Conservatism

Nationalist Conservatives Are Abandoning the Ideas of Liberty

We should prefer drag queens in libraries over despots in the government.

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"The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the Republican model of government," George Washington said, "are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally staked, on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people." Not long ago, virtually all American conservatives would have applauded those words—and described themselves as protectors of that limited-government ideal.

These days, the first president's words would be controversial among the growing ranks of national conservatives. They are so disgusted with the nation's cultural trends that they no longer want to bother with preserving that sacred fire. They echo an Old World approach. In Europe, conservatives rarely focus on preservation of liberty, but on using government to promote the religious and cultural traditions of their respective nations.

That's a far cry from our founders, who expressed the ideals defined in the Declaration of Independence—"that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights." Governments, they wrote, derived "their just powers from the consent of the governed."

Because conservatives here tried to conserve our nation's traditions, conservatism has long been associated, at least rhetorically, with these ideals. Following the Trump-induced emergence of right-wing populism, however, many American conservatives no longer see the government as a referee that protects individual rights – but as something that should intervene aggressively to assert a set of collective values and goals.

Now some of these voices have dispensed even with the pretense of defending the right of individuals and businesses to make their own choices. We see that in Republican efforts to break up tech firms, but a tweet from The New York Post's Sohrab Ahmari takes this thinking to new levels. He's arguably the most prominent advocate for this illiberal form of conservatism.

"I'm at peace with a Chinese-led 21st century," he tweeted last week. "Late liberal America is too dumb and decadent to last as a superpower. Chinese civilization, especially if it recovers more of its Confucian roots, will possess a great deal of natural virtue." Ahmari removed the tweet, but it shows how desperate some national conservatives have become in seeking respite from a society that they apparently find intolerable.

Religiously devout Ahmari, who gained national fame for his outrage at drag-queen story hour at the Sacramento public library, apparently is so upset at excesses of our increasingly libertine society that he's willing to see the world led by a communist government that insists on selecting Catholic bishops and persecutes Christian believers. We certainly live in interesting times.

"The U.S. is decadent because it isn't Christian enough and classical liberalism still holds sway," as a colleague summarized this line of reasoning. "Therefore, we should accept the global leadership of an atheist/communist dictatorship which bulldozes churches and because it runs a society grounded in Confucianism."

That Chinese philosophy stresses "the importance of correct behavior, loyalty and obedience to hierarchy," as History Today explains. Fortunately, most Americans would never rank "obedience to hierarchy" as a top-tier value. I share some of Ahmari's frustrations about our society's problems, but am not about to seek leadership from overseas tyrants (ours are bad enough).

During his 2019 debate with David French, a traditional liberty-defending conservative, Ahmari urged conservatives, "to fight the culture war with the aim of defeating the enemy and enjoying the spoils in the form of a public square re-ordered to the common good and ultimately the Highest Good." I'm not sure there'd be much agreement even among religious people of how to achieve that Higher Good.

Ahmari is perhaps an outlier, but this "common good" malarkey is making a comeback among mainstream Republicans. Sen. Marco Rubio (R–Fla.) gave a speech on Catholic social doctrine in 2019 in which he championed common-good capitalism. He described it as a "third-way" between Democratic welfarism and Republican "market fundamentalism."

"Our challenge is an economic order that is bad for America," he argued. In order to re-jigger the economy for higher purposes, Rubio advances various highfalutin but mostly nebulous federal policies. "Promoting the common good will require public policies that drive investments in key industries, because pure market principles and our national interest are not aligned," he said.

This is just a grandiose justification for government intervention in private decisions. What is the common good? It is whatever policy makers and government planners say it is. This proposal sounds remarkably similar to the progressive vision of letting "public-spirited" bureaucrats and politicians have unlimited power. They know what's best, after all.

Despite their common-good promises, "all government is, in its essence, organized exploitation, and in virtually all of its existing forms it is the implacable enemy of every industrious and well-disposed man," as journalist H.L. Mencken noted. That's why our founders believed in liberty—and why I would rather put up with drag queens in libraries than throw in the towel and submit to despots.

This column was first published in The Orange County Register.

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  1. https://twitter.com/POTUS/status/1392935847863934987?s=19

    The rule is now simple: get vaccinated or wear a mask until you do.

    The choice is yours.

    1. What’s with the totality unscientific obsession with forcing people to strap old tee shirts on their faces?

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    2. Greenhut chooses to remain in the People Republic of California but is deeply concerned about the Republican threat to liberty.

      Deeply!

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    3. Apparently while the world is on a deep slide, national infrastructure hacked, gas lines, gas up 50%, massive increases in violent crime, border crisis, building materials out of control, massive inflation in many sectors, the middle east war, Dems attempting to hack political control on numerous fronts, and his own state falling apart with massive migration out of the state…

      … Greenhut manages to find some obscure tweet from an even more obscure columnist from the NY Post, lumps everyone together who claims anything right of center left, economic, social, world policy, and for the sake of his lecture to the group, presumes that this tweet which is a miniscule side note from that one person epitomizes the entire range of thought across all fronts for the entire collective.

      Honestly, it’s pretty funny how since the election, he has 6 articles with headlines telling conservatives and Republicans to straighten up, and not a mention of liberals, progs, or Democrats, despite the fact that the latter have turned every damn front into a crisis in less than 4 months.

      This is almost as hilarious as when one Party sends out their spokespeople and surrogates to tell the other Party who their candidates are that can defeat them.

      Pardon me Greenhut if I can’t take anything you say seriously much less as food for thought.

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    4. My body, my choice, e.g., my rule is: no shot, no mask, no quarantine, and no respect for authority. I disobey.

  2. https://twitter.com/davereaboi/status/1393058881648091143?s=19

    This is probably the most important story that nobody’s paying attention to: the re-tooling of counter-terror measures and bureaucracies, and their weaponization against conservatives who pose no threat. January 6 was an excuse to orient focus on this new hate object. [Link]

    1. Pose no threat? Are we going to continue to ignore an attempted insurrection, a president who at the very least did jack shit to stop it, and the deaths that occurred that day?

      And they’re not “hiding” it. They’re combing through it to find the offenders.

      Not only that but for all the uninformed morons out there you probably don’t want to give foreign countries the locations of all the cameras you have of your Capitol building.

      It’s called security. Once again though- why should anyone be surprised at morons reading bullshit into completely normal things?

      1. No more threat than any other rowdy band of political protestors. I can’t believe that people are still going with “insurrection”.

        1. I can’t believe that people are still going with “insurrection”.

          They’re doing it for the same reason that every newspaper article about the weather mentions climate change. Repeat something often enough (like sarc, jeff, and WK are all the same person) and people will believe it.

          1. I don’t need repetition. I saw it live on the TV, including the part where Biden beat the president, who has a tv camera mere feet from his office, to the TV to urge calm.

            1. You mean the people walking in single file past the velvet ropes taking selfies? That was horrific.

        2. ^^SO MUCH THIS!^^

        3. No other rowdy band stormed the Capitol. So yes, we are going with insurrection.

          1. Maybe you need to take a look back at what happened when the Kavanaugh hearings were happening.
            Or the other times the Capitol was the scene of protests.
            “Stormed the Capitol”…hyperbole, much?

      2. There was no insurrection.

        You keep demanding that Trump should have rolled out the military to handle a police action.

        All the deaths that occurred that day were caused be the police or were otherwise natural.

        Not only that but for all the uninformed morons out there you probably don’t want to give foreign countries the locations of all the cameras you have of your Capitol building.

        ? We already know where the cameras are. There are apps that will tell you where surveillance cameras are.

        1. “You keep demanding that Trump should have rolled out the military to handle a police action.”

          After similar bitching about Trump using the Guard to actually put down violent protests outside the WH in the summer.

          1. And remember what the reaction to driving Trump into the bunker was — THEY LAUGHED AT HIM FOR BEING A PUSSY.

      3. the deaths that occurred that day?

