March 13, 2013
Q: Why Are Libertarians So Powerful?
Sorry to those who saw this on Facebook, but it made me laugh.
February 15, 2013
Libertario Delenda Est
Jeeburz, jk, aren't there any Libertarian Wackos on Facebook?
Why, yes, there's Cato's David Boaz. A lot of the Big-L's are lighthearted and ga -- I mean humorous, and it is easy to overlook their flaws because they seem fun. My brother-in-law once suggested we go on a National Review cruise. He agreed with me that the Reason cruise was probably a better time...
Boaz is a bright guy and has done some great things for liberty and for Cato. I'd never pick a fight. But if he wants to, I'll take sides. He posts:
"Glee" tonight: A conservative's nightmare. A wedding reception where boys danced with boys, girls danced with girls, blacks danced with whites, and no one actually got married.
I'm sure the Billions of easily-offended, homophobic, racist, anti-miscegenist, anti-dance, Conservative Glee fans had a pretty rough Thursday.
Some commenters have taken him to task and it has descended into childish name calling -- except that it started out as childish name calling. I'm an unlikely person to champion conservatives qua conservatives. And, other than the episode Joss Whedon guest-directed, I don't watch a lot of Glee. I'll watch the big closing number sometimes if I tune in for the news early. The kids do a bang up job, but the plotlines and character arcs elude me.
How unenlightened of Boaz to imagine his opponents' lack of enlightenment. "Boy, I bet my lefty friends were cheesed off yesterday -- the S&P 500 hit a five year high!" I'd expect that from a less intellectual source than CATO. "Mister Mutual Forbearance" also wonders why a CATO VP is picking a fight with conservatives to begin with. Fine to disagree on policy, or decry what a conservative candidate says that you feel is anti-liberty. But why should CATO beat the bushes for a scuffle with potential funders and supporters?
December 18, 2012
Libertario Delenda Est
Usually just a quadrennial problem, the big-L, "why bother choosing a side?" argument is tiresome in most all of its forms.
Obama and Boehner, Both Reckless Spenders By Nick Gillespie & Veronique de Rugy
Thanks -- in some substantive part to Nick Gillespie & Veronique de Rugy -- we LOST the previous election, and are not in a position to dictate terms. Speaker Boehner is trying to pull one last little chocolate covered peanut out of the manure pile that will be next year's budget guidelines.
This puts me in mind of a great quote I omitted from last Sunday's Review Corner:
Isaac Asimov, in a wonderful essay, used the Earth's curvature to help explain this: [W] hen people thought the earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the earth was spherical, they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together.
If you think Speaker Boehner is a champion of limited government, you are wrong. But if you think that there is no reason to take his side against the President's on taxing and spending -- you are wronger than all of them put together.
November 1, 2012
Some Serious Libertario Delenda Est
Bill Whittle is sometimes -- well, usually -- over the top for my tastes, but I love his style and language. He has discovered the same thing I have here: I will not sway my lefty friends, but my libertarian friends can be reached with reason.
Pretty good, huh?
October 24, 2012
Otequay of the Ayday
"Wasting your vote is voting for somebody that you don't believe in," an impassioned Johnson said. "That's wasting your vote. I'm asking everybody here, I'm asking everybody watching this nationwide to waste your vote on me."
Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson, during a debate with three other snowballs in Chicago yesterday.
September 28, 2012
Libertario Delenda Est!
Every four years. They are sooooo very proud that they might steal Ohio from Gov. Romney. That is victory to them. The same Montana victory that brought us 60 votes for ObamaCare.
A childish headline for a childish political philosophy. Here's a link.
Libertario Delenda Est!
September 7, 2012
Libertario Delenda Est
Saw this last night and was not sure how to play it.
In the letter to the LNC, which is available at Independent Political Report, Root explains that his decision much is not unlike those of previous Libertarian Party presidential candidates, including Ron Paul and David Koch; both of whom left the LP to become prominent Republicans.
This morning's email contains a suggestion for a post thesis: claim victory. A good friend of the blog says "He must be reading your work in Three Sources!"
