Fusionism

Is There a Future for Fusionism?

In the years since the Cold War, conservatives have lost sight of the relationship between liberty and personal responsibility.

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There's a well-worn tale about modern American conservatism: It says that the movement as we know it came into being during the mid–20th century as a "fusionist" coalition of economic libertarians and religious traditionalists. These groups, whose goals and priorities differed from the start, were held together mainly by two things: the sheer charisma of National Review founder William F. Buckley Jr., and the shared enemy of global communism.

As long as the Cold War endured, the story goes, each wing was willing to cede some ground to the other. In light of the threat posed by a rampaging Soviet Union—as militantly atheistic as it was militantly anti-capitalist—the differences between the libertarians and the traditionalists did not seem so great. Their interests, at least, were aligned.

But the fall of the USSR meant the collapse of the common foe that had sustained the fusionist partnership. It was able to trundle on for a while, powered by a reservoir of goodwill, but it has long been running on fumes. In the last few years, the alliance's inherent tensions have come to a head. It's increasingly common to hear that, whatever value there may have been in cooperation during the '50s, '60s, '70s, and '80s, the era of good conservative feelings is over.

For many libertarians, the Trump years revealed their traditionalist allies to be hypocrites and opportunists, all too willing to sell out the ideals of fusionism in service of an aspiring dictator. Conservatives have commenced a not-so-slow descent toward authoritarianism, some in this group suggest; if the philosophy of liberty is to have a future, it must involve building bridges to the left, not the right.

A number of traditionalists, meanwhile, have been tripping over each other in their rush to celebrate the end of fusionism. What the 21st century demands, they say, is a different, more "muscular" style of politics, practiced by a Republican Party that finally stops worrying and learns to love the state. By passing stronger laws, these "post-liberal" conservatives believe they can restore America's lost Judeo-Christian character and save their country from itself.

This is quite a change from the Reagan Republicanism of a few decades ago. Back then, most folks on the right insisted that limited government and personal responsibility were the watchwords of conservatism. That consensus has now broken down.

From literature to philosophy to religion, it's hard to think of a theme less original than the seductiveness of power. That, after all, is the story of Frodo and the ring; of Lord Acton and "absolute power corrupts absolutely"; of Satan and the third temptation of Christ. One of history's great recurrent lessons is about the importance of keeping that desire in check, in our hearts and our governments alike. Which is why it's exasperating to watch so many conservatives—self-proclaimed heirs to the axiom that "example is the school of mankind," in Edmund Burke's phrase—succumb in real time to the fantasy that they are the exception to this time-tested rule.

II.

As far as the post-liberal conservatives are concerned, libertarianism's preoccupation with protecting liberty has blinded it to the importance of promoting virtue (and a constellation of related values, including faith, family, community, and patriotism). The most moderate version of this argument suggests that libertarians have come to exercise too much influence over the right-of-center policy agenda and proposes a so-called rebalancing toward traditionalist concerns. A more radical version excoriates libertarianism as philosophically bankrupt and calls upon the keepers of the conservative flame to take a sledgehammer to the fusionist coalition once and for all.

Hillsdale College's David Azerrad put the latter position starkly in a July 2020 essay for The American Conservative. "The common enemy that justified an alliance with the free market fundamentalists is long gone," he wrote. "Today, libertarians actively side with our enemies: they promote open borders and empty prisons, and strengthen China's hand through their consumer-focused economic policies. Ours is primarily a conservatism of countries and borders, citizens and families, none of which can take root in the barren libertarian soil of atomized individuals and global markets."

The post-liberal agenda is typified by a desire for more government involvement in people's lives. As The New York Times' Ross Douthat wrote in 2019, this group seeks "stronger state interventions in the economy on behalf of socially conservative ends." Or, as Azerrad put it in his essay, "the right must be comfortable wielding the levers of state power."

Economically, post-liberalism rejects the doctrine of "unfettered" free markets in favor of tariffs, an "industrial policy" intended to prop up American manufacturers in the face of competition from overseas, wage subsidies, and the like. On social issues, it supports everything from vice laws to a rollback of no-fault divorce to more robust speech restrictions on public morality grounds to (among a lively cohort of radical Catholics especially) the imposition of a confessional state and perhaps even a Christian monarch.

There's little evidence that the post-liberals are speaking for the average Republican, let alone the average American. But the elite wind does seem to be at their backs.

Fox News host Tucker Carlson was once an avatar of fusionism who supported Ron Paul for president in both 1988 and 2008 and told Reason in 2010, "I despise laws that tell people that they can't do things for their own good." By January 2019, he was delivering a 15-minute on-air monologue decrying the failures of capitalism. "Does anyone still believe that cheaper iPhones or more Amazon deliveries of plastic garbage from China are going to make us happy?" Carlson asked. "Libertarians tell us that's how markets work: consenting adults making voluntary decisions about how to live their lives," he continued, referring specifically to payday lenders. "OK. But it's also disgusting."

Two months later, the Christian journal First Things published a manifesto, signed by 15 conservative intellectuals, inveighing against a "dead consensus" that favors "individual autonomy" at the expense of "permanent truths, family stability, communal solidarity, and much else." Four months after that, the political theorist Yoram Hazony organized an impressively attended conference promoting conservative nationalism. He took the opportunity on behalf of those present to "declare independence" from neoliberalism, classical liberalism, and libertarianism.

In November 2019, Sen. Marco Rubio (R–Fla.) raised more than a few eyebrows when he gave an address at Washington, D.C.'s Catholic University rejecting "the notion that, left unguided, the market will solve our problems." He called instead for a system of "common-good capitalism" capable of restoring the "balance between the obligations and rights of the private sector and working Americans."

This, Rubio argued, can be accomplished only through some measure of state direction. "Promoting the common good will require public policies that drive investments in key industries," he said, "because pure market principles and our national interest are not aligned." Fortunately for us all, the senior senator from the Sunshine State came equipped with plans for, among other things, "a national co-operative that guarantees investment" in the rare-earth mineral sector.

Rubio's fervor for a conservatism that has made its peace with a bigger, more powerful central government has been matched and exceeded by some of his colleagues. First-term Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, for example—until recently the Republican Party's brightest young thing—seems not to have found a meddlesome technology regulation or "pro-family" policy he does not like. "We must put aside the tired orthodoxies of years past," he said in a May 2019 Senate speech. "We need not just a bigger economy but a better society."

In spring 2020, a new think tank called American Compass came online—"an organization dedicated to helping American conservatism recover from its chronic case of market fundamentalism," as founder Oren Cass put it in an announcement published by National Review. Among the group's favored policies are subsidies for American manufacturers, reducing "toward zero" the number of visas granted to Chinese college students, and legally requiring corporations to put the common good ahead of profit seeking—perhaps by ordering them to include labor representatives on their boards of directors, thus "short-circuiting the default assumptions of shareholder primacy by including workers among those to whom management is accountable."

That last suggestion is striking in its similarity to a 2018 bill introduced by progressive Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.), which would require U.S. companies "to consider the interests of all corporate stakeholders," including by giving workers the right to fill 40 percent of board seats. Warren has been a public enemy of the political right for nigh on a decade. Yet the conservative media have heaped acclaim on Cass' efforts and held him out as the future of the movement.

This sentiment culminated last August in a lengthy essay by New York Times columnist David Brooks that contained glowing mini-profiles of Hawley and Rubio and that extensively quoted Cass. "Over the long term," Brooks concluded, "some version of Working-Class Republicanism will redefine the G.O.P."

In 2018, Samuel Hammond, a researcher at the centrist Niskanen Center, persuasively argued that Warren's proposal represented a "corporate catastrophe" in the making. Today, he is a contributor to the American Compass blog, where not long ago he urged readers to stand up and insist: "Conservatives believe in supporting families directly. And if that involves a pinch of redistribution, so be it!"

Is there a contradiction there? Hammond doesn't think so. "I really urge you to separate Warren's specific proposal," he says, "from the broader investigation" that Cass is leading into how to help the working class. In the end, "the right will have to take on an orientation that's more skeptical of trade, more skeptical of big business, and more curious about pro-labor, pro-family policies."

III.

The post-liberal conservative movement is a twisted artifact of the now-conventional view of fusionism as a partnership of convenience between two groups that have divergent and even contradictory belief systems: libertarians, who prioritize individual freedom above all else, and traditionalists, who know better.

This understanding is subtly—but crucially—mistaken. Fusionism, properly understood, is not a marriage of two groups. It's a marriage of two value sets. A fusionist is someone who sees both liberty (in the classical sense of freedom from aggression, coercion, and fraud) and virtue (in the Judeo-Christian sense of submission to God's commands) as important. Fusionism is therefore a distinct philosophical orientation unto itself. What's more, it has historically been the dominant orientation on the American right.

Conservatives going back at least to the country's founding have believed that virtue and liberty were mutually reinforcing—and that neither could survive long without the other. A free society depends on a virtuous populace. ("Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people," wrote John Adams. "It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.") But the reverse is also true: Virtue, to be virtuous, must be freely chosen. As the late National Review literary editor Frank Meyer, usually identified as the godfather of fusionism, eloquently put it: "Truth withers when freedom dies, however righteous the authority that kills it; and free individualism uninformed by moral value rots at its core and soon surrenders to tyranny."

Post-liberals tend to see liberty and virtue as fatally at odds. To be a good person necessarily requires accepting some limits on one's choices, after all. Mustn't one of the two fusionist pillars ultimately trump the other?

There's no denying that the demands of morality, traditionally understood, pull against a theoretical ideal of freedom from all constraint. Fusionism reconciles this tension by insisting that the state protect people's fundamental rights to be secure in person and property—thus leaving individuals, and the various associations they come together to form, with as much space as possible in which to pursue the higher things. Within the governmental sphere, liberty is indeed the ultimate end. But within the infinitely broader sphere outside of government, it's just the beginning: A life well-lived consists in using one's freedom to do what's right. The clear recognition that these are separate spheres, with separate roles to play for the common good, is the genius of the fusionist project.

Today's post-liberal conservatives appear to think they're distinguished by the belief that virtue matters. They behave as if their core disagreement with fusionists is about whether human beings have moral obligations that go beyond leaving others alone to do as they please. This could hardly be more wrong. Anyone who holds to the Judeo-Christian tradition—as fusionists by definition do—accepts that we have manifold duties to one another. The disagreement is about whether it's the state's job to enforce those moral obligations.

For a fusionist, the answer to that question must be no, for pragmatic as well as deeply moral reasons.

The weight of evidence through history is that concentrated government power in the best case leads to incompetence and waste, while in the worst case it degenerates quickly into tyranny. Whether your main concern is material enrichment or the protection of human rights, limited government has been shown on the proving grounds of experience to be the best available means to that end.

Arguably even more important is the Judeo-Christian doctrine of human beings' equal inherent dignity. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it, "God created man a rational being, conferring on him the dignity of a person who can initiate and control his own actions." And later: "Every human person, created in the image of God, has the natural right to be recognized as a free and responsible being. All owe to each other this duty of respect." That is why state power is such a grave matter, fraught with danger not just to society but to the souls of those who wield it. Only when absolutely necessary—say, to stop one person from initiating violence against another—is it morally justifiable to overrule someone's right to live his life as he chooses.

Understanding what fusionism is—and what it is not—is more important than it may seem. An arrangement in which traditionalists and libertarians are merely allies can easily become a game of tug of war in which each side jockeys to ensure that, on balance, its own priorities predominate. If one side finds itself too often on the losing end of that jockeying, it might reasonably move to dissolve the alliance altogether.

But if fusionism is a discrete philosophical worldview—and a pervasive one at that, with a pedigree that runs through the American founding and with roots in the Hebrew Bible—then post-liberalism looks infinitely more radical. Remember: The new conservatives don't just call for a collective recommitment to the pursuit of virtue in the private sphere; they explicitly insist that power be exercised in the government sphere, with a goal of forcibly reorienting society to the common good.

Such a shift amounts to a rejection of one of the two pillars of fusionism—which is to say it's a rejection of fusionism itself. How supremely ironic that the people who flatter themselves defenders of tradition have abandoned the hard-won philosophical inheritance of the American political right.

IV.

All this leaves unanswered a serious question: If a free society requires a moral populace, what is a committed fusionist in an unvirtuous age to do?

Traditionalists have plenty of evidence that we're living in such an age. American religiosity is in decline, with significantly fewer people attending weekly services (even before the coronavirus pandemic) than at any time in the last century. Addiction and suicide are through the roof, likely driven by a sense of alienation. Traditional teachings about sexual morality seem laughably antiquated against the backdrop of modernity. The divorce rate is down, but so is the marriage rate, and hundreds of thousands of abortions are performed each year.

Some libertarians are less bothered by these concerns. Many prefer to focus on the ways market-driven technological advances have vastly improved our quality of life. Others go further, arguing that widespread acceptance of a greater range of lifestyle choices make this the best time ever to be alive. Virtue is overrated, this cohort might say, or at least misunderstood—and if you're reading this magazine, you may be inclined to agree. If people are using more drugs (see, for instance, the cover of this month's issue) while having fewer children, that's fine and dandy so long as it's their choice.

These libertarians are not fusionists, though they can and do happily work with their fusionist brethren when it comes to protecting rights and liberties in the government sphere. At the same time, many libertarians are uneasy about secularism and community breakdown. As a churchgoing Roman Catholic, I certainly fall into this category—grieving the scourge of abortion, suffering under a culture that feels overly sexualized and excessively consumerist, and fretting that modern man has grown unwilling to sacrifice on behalf of something bigger than himself. I'm not the most stereotypical libertarian, but even within the liberty movement I'm not alone. And on the wider political right, such fears are omnipresent.

Faced with problems like these, the allure of desperate measures is perhaps understandable. One common justification for the post-liberal turn is that culture and institutions, once broken, cannot be expected to repair themselves. External help is needed. The state can provide it, through laws that constrain behavior but also teach the populace to value the correct things: faith and family, community and country.

