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Koch Bros. Should 'Shut Up and Get With [Trump's] Program,' Says Steve Bannon

Dismissed advisor attacks billionaire libertarians for pushing free trade and immigration. President calls them "total joke."

Carlos Barria/REUTERS/NewscomCarlos Barria/REUTERS/NewscomBack in San Francisco in 1967, there was an event that helped catalyze the "Summer of Love" and was variously billed as "Human Be-In" and "A Gathering of Tribes." It featured a variety of beat-hippie poets (Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder), popular area rock bands (such as the mostly forgotten Quicksilver Messenger Service), and Timothy Leary at peak guru-ness, proclaiming it was time to "turn on, tune in, and drop out."

The tribes included

leftovers from the North Beach Beat scene and Berkeley's antiwar protesters. It meant the Hells Angels and the flower children, and it meant impressionable high school teens and anybody on the cusp of either needing a haircut or deciding not to get one.

Organizers got lucky with the weather, which was sunny and unseasonably warm, conducive to bringing "family, animals, cymbals, drums, chimes, flutes, flowers, incense, feathers, candles, banners, flags," as one of the posters requested.

That was then, this is now.

Tribes these days are mostly political and you can leave the family animals, feathers, and flowers at home. Here's Steve Bannon, dismissed adviser to President Donald Trump, ranting about the Koch Brothers (Charles and David, both of whom contribute money to the nonprofit Reason Foundation that publishes this website, the latter being a longtime member of the board trustees) for insufficient loyalty to Fearless Leader:

"What they have to do is shut up and get with the program, OK?" Bannon said in an interview with Politico. "And here's the program: Ground game to support Trump's presidency and program, [and] victory on Nov. 6."

Bannon! How many divisions does he have these days? Well, here's Donald Trump himself, tweeting like a motherless child crying for his Maypo:

The Koch's sins are that they disagree with Trump on many issues, including criminal justice reform, trade, and immigration. They want more of it than the president and his supporters, who have managed in just a few years to utterly transform the GOP into the party of protectionists and xenophobes. It wasn't always this way, as anyone who remembers Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush can attest.

EbayEbayThe president of the Charles Koch Foundation, Brian Hooks, puts it this way:

"The divisiveness of this White House is causing long-term damage," Brian Hooks, a senior Koch lieutenant, told reporters at the event. "When in order to win on an issue someone else has to lose, it makes it very difficult to unite people and solve the problems in this country. You see that on trade: In order to get to a good place on trade, convince the American people that trade is bad."

There's a reason why Donald Trump was able to win the presidency with 46 percent of the popular vote. Political tribalism, unlike its hippie counterpart, demands blind loyalty. Shut up and get with the program, as Steve Bannon puts it. But the tribe that Donald Trump and the Republican Party represent is growing smaller every day. The same holds true for Democrats as well. Each party has devolved into less-appealing clusters of incoherent special interests that, while being less representative of America in general demand even more unthinking loyalty. Go find a pro-choice Republican and a pro-life Democrat (these creatures once existed). Since when did believing in lower taxes mean you had to rage against millionaire football players for kneeling during the National Anthem? Or that allowing children brought here illegally by immigrant parents meant you had to support single-payer health care?

As Stanford political scientist Morris Fiorina told Reason earlier this year (full interview, transcript here):

"You have two parties in a heterogeneous country where people have all kinds of views....It's simply not enough to represent diversity in this country."

In his latest book, Unstable Majorities: Polarization, Party Sorting, and Political Stalemate, Fiorina argues that Americans actually agree with each other on fundamental issues such as immigration, marriage equality, and pot legalization. The polarization we hear about is mostly restricted to political activists and media elites who mistake their own extreme views for those of the common people.

"Everybody worries about the average American being ensconced in a filter bubble," says Fiorina. "Most of the research suggests it's the elites who are in these filter bubbles...and have this biased view of the world."

Steve Bannon's bubble was burst a year ago when Trump sent him packing from the White House but he has re-emerged as a vocal defender of his former (future?) boss. Trump's repudiation of the Kochs lays out neatly one of the most scurrilous forms of argument: You are not allowed to criticize a system by which you benefit. Via his tax cuts, he made the billionaire brothers richer, therefore they have no right to say anything critical about me and my tribe.

