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Is Libertarianism a 'Stealth Plan' To Destroy America?

Nancy MacLean's conspiracy tract Democracy in Chains grossly misrepresents limited-government philosophy and the work of Nobel laureate James M. Buchanan.

Viking, AmazonViking, AmazonAs its title suggests, Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America, by Duke historian Nancy MacLean, is filled with all sorts of melodramatic flourishes and revelations of supposed conspiracies. Chains, deep history, radicals, stealth—is this nonfiction or an Oliver Stone film? Even the cover depicts a smoke-filled room filled with ample-chinned, shadowy figures! This book, virtually every page announces, isn't simply about the Nobel laureate economist James Buchanan and his "public choice" theory, which holds in part that public-sector actors are bound by the same self-interest and desire to grow their "market share" as private-sector actors are.

No, MacLean is after much-bigger, more-sinister game, documenting what she believes is

the utterly chilling story of the ideological origins of the single most powerful and least understood threat to democracy today: the attempt by the billionaire-backed radical right to undo democratic governance...[and] a stealth bid to reverse-engineer all of America, at both the state and the national levels, back to the political economy and oligarchic governance of midcentury Virginia, minus the segregation.

The billionaires in question, of course, are Koch brothers Charles and David, who have reached a level of villainy in public discourse last rivaled by Sacco and Vanzetti. (David Koch is a trustee of Reason Foundation, the nonprofit that publishes this website; Reason also receives funding from the Charles Koch Foundation.) Along the way, MacLean advances many sub-arguments, such as the notion that the odious, hypocritical, and archly anti-capitalistic 19th-century slavery apologist John C. Calhoun is the spirit animal of contemporary libertarianism. In fact, Buchanan and the rest of us all are nothing less than "Calhoun's modern understudies."

Such unconvincing claims ("the Marx of the Master Class," as Calhoun was dubbed by Richard Hofstadter, was openly hostile to the industrialism, wage labor, and urbanization that James Buchanan took for granted) are hard to keep track of, partly because of all the rhetorical smoke bombs MacLean is constantly lobbing. In a characteristic example, MacLean early on suggests that libertarianism isn't "merely a social movement" but "the story of something quite different, something never before seen in American history":

Could it be—and I use these words quite hesitantly and carefully—a fifth-column assault on American democratic governance?

Calling attention to the term's origins to describe Franco's covert, anti-modern allies in the Spanish Civil War, MacLean writes

the term "fifth column" has been applied to stealth supporters of an enemy who assist by engaging in propaganda and even sabotage to prepare the way for its conquest. It is a fraught term among scholars, not least because the specter of a secretive, infiltrative fifth column has been used in instrumental ways by the powerful— such as in the Red Scare of the Cold War era— to conjure fear and lead citizens and government to close ranks against dissent, with grave costs for civil liberties. That, obviously, is not my intent in using the term....

And yet it's the only term up for MacLean's job, since "the concept of a fifth column does seem to be the best one available for capturing what is distinctive in a few key dimensions about this quest to ensure the supremacy of capital." Sure, "fifth column" is a dirty, lowdown, suspect term among historians because using it trades in hysteria at the service of the ruling class rather than rational analysis intended to help the downtrodden. But come on, people, we're in a twilight struggle here, with a movement whose goals have included, among other things, ending censorship; opening the borders to goods and people from around the world; abolishing the draft and reducing militarism; legalizing abortion, drugs, and alternative lifestyles; reforming criminal justice and sentencing; focusing on how existing government operations, especially K-12 schools, have hurt poor and minority Americans; and doing away with occupational licensing and other barriers to entry for business owners, among other things. So much for hesitation on MacLean's part. Fifth column it is! As for carefulness, it's worth noting in passing that MacLean identifies former Attorney General Ed Meese and foreign-policy hawk Bill Kristol as libertarians, which must be as much of a shock to them as it is to, well, actual libertarians.

Clearly this sort of book, published by a major house (Viking) and written by an eminent historian (MacLean is a chaired professor at Duke and author of highly regarded books), is ideological catnip to people who dislike libertarianism and its growing influence in politics and culture. At the increasingly hard-left New Republic, Alex Shephard introduces an interview with MacLean by writing that Democracy in Chains "exposes the frightening intellectual roots of the radical right, as well as its ultimate ambition: to erode American democracy." At NPR, novelist Genevieve Valentine writes

As MacLean lays out in their own words, these men developed a strategy of misinformation and lying about outcomes until they had enough power that the public couldn't retaliate against policies libertarians knew were destructive. (Look no further than Flint, MacLean says, where the Koch-funded Mackinac Center was behind policies that led to the water crisis.)

Let's leave aside the fact that Flint's water supply contamination was due to decades of local mismanagement and a stimulus project gone wrong, hardly the sort of thing that mustache-twirling libertarians espouse. And let's ignore the shibboleth Koch-funded for the time being (go here for a realistic appraisal of the Kochs' influence on the modern libertarian movement). Democracy in Chains is chicken soup for the souls of liberals, progressives, and members of the "resistance" who want to believe that libertarians don't just want to destroy or reform ineffective and inefficient public-sector agencies and institutions, but actually want to kill people or destroy them irreparably. Because really, how else can you make a buck in a free market, right?

If liberals and leftists are uncritically celebrating MacLean's attack, scholars and writers with specific and general knowledge of Buchanan's work and libertarianism are taking a more jaundiced view. Reason will be publishing a review-essay in the coming weeks but in the interim, here's a survey of some of the sharpest rejoinders to date.

Historian Phillip W. Magness, trained at Buchanan's former perch of George Mason University, takes particular issue with MacLean's linking of Buchanan to characters such as Calhoun and the poet Donald Davidson, the leader of the self-styled Fugitives and Agrarians in the 20th-century South. Like Calhoun, the Agrarians treated capitalism and modernity with contempt, as a sort of mirror image of an equally soulless and totalitarian communism. MacLean asserts that Davidson, who railed against an increasingly centralized "Leviathan" state, was central to Buchanan's worldview. But Magness notes that Buchanan never studied with him nor ever quoted him in his collected works. As with her non-hesitant, careless use of "fifth column," MacLean's real purpose in linking Buchanan with Davidson is to smear the former. Writes Magness:

MacLean has a very specific reason for making this claim, and she returns to it at multiple points in her book. The Agrarians, in addition to spawning a southern literary revival (the novelist Robert Penn Warren was one of their members), were also segregationists. By connecting them to Buchanan, she bolsters one of the primary charges of her book: an attempt to link Buchanan's economic theories to a claimed resentment over Brown v. Board and the subsequent defeat of racial segregation in 1960s Virginia.

In another post, Magness notes when MacLean tries to link Buchanan to Calhoun, she instead starts citing work by Murray Rothbard, who actually was harshly critical of Buchanan. This sort of slippery maneuver permeates Democracy in Chains, as Case Western's Jonathan Adler documents at the Volokh Conspiracy blog in The Washington Post. At Medium, Russ Roberts writes about MacLean's treatment of George Mason economist Tyler Cowen, who also directs the Koch-funded Mercatus Center. MacLean suggests that Cowen welcomes the weakening of governmental checks and balances because doing so supports her thesis that libertarians want to take over the government by "stealth." As Roberts points out, MacLean is guilty of intellectual malpractice:

MacLean left out the word "While" that begins Cowen's sentence. Then she left off the key qualifier that completes the sentence — the point that the downside risk of weakening checks and balances is substantial. There is nothing here suggesting Cowen is in favor of weakening democracy or the Constitution. By quoting only a piece of Cowen's sentence, MacLean reverses his meaning.

Unfortunately, MacLean does not just quote Cowen out of context. She ignores anything in Cowen's essay that conflicts with her portrayal of Cowen as a sinister enemy of American institutions and democracy.

MacLean's Duke colleague, the political scientist Michael Munger, has authored the most exhaustive and harshly critical review of Democracy in Chains to date. Writing for the Independent Institute, Munger damningly characterizes the book as

a work of speculative historical fiction. There is considerable research underpinning the speculation, and since MacLean is careful about footnoting only things that actually did happen she cannot be charged with fabricating facts. But most of the book, and all of its substantive conclusions, are idiosyncratic interpretations of the facts that she selects from a much larger record, as is common in the speculative-history genre. There is nothing wrong about speculation, of course, but there is nothing persuasive about it either, in terms of drawing reliable conclusions about history.

The entire essay comes as close to required reading as any libertarian would decree. Munger is not simply scoring points or picking apart the argument made by someone from a different tribe or camp; he's actually laying bare how ideologically motivated texts paper over gaps in evidence and logic by focusing on small details to the exclusion of actually giving an accurate view of the larger picture. In the grip of a thesis she wants to be true, MacLean simply sifts through huge amounts of data and evidence, keeping only small chips of bones and fossils that she can use to construct a skeleton with which to scare people who already agree with her.