Alas, the lessons of history do not cease to be true just because they're inconvenient. You cannot impose virtue on people by force, and a coercive legal regime is no more likely in practice to instill good values than it is to make the underlying problems worse.

For one thing, there's no guarantee that the people actually in power—now or in the future—will agree with you about what the correct values are (or about how much power is required to enforce them). But beyond that, public policies always come with unintended consequences. Even assuming a legal code that perfectly aligns with the true demands of virtue, we can't know in advance what the effects will be. Perhaps citizens will absorb a better sense of right and wrong. Or perhaps, freed from the need to make weighty decisions for themselves, their moral muscles will atrophy, rendering them less capable of pursuing the higher things in life.

Before you guess which result is more likely, consider the impact that decades of well-intentioned welfare policy have had on poor communities. As the financial incentives for entrepreneurship and family formation evaporated, recipients of aid learned to see themselves as lacking agency. Neighborly ingenuity, manifested through private charitable efforts and mutual aid societies, was crowded out by top-down government "solutions" that solve very little. Despite ever-increasing state and federal spending, the official poverty rate has hardly budged, and small towns and rural counties increasingly join impoverished inner cities as economic disaster areas. All of which suggests that our best efforts have failed to address the causes of the problem and may have exacerbated them.

The central insight of fusionism is that the common good is best achieved when the state stays focused on protecting rights and liberties, leaving individuals and voluntary associations to do the rest. To be clear, there is nothing easy about that answer.

The post-liberal temptation is to believe that government power can be a substitute for the hard labor of institution building and cultural change. It isn't. The solution must begin at home—on the front porch, around the kitchen table, and in the mirror. The law is not a magic wand. There are no magic wands, and there is no shortcut to the good society.

NEXT: Brickbat: Happy to Be of Assistance

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  4. Might be a worthwhile article, but I stopped at “aspiring dictator”.

    While I have no love for Trump, I have no time for Trump derangement syndrome either.

    1. Yeah, me too. I suppose for those eager to regulate and control, a president like Trump, who mostly pushed back on regulation, is a kind of “dictator”.

      1. I think the sentence works if one subs in populist, autocratic demagogue.
        My main reaction to what Ms Slade wrote is the identification of virtue with the Judeo-Christian tradition, itself a “fusionist” construct some would decry as ahistorical. Yes, Adams was a Christian, but others of the Founders and Framers were much less traditionally religious. Many were Deists, with an attitude toward virtue more reminiscent of an early CE Stoic than a Christian. Only a few were Catholic. British accommodation of Catholicism in Quebec was actually one of the charges against George II and his ministers in the Declaration of Independence. Fusionists such as Buckley was a cradle Catholic, as was I when, as a young man, I was enamored of tfusionism. Meyer was an adult convert. But Catholic Social Teaching brought us Distributism and Social Justice, and some Catholics even used it to justify even stronger statism, via Liberation Theology. In a republic that tolerates religion and irreligion both, as it should, any governmental commitment to Virtue needs to disassociate itself from solely religious underpinnings. I write as a graduate of Catholic schools with a B.A from a Jesuit University, with all the required religion and theology courses that entails. Like many a libertarian, I’m a non-believer. I also am familiar enough with history to remember what Gibbon attributed to Senaca: Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by rulers as useful. Politicians appealing to religious feeling are often cynical hypocrites exploiting the beliefs of the “common people.”

        1. Geo III, not II, obviously. Also, Seneca is supposedly the source of Gibbon’s gloss.

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      3. Mostly? Trump was a bigtime protectionist for certain industries and meddler in others. If you do not acknowledge his autocratic tendencies you lost credibility. He certainly worked the crony capitalist wheels in real estate using eminent domain. That said, still better than komrade Joe.

    2. Meanwhile, Reason’s most worshipped and venerated hero and messiah, Block Insane Yomomma, is the only American president in 100+ years to refuse to leave Washington DC after his presidency, violating what has been a norm since Woodrow Wilson.

      Why? Because he’s very much still controlling and operating the Deep State from his heavily fortified eight million dollar bunker headquarters at 2446 Belmont Road with his pals like Valerie Jarrett and all the rest of them.

    3. The dictator that pushed for lower taxes and less regulation and a reduction in troops in foreign wars. A rather “unique” dictator.

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    4. Might be a worthwhile article, but I stopped at “aspiring dictator”.

      I cringed a bit at that because I had a feeling it would cause a lot of people to stop reading, which defeats the entire purpose of writing the article in the first place, but I powered through it anyway. And yes, the whole article is worth a read.

      I think reason – and the media lat large – really need to just stop talking about Trump and move on. They’re not doing themselves any favors by continueing to let him live rent free in their heads.

      1. I, too, cringed at “aspiring dictator” but kept reading. It was worth it.

      2. I stopped reading when a Reason author pretended to give a shit about personal responsibility, which they actively argue against, and liberty.

        So yea, didn’t make it to the article.

        1. Same.

        2. Same here. It’s Slade, so it was also no big surprise.

      3. “I cringed a bit at that because I had a feeling it would cause a lot of people to stop reading, which defeats the entire purpose of writing the article in the first place, but I powered through it anyway. And yes, the whole article is worth a read.”

        Likewise.

        Trump did himself no favors in avoiding the “wannabe dictator” label by making a fool of himself post-election. But yeah, we need to move on. He gave the progressives lots of ammunition to use against the repubs, much of it well-deserved. The impeachment is a joke. It’s simply another way to isolate and denigrate a large segment of the voters, and the dems will make the most of it. I mean, why wouldn’t they?

    5. Yeah, lost me at that point, too. Trump is scarcely a libertarian, but if you’re going to call him an “aspiring dictator”, which President in living memory wouldn’t have been one?

      It strikes me as a matter not so much of “fusionism” dying a natural death, but it having been killed by the “liberalitarian” alliance causing nominal ‘libertarians’ to adopt “liberal” instead of “libertarian” views on a long list of issues.

      Libertarians and conservatives could have a meeting of minds, because on most topics they could at least agree on the government just doing nothing as a reasonable compromise. But the left won’t accept that; If ‘gays’ can marry, you have to bake the cake, for example.

      Once nominal ‘libertarians’ adopt left-wing views of what it is proper for government to enforce, in direct contradiction of what libertarianism used to be about, the fusionist program makes little sense.

      1. Moreover, for almost the last decade, Reason and larger parts of the libertarian movement have been more about libertine than liberal. Even going so far as being openly hostile to people being held personally responsible for their own choices or actions. The idea that fusionist conservatism is the the ideology that’s slipped isn’t even the pot calling the kettle black.

    6. The whole premise is retarded. Trump is a divisive dictator who split the fusionist party by winning over evangelicals while waiving a pride flag from the podium and promising to cut regulations.

      It’s a nice polemic about the straw man in Slade’s head.

      1. 45 certainly has to be blamed for a lot of things. Splitting fusionism? Hardly. Maybe because I am older now than I would like to admit, I am time and again surprised how short memory seems to be. Remember W’s compassionate conservatism? W certainly didn’t have too many qualms of spraying conservative “values” using the machine of government.

    7. The problem is conservatism has lost it’s sense of personal responsibility; I blame Trump.

    8. Go back and check how many dictators he praised for getting things done. Hell, he even expressed admiration for Kim Jong-Il. Jeepers Cripes.

      https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-kim-jong-un-north-korea-us-great-beautiful-latest-a9037186.html

      The article didn’t say he was a dictator, it said he was an aspiring dictator. And he certainly did aspire to holding all the reins of power.

      1. Yup. An aspiring dictator who didn’t want people to wear masks if they didn’t have to and felt that the government shouldn’t pay for schools that kids aren’t allowed to attend.

        Remember when Hitler said that some of the Jews were good people and that, during the Beer Hall Putsch there were bad actors on both sides?

        Worst aspiring dictator ever.

      2. Yes, he said some nice things about Kim while attempting to negotiate with him. I believe this is known as “diplomacy”.

    9. Oh good Lord. So many snowflakes triggered by mean words written about their God Emperor Trump. Get over it already.

      1. Here’s your fifty cents, you disingenuous cunt.

      2. FFS you’re a pathetic butthole.

      3. True…”don’t insult the messiah” is a common theme.

        Overall a good article addressing a very real problem: the future of conservatism. The two party system has forced alliances of groups into either the Democratic Corporation or the Republican Corporation but those alliances only hold together when policies are pursued that the subgroups can support or at least tolerate. I haven’t been able to tolerate the direction of either major party and have aligned with the Libertarian party on most issues. Perhaps a split in the Republican Party might allow us to move toward three major parties.

    10. When one constantly insults a group, hard to really have a future for what they want.

      I could give two shits what the GOP wants, since it is just “EXACTLY what the Democrats want, just in three more years”

  5. For many libertarians, the Trump years revealed their traditionalist allies to be hypocrites and opportunists, all too willing to sell out the ideals of fusionism in service of an aspiring dictator.

    For many sane people, gaslighting doesn’t work because reality is objective and lies are obvious. When you begin with the premise that a president who deconstructed more regulations than anyone since the post-war technocracy began, spent his entire presidency trying unsuccessfully to rescind executive orders from his predecessor that have been given a status more elevated than legislation passed by the legislature, and whose own justice department spend 3/4 of his term in office attempting to coup him out of office using several fabricated FISA warrants based on a known-false oppo document produced by the Hillary Clinton 2016 campaign and DNC attorneys, you give away the game. When you resort to constant lying in order to justify supranational global governance and the concentration of federal power so long as it is to the economic benefit of your billionaire paymaster, you’ve outlived your usefulness to those who are not on your billionaire paymaster’s payroll. And that’s to the extent anyone ever gave a fuck about you anyway. You’re 1% of the electorate. No political movement depends on you or wants you. If you want to go play footsie with Marxist revolutionaries like you did throughout the entire 1960s and 1970s, have fun. They don’t need you either, but at least you can drop the mask.

    1. Well said, sir.

    2. You can easily find a video compilation of all of the times that Trump said, “Article 2 means I can do anything I want”. That seems like an aspiring dictator to me, no matter how much deregulation he does. Pinochet followed Milton Friedman’s economic advice but was still a dictator.

      1. “You can easily find a video compilation of all of the times that Trump said, “Article 2 means I can do anything I want”.”

        But you didn’t. So you’re that lazy? Or lying?

        “That seems like an aspiring dictator to me”

        I’m sorry about your extra chromosome.

          1. Lol, every single one of those clips was of Trump saying he had the authority to do X under Article 2, but refused.
            And that’s your big evidence of Trump being a dictator. Trump saying he refused to do something even though he had the authority.

            Fucking idiots.

            Look BrianL, the children’s internet is over there ===>
            sarcasmic will take you, he knows the way.

            1. Lol, every single one of those clips was of Trump saying he had the authority to do X under Article 2, but refused.

              Literally not one of those clips, despite the best efforts of WaPo to edit the context out of them, actually features Trump proclaiming that he can do anything he wants either. He’s referencing particular issues.

      2. You can easily find a video compilation of all of the times that Trump said, “Article 2 means I can do anything I want”.

        No, you can’t. Because it doesn’t exist.

        For many sane people, gaslighting doesn’t work because reality is objective and lies are obvious.

        Fuck yourself in the ear with an ice pick you mindless piece of shit bootlicking twat.

          1. Like I said, it doesn’t exist. You linked to a video full of out of context edited clips by WaPo and even that doesn’t say what you claimed. Why’d you post it twice using a sock btw sarc? Blind ass drunk and fucking your daughter at 7 AM again?

          2. I’ll repost what I told sarcasmic.

            Lol, every single one of those clips was of Trump saying he had the authority to do X under Article 2, but refused.
            That’s not evidence of Trump being a dictator, that’s hard evidence of him not being a dictator; even if the WaPo tried to be tricky with the editing.

            You idiots constantly self-own.
            Fucking idiots.

            1. AS OPPOSED to Obama, who said “I cannot just ignore immigration law”…then proceeded to do exactly that.

              Trump said he could but did not. Obama said he could not but did. No wonder tReason hated Trump far more than Obama.

  6. If present-day conservatives have become aspiring authoritarians, and there is no doubt that progressives already are, where does that leave us?

    It really is high time we move past the two major parties. Alternately, we should just embrace our authoritarian future and learn to like it, a la 1984.

    1. Could not have said it better.

      Good to see you again Inigo. This place needs you.

    2. If present-day conservatives have become aspiring authoritarians, and there is no doubt that progressives already are, where does that leave us?

      Fucked. There’s really nothing to do but just kick back and watch the world burn.

      There’s a famous interview/ lecture by the former KGB propoganda master Yuri Brezmenov where he lays out the 4 stages of subversion: demoralization, destabilization, crisis, and normalization. We’re well past stage one, and probably already past the destabilization part. It’s arguable as to whether we’re already at or past the crisis point. Normally when people think of a political “crisis” they think of active civil war, complete break down of the government, a coupe d’etat etc. but it doesn’t necessarily have to be that obvious or catastrophic. I’d say turning the capitol complex into some sort of militarized “green zone” and ordering a 60 day stand down of the military in order to purge the ranks of “extremists” could fit the bill too. Next step is normalization which is where we all just “lie back and think of England” because it’s not like there’s anything we can do about it anyway.

      1. I love France being concerned that crap from our colleges might ruin their culture (I mean, it absolutely would)…but ignore that their asinine philosophers injected this idiocy into our colleges in the first place.

      2. Partition the country. Then at least we can try to save half.

  7. This reads like it came from someone who doesn’t actually know conservatives. It makes several people and ideas hated by conservatives out to be their thought leaders. It ignores and embraces how far the overton window has shifted to the left. It waves off the idea that libertarians (as represented by Reason and the Libertarian party) have so thoroughly tied themselves to the left culturally and politically in ways that abandon libertarian principles.
    Actual conservative voters consistently talk about freedom and responsibility. They are willing to talk to the other side. They do not like the shitty RINO reps in congress but are stuck choosing between them and actual socialist authoritarians.
    Slade and the other writers at Reason need to get out of their bubble. They need a good hard look in the mirror in regards to who they side with and whether their ideas and concerns properly line up with libertarian principles

    1. These are the people who spent the last 15 years sliming Ron Paul as a racist theocrat while endorsing Real Libertarians™ like Bill Weld.