This way madness—and increasingly precarious electoral majorities—lies, whether we're talking Trump Republicans or socialist Democrats, who are espousing their own version of shut up and get with the program. The upside is that such purity tests and demands will, as Fiorina points out, drive ever-more people out of the political duopoly and swell the ranks of independents who already comprise a plurality of American voters. Change is coming, always too slow, but it's coming soon to a polling place near you. And it will reward politicians and parties with a coherent, positive message about decreasing the size, scope, and spending of government and increasing individual autonomy.

Parting video: Among the various songs that may have been inspired by the Human Be-In was The Byrds' elegiac "Tribal Gathering," from their 1968 LP The Notorious Byrd Brothers. Take a listen below:

Photo Credit: Carlos Barria/REUTERS/Newscom

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  • Jerryskids||

    The Koch brothers are a joke? Let me know when you've got 50 billion dollars, Donnie boy. That's how you measure success, right?

  • Brett Bellmore||

    " It wasn't always this way, as anyone who remembers Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush can attest."

    Actually, I sort of recall Ronnie being down on illegal immigration, too. His "bracero" program permitted legal migration for seasonal work only.

    H.W.? Well, if you care about anything HE said, you might as well have read his lips.

  • John||

    Reagan was not down with illegal immigration. He was also a nationalist who implemented tariffs that would make Trump blush. This bullshit rewriting of history that reason and people like Jonah Goldberg have engaged in where Reagan was some kind Libertarian saint has got to stop. It is just bullshit and lying never helps anyone.

  • Tony||

    He gave amnesty to 3 million (resulting in a reduction in property crime due to more job opportunities, as it happened).

    More rewritten Reagan history: our convenient memory wipe of Iran-Contra and the constitutional crisis it caused.

  • Weigel's Cock Ring||

    He made a bad sucker deal, foolishly thinking that the democrats could be trusted to keep their word to improve border security. He didn't realize that most of them are untrustworthy, lying scumbags like you are.

    That was a mistake that won't be repeated again any time soon, believe me!

  • DesigNate||

    Didn't he also make a deal with democrats to cut spending if he signed off on increased taxes. Only to have them renege on that too?

  • Just Say'n||

    Justin Raimondo had a boner over Trump's tweet, didn't he?

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Has Doherty's ex wife managed to get him kicked off antiwar.com yet? He's sort of become an embarrassment lately, but I still respect all the hard work he has put in over the years fighting militarism and the bombing of innocents.

  • Just Say'n||

    His love of Trump and the unbelievable back flips that he does to try to justify every Trump position is ridiculous.

  • Just Say'n||

    He's still at antiwar.com last I saw. The only publications that will still print him is antiwar.com; Chronicles (Raimondo is so strange), and The American Conservative use to run his articles, but they haven't done it in a while.

  • Billy Bones||

    IMHO, the Koch Bros. are getting what they deserve. They have been financially supporting this decrepit organization keeping them alive and well. If they are truly Libertarian, and one actually ran as Libertarian, they should be putting 100% of their efforts into the LP. Quit playing both sides. They have allowed the Democrats to drag their name through the mud because of the Republicans, and for what? The Republican Party has moved further away from Libertarian principles, not closer. The Koch's are 2 of the few with the resources to bring the LP more into the mainstream, but their name has been sullied so much because of their support of RP, they can do nothing but bring discredit to LP. They and other pols need to get off the fence and on one side or the other (looking at you Rand, capitulating to your Republican masters at every turn, instead of grabbing your balls and standing up for your principles).

  • Just Say'n||

    They tried funding the LP and put forward mushy-moderate milquetoast "low tax liberal" squishes. Rothbard and his cadre wrestled control of the LP from the Kochs when they got Ron Paul nominated for the presidential slot. The Kochs abandoned the LP and ousted Rothbard from CATO.

    Read Brian Doherty's book.

  • creech||

    That "squish", Ed Clark, did better in vote totals than any other candidate until the "squishy" Johnson came along nearly forty years later. Unless and until the LP start running incrementalists with solid "moving towards liberty" solutions, the LP will continue to thrash about in stagnation.

  • Just Say'n||

    Sorry, I don't put party before principles. It should be noted that Clark opposed ending the IRS, something that Jack Kemp, a Republican, was advocating. Also, Gary Johnson was pushing for an end to religious liberty, something as illiberal as Trump's Muslim ban.

    I'm all for incrementalism, but not if it involves going backwards and reducing liberty.

    What is the point of voting for a LP candidate that's pretty much no different from a mainstream Republican?