Before I decide whether to accept, I must point out that this is not Root's first mention in the LDE archives. A month ago he was caught sullying the dignified reputation of the Libertarian Party, demanding to see the President's college academic records (we need a pejorative name for such folk: Transcripters?) and upsetting the delicate sensibilities of the "Establishment Libertarians."
But welcome, my friend, the water's great
September 4, 2012
Early signs suggest that President Obama may not get another free ride from the lads at Reason.
Good stuff, Maynard!
August 29, 2012
Libertario Delenda Est
I should unfriend Reason and discard the magazine until the election. I do get worked up.
What's their review of the convention?
Forget meh speeches by Ann Romney and Chris Christie! At the Republican National Convention in Tampa yesterday, the most dramatically charged moment came when Ron Paul delegates stormed off the floor over a procedural dispute.
I commented "Really! Libertarians walked off in disgust! Shocking! Umm, that's what they do every four years adn [sic] that is why they have no voice."
UPDATE: And yet, Stephen Moore is corect that the RNC should be more welcoming.
Republicans stumbled in their unity efforts Tuesday afternoon by unnecessarily infuriating Ron Paul supporters with a new party convention rule to limit the delegate count of insurgent candidates.
August 26, 2012
Libertario Delenda Est!
Presented without comment:
August 24, 2012
Three Cheers for Libertarians
Reason stuns me on Facebook today. I'm not going to promote the stupid picture with an embed, but it shows a wrist with a yellow Livestrong® bracelet that says "CHEAT TO WIN."
I got twitchy fingers and commented before reading the others:
Then I opened the current comment thread. It was like Christmas. You have to go way down the list to find even an equivocal one:
UPDATE: Sponsors sticking with Lance.
August 18, 2012
An Objectivist "Libertario Delenda Est"
I'm going to hang up my cleats and go home. I just can't play the "libertario delenda est" game at this level.
In "Even with Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party Undermines Liberty," Ari Armstrong attacks the LP from a rights perspective. I think it will be every popular around these parts and concede it's likely a better argument than my consequentialist appeals to pragmatism.
One crucial consideration is that it is impossible to support Johnson as a Libertarian candidate without promoting the Libertarian Party itself, and that party undermines the very foundation of individual rights.
I consider my pragmatism important but contrary to idealism and a quest for a more pure liberty. While I hate to use this as an excuse, I have not been close enough to the LP to seriously consider philosophical flaws. I thing Armstrong is dead on.
August 17, 2012
Libertario Delenda Est
I just rolled my eyes when Gene Healy's piece trashing Ryan came out. I've told everybody I know to buy his gorram book.
It's Jesse Walker today who is waaaaay too cool to vote GOP:
If Ryan were going head to head against Obama, you could make a case that the faux Randian is a lesser evil than the faux Alinskyan. In most of the places where Ryan is bad, after all, Obama is pretty lousy too. But for vice president? At least Joe Biden keeps me entertained.
Ha. What wit!
August 10, 2012
Libertario Delenda Est
I'm getting some help from an unexpected quarter. Wayne Allyn Root is destroying the party -- and the lads at Reason are none too pleased:
Root's bio identifies him as "a former Libertarian vice presidential nominee" and "Chairman of the Libertarian National Campaign Committee" and the author of a book titled "The Conscience of a Libertarian." You know what that means? It means Wayne Allyn Root is an ambassador for libertarianism, and that his columns are a direct reflection on the Libertarian Party, which has several times elected him to prominent positions despite the fact that he is a glistening PR disaster.
Wow! A wacko ex-Candidate is damaging the Libertarian Brand® What are the odds of that?
Libertario Delenda Est!
August 8, 2012
Libertario Delenda Est
Some go their whole lives without realizing their true purpose. But this morning, I now know my calling. "Libertario Delenda Est: the Libertarian Party must be destroyed."
Reason puts Gov. Gary Johnson's new ad up on Facebook. And, what can I say, it is awesome! (Not sarcastic -- it is a very good ad.)
Jump in the pool -- the water's great! Be a Libertarian with me just this election! Establish the popularity of libertarian principles!
But they are not popular as in plurality popular. Yes, 50% favor treating marijuana like alcohol -- but do those 50% vote? Sixty-five do not believe troops in Afghanistan make us safer. Sixty two believe in marriage equality. I'll take his word on the figures, but how do those overlap? When you do a Venn diagram of who believes all of those, you'll see less than fifty (you're starting with 50 -- there isn't one guy who likes weed but favors traditional marriage?)