    2. It ignores and embraces how far the overton window has shifted to the left.

      I’m completely unsure how an article can both ignore & embrace something, but I would say Trump’s election is evidence the overton window hasn’t shifted that far left for most of the population. There are other markers as well such as all the ballot initiatives in CA which recently passed, but Trump’s election is the big one.

      1. “I’m completely unsure how an article can both ignore & embrace something”

        Then you should read Duranty’s article on the Holodomor. Pretty easy actually.

      2. Perhaps now we have two windows that hardly overlap.

        Hmm, the Overlap Window?

      3. I would say Trump’s election is evidence the overton window hasn’t shifted that far left for most of the population.

        Right but that’s because you’re an idiotic cunt.

        Trump’s policies were bog standard Third Way Democratic bullshit from the mid ’90s and you spent 4 years histrionically screeching that he was the literal incarnation of Adolf Hitler and a rabid right wing extremist.

        1. Trump’s policies were bog standard Third Way Democratic bullshit from the mid ’90s

          More to the point, it was a weird, grab-bag fusion of civic nationalism that was actually quite ubiquitous in this country up until the rise of the New Left in the 1960s; a mix of economic and energy policies from the 1970s-90s; military policy that resembled Eisenhower’s skepticism of its use while supporting funding for its current operations; a foreign policy that echoed 20s-era isolationism; and a hostility to bureaucracy that even Reagan might have blushed at.

          When the neocons fully took over the party in the early 90s, their agenda was to avoid engagements over social issues as much as possible, in favor of purely economic and foreign policy concerns. That’s why the Contract With America was so autistically focused on economics, and why they’ve consistently advocated for the never-ending employment of military and intelligence assets, while blithely ignoring the cultural evolution of the country. As long as they could get their tax cuts and never-ending wars, they didn’t care about anything else. Then along comes the bank bailout and the Great Recession, and suddenly the GOP base is finally coming to grips with the fact that they’ve been sold out this whole time, and here’s Trump telling them, “Yeah, they sold you out. Why would you vote for them again?”

          No wonder the Bush/Kristol wing of the GOP got so butt-blasted.

          1. You don’t think it’s relevant that the only policy that got out of the Trump administration was tax cuts and continuing endless war?

            1. Well, sure, considering one of his officials blatantly admitted that they kept troops in Syria after he ordered them out, and Liz Cheney collaborated with Jason Crow and other Democrats to cut funding to pull troops out of Afghanistan. I’m actually stunned that the Abraham accords, along with the agreement between Serbia and Kosovo, was even accomplished, given those circumstances. The last thing the neocons want is those countries not being dependent on a US military presence.

            2. Hey faggot, it doesn’t help that sub human soulless filth like you fought him every step of the way.

              You progs should really be put down. You’re a threat to my freedom.

    3. There is more than one political axis.

      Libertarians do not need a bubble we need a fortress. An unbreakable one.

      1. 1% of the electorate is about as fortress-like as you can get.

        1. I’m OK with that.

          There are places in the the world today you can go and see laid down thousands of years ago. They are still there because they were built on solid foundations.

          Republicans and Democrats have no real foundations other than opposing one another. Even that is just a sideshow.

          1. Except those particular fortresses were power centers over entire regions. What the Libertarians have is basically the political equivalent of the Burger King Kids Club.

            1. There are many kinds of fortresses. Some of the ancient structures were not built as military fortifications.

              Consider the western wall in Jerusalem. Over 2000 years ago it was laid down by Herod, the Judean ruler under Roman rule. Since then it came under control of the zealots, Romans, Byzantine, Mameluke, Arab, Crusader, Ottoman, British, Jordanian, and then Jews again.

              It has only symbolic significance. The foundation of massive limestone blocks sinks far below what you see.

              The tradition is to write a personal prayer and insert it on a small folded piece of paper into the cracks of the wall. Each day the rabbis remove those and place the individual thoughts, hopes and wishes into a crypt. They are considered sacred and are treated as such.

              That is one example of the power of faith.

              Libertarian is not for everyone. It is not an easy path. It makes the most sense to me as a political and moral basis for society.

    4. This is the “Union of Wordsmiths”. Reason writers live primarily on the coasts where they hang around with other writers primarily from the left. They have a common occupation – manipulating people with words. They also have a common disdain for those who make their living controlling matter and the real world.

      These writers are the people who took “Physics for Poets” instead of a shop class in high school. They think of themselves as tech-savvy when they couldn’t change a tire on their car or replace a washer in a faucet. Words are their universe, not ideas which are properly based on real world experience, but words divorced from any aspect of reality except the power to manipulate.

      Trump’s stupid and clumsy use of words was all that they saw in the man. Yet his words were more powerful manipulators than all the highbrow rhetorical ejaculations of the Wordsmiths. That’s why the Left insisted on silencing Trump and why Reason editors, panicked when their words were impotent, agreed with the Left’s criticisms and ignored the Left’s remedies.

      By every word the candidates spoke, Biden portended a far less libertarian future than Trump. Higher taxes, $15 minimum wage, nation wide shutdowns, reeducation camps (mandatory Diversity, Inclusion and Equity training), abolition of fossil fuels, state mandated energy controls, hate speech laws and gun confiscation.

      None of these bothered Reason writers as much as Trump’s words because hard economic reality has no significance to Wordsmiths. Podcasts with disgruntled Lefties was their substitute for reality. Now, suddenly, Biden is bad! And it’s all because libertarians don’t practice religion enough! Tying freedom to faith has always resulted in disaster, but what the heck? This time it will be different.

    5. They need to move to FL, where there is a chance they might meet somebody who has at least one libertarian bone in their body.

  8. Good Article, “the common good is best achieved when the state stays focused on protecting rights and liberties”

  9. There is no such thing as “liberty free from all constraint”.

    Your liberty requires constraining mine and vice versa.

    The recipe for fascism is unconstrained liberty and adding power.

    1. “Your liberty requires constraining mine and vice versa.”

      You’re not familiar with the libertarian idea of the non-aggression principle or NAP?

      Any act that requires initiating aggression—-assault, murder, theft, extortion, fraud, rape, etc. doesn’t fall into the possibilities for “unconstrained liberty.” But other behavior, including victimless crimes, do quality for “in constrained liberty.”

      1. NAP is simply a constraint.

        1. Indeed, against you exterminating the jews.

          1. Against your coercion of.lying .

          2. Do you think you’re employing logic when you say that because I say that something didn’t happen, that I necessarily want it to?

      2. Forget it, Jake. It’s Mizektown.

        1. I call it logic and science.

          1. Not sure how that’s “science”.

            As for logic, “liberty” should never be understood as “the ability to do anything at any time”. It should be understood as “the ability to do anything that doesn’t violate anyone’s rights”.

            1. That’s your opinion, and a constraint on absolute liberty.

              1. Other humans are a constraint on absolute liberty. That’s not an opinion, that’s reality (and logic).

                Who have you seen argue for “the ability to do anything at any time”? Or is it just a Straw man?

                1. That has consistently been my point. You’re welcome.

                  Liberty needs constraints in civilization. Those constraints are determined by each society.

                  If anyone is interested in a consistent and rational criteria that all rational people would agree with, for determining those constraints, they need only agree to employ and accept logic and science.

                  1. Ok, fair enough. But, there are a few issues with what you say:
                    1. The “constraints” could be so onerous that calling what is left “liberty” does damage to the term.
                    2. Rational people are often against liberty.
                    3. Technically speaking, using Mises’ terms, there are no irrational people, just mistaken people (you can ignore this issue if you like).
                    4. I’m not sure how “science” is in any way involved (unless you mean praxeology?). Logic and reason, yes.

                    1. 1. I agree. That’s when the criteria for those constraints did not conform with logic and science.

                      2. Rational people agree on everything and it represents the nearest understanding to reality, truth that we are currently capable of.

                      3. By observation people behave irrationally all the time. The word has meaning.

                      4. My perception of reality is informed by the evidence of both logic and science, so I include science in the criteria for determining constraints that conform with reality, truth.

                    2. 2. No, they don’t. Einstein was rational, and a socialist.

                      3. Not really. They used their reason to reduce felt discomfort. They did it poorly, but they weren’t irrational (in Mises’ use of the term).
                      https://mises.org/library/human-action-0/html/pp/616

                      4. Science has nothing to say about liberty (unless you mean praxeology, or perhaps studies on more vs less free areas?).

                      You are reading far too much into what “rationality” could ever mean. For instance, I’m pretty flipping rational and I disagree with you (and so did Mises)!

      3. “You’re not really free unless you’re free to go around murdering people for looking at you funny.”

        Or something, whatever.

  10. While I appreciate the concerns of the author I have to wonder if Rand wasn’t right that the altruist-collectivist spirit implicit in faith ultimately leads to statism. I applaud the author for maintaining her commitment to liberty but isn’t Pope Francis more typical of the spirit of her Church since the demise of atheistic Communism?

    1. “I have to wonder if Rand wasn’t right that the altruist-collectivist spirit implicit in faith ultimately leads to statism.”

      Nope. I’m living proof this isn’t true.

      1. I mean culturally, not personally.

        1. Interesting questions. Well, note that all cultures are bent on Statism. But, let’s look at the An-Cap(ish) and other libertarian examples we see:
          Israel during the times of the Judges – Ancient Jews (I’d call them “proto-Christians”)
          Medieval Iceland – mix of Norse religions and Christianity
          Medieval Ireland – mix of “pagan” religions and Christianity
          Free cities of medieval Europe – mostly Christian
          American Old West – mostly Christian
          If you want to add it, the US government immediately post Revolutionary War – mostly Christian, or Christianish
          In fact, I’m unaware of any non-State society that wasn’t mostly “religious”. I could be wrong.

  11. I was a Frank Meyer fanboy back in the 1960s (yes, I’m old). Thanks to Slade for reminding me why. Excellent article.

  12. Naked libertarianism may not be the promoter of virtue that the conservatives so believe is necessary in society, but that doesn’t mean it’s up to the state to fill the void.

    It’s so disappointing to read one of these state-vs.-individual screeds that gives not even passing recognition to society’s other institutions and means to social order: religions, charities, all manner of civic organizations.

    It’s the non-governmental groups that drive society’s conscience, precisely because– unlike government– they can’t do it at the point of the gun, so they must do it with moral suasion.

    The libertarian individual says I CAN.
    The statist government says you CAN’T.
    The social organizations say, maybe first you should think about whether you SHOULD.

    1. Exactly.

      If there was ever a peaceful fusion of libertarianism and conservatism, it was because conservatives could promote virtue primarily through churches and charities. Sure, some did try to institutionalize religious ethics, but libertarians, and the liberals of my youth (who I did admire), pushed back.

      Now “liberals” have dedicated themselves to a new crusade for virtue, and, lacking churches and dismissive of private charities, want to impose their woke virtues on the rest of us via government.

    2. Yes, quite right! The other institutions, the church, the family and the economy, each suffer as government power expands and each ought to be appreciated by both conservatives and libertarians for what they offer our society. For example, the hospital in my hometown was built by Episcopalians, I was born in a hospital built by Presbyterians and my wife was treated for cancer in hospitals built by Baptists and Catholics. In each case a private institution identified a need (health care) and built a facility to meet that need, no coercion necessary. But today there are far too many who would have the state take over the medical industry and then it would all be coercion and any decision made in health care would be inherently political. It’s no coincidence that as the state expands all of those other organizations shrink, but that will not serve the interests of either libertarians or conservatives, this is where there ought to be common ground.

    3. Even more to the point, there are, or can be, a multitude of social organizations serving all of their various members in various ways so that there does not have to be one single unifying “moral standard” for the entire nation; every group decides for itself and chooses among all of the various organizations which ones he/she most identifies with. No need for the state to “create a better society”; every individual decides for him/herself what that better society looks like by his/her own choices.

      1. …except the state specifically does so. So, no, they cannot do right as they best see fit. The left forces them to do EVERYTHING as the Left demands.

    4. It’s so disappointing to read one of these state-vs.-individual screeds that gives not even passing recognition to society’s other institutions and means to social order: religions, charities, all manner of civic organizations.

      This 100%. And it’s not at all just that those other institutions are essentially Burkean conservative – seeking to preserve ‘social order’. They are also the instrument of changing that social order – from abolition of slavery to women’s suffrage to child labor to desegregation to legalization of pot to ending police brutality and mass incarceration etc.

      And as far back as deToqueville, the classical liberal conception of government is not the Hobbesian imposition of ‘order’ on a natural chaos. It is not the modern partisan conception of government as favoring one sort of civil association at the expense of the other. Rather it is the way people who disagree with each other work things out.

      It is imo the difference between classical liberalism and anarcho-libertarianism. Classical liberals were NOT 19th century anarchists – but they understood actual anarchism far more than today’s self-worshipping libertarian.

    5. Although a statist government saying you CAN’T is scary enough, it’s when that statist government says you “MUST” that really scares me. As in “what is not outlawed is mandatory.”

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  14. Well, this is very interesting to a 12-year old or somebody who’s been in a coma for 40 years, but some of us have been saying for a long damn time that there’s not a nickel’s worth of difference between a Big Government Liberal and a Big Government Conservative, they both take it for granted that it’s government’s job to tell you how to live your life for your own good and for the common good and for the good of the country. (And it’s a little suspicious that “the good of the country” seems to align so perfectly with the good of the government.)

