresion, chmercier, ” positivist legal theory trap”.

        Positivists claim law depends on officials who deem it so from prevailing norms and thus law only should arise because of the presence of government.

        To positivists, rulings of law should deal with how the relevant law came to be rather than Anglo-Norman concepts of justice.

        In short, positivists are anti-natural law scumbags who care nothing about right and wrong.

        Nonetheless, legalization isn’t a libertarian position.

        1. I say “trap” because of the “legalization” argument, which you sum up nicely here: “positivists are anti-natural law scumbags who care nothing about right and wrong,” and below with “Decriminalization is the act which removes deeds from the realm of crime” and here “Legalization imposes specific duties and rights. So, politicians give themselves the right of regulation and impose the duty of others to adhere to that regulation.”

          In other words, by legislating, they create an area where it becomes essentially a privilege garnered by the state (legalized) rather than found not illegal (decriminalized).

          I agree with you. Decriminalization vs. legalization is an important distinction and we always have to keep definitions consistent and correct. Much like the debate between rights and privileges, which so many seem to confuse.

          1. You have captured it well. Hopefully, those who reject my clarion calls about libertarianism shall at least listen to you.

            1. Thank you. I’d hope so. Language and definitions are of the utmost importance in all this. Reason readers are pretty cool, if a snarky bunch.

              I also think there are many new libertarians as well that still use the terminology of the State. Perhaps Orwell’s “Politics of the English Language” could be consulted. For all his political faults, that is a good essay.

              Oddly, that gave me a thought…Orwell’s “Homage to Catalonia” should be read in conjunction with histories of the resistance movements in World War II so that more people get an idea what the Left is really like.

              But I do think language is the key here. As long as we keep using the definitions the Left proscribes, we won’t make much progress on the moral front.

              1. You’re much kinder to this bunch than I can be, which likely, makes you the better man.

                This insular bunch here at Reason.com fail to see how indoctrinated they are. They have been indoctrinated into Rockefeller Republicanism.

                Yet, the comments today give hope. At least the one who goes by the handle Irish gets it. S/he understands libertarianism and what is at stake.

                The rest of these libertine, Rockefeller Republicans lack principle. What they truly want is to smoke pot without reprisal, gain a psychological lift for their homosexual activity by having the state grant moral approval through law and to help their cousin Juan who sneaked over the Rio Grande 12 years ago to gain legal status.

                1. Smack MacDougal|8.16.14 @ 11:03PM|#
                  “You’re much kinder to this bunch than I can be, which likely, makes you the better man.”

                  Smack, you’re a worthless POS.
                  There are folks, usually lefties, who show up here and proceed to deliver lectures on the failures of a free market to guarantee prosperity to one and all; it is not planned and can therefore not deliver the goods. And the idjits who do so labor under the delusion that they are telling those who post here something new and surprising, rather than the same old crap that’s been disproven in practice lo, these many years.
                  Then we have self-proclaimed libertarians who, in their totally un-deserved presumption of wise council, tell how they are pure and correct in their libertarian views, while those who they lecture are obviously have not yet heard the WORD!
                  I got a hint for you dolts; it’s insulting. No one here is dumb enough to have missed and examined what you offer; it may be found to be false or simply not possible, but YOU are stupid enough to think you bring the light to the un-schooled masses.
                  Yes, Bo, that would be you, along with Smack, turd, the twit Michael somebody, and others.

                2. Smack,

                  I will not bow before you.

                  “This insular bunch here at Reason.com”

                  Well. Judging from my time here and getting to know some of these folks on some level, they come from different backgrounds and experiences. Many are highly successful, well-traveled and educated. I think it would be very hard here to not get someone who isn’t a specialist or expert in something – guns, science, engineering, finance, business whatever.

                  This is the very antithesis of insular. And if by insular you mean we stick to our principled guns so be it. Has it ever occurred to you, for some it’s based on collective wisdom and experiences? I myself have come full circle having listened and been exposed to left-wing garbage in university, liberalism, conservatism etc.

                  My own path (especially as a business owner) has put me in this camp. I speak three languages and have had my fair share of experiences and met more seriously connected and powerful people in my day. Why, just this week I spent the week talking business with the CEO of the biggest engineering firm in Canada. Even found out he’d invest in my business. That dude does nothing but travel.

                  In word other than ‘insular’ because I’m fast concluding you’re the one with the parochial problem.

                  1. ‘Choose another word.’

                  2. Sevo, Rufus – See, this is why I like Reason or at the very least its readers. It’s true diversity in that we all arrived at and practice libertarianism or anti-authoritarianism in differing ways.

                    Me? A long story, but it first came through with art, music, literature, reading Marx, matching it to history, and realizing that the arts had no place in socialism outside propaganda. It’s anti-art.