        Death… Singular… The only person who died in the riot was Ashli Babbit who was killed by Capitol Police.

      4. wow are you brainwashed

      5. Everything in raspberries narrative has fallen to pieces. The zip ties, the poo being smeared, the death of officer Sicknick, but look at him still pretend his Big Lie is relevant.

        1. That’s because everything else around us is falling to shit so he must find a few hour non-event 4 months ago that supersedes the world chaos that the current administration presides over.

          Some rednecks broke a window and sat in Pelosi’s chair, and suddenly every leftist learned the word “insurrection” that they couldn’t have defined a week earlier. So deflect and focus on that instead of massive inflation, a stagnant job market that ironically has massive numbers of job AND an equal number of people on “unemployment”, gas lines, violent crime increases, a border crisis, war in the mid-east, China with a new FU attitude, a WH that is waiving ethics requirements, S Korea telling Biden to stay out of it, and the list goes on and on. Dems weighing packing courts and new statehoods to seize permanent government status.

          But never mind that… pay attention over here to “attempted insurrection” cuz reezins.

          And uh, there is no such thing as attempted insurrection. It’s either insurrection or it’s not. I think you were going for attempted *coup*, but likely haven’t learned what that definition, and most certainly can’t pronounce it.

          1. ^GOLD!

      6. Anyone that calls what happened in DC an “attempted insurrection” is an idiot or a shill.

        1. See DOL, he’s both.

      7. Nobody with an intellect superior to that of a potted fern believes the “insurrection” fable.

        As paranoid as you are about people with guns, you might stop to ask yourself why the “insurrectionists” didn’t actually BRING any.

      8. Just like the miniscule number of deaths actually blamed on the Chinaflu, only one death was directly the result of the entry of citizens into the People’s House…the murder of Ashli Babbitt, by a Capitol police officer.

    2. If only somebody had been yelling for the last 20 years that the USA PATRIOT Act would be used against Americans who speak out against government!!!!!!!!

      1. ^ So, so much this.

  3. https://twitter.com/Breaking911/status/1392927189201559554?s=19

    FBI Warns of Prison Time If You Present a Fake Vaccination Card – [link]

    1. Adults recognize that belligerent ignorance, lethal recklessness, and fraud should have consequences.

      The discussion at the children’s table sometimes differs.

      1. Spend a lot of time at the children’s table, chemjeff?

        1. Who knows? But he clearly has a kink for corporal punishment.

        2. Dammit! Shoulda refreshed!

        3. He’s not allowed within a thousand feet of children.

        4. You too with the sock accusation? I thought you were one of the sane ones.

          1. Just making a point.

      2. If your vaccination protects you from me, I do not need a vaccination.

        If your vaccination does not protect you from me, you do not need a vaccination.

        1. Yep. I’m vaccinated and based on all the data I’ve read I feel safe from COVID. I’m not going to worry about the tiny chance I can still catch COVID and the REALLY tiny chance I could even die from COVID. Everyone 16+ in the US has had the opportunity to be fully vaccinated by now so nobody should be demanding the government should place restrictions on others (not that they ever should have been demanding that – but even more so now)

          If you want to get vaccinated / not-vaccinated wear a mask / don’t wear a mask you should be free to do what you want.

          1. That would be letting a crisis go to waste.

            There is still power NOT in the hands of the Dems, so they’ll keep this going until they have it.

      3. Spend a lot of time in discussion at the children’s table during drag queen story hour do you?

        1. That’s the rev in that pic up top? It all makes sense now.

  4. Traditions suck.

    Traditions are the opposite of liberty, autonomy, and thinking. Traditions inhibit innovation and intelligence. Traditions are the worst reason, and often point to the worst options, for doing things.

    1. Traditions exist for a reason. You should find out what that reason is before you tear them down. And figure out what they’re going to be replaced with – you might not like the new traditions.

      1. Tradition simply is. Being for it or against it in-and-of-itself is counter-rational.

      2. I am fine with that. But if you find out there is no rational reason for the tradition, then you get rid of it.

    2. Every generation makes the choice to follow traditions. They subscribe and define it for themselves. What you are describing as liberty is anarchy.

      1. +1 Johnny Rotten

        1. +1 Johnny Rotten

          Who in this, oddly enough, perfectly agrees with T. S. Eliot.

          1. Johnny has some interesting views in his old age.

    3. Traditions are building blocks for future generations to build on. If every generation attempts to reinvent the wheel, we’d never get to air flight.

      Why on earth should we tear down foundations that built one of the greatest civilizations in the world without really evaluating it? Tearing it down because it is dated is the absolute worst idea that could exist and is not built on reason, but conceit.

      Let me know when you wish to discard the wheel. Maybe that’s racist, too. Or cultural appropriation.

      1. If every generation attempts to reinvent the wheel, we’d never get to air flight.

        Yet, conversely, if every generation reveres the wheel as sacred tradition, we’d also never get to air flight.

      2. I think all the commenters here rushing to defend the concept of tradition is a perfect example of how this comment section is dominated by conservatives and not libertarians. Conservatives worship traditions for their own sake.

    4. and often point to the worst options, for doing things.

      That’s very much not true.

    5. “Traditions suck.
      Traditions are the opposite of liberty, autonomy, and thinking.”

      “I’m apparently fourteen years old”

      This may be one of the most retarded takes ever. Nothing becomes tradition without some utility and reason behind it.

    6. My favorite traditions are fierce defense of individual rights and liberty, individual responsibility, and respect for private property.

      1. ^ZING!

    7. Reason means going for an idea or practice because it is true, good, and right, not because of the age of the idea or practice.

      Either the most hallowed, heralded tradition or the sickest, “on-fleek,” hip trend can be either stone-cold rational or just damn nonsense.

      1. Reason means considering the how and why of something before changing it to something “better”. Discarding a tradition just because it’s tradition is not reasonable.

        1. What I said.

    8. There was a time I might have agreed with you to some extent. And I still think that some traditions are not helpful. But by and large, I think traditions are a good thing. Even with things as fucked up as they are now, we are still at an amazing point in human history in terms of material wellbeing and opportunity. You need to be really careful about trying to tear down the values and traditions that got us here.

    9. “Traditions are the worst reason, and often point to the worst options, for doing things.”

      I can think of a worse reason. Opposing anything at all thats a tradition, just because its a tradition.

      1. Opposing anything at all thats a tradition, just because its a tradition.

        That is arguably the more destructive stance, yes.

  5. “Fortunately, most Americans would never rank ‘obedience to hierarchy’ as a top-tier value.”

    You sure about that? Seems to me we spent the past year being obedient to hierarchy in the form of “experts” and governors issuing imperial decrees much like the Chinese emperors of old. And for people who supposedly reject obedience to hierarchy, we seem to have this nasty habit of electing leaders who expect us to display such obedience on a regular basis.

    1. And it’s “liberals” and “progressives” who are enthusiastically obeying and demanding obedience, not “nationalist conservatives”. Greenhut is hallucinating.

      1. +1

        1. Please, Reason, add an up vote option so we don’t have to take up space posting comments when all we really want to do is agree with another poster.
          + 1 for Vernon

          1. +1 for both of you!

      2. One might even be said to be a response to the other.

        One might note that Trump became President after the rise of Progressives. He also became President after the tea party ‘rebelled’ against the Republican party.

        One might be tempted to say the Republican party brought this on themselves, and that it’s a response to the totalitarian whims of Progressives and the fecklessness of the only major alternative party.

        It’s as if someone was to repeatedly punch the Republican party in the face, while screaming ‘stop hitting yourself’.

      3. Greenhut isn’t hallucinating, he’s projecting.

        As a progressive pretending to be a libertarian It’s exactly what he is paid to do.

      4. It’s not an either/or.

    2. Reason magazine has been operating exclusively on a principle of “obedience to hierarchy” for at least the last several years.
      Nothing else justifies their irrational hatred for Trump, nationalists, and all others who oppose those who wield institutional sociopolitical power.

