Rand Paul

Wash Post: "The Libertarian Moment is Over, Or is It?"

A year ago, Rand Paul was ascendant. Now, not so much. Is libertarianism dying on the GOP vine?

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Former Reason staffer David Weigel, now at the Washington Post, looks at Rand Paul's sagging fortunes in the run for the Republican presidential nomination and writes

One year ago, in a flag-planting cover story for the New York Times magazine, Robert Draper asked whether a "libertarian moment" had come at last. "Libertarians, who long have relished their role as acerbic sideline critics of American political theater, now find themselves and their movement thrust into the middle of it," wrote Draper. The memorable art for the story was a fuzzed-out image of Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), patterned after a hardcore show flyer, with a date of 11/8/16. Election Day.

The image made sense at the time; increasingly, it looks like a nostalgia piece. This August has tagged Rand Paul's presidential bid as officially "embattled." Single digit support in primary states; indictments for the two heads of his super PAC; a poorly-reviewed run at the first debate….

No one argues with this: The Paul campaign's struggle has quieted down the "libertarian moment" talk. The dream of Paul as a "frontrunner" in waiting was based on a few polls that showed his support in the high teens. For a brief time, it made sense for libertarians to hitch their wagons to the story of a thriving national politician. That's happening less now.

There's no question that Rand Paul's presidential campaign has hit a soft patch. He got the least amount of air time in the first GOP debate and his numbers have been slipping for a long time. I've been critical of some of his positions over the past few months but Weigel quotes me this way:

"It's a mistake to conflate Rand Paul's electoral success with that of the libertarian moment," said Nick Gillespie, the editor of Reason.com. (Disclosure: I worked for Reason from 2006 to 2008.) "Rand Paul's high visibility is better understood as a consequence of the libertarian moment than its cause. There's a reason why he's been at his most electrifying and popular precisely when he is at his most libertarian: calling out the surveillance state, for instance, and leading the charge against reckless interventions in Syria and Libya."

Libertarians such as Lawson Bader, president of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and David Boaz, vice president of The Cato Institute, note that on fronts such as gay marriage, pot legalization, gun rights, criminal justice reform, general distrust of government, and more, things are going in the libertarian direction.

Full Weigel/Post piece here.

More important, broad indicators that Americans prefer social tolerance and fiscal responsibility continue to grow:

According to a composite index of libertarian views on social and economic issues developed by pollsters at CNN, something clearly is afoot. The pollsters look at whether people believe that government is trying to do too many things individuals should be doing and whether or not people think government should enforce a particular set of morals. In 1992, the index of libertarian belief stood at 92 points. It's now at 113 points. Virtually all surveys show trends of people thinking the government is doing too much, is incompetent or untrustworthy, or represents a larger threat to the future than big labor or big business.

As Matt Welch and I argued in The Declaration of Independents, politics is and always will be a "crippled, lagging indicator" of where the country is trendng.

Which isn't to say that Rand Paul doesn't need to goose his campaign if he wants to win the GOP nomination.

To that end, I also tell Weigel that his father Ron's endorsement is a help, especially if it pushes Rand to go full beast-mode libertarian. If the Kentucy senator becomes the only Republican who unapologetically embraces fiscal conservatism and social liberalism, he might not win the 2016 nomination, but he'll become the spokesman for exactly where the country is headed, whether most Republicans or Democrats don't figure that out until long after it's happened. That's the long game and the one that is most important.

Americans want a president who not only uses Uber but supports the economic policies that help produce it; who not only eats Mexican food but, you know, actually can stand living with Mexicans; that not only preaches religious freedom and individual rights but extends them to gays and lesbians; and who understands that having a Department of Defense doesn't mean you should be starting or continuing wars all over the planet.

Like it or not (and what's not to like?), that's the America we'll all be living in soon enough. Weigel argues that Paul's campaign is "going to be the lens through which everyone else tracks the movement's success." He's probably right about that, but that doesn't mean things aren't still moving in the right direction whether Paul moves into the White House in 2016 or is growing his presence in the Senate instead.

NEXT: Reagan vs. Trump: "Let [illegals] come here legally with a work permit [and] they'd pay taxes here...Open the borders both ways"

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  1. The libertarian moment now! The libertarian moment forever! Hizzzah!

    1. Things have been going libertarian since the printing press, if you think long game and equate libertarian with the general concept of decentralized government and individual freedom. Even now, the general trend is less government control.

      One of my giggity examples is freeway signage. If I drive with the nav system on, I look at it for exits and crossroads instead of the freeway signs, even if I am not using the nav system to give me directions. Yes, it’s a very small and very silly point, but it is indicative of the larger trend of not relying on government as much as before.

      I believe that individual efforts are increasingly outstripping government reaction times. The drug war continues, but has less and less effect. The FAA can’t even come up with minimal rules for drones in less than a couple of years. Cell phones, ca safety gizmos, all sorts of daily life tools are advancing in spite of government.

      I think the day will come, sometime this century, when government have truly withered away to a small subset of our lives, increasingly irrelevant. yes, it will be a bull in a china shop for the old traditional meatspace, but not where people actually interact with each other. Title IX screwups? Sure, but meanwhile everyone will get their education online.

      1. Cell phones, ca safety gizmos, all sorts of daily life tools are advancing in spite of government.

        And in many ways, greatly expanding the power of government. The surveillance state we now enjoy, was science-fiction dystopia until free enterprise provided the means. We’re reaching a critical juncture in human history where we will reach point of diminishing returns of technological and economic advancement, or at the very least, a point of no turning back in our ability to abolish the state. At a certain point all of the tyranny made possible by the state’s use of advanced technology will hinder the further development of human society.

        Title IX screwups? Sure, but meanwhile everyone will get their education online.

        I for one don’t want to live in a world where liberty can only flourish in the dark and where the full spectrum of choice and responsibility is stifled by statism.

        1. Government and freedom have always operated like that. I bet the pyramid builders violated all sorts of regulations on work hours, what to eat and drink to keep the purity of the pyramids, etc.

          And you have it backwards. It is government which works in the dark and freedom which basks in sunlight. Speakeasies were notoriously easy to find. Pot is easy now. Guns are always easy.

          Just because you live in the present and see modern government in action doesn’t mean previous governments were less capable of manipulating society. Used to be most people got news from rumor, then along came newspapers who made stuff up, then radio and TV networks. Now you have as many choices as you want. All of them operate in the shadow of government, and there’s nothing government can do about them in the aggregate.

          1. I like the way you think. Whether or not your optimism is warranted, it’s probably really our only hope.

          2. and there’s nothing government can do about them in the aggregate.

            you sure about that? Because govt already controls which carrier of cable you can buy from based on where you live. It’s a reason why things like Dish or Direct or even Hulu have grown – people like having more choices than Comcast or Charter of whatever else. And speaking of media operating in “the shadow of govt,” that shadow took a chomp at reason recently, did it not? That same shadow wiretapped reporters from the AP, CBS, and Fox, etc.

            Some of these gadgets you allude to are bread and circuses. Even cell phones come equipped with tracking devices that are on by default, ostensibly for your safety. We have more and more safety rules mandated for cars. I don’t see how this adds up to less govt.

            1. I don’t think he said it leads to less government. Just that it makes government less relevant to people’s lives. Your example of cable monopolies illustrates the point. Government fucked up cable (with the collusion of cable companies), so people have found better options.

              I’d like to believe that we could bring about a far more libertarian system of governance, but I can’t say I have much hope that I will see it happen. The best outcome may be simply more people learning to avoid or work around government interference.

              1. people digging out from govt fuckups is not preventing more govt fuckups, nor does it cause those in govt to reconsider previous fuckups and work to rectify them. Govt intrusiveness causing positive things to happen is not the same as govt being less relevant; nothing says those positive could not happened anyway.

                1. What makes you think that anything will make government reconsider previous fuckups or rectify them? That’s like asking an earthquake to fix the damage it caused.

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          3. I bet the pyramid builders violated all sorts of regulations on work hours, what to eat and drink to keep the purity of the pyramids, etc.

            I bet the pyramids have no business being trumpeted as a benchmark of civilization other than as proof that humanity preferred slavery to cannibalism.

            It is government which works in the dark and freedom which basks in sunlight. Speakeasies were notoriously easy to find. Pot is easy now. Guns are always easy.

            No, legal bars operate in the daylight and regular crop growers bask in the light and legal gun owners operate them safely and relatively openly. Yes it’s true the government can’t simply extinguish these things. But it’s also true that pot growers who do bask in the sunlight get locked in cages, gun law violators who do so openly often share the same fate.

            Just because you live in the present and see modern government in action doesn’t mean previous governments were less capable of manipulating society.

            I made no comment on the capabilities of previous governments to be tyrannical. I said that modern technology can just as easily be used in service to tyranny as it can to thwart it, that likelihood grows over time.

            All of them operate in the shadow of government

            They really don’t. The unlicensed pirate radio broadcasters of yore operated in the shadow of the government.