  • Just Say'n||

    Should be noted that Ron Paul ran a more anti-state campaign than Gary in 2012 and he amassed more votes in the GOP primary than Gary did in the general. So all the arguments in favor of the milquetoast candidate doesn't really hold up

  • Just Say'n||

    I don't mean any of this to be a dig against the Kochs

  • Flinch||

    You know, whether the IRS exists or not is a moot point if we abolish progressive tax rates: that is the source of current tax code corruption, as the line of "fair share" gets shoved about, twisted and mangled each and every decade without ever finding an endpoint. And that's the way politicians like it: people line up session after session to lobby for changes a flat tax would stamp right out.

  • Just Say'n||

    "looking at you Rand, capitulating to your Republican masters at every turn, instead of grabbing your balls and standing up for your principles"

    This is also a ridiculous statement, since Rand has voted with his party less often than any other sitting Senator. Maybe we should ask why the Kochs have lavished money on a Jeff Flake in the past, but have provided far less funding to a Rand Paul (they provided zero financial support for his first race)

  • DesigNate||

    Because, like Hihn, they have a deep burning hatred of the Pauls?

  • gphx||

    Because they're not libertarians, they're globalists?

  • John C. Randolph||

    they should be putting 100% of their efforts into the LP

    Whee! It's fun deciding what other people should do with money that they earned and you didn't, isn't it?

    -jcr

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Political tribalism, unlike its hippie counterpart, demands blind loyalty.

    See John, Sevo, LoveCons, Rufus, and other blind loyalists here at H&R.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    To Buttplugger, me being a Libertarian places me in the blind loyalist category.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    To a reasoning person, this right-wing yahoo claiming to be a libertarian mocks the concept of self-awareness.

    Carry on, clinger. With more border wall and tariffs in your God-gays-guns crusade, of course.

  • Nardz||

    I always enjoy the verbose insecurity and lack of original thought in your posts.
    Your intellectual inferiority brings levity and comic relief to actually capable minds.

    There's one thing socialism has always lacked: an eye for talent.
    Perhaps it's their resentment that motivates their desire for enforced mediocrity.

    Continue pissing into the wind, kkklinger

  • fdog50||

    I don't think Bannon has ever claimed to be a libertarian. He has always been a nationalist/statist.

  • NoVaNick||

    Koch-financed DEMs should cause a few prog heads to explode

  • John||

    The Dems will either screw the Kochs and vote with the party or they will never have a chance at winning a nomination. Like I explain below, the Koch's set of ideas are just not popular. Individually their ideas are popular. But very few people have their combination of ideas. If they want to accomplish anything, they are going to have to pick one or two things that are important to them and forget the rest.

  • RoninX||

    Or they fight their battles one-by-one without trying to form a tribe that supports their entire agenda...

  • John||

    The Koch Brothers problem is that their particular set of views are very unpopular. The people who agree with them about open borders hate their positions on economics and the people who agree with them on economics hate their position on open borders. Worse still, both sides value their opposite positions from the Koch's more than they do the ones that are in agreement. Democrats are never going to give up their socialist dreams in order to get open borders and Republicans are never going to agree to open borders in exchange for less socialism. Ultimately, the Kochs don't offer either side anything worth defecting over. If you are a Democrat and really believe in open borders, you can just vote Democrat and get all of the big government you like as well. If you are a Republican and agree with the Kochs on regulations and taxes, you can vote for Trump and get those things and not have to suffer open borders.

  • Moo Cow||

    What democratic elected politician advocates "open borders?" Name one Senator or member of congress who has put Open Borders legislation forward.

  • ThomasD||

    First you tell us if you are still humping your dog.

  • Moo Cow||

    So...nobody. Which is my point.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    You should stop humping your dog long enough to comment. Its very distracting.

  • John||

    What is "abolish ICE" if not advocating for open borders? What are sanctuary cities if not open borders? If you do not support deporting people who are criminals, you don't support deporting anyone. The Democratic Party no longer believes in borders. The evidence of that is their positions. Go lie to someone dumb enough to believe you.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    What is "abolish ICE" if not advocating for open borders?

    What is "abolish EPA" if not advocating for polluted rivers?

  • John||

    Borders only exist because governments create them and enforce them. They are not rivers or things that exist and can be protected independently of government. Your analogy is just another point for those who say you are the dumbest person who posts on reason.

  • DesigNate||

    That's just not true John.

    Buttplug continues to hold that position.