      1. Disaffected, vanquished, obsolete, bigoted clingers are among my favorite culture war casualties.

        And the core of the current — and doomed — Republican Party.

        1. Actually, the core of the Republican Party isn’t the Trumpers. Trumpers just make the most noise and, consequently, they get the grease. Many Republicans are fed up with Trump and his bootlickers.

          1. Yeah, we got a letter from 150 of the most prominent this past week. The establishment is losing their power in the GOP. Of course they’re going to flop and twitch and squirm.

            1. +1

          2. Look at this concern troll throw down.

          3. Suuuuure they are.

            That’s why tens of thousands of people (not just Republicans) at a time drove great distances to attend Trump rallies. Because they were fed up with him.

            Mitt got 60,000,000 votes in 2012.
            Trump got 75,000,000 votes in 2020.

      2. They’re opposed to authoritarians regardless of stripe, as libertarians should.

    3. Fortunately, most Americans would never rank ‘obedience to hierarchy’ as a top-tier value.

      The will if they’re told to.

    4. I think the point is national conservatives are starting to resemble their progressive enemies more than the older classically liberal generation of conservatives.

      That the extremes on left and right frequently resemble each other is not a new observation. Look up horseshoe theory.

  6. Greenhut reporting from Bizarro World, where conservatives, and not totalitarian leftists, are the real threat to classical liberal value and democratic republican government.

    1. Liberalism arose as a reaction to oppose conservatism! The United States was deliberately established to overthrow such conservatism.

      1. Therefore, liberalism is responsible for slavery, an institution liberals kept after throwing off conservatism? It follows that conservatism had to defeat liberalism to end the institution of slavery.

        1. Yes, it was people who would today be labeled as the “religious right” who spearheaded the abolition of slavery. In part this was because those religious saw slavery as an end run around Christian sexual morality.

        2. The last time I checked American history it was the conservative aristocrat-likes who wanted to keep slavery and other social hierarchies, not the liberal republicans.

    2. The Totalitarian Left/SJW/CRT/Woke/Feminist/Islamofascist crowd are the threat of the moment…But the “National Conservatism” of Sohrab Ahmari, J.D. Vance, “Mencius Moldbug” and others sounds like they could be The New Next if given a chance.

      Claire Wolfe once said what may be the biggest word of the libertarian lexicon and it bears repeating: “Yet.”

      1. But the “National Conservatism” of Sohrab Ahmari, J.D. Vance, “Mencius Moldbug” and others sounds like they could be The New Next if given a chance.

        Yeah – it seems like swapping the one for the other would be a lateral move at best.

    3. Yeah, I was going to say the same thing.
      The threat he warns us about is cultural conservatives in the party out of power, when the influence of the cultural conservatives is lower than it has been in the past 4 decades?
      And the party in power just doubled federal spending and is working with favored corporations to implement thought crime enforcement?

  7. None of those “nationalist conservatives” have any power, which reason liberaltarians know well. Instead the illiberal authoritarians are all in the democrat party who hold majorities.

    1. In California the Democrats hold supermajorities in both state houses, all the executive offices including governor, and all the major newspapers and TV outlets. That’s why Greenhut is carried in the Orange County Register, not the LA Times. The mayors of SF, LA, Sacramento, and San Jose are Democrats.
      There has always been a wing of the conservatives who resist change, sometimes with real reason, sometimes not. The Progressive left is in power and will probably stay that way forever, so worrying about social conservatives is meaningless.

  8. It turns out if conservatives stop associating with libertarians, libertarians disappear into an irrelevant fog of depraved sex and drugs. But keep hoping hanging with the cool kids. They’ll respect you if you can just get them to hear you out.

    1. Depraved sex and drugs are the things that politicians across the political spectrum value in common. Maybe that’s the ground on which we can come together.

      1. It does somehow enhance the pleasure when you can come together.

        1. It does somehow enhance the pleasure when you can come together.

          You saw what I did there.

      2. +1 Beatles

      3. I think following the mores of those in power is generally a bad idea, but sure. Why not? I’m sure there are plenty of examples of sexual depravity and liberty being linked in history.

      4. Say! That inspires a great idea! Let’s pitch to the cable and streaming services a pay-per-view idea of Josh Hawley and Elizabeth Warren mud-wrestling in Thunderdome for the position of “Reality Czar!” The rallying cry could be: “Zero persons enter! Zero persons leave!” All proceeds from the pay-per-view will go to libertarian causes, of course. (Don’t start without me, though. I need to get some dice for their garments.)

        1. I want in on this.

    2. Except conservatives were never the cool kids. Conservatives are square. The Reason writers want to hang with the cool kids — the cool liberal kids.

      1. That was the point I was trying to make. Article after article crying about mean authoritarian conservatives to please their leftist lovers. She’s just not that into you, Reason.

  9. Part of my property taxes goes to the library. Don’t I get a say in what my library does?

    The best thing is to abolish public libraries. If I want I can take my money and join with other like minded people in starting our own library, and we can have drag queens all the time, or we can have religious instruction, or we can worship the CDC.

    1. I’d say that would be throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Public libraries provide a very valuable and efficient service most of the time.

      1. They will soon become an excellent source of fuel for the upcoming book burnings.

      2. You probably don’t interact much with your local library.

        Back before mine decided to take the entire pandemic off with pay, they saw their main mission as peddling woke propaganda – and this in a 65% Trump county. Even without the politics, nothing a public library does is a true public good. It’s just a subsidy provided with the usual level of government waste and featherbedding.

        1. Must be a regional thing. Libraries around here aren’t like that.

          1. Mine sees it’s primary mission as a support service for the homeless.

            Which in my area is about 80% young vagabonds who got run out of the street scene in Asheville, and 20% down on their luck and/or mentally ill.

            1. Mine sees it’s primary mission as a support service for the homeless.

              Mine, too. At least they did, until the homeless people burned it down.

      3. You don’t get out much, do you?

        Last time I went to a public library was 13 years ago. It was filled with dust-magnet books that made it hard to breathe, skater-punk kids running around and yelling with neither librarians nor security guards doing a damn thing about it, and the final straw was when I was practically carried out by a swarm of fleas brought in with somebody’s self-certified “service animal.”

        I shreded my library card after that. Perhaps just as well, considering that Homeland Security monitors people’s library choices.

        Nope, if I want a Drag Queen Story Hour, I’ll go to the local antique and collectibles store that had one. Even with protesters outside, it would be friendlier than the public library.

        1. Must be a regional thing. Libraries around here aren’t like that.

          1. Or a city-country thing. My experience is with small town and suburban libraries.

          2. It’s even worse in big cities like Charlotte, NC and New York City, where the homeless use libraries as indoor encampments.

      4. They USED to.

        Most libraries these days are magnets for bums, who have nowhere else to go during the day.

        The rest of us are online, getting far more information, faster.

    2. Why it can’t be that drag queen story hour is ousted from public accommodations the same way religious projects are is beyond me. Why can’t drag queen story hour be a feature of one of the many private day cares? Or perhaps Barnes & Noble could host it?

      If liberaltarians are so fucking set on this questionable totem, please let me know when they will defend Bible story hour being allowed in Public libraries.

      1. “Please let me know when they will defend Bible story hour being allowed in Public libraries”

        That’s a great test of their motives. Nobody is genetically predisposed to wear drag, anymore than one is genetically predisposed to be Episcopalian.

        I suspect that Greenhut would sputter with fury at seeing some church lady in a public building reading about the life of Jesus to the kiddies.

        1. “Nobody is genetically predisposed to wear drag,”

          And who gives a fuck if they are?

          Stop being beholden to the notion of ‘civil rights’ that Congress has created. Free association is at minimum Constitutionally protected. The entire edifice that says inborn traits are somehow sacrosanct is nothing more than legislative legerdemain.

          What you epistemically are is no different than what you choose to be.

          If anything it is the latter that is often more sacred.