Uh-oh, we're already in electoral trouble. And we haven't mentioned -- over the snappy acoustic guitar beat -- that we are going to cut aid for poor people and privatize social security and legalize prostitution and heroin and quite possibly even lower the mandated percentage of ethanol in our nation's fuel supply.
How popular are we now? Before a single unfair withering attack ad is put on TV by an opposing Super PAC.
The answer is 9-19%, which polls always cite. I am proud to be in that small but wickedly intelligent minority. But I am not so naive to think that we will prevail in a first-past-the-post election. We need to make friends and build coalitions.
And that, dear readers, is my new raison d'etre. I cannot persuade my lefty Facebook friends -- they lack devotion to reason and critical thinking skills -- but I can perhaps bend the libertarian contingent into a more pragmatic voting pattern.
Libertario Delenda Est!
July 12, 2012
Libertario Delenda Est
July 11, 2012
Libertario Delenda Est
Firstly I must define this phrase. Somehow, it seems made-up, ungrammatical phrases with made up words in dead foreign languages are not as easily understood as their supercilious coiners imagine. (Though it was pointed out that ThreeSources owns the locution in a Google Search -- I am King of all I survey!)
Cato the Elder (234-198 BC) would end every speech with Carthago Delenda Est or "Carthage must be destroyed." Follow the link for gerundivicy goodness if that's what you enjoy.
I give money to the Reason Foundation every year, wear their T-Shirt with pride in my Facebook profile, read the magazine, tune in to TV shows where The Jacket or Matt Welch, or Veronique du Rugy appear. I agree with every word they say. Our ideal government and philosophy is all but identical.
And yet "The Libertarians Must be Destroyed!" There is no force so opposed to realizing the goals of Liberty than the Bleedin' Libertarians. I suggested that we were close enough to election season, that they would shortly start to diss Governor Romney to show how cool they are. On queue: Obama and Romney Are As Different as Two Peas in a Pod
Yet for all the distinction-drawing, the candidates' visions often sound strikingly similar. Not long ago one of them said he wants "an America with a growing middle class, with rising standards of living, [with] children even more successful than their parents....This America is fundamentally fair....In the America I see, character and choices matter. And education, hard work, and living within our means are valued and rewarded." And "poverty will be defeated," and yadda yadda yadda. Can you tell which candidate said that? Of course not.
So don't get all uptight about the election people. It doesn't matter. You can vote for the President, stay home and watch The Flintstones, or vote for Rep. Bob Barr -- I mean Gov. Gary Johnson. It doesn't matter.
That is until next year, when the Reason folks will be wondering how we got Mister Obama for a second term. They'll be stunned! Bastards!
July 9, 2012
Election 2012: Barack Obama vs. Potted Plant
Speaker Boehner, in response to a guest at a West Virginia GOP fundraiser, said,
"The American people probably arenít going to fall in love with Mitt Romney. Iíll tell you this: 95 percent of the people that show up to vote in November are going to show up in that voting booth, and they are going to vote for or against Barack Obama."
This could be an effective strategy if nobody else were running. Nobody who, for example, promotes a clear policy of more freedom and less government designed to appeal to the influential Liberty Movement. Someone like that could attract pro-votes away from a GOP potted plant intent on collecting all of the anti-Obama protest vote. This could be especially important in western swing states like, Colorado. For team Obama it is AP to the rescue with a puff piece on the TEA party explaining why they should vote Libertarian.
The unknown, of course, is Johnson, who is working to ensure his name is also on the ballot in all 50 states. Paul supporters may very well desert the GOP for Johnson, especially in Western states where the former two-term New Mexico governor is better known. A June poll in the swing state of Colorado showed Johnson garnering 7 percent support, mostly coming from potential Romney backers.
Sheer and utter madness. With Obamatax and Obamasityourassdownandshutup hanging in the balance of this election, any pro-freedom folks who vote for Johnson or don't vote are risking decades of Euro-socialism in America. If they think their chances are better with a third party in 4, 8 or 12 years than by co-opting the GOP now, a feat that the AP piece shows is already accomplished in Nevada, they are too stupid even for politics.