    It may be insightful to blame the split between the social conservatives and the economic conservatives on the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the threat of a common enemy, but there was really such a short period of time between the rise of libertarianism and the collapse of the Soviet Union (and it’s not as if the end of the Soviet Union meant the end of communism) that I think that’s not a good explanation. It’s been obvious at least since the overwhelming defeat of Goldwater that nobody gives a shit about individual liberty and personal responsibility. People really don’t want to be free, it’s a terrifying thought to think that ultimately you’re responsible for yourself, that there’s no higher power in control of things. (Which is why conspiracy theories are so popular – it’s more comforting to think that there are malignant forces controlling things than to consider the possibility that nobody is in control.)

    Hell, I remember back in the ’70’s watching a PBS program with William F. Buckley and Kurt Shmoke arguing over legalizing marijuana, and they were both on the same side in favor of it. It was the same damn arguments we’ve been having for 50 years over liberty and how costly the War on Drugs is in both financial terms and terms of turning power over to the State. And yet it persists, the government stubbornly insisting the WoD hasn’t been a massive failure because in terms of what they want, it hasn’t been. Massive spending, massive manpower, massive control over the public, massive restrictions on liberty, massive support for surrendering our liberty – what’s not to love? And the sheep go along with that shit because they can blame somebody else for it, and a scapegoat is what we need more than anything else.

    1. “Kurt Schmoke”

      Of course he was for legalization.

    2. Yes, thanks.

      IMO the most enlightening (and depressing) thing about the COVID pandemic is just how many people do not want to think for themselves–and do not want to let others think for themselves.

    3. Didn’t Rand (or possibly Ron) Paul ask “When the government’s boot is on your neck, do you care if it’s the right one or the left one”?

  15. Reagan Republicanism was always about paying lip service to “less government”, while in fact shoveling out more and more and more government dollars.

    It’s weird how modern right-wingers stick their fingers in their ears whenever someone brings this up.

    1. What’s weord is how you thonk we don’t know it’s you ONCE AGAIN complaining about Republicans Screech.

    2. It’s almost like Reagan made deals with congressional Democrats who actually control the purse strings and it resulted in more spending.

      1. Say what you will about Reagan but he went in busting a federal public employee union and went out with soviet communism crumbling into ruins.

        1. That’s why Koch libertarians hate him so.

        2. Detroit and Pittsburgh “deeply appreciate that. So do millions of non-violent felons.

    3. Reagan is the Patron Saint of Conservatism! How dare you!

      1. of course that triggered you

        1. Did you know that Sarc was imagining jerking you off when he read your comment, Diliinger?

          True Story:
          https://reason.com/2021/02/09/the-not-so-peaceful-transfer-of-power/#comment-8750813

      2. I thought all conservatives were Trumpista cultists hiding under your bed.

        Does your daughter still cry when you stick in her ass, or is she used to it by now you drunken piece of shit?

    4. Yes. Reagan cut taxes, but he never cut spending. If not for fact that we were on the right side of the Laffer Curve, we would have been fucked.

      Today we are fucked, because along with some minor tax cuts Trump managed during his early years, he also presided over and championed trillions in new spending. Spending we literally do not have the money for. Sure he wanted to spend less than the Democrats, but he still signed trillions in new spending.

      There’s no way out of the mess short of massive inflation or a total debt repudiation. Neither of which are going to be gentle on the sphincter of our economy.

      1. Reagan also ramped up the drug war. When he was elected cops carried revolvers, had a shotgun in the car, and wore blue. By the time he left they carried semi-autos, had a military rifle in the car, and wore black.

        1. What does Reagan have to do with cops?
          Most of the cities that equipped their police forces like paramilitaries were run for decades by Democrats.

  16. Ugh, Stephanie Slade? The person Reason.com hired despite identifying as the oxymoronic pro-life libertarian?

    If there’s one thing we Koch / Reason libertarians support …….. well, OK, it’s open borders. But if there are two things we support, they are open borders and legal access to abortion care throughout all 3 trimesters. You simply cannot be a libertarian unless you accept the scientific fact that a human fetus is a clump of cells with absolutely no rights until after it’s been born.

    #StandWithPP
    #SaveRoe
    #SUPER-PRECEDENT

    1. But what about the 4th trimester? That’s when many women really change their minds about the unfair burden.

      1. If every trimester were as long as the 4th trimester, I’d die.

    2. Nothing is oxymoronic about pro-life libertarians, we might not have been the majority in the LP when it was founded, but we were a respectable minority. It’s all a question of who you consider to be a “person”, and whether you consider natural developmental processes to be “aggression”.

      1. What right to life do you have if you don’t have the right to be born?

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  18. “Today, libertarians actively side with our enemies: they promote open borders and empty prisons, and strengthen China’s hand through their consumer-focused economic policies. Ours is primarily a conservatism of countries and borders, citizens and families, none of which can take root in the barren libertarian soil of atomized individuals and global markets.”

    So where’s the lie?

    1. The lie is not all libertarians are for open borders, nor empty prisons, nor anti-tariff. There is major internal dissention among libertarians on open borders & tariffs. Empty prisons is just BS – libertarians are pro-prison reform, but have never been pro-emptying prisons.

      1. ^This^

        It’s not an outright lie so much as a ridiculous strawman.

    2. The lie is that those policies reflect modern liberals, not libertarians.

      1. This is the flagship libertarian magazine, is it not? Has this magazine ever promoted any other views on these subjects?

    3. I would say that the lie is who the enemies are and what it means to “side” with them.

      Many of those policies “side” with human beings being free to chase their own desires… you know liberty, freedom, libertarianism.

      But the modern Conservative says, “No… free people means drug use… can’t have that! No… free markets means buying things made cheaper elsewhere, can’t have that!” “No… people can’t immigrate because… reasons? Can’t have that!”

      So to the modern conservative… freedom is not a value, thus supporting freedom is supporting a vice… an enemy.

      The problem is the conservative view of humanity and their perverted sense of superiority (which makes the nothing short of being a progressive in the classic sense). At least these new populist, nationalist types. I used to think they were a caricature the left made up but have, sadly, met many of them and have discovered many friends of mine now walk this path.

      1. The fact that personal responsibility doesn’t exist in this country puts the lie to all of the rest.

        Free education, welfare, mandatory medical treatment, subsidies to bad decisions, reckless choices, and self-destructive tendencies means no one owns the consequences of their choices.

        A heroine addict should win a Darwin Award except for at the mercy of a compassionate individual or group that puts their own resources on the line to help and rescue. But instead, we have social programs passing out clean needles so they can avoid the do-gooder making them feel bad for “what’s right for them.”

  19. Yep. These here comments are a great example of how conservatives have no use for libertarians at all.

    1. fuck off SQRLSY

    2. No one has any use for you. That’s the saddest part of your pathetic bootlicking worship of authority. The cool kids hate you too.

    3. Especially not the “Personal responsibility is lost; I blame Trump” ‘libertarians’.

      The only use I could see that could be made of them is as idiots.

      1. I haven’t seen anyone say that, but sure. Whatever.

        1. Should look in the mirror occasionally then. You’ll see an abusive drunk who’s always blaming everyone else.

  20. some in this group suggest; if the philosophy of liberty is to have a future, it must involve building bridges to the left, not the right.

    Anyone who imagines that Democrats and the “progressive” left aren’t further gone into authoritarianism than the conservatives is fucking delusional.

    1. The difference between conservatives and progressives is over what to control and how. Neither has much use for liberty.

      1. You felt the need to prove his point.

    2. Yep, pure BS. See my comment below.

  21. The conservative coalition are the populists (includes whats left of private sector labor), evangelicals, and the conservative Catholics. Libertarians, Fiscal Conservatives, Neocons, and big business have all been kicked out.

    Libertarians need to show ourselves as electorally significant before we get invited back into one of the major coalitions. Right now catering to us would cost more votes than we provide. If folks ever needed a legit reason to vote LP (who can’t win), it’s to show ourselves as significant enough that it’s worth compromising values to cater to.

  22. Why do I feel a gas light tickling my butt?

    If you take Slade’s piece and substitute “Liberal” for every place he wrote “Conservative”, e.g. abandoning libertarian principles in the quest for authority, it actually makes more sense.

    1. Sorry, “she”.

      1. He/She, what’s the difference anymore?

      2. How dare you assume zer gender!

        1. Do you think she would prefer “it”?

  23. Once again we are faced with the conundrum that once you admit that economies should be shaped by states to further cultural ends, you have to let people with other cultural ideas have their time at the levers of power too, and they might just prove that their cultural ideas are better than yours.

    Isn’t that what you’re really trying to prevent?

    1. Yeah, never let actual individual people decide how to live their lives.

      Fucktard.

      1. I don’t even know what this means. Allowed to decide their own lives up until the point where you object, right?

        What should you be permitted to do that you aren’t? Bonus points if it’s not some petty quibble with a regulation but something meaningful. Put some meat on the bone. Who do you think you should be allowed to fuck who you aren’t? Whose money should you be allowed to take under which circumstances that is currently forbidden?

        Until you provide specifics, it’s going to seem like you’re acting as a teenager who thinks it’s unfair your mom started charging rent for your basement chill pad. Or more to the point, you’re narrowly interested only in finding new freedoms for people who already have money and none for those who don’t.

        You live in the freest society ever to exist. I’m all for making it freer. If you have some good ideas to contribute to that project, you’ll find all the political allies you could want. Just articulate them.

        1. I SHOULD be allowed to hire only men, or only women, or only blacks or whites… but I’m not.

          I SHOULD be allowed to keep the full fruits of my labor, but I’m not.

          I SHOULD be allowed to build hospitals, or braid hair, or any number of other regulated endeavors… but I’m not.

          I SHOULD be able to have a pet squirrel in my back yard… but I’m not.

          I SHOULD be allowed to do quite a few things… but I’m not.

          How is that for starters?

          1. Seems like small potatoes.

            I think I should be able to be free from hiring discrimination based on irrelevant characteristics I was born with.

            See? Freedoms conflict sometimes, and we have to choose the better one.

            But I’m totally with you on the squirrels.

            1. “Seems like small potatoes”

              I believe that’s because you think all us degenerates are small!

              “I think I should be able to be free from hiring discrimination based on irrelevant characteristics I was born with.”

              Which is to say you think no-one has a right to freedom of association and that you have a “right” to others’ property.

              To prove this point, I do sometimes wish morality would allow me to force you to spend 24/7 with a Neo-Nazi and a KKK member. It’d be justice at the very least.

              “See? Freedoms conflict sometimes, and we have to choose the better one.”

              No, they can’t. There are only negative rights (technically only the one right, but that’s pedantic).

              1. You’re defining freedom with only property owners in mind. It’s fallacious, not to say monstrous. Other people deserve freedom too. If I’m forced to compete in a capitalist system, you better guarantee that I’m not going to be excluded because of my race or sex, otherwise there’s a big fat finger in the scale, and it belongs to the worst people. I am not required to buy into your definition of freedom, because it is one of the most limited definitions going.

                1. You own yourself, so yes, all are property owners.

                  “not to say monstrous”

                  It’s monstrous to say what is necessary in order to say “Don’t steal”? Interesting.

                  “If I’m forced to compete in a capitalist system”

                  You always will be, one way or another. Or dead, I suppose.

                  “you better guarantee that I’m not going to be excluded because of my race or sex”

                  How does that profit me to do so?

                  “it belongs to the worst people.”

                  No, that’s Socialism. https://knowitalltoknownothing.com/2019/10/11/the-road-to-serfdom-1944-f-a-hayek-chapter-10-why-the-worst-get-on-top/

                  “it is one of the most limited definitions going”

                  That you can do anything other than initiate force against another human? That seems really inclusive to me. What’s less limited than that?

        2. “I don’t even know what this means.”

          We know Tony. We know.

          “What should you be permitted to do that you aren’t?”

          Everything except initiate force. It’s called NAP. Maybe you’ve heard of it? I mean, you’ve been here for years…

          1. Tony’s morality is “Might makes right” and he fancies himself on the side of might. He’s got no use for the NAP.

          2. Am I initiating force if I set foot on your property? Because I’m pretty sure your conception of rights means my merely setting foot gives you the right to blow my head off. “Initiate” is doing a lot of work, huh?

            Based on the even the strictest NAP, no factory would ever be able to run that polluted even a little. Frankly that’s a bit draconian for my taste.

            1. “Am I initiating force if I set foot on your property?”

              Yes. Not a whole lot, but some.

              “Because I’m pretty sure your conception of rights means my merely setting foot gives you the right to blow my head off.”

              No, no, that’s the State saying that. They’re the ones who shoot you for being on their hallowed ground.

              “Based on the even the strictest NAP, no factory would ever be able to run that polluted even a little.”

              They’d have to own the property they polluted on, own the water, or pay the owner(s) of the land, air, and water. Yeah, pollution would go WAY down.

              “Frankly that’s a bit draconian for my taste.”

              I really want to make fun of you for being pro-pollution. That’s how modern political discussions go, right? 🙂

              1. Water is shared. If I’m downriver from a factory dumping mercury, I’m going to find a property rights regime that permits my poisoning to be rather insufficient. And it’s hard to take a factory to court when I’m dead along with the rest of my family.

                At any rate, property is the most intrusive use of government force there is outside of war and prison. Worse if you consider all the genocide that usually needs to happen before there’s land to divide up.

                1. “Water is shared”

                  Yes. It also can be owned.

                  “And it’s hard to take a factory to court when I’m dead along with the rest of my family.”

                  Your next of kin will be very rich, and that factory will be very out of business. Also, all the people around there will hate those jerks and refuse to trade with them. Sucks to be them.

                  “property is the most intrusive use of government force there is outside of war and prison”

                  Property can be (and has been) protected without the State. Also, if you don’t like property so much, why do you own it?

                  “Worse if you consider all the genocide that usually needs to happen before there’s land to divide up.”

                  It doesn’t “need” to happen. It happens because humans are evil, and the State realized it could be more powerful if it controlled more property.

                  Improve nature and that nature becomes yours. Don’t want to do that? Buy it from someone who did (ultimately). But no, us evil humans just steal it instead. Note that word “steal”. It requires there to be ownership first!