  • Praveen R.||

    Hilarious. How many corporations will actually try to keep rivers clean if it does not save them money.

  • JD3||

    Corporations will keep rivers clean if it means keeping their image clean.
    The people/consumers have the power.
    If Apple started dumping plastic in the ocean and social media caught wind of it--I don't think it would be taken as hilarious....eh, nevermind.
    I'm better off pissing into the wind--rather than explain this Mickey Mouse shit.

  • JD3||

    Corporations will keep rivers clean if it means keeping their image clean.
    The people/consumers have the power.
    If Apple started dumping plastic in the ocean and social media caught wind of it--I don't think it would be taken as hilarious....eh, nevermind.
    I'm better off pissing into the wind--rather than explain this Mickey Mouse shit.

  • John C. Randolph||

    What is "abolish EPA" if not advocating for polluted rivers?

    How is canning the assholes who did this tantamount to advocating polluted rivers?

    Feel free to try again, though.

    -jcr

  • commentator||

    You didn't link anything.

  • WhatAboutBob||

    That's quite a dishonest argument Moo Cow. Democrats know openly pushing for open borders is unpopular, that's why that do it piece by piece over decades. First it was Ted Kennedy in the 60s changing the immigration laws. Now it's Democrats wanting to abolish ICE. It takes time to destroy a country.

  • Praveen R.||

    You do realize Obama was not lenient with immigration. He just did not demonize them.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    LBJ, Ted Kennedy, Phillip Hart.

  • Flinch||

    Thanks for the laugh. For some reason I had Whitney Houston pop into my head saying "I wanna see the receipts" [as if drugs came with a warranty, were refundable, or were tax deductible]. Congress is advocating open borders with purposeful silence and inaction, while a neo-confederacy emerges in California. They have the power to set immigration policy, not any state or local jurisdiction. And yet they sit on their hands while San Francisco and other places declare themselves sanctuary cites in open revolt of powers granted to congress. If this happened in president Washingtons day, I suspect he would call out the militia to restore law and order where state law enforcement was actively blocking enforcement of federal law, but there were no tv cameras then.
    You don't need to name one - name them all, because the continued abdication of congressional powers is a bipartisan assent shown to us by lack of hearings or acts to support executive enforcement of current law. If they passed a law declaring open borders then the mask comes off and SCOTUS could look at it. So they lurk away festering in I don't know what kind of logic, looking for a free lunch and their next cocktail party invite.

  • retiredfire||

    You commies are experts at not saying what you really want, while it is obvious to thinking people.
    If you were honest about what your ultimate goals are, you would never get elected to any office.

  • creech||

    Where can I read about the Koch's open border views? Surely they advocate some reasonable measures to prevent foreign convicted criminals, known jihadists, etc. from simply walking off jetways and proceeding directly to the taxi stand?

  • John||

    Name a single border enforcement action or policy that the Kochs actually support. Moreover, how can you support abolishing ICE and with it the federal government's ability to enforce immigration laws and still claim not to be a supporter of open borders?

  • WhatAboutBob||

    The Koch Brothers do like the Dreamers for some reason. Maybe they think once they become citizens they'll vote libertarian. That seems to be view of most libertarians.

    Breaking With Trump's GOP, Koch Brothers Praise Democrats On Immigration

  • Mike Laursen||

    Maybe the Koch Brothers have some basic human decency and want to see people have economic opportunity. Maybe they put that above speculation how those immigrants and their descendants will someday vote.

  • WhatAboutBob||

    Mind-reading isn't a thing so stop pretending you can.

  • Mike Laursen||

    I don't see where I did any mind reading.

    I wasn't even really saying anything about the Kochs. I was really saying that your concerns about how immigrants are going to vote someday is speculation. Not mind reading on your part, but an attempt to foresee the future.

  • ||

    WhatAboutBob|7.31.18 @ 12:08PM|#

    The Koch Brothers do like the Dreamers for some reason. Maybe they think once they become citizens they'll vote libertarian. That seems to be view of most libertarians.

    . . .

    WhatAboutBob|7.31.18 @ 12:27PM|#

    Mind-reading isn't a thing so stop pretending you can.
  • John||

    Sure. Nothing says human decency like supporting policies that benefit you and harm others. Nothing feels better than expecting other people to suffer for your principles.

  • Mike Laursen||

    I need a key to decipher your comment. Who is benefiting? Who is suffering?

    I'm just advocating minding my own business and letting people seek out work where they can find it, without my getting in their way.