          At least if you actually believe the First Amendment means anything. In that context the tranny loses and the Episcopalian wins.

          1. (Even though it is more often the tranny, and not the Episcopalian who is seeking to evangelize.)

          2. “inborn traits are somehow sacrosanct” + progressive racism + black crime rates explains a lot now that you point that out.

      2. I initially read “Barnes & Noble” as “Barnum & Bailey”.

    3. Exactly! It’s some real galaxy-brain libertarian thinking to defend government-sponsored speech funded by tax dollars.

      1. Failure to subsidize the left is clearly a violation of their rights…

        (Just don’t call Greenhut a progressive.)

    4. Having the drag queen stories at the local library does not cost you any extra tax dollars. I would be against it if said drag queen was getting paid, but I doubt that is happening. Just keep your kids away from the library for that hour and a half or so, or in a different part of the library.

    5. Read the book “A libertarian walks into a bear”.
      This very subject came up.

      1. Grafton, New Hampshire is definitely not libertarianism done right. Individuals have a right to protect Life, Liberty, and Property from bears and other vermin, whether by ultrasonic repellants, locked garbage cans, chemical repellant around the perimeter, or 12 Gauge Double-Ought Buck Slugs…and libertarians with any brains would use them all!

    6. There are public libraries that are privately owned and operated, just open to the public. That’s why I’d like a distinguishing term like “government library”, similar to “government school”.

    7. And think of all the copyright violations the libraries not only condone, but celebrate, robbing the creators of their rightful revenue streams.

  10. I believe in legislating for the common good, and sometimes that will mean overriding pure libertarianism.

    Having said that, I need some evidence that we’re living under a regime of “market fundamentalism.” Preaching about that to the U. S. is like lecturing a fat guy on the dangers of anexoria.

    1. Market fundamentalism? What are you smoking and why do you bogart it?

      “Market fundamentalism” is nothing but a socialism euphemism for “Gosh, why haven’t you executed all the Wall Street traders yet?” It’s uttered by people who don’t know the first thing about markets. What we have in the US is not a free market, not even close. Never has been close. The era of Laissez Faire was not laissez faire but outright cronyism.

  11. Following the Trump-induced emergence of right-wing populism, however, many American conservatives no longer see the government as a referee that protects individual rights – but as something that should intervene aggressively to assert a set of collective values and goals.

    Now do “progressives”.

    If you haven’t noticed, it’s progressivism that is ascendant at the moment, and all our feeble cries of “Stop!” have done little to stem the tide for about the last hundred years. Traditional “conservatism”, aka classical liberalism, doesn’t work and hasn’t worked for a long time. Nobody respects tradition and the rule of law any more, it’s a might makes right free-for-all and you’d better grab what you can while you can and devil take the hindmost.

    1. Oh some more whataboutism.

      You do know it’s perfectly cromulent to criticize conservatives (for once on here) and not have to do some bullshit “both sides” right?

      And at the end all you’re doing is justifying your moral depravity and release of any principals at all.

      1. “whataboutism”

        Raspberries battle cry whenever somebody points out the sheer hypocrisy of it all.

      2. No, it’s just that Greenhut is 100% wrong about which political side it is who, “no longer see the government as a referee that protects individual rights – but as something that should intervene aggressively to assert a set of collective values and goals.”

        1. Greenhut is a “no enemies to the left” sort of ‘libertarian.’

          IOW, not any sort of actual libertarian.

        2. Which is why I take Reason concern trolling over the state of conservatism as what it is: facilitation. They attack conservatives because they are the only ones who consider the principles of libertarians seriously, regardless of the hypocrisy of those spewing them.

      3. “You do know it’s perfectly cromulent to criticize conservatives (for once on here) and not have to do some bullshit “both sides” right?”

        One side is in power.

        Its not the conservatives.

        Why not concern yourself with the people who have the power to do what they want?

        1. The proggs are in power nationally. The proggs are in power in his State.

          Yet Greenhut sees the threat coming from ‘conservatives.’

          1. Just repeating what all his friends are saying. Peer pressure is hard.

    2. Besides which, the notion that we should prefer drag queen story hour at the library over governmental despotism neglects to acknowledge the fact that we’ve got both of these things. Or do you think Biden ruling by executive fiat and violating his oath of office to faithfully execute the laws of the United States and Nancy Pelosi pushing voter fraud initiatives with both hands and the Deep State declaring Trump supporters to be domestic terrorists and our “sacred institutions” endorsing racial discrimination and our whole political class getting filthy rich by declaring that laws only apply to the little people doesn’t constitute despotism? How many times does it need to be pointed out that Trump was not the cause of this distrust in government and the demand for something else but the symptom of this discontent?

  12. Don’t think these sentiments are coming from nationalists, you Global Socialist boot-licking bitch

    https://twitter.com/JillFilipovic/status/1393046352511348736?s=19

    Vaccine passports (or QR codes) now! If you don’t want to get vaccinated, that’s your right. But it’s not your right to go to a concert, bar, restaurant, or large event.
    “We could have secure, smartphone scannable immunization credentials instead of handwritten cards inside of a few weeks if the administration decided to push it.”

    Should there be health exceptions? Yes! Should there be religious exceptions? No! Sorry, believe what you want, don’t get vaxxed if you don’t want to, but you are not actually entitled to see Celine Dion live.

    1. -1 Titanic

    2. but you are not actually entitled to see Celine Dion live

      I Knew I shouldn’t have gotten vaccinated.

    3. So if you don’t get vaccinated, Celine Dion gets put to death?

      Oh, sorry, I mispronounced “live” in my head.

    4. Getting vaccinated IS a religion.

      You’re taking it on faith that baptism-by-needle will give you life after the death of your liberty.

      1. i like what you did there… 😉

  13. As for tradition and the common good, let’s take the example of the national debt. Why did we borrow and spend like there was no tomorrow? Because, I think, of failing to think of future generations, failure to see ourselves in a traditional manner as part of a community extending into the past and going into the future.

    It makes sense that a country which rejects loyalty to past and future generations will laugh at the idea of a connection between marriage and procreation, and between sex and marriage. It’s all about getting off in the present, and procreation is a lifestyle choice, and the important thing about children is to make sure the adults around them are happy.

    (Eventually – perhaps now – “future generations” will turn out to be us)

  14. This is going to be good.

    {Sobbing} Ehhhnn… Twitter locked up my account because I told people to shoot up the local pizza shop because Democrats and John Podesta were eating cheese pizza and I thought they meant having sex with 8 yos. I’M BEING OPPRESSED BY THE GOVERNMENT

  15. We see that in Republican efforts to break up tech firms

    —-Steven Greenhut

    Republicans have no ability to break up tech firms, but House Democrats released a detailed plan to break up big tech companies on a case by case basis back in October of 2020, and Joe Biden nominated the author of that report to be commissioner at the Federal Trade Commission, which is presently suing to break up Facebook into three parts–Facebook proper, WhatsApp, and Instagram.

    The Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday advanced President Biden’s nominee to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Lina Khan . . . . Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) voted against advancing Khan.

    —-The Hill, 1 day ago

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/senate-commerce-committee-advances-bidens-ftc-nominee-lina-khan/ar-BB1gEAnn

    What do the four senators who voted against her have in common, and how does that fit in with your narrative about Republicans?

    1. the narrative is SQUIRRELS now back to hate all GOP but the democr….SQUIRRELS now about those terrible GOP.

      its GOP all down the line never mind what the democrats are doing

  16. “Nationalist Conservatives Are Abandoning the Ideas of Liberty”

    Yeah, that’s right Greenhut.

    Conservatives grossed out by drag queen shenanigans is a far bigger threat to liberty than the military ideological purges, the merger of corporations and media entities with the state, rampant censorship and bookburning, violations of peace treaties, and all the other scary, psychotic shit being pulled by Team Blue right now.

    Reason has become an idiotic joke.