                  1. It’s an idea. It’s not written on any stone. If it’s not written on any paper that I got some kind of vote on, it really isn’t real.

                    “Improve” is a subjective word. Who decides anyway? I think your garden is improved by my horse shitting all over it, how about that? There, I improved it. It’s mine.

                    Property, historically speaking, is protected land won by conquest, which rarely has anything to do with democracy. I like my property but I like my vote more. And you people are just fine trying to steal that.

                    1. “It’s an idea. It’s not written on any stone.”

                      That’s literally wrong. God (and man) literally wrote “don’t steal” on a few stones.

                      “If it’s not written on any paper that I got some kind of vote on”

                      Good point! You have thus disproven Social Contract Theory! Congrats!

                      “‘Improve’ is a subjective word. Who decides anyway?”

                      Fair point, Tony. In this case “improve” would mean make easier to use, or increase the carrying capacity of (or something along those lines). Planting crops or building a road, for example.

                      “I think your garden is improved by my horse shitting all over it, how about that?”

                      The garden likely meant I already owned it. You can’t just try to “improve” what’s already owned and claim it. I said improve nature, not just anything.

                      “Property, historically speaking, is protected land won by conquest”

                      This is true. That’s theft from the original owner. It doesn’t disprove property, it proves it.

                      “which rarely has anything to do with democracy”

                      I’m sorry, what does you “god” have to do with what we’re talking about?

                      “And you people are just fine trying to steal that.”

                      How? Because I’m telling you your “right” to vote isn’t a right to steal? To assault, rape, murder?

                      (Remember, I’m an An-Cap, not a Trump supporter.)

                      You are free to vote on anything you want. You are not free to initiate force (violate anyone’s rights, however you want to put it).

    2. Once again we are faced with the conundrum that once you admit that economies should be shaped by states to further cultural ends, you have to let people with other cultural ideas have their time at the levers of power too

      Now tell us all about Trump’s ties to the Kremlin and why he should have been prosecuted or assassinated.

      1. Interesting subject to bring up because I was just thinking how odd it was for Republicans to find common cause with former bete noire Russia while asserting, naturally “we were always at war with East Asia” (namely China).

        Seems that the cultural dividing lines are clarifying into those strictly between race and religion. How helpful.

        1. “…for Republicans to find common cause with former bete noire Russia..”

          “…We often think Tony, Shrike, and ChemJeff are being dishonest–especially when they don’t seem to learn anything from having their arguments shredded and smeared in their faces everyday for years. But the fact that they don’t seem to learn anything–knowledge wise or in terms of critical thinking–may be consistent with the hypothesis that they’re just not that bright. And we shouldn’t necessarily assume that Binion, Boehm, or Britschgi are fundamentally different from them.
          Maybe the reason they try to make us feel is because they’re incapable of making us think. It is beyond their capabilities…”

        2. Yeah, conservatives loved communist China until Trump got elected.

          Holy fuck you’re stupid.

          1. They certainly didn’t seem to have a problem with their labor practices. Still don’t as far as I can tell.

            But what does communism have to do with a virus? Remember that? The virus they tried to assert had a nationality?

            1. They certainly didn’t seem to have a problem with their labor practices. Still don’t as far as I can tell.

              That’s funny, because I remember Christians and conservatives screaming from the rooftops about Chinese oppression, censorship, and labor camps and fuckholes like you telling them to go fuck themselves and embrace the glorious Marxist future.

              But what does communism have to do with a virus? Remember that? The virus they tried to assert had a nationality?

              You’re the only person who brought it up. Of course, nobody thought SARS-Cov-2 had a nationality anymore than they think Dengue fever, Ebola virus, or the Spanish Flu had one. We customarily name viruses from the regions they originate. But now that we know the virus was released from the bioengineering lab at Wuhan where we’ve been funding gain-of-function work through NIAID and UNC for over a decade, we could call it the Wuhan-Fauci SARS variant, if that would make you feel better.

              1. We don’t customarily name them that way anymore. Trump invented a new name that no medical professionals or virologists were using. Just plain talk huh?

              2. Christian missionaries have been on about it since the early 90s. I’m reading a book about that very thing by a Christian missionary. It could have been written yesterday, but it was published in 1994.

    3. once you admit that economies should be shaped by states to further cultural ends

      The job of government in the economy is to be the referee. That’s it. Enforce property rights and contracts, provide means for resolving disputes without resorting to violence, and that’s about it. Once the government does more than that and tries to actively shape the economy, whatever it touches turns to shit.

      1. Unfortunately it’s not so simple. Every act a government makes is to further a particular cultural narrative. The idea that property rights and the other values of capitalism can be found in nature is the same old extra credit many ideologies give themselves. Nobody is required to share your capitalist values. Not in a free society.

        I for one think that government should enforce the ideology that evert human deserves some basic calculable measures of dignity, regardless of what the stock market says, but you do have the advantage in that very few cultural traditions can compete with the basic human impulse of greed.

        I for one am not especially convinced by any ethical framework that actually says greed is a high virtue, though I can understand why it appeals to certain people.

        1. If greed is wanting to keep what you have, does that mean plunder is a virtue?

          1. It certainly is if you ask an oil company CEO. Or do you think there is a book of natural law written by some deity that says all the hydrocarbons buried in the earth are owned by some people living today who happen to find themselves on the board of Exxon?

            1. It certainly is if you ask an oil company CEO.

              “…We often think Tony, Shrike, and ChemJeff are being dishonest–especially when they don’t seem to learn anything from having their arguments shredded and smeared in their faces everyday for years. But the fact that they don’t seem to learn anything–knowledge wise or in terms of critical thinking–may be consistent with the hypothesis that they’re just not that bright. And we shouldn’t necessarily assume that Binion, Boehm, or Britschgi are fundamentally different from them.
              Maybe the reason they try to make us feel is because they’re incapable of making us think. It is beyond their capabilities…”

            2. That’s a sound rebuttal to something nobody ever said.

              1. Wanting to keep what you have is greed. It’s not a virtue. It’s not necessarily bad, but stop trying to sell me basic raw selfishness as some ideal of behavior. You might accidentally convince some teenager to follow a dumb ideology. “You mean I am entitled to every cent I get my hands on, and me being maximally selfish about that actually makes the best possible society? Oh no please don’t make me sign up for that how terrible.”

                1. So what you are really saying is you are entitled to every cent everyone else makes. that is how dumb you are.

                2. If keeping what you have is bad, then taking what others have must be good, right?

                  1. Depends on who is entitled to what. “Good” and “bad” are fuzzy concepts. If you’re arguing for why taxation is always evil, I can’t agree, since I don’t want to live in anarchy. If taxation is sometimes good, then it looks like we’re stuck arguing specific uses of tax money on their merits. Not good for the survival of political cults but good for getting policy made.

                  2. I certainly like sarcasm which if intentionally, might apply logical non-sequiturs. Your if – then argument is such.
                    I wonder though, if that was your intention.

                3. I bookmarked this as an example of how the radical leftist Tony tries to redefine neutral terms into something bad (like “self-interest = greed” in this example), which lays the seed to push a negative leftist label on these terms later on (and thus shape public opinion). This is a good example of the leftist tactics.

                  How to deal with this: Point out that “greed” is unequal to normal economic self-interest, and that the latter is important in a society in which everyone can trust, which involves a right to your own property/space.

                  Also pay attention to how concerned the radical leftist is with his effect on third party audiences like teenagers. He is deep into the ideological reshaping business.

                  1. “Wanting to keep what you have is greed.”

                    Nail him on this. It’s full exposure.

                  2. Calm down Susan. Greed is a lust for more stuff than you need. It pretty much defines all capitalists who already have food and shelter. I didn’t actually say it was a bad thing. It’s a natural thing as far as I can tell.

                    I do think we should be careful when some Russian bitch comes along and tells us that the most morally laudable lifestyle is one in which we are maximally selfish. It speaks to some teenagers, naturally, and some of them never grow out of it.

                    1. The radical leftist is now defensive and tries to deny his overt statement.

                      Pin him down to it hard, because he will otherwise try to escape by contradiction.

                      Also note the direct logical conflict between him saying: ” Greed is a lust for more stuff than you need.” and earlier “Wanting to keep what you have is greed.”

                      This is their cookbook.

                    2. Ownership is a fiction we just made up out of thin air. It’s probably based on some natural
                      Impulses, but those arrived via natural selection and thus are not automatically good.

                      I’m still not saying it’s a bad fiction. It’s just like everything else, subject to revision. If we’re free.

                      Nobody’s free who can’t escape devotion to arbitrary definitions.

                  3. Radical?

                    No.

                    Tony is very much a TYPICAL leftist.

                    Scary times.

            3. what kind of stupid is this? Even for you….wow.

        2. I for one think that government should enforce the ideology that evert human deserves some basic calculable measures of dignity

          You can’t calculate dignity, and you certainly can’t transfer it from one person to another. Jesus fucking Christ.

          Furthermore, the devaluing of dignity is firmly the province of your ideological allies.

          1. Donald Trump and his costumed supporters are the pinnacle of grace I’m sure.

            How about food, clean water, and opportunity to make money?

    4. Except we aren’t admitting that “economies should be shaped by states to further cultural ends”. In point of fact we are arguing that economies should not be shaped by states for any end.

      1. Exactly.

      2. That would be a terrible idea if it weren’t impossible.

        There are values in the Declaration of Independence. Nothing about capitalism. Nothing about the virtue of a market going unregulated and unquestioned. That’s you being in a cult, nothing more. You’re actually sitting here arguing that all of the outcomes of an economy are good. Presumably even you have some idea of how that wonderful economy should be organized. Property rights, perhaps? Those don’t come from nature.

        1. Why do you so despise the concept of private property?

          I’m sure you like your private property. You’d probably object if I walked into your home and stuffed my pockets with your stuff.

          Unless you mean you oppose private property for other people. Stealing from you is bad. Stealing on your behalf is good.

          1. I don’t oppose the concept of private property, I’m saying it’s something we invented out of thin air, and pay taxes to enforce. The idea that someone can “own” a piece of earth is fundamentally absurd if you think about it.

            These are all, every one, stories we tell ourselves. We should feel free to pick the good ones and dispense with the bad. And I was talking about the cult of the market. Don’t force me to accept the outcome of an unmatched market, as if the most powerful players in it will benevolently refrain from making rules that benefit themselves.

            1. ““Wanting to keep what you have is greed.”

              Keep nailing this radical leftist on this statement. As pointed out above, he is trying to redefine normal self-interest into greed and take the discussion to an emotional place, where he can then finish it off.

              Source: https://reason.com/2021/02/10/is-there-a-future-for-fusionism/#comment-8753621

              1. I think perhaps the silliest part of you guys is how you’re just simple, basic conservatives. Terrified of losing your shit and even an imperceptible ounce of your social power. You really want to convince me any of this is about anything other than that?

                Trillions of dollars have been transferred upward since the advent of Reaganomics. Not a peep, but downright endorsement, from the conservatives. But any cent in the hands of a poor person is evil socialism.

                Are you rich enough for them to keep you on the upright side of the bus they eventually throw everyone under?

                1. I see that you do make up stories to make yourself feel good, but that doesn’t mean everyone else does, too.

        2. I believe it was either Madison or Adams who said that the first and primary objective of government is the security of property rights. Without the right to property, you literally can not eat except by the grace of someone else lest you be a villain and steal.

          The dissolution of property rights creates an illogical mess of garbage that if man were to try and be virtuous in a world without property rights all men would starve or be monsters.

          1. I think we can do better, but I’m not actually advocating abolishing property. I’m saying people who we against government force on principle should have to explain why it’s perfectly OK in certain selected circumstances. Seems to me the only principle is that you enjoy that use of government force and not others.

            1. You literally did not address my points. Any system that does not preserve property rights first and foremost and holds them to be inviolable is a system that demands man either starve or break the law.

              You can do better than that… you defend property rights. Now man can say THIS apple is mine. I can eat it without guilt and live. This wood is mine, I can build shelter for myself without guilt. This savings of resources is mine, I can preserve them until I have enough to begin a project bigger than what could be completed in an instant. These are the literal first steps of survival and the transition to civilization. If man can not claim that THIS is his… then he can not morally use it. He can not eat the apple and be virtuous at the same time. Survival becomes a sin without property rights.

              1. I hate to break it to you, but the United States government owns your property. Don’t believe me, stop paying taxes and see how long they let you stay on it.

                Build a castle and line it with all your militia friends. See how long it holds against the US Armed Forces.

                Yeah. You “own” property. It’s all so cute.

    5. “ Once again we are faced with the conundrum that once you admit that economies should be shaped by states to further cultural ends”

      I’m sure glad I don’t do that.

  24. In light of the threat posed by a rampaging Soviet Union—as militantly atheistic as it was militantly anti-capitalist—the differences between the libertarians and the traditionalists did not seem so great. Their interests, at least, were aligned.

    But the fall of the USSR meant the collapse of the common foe that had sustained the fusionist partnership. It was able to trundle on for a while, powered by a reservoir of goodwill, but it has long been running on fumes.

    That’s not how I see it. What I see is that there was hardly any distinct libertarian tendency until about 1965. Interest in doing away with laws against vices simply wasn’t on the table until then. Pornography, narcotics, prostitution, and even to some extent gambling were seen as the province of the mentally deranged — a view that was fairly new but had become widespread with the popular discussion of psychoanalysis over the previous 30+ years. We see it even today in the civil commitment of sex offenders, as in the thread earlier this morning. Liquor prohibition had similarly dissolved into the acceptance of the disease model for alcoholism, but narcotics prohibition hadn’t ended likewise, simply because narcotics weren’t anywhere near as popular as booze — and therefore couldn’t be much of a tax revenue generator.

    Gun control wasn’t a national issue either until the prominent assassinations and the emergence of the NRA as a political interest group, not just a narrow hobby-focused one; it had simply been a country/city divide more or less accepted by all.