  • John||

    There are a ton of people who are harmed by immigration. People who see their communities overrun with criminals, their kids schools overwhelmed by students who can't speak English and are totally unprepared to compete in this society. People who see their wages decline and jobs go away thanks to immigration. Those people are just eggs for the libertarian omelet Mike. It is their job to suffer so people like you can feel smug. And if they don't like that, you or someone like you will be there to call them a racist and a tribalist for not wanting to suffer for your principles.

    You should go down to a place like Lubbock, Texas or some of the suburbs of Minneapolis that have been totally overrun by Somali immigrants and just breath in the suffering there and feel smug. Those people are beneath you and are suffering for your benefit as God intended.

  • Mike Laursen||

    You make good arguments for at least slowing down the rate of immigration. My main point is that the "we shouldn't let immigrants in because they'll vote socialist" argument is weak.

  • DesigNate||

    I think it's pretty objective that we like to import as much cheep labor as possible to reduce our costs. And with the current system we have (which Republicans AND Democrats seem intent on keeping), those people aren't exactly able to live "the American Dream".

    Of course, that begs the question: What isthe American Dream?

  • blardo||

    John, how many immigrants should the US government allow into the country legally per year?

  • Nardz||

    ^This
    That is the question, for all sides

  • Iheartskeet||

    In my view, a whole bunch...in my view double, triple, or 10X the amount.

    I get the argument about illegal aliens. I am shocked people want to reduce LEGAL immigrants though. These are vetted (at some level, I support more), and we've been lucky that so many ambitious and talented people want to come here.

  • retiredfire||

    Most of the legal ones come because they are related to someone here.
    That doesn't make them either talented or ambitious.
    No thinking person doesn't want merit-based immigration.
    That's not what we have, now.

  • Iheartskeet||

    Back in the day, having family that was already here was deemed an important criteria for immigrant success, as it provided a support system and aided assimilation. I don't see that as a dis qualifier.

    I didn't say they were all ambitious, etc. but a sizeable (my guess greater than average resident) chunk are.

    So, what does merit-based immigration mean ? I'd say its pretty tough to define. A college degree ? In-demand specific skills ? I think those kind of criteria simply further the credential-ism thats already run amok here, for regular citizens and immigrants alike.

    A certain Nobel-winning economist recently discussed here was born to two immigrant shopkeepers...would they make the cut ? Are we talking ourselves out of future champions of freedom ?

    Its an issue close to home, as acquaintances of ours were recently deported. Story here:
    www.jacksonville.com/news/ 20180622/mark-woods-she-honored-america- even-as-it-was-deporting-her-family

    These folks are about as all American as one can get. As far as I'm concerned, we need as many of these people as we can get. Would they make the cut ? If not, I'd say "thinking people" are fucked in the head.

  • DesigNate||

    creech's point is that the majority of illegal aliens get here by plane, not through the Rio Grande.

  • creech||

    Not currently, but if we had true open borders, I believe a plane ticket from Honduras is cheaper than paying a mule to escort you through the Sonoran desert.

  • perlchpr||

    Oh yes. A coyote costs $5k. You could fly first class for less.

  • NoVaNick||

    Until recently, there were quite a few dems who liked charter schools, especially in poor urban districts, and the Kochs have helped get these off the ground.

  • NoVaNick||

    Also criminal justice reform-but as soon as they found out the Kochs supported this- a lot of progs started to sound like law and order conservatives

  • John||

    Good for them. Their successes are going to be in single issue things like that. They are pissing in the wind thinking they are going to get anyone who agrees with all of their positions elected.

  • Mike Laursen||

    I have a memory of Nancy Pelosi promoting educational choice years ago. I'm sure she would like that memory to go down the memory hole.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    It probably has already, in a personal sense.

  • ||

    I have a memory of Nancy Pelosi promoting educational choice years ago.

    10-15 years ago my very progressive brother thought a voucher system was a no-brainer and was definitely the way of the future. Sometime between then and the last few years a voucher system became insane and blatantly racist.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Yeah, I've noticed that that change happened, but it's something every progressive I know would probably swear never happened.

  • turco||

    Yup. Libertarian ideas are not popular. It is a fact. Doesn't make them wrong. Just unpopular.

  • Ship of Theseus||

    The bandwagon fallacy is real.

    "Your principles are unpopular, so they're wrong!"