The contribution of Democracy in Chains...is to do two things...: Identify James Buchanan as the focal point of the revolution, and identify the content of Public Choice research and teaching as anti-Constitutional and anti-democratic.... Buchanan did not believe in unlimited majority rule. But then, as Buchanan often rightly said, nobody believes in unlimited majority rule. Democracy is and must be a balancing of, on the one hand, the rights of minorities, and, on the other, the ability of the majority to have its way within the domain established as "political" by the constitution. That's another thing that is remarkable about Democracy in Chains: MacLean does not assign Buchanan a straw man position. She (correctly) gives Buchanan's position as being the mainstream view, the one that everyone actually agrees with. And then she tries to defend the straw man position, the one that no one actually believes. Remarkable. The position she assigns Buchanan is this: He thought that democracy should be limited, to protect minorities. Um...okay. Yes, that's right. We all believe that.

Which isn't to say that Munger finds no value in the book:

Democracy in Chains is well-written, and the research it contains is both interesting and in many cases illuminating. But as an actual history, as a reliable account of the centrality of the work of James Buchanan in a gigantic conspiracy designed to end democracy in America, it turns far away from its mark. It is the story of an alternative past that never actually happened.

Despite its central failings, I too found the book interesting, if mostly as a way of understanding the ways in which libertarian thought is considered by those hostile to it. Ultimately, Democracy in Chains reveals less about a not-so-shadowy group of people who, as a t-shirt puts it, are "diligently plotting to take over the World and leave you alone" and more about progressives and liberals who choose to live in a dream world.

Other takes worth a read include ones by Jonah Goldberg, David Bernstein, David Henderson, Steve Horwitz, and Jason Brennan.

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Could it be—and I use these words quite hesitantly and carefully—a fifth-column assault on American democratic governance?

    Libertarians know of new methods of attack.

  • Dmaz1947||

    Progressivism is the stealth plan to destroy America - it is American Menshevism, America's version of the British Fabian Society.

  • Jerryskids||

    Yeah, it's funny that she'd refer to John Calhoun as "the Marx of the Master Class" when, you know, *Karl Marx* would kinda sorta fit that description better. Let's just say for the sake of argument that there is a Communist conspiracy to undermine American democracy and, really, all of Western Civilization and its faith in the sovereignty of the individual over the collective and its identity politics bullshit, how would this book read any different if it were part of that vast left-wing conspiracy?

  • Citizen X - #6||

    American Progressivism is Fabianism minus most of the intellectual exclusivity and the overt Marxism, and plus a lot of dumb populism.

  • Eric||

    "Progressivism is the stealth plan to destroy America"

    At least it was in the 1930's and 40's, and 60's. What the old timers don't realize is that the "America" you idolize has been "destroyed" and replaced with something else a long time ago.

    Now to the question of the article: "Is Libertarianism a "Stealth Plan" To Destroy America?"

    I think that given my premise above, to many, it is.

  • UserFriendly||

    Having not read the book I'm not going to defend it, but what I will never understand is how libertarians have this incredible fear of unaccountable government bureaucrats yet think that they will somehow be able to control the private corporations that come to take their place. At least with governments you do have some say in how they operate and they are quite literally the only tool that the populous has to constrain the ultra rich and force them to behave in a way that benefits more than their bottom line. You seem to think that you will still have your current job, income, and status in your libertarian utopia. Trust me, you won't. As it is now we have crony capitalism where businesses practically own the government making them only feign regret when they get caught ripping people off and get a slap on the wrist (every bank). You are delusional if you think you can use market discipline to ensure good behavior. If you have 4 firms, 3 honest and 1 not, as soon as the not honest one finds an unethical way to profit it puts the other 3 at a competitive disadvantage. They can either stay honest and lose business or go crooked too. With no watchdog in place you will end up in a neo-feudalistic hell, without a doubt.

    If you want to debate how much of a role the government should have in ensuring equality of opportunity then that is reasonable, but this whole kill government because it makes rules I don't want to follow is childish and naive.

  • Michael Hihn||

    It's the anti-gubmint mentality. Low IQ. Eager to be brainwashed. Hatred-spewing, like all bigots. They ridicule "consent of the governed" – demanding their 2% dominate the 98%. That individual liberty requires UNANIMOUS consent. (lol)

    They're free to get the fuck out and create their own society, but they're incompetent to. So they suck off the liberties created by others. Most BELEEB their utopia will spring from the earth like their other delusions. The goobers chant "All taxation is theft" – and it is, TO THEM ONLY.

    They cannot grasp that governments like ours are voluntary, with tolerance for differing views. THEIR entitlement mentality justifies them sucking off the teat of liberty created by others -- like welfare queens.

    They're not ALL libertarians, only the anti-gubmint ones. Dim-witted, they BELEEB that hating gubmint is the same as loving liberty, so they NEVER have any solution for ANYTHING, and (no shit) ridicule solutions as "conspiring with statists" -- further confirming their authoritarian mentality.

    You only see what you're looking for, and all they see is destruction.
    Pro-liberty libs look for, and find, solutions, almost all of which involve some sort of TRANSITION, which creates private and government as equal options, and allowing each free individual to select on their own. The REAL proper role of government.

    They're fascists, like Ron Paul and you, two sides of the same authoritarian coin.
    Any questions?

  • Tomblvd||

    Yea, did you ever get your stuck CAPS LOCK key fixed?

  • Michael Hihn||

    Yea, did you ever get your stuck CAPS LOCK key fixed?

    I do that only for self-defense.
    And ridicule. (and smirkng)

  • mkreitler||

    We do not have an "incredible fear of unaccountable government bureaucrats," nor do all of us believe that government could or should be abolished. In the first 20 pages of "Road to Serfdom," Hayak points out that markets need some amount of governing to maintain competition and resolve disputes. The question is, "How much is the right amount?"

    As for government being the "only tool" to constrain corporations, that's not true. The Greensboro sit-ins resulted in desegregation of lunch counters across the country before any laws were changed. More recently, Chik-Fil-A backed down from its opposition to gay marriage in the face of customer backlash. In fact, the people have as much, if not more ability, to oppose corporations because we can simply refuse to give them our money.

    How do you suppose that strategy works with the government? Don't like our military killing civilians in the Middle East? Just stop paying your taxes -- see how that works out. Of course, you are free to vote for new representatives, up to and including the President. And you can see how effective that has been in ending our involvement in foreign wars...

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Christ, what an asshole.

    And yet, it's the only term up for MacLean's job since "the concept of a fifth column does seem to be the best one available for capturingwhat is distinctive in a few key dimensions about this quest to ensure the supremacy of capital."

    LEAVE KMELE ALONE

  • SIV||

    MacLean identifies former Attorney General Ed Meese and foreign-policy hawk Bill Kristol as libertarians

    Own 'em, cuck.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    The closest SIV ever gets to a point is when he's putting the tiny ball gag in his favorite chicken's beak.

  • ||

    You owe me a bottle of Windex, good sir, for the clean up I had to perform on my computer monitor after I spewed coffee all over it after reading your post.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Poor Nancy MacLean. No doubt she started writing this thing with in mind a continuing string of Democrats in the White House. Bad timing. The libertarians might be the left's allies in curbing Trump (depending on what parts of the administration's agenda they find most troublesome).

  • Ship of Theseus||

    Well, considering how principled the left is, they seem mostly concerned with EVERYTHING TRUMP DOES BECAUSE HE'S EVIL INCARNATE.

    Then again, the conservatives are busy defending everything he does because he's the godking.

  • Mithrandir||

    ^^This. It's Trump Derangement Syndrome all the way down.

  • Robert||

    What about the Never-Trumpettes? At least some of them still self-identify as "conservative".

    I'm about as libertarian as USAns can get, & I, 63 YO, think he's the most libertarian prez of my lifetime so far. Doesn't make him a radical libertarian by any means, but remember that almost all politics clusters around the center, & it's silly to judge by the ideal in ones' head.

  • Ship of Theseus||

    "I...think he's the most libertarian prez of my lifetime."

    Than you're either an idiot or this is some kind of tallest midget contest.

  • Ship of Theseus||

    *Then, dammit.

  • ||

    I think "tallest midget" is a fair characterization.

    But my take is not so much "most libertarian prez of my lifetime so far," but "now that we have someone making truly random decisions disconnected from ideology or planning of any kind, some of those decisions happen to have gone in a libertarian direction in stark contrast to all presidents in living memory who have deliberately avoiding anything even remotely resembling libertarianism."

  • Trollificus||

    Robert:
    "...it's silly to judge by the ideal in ones' head."

    Where then, am I to go for principled government implementing reasonable policies in the service of the citizenry? Huh?

  • Michael Hihn||

    Hey, he says Trumpo is more libertarian than REAGAN!
    Or Clinton

  • Rat on a train||

    The left didn't like the last Liberaltarian Alliance because libertarians refused to shut up and follow orders.

  • IndigoRed||

    "back to the political economy and oligarchic governance of midcentury Virginia, minus the segregation." At least we agrees we don't support segregation. She gave us that much.

    The part I don't get is the whole James Buchanan thing. Though all my years of attending the secret meetings in smoke filled rooms, leafing through our core documents, the Federalist Papers, The Silmarillion, The Necronomicon, I don't remember anyone mentioning James freaking Buchanan. There must be a level in SeaOrg I haven't heard of yet. Better start saving up

  • Ship of Theseus||

    Wasn't he the president from Pennsylvania?