    The draft, which had existed almost continuously since 1940, wasn’t really an issue until the Vietnamese war, and then it broke out into one, which it hadn’t been in, say, the Korean one, and it the burgeoning of counter-culture along age lines.

    So the traditionalist-libertarian lines were produced by these various issues starting to come to the fore about 1965. And then the abortion reform movement was suddenly short circuited by judicial decree in 1973, and the sparks flew. All this was while the Cold War continued for many years, so I don’t see how it could’ve been the glue holding any such coalition together. The only thing the end of the Cold War did do in terms of political alignment in the USA was make it acceptable for the “left” to become hawks (again), since it meant US military force was justified in being turned against, well, everyone! Especially if those it was turned against posed no threat to US national security. That meant you could be pro-American and anti-American at the same time, what a blessing!

  25. “…in service of an aspiring dictator…”

    One more TDS-addled shit.
    Slade, stuff your TDS up your ass so your head has some company.
    Fuck off and die.

    1. I stopped reading at that point. And articles on Reason shouldn’t need to be divided into chapters.

      1. Then you missed out on an excellent article because you were too much of a triggered snowflake to read past words that made you sad.

        1. Hey remember earlier when you refused to click on a link and engage with what it said because you said the website that published it had no credibility? Were you a triggered snowflake, cytotoxic, or is it, as usual, completely different when you do it?

  26. At it’s core Christianity is individualist. And for two thousand years people have been trying to collectivize the religion.

    The founding of this nation was largely an effort by individualist Christians escaping the collectivist and mostly state-sponsored religion of Europe. The Puritans tried their statist brand of collectivist Christianity the same way the did when they were rulers of England. But it didn’t last past the first lack of harvest. They mellowed and individualized. They may have frowned at the other sects neighboring them (Quakers, Universalists, Methodists) but they assumed no power to control them. Thus was eventually born the uniquely American idea of religious tolerance, enshrined in our First Amendment. It wasn’t perfect, but neither was it the collectivist European model.

    That led to the “protestant work ethic” where hard work and not government assistance was the road to a good life. Not prosperity or fame, but the life worth living. It’s individualism, not parading around one’s collective membership. Just yesterday I was in a discussion with a friend how our grandparents would never have stopped to taking the dole, even in the depths of the Great Depression. So pervasive was this attitude that FDR didn’t pass out the dole, he passed out make work instead. It was unfortunately a back door for the cash handouts, but at least it recognized an individual autonomy.

    Now we have lost that. The old “fusionism” was not a fusion, but the natural marriage of liberty and virtue founded on individualism. That’s gone how. Barely twenty five years ago the concern among Republicans was over the lack of character of Bill Clinton. “Character matters!” was the rallying cry. Today they rally around a Trump who lacks any character. Bill Clinton could whoop Donald Trump in a contest of character. But character does not matter in the pursuit of state power to impose “greatness” on the nation.

    Bill Bennett would be cast from the modern Republican Party. So would Ronald Reagan. The GOP is no longer the party of Lincoln. It’s the party of Jackson. Yes, that Jackson. The reprobate founder of the Democrat Party. Trump has presided over, and endorsed, trillions in new spending. He may not have been able to stop a Republican led Congress, but he could have at least stood up to them and said “no new spending”. But no, he signed all those bills and bailouts and handouts and stimuli and shit. He has no economic sense, he has no moral sense. He’s a populist.

    Classic Liberals, Libertarians, traditional Christians, people of faith, those with moral character, no longer have a party. Perhaps that’s a good thing. Perhaps political parties are the great evil of the world. Perhaps people will learn to stop worshiping government power as their personal savior. But I doubt it.

    1. Today they rally around a Trump who lacks any character. Bill Clinton could whoop Donald Trump in a contest of character.

      Unless the contest is who can sexually harass more interns, blatantly lie about it, and then turn around and admit that he only lied according to one particular definition of the word ‘is’, Clinton will lose.

      I take that back. Clinton would probably win a “most portraits hung in pedophile sex ring leaders’ homes” contest too.

      Also, probably not points to Clinton directly, but the “most likely to choose a spouse who would threaten, harass, and silence accusers” would almost certainly go to Clinton too.

      No, the reason why conservatives gave up on the argument that “Character Matters” is because voters said “No it doesn’t.” for two terms and then gave HRC a good, hard look just to be sure. While principled, character-driven libertarians like Slade stood around and said, “Donald Trump’s character matters”.

    2. At it’s core Christianity is individualist.

      No, it isn’t. It’s anti-individualist. As usual you’re not only wrong, but so abjectly and distinctly wrong that you manage to completely invert actuality.

      Classic Liberals, Libertarians, traditional Christians, people of faith, those with moral character, no longer have a party.

      Oh for the good old days when a morally righteous Christian could enthusiastically support a party of true moral values that lied on the international stage to instigate a war that killed over 100,000 Iraqis and 5,000 American soldiers. Goddamn that Trump!!!!!!!!!

      1. “No, it isn’t. It’s anti-individualist.”

        I’m assuming you know nothing about what Christians believe (what the Bible says, what Christ said), because you’d know how ridiculous that statement is.

        God is the most libertarian being in the Universe. He created free man, and free man has been complaining about it ever since. He created beings that turned evil, use that evil to hurt other (not so) evil beings, and almost never zaps them for doing so. When he does demand near instant justice, he almost always tells a group of humans to do it instead of using his All Mighty power, because he so libertarian.

        God is much, much more libertarians than I can comprehend, and I’m an An-Cap!

        Don’t confuse dumb things people who call themselves “Christians” (the term meaning “Christ follower”) with what Christianity actually is. Nowhere in the NT is any Christian told to regulate ANY behavior of an unbeliever, and the worse thing they can do to a believer is excommunication (from something with zero political power)! And, in the OT, the only times “believers” (proto-Christians, those who had their faith in God) were told to regulate unbelievers’ behavior was on God’s claimed land (Deuteronomy 12:1, Leviticus 25:23), because he was tired of them sacrificing their children for the past 400 years or so!

        He is All Mighty, and never forces you to follow him. He gives you all freedom, even the freedom to reject him fully. When you do, he is a gentleman, and leaves you be, for eternity.

        1. Yeah, the God of The Holy Bible is a real libertaria alright….

          That same God supposedly creates humans, orders them not to eat from The Tree of Knowledge, knows they’ll eat from it anyway, then condemns them and their descendants to work the soil, bear pain in childbirth, and ultimately die, then later forces Hiimself sexually on a teenage girl Mary so He can be born as His own Son, Jesus, to die horribly on a cross to redeem all this sin from beings of His own creation, and condemns people to eternal Hell if they don’t accept Him.

          In between time, this God destroys almost all of mankind and life on Earth with a Flood because He thought His creation was a mistake. Then, God lets the Israelites languish in slavery for 400 years in Egypt, then hardens the heart of the Pharoah when Moses orders the Pharoah to “let my people go,” then punishes the entire Egyptian people with plagues as punishment. And after the Israelites are freed, God hands down The Ten Commandments, the bulk of which is demands for unquestioning obediance and banning of thoughtcrime, then when the Israelites don’t obey, He forces them to grind up their Golden Calf, put the Gold dust in water, and drink it, then makes them wonder around in the Sinai for 40 years without direction to The Promised Land (when it was a straight shot only 2 weeks away on foot.) Then, when the Israelites finally arrived, God ordered them to commit genocide and slavery aainst the Philistines and Amalkites, then later let Saul be King over them, with all of his attendant war, oppression, taxation, and intrigue. Etc., etc. ad nauseum

          You may want to read this further and reconsider whether God is libertarian or a Cosmic Totalitarian:

          The Skeptic’s Annotated Bible/Qu’ran/Book of Mormon
          http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com

          1. You know? I’m not even going to read past the first sentence and a half before I say this: You know almost nothing about Scripture compared to a good Christian, and any semblance of reason should tell you so. I’ve been studying this for over 2 decades out of love, and you grabbed a few things from your echo-chamber in a couple hours. You’re a fool to even try. Now I’m going to read the rest.

            “That same God supposedly creates humans, orders them not to eat from The Tree of Knowledge, knows they’ll eat from it anyway,”

            How dare he make them free? Doesn’t he know they’ll do bad with it? Proving my point, he’s so libertarian you hate him for it!

            “ultimately die”

            Humans got a gift of life. Separating themselves from the gift giver will eventually kill them (as he warned them). God’s too libertarian for you!

            “then later forces Hiimself sexually on a teenage girl Mary”

            A complete lie. Read the book a little! Nothing sexual happened (underline that), and Mary agreed to being the mother!

            “so He can be born as His own Son, Jesus, to die horribly on a cross to redeem all this sin from beings of His own creation”

            What love! What a dedication to freedom! Any human would have smacked the sinners down, or turned them into robots instead of sacrificing his beloved Son. Not Yahweh!

            “In between time, this God destroys almost all of mankind and life on Earth with a Flood.”

            That’s true. After all, they didn’t deserve their gift of life, and taking it back was his right. They were evil people.

            “He thought His creation was a mistake.”

            Wrong. Read a little.

            “Then, God lets the Israelites languish in slavery for 400 years in Egypt”

            Wait, you were just complaining that he judged people with his own hand the previous sentence. Now he’s wrong for not doing so? Pick a lane! Also, what a libertarian, lets evil people do evil to “good” people, and doesn’t zap them! And you complain! He’s a better libertarian than all of us!

            ” then hardens the heart of the Pharoah when Moses orders the Pharoah to ‘let my people go,'”

            Well, at least you got that right. However, aren’t all humans (especially “god-kings”) control-freaks by nature (as your comments show)? He didn’t want to submit to anything, let alone lose his labor. Did God harden his heart or just let the free (evil) man keep his heart hard? As God created everything, you can accurately say that God hardened his heart, just as you can say God hardened Hitler’s heart! And, given a proper understanding of Scripture, humans are incapable of softening their heart without God’s help, so the better point is that having a hard heart is the norm.

            “then punishes the entire Egyptian people with plagues as punishment”

            Yep. They didn’t earn their life, they got it as a gift. They were evil people (we all are), and any punishment we get from God is well deserved.

            “And after the Israelites are freed”

            Libertarian.

            “God hands down The Ten Commandments, the bulk of which is demands for unquestioning obediance and banning of thoughtcrime”

            No thoughtcrime in the OT. But, he does get tired of 10 sessions of whining and tells them to “go pound sand” and try again in the next generation. And, don’t forget, the Israelites accepted the Law! (Exodus 24:3) ” When Moses went and told the people all the Lord’s words and laws, they responded with one voice, ‘Everything the Lord has said we will do.'” How very libertarian, a contract!

            “Then, when the Israelites finally arrived, God ordered them to commit genocide…”

            Wrong. He told them to kill all the people they came across, yes. He’s God, he judged them, and he does so justly. He took back the life he gave with their hand. And, he didn’t have them kill all of them, as the Scripture constantly say “he drove them out”. In other words, the Israelites (mostly) obeyed, killed every one of the evil people they found, and the rest decided they should get out of that land! God owns the land (Deuteronomy 12:1, Leviticus 25:23), and on his land you follow his rules. How very libertarian!

            “then later let Saul be King over them”

            Against his will, if you’ll bother noting. He is a complete An-Cap, in that he didn’t allow a king until the people demanded it (1 Samuel 8). He called it a rejection of him to demand a State! There were no taxes during the time of the Judges, and “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.’ (Judges 21:25).

            You might want to read the Bible further and realize what true freedom looks like!

            Now, if you were to have given me a new issue, I would have been impressed. But, it’s quite obvious you don’t know jack about the subject matter, nor did the author of that website. And no, I didn’t look anything up except some of the references and the precise quotes. I don’t need others to do my research for me!

            1. Man, Anarchism has come a long way, baby from “No Gods, No Masters.”

              Well, you can have your Cosmic Kim Il Sung/Kim Jong Il/Kim Jung Un Holy Trinity and whatever nightmare world you call An-Cap.

              I’m sticking with indiviual right and responsibility, limited government, free-markets, and a good, prosperous life without dictators, whether secular or supernatural! Don’t bring your Moloch-God or his Paradise of Eternal Praise-Singing Parrots my way!

              1. “Well, you can have your Cosmic Kim Il Sung/Kim Jong Il/Kim Jung Un Holy Trinity”

                Appeal to ridicule. Try again.

                “whatever nightmare world you call An-Cap”

                “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.”(Judges 21:25). After all, God might have invented the first An-Cap society for all we know! It’s the first in recorded history (that I’m aware of)!

                “I’m sticking with indiviual right and responsibility, limited government, free-markets, and a good, prosperous life without dictators, whether secular or supernatural!”

                So am I. God doesn’t dictate. He tells you the consequences of your actions and you are absolutely free to reject him (and deal with those consequences forever).

                “Don’t bring your Moloch-God”

                He hated Moloch very specifically (The Lord really hates child sacrifice). How odd (or ignorant) that you’d pick that one out of all of them!

                “Paradise of Eternal Praise-Singing Parrots”

                I’ll borrow a quote from CS Lewis to show why this is wrong:
                “There are no real personalities apart from God. Until you have given up your self to Him you will not have a real self. Sameness is to be found most among the most ‘natural’ men, not among those who surrender to Christ. How monotonously alike all the great tyrants and conquerers have been; how gloriously different are the saints.”

                1. Having spent the pandemic studying physics, I’ve come to the knowledge that silly ancient desert cults are no way to describe reality, but that if religious people ever understood what’s going on in physics, they’d have far better arguments for intelligent design than anything happening in biology.

                  It’s a very weird universe. Let’s not limit ourselves to dancing around maypoles and other goofy rituals and tributes to weather deities.

                  You know the sick part? Yahweh was a random local deity in a polytheistic system who came to be the single deity of all the major monotheisms. That’s just interesting, but the sick part is how many millions of corpses were made because two people disagreed about some minor aspect of this one deity. Hundreds of years of war in Europe and the Middle East over the same bloody god!

                  That’s tribalism for you. It could be Mounds vs. Almond Joy. The content of the dispute in almost every war ever fought doesn’t even remotely matter.