  • John||

    First of all, that isn't necessarily a fallacy. There is such a thing as collective wisdom. An idea being unpopular does not necessarily make it wrong but it is evidence that it might be wrong. Moreover, since people know their own interests better than anyone else, a political idea being unpopular is stronger evidence that it is wrong than it would be in some other field.

    Second of all, being right doesn't do you any good if you can't get your ideas put into action. Libertarians seem to want to be Cassandras more than they want to change things.

  • Nardz||

    "Libertarians seem to want to be Cassandras more than they want to change things."

    Bingo

  • Ken Hagler||

    "They want more of it than the president and his supporters, who have managed in just a few years to utterly transform the GOP into the party of protectionists and xenophobes. It wasn't always this way, as anyone who remembers Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush can attest."

    It was this way long before Trump and his current supporters, as anyone who remembers Proposition 187 can attest.

  • ||

    It was this way long before Trump and his current supporters, as anyone who remembers Proposition 187 can attest.

    This is true, but I also think that Prop 187 was something of a turning point.

    My grandmother, born in southern Indiana in 1917, was a progressive-Republican school teacher (yes, that was once a thing). By the 1980s, early 1990s, though, her views really squared more with the Democrats than with the Republicans, and she described Pete Wilson as a "horrible man" because of his support for Prop 187.

    She was already succumbing to Alzheimer's by that point, but I think if she had stayed alert for another ten years, she would have abandoned the GOP altogether.

  • retiredfire||

    Proposition 187 was a good idea.
    Almost 60% of Californians voted for it.
    A single judge took away their votes.
    Ever since the state has been moving towards shit-hole status.
    And anyone who thinks it was horrible, wants the rest of the country to sink, just like Kalifornia.

  • Juice||

    What's powerful trade?

  • WhatAboutBob||

    Better than free trade, which is based on the flawed and discredited comparative advantage theory by Ricardo..

  • John||

    What, you mean real life isn't as simple as the Hill People and the Valley People? No way.

  • Ship of Theseus||

    LOL what?

  • Iheartskeet||

    Discredited by who ?

    And ah yes, I also see that word. "Theory". The all purpose wave-away word for things people don't like. The evidence-free critique of evidence by claiming there is no evidence.

  • JackMurica||

    Aren't the Koch brothers the largest donors to this website and its magazine? Y'all should probably disclose/mention that when discussing them or the results of studies they funded. Journalistic integrity and whatnot.

  • Just Say'n||

    "(Charles and David, both of whom contribute money to the nonprofit Reason Foundation that publishes this website, the latter being a longtime member of the board trustees)"

  • ||

    IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN IN THE HEADLINE!!

  • Mike Laursen||

    They are a donor. I don't recall any claim they are the largest donor.

    Is there a disclosure document for Reason Foundation where such a thing could be looked up? (Honest question. I don't know.)

  • Ska||

    You can look at the 990 online, but contributors are usually not disclosed to the public.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    Wait, I thought the Kochs and Trump and Bannon and all those other rich white guys are part of the same Nazi Billionaires Club, AKA the monolithic evil destroying the earth and all man(woman)(wymen)(womyn)(gender not assigned)kind. Could the New York Times and all the left wing screed on social media be wrong?

  • Earth Skeptic||

    OK, a more serious question. Given that tribalism and fractionalism might be increasing, and that our political process certainly feels more polarized, including both elections and governing, do we need a fundamental change in our national structure?

    As tempting as true secession or division might be, I doubt enough people and other players in the US could agree on terms. So...could we imagine a way to create semi-national groups withing a larger national entity? A system where people of different allegiances can inhabit the same places? And, beyond some basic national laws and policies, each group could have its own programs?

    In other words, join the Progressives, who pool most of their income and wealth, and get lots of "government" benefits, or Conservatives, who pay lower taxes but get correspondingly less back, or any of a dozen tribes that can dick with their own members only.

  • Tony||

    Then how could conservatives in rural red states continue leeching off of rich progressives in blue states? They'd never stand for it.

    More unity and cooperation, not just in this country, but the world. It's the surest way to more peace and advancement. First step: blow up FOX News and talk radio.

  • Nardz||

    ^This is just one of several reasons why you might just be my favorite poster, Tony

  • Earth Skeptic||

    If I were you, I would worry about those rich progressives who could live in "blue" states but join the "red" team and no longer support the illiterate urban hordes.

    As for more global unity and "cooperation" through blowing up dissenting voices, piss off comrade.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    So the first step to unity and cooperation is silencing any dissenting voices? Rather than, say, persuading people to change their minds?