    1. There is no censorship done by the govt. It’s done by private businesses and citizens. If that offends you then go cry some more snowflake.

      Not only that- you can be disgusted by whatever you want but any self respecting freedom lover isn’t going to care what someone else is doing if it doesn’t affect them (and drag queens truly don’t affect you except maybe your fragile masculinity or something.)

      I think you’re just sad that Reason isn’t 100% your fascist rallying cry like you want.

      The fact you can’t take this constructive criticism says far more about you than it does Reason.

      1. Everything I listed there is being perpetrated by the American government, shill.
        You’re so busy white knighting for Greenhut you didn’t even bother to read what I wrote, did you.

        You want to explain how many “muh pRivAtE bUsinEss” are violating peace treaties and purging the military?

      2. Censorship can *only* be done by government. It’s definitional.

        1. Bullshit.

        2. I don’t think that’s true.

        3. “Governments[5] and private organizations may engage in censorship. Other groups or institutions may propose and petition for censorship.[6] When an individual such as an author or other creator engages in censorship of his or her own works or speech, it is referred to as self-censorship.”

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship

    2. Although the public library is a government funded agency and the conservative reaction was to attempt legislation to ban the drag queen story hour.
      So there is more to it than simply being grossed out.

      Banning of books, music, and other forms of expression, or attempts to do so, goes both ways from left to right. It is not a left/right problem in my view. It is a basic civil liberties issue.

      1. “It is a basic civil liberties issue”

        Absolutely

    3. +1 for Mother’s Lament

  17. We should prefer drag queens in libraries over despots in the government.

    What if the despots are the ones putting drag queens into the libraries?

    1. Bingo!

    2. Why do I have to prefer either, cant I reject both?

      1. No Comrade. You may have a voice in shaping the collective but you *may not opt out*.

  18. Ahmari takes populist nationalism to its logical conclusion. The only way to preserve the one true national identity and protect it from the “elite” is by one party authoritarian rule.

    “One nation. One party. One leader.”

    Elite political theory posits that the true will of the people is subverted by a powerful minority thus subverting the democratic process. If they know it or not the Stop the Steal movement is a direct result of this view.

    Pluralism by contrast, sees the democratic process as the result of competing interests which change and evolve over time. It rejects the notion of a fixed single national identity or culture.

    Libertarians see the role of government as protecting individual rights within the competitive framework. Because it inherently seeks more control, government must be held to a strictly limited set of powers.

    Or you can just think about what to have for breakfast which is my other thought for the day.

    1. The only way to preserve the one true national identity and protect it from the “elite” is by one party authoritarian rule.

      “One nation. One party. One leader.”

      The damage from the 17th amendment has only accelerated over time.

      1. I think the idea that there is this shadowy “elite” running things is a conspiracy theory like the Illuminati or other groups like that. The other one popular currently is “deep state” along with other shadow government theories.

        Interesting use of the word which means something else as in “the elite special forces”.

        1. I think the idea that there is this shadowy “elite” running things is a conspiracy theory like the Illuminati or other groups like that.

          I agree – the “elite” are simply opportunistic people taking advantage of their place in the system, which can often look like organized, goal-oriented activity in hindsight. The distinction is perhaps somewhat academic, though.

          The other one popular currently is “deep state” along with other shadow government theories.

          This has morphed into a conspiracy theory in that a lot of people who don’t know what the term originally referred to think it refers to a parallel shadow-government that operates in secret, when I’ve personally always thought of it as meaning the same thing people on the left mean when they refer to “The Permanent Government” – i.e. those unelected people who actually run things while the elected officials skim over the top, acquiring various executive titles while usually not having much actual influence over operations.

          I’ve been in public contracting for a long while now, and I deal with lots of public agencies close up and personally (sometimes even as internal contracted staff augmentation), and I can tell you straight up that the elected people who titularly head agencies are viewed by their underlings more as burdens to be controlled for the short while they are around than as people to look to for guidance.

          1. opportunistic people taking advantage of their place in the system, which can often look like organized, goal-oriented activity

            Yes, there are aggressive climbers who manage to work their way up into powerful positions, but for the most part the real power and wealth is in the hands of a hereditary aristocracy. They absolutely are organized and pursue common goals.

          2. It may be like the difference in orientation between Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister. The former was about the unelected bureaucrat keeping the elected official out of trouble; the latter (which I quickly stopped watching because it wasn’t as funny) as about the power struggle between the same individuals.

        2. They’re not “shadowy” at all. The power elite run the world pretty much out in the open. It’s not much of a “conspiracy” since so little effort is made to keep it secret. Most people just don’t want to look behind the curtain, as thin and gauzy as it is. It’s more comforting to be a conspiracy denier and pretend the facade governments and institutions are really in charge.

    2. My German is a little rusty, but isn’t it
      “One nation. One PEOPLE. One Leader.” ?

      1. I believe that is correct

      2. Close, you don’t have it in the right order. “Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Führer”, so “One people, one empire/realm/nation, one leader.”

      3. Even most Germans don’t speak German. They have to learn standard German in school.

  19. This is almost as rambling and incoherent as one of Sullum’s TDS screeds. What the hell is he even trying to say?

    “the importance of correct behavior, loyalty and obedience to hierarchy,”

    In case you haven’t been paying attention, Steve, this is EXACTLY what the left is all about, and it’s EXACTLY what the right is fighting against. Leftist “correct behavior” not only includes leaving drag queens alone to live their lives in peace. It now requires that I endorse that lifestyle, which I will not. Correct behavior is enforced through twitter mobs and cancel culture, aarticlemervatives have been harrassed, assaulted, had their homes vandalized and property destroyed, and been fired from their jobs and denied the right to make an honest living, all for not behaving “correctly.” Black conservatives are treated in a vile manner for not being loyal to the right party, and not behaving like black people are supposed to behave.

    There’s not even any evidence in here of any legislative initiatives, except breakingbup big tech, which BOTH parties want to do, and a random tweet by a conservative that is somehow supposed to be indicative of conservative sentiment as a whole.

    Are Reason writers really this retarded? Or are we just being trolled?

    1. Well, since Steve does not say they are a problem it is entirely logical to conclude that Steve does not think they are a problem.

      Because Steve, like far too many writers here, is a poseur. He’s progressive whether he publicly identifies as one or not.

      Realistically speaking, how long does one exist as a writer in Southern California and either not turn out to be a progressive or not get publicly branded as a right winger?

      Don’t forget that Harsanyi was too much for Reason.

      1. Except Greenhut has criticized progressives and other Democrats, just not in this particular article. Why is it that not mentioning them here means he must support them? That doesn’t follow.

        1. Lol, that is an absurdly simplistic argument. Greenhut has an obvious pattern here.

    2. By and large most of them are left-liberal fake libertarian gay boys and lipstick lesbians. Why do you think they all live in California, Brooklyn, and DC, blame almost everything on republicans, and constantly make excuses for Block Yomomma, Jimmy Carter Junior, and their bureaucratic “top men”?

    3. Who gives a fuck what you endorse, Mr. Taliban?

      1. That should actually be the case, but low self esteem proggie dipshits need everyone to validate their fucked up decisions.

        Wear your fucking dresses. I don’t care. Just don’t force me to tell you’re stunning and brave.

    4. Gen X hipster cant admit its not 1988 anymore.

    5. I’m dying to find out what “aarticlemervatives” was supposed to have been.

  20. > Following the Trump-induced emergence of right-wing populism, however, many American conservatives no longer see the government as a referee that protects individual rights – but as something that should intervene aggressively to assert a set of collective values and goals.

    This is not new with Trump. I’ve seen this for in the Republican Party for forty years. There is a quasi-religious wing of the party that wishes for the government to impose the the will of God upon the nation. The will of God as they see it, of course. Gays are bad therefore government must punish them. I remember my mother shocked and horribly upset to learn that Disney hires gays. “But it’s wrong!” she shouted at me. That was thirty years ago. She wanted the government to forcibly stop Disney from hiring gays. I see this same attitude across the cultural conservative landscape. Sometimes it’s overtly religious, but often it’s merely cultural. Those people don’t look or act like us, the government should keep them out. The English Only push of 80s and 90s was part of this. People go apeshit hearing something other than English and demand government step in and do something.