                    Then the economics and real world experience came later. I helped run the family businesses as well as worked in the private sector a lot. Reading free marketeers combined with real world experience led me to libertarianism as a label for the core beliefs I already had.

                    While there are differences in nuance or experience, we all distrust the State and the Socialist Left.

                    Also, Reasoners tend to be funny.

                    1. That is true.

                      The last line.

                      /scratches ass.

    2. When I think of legalization, I think of it as meaning something is no longer a crime. How exactly does that expand the size and scope of government?

      1. The Left’s M.O. is “that which is not subsidized is prohibited” and they’ve become very active in the corollary of that which is not prohibited is subsidized.

        Look at the birth control mandate issue and the massive idiocy that followed the Hobby Lobby decision. They really do believe that those things which are legal ought to be provided by government “free” of charge. They really believe that having access to something implies a right to compel others provide it for you.

        That said, I still disagree with Smack here.

        1. You can disagree, but for as long as you do, you won’t be right on the subject, ever.

        2. I think you’re actually in agreement with Smack here – in a roundabout way: if the government doesn’t provide nor mandate someone else provide it, it is not a “right”.

          It’s essentially like saying since FedGov prohibits you from smoking tobacco in a bar, you don’t have the right to. Of course it’s your right if you and the property owner agree.

          Just as you say, it’s the Left’s MO and great trick – placing legal restrictions on rights to protect rights, then manufacturing a way keep rights suppressed.

          1. Well, chmercier, it seems Sudden doesn’t understand the system under which s/he lives.

            Congress entitles, which in law means give property and in law property means right of ownership and not what is owned, to something. Congress then imposes duty upon itself to pay for that right.

            In turn, the founders gave every successive Congress the right to impose taxation on Americans. As well, the founders imposed duty upon designated Americans to pay taxes to Congress.

            With respect to the pregnancy control (pills stop pregnancy not birth; abortion is birth control) mandate, Congress imposed the duty for med bills insurers to pay claims for such while giving the insured the right to file claim for such.

            Congress imposed duty upon itself to pay part or all of the premiums for medical bills insurance. As well, Congress gave the right to those who qualify to get those premium subsidies.

      2. How does establishing agency to enforce adherence to law expand the size and scope of government you ask?

        With law, an army of unionized government workers known as bureaucrats arise to inspect, to demand reporting compliance and so forth.

        Decriminalization is the act which removes deeds from the realm of crime.

        With decriminalization, no longer is there liability to face a right of prosecution for having violated duty to not transgress a particular law.

        Legalization imposes specific duties and rights. So, politicians give themselves the right of regulation and impose the duty of others to adhere to that regulation.

    3. Are you sure you are not simply an anarchist? How boring…

      1. Anarchy means no government at all. It means without (a) an overlord (archy). In anarchy, anything goes.

        Libertarianism boils down to liberty over duty and right. In short, libertarianism means living by fewer laws and thus fewer rights and duties.

        Libertarianism is not anarchism, however. The absence of law in the presence of government is liberty, not anarchy.

        So many here at Reason.com who fancy themselves as smart, deep thinkers who know it all don’t even know the rudiments. They are clueless about anarchism, libertarianism, basically all of politics.

        Without doubt, as champions for legalization of marijuana, illegal aliens, and gay marriage, Reasonvoids are not libertarians. They are liberal-progressives. They are Rockefeller Republicans.

        REASONOIDS OF REASON.COM, AMERICA’S CRYPTO-REPUBLICANS

        1. Smack MacDougal|8.16.14 @ 11:14PM|#
          “Anarchy means no government at all. It means without (a) an overlord (archy). In anarchy, anything goes.”

          You are so self-absorbed, you don’t get it.
          You tell us nothing we don’t know. You tell us the same crap we’ve heard forever. And you are stupid enough to presume you are the first to carry the message.
          You’re not. You are one of many idjits to presume the same.
          Someone must have claimed you are smart. They were drunk at the time; you’re not.

          1. Nothing like being told by someone else what you “are.”

            You’re a Rockefeller Republican! Didn’t you know it? How ignorant! Plus, you’re racist, you just don’t know that too.

            Presumptuous jack asses.

      2. Are you sure you are not simply an anarchist? How boring…

        Are you sure you’re not simply a SWPL douchebag? How tedious…

    4. “Legalization of rec drugs is leftist politics and not libertarian politics. Legalization of illegal aliens is leftist politics and not libertarian politics.”

      You’re absolutely right: you can’t “legalize” what, by default, isn’t illegal. You can only strike bad laws from the books, laws frequently put there by leftists. Striking laws amounts to implementing the libertarian program (less government) and undoing leftist mistakes.

      And it matters. Leftists often want to “legalize” things by adding even more legislation (“medical marijuana”, complex immigration legislation, “gay marriage”), while libertarians mostly just want to get rid of legislation.