  • Nardz||

    Pfft

    Persuasion is for the bourgeois kulak oppressors

  • Tony||

    Propaganda works, or it wouldn't be used. It's stronger and more insidious than mere rational persuasion. You can only guard against it or defeat it.

    Trump is an able propagandist if not an expert. "Fake news" has all of his supporters believing that any legit news report that's critical of Trump is a conspiracy against them. How do you deal with that using logic and reason? I'm open to suggestions.

  • ||

    "Fake news" has all of his supporters believing that any legit news report that's critical of Trump is a conspiracy against them.

    Yes, but the mainstream news having blown its credibility so hard is not really Trump's fault.

  • Nardz||

    It was also the MSM who introduced and coined the term 'fake news' - a fact conveniently forgotten since Trump turned it around on them

  • retiredfire||

    No, they didn't introduce and coin the term, they have just been producers of it for as long as most of us can remember.

  • Nardz||

    Well, it's been around for a while, but the current incarnation and use of the term was begun by sites like Snopes to dismiss unflattering stories about Hillary, and became one of the prime scapegoats immediately following the 2016 election.
    Trump turned it around on them and took ownership, as the morons in the media that claim to be better than the rest of us didn't think about how pernicious the introduction of such a term was for their own profession

  • ||

    More unity and cooperation, not just in this country, but the world. It's the surest way to more peace and advancement.

    Ah, the Ghengis Khan approach to World Peace! Never fails. Or always fails, to be technically accurate about it, but it just feels, so good!

  • John||

    Serious question, what is the difference between "tribalism" and self-interest? Reason and many others have abused the term "tribalism" beyond all recognition. Basically, anyone who disagrees with reason on an issue or is harmed by reason's preferred policy is called a "tribalist". It is just a pathetic way of declaring reasonable disagreement illegitimate and justifying the breaking of eggs for the libertarian omelet.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    John, I see tribalism as relatively thoughtless commitment to the brand, following (or at least parroting) all the doctrine without any independent decision or reflection.

    And I think that all or nothing tribalism does contribute to our inability to find compromise solutions. In other words, act like adults.

  • John||

    Sure. But if someone is harmed by a policy, they have a right to object to it. That doesn't mean their interests should carry the day. This is why we have a democratic republic; so that these various interests can fight it out in the political arena and we can come to a solution that likely no one likes but that everyone can live with.

    The problem with reason is that they don't say "yes we understand your position but think other interests should outweigh it.". They try to declare any position contrary to theirs to be illegitimate. And that is bullshit. The people's whose communities are being overrun by migrants or whose jobs are being wiped out in the name of free trade get a vote too. There is nothing immoral or illegitimate or tribalist about them saying "this sucks and I want the government policies that are causing it to change". You don't have to agree with them. But you do have to address their concerns and arguments with more than just "you tribalist!!" which is all reason is doing these days.

  • Nardz||

    But it's the progressive way

  • mtrueman||

    "There is nothing immoral or illegitimate or tribalist about them saying "this sucks and I want the government policies that are causing it to change".

    If one were to say, "I want the welfare money I pay in taxes to go only to normal white people, and not Mexicans," that would be pretty tribalist,

  • retiredfire||

    It is a card that progressives play to put a halt to debate.
    It is in the same category as racist, sexist, homophobe, etc, etc, etc.
    The only thing conservative about libertarians is they don't want to pay for all the progressive policies they espouse.
    They're nothing but cheapskate progressives.

  • Tony||

    I take it libertarians still fail to see the irony in a couple billionaire elites deciding national policy for all of us.

    Doesn't matter if they slap a "freedom" bumper sticker on it, you know. We all think we want more freedom. Some of us actually do.

  • John C. Randolph||

    Not you.

    -jcr

  • stuartl||

    "When in order to win on an issue someone else has to lose,..."

    Brian Hooks gives the best description yet of Trump, Bernie, the alt-right, progressives, ....

  • John||

    Government, unlike the rest of life, is nearly always a zero-sum game.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    So, "two nice guys with bad ideas" getting called out by one bad guy with worse ideas?

  • Nardz||

    Basically half of all the people employed by the Kochs are outside the US.
    The US imports 1,000,000+ legal immigrants every year, but several hundred thousand illegal.
    The Kochs support all sorts of big government (aka progressive) Republicans.