    And then we come to Trump. He does not espouse our traditional religious views. He does not espouse our traditional cultural views. But he’s willing to throw dog bones at those who want the government to do something. And four years later you have an evangelical landscape that thinks loyalty to Trump is more important than God’s commandments to individuals. Being a #nevertrumper is a the worst sin, everything else is morally situational. Trump was appointed by God (so said James Dobson) and thus everything he does is approved by God. Philandering, cheating, lying, pride, it’s all fine so long as it’s Trump or in service to MAGA.

    American conservatives are no longer conservative in the American sense. They aren’t the classic liberals from a Burkean tradition. They are alien to Taft, Goldwater, and Reagan. Holy shit, Reagan would be denounced if he were active in politics today.

    But it’s not just Trump. It’s the idea that government can stand in the place of God, salvation, and morality. It’s the idea that government is a big club to beat The Other over the head with. That progressives do this on as a matter of principle is just par for the course, that conservatives now do it is profoundly sad.

    1. Yup.

    2. This. I was R for most of my life beyond college. In a family that has been R for generations. Basically a small-biz Main St perspective re economic stuff and a ‘leave people alone even if they are too weird to engage with’ perspective re social/cultural.

      Neither of those exist in the R anymore (if they ever did before). Nor does the ‘intellectual’ stuff of a Buckley/Hayek/Popper/etc where you might at least expect competence re how to deal with the unknown.

      Just a bunch of in your face theocrats/evangelicals and corrupt country-clubbers who want a rigged economic field. I kind of knew that before 2008 when I thought Ron Paul might reform things. But that just proved to me that:
      a)R’s are not going to reform and it’s their party
      b)Paul supporters don’t have the social skills to do anything
      c)the Pauls themselves were about nepotism and playing footsie with the Rockwells, LostCausers, Birchers, and troofers.

      Good riddance to them all.

    3. You realize that all that’s wanted is a non partisan referee

      One that applies the laws and justice equally independent of political viewpoint

      That’s not what we have now and it’s the liberal viewpoint that is given preference and I’m not talking about the mythical social justice actual justice

    4. Very good.

      I came to the same conclusion going to GOP meetings in the run up of Ron Paul’s 2012 campaign. Wow, a lot of hateful “christians” here. Them, and straight up dummies.

    5. +1, a pox on both houses, even if one is, as of now, worse than the other.

  21. those drag queens in libraries have already been caught grooming children and admit publicly that there goal to transform them so fuck off Reason they are sick people and that is a fact you idiots

    1. Proggie parents know it, but they need their proggie street cred.

  22. Wouldn’t.

  23. conservatism has long been associated, at least rhetorically, with these ideals

    I guess empty repetition of the word “liberty” sort of qualifies as rhetorical association.

  24. So conservatives have finally figured out that they should be doing what the left has been doing for decades.

  25. “The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the Republican model of government,” George Washington said, “are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally staked, on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.”

    Indeed. The noblest type of statements

    Not long ago, virtually all American conservatives would have applauded those words—and described themselves as protectors of that limited-government ideal.

    Too this day, in fact.

    These days, the first president’s words would be controversial among the growing ranks of national conservatives. They are so disgusted with the nation’s cultural trends that they no longer want to bother with preserving that sacred fire.

    Would they? Do they really no longer care about preserving liberty?

    Or has the nation been inundated with illiberal cultural trends? Has the nation been overrun by vanguards of enforced conformity, racial animus, government and corporate collusion meant to abridge rights that cannot be infringed by government, but CAN be interfered with by private business?

    Are there not factors suggesting that powerful elites are trying to, through the use of culture, extinguish the light of liberty forever?

    But this entire diatribe is based on a tweet. A tweet that has since been taken down. Why? Because it’s author reconsidered? Who can say?

    What CAN be said is, as proof of the nefarious nature of all conservatives, the author of this piece relies on the paraphrased opinion of a colleague about a tweet that has since been removed

    A. Single. Tweet. ….that has been removed.

    He tries, desperately to tie this to that perversion of compassion the left calls ‘the greater good’ and then seeks to suggest that any using the term are referring only to the left’s twisted idea of what it means.

    Why? Because of the author’s ‘love of liberty’?

    Or because the author favors the illiberal culture that is seeping throughout our nation like sewage backing up into a basement?

    Should we have drag queen story hour? Well, that’s up to the people, not the state. And the people who DON”T want it have an opinion that is just a valid as the people who DO want it.

    Because THAT’S liberty, Steven. People getting to make their OWN choices–instead of having ‘the greater good’ forced upon them by means of the cancel culture you’re trying to use right here..

    1. People who care about “preservation of the sacred fire of liberty” (and I count myself among them) are libertarians, not conservatives. Conservatives, in America no less than in Europe, have never shied away from “using government to promote the religious and cultural traditions of their respective nations”. Despite occasional specious claims.

      1. You understand that the only traditions America has that are exclusively American are tied to the Constitution, yes? Because it is in that document that America becomes America.

        If the cultural tradition you’re trying to conserve is the love of liberty, then where is the problem?

        People who don’t understand that there is no liberty if there is not a tradition of liberty to be conserved because they want to see themselves as something other than the ‘conservatives’ the left describes and derides help the left dismantle liberty and dim the light.

        1. The parts of the Constitution that conservatives are most loudly interested in conserving are the parts that were compromises with slavery and the parts that can be painted to rationalize insurrection. So of course it makes complete sense that they would try to coopt ‘libertarianism’ – as long as liberty = slavery and NAP = insurrection.

          1. re: “NAP = insurrection”
            Let me ask you this. Today, we have a situation (at least in some parts of the country) where the government gives criminals / “protesters” free rein to “aggress” as much as they like, and if you as much as look at them funny, you are going to prison.
            The party responsible for this is doing its best to entrench itself in power — to make it impossible for us to peacefully change our government.
            What would you suggest as the appropriate, NAP-compliant course of action?

      2. “using government to promote the religious and cultural traditions of their respective nations”.

        Yep, that is exactly what the Declaration of Independence said. You sure are a smart one.

        1. What does this have to do with what was said?

          1. As the foundational document of our nation it has everything to do with it.

            That you do not see that likewise says it all.

  26. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
    —John Adams

    I just love these libertarians that always going off about what our founders said about liberty, while ignoring the conditions they placed on it.

    1. Adams had his opinion. Jefferson had his, famously saying “It does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are 20 gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” The Founders didn’t always agree with each other.

      1. True. But I’m confidant they would agree that the people who fund a “public” library are entirely justified in determining what goes on at that library.

        1. Perhaps but they are just being nosy busybody NIMBYs all the same. You don’t like it then don’t take your kids there.

          1. When it’s privately financed you get to say that and not come off sounding like a statist asshole.

            But given that it’s paid for with taxes then fuck off slaver.

  27. lol Frenchism only works until the left guts your institutions and wears their skins as a mask

    then you end up living in a world where the left can openly burn loot and murder while buying large mansions even as high school kids are unconstitutionally denied bail for mere act of showing up a vote fraud protest

    and the Frenches will cheer along every Russia collusion hoax, sign claim that “dozens of former intelligence agents say Hunter Biden’s laptop bear all the hallmarks of a Russian disinformation campaign”

    you think you’re Thomas More giving the devil benefit of law, for your own safety’s sake, but in fact it matter not at all if this country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, if they only apply to Republicans

  28. Wrong, the opposition is to woke cancel culture disregarding inalienable constitutional rights to push ideological agendas into law.

  29. For 1% of the population and all the attention I have to hear about chicks with dicks you would think their everywhere? Much like that 11% population that makes soo much noise.