            1. You really like to drift off subject.

              1. Where was I off subject? Do you mean the parts where I directly responded to your assertions?

            2. The pyramid builders were not slaves.

        2. This is wrong. The FBI committed far worse in the ’60s than the NSA does now. Please, I do not want Luddism here of all places.

      2. Things have been going libertarian since the printing press, if you think long game and equate libertarian with the general concept of decentralized government and individual freedom. Even now, the general trend is less government control.

        I see the exact opposite. Since the nineteenth century, anyway, government all over the world has gotten bigger by any measure and more intrusive and controlling. While it may have backed out of a few areas in a few countries, I am mystified that anyone could say the long-term trend is toward smaller and less intrusive government.

        I believe that individual efforts are increasingly outstripping government reaction times.

        “Not caught yet” is not the same as “being free”.

        1. Government has only gotten bigger and more intrusive as a consequence of society expanding, but government control is nowhere near as pervasive as it was back when peasants were in trouble just for leaving their village or farm. People have far more ways of thumbing their nose at government than they did 100 or 200 years ago.

          1. Government has only gotten bigger and more intrusive as a consequence of society expanding,

            I disagree. There is no reason for a larger society to necessarily spawn a larger government. Our government has grown, not just in absolute, but in relative terms.

            People have far more ways of thumbing their nose at government than they did 100 or 200 years ago.

            You’re kidding, right? 100 or 200 years ago you weren’t registered and tracked by your government, very little of what you did was actually subject to any kind of law, compared to today (six month waits and $50K just to open a gym, for example). If you had problems with your government it was generally a matter of just moving out of its jurisdiction. That works much, much less well today.

            1. I think it goes both ways. Hundreds of years ago people may not have had much direct government interference with most of their activities, but most people couldn’t afford to do anything beyond what they needed to do to maintain a basic standard of living, free or not. I think that, at least in practical terms, it isn’t wrong to say that more people are effectively more free to do more things than they were a few hundred years ago, despite government involving itself more in more aspects of people’s lives.

              But I’m a bit more of an anarchist and don’t buy the idea of good government. I think that the best we can really hope for is that technology and ingenuity allow us to stay a few steps ahead of governments. Not that we shouldn’t also try to keep government in check, but I don’t think that is going to lead to any real rolling back of the levels of government interference in people’s lives. Too many people like the comfort of feeling like someone is in charge.

              1. Hundreds of years ago people may not have had much direct government interference with most of their activities,

                This is a definition of liberty.

                but most people couldn’t afford to do anything beyond what they needed to do to maintain a basic standard of living, free or not.

                This is not. This is a definition of prosperity.

                They are two different things. More prosperity does not equal more liberty.

            2. Beat cops, for instance, got away with a lot more on-the-spot justice than nowadays. They were expected to do so. The Comstock laws made all sorts of censorship possible. Disenting views and exposing government corruption are far more coomon nowadays.

              1. This. Nostalgia for a Golden Era that never existed is silly. See also, slavery.

                1. It is a mistake for libertarians to look to the past. The past sucked. Government may have been less intrusive in many ways, but it was nothing to do with any principle of liberty. When most people live at a subsistence level, there isn’t much reason to interfere with their lives.
                  I think we need to look forward to the ways in which modern technology and communications uniquely enable a freer society.

                  1. I think we need to look forward to the ways in which modern technology and communications uniquely enable a freer society.

                    I agree completely. Doing so will require a recognition of the way government has insinuated itself into every nook and cranny of your life, in a way it never had before.

                2. Slavery was long gone by the New Deal, Cyto.

                  Was life worse in some ways Back In The Day? Absolutely.

                  Was government much smaller and less intrusive? Indeed it was.

                  The latter means we had more liberty. The former means things have gotten better in other parts of society.

                  Conflating the two is a good way to obscure the fact that government has gotten bigger and more intrusive, and we, by definition, have less liberty.

                  1. The USA hasn’t had a draft in over 40 yrs. Several countries even longer.

                    1. We do have a “back door” draft: volunteers are held past the end of their enlistment terms with the
                      Stop-Loss Policy.

                      Kevin R

                  2. Chattel slavery was long gone, but debt peonage, aka sharecropping, was alive and well. Combine that with Jim Crow, and no wonder so many Southerners of African descent skedaddled to the North: The Great Migration.

                    It’s almost as if there is a Law of the Conservation of Tyranny. We strike down freedom-crushing local and/or state laws, and the Feds ratchet up their restrictions on liberty.

                    Kevin R

          2. People have far more ways of thumbing their nose at government than they did 100 or 200 years ago.

            such as? And hoarding old-style light bulbs does not count.

          3. A lot of government growth arose with the switch to the Total War concept of WW I & II. Everyone was part of the war effort and the state controlled everything. For a while army size seemed decisive, but that has changed.

          4. Government has only gotten bigger and more intrusive as a consequence of society expanding,

            What!?!? Human population growth drove our taxes from something less than 4% at any given time to a world with an average rate that is ten times higher? Interesting theory.

            The real correlation is the expansion of democratic political institutions, which provided the ideological cover to fund government activities far beyond what any despot could historically get away with.

            People have far more ways of thumbing their nose at government than they did 100 or 200 years ago.

            They also have more banking cartels, taxation, surveillance, occupational licensing, statutes, regulations, restrictions, permission slips and thought crimes.

            1. My point is that the new freedoms and choices outweigh the new regulations. Your listing new regulations says nothing about the relative proportions. When government control goes from 100% of one choice to less control of 100 choices, that’s a win in my book.

              1. My point is that the new freedoms and choices outweigh the new regulations.

                Do they, though? I wouldn’t even know how to construct a comparison.

                And liberty is the inverse of government. If it gets bigger, you have less liberty, regardless of whatever else happens in society.

                Look at it this way: You have an opportunity now to buy an electric car, that you really didn’t have in the past.

                That is completely irrelevant to the fact that government takes more of your money and imposes more rules on you.

        2. “Since the nineteenth century, anyway, government all over the world has gotten bigger by any measure and more intrusive and controlling.”

          The world wasn’t exactly a bastion of freedom before 1800. A lot of government growth and increased intrusiveness is from technological and economic advances enabling it – for example, how do you maintain a social democracy-style welfare state in a country with pre-nineteenth century levels of wealth? Technology has also given them more tools to snoop. But I think that misses the broader ways in which government has historically restricted liberty. There may have been times in the past where it was easier to avoid the government by just lying low and not drawing attention to yourself, but that doesn’t necessarily mean those societies were freer.

  2. Wouldn’t that imply that there was a libertarian moment in the first place?

    1. At one point, Rand Paul was polling almost 10% in one of the two American political parties.

      10%. It was like libertopia.

      1. It was like libertopia.

        You mean Somalia?

        1. Only with fewer ROAADDDDZZ!

          1. I’ll wager that in some parts Mogadishu has better roadz than spots in the Northeast

            1. +1 I-live-in-metro-Detroit, you-got-nothin’-on-me

              1. like real Detroit or Grosse Pointe?

                1. Grosse Pointe? Grosse Pointe? I’m drawing a complete…..BLANK!

                  1. I see what you did there…

                2. Also, real not-Detroit that’s also not-Grosse Pointe. Hence why I said “metro” and not “in Detroit”.

              2. That always confused me as a kid.., We’d go to Pa, from Ohio every year to visit mom’s family, and everybody would shit on W Va.- but they had the best roads by far… then I learned who Robert Byrd was.

                #lLifeLessons

      2. True but thats still far from being the libertarian moment. Maybe the libertarian iota or picosecond but definitely not moment. It’s better than nothing I guess.

        1. That is awesome. If there was a ‘Happening’ signal, a la the Bat Signal, what would it be?

          1. Rand’s mug and coiffed hair, in profile.

            1. nice

              1. Trump’s “hair” is ridiculous, but who is Rand channeling?

                Willie Ames? Bert Convy?

                Kevin R

          2. A pot leaf and a Latina being fucked in the ass by a post op transsexual?

            1. And one of them is paying the other in bitcoin.

            2. That going to be difficult to express as a silhouette.

              1. I see that all in Rand’s toussled hair, so I’m going with commodious spittoon’s suggestion

                1. How long do you have to stare at his hair before you start to see that?

                  Do you have to cross your eyes just a little bit?

                  1. Dude – spend a little more time with Agile Cyborg – you’ll see it. Ohhhh, YOU’ll SEE IT, man!

  3. Oh, look… There’s a Hihnfection in the comments.

      1. “LibertyIssues”

    1. Who gives a shit?

      1. Irish does. And Sandi. Sandi always does.

    2. He must have me blocked. (lol yay I win!) I don’t see any hihnsores.

  4. OT: Did I miss this in the Reason, or was it not discussed here? Showed up on Derpbook, and I decided to take the bait,

    My takeaway, “I’m racist cause you say so, and if I say I’m not, that just shows how racist I am cause White Privilege.” I couldn’t even work up any anger or…sorrow. Nothing. Just ‘meh, whatever.'” I guess because I’m racist.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…..70652.html

    1. The charge of racism has boiled down to social signaling and is designed to be indefensible. Both definitions of the term. That’s why I turned off NPR after 30 years. I’m just sick of it.