Dear Gary Johnson - Please take your ego and GET LOST.
June 15, 2012
President Obama's Personal, Private, "Super Legislature"
President Roosevelt famously threatened to stack the Supreme Court to obtain the rulings he wished. It now appears that President Obama may have outdone his New Deal predecessor with his "Obamacare" law. Obamacare's "Independent Payments Advisory Board" [IPAB] turns out to be more "independent" than it is "advisory."
In other words, to override IPAB's proposal completely, opponents must assemble a simple majority in the House and a three-fifths majority in the Senate and the president's signature.
June 11, 2012
Quote of the Day
Sen. Rand Paul's (HOSS - KY) pragmatic endorsement of Gov. Mitt Romney is not going down too well in certain quarters.
The Atlantic's John Hudson dubbed it the libertarian equivalent of the folk purists' reaction to Bob Dylan going electric. Some of these modern-day Pete Seegers directed their ire toward Ron Paul himself: "We will never vote for Romney or your flimsy son." -- W James Antle III
Libertario Delenda Est!
May 16, 2012
I just discovered Svetlana Kunin, a Russian emmigrant who has apparently been writing for Investor's Editorial Page for some time now. Playing off of President Obama's official re-election campaign slogan, Forward, today's offering is entitled, "Obama's Slogan 'Forward' Is Used By Socialists Too."
After introducing the motto "Forward!" -- identical to slogans of Socialists of the past and present-- Obama rolled out an imaginary vision of Julia, in which the government is involved in all aspects of a person's life.
April 9, 2012
Only Honest People Vote Once
This post is a mixture of "if you're not outraged you're not paying attention" and "Monday morning funnies."
Oh yeah, well, I'll bet he couldn't get away with this if he said he was Barack Obama!
March 21, 2012
Only 13% Less than the President's Plan!
Well, it must be a day that ends in 'Y.'
Veronique de Rugy -- whom I adore -- is characteristically disappointed with the GOP Budget. NED love her, that delightful accent of hers will always be calling for more cuts and lower spending. But I think it may be counterproductive.
The overwhelming response coming out of the free-market movement is that the proposed Ryan plan is great. And parts of that plan are good. But I thought the only way I can add something productive to this conversation is by pointing out how this plan isn't doing nearly enough to reduce the size of government and make our lives and the lives of our children and grandchildren better.
Apology accepted, Ms. Rugy. I think this is a great start and with a little success, we would have more opportunities to look for more savings. Plus, the growth and "animal-spirits" (see, I can quote Keynes!) aspects would create a virtuous cycle.
I have to do a "Libertario Delenda Est" on her for this. It's not that she is not 100% correct. But I see great value in a consistent call and broad based support. If the Reason crowd (to be fair, she is writing in National Review) is going to take their marbles and go home, the tough path ahead gets even steeper.
March 6, 2012
This clip is about much more than just Ron Paul.
Hat tip: M4GW
And then there's this Whittaker Chambers-esque rebuttal.
February 20, 2012
Quote of the Day
"The difference between same sex marriage and civil unions is what you pay the caterer," quipped Gillespie. "Gay marriage is upon us and will continue in the future. The poll numbers are there. Gays are moving into a place of legal equality under the law. That is right and proper and good," Gillespie maintained....From a Reason write up of the Coulter-Gillespie debate in Colorado. Worth a click for the illustration alone.
November 7, 2011
Better Late than Never
Reason's Matt Welch sees the disconnect between the Libertarian uprising the #occupywallstreet crowd promised and the reality of demanding debt forgiveness.
As of this writing, the Occupy Wall Street movement appears to have legs. I am generally happy to see public displays of disaffection with a governing elite that has inflicted so much bad economic policy on the rest of us, even more so when the protesters lean toward the political party that currently occupies the White House. (Many Tea Partiers I've talked to express personal regret that they didn't get their start opposing George W. Bush.) But I will reserve my enthusiasm until the moment that protesters stop bashing capitalism and start confronting the incoherence of opposing bailouts for everybody but themselves.
See, they're educable!