                  1. “Having spent the pandemic studying physics, I’ve come to the knowledge that silly ancient desert cults are no way to describe reality”

                    Physics has its purpose. Telling a human what they should do isn’t one of them.

                    “if religious people ever understood what’s going on in physics, they’d have far better arguments for intelligent design than anything happening in biology”

                    I know, Tony. I’m aware!

                    “Yahweh was a random local deity in a polytheistic system”

                    That’s not entirely incorrect. The ancient Jews often worshiped other gods along with Yahweh. He wasn’t happy with that.

                    “but the sick part is how many millions of corpses were made because two people disagreed about some minor aspect of this one deity”

                    Hey, Tony, you’re preaching to the choir here. The very fact is, The LORD never made a State system, he made an anti-State system (Judges 21:25). He called the State a rejection of him (1 Samuel 8). He didn’t call for anyone to be killed by his people except on his own land (Deuteronomy 12:1, Leviticus 25:23). Apparently he was tired of them murdering their children on it. He ordered his people to kill the ones who wouldn’t run away, but he gave the life, and it’s not unjust for him to take it back (especially for particularly evil people).

                    As for post 300 AD “Christianity”, once a monarch decided they were a “Christian”, the idea that one wouldn’t use the State against those who weren’t their “religion” didn’t really exist in that time. Even though it’s completely against what the NT says (and the OT, for that matter), the Statists kept doing what they did before, except they called themselves “Christian” while they did it.

                    But, Christian means Christ follower (literally “little Christ”). Go read the sermon on the mount and recognize that the man on the cross specifically said he was doing it for his people, and to save them. What love! But, that’s the kind of love and person Christians are told to imitate. And those divisions are specifically condemned throughout Scripture (examples: 1 Corinthians 3:3, 1 Corinthians 11:18, 2 Corinthians 12:20).

                    Unfortunately, evil men do evil and claim whatever title they want. It doesn’t condemn the title, especially if what they do totally conflicts with what the title actually requires!

                    1. The solution to the carnage caused by tribalism is not to tribe harder. What does your fake god say should be done with Muslims?

                      I already know he thinks children should be denied an education in favor of his cult rituals. And it’s right there verbatim in his book: slavery is OK but shellfish are an abomination.

                      You haven’t found the one correct tribe. You found the one with the highest body count of all and are trying to sell it as something worth keeping.

                    2. “The solution to the carnage caused by tribalism is not to tribe harder.”

                      Yes!

                      “What does your fake god say should be done with Muslims?”

                      The Lord says to give them the good news. That’s it.

                      “I already know he thinks children should be denied an education in favor of his cult rituals.”

                      You know lots of things that are not so. This is one of them.

                      “And it’s right there verbatim in his book: slavery is OK”

                      Slavery is tolerated, for the ancient Jews, in Palestine, until Jesus came, yes.

                      “but shellfish are an abomination”

                      See above.

                      “You haven’t found the one correct tribe.”

                      It’s not a tribe. It’s following one guy. He’s the correct guy.

                      “You found the one with the highest body count of all and are trying to sell it as something worth keeping.”

                      Really? You:
                      1. Think an ideology is wrong because certain people who claimed it did evil, and
                      2. Think atheism and/or socialism has a lower body count?

                    3. The one correct guy.

                      There’s a one correct guy.

                      Or, there’s a guy who may or may not have existed who developed a cult among many area cults, and by sheer chance really, that particular cult got elevated to global power thanks to Emperor Constantine.

                      Just two competing hypotheses.

                    4. “There’s a one correct guy.”

                      He said so himself. John 14:6

                      “Or, there’s a guy who may or may not have existed”

                      You’re a rarity if you believe he didn’t exist. You’d sooner have to believe Alexander the Great didn’t exist!

                      “who developed a cult among many area cults, and by sheer chance really”

                      I like how you call things you don’t like “cults”.

                      “that particular cult got elevated to global power thanks to Emperor Constantine”

                      It survived, even thrived, back when the State was against it (for a few hundred years!). When the State co-opted the term and muddled everyone’s thinking, the State used that term to increase its power (one thing the State will always try to do).

                      How many beliefs in the world spent a few hundred years thriving while the State tried to kill it, while its practitioners were best known as pacifists? Not many, I’d reckon.

                  2. There was a lot of government involved in that, too.

            2. If this is parody, it’s brilliant. If this is serious, then it’s the reason that Christianity is losing followers.

              1. Veritas liberabit vos.

                Basically, appeal to ridicule, try again.

                1. When you’ve succeeded you don’t try again.

                  1. You meant to appeal to ridicule? OK, then you succeeded!

                    1. Pointing out the ridiculous is an appeal to reason.

                    2. Oh, well that one is a “proof by assertion”, then. You have to show it’s ridiculous, not just assert it.

            3. So if you have children, it’s OK to kill them, because you’re just taking back from them the life you gave them?

              This is the best argument you can give that Jehova’s libertarian?!

              1. Ummm… that was a misread. God gives the gift of life. Not man (or woman).

                While our rhetoric around motherhood seems to imply otherwise, the Christian mindset is that life is for God and God only to give and take. Ergo every pro-life argument.

                Mothers do not have that authority.

              2. As the other point is answered, let me leave you with this thought:
                Let’s assume the Lord All Mighty exists. Now look at the world. Now note that he chooses to not interfere directly 99.999% of the time.

                Isn’t that the most libertarian thing you can conceive of? He gives people near infinite options, tells them what will happen if they do the wrong ones, gives them an option to “undo” what they did with a “get out of jail card” (oversimplified), and then leaves them alone until they die!

                I wouldn’t do that, and I’m a hardcore An-Cap!

            4. The book of Judges is the most libertarian society that ever existed.

              The book of 1 Samuel is the most predictable response to it.

      2. Greetings, Ronny! As you can see, there’s a lot of confusion about piss running down the back and Holy Water.

        As I’ve said before, if Christianity and religion in general were compatible with libertarianism, we would have had a libertarian society thousands of years ago.

        As for Trump and his foreign policy, meh! He didn’t deviate much from the status/Statist quo. He actually sent 3500 more troops to aid our so-called Saudi “friends.” Also, all Trump’s talk about NATO natons paying more of the bill for their own defense was just bluster and moonshine.

        True fans of liberty are rare birds indeed. Must keep happy warrior-ing on until some come along.

        1. “As I’ve said before, if Christianity and religion in general were compatible with libertarianism, we would have had a libertarian society thousands of years ago.”

          I see you cannot learn. See above.

          1. Are you, by any chance, the one called Bad Quaker revived as a Zombie? Your positions sound like something he’d spew.

            1. Nope. Never heard of him. Been too busy to visit the site for a while, but I’ve been here off and on for a few years.

    3. Christianity being individualistic is simplistic. So is saying it is collectivist.

      Christianity is about individual responsibility and relationship. Beginning with our relationship to our creator, we then are better able to have God-honoring relationships with others.

      There is a personal aspect to it that dictates how we interact with the people around us. It is at once built on NAP while also promoting social hierarchies and respectful acknowledgement of appropriate authority (and what those are). (Ephesians 5-6)

      It is condemnatory of man-made judgements and applying Christian morality onto the unbeliever while at once encouraging believers to share the message of Christ (1 Corinthians and The Great Commission).

      It is complex.

      1. Not built on NAP, the foundation of NAP.

  27. You’re kidding me. There are plenty of conservatives discussing both liberty and responsibility. Approximately 100% of them were instantly derided as Nazis.

    Go away now.

    1. It isn’t. The solution must begin at home—on the front porch, around the kitchen table, and in the mirror. The law is not a magic wand. There are no magic wands, and there is no shortcut to the good society.

      Check out Jordan Peterson over here…

      Nazi.

    1. Funny.

      I think I have worn a necktie maybe twice in the past 20 years. I had no idea it had anything to do with collective male supremacy. On the few occasions I have the women in my life said “oh! Don’t you look nice.” Then she adjusted my collar and off we went.

      1. I heard No-Tie Guy on the radio talking about the affront to his culture, etc.

      2. On the few occasions I have the women in my life said “oh! Don’t you look nice.” Then she adjusted my collar and off we went.

        The major tie-wearing events I’ve had in my life were motivated, if not entirely driven by women. The only people I’ve had say to me “You should’ve worn a tie.” were women. The occasions where I showed up in a tie and was in the minority, the women complimented me and the men chastised me for being overdressed.

        I’ve never worn a tie to work and have received more ties than I’ve had occasions to wear them for Father’s Day. I have yet to see or hear of a woman being given a tie, pants suit, or whatever the analogy is, for Mother’s Day. Analogously, I’ve been given tools to fix or maintain the things that other people break or use for Father’s Day and am well aware of the fact that multiple women would murder me if I got them a vacuum cleaner or dishwasher for Mother’s Day.

  28. Excellent article. We could use more of these here. And if certain commenters turn into triggered snowflakes by terms like “aspiring dictators” then fuck ’em. Let them go live in their right-wing social media bubble safe space where no one ever says anything bad or mean about their God Emperor Trump. It is both sad and ironic how easily the people who complained the loudest about “snowflake” college students and the “fuck your feelings” crowd go reach for their fainting couch when someone says something mean about Trump.

    1. LUB IT OR LEEB IT!

      It’s amazing how seamlessly you turned into a nationalist reactionary as soon as your boy got elected. Or actually, it’s not amazing at all.

      1. Umm, I’m not demanding that anyone be exiled from the country.

        1. Runny Cock is a Tulpa sock.

    2. Oh also, if you think Trump is an aspiring dictator, you might want to shut your fuckhole about anybody else living in a self-constructed media bubble.

      1. I don’t think Trump was an “aspiring dictator”. I am, however, able to read past words that I don’t like in order to comprehend the entirety of an article, without turning into a triggered snowflake.

        1. It is quite ironic (and frankly hilarious) how the same people who mock college kids for being snowflakes clench their fists and spout profanity when someone insults Trump.

    3. They don’t reach for their fainting couch, they reach for their baseball bat. I have zero doubt that these same people would use violence on those they view as political enemies if they thought they could get away with it. Some would even commit murder. You see, this was THE MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION IN OUR LIFETIME, and now that they lost it is THE END OF THE REPUBLIC. People who honestly believe that shit are dangerous, and I don’t mean like Big Data.

    4. If you think they’re triggered now, try kneeling during the national anthem.

      It was always the most absurd hypocrisy. “Facts don’t care about your feelings. They care about MY feelings!”

  29. And I do like the whole fusionist idea, I really do, but the bottom line at least from my point of view is that I lack the knowledge or experience in order to be able to tell others what constitutes a “virtuous life”. Of course I would like to live in a virtuous society, but I cannot define that for others.

    If I find out that my neighbor is a drug addict, sure that would be terrible news and I might consider counseling him not to do that. But then what if I learned that my neighbor suffered a tragic loss and was using drugs to help to cope with that? I don’t have the same experiences that he has. By what moral authority can I really tell him to stop using drugs when he has suffered such a loss? I cannot reach into his soul and feel what he feels or experience the same things that he has experienced. That is really what inspires my libertarian tendencies. It is humility that I don’t know what is best for everyone and they should live their own lives even if they involve choices that I would regard as “lacking virtue” were they applied to my own life. Maybe I would gently urge my neighbor to go see a counselor. But it wouldn’t go beyond that. By no means would I want to call the cops on him or have the state pass laws forcing him to do what I would regard as virtuous. Does that make me a libertine? Does that make me someone who doesn’t want a virtuous society? Does that make me someone who “doesn’t care” about my neighbor? No, I think it makes me someone who treats people with adults and who has the humility to know when I should not be making decisions for other people. Where does that fit in with the whole fusionist project? It probably leaves me on the outside, but that is okay I suppose. If I had to choose between maximum liberty and maximum virtue, I would choose liberty.

  30. Fusionism is a Frankensterin’s Monster, especially a merger of libertarianism with religion as proposed and suggested by either Frank Meyer, William F. Buckley or Stephanie Slade.

    A person would have to be delusional to claim that religon in general, and Christianity in particular, is a supporter of either individual rights and responsibility and limited government or morality, virtue, and charity after reading this:

    9,000 children died in Ireland’s brutal homes for unmarried mothers and babies run by the Catholic Church in the 20th century, damning report reveals
    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9138905/Damning-report-finds-thousands-unmarried-Irish-mothers-babies-s4aewe aeraser 2euffered-refuge-homes.html

    And here also, both The Roman Catholic Church and The Irish Government were responsible for these deaths, since the State both funded these Church-run homes and was supposed to monitor and inspect these Church-run homes!

    Hell, Mowgli, the little Indian feral boy in Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book had a better and happier life than the the child victims of these Church-State mother-and-child horror homes!

    And where are all of either Conservative supporters of Motherhood or Woke Radical Feminist supporters of Sisterhood defending the women abused in these horror homes?

    Fusionism, Conservatism, Libertarianism, none of it means a damn thing if people cannot condemn this atrocity in modern-day Christian Theocratic Ireland, which has no doubt gone on for centuries, and which probably is being repeated worldwide!

    1. sell the Vatican.

      1. You know what? The Roman Catholic Church is going to have to do just that eventually.

        Already, IIRC, at least two Dioceses in the U.S. have gone bankrupt settling with victims of child sexual abuse by Church officials! More to come!

        On rabbit-ears HDTV, there are late-night ads for attorneys who specialize exclusively in suing for sexual abuse victims of Priests, Pastors, and Scoutmasters. Even The Bard would retract his incitement against lawyers for these cases!

        Meanwhile, there needs to be criminal charges against anyone in Church
        or State found to have had a hand in the atrocities of the Irish mother-and-child homes and any other abuses and atrocities like them!

        And until The Vatican is sold off, all nations need to kick out Vatican embassies and consulates and officials, then blockade The Vatican until it gives up both its records on abuse and atrocities and any fugitives from justice in their jurisdiction.