      1. I turned off NPR many years ago for the same reason. And I haven literally not watched a TV show in….I literally don’t know how long, cause I can’t stand it any more. Especially local news – just….DERRRRRRP.

        Anyhoo, that article. It’s just the classic “we can’t have this conversation cause you won’t agree with me so you’re wrong”. OK – “bye Felicia”.

        1. “TV news show”

          I still watch fuhbah. Plus “Vikings”. Haven’t found a sub for “Justified” and “Boardwalk Empire” yet. Half watched “True Detective”. I might just start making that a regular.

          Also, “Fargo” when it comes back. First season was excellent.

          1. Just started watching Justified over the weekend. Pretty solid.

            1. If you make Raylan pull, he will put you down.

              1. Best dialog on TV.

                1. Yes, the writing is superb.

                  As is Joelle Carter.

            2. I thought the last season wasn’t as good, myself.

              But, the fact that I stuck with it all the way tells you something.

              Fargo is next on my list to watch.

              1. The last episode of “Justified” put me off – Raylan and Boyd – Jesus Christ, get a room! “We mined coal together” (paraphrasing) – STFU!

                But overall, and DESPITE Raylan being an extralegal piece of shit authoritarian cop, I loved that show. Dialogue, characters – just superb fun.

                1. I just watched one last night where there was a hostage situation and the local SWAT douches were called in. It was refreshing how stupid they looked and how much disdain the marshals had for them. Don’t see that very often.

              2. Fargo is next on my list to watch.

                if you mean the series, then you will enjoy it. Billy Bob is quite good as is the insurance salesman ‘protagonist.’ Funny thing about him is he also played Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit, at least I think that was the right character. Good series.

                1. Martin Freeman, not Billy Bob

          2. Try out Longmire ? the first three seasons were awesome, even for this Canuck. Season 4 starts in September on Netflix, which is when my wife finally decided we should get a ‘Flix subscription. 😉

            1. Longmire was a good show.

            2. I thought it was cancelled. Will have to keep an eye out.

      2. That’s why I turned off NPR after 30 years.

        But you still have to pay for it.

        1. It’s a gift that keeps on giving – to others.

          1. It’s a gift that keeps on giving taking

            fixed.

  5. Nick and the other Reason writers have a habit of selectively looking at data to fit the Libertarian Moment narrative. I’m not one of the “everything is constantly getting worse in all areas” crowd, but I don’t think a full, objective look at all available evidence makes nearly as convincing a case for a “Libertarian Moment” as Gillespie portrays.

    1. That depends on whether you frame the libertarian moment as the tipping point where the whole country is libertarian now, or as the point where the libertarian countervaliance to the leviathan is finally gaining some traction.

      As slow and inconsistent as the progress can be, I think it pretty tough to deny that the latter characterization is a real thing that’s happening.

      1. I suppose.

        I just keep looking at two metrics of the growth of government (which means the concomitant shrinking of liberty), and am not optimistic at all:

        (1) Spending. Up, going up, no signs of it coming down. In fact whatever pathetic controls we may have had on spending appear to be completely broken.

        (2) Regulation. Up, going up, and outside of the occasional microscopic (in the scheme of things) deregulation, not coming down in gross or in fine.

        At most, it seems you can say that, on a few isolated issues, a few more people are willing to express a more libertarian “stated preference”. As far as “revealed preference” for a smaller government and more real liberty goes, I’m seeing little to nothing.

        1. You’re not going to stop or even slow down the growth of spending or regulations until you get a significant chunk of representation in legislative and executive offices. That’s a long ways down the road for the Movement, and it’s not clear that the republic will still be standing by then.

          But a decade ago pot smokers went to jail, dudes couldn’t marry dudes, and nobody gave a shit when cops murdered people in the streets. Now those things are changing. And people are becoming more and more disillusioned with the major parties, which is one reason that clowns like Trump and Sanders are sucking all the oxygen away from “serious” Establishment candidates like Jeb and Hillary. People are starting to look for alternatives to the shit that clearly isn’t working, so it’s worth pushing on those issues where we already have some traction to show people that there is more to libertarians than gold and tinfoil.

          1. Yeah, there’s also Mexicans, buttsex and hookers.

          2. Tell me how any of that is indistinguishable from the progressive moment.

            1. One has more voluntary buttsex, the other has more compulsory.

          3. But a decade ago pot smokers went to jail, dudes couldn’t marry dudes, and nobody gave a shit when cops murdered people in the streets.

            Now regular smokers go to jail, dudes have been given permission by the government to enter a government contractor, and more people are being murdered in the streets in contradistinction to crime going down due to an increasingly militarized police force.

            On the third, yes, more people give a shit, because I believe the problem has increased many-fold. And still, the ‘giving a shit’ seems to be mainly focused around race and/or identity politics with a very, VERY careful avoidance of subjects surrounding government size and the outsized influence of pubsec unions and their power to wall off entire arms of government from accountability to the people they serve.

            I’ll say it again, but I believe that if through some accident of politics, the draft had survived the 60s, normally-excluded groups would be demanding they be included in selective service, as that exclusion would be seen as racist or discriminatory. No one would be talking about ending the draft.

            Also, essay-length subject here, but Americans, like Europeans decades ago, have finally figured out how to loot their neighbors through the democratic process. If there’s one thing that kills freedom and liberty dead in its tracks more effectively, I can’t think of it.

            1. *enter a government contract.

              Although the first might work.

        2. I don’t think spending and regulation are the end all be all indicators of liberty some libertarians seem to make them out to be, but they’re certainly relevant and you do make a good point. There’s other areas we’ve seen setbacks in recent times, although some of them are starting to get pushback (NSA/surveillance was the prime example I was thinking of).

          1. So there’s really not much of a difference in liberty with a government spending 10% of GDP and a government spending 90%? A small government is a government that is hard pressed to suppress your rights.

            1. “So there’s really not much of a difference in liberty with a government spending 10% of GDP and a government spending 90%?”

              Can you read? How do you get that from this:

              “I don’t think spending and regulation are the end all be all indicators of liberty some libertarians seem to make them out to be, but they’re certainly relevant”

              Not thinking something is the end all be all indicator of liberty = you think there’s not much difference between 10% and 90% of GDP spending? Government spending was pretty low in 1850 but I don’t think any sane person would argue the country was more free at that time. It doesn’t that much spending to enforce certain kinds of onerous socially restrictive laws (to be fair, this could qualify under one definition of “regulation” but I’m pretty sure RC Dean was talking about economic regulation, not social), not to mention other ways in which economic freedom can be harmed (such as a shitty, corrupt court system, high tarrifs, etc.).

              1. Can you make a coherent point? You are outright dismissive of the massive increase in government spending. You are outright dismissive of the huge knock on effect of over regulation. Define ‘relevant’ because it sure seems like it is trumped by any social issue you choose.

                Tell me what %GDP government spending is equivalent to gay marriage? 99%? 100%? What % is equivalent to Title IX? What % for CRA? What % for Kelo?

          2. There’s other areas we’ve seen setbacks in recent times, although some of them are starting to get pushback (NSA/surveillance was the prime example I was thinking of).

            Its the “pushback” that I was referring to as “stated preference”.

            Stated preference may or may not be a harbinger of revealed preference, but until it is, its just hot air.

            1. Until I start seeing high ranking government officials doing the perp walk in orange jumpsuites and leg irons, I’m happy to continue to call it ‘stated preference’.

            2. I don’t think the people pushing back against the NSA are necessarily the same people electing those responsible for it.

              Although I suppose many are, given how many people in this country adopt a “lesser of two evils” approach to voting and endlessly vote for people like Romney, Obama, McCain, Clinton, etc. because they can’t let the other side win.

      2. Yeah, I think this is bullshit.

        While we’ve had nice progress on some social issues the fiscal part is fucked. We have a larger regulatory state and more government spending than ever.

        The priority for me has always been the financial/fiscal part of libertarianism because the social part seems to follow the economic part.

        According to the Telegraph (British) we’re one minute from midnight away from another financial crisis. That’s not very libertarian unless you believe crisis will bring opportunity for libertarianism. I don’t.

        When the banking crisis crippled global markets seven years ago, central bankers stepped in as lenders of last resort. Profligate private-sector loans were moved on to the public-sector balance sheet and vast money-printing gave the global economy room to heal.
        Time is now rapidly running out. From China to Brazil, the central banks have lost control and at the same time the global economy is grinding to a halt. It is only a matter of time before stock markets collapse under the weight of their lofty expectations and record valuations.
        The FTSE 100 has now erased its gains for the year, but there are signs things could get a whole lot worse.

      3. Perhaps. But I think you could probably pick a lot of different eras in US history and make the same case. The story of liberty in the US has been one of give and take, progress in some areas accompanied by setbacks in others, not one of constant growth or constant decline.