    1. In college I was in the 11% club to support my gay friends. Did you know that number is 100% completely false? Its something like 3% and trannies are 1/10th of that.

  30. In case you wonder why Libertarianism isn’t catching on, consider this article from the viewpoint of a sane person.

    1. Or even a crazy person who just isn’t a fan of subsidizing other people’s crazy.

  31. We should prefer drag queens in libraries over despots in the government.

    But these are drag queens in government funded public libraries — not really different from public schools (in fact the libraries here were once actually part of the local public school system). So drag queen story hour for kiddos at the local public library isn’t all that different than drag queen story hour at the local public elementary school is it? And if we’re good with government-funded and approved drag queen story hour, why not stripper story hour or sex-worker story hour? (I know, I know — don’t give ’em ideas).

    1. Or televangelist story hour…

      Flat Earth story hour…

      Creation Science story hour…

      Let a Thousand Freakshows Bloom!

      1. Heroes with Guns story hour.

        1. Yep.

          ‘If photo ID to vote is racist then why do I need photo ID to buy a gun’ Hour?

          1. ITs really no secret that from the beginning gun laws were targeted at disliked minorities. Freemen and slaves, Italian bootleggers and now “whites” explicitly and “blacks” in a progressive dog whistley way.

    2. Stripper story hour. Now we’re talking.

      You could make a lot of money with a web site featuring strippers reading classic stories while removing their clothing.

      I remember they had a news show like that a while back.

    3. Well there is one difference, kids are forced to go to school. In an ideal world, this would be moot because there would be no public schools or public libraries. However, that is not the case, and the First Amendment clearly would allow for this as long as you allowed these story hours to happen, since any restriction would be have to be content neutral.

      That being said, yes, this would open the door to those story hours listed by ThomasD and Vernon for example. And why not, hoist the proggies by their own petard.

  32. Maybe nationalist conservatism wouldn’t carry the appeal it seems to be starting to if the institutions claiming the mantle of “defenders of liberty” rang consistently true. Last I checked, libertarianism isn’t supposed to be friendly to the notion of public libraries, let alone public financing for exposing children to drag queens in them. But, for some reason that’s something we should ignore when it comes to a nice opportunity to smear the deplorables. I’ll leave aside how many ostensible libertarians were willing to hand-wave longstanding concerns about due process, the national security state and free speech when the target was Bad Orange Man. And when the topic is radical leftist identitarianism, for some reason so many libertarians seem to be of the opinion that “they’re basically right, but they shouldn’t have the government silence their opponents and should rely on private companies to do it”.

    Is it any wonder why conservatives are turning to the nationalist variety rather than trying to revive the “libertarian moment”? Too many libertarians spit in their face, even at the cost of violating their own professed principles to do so. Ahmari is able to lure conservatives to disdain for liberty because so many of the other political actors, including liberty’s self-proclaimed defenders, have already expressed disdain for liberty through their actions and stances.

    1. Don’t forget their fetish for demonizing police when they use questionable force.

      At least when the force isn’t being directed at those deplorables, that is.

      Then the silence is deafening.

    2. You realize that all that’s wanted is a non partisan referee

      One that applies the laws and justice equally independent of political viewpoint

      1. I agree.

        But, let’s be honest about Ahmari’s argument. He’s saying that the nonpartisan referee is a line of BS that has been fed to the right. That, while insisting that the right must defer its wishes to the mandates of liberty, the left and the establishment (and I’ll include a good number of ostensible libertarians here) happily dismiss liberty when it suits their sensibilities. If that’s true, then it’s easy enough to see where he’d conclude that liberty is a sucker’s game. “Liberty for me but not for thee” translates in practice to “I rule you”.

      2. It’s called truth.

        The justice system is based on it.

        It’s god in Christianity.

        It’s a prerequisite to reason.

        It’s all we share in peace.

        It’s the enemy of the woke cancel culture.

    3. In theory I suppose but I don’t think eliminating popular public facilities like libraries and playgrounds is gonna go over too well and we have much bigger things to worry about.

    4. Yes, in an ideal world we wouldn’t have a public library, but we don’t live in that world and we won’t any time soon. I don’t see what is wrong with trying to apply libertarian principles under the restricted conditions of reality, in addition to the unconditional principles. This is the point of “don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”

      Like my recent vote in my state to legalize weed in the last election. Was the law perfect, hell no, lots of fucking bullshit in it, but, in my mind, it was better to end the prohibition with what we could get and not wait for the perfect law.

      1. Okay, now imagine how that looks to a libertarian-minded conservative who the likes of Ahmari are telling that the libertarian claim is bogus:

        Reason Libertarian: Sure, public libraries are, in principle a violation of libertarian principle. But, one’s got to pick one’s battles.
        Libertarian-Minded Conservative: Pick ones battles? They’re making me pay to have my kids read stories by drag queens! I don’t care what people do in the privacy of their own bedroom. But, for God’s sakes, why do I have to pay to have little kids exposed to it?
        RL: What are you? Some kind of bigot? I thought we got over the time when the government was in the business of oppressing gay people?
        LMC: Oppressing? I’m not saying do anything to the drag queens. I’m just saying we shouldn’t be paying them to read stories to our kids in drag.
        RL: In an ideal world, you’re right. But, like I said, we have to pick our battles. Now, can we please move on to talk about the importance of expanding marijuana legalization to hashish?!

        Guess what? Mr. Libertarian-Minded Conservative is probably going to walk away from that conversation convinced that if it’s something valued by leftists, it’s a big important deal for the libertarians. But, if it’s something involving libertarian principles supporting conservatives, all of a sudden those principles become…flexible. And the conservative nationalists are going to be happy to confirm that for him and, you know what, they’re both probably not that wrong.

        1. Just don’t call Greenhut a proggy, his white knights don’t like it.

  33. Do you have anything other than the party line to share? This piece really is weak thinking, poor writing, and a tedious lecture on what we already know. I suggest you hire a stripper to liven the place up.

  34. I was just thinking about the loss of liberty in recent times and of course liberty for Drag Queens was the highest priority

    LMFAO

  35. Reject the right/left binary. We aren’t supposed to prefer one over the other. You can have an equal distaste for trannies and dictators.

    I wonder if anyone here will cover Rubio’s latest speech.

    1. If anything libertarians should share equal distaste for public libraries in general.

      1. But let’s be realistic here.

        This is Reason we are talking about. Their notion of liberty is government providing them their preferred outcomes.

        1. Reason loves expansion of the federal government. Next up: ZONING and public housing

      2. public libraries are about one of the only things the goverment does that doesnt I dont consider completely wrong.

        In the state they are now, I wouldnt shed a tear if they completely vanished. However, as a neutral repository of knowledge accessible to all citizens, I dont think it is in opposition to liberty.

        1. This. It’s a drop in the bucket. Bitching about public libraries when the government is spending trillions keeping people at home is peak stupid.

      3. Other than a fraction of my taxes I don’t see how libraries or trannies infringe on my liberty.

        There are a many more things that actually matter to worry about.

        1. Ah, the Priorities! argument.

          Which is the Both Sides argument in drag.

          How about an actual libertarian solution:. When people disagree about whatever the government is spending money on the government shouldn’t be spending that money.

    2. I wonder if anyone here will cover Rubio’s latest speech.

      Is Rubio so significant that anyone cares what he has to say about anything?

  36. Wow. So now it’s:
    #libertariansforpubliclibraries

    1. Yes. We are not anarcho capitalists, and local governments having libraries is well within their purview constitutionally.

      1. Seriously… even as a minarchist I have no problem with libraries for their original purpose.

        I dont like them being community propaganda centers, job programs for strange cat ladies, homeless shelters and public forums (for one side only). But the people should have access to as much knowledge as possible and the government subsidizing that isnt authoritarian in any way.

        1. i approve this message

  37. “We should prefer drag queens in libraries over despots in the government.”

    Why not disdain BOTH?