    They're half aboard the socialist bandwagon and just don't want to show it. As soon as they position themselves better for regulatory capture, they'll be all aboard.
    The Kochs can talk a good game, but aren't trustworthy.

  • Nardz||

    *and several hundred thousand illegal

  • Henry Buttal||

    I call BS on these numbers and Chuck, at least, is anything but a socialist.

  • Marty Feldman's Eyes||

    "What they have to do is shut up and get with the program, OK?"

    Like the 'totally not-cringeworthy' ad yesterday, this is what is stupid and wrong with the current moment. It's strongman cult of personality politics (and yes, it's just as gross when its "I'm with her" or "I lost my voting viriginity to Obama" and all that). Policies and the usual balancing acts of representation are sacrificed for putting your faith in one man. Trump has raised the "you're either with me or against me, and anyone against me has to be crushed" to new levels and that's fucked.

  • John||

    If that is true, it is only true because of the abject failure of people like the Kochs to ever accomplish anything. If Trump is a "strong man" it is because he gets things done. If the Kochs don't like that, they should try accomplishing something themselves so people feel like there is an alternative to Trump beyond loosing with dignity. What have the Kochs ever accomplished beyond giving a paycheck to a bunch of hipster doofuses at reason?

  • Marty Feldman's Eyes||

    Well, for starters they were successful businessmen, unlike Mr. Bankruptcy in Chief.

    I didn't realize accomplishments were limited to the political realm. My opinion is that not accomplishing much in that realm is preferable, if Trump's agenda is the desired result of "getting something done".

  • JoeJoetheIdiotCircusBoy||

    "And it will reward politicians and parties with a coherent, positive message about decreasing the size, scope, and spending of government and increasing individual autonomy."

    As much as I want to believe this, I just don't anymore. People only care about decrease size and scope of government when they are talking about the specific issues that are important to them. Anything else (i.e., shit that doesn't affect them) is simply "more government please". People only care about decreasing spending when it doesn't affect them. If it does: "more government please."

  • fdog50||

    That's a great poster. Not just Leary, Ginsberg and Snyder, but also Jerry Rubin and Dick Gregory and Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

  • Eric L||

    I have around 200 original posters from mostly the Fillmore or Avalon Ballroom from that time period, but I do not have that one. A typical line up would be the Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service and some new guy named Santana - all for $3.

  • Eric L||

    '...the mostly forgotten Quicksilver Messenger Service.' I've not forgotten them. Was playing Gold and Silver (from their first album) on my guitar the other night from. Got to see John Cipollina perform in Phoenix back in the early '80s.

  • Josh The Radio Dude||

    It's hilarious that Bannon thinks his words still have weight with anyone after the Roy Moore debacle. What a load.

  • Spookk||

    Referring to the Kochs as "libertarians" is the best laugh I've had all week.

  • John C. Randolph||

    Bannon can go fuck himself. Oh wait, he already did, didn't he?

    -jcr

  • Praveen R.||

    Libertarianism doesnt have to mean blindly supporting everything private even if that is what it seems to be these days. My favorite brand of libertarianism is something that allows individual brilliance to thrive helping society as a whole. The entrepreneur coming up needs as few hurdles as possible to maximize his skill and productivity.

    But the real world is not an easy model to just say let the best thrive. Because once a private company gets to a certain size , they act like a mini government with undue influence over local laws, regulations, etc. They have access that others do not have. When I see debates by some of you, especially those who lean more right wing than pure libertairian, it's all about eliminating entitlements, but very little with curbing the power of the big corporation(like monopolies). And guess who has the power - only government. Unless you have the ability to engineer a creative enough viral campaign to expose a company AND get people to act on the outrage. Corporations have the resources just to outwait that outrage in most cases and move on.

    The trick is the delicate balance we allow government to poiice the excesses of a big organization becauase the government itself suffers from the same problems of too much power.

    Not trying to make any definitive statement about libertarianism here. Just laying out some points where it gives you an idea of where a few of us may lie when it comes to supporting what is libertarian and what is not.

  • tlapp||

    Actually the Koch Brothers have enough money to run themselves. If they want to run policy go ahead and run for office.

  • gphx||

    'The United States and the European Union have agreed to a framework for bringing tariffs and trade barriers down to zero for goods traded between the US and Europe, US President Donald Trump announced Wednesday.'

    Apparently Nick is so NeverTrump he doesn't like free trade and can no longer recognize it when he sees it.

  • moschinoonline||

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