        1. That’s the history of mankind. As Scarecrow points out above, things have been getting freer for a long time now, and will continue to do so over the long run. It’s always in fits and starts, but the progress is a real thing.

          1. In terms of economic freedom, that just isn’t true.

            1. That doesn’t count.

            2. Depends on the timescale you’re looking at. The last couple decades, you’re probably right for the most part. Looking at it in terms of centuries, Hugh is probably mostly right. I don’t think that’s necessarily an inevitable irreversible trend though.

              1. Since Wilson or before we’ve had declining economic freedom, so since about 1915 – one hundred years of less freedom.

                The idea that freedom is inevitable is incredibly naive. No, history tells us that freedom disappears in a heartbeat.

                1. Yeah the timescale is crucial. 100 years ago chicks couldn’t vote or get many jobs and they would have tossed you in the clink for carrying a bottle of bourbon.

                  It was less than 200 years ago that a significant portion of the population was considered property.

                  Culture and technology have expanded what you can spend your money on and what that money can do for you.

                  Nobody is arguing that freedom is inevitable, but arguing that you’re worse off today than your grancestors a hundred years ago betrays a very narrow viewpoint.

                2. 100 years of constant declining freedom? I suppose things like ending Jim Crow are no big deal (something that significantly impacted economic, as well as social freedom)? The decline of the eugenics movement? The US pre-1913 was far from Libertopia, even in a purely economic sense.

              2. Looking at it in terms of centuries, makes libertarianism no different from religion. In the afterlife, there will be lots of freedom (and grapes/virgins for Muslims).

                Looking at in terms of any one person’s lifetime. I would suspect that there are very occasional and hugely noticeable leaps of increased freedom – but, from day to day, freedom diminishes and almost never increases. Which is bigger overall?

                1. “Looking at it in terms of centuries, makes libertarianism no different from religion.”

                  I think the point was more about there being real-life increases in the long-term, but not necessarily the short-term, at least in some areas. It’s not about an afterlife of perfect freedom in the future, I’m not sure why you thought that was the point anyone was making.

                  “Looking at in terms of any one person’s lifetime. I would suspect that there are very occasional and hugely noticeable leaps of increased freedom – but, from day to day, freedom diminishes and almost never increases. Which is bigger overall?”

                  I don’t think that’s a true, accurate dichotomy, at least universally. Freedom doesn’t always diminish day to day.

          2. I think compared to the long history of humanity, things are freer in regard to direct servitude to the state. There’s little comparison to God-emperors having total control vs. what we have today.

            But interestingly, imagine the God emperor banning a plant (or fill in any number of byzantine regulations we currently labor under).

        2. The story of liberty in the US has been one of give and take, progress in some areas accompanied by setbacks in others, not one of constant growth or constant decline.

          For the last two or three generations, its been one of pretty constant decline, with a few exceptions. Kind of a ten steps back, one step forward deal.

          1. How long are you defining a generation as? 20 years? 30? I can’t really respond to that question unless I know the time frame you’re specifying?

            1. *Last sentence wasn’t supposed to have a question mark

            2. 30 years.

              Certainly, since FDR I have a very hard time saying that we have more liberty, taken as a whole. Certain segments certainly do, but as a whole? I don’t see it.

              Even the big breakthrough that everyone points at (civil rights movement) was poisoned by the abrogation of free association and freedom of contract.

              I don’t think people have any understanding of how much smaller a presence the government had in people’s lives pre-New Deal, and certainly pre-Prohibition. Compared to today, it was microscopic in every way.

              1. I think you’re missing some very big things over the past 60 yrs.:

                Iron Curtain kaput
                no more draft
                legal smut
                legal homo sex
                abolition of b’casting & telecom monopoly in many countries
                systematic deregul’n of truck, rail, air transport
                legal casinos & lotteries
                interest & other banking deregul’n
                legal gold ownership

                Talk about Uber? Hah, I remember when hitchhiking was illegal.

                1. Medicare
                  Medicaid
                  Obamacare
                  Title IX
                  CRA
                  Kelo
                  EPA
                  SS COLA
                  FCC regulation of the internet

      4. Yeah, I don’t think that any Reason writers are under the delusion that libertarianism is about to become the dominant political or social force in the country.

    2. It’s because a lot of them are fakers.

    3. Nick and the other Reason writers have a habit of selectively looking at data to fit the Libertarian Moment narrative

      I kind of suspect they know this but are trying to repeat in the hopes that, if everyone believes it, it might become reality. Seems like something the left is pretty good at. Create the narrative and the facts will follow.

      Is that kind if icky? Yeah. Do we maybe need to get our hands dirty if we actually want to make progress? We might…

      1. They are also trying to make a magazine that people want to read and enjoy. Non-stop gloom about how horrible everything is doesn’t help expand the audience. They do have jobs to do that involve things other than pleasing the H&R commenters.

  6. I don’t think he’s running a particularly good campaign. His attempts to pander to the social conservatives are really clunky and cringe-worthy.

    1. Exactly.

      Everybody thinks that grand strategy wins, when usually it’s just superior tactics that do.

  7. In my mind, the libertarian moment was over (this cycle, at least) after I spoke to relatives about the debate and learned that they all thought Rand was petulant and juvenile during the debate. “HOW DARE HE SPEAK LIKE THAT!”

    1. Unfortunately, as I noted at the time, even I thought he was petulant and juvenile, and I LIKE the guy. So I can imagine it’s just OMFG! worse for those not inclined to good will toward him out of the gate.

      1. Yeah, rolling your eyes at 9/11 talking points is petulant and juvenile, but it’s also the correct response to 9/11 talking points.

        1. What’s the FIRST rule of 9/11 Talking Points Club, brady? HUH?!!

    2. I thought he did better later in the debate, but his initial outburst yelling at Trump looked really bad. Don’t try to out-Trump Trump. Just wait until he gets bored with this and goes back to New York.

    3. My otherwise intelligent sister said that she could never vote for him because “he has weird eyes.”

      1. Weird eyes, short, and has funny hair. How has he lived!

  8. Rand doesn’t stand a chance for a multitude of reasons.

    One, he’s a Republican, so so he has to fight the entrenched (outdated and out of touch) Republican base: the only people who remain Republicans.

    The Press won’t give him any press because they prefer Trump: Because he’s insane and provides good copy.

    The Democrats and Dem-op media wouldn’t give him any coverage absent Trump, and if he did, it would all be negative because core constitutional issues are a dog-whistle for racism. Plus… shrink government? That’s crazy talk… the proof is that even REAL republicans don’t want to shrink the gov’t.

    1. He makes unforced errors like talking about repealing the CRA to MadCow.

    2. Paul, did you know that Rand performs eye surgery on the underprivileged just for the positive attention that comes along with his good act? He is an asshole.

      1. What a fucking MONSTER!

      2. It’s far more meaningful to talk about helping people in poverty than actually doing something to help them–particularly for miscreants like Paul who believe the ‘wrong’ things.

    3. “The Press won’t give him any press because they prefer Trump: Because he’s insane and provides good copy.”

      Also, he’s good at manipulating the media. Probably better than any of the other GOP candidates, which is admittedly not saying much.

    4. Look, Rand Paul is terrible at communicate key libertarian principals in precise and succinct language which is what is required in a national campaign. It doesn’t mean he isn’t an intelligent guy, a good guy. He’s just not The Messenger. Until The One arrives we need to be patient, offer up a sacrifice of orphans, and whip ourselves with birch tree branches frequently.

      1. And, if The One never arrives it will be because SugarFree neglected to adequately bloody his posterior while supplicating himself. BLAME HIM.

      2. I think Rand could learn to be more effective. This is his first shot at national office and a national appeal.

  9. The problem is that Rand made a number of tactical errors. Beginning with his support for McConnell’s reelection and continuing on through his attacking Trump.

    I support Rand, have sent money to him and thought that his performance in the debate was embarrassingly bad.

    1. Yeah, he should stop attacking Trump.

      1. No, he (& every other candidate w sense) should keep attacking Trump. Both Trump & anyone seen attacking him will benefit at this stage. Try to turn it into a 2-way race: you vs. Trump.

  10. Stop trying to make Weigel happen.

  11. Former Reason staffer David Weigel, now at the Washington Post, and possibly still on Ezra Klein’s dick.

    1. Possibly? Like there’s some doubt?

  12. Now for some good news: Idiot labor reporter Mike Elk has been fired by Politico. According to Elk:

    “I’m going to go wherever digital media workers need to unionize,” Elk said. “The story really isn’t about me.”

    So you don’t plan on ever getting hired then, huh?

    1. He could do well as the next thing to a “diversity hire,” an ideologue hired to placate ideologues like Ellen Pao was for Reddit. He might have a lucrative gig, too, if he avoids actually being an insane busybody like Pao turned out to be.

    2. Tom Joad has a sad

      1. Maybe Rose of Sharon will breastfeed him. So there’s that to look forward to.

      2. +1angry bunch of grapes.