    1. Why not disdain BOTH?

      Because what Mr. Greenhut REALLY prefers is the situation we have now–drag queens in libraries MANDATED by woke despots from the government.

      It’s even better if no one local wants it at all.

      1. Yes, that is exactly what he said. Hey, where do you buy all that straw?

  38. We should prefer drag queens in libraries over despots in the government.

    How about neither? Freaks out of the library and out of the government, thanks.

    1. hey… is that a sideways shot at dr. levine?

  39. For the people who object to this for goodness sake don’t let them watch old bugs bunny cartoons.

  40. Without despots in government you’re unlikely to see many drag queens in libraries, because there’s damned little demand for it.

  41. The only despot President is the one in the office right now, Biden.
    Attacks on the First amendment. (Truth Commission)
    Attacks on the Second amendment. (Banning guns)
    Trying to Federalize elections. Unconstitutional
    Trying to turn Washington DC into a State. Unconstitutional.
    Open borders.
    Destruction of the economy with money printing.
    Purging the Military.
    De-funding the police.
    Policy based on race.

    Yest the Republicans have to fight this any way they can or we will have a left-wing dictatorship for a country, not a Constitutional Republic. And all Reason can do is bitch about an ex-president?
    Reason is now officially a JOKE!

  42. Who pays for the libraries where drag queens perform?

  43. Are national conservatives conservatives who are nationalist? If so I find it odd to use Marco Rubio as an example. He’s only slightly conservative (in the sense of wanting to maintain the status quo), and only slightly “conservative” even in the vague sense the term gets used today, and he’s hardly nationalist at all either.

    Rubio aside, seems to me from the description in this article that it’s about traditionalists who are also nationalist. I find this type of “national conservative” to be one of the friendlier tendencies now on the American scene to individual liberty, so this looks like contrived fuss designed to make libertarians think they should make more alliances with “social liberals”, who haven’t been socially libertarian in a long time (if ever).

    What’s the issue with people reading children’s poetry in drag as an event at a public library, and is that the most current controversy of its type Mr. Greenhut could find? Surely the issue there isn’t about tolerance of people’s dress, but rather, unless I’m mistaken about whether the public library in question is a government institution, about who gets the imprimatur of government. It’s about culture war with government stakes, not social liberty.

    1. Basically it is about Reason’s Trump hate. Trump is gone, but it still pisses Reason off that he has political power on the Republican party. They bitch about an ex-president while sugar coating everything that wreck of a President Biden does. Reason = Woke, ultra left-wing liberal Libertarians. And I am a lot more worried about
      Woke, ultra left-wing liberal Libertarians than I am national conservatives. You should be too.

    2. Basically it is about Reason’s Trump hate. Trump is gone, but it still pisses Reason off that he has political power in the Republican party. They bitch about an ex-president while sugar coating everything that wreck of a President Biden does. Reason = Woke, ultra left-wing liberal Libertarians. And I am a lot more worried about
      “Woke, ultra left-wing liberal Libertarians” than I am national conservatives. You should be too.

  44. One wonders why an article decrying nationalist conservatism would quote HL Mencken. Just a few HL gems:

    “it is impossible to talk anything resembling discretion or judgment to a colored woman. They are all essentially child-like, and even hard experience does not teach them anything.”

    “The educated Negro of today is a failure, not because he meets insuperable difficulties in life, but because he is a Negro. He is, in brief, a low-caste man, to the manner born, and he will remain inert and inefficient until fifty generations of him have lived in civilization. And even then, the superior white race will be fifty generations ahead of him.”

    “The Jews could be put down very plausibly as the most unpleasant race ever heard of. As commonly encountered, they lack many of the qualities that mark the civilized man: courage, dignity, incorruptibility, ease, confidence. They have vanity without pride, voluptuousness without taste, and learning without wisdom. Their fortitude, such as it is, is wasted upon puerile objects, and their charity is mainly a form of display”

    “The case against the Jews is long and damning; it would justify ten thousand times as many pogroms as now go on in the world.”

    Why in the hell is Reason quoting this person in this day and age?

    1. Because Greenhut has a narrative to craft and journalisming is hard.
      If God wanted journalists to actually research their articles, he wouldn’t have created Twitter.

  45. Ignore what they say and watch what they do. “Drug war” anyone?

    1. Most of what the author refers to as “nationalist” (Trump supporting) conservatives today are amenable to decriminalizing cannabis and removing federal restrictions. Trump himself signaled support for this.

      So complaints about the drug war seem to me as unrelated to the general thrust of the article — which seems to focus its ire on the fact that corporations given Sec 230 liability protections might face regulations, and how some conservatives don’t think its appropriate for public libraries to feature drag queens — and wrapping this up dubiously in quotes from Ahmari.

  46. The framers of the Constitution endlessly talked about the “common good” and the “public good.” The first grievance in the Declaration of Independence reads “He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.”

    Incidentally, in tradition with classical and Christian thinking, the founders believed obedience was a virtue; they didn’t mean by this blind obedience, and believed obedience to God was more important than obedience to any secular ruler, which only derived their authority from God, hence Thomas Jefferson’s motto “Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God.”

    This is another direct quote from George Washington, in a letter to governors,
    “I now make it my earnest prayer, that God would have you, and the State over which you preside, in his holy protection, that he would incline the hearts of the Citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to Government.”

    Not that I think this kind of rhetoric is helpful in modern day America. I think there’s a good reason why talk of “obedience” went out of fashion. However, when libertarians mock this kind of language, it only reminds me of how most really don’t understand history.

    In any case, Ahmari is a kind of guy who is trying to bring back archaic ideas and rhetoric into the public discourse, and its out of place. He also really has nothing to do with the rest of the conservative movement, and most conservatives would also recoil at a lot of what he says. The attempt to weave quotes by Ahmari together with ideas about regulating big tech is pretty dishonest.

  47. If you’re not actively fighting against the left, you’re fucking useless to liberty.

  48. I think the answer is simple. If anyone has followed history and sees the decline of the USA the reason is obvious. The Founders of our government and Constitution plainly stated what is happening in the US today would not be compatible with our form of government. You can either have liberty and all the Blessings and rights or you can have what we have today. You can not have both.
    Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
    John Adams
    They were not afraid to tell the truth and spoke very plainly. If enough people in the US wanted to enjoy the liberties and rights afforded by our Constitution we could have it back. We have submitted to tyranny and become weak. Those that protested at the Capitol for the blatant disregard of an election and the vote of the people were too weak and small in number. It’s not the voting that’s democracy; it’s the counting.
    “What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance. Let them take arms.” – Thomas Jefferson He would have lead the charge but it would have been much stronger.
    We must have patience and longer endurance then with our brethren when under delusion; give them time for reflection and experience of consequences; keep ourselves in a situation to profit by the chapter of accidents; and separate from our companions only when the sole alternatives left are the dissolution of our Union with them, or submission to a government without limitation of powers. Between these two evils, when we must make our choice, there can be no hesitation.
    Thomas Jefferson
    If men like our Founders were alive today what do you suppose would be their response? I just hope there are enough Americans left to finally realize what they are losing and act. If we cannot resolve our differences with those that have strayed following like sheep should not be the answer.

  49. There just might be something to morality, something to family as it was known for centuries and this something is directly related to liberty and freedom. It just isn’t the debasement of the currency which is the leading cause of so many of our problems (deficit spending, debt, govt buying votes, wars, deindustrializaiton of America as we have to off load the inflation to China or somewhere else) but the corruption at ever level..led by govt of course but perhaps just perhaps the degenerates of are in power like the Weinsteins, and Epsteins and yes Clintons and Bidens. Perhaps there is something in venerating behavior that has been rejected for centuries like child sex (“Cuties”) an such.

    Perhaps there is a link with liberty and decency? and when things get bad we ask for decency before anyting else.

  50. Perhaps “normal” in terms of morality (honesty, integrity, tradition) matters more than “democracy”

  51. The choice to have drag queens perform for children in a public library should not be available.

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