  • Bra Ket||

    "At least we agrees we don't support segregation. She gave us that much.

    I was surprised by that one. I figured the thesis was surely headed toward accusations of racism and/or fascism.

    But then she claims libertarian spiritual leader Buchanan was apparently driven by resentment of desegregation.

  • Jgalt1975||

    The only place I can ever remember seeing references to James Buchanan is in the Liberty Fund books catalog.

  • Trollificus||

    And James Buchanan High School in Mercersburg, Pa. I attended there for a year, and come to think of it, even they didn't mention him much. His place in American political history is, I've always* thought, is equivalent to Greg Ostertag's place in NBA history**. Or, now I consider it, Ms. MacLeans' place among serious political thinkers.

    *-actually, never previously.
    **-from the remote duck blinds of Kansas, Ostertag can look up the NBA Hall of Fame on Google.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    When I first became aware of all the takedowns of MacLean's diatribe, it reminded me of that book on guns from 5-10 years ago -- purported to go through wills and probate records to show that Americans had not owned a lot of guns. Got national awards, and of course the gun grabbers loved it. Then someone found that some of the footnotes didn't add up, more people investigated, and it turned out he had just made up most of them. Things like cities which didn't exist, probate records which didn't exist, and my favorite, he mentioned a whole bunch of records which had actually burned up in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire. They took back the national awards, the publisher stopped publishing and I think even recalled what hadn't been sold, I think he was fired form his professorship for conduct unbecoming, and he made gun grabbers look like the pathetic fools they have always been.

    I wonder if something similar is in the works here. Academics have very little going for them except their academic records, and the kinds of misquotes and outright lies and libel I've read about are about the worst kind of sin in the academic world.

  • dantheserene||

    Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture is a discredited 2000 book by historian Michael A. Bellesiles.

    Statisticians could tell his numbers didn't add up without needing to see the sources. Even for made up data they made no sense.

    My personal favorite was his misquoting the Militia Act of 1792 where the original states every member is required to supply his own gun and will only be provided for from state magazines if he can show he can't afford a gun, and Bellesiles' version where the state magazine holds all the guns and they are only released for drill. How could he get it that wrong absent intent, and how did he think it would go unchallenged?

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    That's the one! It astonished me that any writer, ley alone a famous author with a reputation already built and at risk from such lies, would in fact make up so much stuff that was easily checked. Maybe he started small, thinking that old records were safe to make up, who would go around to so many small courthouses to doublecheck?

    And here we go again, but this time it's distorting quotes from living people (Tyler Cowen, really?) and people with an extensive written record (Buchanan?!?) in such ridiculous ways. She apparently had a pretty good reputation before this, but now that she's drawn attention to herself for lying, people are going to go back over all her previous work with a fine toothed comb. What the heck was she thinking? Did her editor have zero knowledge of the subject?

  • Sevo||

    "Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture is a discredited 2000 book by historian Michael A. Bellesiles."

    And like the BS that "20% of Americans are starving", it is still quoted as fact.

  • Red Rocks Baiting n Inciting||

    You're thinking of "Arming America" by Michael Bellesiles--damn thing won the Bancroft Prize until people started checking his sources. That whole fiasco is why I don't take the concept of "academic review" seriously. They clearly accepted what Bellesiles wrote at face value because he told them what they wanted to hear, and ended up with egg on their face.

  • Red Rocks Baiting n Inciting||

    Whoops, dan beat me to it.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    That's ok, it's still a good comment. Academics have shit in their bed too often for too long for me to trust them Either. Climate change alarmism is another such field; now the tipping point is 2020, just three years from now -- I can barely constrain myself waiting, wanting to rub it in their faces in 2021 and ask them to please just shut up now that it's too late.

    Same with statists -- everything government does, it does incompetently, to the point that I don't think government can do anything well, and anyone who says otherwise has a pretty high bar.

  • ||

    I can barely constrain myself waiting, wanting to rub it in their faces in 2021 and ask them to please just shut up now that it's too late.

    Why? Is that the way it happened when the last half-dozen "too late to save the world" deadlines came and went?

  • Adam330||

    It's truly ironic that progressives, who take their name from a group of actual racists (and who still cite noted racists like Holmes and Wilson as heroes), are attempting to smear libertarians by making up links to racists like Calhoun.

  • ThomasD||

    Yep, their ideological founders and forebears expressly advocated for racism and eugenic, not as any sort of byproduct or cultural artifact, but as practical expressions of their core principles.

    Yet they are the ones who want to play guilt by (exceedingly suspect) association.

    It's always projection with that crowd.

  • Crusty Juggler - Equalist||

    it's worth noting in passing that MacLean identifies former Attorney General Ed Meese and foreign-policy hawk Bill Kristol as libertarians, which must be as much of a shock to them as it is to, well, actual libertarians

    Welcome to the team, Bill!

  • ThomasD||

    Maybe someone should get him a set of hand libertarian principle reference cards. Because he needs 'em.

  • Mithrandir||

    Make sure the, "Don't desire war against every country ever" card is the first to show for him.

  • Trollificus||

    Or second, behind "The worst negative effect of most drugs is the increased risk of adversarial interaction with the police and the justice system."?

  • Longtobefree||

    the term "fifth column" has been applied to stealth supporters of an enemy who assist by engaging in propaganda and even sabotage to prepare the way for its conquest. It is a fraught term among scholars, not least because the specter of a secretive, infiltrative fifth column has been used in instrumental ways by the powerful— such as in the Red Scare of the Cold War era— to conjure fear and lead citizens and government to close ranks against dissent, with grave costs for civil liberties.

    Sounds like the democrats to me - - - -

    By the way, which chapter was on Soros?

  • Trollificus||

    The one on the "Sixth Column". That's "supporters of an enemy who assist by engaging in propaganda and even sabotage to prepare the way for its conquest", after they are already in charge of the mechanisms of government.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    P-R-O-J-E-C-T-I-O-N spells projection.

    Also; it was one of the major signs that the Political Right had lost it big time that they began to tell themselves convoluted conspiracy theories. What we may be seeing here is the Progressive Left's equivalent to the tired old "FDR planned Pearl Harbor" narrative.

    (Occam's Razor; FDR didn't plan Pearl Harbor; everyone in his administration and most decision makers in the military expected a Japanese attack. But they were (mostly) racists. They didn't think the Japanese could mount an attack as far as Pearl Harbor. Oops.)

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    And the primary reason FDR was pushing the Japanese and hoping they'd attack was that he could use it as an excuse to better help Britain fight Germany. But the Japanese attacked the US directly, instead of just some Dutch East Indies island. Oops!

  • Sevo||

    "And the primary reason FDR was pushing the Japanese and hoping they'd attack was that he could use it as an excuse to better help Britain fight Germany."

    You and the guy who thinks Elvis has an alien love child might believe that, but that's all.

  • Michael Hihn||

    tired old "FDR planned Pearl Harbor" narrative.

    He didn't plan it, but the dumbfuck caused it. When the attack hit ...

    1) American pilots (Flying Tigers) were shooting down Japanese fighter planes over China, as we stuck our nose into a war that didn't concern us.

    2) We had imposed an embargo on Japan -- which is an act of war.

    3) Why was the Pacific Fleet at Pearl? FDR had just moved it there from San Diego,

    Now consider that Japan launched a very faraway attack .. in the opposite direction from the actual war in China. Might they have thought FDR was preparing an attack? Duh.

    The larger lesson. We interfered in a war that had nothing do with us. China/Japan, and suffered Pearl Harbor.
    We interfered in another war that did not concern us. the mideast, and suffered 9/11.

    Now we have another rash and bellicose idiot in the White House.

  • 68W58||

    "...developed a strategy of misinformation and lying about outcomes until they had enough power that the public couldn't retaliate..."

    Lefties project.

  • SQRLSY One||

    Well yes, ALL of us good progs already KNOW that Glibertarians are conspiring to undermine all that is good and proggy!!!

    Forthwith, here I list the VERY latest (but very-little-known) Glibertarian conspiracy…

    Genetically Engineered Bacterial Spores at Root of New Conspiracy

    What I have heard is that the Glibertarians are cooking up yet MORE evil ways to bring down aircraft! They have deviously devised aluminum-eating genetically engineered microbes, which, as we speak (write and read), are being secreted into and onto the main weight-bearing aluminum structural elements of American and allied (non- Glibertarians) aircraft, military and civilian alike. At the release of secret radio codes, these aluminum-digesting microbial GMOs will spring to life, and then will destroy aircraft in-flight.

    What are the microbes called, you say?

    Wait for it now…

    … The Aluminum-Eatee!!!

  • 68W58||

  • Robert||

    Metal munching moon mice.

  • Leo Kovalensky||

    Buchanan was a northerner who was sympathetic with the slave states, which is why he's a good example of a bad politician, but that position makes him a poor example of a Libertarian.

    Buchanan was also anti-Mormon in the Utah territory, again, hardly a Libertarian position.