October 8, 2011
Libertario Delenda Est!
I've been waaay too nice on the lads at Reason lately. Pari passu perhaps with my dark mood on the GOP. But this one brought me back to the fold. Michael Tracey, whose "work has appeared in The Nation, The Guardian, and The Washington Post" has an article defending the
Tracey finds a few Ron Paulites and suggests Sodom and Gomorrah are actually Disneyland.
By and large, the folks I've spoken to have not come off as "woolly-headed" in the slightest. On Wednesday, for instance, I chatted with Jack Zwaan, a self-described "Tea Party Libertarian" and Ron Paul supporter who had flown in from Little Rock, Arkansas, to attend the demonstration. Zwaan wielded a humongous Gadsden flag--yes, the kind of flag commonly seen at Tea Party protests.
Were pithy soundbites my forté, I'd be President already, but let me try one for the occasion:
"They are anti-capitalist! Anti-capitalism is not conducive to liberty!"
UPDATE: In the spirit of fairness, I must link to Robert David Graham's Independent Reporting (Hat-tip CATO). Graham does not endorse the protesters, but he seconds the motion that the media is stereotyping them. After my exasperation with the portrayal of Tea Parties, I should remain open to that.
If I were a reporter, I would then follow this thread: The protest started as a chaotic event put together haphazardly via Twitter and the Internet, with no actual leader. How, then, were they able to organize a garbage detail? The answer is self-organization. Protestors have developed a General Assembly of all the people that gives authority to the "Central Committee," made up from the hard-core protesters who are sleeping in the park night after night. The Central Committee has many subcommittees, like the "Media Team" responsible for recording the proceedings or the "Arts and Culture Committee", responsible for making signs and running the drum circle, and the "Sanitation Committee" team keeping the park clean. They have organized the park into specific areas, dedicated to different tasks.
UPDATE II: But in other fairness, Reason.tv posts this:
UPDATE III: Fairness fatigue setting in...our own LatteSipper sends a link to The Daily Show.
July 1, 2011
I finished "The Jacket" and Matt Welch's Declaration of Independents last night. It is a remarkably uplifting book.
It is funny, thoughtful and well written. None of that surprises me because of the authors. But the book starts by laying out a serious and ambitious agenda:
The Declaration of Independents is a call to wave away the clouds of obfuscating political malarkey, to call things (in [Vaclav] Havel's phrasing) "by their proper names," identify governance for what it is, expose how it sells itself, and inject into the political sphere the same forces of innovation, individualization, and autonomy that are bettering the way we live in every other sense.
They accomplish all this without nattering the way Libertarians sometimes do. It remains very upbeat, in spite of chapters like "We are so out of money!" There's a kind of Reaganite optimism about it, not that they have many kind words for our 40th. but they do have a true belief that free people will overcome the challenges of over-weaning government.
Funny, upbeat, informative, thoughtful. I will offer any of my leftist friends to read anything of their choosing if they'll pour through this one. It should be easy as Speaker Boehner and President George W Bush get as many or more whacks than anybody else.
Five stars. Greg Gutfield says "It's better than 'War & Peace' and 'Everybody Poops' combined."
June 27, 2011
Massacring a dead language worsely, but my call for immediate destruction of all things Libertarian is on hold.
The good folks at Reason sent me a copy of Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch's "Declaration of Independents." I saw the Stossel show on it. Then, the next day there is a package from the Reason Foundation. I picked it up and thought "they sent me the new book 'cause I am such a swell guy." It's my world, I just let you all live in it. The cover letter did not use the word "swell," but it happened pretty much as I dreamed it.
It is very good so far, neither pushes LP membership or third party voting. But they do push for Independence from a party to ensure that you do not become captive to a group whether you agree with them or not. I ridicule African American and Jewish voting blocks that support Democrats outside their interest. Well, the Jacket and his bespeckled sidekick wonder if I'm any better.
Reading this, I am about ready to bolt the party. I like Sen. Hatch okay, but the Utah Tea Party is absolutely, positively right: the NRSC should not support a candidate until he is running against a member of another party.
They weren't wearing face paint, but they said they felt like they were in Braveheart.