    3. I hope they also canned the idiot who hired him in the first place.

      Though an experienced labor reporter, Elk was a surprising choice given that he’d criticized Politico in the past, including suggesting the company was based in Virginia to take advantage of right-to-work laws.

    4. “I’m a union organizer,” Elk said. “I’m going to go wherever digital media workers need to unionize. I’m going to do whatever I can. The story really isn’t about me.”

      I don’t understand his statement. Is he a reporter or merely a union organizer? If it’s the former, then by his admission, it has everything to do with him. If it’s the latter, then fine, but why would I ever read a story written by him?

    5. Elk has been vocal this year about his desire for Politico to unionize, especially as Gawker, Salon, the Guardian US, and writers at Vice Media have also recently done so. He urged Politico colleagues last month to organize, writing that a new office “snack bar is great, but a union contract would be even sweeter!”

      I guess I don’t get it. Even for a union supporter, why is the existence of a union contract automatically better? Couldn’t that contract possibly end up detrimental to the workers?

      Isn’t that a bit like saying “I need to be married, don’t care to whom, but I must be married!”

  13. Wake me up when that fiscal conservatism amounts to something other than a poll response. Until then it’s predominantly a progressive moment.

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  15. I blame Trump.

  16. Paul should be fine once self-promotor Trump drops out.

    1. I’m not sure he can last that long. Hope he can. Just not sure.

    2. Why? Has he promised to become a Libertarian after Trump drops….or did I miss something?

  17. If anything the libertarian moment died in ’64 with the Daisy ad. Goldwater would have had a drastic effect on modern politics as LBJ and Great Society and possibly Nixon simply wouldn’t have happened.

  18. There seems to be a serious narrative drought this August.

    They’ve pumped everything so dry, they’re recycling the scraps of the old ones

    1. There seems to be a serious narrative drought this August.

      We haven’t had any children or Chileans trapped in a well or mine in several years now. Won’t someone, ideally a Chilean child, please get trapped in a mine? Won’t someone please think of the news cycle??

      1. i think its a sad commentary on the creative abilities of the Editorial staff @ Reason that they seem to be unable to find anything to talk about in the dog days of summer.

        you’d think there would be an endless river of narrative-opportunity gushing from the mine of the EPA’s recent mis-management.

        Is there no better example of “Good Government” than environmental agencies that cause natural disasters, and Police / Homeland Security departments that routinely shoot unarmed people / interfere and obstruct citizens trying to travel within the country?

        I blame Welch, and the French.

        1. If a major republican candidate had stored and/or transmitted highly classified SIGINT data through unauthorized channels, likely committing several felonies in the process, Reason would be running about five pieces a day on it. But because it’s Hillary, it’s basically as though it’s not even happening.

          1. You’re right. Reason is just part of the gigantic clinton-apologist media machine.

            (inches toward axe-handle)

          2. Because they understand this scandal (like all the others before it) will soon fade away and be forgotten. Hillary is untouchable and will never be held accountable for her crimes; laws and jail are for us little people and ignorance of the law is no excuse (except for those make the laws and enforce them).

          3. If the Chinese ever learn about Crl+C it’s game over.

          4. Just off the top of my head, some stories that Reason doesn’t do much with that have recent/ongoing developments.

            The ongoing weaponized IRS scandal. Turns out lots of Lerner’s email did survive? Turns out that virtually no conservative non-profits were approved for years on end?

            HIllary’s email problems. She turned over a sterilized server? Somebody seems to have committed major felonies by taking classified info out of classified systems and stripping security designations? The fact that she is not being held accountable isn’t a reason to ignore the story; its a whole ‘nother story in itself.

            The EPA mine disaster.

            The pre-emptive breaches of the Iranian nuke deal by the Iranians, and the specter of secret side deals.

            The secret TPP and the utterly unacceptable process for vetting and approving it.

            1. FAYK SKANDULLZ!

              Moving on….

            2. Add the stock/bond market manipulators attempts to keep the free money spigot from the Fed going. Unless you actually think those markets have anything to do with, you know, actual markets

              1. Uhm, it’s “the money fawcet”

                /Clay Davis.

            3. While we’re piling on, I haven’t heard anything about the economic trouble in China.

              1. While we’re piling on, I haven’t heard anything about the economic trouble in China.

                Actually, that is my beef with the Reason as of late. It’s all college campus rape twitter facebook he said she said TRUMP!

                I mean, I understand. When you have a higher percentage of writers that graduated from college 15 minutes ago, University Life probably still looms large in the psyche. Sort of how “hot lava” and raccoons are very predominant in the psyche of all 4 yr olds.

                But I miss Reason’s more in-depth econ coverage.

                1. ” Sort of how “hot lava” and raccoons are very predominant in the psyche of all 4 yr olds.”

                  You won a laugh for that.

    2. Next up: a think piece on why there are not any more narratives.

      1. Maybe Spielberg can help us out.

        1. Do you mean Steven Spielberg, the director of Hook, and The Terminal?

          1. And A.I.

            1. And Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull?

              1. ..aaaaaaaand “Duel”

  19. especially if it pushes Rand to go full beast-mode libertarian.

    ….Is that….a Naruto reference? What does a beast-mode libertarian look like?

    1. What does a beast-mode libertarian look like?

      Tulpa

      1. Now with 8% MOAR BEAST!

  20. Is libertarianism dying on the GOP vine?

    Yes. /cynical asshole

    1. more like impaling itself.

  21. Full Weigel/Post piece here.

    You just went full Wiegel, never go full Weigel.

    1. I ALMOST snorted my water onto my keyboard, but saved it. That was CLOSE!

      “Never go full Weigel, dude. Never.”

      1. I tried to go fill Weigel, but he was tighter than I expected.

  22. It’s hard to believe in a libertarian moment with the US Government engorged like a bloated tick on debt and taxes, while the government continues with non-stop foreign military intervention, and while the government has both the capability – and has been proven to be spying on its own citizens. The case I see made is that is the ‘forward movement’ in certain social issues (gay marriage) and a supposed lessening of the super prison/police state (Mary Jane!). But gay marriage is a sort of positive right within government licensing which extends more in the way of debt and taxes and seems to be burdened by additional loss of free association via another protected class. And the super prison/police state is showing no signs of abating despite the marijuana branch extended to the stoners.

    I keep being asked to witness this event that I just can’t see. Those damn lying eyes of mine.

    1. Your handle is dumb, but I can’t disagree with anything in your post.

      1. Your post is dumb, but I can’t disagree with anything in your handle.

        But yeah, that is a good post.

        1. You’re a towel!

    2. But gay marriage is a sort of positive right within government licensing which extends more in the way of debt and taxes and seems to be burdened by additional loss of free association via another protected class.

      Not again…

        1. +1 deep-dish, Mexican, ass-raped circumcision

    3. +1 Yes.

  23. I had high hopes for Rand. Maybe he’ll still pull it off, though that seems less likely. It now seems like he wasn’t quite ready for the spotlight — but maybe that’s OK. He’s young, and he could run again in 2020. Or maybe someone else with a libertarian streak will step up to take the spotlight. Justin Amash?

    1. I would be on Team Asmash in a heartbeat, but he would have to run as a third-party candidate because the GOP is apparently unable to understand the concept of liberty.

      1. The Rotary Club Republicans have been trying (unsuccessfully, of course) to oust him already. I almost feel that we are better off with guys like him and Rand staying in congress to fuck up as much as possible.

        1. The problem is, guys in Congress lack visibility. Even the most well known senator or representative is an unknown for most Americans.

          It sometimes feels to me like there really is this ground swell of libertarian thought sort of brewing among the electorate, but it’s disjointed and incoherent and lacks a prominent national figure that can really articulate in a simple and coherent philosophy what a lot of people are thinking and feeling. We need that. And as great as outfits like Cato and Reason are, it isn’t likely to come from them. No one looks to think tanks and obscure magazines and FBN hosts (sorry Welch) for leadership.

          Libertarianism has the intellectual, philosophical, moral, and empirical foundation that it needs, which has been especially built up over the last 40 years. It has a pretty good suite of policy proposals thanks to places like Cato. And it has a pretty substantial portion of the electorate ready for something new and optimistic.

          But we don’t have a charismatic individual that can take that message to the people. That person doesn’t have to be a presidential candidate…I would prefer that they weren’t. But A Congressman isn’t going to do it either.

          1. And actually, we need lots of people like that. We need libertarian versions of John Stewart, Bill Clinton, Barrack Obama, Paul Krugman, Steven Colbert, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hanity…

            1. Sad that there are several comedians in your list.

              It’s interesting, though. The Constitution should be simpler to pitch than the Bible, yet there’s no high profile evangelist anywhere.

              1. I was just trying to think of people who help set the tone and content of the conversation, and Stewart and Colbert definitely fit that bill for younger cohorts.

                Basically, we could benefit from some famous and well-liked people who could present the libertarian world view. In America that is going to include celebrities. So be it.