    Oh by the way, I'm sure she fails to mention he was, in fact, a Democrat in the mold of Andrew Jackson.

  • 68W58||

    I was confused about this as well, but reading Jonah Goldberg's essay linked at the end of this piece helped clarify. I think that the James Buchanan referred to is this guy https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_M._Buchanan and not the failed antebellum President.

  • Leo Kovalensky||

    Thanks for clarifying. Now I have something to research at work :)

  • loveconstitution1789||

    "As its title suggests, Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America, ...."
    As opposed to literal chains the Democrats had slaves in.

  • Sevo||

    "...[and] a stealth bid to reverse-engineer all of America"

    If you or your editor don't know what a phrase means, you ought not use it.

  • Brian||

    I assume that a progressive democrat shooter, trying to literally assassinate his political opponents, isn't an assault on democracy.

    Where are the calls to reduce the violent rhetoric, and for common sense gun control, so that these crazy left-wing lions don't destroy our democracy?

    Who knows, because the media is now stealing the cop/solder line: "OHMYGERD, THE PRESIDENT SENT A SILLY TWEET! WE'RE THE REAL HEROEZ NOW!!!"

    Whatevs.

  • Brandybuck||

    I can't recall another anti-libertarian book so thoroughly critiqued in so short of period by such a high caliber of critics in so short of time. Picketty looks like a giant of unassailable research in comparison.

    Of course, the Left won't care. The book validates their narrative, and so will be cited until the end of time.

  • Alan Vanneman||

    Utterly chilling, Nick, at least in length. As for Sacco and Vanzetti once setting the record low for "villainy", well, not for the left. They were supposed to be innocent, remember? But they probably weren't. I (naturally) examined the case pretty thoroughly in my own little book "James Thurber: A Reader's Guide", since the reading of Vanzetti's sentencing statement forms the crux of the plot of his play "The Male Animal".

  • OM Nullum gratuitum prandium||

    I bet there's some kind of obscure reference only Nick and you are privy to, but to those incapable of reading minds, your comment is a unintelligible as the musings and non sequiturs written by lunatics with their own feces on the walls of their nicely padded rooms. Perhaps you were hit in the head too hard, hmm?

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Anal Van-Man just wanted an excuse to mention his book that no one cares about, because he's a narcissistic blowhard who compulsively talks about himself whether it's relevant or not.

  • Robert||

    You could as easily find the libertarian in the anti-bigness of E.F. Schumacher & Kirkpatrick Sale, and declare libertarians to be anti-business.

  • Butler T. Reynolds||

    "a stealth bid to reverse-engineer all of America"

    Maybe she's right, but only because I don't think reverse-engineer means what she thinks it means.

  • Inigo Montoya||

    Forget her misuse of the term "reverse engineer" -- in what universe is Libertarian part of the radical right???

    Does she even Nolan chart, bro?

    I get that it upsets her and other leftists that libertarians refuse to fall into the left/right dichotomy around which they frame their entire reality, but wishing something to be true the way she defines it doesn't make it true.

    Calling libertarians members of the radical right is about as accurate as saying Joseph Stalin belongs in the same group of non-violent change proponents as Gandhi and MLK. I guess some idiot could write a book to that effect, but it would carry absolutely zero credibility.

  • ChipToBeSquare||

    So does she find the whole concept of Public Choice to be objectionable?

    "What kind of crazy person thinks government officials behave like humans and not benevolent, angelic overlords? You're trying to destroy democracy!"

  • J Ortega y Gasset||

    No one who has ever been to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

  • CatoTheChipper||

    "is this non-fiction or an Oliver Stone film?"

    That's unfair to Oliver Stone. His films are far less deceptive than MacLean's characterization of Tyler Cowen.

  • OM Nullum gratuitum prandium||

    At the increasingly hard-left New Republic


    You must be talking about getting to the infinitesimal part of the exponential curve because New Republic has always been hard-left since they printed pro-Stalinist policy apologia.

  • OM Nullum gratuitum prandium||

    Johan Goldberg writes:

    As my friend Steve Horwitz writes:



    Finding examples of misleading, incorrect, and outright butchered quotes and citations in Nancy MacLean's new book about James Buchanan, Democracy in Chains, has become the academic version of Pokemon Go this week.


    No better indictment could be produced against the clumsy attitude from the part of a scholar who pretends to criticize a movement she clearly understands not at all and has no interest in understanding all the while expecting to get away with it unscathed.

  • OM Nullum gratuitum prandium||

    [...] the attempt by the billionaire-backed radical right to undo democratic governance [...]


    You should realize that MacLean is not even being very original or particularly clever with this assertion, as idiots like Tony have been repeating THAT VERY SAME tired and clichéd mantra for YEARS in these very pages. Is that what passes for scholarship today among the intelligentsia these days? Repeating paranoid diatribes and accusations coming from bloggers, forum commentators and Hit & Run trolls?

  • J Ortega y Gasset||

    MacLean admits she isn't an economist. She also isn't much of a polemicist, nor does she have a sense of irony. American society has become more free in numerous important ways, i.e., same-sex marriage, legalization of marijuana. Libertarianism--as a political project--has been an abject failure. Ironically, Buchanan won a Nobel Prize for providing an interesting explanation as to why.

    MacLean's work is more a fever dream than a text. She worries about the influence of the Koch brothers while the Democrat/Republican duopoly is working to prove America can become a supersized Greece. I further suspect that MacLean only respects "democracy" to the extent the body politic conforms to her world view. The left celebrates the common man (and woman) but only to the point they march in lockstep.

  • Michael Hihn||

    And George Soros! Not to forget Warren Buffett -- then again, the libertarian establishment TOTALLY blew the Buffett Rule which is STILL believed by a large majority of Americans.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Yes. Ron Paul destroys libertarianism. Nick Gillespie piles on ....
    Ron drags libertarianism far right - anti-gubmint goobers, bigots and alt-right (Google Ron and Alex Jones)

    Goldwater predicts Christian Taliban destroy GOP, Falwell and Robertson. GOP infiltrated/destroyed. Ron does same to libertarianism. Never mentions extreme socons. but targets same bigots and church/state Taliban
    RAGING HATRED (for gays) added to movement. Claims "Rogue Judges" overturned DOMA (denies separation of powers, 3 co-equal branches, checks and balances, unalienable rights) PHONY FEDERALISM (KKK-style states rights). States have powers never delegated. We have NO DEFENSE of constitutional violations by states.

    MORAL SLIME brags of sponsoring bill to FORBID SCOTUS from hearing appeals to DOMA -- fucking fags would be first group denied constitutional protection since fucking ni**ers.

    Nick Gillespie becomes stalking horse for anti-gubmint goobers – publishing crazier bullshit than US Communist Party. CLAIMS SLASHING GUBMINT WILL STIMULATE ECONOMY, citing huge postwar spending cuts, using bullshit GDP data from Mercatus

    Liberty destroyed by ATTACKING POLICY SOLUTIONS AND REFORMS as "conspiring with statists" Americans eager for change, but Johnson/Weld CRIPPLED – NO POLICIES from entire lib establishment.

    Liberty killed by Paul Cult. Suppressed Cato survey: libertarian label REJECTED by 91% of LIBERTARIANS. Gillespie proclaims libertarian moment. Autopsy.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Part Two

    I invite and encourage thoughtful alternative voices, because tolerance is a defining virtue of libertarians.

    NAP forbids verbal aggression. Verbal aggression is protected speech, but the same Authoritarian mind as force -- to attack opponents and impose one's own values on everyone. The True Believers.

    Eric Hoffer's seminal book showed zealots and fanatics they eventually dominate all movements. And now ours.

    Mass movements do not need a god, but they do need a devil. Hatred unifies the True Believers."
    -Eric Hoffer, "The True Believers" (1951)

    Throughout human history, the worst moral atrocitres have been committed by those manipulated to BELIEVE they are defending some "greater good" -- the Collective, the State, the Master Race, the Party or a God. Zealots and fanatics. The militant self-righteous.
    -Mike Hihn (1994)

    When hatred of government -- replaces love of liberty. Priorities:
    Expanding liberty always reduces government.
    Shrinking government CAN also reduce liberty. Like failing to transfer ALL Medicaid spending back to private charity. It's not about the cuts; it's about restoring a superior free market.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    NAP forbids verbal aggression. Verbal aggression is protected speech, but the same Authoritarian mind as force -- to attack opponents and impose one's own values on everyone.

    I suppose pointing out that this is a nonsense statement counts as "verbal aggression," doesn't it.

  • Michael Hihn||

    I suppose pointing out that this is a nonsense statement counts as "verbal aggression," doesn't it.

    Nope. Encouraging viewpoints is essential to the cause of liberty.
    Attacking IDEAS is not the same as attacking INDIVIDUALS. Why do you ask? (I MAY already surmise)

    Yours is a different problem. I OBSERVE that your own comment is a mere personal opinion -- totally devoid of
    any supporting arguments or explanations .. to be accepted on faith alone ... or tribal cheering by those who already agree with you.

    Anything else?