I don't plan to change my affiliation. I still have pragmatic beliefs that the GOP is the
June 12, 2011
Ignorant Laws Have No Excuse
I set out on the internet this morning to find support for a personal premise: The existence of unenforced laws undermines respect for those laws that are enforced. The experience caused me to recognize an unacknowledged subsequent premise: Individual liberty is enhanced in a law-abiding society. For some time now I have thought the first premise was a call to action in furtherance of the second premise but then I questioned the validity of that objective, and of the second premise itself.
Slate magazine published, in October 2007, a rather wide-ranging compendium of unenforced law discussion by Tim Wu.
He addressed the drug war, illegal immigration, copyright, polygamy and more. Wu seems to conclude that non-enforcement is good for America. Not, as I would attempt, in furtherance of greater liberty but of "the economic interests of the nation."
Immigration policy is perhaps the strongest example of the ways in which tolerated lawbreaking is used to make the legal system closer to what lies in the economic interests of the nation but cannot be achieved by rational politics. All this is why the Bush administration faces an uphill battle in the course of trying a real internal enforcement strategy.
I tend to agree with this conclusion but I attribute as cause the very American attitude of individual liberty amongst voters who won't tolerate a heavy hand against individual workers and employers. More to the point is what this does to our representative government. Since our legislatures cannot achieve rational laws our judiciaries and our executives, at both state and federal levels, exercise discretion in which laws are enforced and to what extent. This appears, at first, to be a good outcome since the forces that guide the police and the courts are those of public opinion which derive, in turn, from individuals. We effectively have 300 million citizen legislators. However, this system has (at least) two major flaws.
First is the disparate influence on the legal system from concentrated versus individual interests and the tyranny of the majority. Allowing the trial lawyers lobby, the AARP and SEIU to dictate which laws are left to wither (and which to be bolstered) is no boon to liberty.
But worse yet, the ability of government to "get" any individual on some trumped up charge whenever it is "necessary" is a hallmark of totalitarian states.
At the federal prosecutor's office in the Southern District of New York, the staff, over beer and pretzels, used to play a darkly humorous game. Junior and senior prosecutors would sit around, and someone would name a random celebrity--say, Mother Theresa or John Lennon.
It's one thing when government lawyers make selective prosecution into a drinking game, but quite another when used as a tool of coercion and intimidation. In the name of liberty, laws to prevent "injuring a mail bag" have no place in a just society. Liberty is enhanced when laws are obeyed, but said laws must first be not just objective and knowable but also justified in the cause of protecting individuals from others and not from themselves.
May 31, 2011
Reason == Rubes
I have emailed Professor Reynolds a time or two, asking why he had never hurled "the R-word" toward our pals at Reason magazine. They were pretty deep in the tank, thanks to their (again deserved) antipathy toward Senator McCain. But I never suspected the cause of liberty was served by electing President Barack Obama.
I am pretty certain this is the first time:
THEY TOLD ME IF I VOTED FOR JOHN MCCAIN WE'D SEE THE IMPERIAL PRESIDENCY EXPAND: And they were right! "Civil libertarians once looked to this president to right the constitutional balance. But what Obama has wrought is the same old 'Terror Presidency' with new rhetoric." You were expecting a Chicago machine politician to support civil liberties? Rubes!
May 13, 2011
Libertario Delenda Est!
With no less than three (!) likely or declared Republican presidential candidates who are broadly speaking in the libertarian camp--Mitch Daniels, Gary Johnson, and Ron Paul--libertarian political activists should pick their favorite of the three and work for his nomination, rather than waste their time on energy on pursuing ballot access for an inevitably marginal Libertarian Party candidate. Even if none of those three candidates gets the nominations (Daniels seems to have the best chance), libertarians seem to have their best opportunity to influence the Republican Party's direction since at least the Barry Goldwater campaign. Time for the Libertarian Party to fold shop?
Si, Señor Bernstein! And State Delegates, and downticket candidates, and donors, and pundits... Dive in, LPers, all you have to lose is your irrelevance! Take note that I would like to see Libertarians invade the Democratic Party as well, providing a more serious and liberty minded opposition.
Hat-tip: Matt Welch, who is not quite on board.
May 6, 2011
CATO on the GOP field.