            2. Just embrace the entropy, and be the last skull added to the throne.

  24. Hillary = More Free Shit for the Right People

    “Hillary Clinton has told the AFL-CIO she wants to improve Social Security benefits for women and lower-income seniors, offering a glimpse of the Democratic presidential front-runner’s thinking on a topic she has rarely addressed on the campaign trail.”

    I’m sure when she meets with American Indians, she’ll say that they too need moar Teepee subsidies and Fire Water rations.

    I appreciate her ploy to attract the “every woman over 65”-vote, however. They are the most sensible, rational, policy-driven electoral cohort.

    1. she wants to improve Social Security benefits for women

      I thought SocSec benefits were the same for men and women now. You pony up $X in SocSec taxes over your life, you get $Y in benefits.

      Is she saying women who pony up $X in taxes should get higher benefits than men who put up the same amount?

      1. Well women only made 77 cents for every dollar, you know.

          1. I’d give 23 cents out of every dollar if I, too, also could experience the joy and wonder of bringing life into the world.

            In fact, that seems like a rather low price for such innate female privilege. We as a society should compensate men for their lack of fertility privilege by insisting on a federal subsidy to their wages.

            1. Plus, I heard somewhere that women bleed out of their…wherever’s…

            2. “experience the joy and wonder of bringing life into the world.”

              I haven’t given birth, but I hear that is not quite an accurate depiction of how it feels

            3. the joy and wonder of bringing life into the world

              The best part is when they cut her taint and give her an assvag.

          2. And they don’t even get a year off, with pay!

      2. Who knows what the article says? He me’d that all up.

        1. Sf gets the assist

      3. Actually Women on average pay less into SS, than men, because they work fewer hours at lower paying jobs than men. Then they live longer, so they collect more in SS, on average. AND the married ones can collect from their dead husbands SS benefits.

        So somebody tell me again how SS needs to be improved for women.

        1. She’s suggesting the spousal benefits be increased. Because obviously women can’t have jobs of their own, so they should get bigger checks in retirement based on being someone’s wife.

      4. I think she’s saying that she thinks she should get paid more in her old age based on how she was the wife of the President and all.

    2. Women already get an extra 5 years of retirement when you consider they outlive men by at least that long. What more does she plan to give them as a reward for being born without a penis?

      1. She’ll make us all equally poor. Yay!

      2. “What more does she plan to give them as a reward for being born without a penis?”

        Free strapons for all women!

      3. A penis in every pot?

      4. 40 acres and a mule penis?

      5. a copy of her new book, “How to Whitewater & Win!”

  25. Lets face it.

    In the grand scheme of things the best thing that could happen for Libertarians right now is for Bernie Sanders to get elected.

    The reality is the next President is almost certain to be a 1 term President because odds are very good that the economy will go off the cliff within 3 months in either direction of his taking office and no matter who it is there isn’t likely to be much they can do to make it any better so they are going to go down in history as another Hoover responsible for a great depression.

    However Bernie at least has the advantage of being generally as honest and sincere in his beliefs as either of the Pauls and he’s pretty good on civil rights, surveillance, and military adventurism so he is not likely to respond to the crash by declaring martial law or picking a war somewhere to keep people distracted and there is a small chance he could do some good in helping end the drug war and criminal justice reform

    1. He’s not a principled socialist. Sanders consistently falls in line voting along crony Democratic lines, which is how he managed to become a senator rather than being stuck in the House for decades like Ron. He’s a crank Democrat masquerading as a socialist.

      If you want to compare him to Rand, go ahead. But Ron? No way.

    2. As much as I despise what Sanders believes, I also think it would be an interesting experiment to see how bad things would get under his leadership. On the other hand, I also realize that any idiotic Socialist programs he pushes through would be with us forever. But it would be fun to hear the Progressives complain about all the new taxes they’d have to pay. Sweet, sweet schadenfreude…

    3. From what I am reading in the Telegraph this morning, I think the odds are the economy is going to go off a cliff long before the next President takes office.

      1. And it’ll be the Republican’s fault since they now control both houses of Congress. The only thing more powerful and destructive than a majority of Republicans is a minority of Republicans (who continue to be blamed for the fiscal messes in California).

      2. Ya got a link?

          1. That’s depressing

      3. the economy will go off a cliff when it becomes apparent a socialist will win office. just like it did last time.

        1. No, the economy going off the cliff is inevitable, yes I agree that Sanders could be the final push that precipitates the endgame but the end result will be the same with or without him only the timing will be different and not by that much.

          As someone else mentioned there is a very real possibility that we won’t even make it to the Primaries forget the general election before the economy collapses

    4. Pauls and he’s pretty good on civil rights, surveillance, and military adventurism

      But yet he’ll push the extraneous policies which inevitably lead us there: The Total State.

  26. “To that end, I also tell Weigel that his father Ron’s endorsement is a help, especially if it pushes Rand to go full beast-mode libertarian.”

    That’s not going to happen. Rand has been downplaying his libertarian bonafides from the beginning of his campaign. The result is predictable, as voters are incapable of distinguishing him from typical GOPpies like Graham. When you grind off all those rough libertarian edges to stay comfortably in the GOP middle, you don’t get to be surprised when no one pays you any mind.

    Call taxation theft, call Obama a coward who murdered American citizens extrajudicially, call Warren Buffet a fraud for taking billions of bailout dollars. There’s plenty of low-hanging fruit that would appeal to a soundbite-driven media.

    1. Call taxation theft, call Obama a coward who murdered American citizens extrajudicially, call Warren Buffet a fraud for taking billions of bailout dollars. There’s plenty of low-hanging fruit that would appeal to a soundbite-driven media.

      And the more the media hated it, the more actual Republican voters would love him. I, however, doubt such tactics would win Paul many friends at Reason. They would never go for someone being so vulgar and mean spirited like that.

      1. Yep. Reason tries to be as populist as it can get away with, but it’s easy to forget that real politics is an idiotic circus. Voters are constantly distracted by shiny things like biracial back-bench senators and Donald Trump, and populist blowhards like Jon Stewart don’t know the different between the national debt and deficit.

        If Sanders can get attention spewing populist idiocy that was discredited a century ago, there’s no reason Rand can’t get even more attention by lobbing some Hayekian bombs against taxation.

  27. Reason’s claim for their being a “Libertarian moment” always comes down to their faith that the under 30 crowd are going to be Libertarians. First, most of them don’t vote. So it is unclear how their being libertarian would mean anything even if they were. Second, the only evidence that Reason ever produces that they are libertarian is their support for gay marriage (which is of course the measure of all things Libertarian), and various anecdotes about how young people love food trucks and uber. That is nice and all but I have yet to see any indication that people under 30 have any understanding of much less commitment to the kind of economic and political freedom that is essential to any classical liberal republic much less a libertarian one.

    I would love to believe the Yutes are going to some day rise up and demand something be done about entitlements and the regulatory state. Expecting that to ever happen, however, seems on par with being a Cleveland Browns fan expecting a Super Bowl.

    1. Well, my eighteen year old daughter has already had the liberty epiphany and while that makes her an outlier among her teachers and peer group, it also puts her about thirtyfive years ahead of my own learning curve. She’s steadily influencing others all the time. Because of her and the internet, I have a bit of optimism about the direction of the collective.

      1. Roger that. A colleague’s daughter thanked me for the Ayn Rand books I sent her long ago. So as a graduation present I sent her Tara Smith’s “Normative Ethics” and a Robert Heinlein book complete with Full Cast Audio recording. This was a much better investment than donating to a pressure group–about on a par with supporting an LP candidate’s campaign. I am optimistic. I already see signs of an exponential acceleration in political change for the better.

      2. I was the only one who raised my hand in high school economics class when the teacher asked “Who here thinks there should be no minimum wage?”

        I haven’t had much effect as a once-young libertarian to now.

    2. The belief that the government doesn’t represent them and in fact actively screws them over is all but universal among the young. I have no idea if they’re any more or less statist than kids were 10 or 20 years ago, but that alone makes me optimistic.

      1. Thankfully, some kids are much less statist than 20 years ago. I agree with your “universal belief” statement (see occupy wallstreet) but when I was her age, I didn’t even understand capitalism or the free market. When I was first allowed to vote, I was so ignorant I that helped elect a much younger Jerry Brown. Please feel free to pile on. My daughter will never make a similar mistake. Smart, gorgeous, witty, influential, she is soon off to university to alter the ignorance of her fellow students and make her instructors uncomfortable.

    3. Well then we might as well give it up as a lost cause then, no? Some day those yutes will presumably be over 30 and start voting.

  28. Well that was quick.

    1. That’s what she said.

  29. OT: I bought a Nation of Islam crazygarble newsletter today. The gooblehooble was well worth the $1. Highly recommended.

    1. True story. I was in Philadelphia a couple of years ago and the National Nation of Islam convention was going on at the same time as this giant occupy wall street demonstration. The Nation of Islam people were cleaner, better dressed, impeccably polite and preferable in every way to the dirty hippies at with Occupy.

      1. Of course they were. Actually, the fact that he was so polite was the reason that I bought the newsletter. And also because I felt sorry for him going around in a 3-piece suit in the sun at 90 degrees or more. Anyone who’s that dedicated to his crazy deserves some support.