  24. I get the reasons for pessimism on display in this thread, but how do you guys seriously expect to make progress on liberty if we aren’t willing to look for common ground and work with people who have different ideologies? It’s one thing to be cautious and to go in with eyes wide open. It’s another to not even try at all.

    1. There are better choices than the likes of Nader. Paul the younger is a better choice than Nader. “Making something legal” is bullshit. It never should have been declared illegal in the first place.

    2. I think many who label themselves Libertarians don’t want to make progress on anything. They enjoy being bitter little outsiders because they are fueled by the hate it brings. I is similar to some minorities I know who want to be victims because they perceive a kind of power in being a victim.

      1. And you, I presume, have arrived to tell us the one true path?
        Mary, you should seek help.

        1. Poguemahoney is not Mary–it’s a silly little leftist who spouts silly little leftist tropes.

          You might want to reconsider having your email address be visible when you’re trying to troll, pogue. A Huffpo trained seal should know better.

          1. Thank you.
            The twit was looking very Mary-like.

    3. Whether it was his intention or not, Ralph Nader is a lynchpin in the corporo-fascistic monstrosity we know and love today. His endless attacks on the producers is what brought about hyper-intervention by the State against them. The litigious society we live in has its fundamental roots in Naderism. Producers turning to insurers to take on the risk of runaway litigation created the economic “tranche” that the insurance industry know holds, and of course the insurance industry is now largely grafted onto the State. Insurance companies now dictate to business how it shall conduct its affairs since they hold the treasury and the strings relating to risk.

      I can find a lot of common ground with the “libertarian left”. Nader is NOT the libertarian left, he is a Statist, and any overtures he makes holds the same suasion as the (current) GOP right making their own overtures. It’s tactics, and nothing more. So I’m all for alliances, just not Ralph Nader. He’s a Robespierre. Run fast, run far.

  25. This is not derp. This is not peak derp. This is not even mega-derp. This is so turd-stupid it rises to the level of GIGA-derp.

    Why the hell would libertarians ally themselves with people who believe stealing one person’s shit to give it to another is noble? Why would anyone think libertarians would en-mass support pro-government controlled schools, healthcare, and industry asshats? Ralph Nader is someone you would ally with? Come to think of it … libertarians do not do ANYTHING en mass, what the fuck have you been smoking Thad?

    Shit NO TOBACCO SMOKING asshats to boot! DAMN! I miss having a Marlboro at the bar!

    Thaddeus Russell – you are an idiot.

    1. You are right RJ.

      If you haven’t noticed, the people behind Reason.com and those in front schooling and indoctrinating those who read Reason.com are little more than Rockefeller Republicans.

      Supporting legalization over decriminalization is anti-libertarian.

      Ralph Nader seems to be right about one thing, his on-again, off-again crusade against natural personhood for incorporated entities.

      1. Smack,
        I look at GW and Romney and see Rockefeller Republicans. I would like to see how you draw a line between that and allying with Nader.

    2. Ralph Nader is someone you would ally with?

      If I could find things I agree with him on, yeah. And I’d be happy if we accomplished mutually agreed upon goals.

      1. I’d have to go all the way back and get his answer for the demonization of the Corvair and Pinto but the complete pass on the VW Bug.

        Fuck Nader and all like him.

        1. Actually…

          But if you want to talk about airbags, I’m onboard with you there.

  26. One of the things that pisses me off most today is the politicization of EVERY aspect of life by both the right and left (but mostly the left). There is now an app that lets you check the political leanings of businesses so that you can decide if you want to shop there! Because it’s not enough that you like Coke better than Pepsi, you have to make sure that the people who work for Coke think like you do! Fuck that.

    Unfortunately, I see the same mentality on display here. Yes, in this case, it’s all political by its very nature. But if we can compartmentalize when we go to the grocery store, why not on separate political issues? Because the other guys are dirt? So what. If you can find areas of agreement, hold your nose and get shit done already.

    1. Excellently stated!!

    2. But if we can compartmentalize when we go to the grocery store, why not on separate political issues? Because the other guys are dirt? So what. If you can find areas of agreement, hold your nose and get shit done already.

      The term you are looking for is “useful idiot.”

    3. I think the extreme politicization goes hand in hand with lack of personal integrity. They don’t know what they believe in so they blindly follow whatever’s trendy with a righteous indignation. It’s moral insecurity.

      1. Marcotte’s statement that Irish quoted above is a good example. She is really claiming a slippery slope of evil from “violence against an unarmed man” to “profits”, implying that the latter is worse. That is a morally outrageous suggestion. She clearly doesn’t know the relative goodness of one action to the other, so she’s grasping based on what is popular.

  27. Malthus is laughing in his grave . . .

  28. Can libertarians and progs ally on police brutality? The progs want more laws, more regulations and more taxes. Who pray tell is going to enforce these laws, regulations and taxes? And they want only the cops to own guns. So who is going to enforces those gun laws and is leaving the people at the mercy of armed cops really going to reduce police brutality?