I took a deep breath before starting this video. And was prepared to bite down hard on something if it became too painful.
David Boaz is a sharp guy on economics and few are better on liberty theory. But Boaz loves to tsk-tsk about GOP failures -- and the early non-field sounded like a good setup for a bit of more libertarian-than-thou bullying. And yet, I agree with about every word:
April 11, 2011
Libertarian Party's Senator Keeps Cap'n Trade!
Libertario Delenda Est!
Whenever Libertoids starts dishing out the famous equivalence and suggest that their irrelevant biennial temper-tantrums do no real harm, remind them of their complicity in sending Jon Tester (D-MT) to the US Senate. Tester ousted incumbent Republican Conrad Burns by 3,562 with the LP's Stan Jones collecting 10,377. Now I can hear the capital-Ls screaming about Senator Burns's many shortcomings in the field of liberty.
But Senator Tester was the 60th vote for ObamaCare®. Today, the WSJ Ed Page salutes him for at least having the honesty to block every legislative attempt to reign in the EPA on Carbon. Other Democrats participated in subterfuge to keep Executive Power at its zenith yet defend their votes back home.
But the Libertarians' man was all in:
All 13 tacitly acknowledged that the EPA rule will do economic damage because they voted to limit its breadth or delay it for two years. But then they helped to kill the one bill that had the most support and would have done the most to prevent that economic damage.
Who knows, there might be a lesson for the Tea Party in there.
April 6, 2011
Nick Gillespie and Veronique de Rugy have a thoughtful column on the Ryan budget plan. "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" spends much of its time on the good, and delivers some serious props for seriousness.
But then, this is Reason, we have to get into the bad and "the ugly:"
The Ryan budget punts completely on the issue of Social Security reform. There's simply nothing of substance in the document, other than vague hand-waving of the historic greatness of the system and the observation that current and near-retirees will get screwed if nothing is changed. There are statements about how it would be a mistake to increase the amount of wages subject to payroll taxes and that people are living longer, but no clear proposal for how to maintain a system that no longer makes demographic sense.
No sprinkles on that ice cream sundae? What do the other kiddies think?
I think it's no longer credible to complain that the GOP has not put forward any sort of meaningful solution for the budget. At this point, they're the only ones who have put forward a detailed outline; the Democrats still seem to be hoping that if they kind of mill around long enough, eventually an angel will float over the horizon and deposit a plan that doesnít annoy anyone (and/or allows them to pay for the entire thing by raising the marginal tax rate on the Koch brothers and Richard Mellon Scaife to 110%).
Gov. Mitch Daniels:
The House budget resolution is the first serious proposal produced by either party to deal with the overriding issue of our time. The national debt we are amassing threatens the livelihood and the liberty of every single American, and in particular the life prospects of our young people.
Wall Street Journal Ed Page:
Well, so much for dodging entitlements. This year's trendy complaint, shared by the left and the tea party, that Republicans hadn't tackled the toughest budget issues was blown away yesterday with the release of House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan's budget for 2012. We'll now separate the real reformers from the fiscal chickenhawks.
To be fair, the folks at Reason prefer Rand Paul's plan. And so do I: start whacking whole departments -- when can we start? Candy Mountain, Charlie!!
Meanwhile, in reality land, some items on the Ryan proposal will be implemented in 2012 and the balance will show that the GOP got serious, plus provide a campaign platform.
UPDATE: There's hope! Facebook commenters are taking Reason to task for the concerns I raise.
January 13, 2011
I'd Get a New Tag Line...
UPDATE: On the other hand...
January 4, 2011
On the Other Hand
The Folks at Reason seem to be able to contain their enthusiasm before it completely boils over.
No way the new Congress is a sure thing, but it's the last hope (even Yoda says "another not there one is.") I just don't see any purpose to this smug defeatism, except to look like the cleverest of the frat boys.
Libertario Delenda Est!
UPDATE: Heritage is more sanguine. Lawmakers turning down the formerly plum Appropriations Committee assignment. GOP legislators "can't sell pork at home."
December 28, 2010
Maybe I'll Be a Big-L Lib after All...
Destroy them, join them? Destroy them, join them? So hard to choose a path.