        1. The bean pie is amazing. Even though I reneged on the 40 acres and a mule, he was still nice enough to sell it to me at twice the going price(white privilege markup)

  30. Weigel is such a retard.

  31. “Is libertarianism dying on the GOP vine?”

    If so, it’s the last they’ll see of me.

    1. I could answer that question with another question. Why does Reason keep trying to graft Libertarianism to the GOP vine?

    2. Is 0.33% THAT different from 0%?

  32. A libertarian society would allow gay (and any form of) marriage and religious bakers to not provide cake for gay weddings. So no, we’re not enjoying a libertarian movement. There are certain libertarian causes that are gaining public favor or overlap with liberal or conservative causes. But these do not a libertarian moment make.

    A society with Obamacare cannot be considered as libertarian in any shape or form. Minimum wage increases, outlandish consent laws, and attacks on Uber and guest workers are sweeping through the nation. Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are making noise in the polls. How is this any sort of a libertarian nation?

    At the top of my head, libertarians alone could not stop bans on plastic bags, trans fat, fatty food in schools, lemonade stands ran by kiddies, etc. But they shout at the Republicans to do a lot of (admittedly good) things that have no traction among voters, and encourage them to alienate existing supporters by embracing open borders policy.

    1. FUCKING FAGGOTS AND THEIR FUCKING FAGGOT FAGCAKE

      1. But Faggot Fagcake is the best kind of cake.

        1. The buttercream frosting is just divine.

  33. Rand still has some life left in his campaign…we are still over a year away. (He still should’ve stayed away from #trumpacolypse, and so should Reason)

  34. Hey, just a moment, Rand isn’t a Libertarian, so…

  35. People are taking this “libertarian moment” stuff way too literally. No one is laboring under the illusion that libertarianism is about to become the dominant force in politics or that the government isn’t doing all kinds of terribly anti-freedom things all the time.

    I think “libertarian moment” maybe states it too strongly, but I think it is a fine thing to do to point out some positive trends in society from time to time as well. Not everything is getting worse.

  36. Positive trends indeed. Social change happens one funeral at a time.

    1. Not necessarily. The Population clock shows that large cohorts are coming on voting age because population growth was already a nearly vertical function 20 and 30 years ago. And people overseas are beginning to understand the Nolan chart and grasp the concept of the initiation of force versus leaving people live their lives. Sticking one antichoice candidate in front of cameras as a token libertarian in a fascist party only sells the notion that libertarians deny individual rights to women and fraternize with population bombers. The GOP is still Richard Nixon and the other looters are not much different from LBJ. A 43-year-old party is more virile and less senile than any unprincipled holdover from the Civil War era.

  37. RP Jr. signed the Tom Cotton letter and disapproved the Iran deal. Crushing. Heartbreaking. His Dad would be spinning in his grave except he has the misfortune of seeing he raised a son without the principles/cojones to stand up to special interests.

  38. Its fascinating to me that libertarians can’t even come to a consensus on what the word “liberty” means, and that some (many?) of us believe that liberty can increase even as the size and scope of government increases.

    To me, government and liberty are inverse functions. They can’t both increase at the same time. If government is growing, liberty is shrinking.

    1. Well that’s just dumb. That’s the central fallacy of libertarianism and the reason you guys can’t offer practical policy ideas. Government is, pardon my tautology, what it is. Forget that you’ll never get rid of it–that’s far too practical a fact for libertarians to entertain. Realize that it comes in many forms and has evolved, if you’re lucky, into the institutions that keep large societies afloat. Liberty, and pardon me again, is the ability to act unimpeded. A child can understand that government is not the only thing in the universe that is capable of impeding you. Sometimes it is convenient, even necessary, to secure human liberty. To posit a zero-sum scale of liberty vs. government is to be absolutely useless. Government can destroy liberty, and has in spectacular ways. It also is not going away, and you don’t even believe what you think you believe–you rely on government to restrict certain liberties of some people so that you can practice the liberties you care about. Like the liberty of the would-be trespasser or thief or murderer. Advocate a nightwatchman state if you wish, but you have to justify that set of policies on their merits, not on a disingenuous and simplistic black/white comparison that means nothing.

    2. Freedom is freedom from coercion. If you are murdered, mugged or raped you are unfree even if the gubmin’t wasn’t the perp. Governments are instituted among men to preserve the right to life (which is not the right to threaten pregnant women), and liberty is a requirement of human life. Slave states do not work pragmatically or in ethical theory, and these converge, underscored by bright flashes of light as matter converts to energy. But absent a force limitation mechanism, the state of nature amounts to legalized murder, mugging, etc. Former communists infiltrate the LP with theories that out of the blue sky thugs would dedicate to preservation of rights by competing in the forcible restraint of men. This does not match any observations of reality and is false for ALL observers. Still, “all men are mortal” is just as true yet denied by creationists and antiabortion cretins every day. This does not make it false “for them.” It only shows they have no use for facts of reality. The closer the government comes to only protecting individual rights, the happier and healthier for all involved.

    3. I can give you contrary examples. Suppose some product or service is illegal. Then suppose gov’t goes into the biz itself, but allows nobody else to do so. Gov’t gets bigger, but so does liberty. People are freer if they’re allowed to, say, play the state lottery than if they were forbidden to play any lotteries at all, and yet gov’t is bigger because they’re running a biz they didn’t previously.

      In many cases, the gain to liberty of allowing a single supplier (gov’t or otherwise) would be, like, 90% of the gain of allowing everyone into the business, because vastly more people are interested in being customers than in going into that biz. The difference between 0 & 1 is vast.

      Not only that, but it encourages further expansion of liberty because then people come to understand that whatever the service or product is, it couldn’t be immoral, because their own gov’t is doing it?the teaching fx of the law.

  39. There are, what? 301 Republicans in House and Senate? By the miracle of long division, the one antichoice member who is against the death sentence for marijuana kingpins and does not want to nuke Mecca (and is hence not eligible as a conservative) works out to one-third of one percent of the Republican delegation in Congress. So if we call him a libertarian (which he isn’t), that’s a pretty token slice of the pizza. NO WONDER he won’t get their nomination. Still, they guy is a useful outlier and a great lever for changing the laws in the right direction. I like his voting record, but his record would not exist nor would he be there were it not for the LP threatening to swing votes away in an election. You should hear the campaign ads the Democommies ran against his dad. GOP really stands for Gutless Old Poltroons.

  40. Once you dig down past the “pretty face”, the message is as intellectually ugly as it has always been, or seemed.

  41. Shoulda championed ending the drug war instead of open borders, I guess.

  42. I’m surprised that Rand doesn’t seem to have a solid base of support as his father always seemed to. Is it that Rand’s support was always predicated on ridiculous hair, and that in addition to the obvious racism that buoys the Paul-brand reloveution, Trump clearly checks both boxes?

    1. Trump is another Republican playing the same stale ploy as Ross Perot: he gives the government-bought media whores a vacuous “third alternative” to point their cameras toward, to the giddy delight of “both sides of the aisle.” The important thing is to keep libertarian candidates and platform out of the telescreen picture.

  43. If the force of a “libertarian moment” can turn the Republicans more in a libertarian direction, great. But I think we are deeply unrealistic to hitch liberty’s wagon to any GOP star. I have never seen Republican politics as providing the optimum path for libertarian success; indeed, history shows that, if we seek real, sustainable liberty, as opposed to empty, feel-good rhetoric that distracts us from yet more crony capitalism and militaristic jingoism, then the GOP path isn’t even a particularly good one. First Ron Paul and now Rand, have shown that libertarian and libertarian-leaning candidates can achieve Federal office via the GOP, and can popularize liberty’s cause from those perches. Congratulations to them and may many more like-minded people follow them to Congress! But the ONLY time Ron Paul succeeded in gaining a Presidential nomination and actually appearing on Presidential ballots nationwide, was in 1988, thanks to the LP and its members. If Ron Paul had run on the LP ticket in 2012, instead of flaming out, trying to become the GOP nominee, would he have earned substantially more votes than the former NM governor, Gary Johnson? I don’t know. If Johnson runs again as Libertarian in 2016, will HE earn substantially more votes than in 2012? Again, we’ll see. I still think that libertarians can have a bigger effect — and at least make a bigger splash — running third-party than trying to “work within the (incredibly encrusted and corrupted) system.”

    1. Well put. The historical record emphatically demonstrates that NO major political change has emerged from either the Inner or Outer party platforms these past 150 years. The “case for voting libertarian” is precisely the same for those who value freedom as was the case for voting socialist to those who yearned for slavery back when it was a theory. Their candidates didn?t get their hands in the till, but the soft machines had to change their platforms or be dumped out of office. There is something potent and Darwinian about a 43-year-old freedom party seducing the voters away from doddering senility and ancient superstitions with an offer to let them live their own lives.