  • Citizen X - #6||

    I think that, in this case, the burden of providing evidence should be on the one who is trying to claim that mean words on the Internet count as violence and therefore violate the NAP, but your mileage obviously varies.

    Funny how evidence-free assertions are observations when Mike Hihn makes them but merely personal opinions when anyone else does.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Citizen X

    I think that, in this case, the burden of providing evidence should be on the one who is trying to claim that mean words on the Internet count as violence

    NOBODY SAID THAT. Words are NEVER violence ... but CAN be aggression

    and therefore violate the NAP, but your mileage obviously varies.

    Why did you avoid saying "aggression?"

    Attacking IDEAS is not the same as attacking INDIVIDUALS. Why do you ask?

    Funny how evidence-free assertions are observations when Mike Hihn makes them but merely personal opinions when anyone else does.

    Umm, why did you ignore the question? Sorry, I never dreamed anyone would say that attacking INDIVIDUALS is NOT worse than attacking IDEAS.

    I now assume you're still mistaken on "verbal aggression. The PROOF is detailed in a google search .. with over 2,000,000 listing!

    http://reason.com/blog/2017/07.....nt_6891426

    P.S. NAP does not apply to IDEAS. Because Free Speech, as I already explained.

  • Eek Barba Durkle||

    Nope. Encouraging viewpoints is essential to the cause of liberty.
    Attacking IDEAS is not the same as attacking INDIVIDUALS.

    Well, sure.

    or tribal cheering by those who already agree with you.

    Stupid tribal assholes.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Attacking IDEAS is not the same as attacking INDIVIDUALS.

    Well, sure.

    Which is why I corrected Citizen-X. Twice. Thanks for your support!

    or tribal cheering by those who already agree with you.

    Stupid tribal assholes.

    That's a tad strong for mindless faith in one's own puppet masters, aka subservience..

  • J Ortega y Gasset||

    And this, ladies and gentlemen, is a timely example of why libertarianism will not become a fifth column, or even a fifth of a column. Even the Koch's cannot save libertarianism from libertarians.

  • Michael Hihn||

    The Kochs are still an open question, but I lean toward disagreeing with you. Charles ALWAYS speaks in pro-liberty terms, like "enriching people's lives." I can't recall him attacking government.

    He now sponsors a website or whatever called "End The Divide" -- the exact opposite of the haters. He's actually their greatest victim. Tens of millions of dollars, all to achieve nothing. His break with Cato was described, in some circles, as driven by Cato's never doing anything. On policy, that's exactly true.

    I assume Charles is trapped by his own tribal loyalties -- as I was for 20 years, when I began exposing total bullshit on the fiscal right. Tax Quacks INCLUDING THE FLAT TAX (sales OR income)

    But my favorite is Tinkerbelle Economics (Cato's Maxtax). A HYSTERICAL fuckup. by Steve Moore,from Cato, then the economist guru at the Journal, now a top source on the right, but just as crazy. Tax genius confused ADJUSTED GROSS income with TAXABLE income in tax brackets, thus stumbled into a HUGE tax cut for the very rich, a tax INCREASE for everyone else ... which he THOUGHT was a tax cut for nearly everyone (it would be an optional alternative).

  • J Ortega y Gasset||

    Yeah... the minute you quoted yourself, I really stopped reading seriously. Not to seem "aggressive," but I can only stare into the sun of self reference for a moments at a time.

  • Michael Hihn||

    I never quoted myself. I did provide proof that fiscal conservatism has been off rails for over 20 years .. to support my claim that it had.

    Is it the "self-reference" that pisses you off? Or that I provided what we call a supported argument,

    P.S. All the stuff in that web archive had been submitted to Reason, Wall Street Journal (the fraud of Dick Armey's flat tax, as noted in the archive) andor others, who declined to publish. So I created my own print magazine, now archived online.

    Would you prefer I link to Cato --- and document the bullshit in their Medicare Vouchers and Social Security Privatization? Gillespie/Mercatus bullshit about the "stimulus" of huge spending cuts? If I promise not to link to the same facts elsewhere?

  • OM Nullum gratuitum prandium||

    Re: Michael Hindered,

    NAP forbids verbal aggression.


    Little children and people who lack maturity, character and emotional stability may think that there is such a thing as "verbal aggression." I believe there's such a thing as verbal diarrhea and that there are stupid people who say stupid things, but aggression?

  • Michael Hihn||

    NAP forbids verbal aggression.

    Little children and people who lack maturity, character and emotional stability ... verbal diarrhea ...
    stupid people who say stupid things

    In my defense of aggression ... (smirk)

    Verbal aggression, that it exists. its ALWAYS denied by those who use it, as I said, to bully and attack people. Judge for yourself, who -- if anyone -- employs verbal diarrhea. I've even made it easy for you -- as little as 10 seconds.

    At Google, we can link to the RESULTS of a search. This links to the RESULTS of a search for :"verbal aggression." -- over 2,000,000 listings! (not all are definitions) This is the sample definition at the top

    Verbal aggressiveness is an assault on another's self concept, rather than his/her position. Individuals who rely on verbal aggressiveness are viewed as less credible,have less satisfying relationships, and resort to physical aggression more often.

    Like I said, same mentality,

    THANK YOU for providing absolute and undeniable proof of how cyber-bullies operate. (a documented conclusion)

    Anything else?

    Boldface in defense of an unprovoked assault -- aka aggression -- in defiance of the Non-Aggression Principle

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    It's interesting to know that calling someone "MORAL SLIME" and "anti-gubmint goobers" apparently doesn't count as verbal aggression.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Do you know the difference between a personal attack and a well-supported argument?

    This:
    "MORAL SLIME brags of sponsoring bill to FORBID SCOTUS from hearing appeals to DOMA -- fucking fags would be first group denied constitutional protection since fucking ni**er"

    It's NOT moral slime to deny an entire group's right to defend their constitutional rights? If not, why do you want to restore slavery?

    Do you challenge this explicitly?
    Ron (Paul) drags libertarianism far right - anti-gubmint goobers, bigots and alt-right (Google Ron and Alex Jones)"

    Goobers is a clarifier, since not all anarchists are goobers. THAT documentation is too long for the space available here. Please look again and let me know,
    http://reason.com/blog/2017/07.....nt_6891326

    Thanks for the feedback.

    "I invite and encourage thoughtful alternative voices, because tolerance is a defining virtue of libertarians."

  • CE||

    Ron Paul is "far right"???? Because he's pro-life and would leave marriage to the states?
    Name any other national politician who has been more anti-war, or who advocated legalizing heroin on a national stage.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Ron Paul is "far right"???? Because he's pro-life and would leave marriage to the states?

    Uhh, yeah. Aggressive pro-life (like aggressive pro-choice) violates the principle of equal, unalienable and/or God-given rights. If one know what unalienable means, then one knows that NO rights are absolute, even Life. because NO unalienable right can be denied or disparaged in any way, ever.

    THINK. If only two rights may NEVER be denied or disparaged, then how can EITHER be absolute?

    States are FORBIDDEN any role in marriage by the Ninth Amendment. This may be the craziest aspect of his bullshit. He says THAT is why gay marriage can be banned ... because marriage is NOT i=n the constitution!!

    Name any other national politician who has been more anti-war, or who advocated legalizing heroin on a national stage.

    Name any other politician .. at ANY level ... EVER ... who tried to deny anyone, especially an entire group, the ability to defend their rights in court. Ca

  • Michael Hihn||

    ...Can you? That's what the motherfucker tried. He brags that he sponsored a bill to forbid SCOTUS from even hearing ANY appeal to DOMA. He wanted homosexuals dragged back to what negroes were ... before emancipation. THAT is libertarian?

    He also says "rogue judges" overturned DOMA -- so the dumbass rejects separation of powers, checks and balances, THREE co-equal branches.

    Add it all together and he says states have unlimited powers, SHITS on the principle of DELEGATED powers ... and says SCOTUS has no power to defend us from abuses at the state level. HOLY FUCK ... THAT'S THE KU KLUX KLAN. He's from South Texas.

    And Google both him and Alex Jones!! How much time does Ron spend with one of THE craziest thugs in America.

  • Rebel Scum||

    Libertarians: Diligently plotting to take over the world and leave you alone.

  • Michael Hihn||

    By banning marriage equality?
    By denying SCOTUS to defend fundamental individual rights?
    By claiming states have powers never delegated. thus leaving us defenseless in States Rights, KKK-style?>
    By rejecting a pregnant woman's EQUAL Right to Liberty? (NO unalienable right may EVER be denied or disparaged, thus all precisely co-equal)?

    I invite and encourage thoughtful alternative voices, because tolerance is a defining virtue of libertarians.
    NAP forbids verbal aggression. Verbal aggression is protected speech, but the same Authoritarian mind as force -- to attack opponents, impose one's own values on everyone and shut down disobedience.

  • OM Nullum gratuitum prandium||

    Re: Michael Hindered,

    By banning marriage equality?


    Care to elaborate, or concede that you're making shit up?