        Little Italy could do the blockade all by itself, though support from the U.S. and neighboring nations would be optimal.

        And if any abusers escape all this, there needs to be an army of Simon Wiesenthals, Boondock Saints, and Frank Castle/Punishers hunting them to the ends of the Earth and even space whenever space travel goes mass and commercial.

        One last thing. You know that aspect of The Sistene Chapel with Aristotle, Plato, Averroes, and Avicena? I want first dibs on the bidding! 🙂

        1. Even The Bard would retract his incitement against lawyers for these cases!

          I question the retconning of The Bard’s “incitement”. The notion requires that the speaker, Dick The Butcher (that’s ‘buther’ as in, ‘murderer of people’ not ‘processor of livestock’), is someone people were supposed to emulate or consider to be an intellectual or moral paragon.

          1. You must admit, though, The Bard made it sound so good and quoteable.

            Lawyers also have tried to use the quote to defend their own profession, so they obviously don’t care about the source.

    2. “A person would have to be delusional to claim that religon in general, and Christianity in particular, is a supporter of either individual rights and responsibility and limited government or morality, virtue, and charity after reading this:”

      That’s a tragedy, and you are not as outraged as I am about this. Evil people do evil things, and sometimes they call themselves “Christians”. Sometimes they call themselves “Atheists”, or “Agnostics”, or “Muslims”. But, we aren’t tribalists, now are we? We don’t judge an ideology based on what some people do while claiming it, we judge it based on what it actually SAYS, noting that evil/stupid people will try to ruin everything good.

      So, try again.

      1. Religion is the only thing that makes good people do evil things.

        We are all tribal. You’re in more tribes than you’re even aware of. Religion is simply one of the more evolutionarily successful forms of tribe, because the cost of not participating are even higher than mere ostracism, but invoke your eternal soul.

        I heard an interesting idea that the more implausible the punishment aspect of the mythology is, the more horrific it has to be in order to keep people believing.

        It’s how you get children believing that not doing the right rituals means they will be burned to death from outside in over and over for all eternity.

        Happy kittens and lollipops! Jesus loves!

        1. “Religion is the only thing that makes good people do evil things.”

          Derp. Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, etc. must have only done their evil with “evil people”.

          “We are all tribal. You’re in more tribes than you’re even aware of.”

          Almost correct. I have more in common and have to treat Christians differently, yes, but just because I ride bikes, that doesn’t mean I’m in that “tribe”. I just do it. The smallest possible tribe is the individual, after all!

          “because the cost of not participating are even higher than mere ostracism, but invoke your eternal soul”

          And yet I don’t participate in 99% of them. It’s almost like this argument is bunk!

          “It’s how you get children believing that not doing the right rituals”

          Wow rather than argue that, I’ll give you this for free. Correctly understood, Christianity isn’t a religion, it’s a relationship. Even the “rituals” (baptism and communion), are specifically said to be unnecessary (the thief on the cross). All one need do is recognize their sin, recognize that Jesus paid form them, and follow him just as his disciples did (make him “Lord” – follow his ways). It’s not really a religion, and in the NT the word is only used about 7 times, and only once positively (in that giving to the true poor is good). So, you can blame “religion” all you want, but that doesn’t affect Christianity.

          “they will be burned to death from outside in over and over for all eternity”

          So, let me tell you what hell is. It is described as fire and torture, no doubt, but what it is is simply separation from God, the life-giver. We have our life because God gave it, and all the good we have is his. He tells us who he is, and offers to fix our relationship with him (through Jesus), but doesn’t force us to do anything, or accept him. He is a gentleman, and if we absolutely refuse a relationship with him, he lets us go our way. What this looks like is hell (the place where God isn’t). All God’s goodness and life that exists in this world isn’t there. It’s much, much worse than the Catholic concept of it!

          “Jesus loves!”

          Even you Tony! Even me!

          1. Which “ride bikes” tribe: bicycles or motorcycles? I do know folks in both. I also am aware of sub-tribes: comfort bikers vs commuters vs mountain bikers vs roadies.

            In the “I’m not the motor” tribe: HOG types vs outlaws vs off-roaders vs the refugees from anime on riceburners?

            We can all agree on “Share The Road,” though, right?

            1. Bicycles. And yes, “Share the road”. Also, “Don’t be a jerk”.

          2. No true Scotsman would cause the crusades and inquisition.

            1. Yes, Tony, “no true Scotsman” is a thing. It doesn’t apply when you can’t be a crusader Christian – by definition. When it violates the definition of the term, then it cannot be.

              It’s like a God-hating Atheist. Oh, wait…

        2. You’re in more tribes than you’re even aware of. Religion is simply one of the more evolutionarily successful forms of tribe, because the cost of not participating are even higher than mere ostracism, but invoke your eternal soul.

          And Christianity is one of the more evolutionarily successful forms of such tribalism because it inherently transcends the fundamentals of tribalism. Anyone of any tribe can join Christianity and as long as you aren’t violently opposed to Christianity, you aren’t beyond being forgiven/redeemed. If you don’t believe in being burned to death by hellfire, Christianity is far less likely than other tribal ideologies to make it happen. It, by its nature, didn’t obliterate the vestiges of other forms of tribalism and isn’t immune to them, but as far as tribes and the various facets of tribalism go, it’s among the least deleterious and most tolerant and is in the minority as such.

          1. Well that’s the biggest load of horseshit I’ve read today.

            I think it’s likely Christianity has a higher body count than any other ideology ever invented. And that’s not even including the misery of the people it infected with AIDS by its ridiculous genital policing. Or the backwardness of otherwise modern societies enthralled by its rituals. As a matter of fact, Christianity is the only real tyranny I’ve lived under, and I’m hardly alone. Only the Christians ever said I had fewer rights than everyone else because of how I was born.

            I don’t do hypothetical mythologies. I observe what real ones have done. There’s so much blood on Christianity’s hands you could fill a river.

            1. The irrational atheist soundly defeats this argument to the point none of the atheist apologists use it anymore.

  31. While the political exiles are squabbling over what they’d do if they were in office, we have a regime which is attacking both liberty *and* virtue.

    But when it comes to making alliance against common enemies, Reason’s instinct is to reach for left-wing allies when it sees some area of common ground (legalizing dope) while shunning what could be productive alliances with icky right-wingers.

    1. Maybe if they took more heroin they’d see the value of making alliances on the right.

      1. There is,, of course, the libertarian alternative of swearing off all addictions, whether to drugs, government, or being eager to please any side. Yes, libertarians can make common cause with others on ad hoc issues,, but have the opposition approach first.

    2. The Left would gladly take libertarians out into the Lubyanka courtyard and put bullets in their heads. The bloodthirst currently on display in DC and everywhere else is not going away anytime soon.

      1. Remember, they’ve got to find their target first,, then exert all the time and effort of staking out and stalking their target, then confronting the target while not knowing if yhe target is armed.

        Given how pea-brained and cowardly and anti-gun they are, you might not have as much to worry about as expected.

    3. Go ahead and tie your ankles to the anchor dragging the Republican Party into the abyss. If you were smart you’d form that alliance with liberals and get what you can get, like an adult.

      If you’re still hitched to the people who thought installing Donald Trump as dictator was a swell idea, Christian sharia is how communities should be run, and everyone who’s not a white guy is suspect of being an undesirable, then I might start to suspect that you too get a little thrill up your leg when you have fascist thoughts.

      I don’t understand what liberties the right is offering. More income tax cuts? Of course all the arguments I see here are for why libertarians have to make exceptions to libertarianism to protect us from the Mexicans and Chinese, so who knows what the real motivations are here.

      1. “Donald Trump as dictator…Christian sharia…white guy…fascist”

        How original.

  32. A possibly interesting article ruined by a TDS-inspired disclaimer at the outset. Sheesh.

  33. >>>But the fall of the USSR meant

    the Ruling Class was left with nothing to do but run a hillbilly-rapist for president and give our tech to China, and thirty years later you guys helped them boot our necks even more.

  34. Too bad that Stephanie didn’t read all of the Catholic Catechism. She might have gotten to the part were the purpose of private property is service to the poor.

    What can you expect from someone who cannot or will not denounce Pope Francis as a socialist? Perhaps because Francis is a far more consistent Catholic than Slade.

    The “individualism” of Catholicism is reserved for the spiritual realm where individual salvation is possible. In the material world, the Catholic Church has consistently supported tyranny of one kind or another stretching from the Catholic monarchies like Spain to refusing to ever denounce Cuba or Venezuela on economic grounds.

    1. Meanwhile the hierarchy is worried that when Francis gets the gift of God’s own massive stroke or succumbs to God’s own covid, the Benedict wing will get a new conservative pope and the church will therefore die. They know it has to continue to reform in a progressive direction or or else it’s curtains.

      The clergy get all the jewels and palaces, the poor get rules about what they can do with their genitals. It does seem like a raw deal if you think about it.

      1. You are further proving my point that God is very libertarian, and that people have been complaining about this for thousands of years. God allows all kinds of evil. How merciful!

        1. God also seems to work very slowly and through natural selection, the most brutal form of creation it’s possible to imagine. I think both gothic cathedrals and childhood cancer can be explained without a loving deity watching over us. I know if I were a deity, childhood cancer wouldn’t even occur to me to create.

          1. “God also seems to work very slowly and through natural selection, the most brutal form of creation it’s possible to imagine.”

            Creation fell with man. The world is broken.

            “I think both gothic cathedrals and childhood cancer can be explained without a loving deity watching over us.”

            I don’t think simple physics equations that make the universe possible can be explained without him. That whole “aliens made a simulation of the universe and that’s what we live in” theory is correct. It’s just the alien is called “God”.

            “I know if I were a deity, childhood cancer wouldn’t even occur to me to create.”

            He didn’t. We did. Again, very libertarian. He even lets us break stuff.

            1. How did “we” “create” childhood cancer?

              “I don’t think simple physics equations that make the universe possible can be explained without him.”

              That’s the thing about the mathematical underpinnings of modern physics. They don’t need a deity of any sort to work and produce predictions that can be tested. There is no variable in these equations that represents God.

              1. “How did “we” “create” childhood cancer?”

                Fair question. The world broke with the world’s caretaker broke.

                “They don’t need a deity of any sort to work and produce predictions that can be tested.”

                You are correct. That being said, the odds that the particular relationships between the forces of physics will result in a Universe that can exist are infinitesimally small. That’s why many ascribe to the “aliens made a simulation of the universe and that’s what we live in” theory. They are correct. The alien is called “God”.

                1. *when the world’s caretaker broke. I hate the lack of a simple edit button!

                2. It could be God, but you’d have to explain God. Or the aliens. They’d be another layer of complexity. Thus, they explain nothing. It’s still God of the gaps. Fine tuning is interesting, but it may not even be the problem some physicists think it is. Why should the fundamental ratios be of order 1? Who says that’s natural? Gravity is the odd man out, and it’s not even unified with the other ones yet.

                  At any rate, physicists explain this problem using the multiverse/anthropic principle much more than God, and that’s silly enough.

                  1. “you’d have to explain God”

                    God explained himself. The dog doesn’t use it’s massive intellect to understand man, the man uses his intellect to explain himself at the dog’s level.

                    “Why should the fundamental ratios be of order 1?”

                    You’ll have to explain that one.

                    “physicists explain this problem using the multiverse/anthropic principle much more than God, and that’s silly enough”

                    That’s because they are physicists, and they are concerned about physics. God is concerned about more important things, such as your life, and how you treat these other infinitely important (and irreplaceable) things we call “humans”.

  35. For many libertarians, the Trump years revealed their traditionalist allies to be hypocrites and opportunists, all too willing to sell out the ideals of fusionism in service of an aspiring dictator.

    The Trump phenomenon did bring out a divide, just not along the lines you think. The same divide was revealed earlier, though not so widely perceived, by Howard A. Stern and Jesse Ventura. It’s a divide between those who want to promote liberty and those who want to promote themselves by posing as those of the first type. The latter group is threatened by any who have success (or threaten to succeed) in promoting liberty.

  36. “For many libertarians, the Trump years revealed their traditionalist allies to be hypocrites and opportunists, all too willing to sell out the ideals of fusionism in service of an aspiring dictator. Conservatives have commenced a not-so-slow descent toward authoritarianism, some in this group suggest; if the philosophy of liberty is to have a future, it must involve building bridges to the left, not the right.”

    Really? It was the Trump years that did this? I was under the impression that it was the years during the George W. Bush Administration that did this.

    I’m never been a Trump supporter, but this argument that his administration shows that Conservatives have commenced a descent toward authoritarianism has little basis in reality. Nor do I see much evidence that conservatives are truly worse today then their “Progressive” counterparts on the Left. In fact, Trump and conservatives today are faaar less anti-liberty and authoritarian than Republicans of previous administrations.

    If libertarians are to have any public policy successes in the future then they’ll need seek some sort of fusionist alliance with conservatives. And libertarians will have to work harder on convincing conservatives that the big government solutions endorsed by their “favorite” politicians are far worse for society then the problems they seek to solve.

  37. It doesn’t matter anymore, you stupid bitch.
    We have totalitarian one party rule now, and those leftists you think are your friends know you’re just one of their slaves.

    1. Amen.

      The article was long and stupid, too.

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  39. The partisan press was dependent on Trump for ratings, redefining themselves either as his worshipful chorus (Fox) or as The Resistance (all the rest). What’s less well understand is that even minor players like Reason are also part of this polarization. It really shows in articles like this. Reason must be out of their minds with fear and uncertainty over a Trump-less future. Their solution: keep the Orange Boogeyman alive for as long as possible.

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  41. Wow. Nice selective memory you got there reminiscing the Reagan years. I did a Control-F and tried to type Moral Majority and Focus on the Family and didn’t find any mention. Republicans have always advocated for conservative social issues. The critics say they were authoritarian. Just about every Republican candidate was accused of being Hitler ever since there was a Hitler because they believe in a family oriented society, not a consumerist one. Stop spreading lies.

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