  44. The libertarian moment got diluted by the Tea Party moment, which is much more anti-immigrant, protectionist, and socially conservative than libertarians like to admit. A bunch of Tea Partiers heard the word libertarian, and thought it sounded cool, and started calling themselves that, thus diluting the brand. Then when they started hearing from actual libertarians and realized the implications when it comes to gay marriage, immigration, and trade, they moved on and now they have discovered Trump. Why learn a coherent philosophy when you can get your thirst quenched by a loud-mouthed demagogue?

    1. Not quite accurate. The Tea Party was a publicity stunt put on by libertarian merry pranksters in Austin Texas back in the late seventies or thereabouts. When God’s Own Prohibitionists began losing votes to LP candidates they reacted like a potato chip factory does when it loses market share: they produced a counterfeit imitation of the competing product. Ordinary biological mimesis.
      You can check the dates with the Travis County Libertarian Party. They keep good records and get excellent results. Imitation may be flattery, but flattery ain’t sincere.

      1. Well, in this case, the counterfeit product turned out to be wildly more popular than the original.

  45. While foreign policy is important, as is proper defense of this nation, I think people really don’t have their priorities straight. If you are driving without a (clearly visible) seatbelt, is a member of ISIS going to make you pull over and give you a ticket (perhaps after having his dog sniff your car for drugs)? Is an adherent of radical Islam going to demand that you prove your right to work in this country with two forms of ID before you can accept a new job? Will a jihadist confiscate double-digit percentages of your income with each paycheck, then turn around and blow it on things that give employment to his buddies but neither make you safer nor more financially secure? (continued in reply post)

    1. (continued from top-level post above) How likely is it that a bullet that kills you comes from a middle-eastern terrorist or from a local gang-banger who wouldn’t be in business at all, but for the drug war and the contraband status of the product he and his homies sell? If you want to convert your garage to a “granny unit,” will someone from the Taliban put a red-tag on the door and extract a fine from you? If you try to make a few bucks by selling some loose cigarettes on the street, will someone from Al Qaeda choke you to death? My point is that, whether or not those bad guys in foreign lands hate us for our freedoms, the REAL, ever-present every day threat to your freedom, and often even your safety, comes from your own government. If our foreign enemies or occupiers did any of these things, we would roundly condemn them. Yet, like sleepwalkers or lobotomy patients, we seem to give our own government a pass on these and many worse transgressions. Outrageous!

      1. Many foreigners also hate the politicians I voted against–for dropping bombs on their countries. Though libertarians may not have enemies, freedom has enemies and the DemoGOP soft machine has plenty of enemies I hardly know exist.

  46. Ok. Late to the thread, but I want to ask one question;

    Has the Washington Post Hole been right about any major political point since Nixon’s resignation?

    Not that I recall them being right about that, it’s just that that markes my first real political awareness.

  47. More bullshit for the goobers.

    Libertarians such as Lawson Bader, president of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and David Boaz, vice president of The Cato Institute, note that on fronts such as gay marriage, pot legalization, gun rights, criminal justice reform, general distrust of government, and more, things are going in the libertarian direction.

    But that same David Boaz reports the libertarian label rejected by 91% of libertarians.(gasp)

    Weigel quotes Nick saying we should not conflate the movement with Rand Paul’s campaign … but that same Gillespie invented and promoted a “libertarian moment” based solely on the cult of Ron and Rand Paul. Can we say severe denial?

    Rand’s campaign has been mindfuck stupid from the git go … reach out to the left, while also calling for CHRISTIAN TENT REVIVALS (OMG) … a strategy worthy of George Custer. Proof? Simple.

    Obama says a $50,000 schoolteacher should not pay a higher tax rate (averaging 8%) than millionaires and billionaires and billionaires (average 22%). Obama is full of shit, but the libertarian “scholars” have called him out. Oh wait, they’re too busy jacking off and fundraising.

    The rich subsidize 40% of the entire middle-class tax burden of the core middle-class ($40-100k) , but libertarian “scholars” have corrected the inequality lies to Americans. Oh wait…

    The tribal commentariat shall now spew their normal hatred … while I learn to speak Chinese

  48. If you stop to think about it, libertarianism, being rational, is not much of an expectation for irrational times.

  49. There is no “Libertarian moment”, because there is no such thing as a Libertarian. A concept cannot refer to every possibility without becoming meaningless. We have anarchists calling themselves libertarians, we have communists calling themselves libertarians, we have socialists calling themselves libertarians, every political strip under the sun calls itself ‘Libertarian” – it leaves no room for what used to be “Libertarians”. Now if you called yourself “radicals for capitalism”, most people would know what the hell you were talking about – but Libertarian means anything on the political spectrum, and nothing. Libertarianism also has no underling philosophy, about the only thing some of them can agree on, is don’t initiate force – unless of course, you are ‘bleeding heart libertarians’ who want to have social programs, or communist or socialist libertarians who don’t recognize property, and so they’ll swipe your stuff and kill you if you resist.

    Libertarianism used to mean something, until it didn’t – now it is an umbrella that covers every contradictory concept under the sun – so don’t say Libertarianism can have a moment under the sun, because Libertarianism melted under the sun into a runny goo that just won’t mix.

    1. There is no “Libertarian moment”, because there is no such thing as a Libertarian.

      How would you know?

      We have anarchists calling themselves libertarians,

      They were the original ones.

      we have communists calling themselves libertarians,

      You never heard of voluntary private communes? The Oneidans? The Israeli kibbutz? The Jamestown colony? The American hippies, praised by even Ayn Rand?

      it leaves no room for what used to be “Libertarians”.

      It has always included what I just listed. Well for 40 years that I know of.

      Now if you called yourself “radicals for capitalism”, most people would know what the hell you were talking about

      Likely true, but the book traces the same anarchists you deny..

      Libertarianism also has no underling philosophy, about the only thing some of them can agree on, is don’t initiate force –

      That’s a principle, not a philosophy. One might argue that a specific philosophy would be improper in rational individualism. Is the 1969 definition still valid, socially conservative and fiscally liberal? Does the World’s Smallest Political Quiz work the same?

  50. In order to survive in the Republican party, Rand Paul has tempered his libertarian views and, at times, sounded much like a typical Republican social conservative. Unfortunately, that doesn’t sit well with many who are devotees of his father, Ron. Our two party political system is badly broken. The libertarian movement would stand a much better chance if third political parties were a practical reality. Libertarians will get other opportunities to gain influence in the Republican party, but probably not until more of the ardent social conservatives die off.

    1. I don’t think that’s the case at all.

      His problem is that he hasn’t tempered the stuff that drove away the rest of the Republican party (the foreign policy stuff mostly) away from his father.

      You will never, ever, win the Republican nomination by blaming the US for causing terrorism.

      Lots of Republicans liked what Ron Paul was saying, but then he’s say something right out of Chomsky or Zinn and he’d lose them.

      1. Some day, we as a nation will come to grips with the harm we have done to the world with our military misadventures over the last 50 years or so. I doubt I’ll live to see it, but my hope is that eventually we will realize that literally millions have died because we entered conflicts (or created them) where we didn’t belong. Dig a little deeper into this phenomenon and you’ll discover the money trail for which there are simply not enough perjoratives.

    2. In order to survive in the Republican party, Rand Paul has tempered his libertarian views

      Reagan ran FAR more libertarian and won two landslides — vs Rand’s full collapse..

      His first campaign began shortly after being a major factor in defeating an anti-gay ballot initiative, which destroyed one of the most powerful socon groups in America, the Anita Bryant Crusade. He defended gay teachers in public schools

      Reagan was very public about his faith, but never lifted a finger on abortion, which saw Robertson and Falwell attacking him as “all talk” — but their own followers stood with Reagan. That’s PURE libertarianism. Strongly oppose abortion. but don’t impose your views by force. Kasich did exactly that on gay marriage and skyrocketed.

      Rand NEVER had to pander to the Christian Taliban LEADERSHIP. The socon rank-and-file just wants a devout Christian in office — not a pandering, obedient slug, as shown by Rand’s polling versus Reagan’s landslides (even fundamentalists)

  51. “Wash Post: “The Libertarian Moment is Over, Or is It?”

    When a Democrat, Republican or Independent run for office and don’t receive the support the media thinks they “ought” to have, do the headline authors plan to say is the ____ over?

    Libertarianism thought, as its called these days, formed this country. No matter what term is used to define, it has always been a part of the individual US consciousness.

  52. The problem is that Rand Paul spent so much energy attacking Republicans and the US. Just like his father did. You aren’t going to win voters by saying the US is to blame for stuff.

    Is that a libertarian thing to do? Perhaps, but it’s not a way to win a Republican nomination. Republican voters tend to be very patriotic and don’t like the country criticized, period, especially when it comes to foreign policy.

    Criminal justice reform is a big deal, but he needed to sell that to Republicans, not suck up to Democrats. Especially Al Sharpton. Even Democrats hate Al Sharpton.

  53. Cool! Well written!

  54. People Lets not get crazy no votes have been cast. Information is not ruled by television or polls. Be optimistic! Liberty is the evolution of humanity.

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