  • Michael Hihn||

    Ron and Rand Paul. For the IDENTICAL reason you attacked me for stating it.
    http://reason.com/blog/2017/07.....nt_6891326

  • OM Nullum gratuitum prandium||

    Re: Michael Hindered,

    Ron and Rand Paul. For the IDENTICAL reason you attacked me for stating it.


    Saying "Ron and Rand Paul" is not an argument. And linking to one of your inane comments is not evidence of anything.

  • Michael Hihn||

    When aggression gets challenged, cyber-bullies wreak their revenge.
    RARELY as hysterical as this!

    Ron and Rand Paul. For the IDENTICAL reason you attacked me for stating it.M

    Saying "Ron and Rand Paul" is not an argument.

    This time in boldface!!

    And linking to one of your inane comments is not evidence of anything.

    (lol) I linked to PROOF (gasp)

    Note that my stalker denies that Ron Pail attacks marriage equality.
    Denies that Ron said he'd have voted for DOMA if he'd been in office
    Denies that Ron tried to block SCOTUS from hearing ANY challenges to DOMA -- thus denying gays a defense of their Constitutional rights,
    Denies that Ron says "rogue judges" overturned DOMA -- as if there was no independent judiciary, no checks and balances, no THREE co-equal branches.

    All those were "innane" comments. I had posted them at the link I provides. And he had INDEED already attacked me at THIS link!

    http://reason.com/blog/2017/07.....nt_6891388

    THAT aggression said

    Little children and people who lack maturity, character and emotional stability may think that there is such a thing as "verbal aggression." I believe there's such a thing as verbal diarrhea and that there are stupid people who say stupid things, but aggression?

    Also see my defense. (lol)

    Will he prove me right again, with MORE assaults?? (Never prejudge)

  • Michael Hihn||

    When aggression gets challenged, cyber-bullies wreak their revenge.
    RARELY as hysterical as this!

    Ron and Rand Paul. For the IDENTICAL reason you attacked me for stating it.M

    Saying "Ron and Rand Paul" is not an argument.

    This time in boldface!!

    And linking to one of your inane comments is not evidence of anything.

    (lol) I linked to PROOF (gasp)

    Note that my stalker denies that Ron Pail attacks marriage equality.
    Denies that Ron said he'd have voted for DOMA if he'd been in office
    Denies that Ron tried to block SCOTUS from hearing ANY challenges to DOMA -- thus denying gays a defense of their Constitutional rights,
    Denies that Ron says "rogue judges" overturned DOMA -- as if there was no independent judiciary, no checks and balances, no THREE co-equal branches.

    All those were "innane" comments. I had posted them at the link I provides. And he had INDEED already attacked me at THIS link!

    http://reason.com/blog/2017/07.....nt_6891388

    THAT aggression said

    Little children and people who lack maturity, character and emotional stability may think that there is such a thing as "verbal aggression." I believe there's such a thing as verbal diarrhea and that there are stupid people who say stupid things, but aggression?

    Also see my defense. (lol)

    Will he prove me right again, with MORE assaults?? (Never prejudge)

  • Rebel Scum||

    I know you're willfully obtuse, but lets give it a go anyway:

    By banning marriage equality?

    By having the government only recognize marriage as a contract between/among people and not giving special bennies to couples/groups engaged in said contract.

    By denying SCOTUS to defend fundamental individual rights?

    Idk what you think the role of scotus is but I think you have it wrong. So I'm not sure what to make of this sentence.

    By claiming states have powers never delegated.

    The Federal Constitution grants the Federal Gov't certain specific powers, as do the Constitutions of the several States for the States. You might try reading:

    --> The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.-US Constitution

    By rejecting a pregnant woman's EQUAL Right to Liberty?

    To what in, Cthulhu's green earth, are you referring? Abortion? There is nothing about not supporting gov't subsidized abortion or government subsidized birth control that is anti-equal rights for women.

    --> It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.- F. Bastiat

  • Michael Hihn||

    Rebel Scum.

    I know you're willfully obtuse …

    OPENS with aggression … then proves my points!
    .

    By banning marriage equality?

    By having the government only recognize marriage as a contract between/among people and not giving special bennies to couples/groups engaged in said contract.

    Wrong slogan. Marriage equality

    By denying SCOTUS to defend fundamental individual rights?

    Idk what you think the role of scotus is but I think you have it wrong.

    See 9th Amendment. Now you repeat the biggest lie by Ron, the Liberty Hustler

    By claiming states have powers never delegated.

    The Federal Constitution grants the Federal Gov't certain specific powers, as do the Constitutions of the several States for the States. You might try reading:

    Ready?

    The 10th Amendment defines enumerated POWERS. But BEFORE that, the 9th Amendment defines unenumerated RIGHTS. You read:

    The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

    STATES CANNOT HAVE POWER THAT WERE NEVER DELEGATED. Part One of Ron's liberty hustles. Part two denies SCOTUS any power to defend our FUNDAMENTAL rights. ANTI-GAY STATES COULD BECOME WHAT SLAVE STATES WERE ... ala the KKK's states rights ... LIED as Federalism. Like I said.

    Cont'd

  • Michael Hihn||

    Part Two

    By rejecting a pregnant woman's EQUAL Right to Liberty?

    To what in, Cthulhu's green earth, are you referring? Abortion?

    You got THAT part correct, then…

    There is nothing about not supporting gov't subsidized abortion or government subsidized birth control that is anti-equal rights for women.

    Wrong slogan again.

    NO unalienable rights may be denied or disparaged for ANY reason. That makes them all co-equal. So, when they conflict with each other, NEITHER is superior to the other.

    Ever hear, "Your right to swing your fist ends at the tip of my nose?" The nose tip is the boundary between two conflicting rights. Good so far?

    Who draws the boundary?

    Only SCOTUS can draw that line … because only the other two can create a conflict … the same balance of power Ron Paul SHITS all over. Ready?

    That means the woman's unalienable Right to Liberty is precisely equal to the fetal child's unalienable Right to Life …. Or do Ron and you assert that Jefferson and the Founders were … illiterate?

    My turn.

    The 9th is where the Declaration's unalienable rights are enshrined. It forbids ALL levels of government from denying or disparaging those rights. That means Life, Liberty, Pursuit of Happiness … and all the others

    So please list for me … what are those unenumerated rights? Or just how many are there?

    Anything else?

  • Rebel Scum||

    STATES CANNOT HAVE POWER THAT WERE NEVER DELEGATED.

    States have all authority not delegated by them to the feds. Yes, the feds are superior but only in areas where authority is granted in the document that created the federal gov't. This is a simple concept. The Sates existed first and would never cede all authority to the common gov't among them. As stated, but needs to be repeated, the feds are limited to A1S8. . And nothing about the 9th amendment contradicts my position, which you didn't bother to understand. (ie "marriage"="contract", and no special bennies based on marital status --> appropriate libertarian position on the issue)

    ANTI-GAY STATES COULD BECOME WHAT SLAVE STATES WERE

    The irony: denies SCOTUS any power to defend our FUNDAMENTAL rights.

    SCOTUS held the legality of slavery under the constitution for quite a long time. But continue to believe that they are there to protect your rights. They are merely there to judge constitutionality when someone brings a lawsuit, and they provide legal opinions. These opinions are subject to change based on who is on the court at a given time. This is why case decisions can be overturned. This is also how military conscription is held to be legal by the powers that be even though the 13th amendment states: Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude...shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

  • Michael Hihn||

    No offense to Rebel Scum intended. He's merely repeats the teaching of Ron Paul, so this responds to Ron, or I'd ignore it. Rebel confirms EVERYTHING I charge Ron Paul with

    Rebel Scum FAILS to list the rights guaranteed by the 9th. because THAT is where the ENTIRE scam collapses ... he has no clue. Nobody does.

    STATES CANNOT HAVE POWER THAT WERE NEVER DELEGATED.
    States have all authority not delegated by them to the feds.

    Powers can ONLY be delegated by the people Sorry to yell, but ...

    The Sates existed first and would never cede all authority to the common gov't among them.

    Why not?It was states who guaranteed that NO level of government including theirs could deny or disparage fundamental rights .. the rights you fail to list … when they ratified.

    This CONFIRMS they believe state governments have powers never delegate by ... ANYONE. That can ONLY mean Ron believes state government is SUPERIOR to individual liberties – precisely as I claimed.

    As stated, but needs to be repeated, the feds are limited to A1S8.

    That's Congress! There are THREE branches!

    And nothing about the 9th amendment contradicts my position, which you didn't bother to understand.

    It STILL has nothing to do with marriage equality!
    (Do YOU understand that means gay marriage?)

    Cont'd

  • Michael Hihn||

    Part Two

    ANTI-GAY STATES COULD BECOME WHAT SLAVE STATES WERE

    The irony: denies SCOTUS any power to defend our FUNDAMENTAL rights.

    YOU call it irony. I say it PROVES Ron Paul is a fucking slaver

    SCOTUS held the legality of slavery under the constitution for quite a long time. But continue to believe that they are there to protect your rights.

    That's a proggie argument!