    And the more bloodthirsty progs are going to need someone to run their gulags and show trials…

    1. And the more bloodthirsty progs are going to need someone to run their gulags and show trials…”

      Oh for fucking Christ! Just shut the fuck up. you know I don’t see any violence coming from the “Progs” I see it from you extreme paranoid fucked in the head right wingers why don’t you build a bunker and stay in the fucking thing. then we won’t have to listen to you?

      1. I suppose their calls for redistribution of the wealth are not violent? Or nationalizing of the industries? Or their calls for higher taxes and more gun control? It’s not like these laws will be voluntary. And it’s not like the Guardian and Rolling Stone have not published articles endorsing communism.

      2. “Oh for fucking Christ! Just shut the fuck up. you know I don’t see any violence coming from the “Progs” I see it from you extreme paranoid fucked in the head right wingers why don’t you build a bunker and stay in the fucking thing. then we won’t have to listen to you?”

        Mary, did you quit your meds again?

      3. Just shut the fuck up.

        Or else what, loser?

        you know I don’t see any violence coming from the “Progs” I see it from you extreme paranoid fucked in the head right wingers

        “Citation needed”

  29. Fuck alliances. That shit is so 1900s.

  30. “Smack McDougal” = Dan T.

    A quick search of that handle, along with “stupid, pretentious, self loathing, mega-troll retardbot” will find you limitless repeats of the same endless harping on the “rights and doodies” yin-yangism that he thinks has made him Earth’s Lone Libertarian.

    1. I have no idea who Dan T is, and it is irrelevant.
      Smack, Dan, Whoever is an ignoramus presuming to provide new information.
      Smack, Dan, Whoever is an ignoramus too stupid to read what has been posted.

  31. The leftoids probably arranged for that punk to get shot, since it’s apparent that they are going to get their butts kicked this fall, and they required a hat trick to both distract from the economic disasters of their policies (and everything else they’ve fucked up, which is everything they touch) and rile up their idiot base.

    1. You presume intelligence where stupidity will suffice.

      1. It’s not a conspiracy of leftists, but it is nevertheless their fault. Of course. A fat man on the radio said so.

        1. For the record, I still blame ‘police too lazy to run’.

        2. Tony|8.17.14 @ 2:38AM|#
          “It’s not a conspiracy of leftists, but it is nevertheless their fault.”
          Yes, it is.

          “Of course. A fat man on the radio said so.”
          Which is irrelevant.

          1. The fat man on the radio also happened to be made of straw. Maybe just a coincidence.

      2. ^This. Leftoids while prone to believing in wild conspiracy theories (Coca-Cola destroyed Europe’s economy to help Israel and increase their Q1 profits by 1.2%!), they’re waaaaay too reactionary to actually be behind them.

        Also: How many leftoids does it take to screw in a light bulb?

  32. Lets not get too cozy…

  33. I’ll try and keep this as simple as possible about this ‘alliance.’

    No.

  34. Never been an “alliance” between “peace and prosperity” right and the left? How about the run up to WWII? Perhaps not a full on alliance per se, but both the left and the libertarian right (otherwise known as a goodly hunk of the GOP) had no desire for the US to get into it with Germany. Of course, for the left, that was only because of the Non-aggression pact in place between Germany and the USSR. Once Germany attacked the USSR, the left swung in fully behind going after the dastardly krauts, and the P&P right was left on its own – and the writing was certainly on the wall. De facto war in the Atlantic, lend/lease extended to the USSR etc. This is why, if there is any sort of alliance, we need to be very, very cautious about making enemies of enemies friends. I don’t trust Ralph Nader as far as I can throw him. His only desire to tear down the current Statist edifice is to REPLACE it with himself. I have little doubt if Nader ever got into Power, we’d have decimalization of our clocks/calendars and holding solemn ceremonies to his singular genius.

  35. Thad, good article. An alliance between Libertarians and Leftists makes sense in battling the deeply entrenched militarist and wall streeter interests. It probably stops cold after that. The problem with the Leftists is that they fancy themselves as enlightened Social Engineers. Being more in the Libertarian camp, I regard the social engineers with deep suspicion. But at the end of the day,a marginally successful govt project in Detroit is a million or billion times better than wasting US treasure in Iraq.

  36. I think a good part of this is due to Ron Paul’s presidential run: who is this gentle older man, not toeing the Party line? Did a Congressman really just say that?

    But the more prominent force is this: money has become tight. Citizens know we can’t afford it all–better to give up the empire and the police state than close the park down the street.

  37. This is why I say it will only take a handful of Libertarians in Congress to control a closely divided Congress. By allying with the Democrats on social issues and with the Republicans on economic issues, a large amount of libertarian bills could get through.

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