    Slavery existed for all of human history, even the Old Testament. It came here from Europe. We repealed it in fewer than 90 years. And you SHAME us? Shame on you!

    They are merely there…

    Judicial powers are defined in Article III, which you also deny the existence of.

    Now he confirms Ron Paul's greatest TREASON that SCOTUS has NO POWER to protect fundamental rights

    But continue to believe that they are there to protect your rights

    Do the math. RON says states have unlimited power over us. Even SCOTUS cannot interfere.
    KU KLUX KLAN ... ORVAL FAUBUS ... LITTLE ROCK

    Rebel, you sneered about slavery. We abolished it over a century ago. Why does Ron Paul defend the same KKK principles to assault the rights of a different victim group? Do you still stand with him on this?

  • Michael Hihn||

    Part Three (Ron Paul's death knell)

    Which words here provide the loophole for state governments, as claimed by Ron Paul (who technically denies it even exists)

    9th Amendment, Bill of Rights
    "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people

    This WAS referred to as "the libertarian amendment" -- when the movement was still libertarian

  • Michael Hihn||

    Late breaking ... Rebel Scum launched ANOTHER aggression here
    http://reason.com/blog/2017/07.....nt_6891874

    AGAIN opened with a persoal insult
    AGAIN made a public fool of himself.

    Fuck NAP says my stalker.

  • CE||

    By claiming states have powers never delegated...

    I wonder where he got that radical far right idea? Maybe the Tenth Amendment?

    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

  • Michael Hihn||

    ANOTHER BRAINWASHED CULT FOLLOWER

    (Ron Paul) By claiming states have powers never delegated...

    I wonder where he got that radical far right idea? Maybe the Tenth Amendment?

    The Paulista Cult are TRUE believers
    1) States have unlimited powers
    2) SCOTUS has NO power to defend us from abuses by state government.
    3) This is Federalism, and strict constitutionalism
    (OMFG)

    THAT'S THE "STATES RIGHTs" OF SOUTHERN RACISTS AND THE KU KLUX KLAN ... THEIR EXCUSE FOR REFUSING EQUAL RIGHTS TO BLACKS ... AS LATE AS 1957 ... WHEN EISENHOWER HAD TO SEND ARMED TROOPS TO LITTLE ROCK,

    Here's how Ron does it ... exploiting his cult's IGNORANCE of the Constitution,

    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

    SUCKER. Those are unenumerated POWERS ... Limited by the unenumerated RIGHTS in the NINTH Amendment

    The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

    What are those rights ... which NO level of government may dent or dispaparage? And regardless of Ron Paul's shameful, fascist bullshit ... how can ANYONE say that states have unlimited power, AND we have NO defense from them?

  • Mark22||

    Take it from Hillary: IT'S ALL A VAST RIGHT WING CONSPIRACY

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    You know, I consider myself a libertarian, I love libertar and all that. But I'm still not certain that we're a major threatening force in American politics. Certainly, I don't see the average person shifting to many libertarian beliefs.

    But I still keep seeing all of these paranoid take downs of libertarians. I feel like the amount of fear we inspire in people far outweighs how much we actually do. It's like we've become the political bogeyman. "If you don't watch out, the libertarians will come at night and allow you to act of your own free will and beliefs."

  • Citizen X - #6||

    "First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you."

    In this case, monuments funded by private donations, of course.

  • J Ortega y Gasset||

    I generally concur although offer this point. Individuals are libertarians when it comes to themselves, statists when it comes others. And I don't think any movement with Starchild as a leading member is going to set the political world a trembling. Honestly, I don't think it's that the fear of libertarians as much as it's the fear that average idiots are going to pay attention and realize how fucked we are.

  • Michael Hihn||

    And I don't think any movement with Starchild as a leading member is going to set the political world a trembling.

    Fucking fags.

    Catoi reports that 59% of Americans (then) would self-define as fiscally conservative and socially liberal.
    That was 2005, but the ONLY formal brand. preference survey, by a major pollster (not internal). Obviously much higher today, because support for gay marriage has skyrocketed.

    it's the fear that average idiots are going to pay attention and realize how fucked we are.

    THEY know. See last November 8th.

    What's FUCKED is the libertarian movement.
    a) Same Cato survey reported that, among the 59% libertarians, the number who CALL themselves libertarian is ... 9%. Being rejected by your own is REALLY fucked,

    b) Americans are now ready for even radical change, which happens only once or twice per century. We've had 50 years to get ready. What have we got? Not one ficking thing, from the entire libertarian establishment. (Cato/Reason.com/Mercatus). Tribal legends and free-market soundbites.

    Does it help when Team Lib thinks American are too fucking stupid to appreciate how marvelous we are?
    They should just shut up and allow us to govern them. We have no clue what to do. For anything. But libertarian ideas!

    Even libertopia .. libertarians only.
    Arrogance sucks

  • Eek Barba Durkle||

    I don't know that as a part or a movement we're gaining TOO much ground...

    But libertarian viewpoints are absolutely on the upswing, at least from my own purely anecdotal POV.

    Guys I served with in combat as young gung-ho "America Fuck Yeah!" types, are now overtly anti-war.

    My Southern Baptist parents are advocates for full pot legalization.

    Most people are more open to/aware of the corruption, cronyism and incompetence of BOTH major parties than ever before.

    Polls may not reflect it, but it sure seems like every election for the last year has been a flat-out repudiation of big government and the system as it exists.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I question whether there has been any shift towards what I consider the core of libertarian philosophy. The recognition that government is an inherently flawed structure, and that it cannot be improved due inherent issues in how it functions.

    The people I see for pot legalization, for instance, still seem to think that the problem is that the government has the wrong laws, rather then moving towards the idea that the government is inherently fucked.

  • Michael Hihn||

    I question whether there has been any shift towards what I consider the core of libertarian philosophy. The recognition that government is an inherently flawed structure, and that it cannot be improved due inherent issues in how it functions.

    Only the core to anti-gubmint libs Rejected by 91% of LIBERTARIANS (Cato survey).
    And laughable (no offense) to pro-liberty libs.

    Who do we target?
    Your 3% of Americans?
    60% that are fiscally conservative and socially liberal?

    You go to buy a car. Which sales rep is most likely to get your business.
    A mostly bashes all his competitors.
    B Describes how certain features will enhance your commuting, others weekend drives and traveling.

    What most voters now HATE is all the ... HATE.
    Is there ANYTHING we can do better than the other tribes. Uhhh, no. Because our think tanks and foundations had ZERO policy solutions for Johnson/Weld. They "play to the base" which now prefers "GIT GUBMINT OUT" to actually doing anything intelligent.

  • Michael Hihn||

    I don't know that as a part or a movement we're gaining TOO much ground.

    The movement is dead.

    But libertarian viewpoints are absolutely on the upswing, at least from my own purely anecdotal POV.

    Do you know why? Two choices.

    a) Nolan libertarians (60% of the electorate) with 40,000-50,000 in elected local office. active and visible in their communities, an estimated 150,000-250,000 activist supporters and well over a million supports. Plus unknown number in higher office as Reps and Dems. (I worked with one in WA who rose to Chair the House Finance Committee, the 3rd most powerful elected official in the state. When he retired, he rejoined the LP)

    b) Movement libertarians (fewer than 6% of voters). Rejected by 91% of libertarians (Cato survey)

  • Mark22||

    But I still keep seeing all of these paranoid take downs of libertarians. I feel like the amount of fear we inspire in people far outweighs how much we actually do.

    It's easy to dismiss Christian conservatives. However, libertarians inspire fear in progressives because the message actually makes sense: socially tolerant, economically free.

  • Sugarsail||

    Well Nick at least this indicates that Libertarian thinking has been influential enough to raise the ire of the hysterically paranoid narcissistic radical-left feminists. Since when has legalizing drugs and individual liberty been "radical right"? That's news to me. She's a nut.

  • Myk||

    No the Corporatocracy and Liberals that took over libertarianism are what will destroy America if they ever get any power, they've already destroyed libertarianism. Sad so many who claim Libertarianism think everything has to be pro-business at the cost of individual freedom or BS like open borders under the guise of liberalism but is actually for big business to have slave labor.

  • OM Nullum gratuitum prandium||

    Re: Myk,

    Sad so many who claim Libertarianism think everything has to be pro-business at the cost of individual freedom


    Why are those two things mutually exclusive? You're making shit up, Myk.

  • Eek Barba Durkle||

    Sad so many who claim Libertarianism think everything has to be pro-business at the cost of individual freedom

    Examples?

    BS like open borders under the guise of liberalism

    Freedom of movement is a libertarian principle. You have things backward. It doesn't matter what billionaires think about the borders, because we don't pick our policy based on who is icky, and who is a meanie-head.

    Principles before Principals.

  • Mark22||

    Sad so many who claim Libertarianism think everything has to be pro-business at the cost of individual freedom

    It's progressives and fascists that are "pro-business".

    Libertarians are pro-free-market.

  • ThomasD||

    "Sad so many who claim Libertarianism think everything has to be pro-business at the cost of individual freedom"

    That is either a false dichotomy, or a highly pejorative meaning of 'business.'

    If you are talking about cronyism, regulatory capture and such then probably better to be a bit more specific.

    Otherwise, most broadly speaking, and operating with the highest degree of liberty, business and personal freedom are effectively synonymous. As in, nobody's business but mine.

  • JeremyR||

    I was wondering when you would get around to this book. Conservatives have been attacking it quite some time, nice to see supposed libertarians finally defending libertarianism...

  • XM||

    Even as I type this, the libertarians are meeting at their local Denny's to plot America's downfall.

    They can be identified by their whiteness, Ayn Rand haircut and Ron Paul "It's Happening" T-shirts. If not that, then a t -shirt with the marijuana leaf.

    "Hey this isn't the YMCA"

  • ||

    Even as I type this, the libertarians are meeting at their local Denny's to plot America's downfall.

    Oh shit - that's tonight?

    *grabs keys and pipe and runs for car*

  • Mark22||

    Even as I type this, the libertarians are meeting at their local Denny's to plot America's downfall.

    Don't be silly. Everybody knows that we libertarians may invite our friends over to our large rural estates for hunting endangered species, followed by an evening of social monocle polishing. We would never go to our local Denny's, because there are no Denny's within 500 miles of where we live!

  • GILMORE™||

    MacLean is guilty of intellectual malpractice:

    I think the term "liar" should be used more frequently and more loudly.

  • GILMORE™||

    To to the people trying to interact with M.Hihn =

    There is a better way

    *for firefox

  • Michael Hihn||

    More aggression by Gilmore.
    Unprovoked attack. Shits on NAP
    Punishing me.
    Snowflake..

  • MarkLastname||

    Hear that Gilmore? By not listening to the old fart you've attacked him. Nothing is more aggressive than the cold shoulder. Say sorry!

  • Michael Hihn||

    MORE aggression!

    the old fart

    SHUTTING DOWN opposing views of old farts since the Third Reich!
    STALKING me for nearly a year)

    8/19/2016

    MarkLastname: "And actually privatizing social security is perfectly viable. I'll provide reasons when you actually start to do so.
    Wait for it ...

    this link. Cato's privatization hustle for goobers.

    Workers would keep and control their 6.2% FICA contribution. Michael Tanner says (page 10) the transition will be costly, but "a one-time event" … a one-time event lasting over 30 years, declining from a first-year cost of $410 billion. (GOOBERS!)

    Also Page 10 "Simply restraining the projected growth in nondefense discretionary spending by 1 percent would generate more than $20 billion per year."
    Versus $410 billion! And how to pay for it is not his job anyhow!


    "There are short-term costs that will require the president and Congress to make tough choices." Page 6.
    STILL confused? ....
    $410 billion is 50% FICA revenues
    All budgeted to benefits
    Loss declines as seniors die off.

    Still waiting, Mark. PUT UP
    AND STOP STALKING ME

  • Trollificus||

    Oooh! I'm punishing too!! I'm just surprised Hihn wasn't used as one of the examples. Whenever a subject seemingly worthy of a hundred comments instead has 2-3 hundred, I consider that a Hihn warning.

    Anyway, as quoted in the app promotion, regarding Hihns' formulaic ( a) attack Ron Paul b) accuse others of mis-defined "aggression" c) PROFIT!) commentarrhea "Nothing of value was lost."

    Thanks, G. Short of kicking Hihn in the shihns, this is ideal.

  • Michael Hihn||

    CRUSH THE CULT BULLIES!!!

    Yes. Ron Paul destroys libertarianism. Nick Gillespie piles on ....

    Ron drags libertarianism far right - anti-gubmint goobers, bigots and alt-right (Google Ron and Alex Jones)
    Goldwater predicts Christian Taliban destroy GOP, Falwell and Robertson. GOP infiltrated/destroyed. Ron does same to libertarianism. Never mentions extreme socons. but targets same bigots and church/state Taliban

    RAGING HATRED (for gays) added to movement. Claims "Rogue Judges" overturned DOMA (denies separation of powers, 3 co-equal branches, checks and balances, unalienable rights) PHONY FEDERALISM (KKK-style states rights). States have UNLIMITED powers .. and we have NO DEFENSE from states.

    MORAL SLIME brags of sponsoring bill to FORBID SCOTUS from hearing appeals to DOMA -- fucking fags would be first group denied constitutional protection since fucking ni**ers.

    Nick Gillespie becomes stalking horse for anti-gubmint goobers – publishing crazier bullshit than US Communist Party. CLAIMS SLASHING GUBMINT WILL STIMULATE ECONOMY, citing huge postwar spending cuts, using bullshit GDP data from Mercatus

    Liberty destroyed by ATTACKING POLICY SOLUTIONS AND REFORMS as "conspiring with statists" Americans eager for change, but Johnson/Weld CRIPPLED – NO POLICIES from entire lib establishment.
    Liberty killed by Paul Cult. Suppressed Cato survey: libertarian label REJECTED by 91% of LIBERTARIANS. Gillespie proclaims libertarian moment. Autopsy.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Stealth? Total bullshit? Or both?

    ABSOLUTE VIDEO PROOF ... Rand Paul's shameless Obamacare FRAUD .... so he can pull the strings of his witless puppets .. even a Fox political hack, KENNEDY

    We PREACH that the private sector IS better -- never that it WAS better .. because anti-gubmint goobers have NO CLUE how to do it any better the state --- and actually REFUSE to RESTORE the private sector. When Rand Paul says JUST REPEAL MEDICAID -- DO NOT shift the money back to private charity -- do what HE wants with the savings, that's AUTHORITARIAN ...

    ... in February. President Trump initially supported "Repeal an Replace, in the same day". Who proposed it ... wait for it .....
    RAND PAUL ... the fraudulent bullshitter!

    For the mentally challenged: Transitioning ALL Medicaid funding back to private charity would FULLY RESTORE private charity care ... and FULLY REPEAL Medicaid. Anti-gubmint goobers would repeal PART of Medicaid ... just enough to offset tax cuts for the riich ... while refusing coverage that AMERICANS HAVE ALWAYS FREELY FINANCED.

    DISGRACE to liberty. And to their own witless puppets. ENABLERS to BernieCare. What a tribe! (shudder)

  • Bra Ket||

    Not sure but I think I may actually agree with some of this one.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Charitable care was provided to the uninsured. regardless of income, by (mostly religious) charity hospitals and clinics. Financing was from church collection plates, all sorts of charities and foundations .. and the fraternal organizations (like Rotary and Kiwanis) who began financing charitable care in the 1500s.

    They provided universal TREATMENT, until shortly after Medicaid -- where eligibles had the highest uninsured rate in America (18.8%) when Obamacare was launched,

    The fraternals began providing coverage. when treatment became costly enough to need it. When FDR took office, then-common ethnic lodges were also providing coverage. There was NO for-profit insurers until FDR created the need for them! The existing non-profits were mostly ethnic and fraternal memberships, not employer centered.

    The first step in defending/restoring free markets is to know their OUTCOMES, which requires more than slogans like "Git gubmint out" and "markets work better" (to the choir).

  • Sevo||

    Mike, no one here is really happy you have your issues, but you really ought to work them out with medical help rather than posting here.
    Or, we might say: FUCK OFF, YOU TIRED PIECE OF SHIT!

  • Michael Hihn||

    FUCK OFF, YOU TIRED PIECE OF SHIT!

    I invite and encourage thoughtful alternative views, because tolerance is a defining virtue of libertarians.

    NAP forbids verbal aggression. Verbal aggression is protected speech, but the same Authoritarian mind as force -- to attack opponents and impose one's own values on everyone. The True Believers.

    Eric Hoffer's seminal book showed zealots and fanatics they eventually dominate all movements. And now ours.

    Mass movements do not need a god, but they do need a devil. Hatred unifies the True Believers."
    -Eric Hoffer, "The True Believers" (1951)

    Throughout human history, the worst moral atrocitres have been committed by those manipulated to BELIEVE they are defending some "greater good" -- the Collective, the State, the Master Race, the Party or a God. Zealots and fanatics. The militant self-righteous.
    -Mike Hihn (1994)

    When hatred of government replaces love of liberty. Priorities reverse.
    a) Expanding liberty always reduces government

    b) Shrinking government CAN also reduce liberty. Like failing to transfer ALL Medicaid spending back to private charity. It's not about cuts and more than mere talk. it's about RESTORING a superior free market. REAL libertarianism.

  • Bra Ket||

    "Is Libertarianism a 'Stealth Plan' To Destroy America?"

    By the way whenever a headline is a question it means the answer is "no" but the author wants it to be "yes".

    Conclusion: Nick Gillespie secretly wants to destroy America. Wait a minute that means the headline is true. Oh shit

  • ||

    Ummm.....no!

  • Budbug||

    Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America, by Duke historian Nancy MacLean is just one more example of how collectivism warps perspective and leads its adherents to twist facts to fit their reality-denying worldview.

  • AD-RtR/OS!||

    Shoes pinch a little, Nick!

  • Sanjuro Tsubaki||

    No, reality tv is.

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