When I see a scurrilous thrashing of something I share beliefs with, my response is to defend. This works for Governor Palin, and it may be redeemable today by those wacky libertarians.
A good friend of the blog sends a link to a story in New York Magazine by Christopher Beam: "The Trouble with Liberty." My first reaction was to dismiss it out of hand. It's full of snarky tone, pejorative descriptions and strawman arguments. Strawman may be too strong, there are certainly factions that believe everything he rails against, but he does not take on central ideas of limited government and refute them.
He opens with the issue that everyone knows is central to liberty theory: TSA procedures. It seems the libertarians got into cahoots with FOX News and the left and made a big deal outta nuthin'!
Maybe it was inevitable that the National Opt-Out Day, when travelers were going to refuse body scans en masse, failed to become the next Woolworth's sit-in (how do you organize a movement that abhors organization?). It turned out most Americans actually supported the body scanners. But the moment was a reminder of just how strong, not to mention loud, the libertarian streak is in American politics.
The surprising thing is the seriousness that real Libertarians are giving this article. Radly Balko gives it higher marks than I do:
The first two-thirds of the article are a sort of tour guide of libertarian personalities, factions, and general philosophy. It comes off a bit like Beam describing to Manhattanites some exotic new species discovered in Madagascar, but I suppose that probably is how libertarians come off to people outside the politics/policy/media bubble.
Matt Welch splits the difference, offering an extended excerpt and criticizing, like Balko, the end of the story.
Beam's piece ends on an extended Big But, in which we hear warnings about doctrinal purity, extreme Randian selfishness, Brink Lindsey leaving Cato, and minarchy being "an elegant idea in the abstract." In the real world, not bailing out banks "would have unfairly punished a much greater number" of homeowners, and so on. Plus, that one Tennessee house burned down, and: Somalia!
Balko opens that he has met Beam and finds him nice, intelligent, curious
W hen I was in high school, I owned a book by Penn & Teller called How to Play in Traffic. It's mainly a series of jokes, gags, and madcap yarns by the magic-comedy duo. But it also channels the libertarian id of Penn Jillette. "I sincerely don't want to offend any of our readers, but I've got something to say," he writes. "It's very simple, but a bit controversial: The United States of America does not have a problem with terrorism. We just don't." Airport security is not worth the hassle, he continues: "Hey, we're alive, there's risk. Some planes are going to go down like falling twisted burning human cattle cars and there's no stopping it. No one can make any form of travel 100 percent safe. We'll take our chances. As for the victims of a security-free transportation system? Let's consider those terrorism victims heroes," he writes. Let's say they died for freedom. They didn't die for us to have our phones tapped and have our time wasted at airports." He then describes a prank where you create a screensaver for your laptop that looks like a countdown to detonation.
Now you can decide what you think of Jillette's language or concepts, but I will bet $1,000 that a) Beam's card is the Three of Clubs, and b) that Mister Jillette would likely not "choose his words differently today."
This article does not deserve the seriousness of responses it engendered.
I think that Beam is fairly confident that his readers will nod their head in agreement when he says that libertarianism obviously cannot work. He takes the view that government programs exist because markets fail. But the fact that markets fail does not mean that government solutions work.
December 24, 2010
Libertario Delenda Est
I can appreciate a principled, libertarian, non-interventionist foreign policy. Why use coerced tax dollars for "foreign adventures?" It's my most heterodox position in the [l|L]ibertarian community, but I still hold that the prosperity and freedom of globalism is worth the price of a little "world-policing."
What I cannot appreciate is the failure of the Reason gang to admit the faintest correlation between US leadership and results. Steve Chapman delivers the bad news today:
The world is freer and more democratic than it was then. But advances have been stymied by dozens of repressive regimes. The human rights group Freedom House said in January that the previous four years made up "the longest continuous period of deterioration" in the nearly 40 years it has kept tabs. This year brought no evident turnaround.
Four years ago, huh? If it weren't Christmas Eve, we could probably look at the papers from four years ago and see if there were some event that might affect a "world freedom agenda." Hmm. Late 2006 -- ring a bell for any of you guys?
Again, I can dig the we're-not-the-world-police argument -- but I think it suggests a concomitant shutting up. Reason was trumpeting the folly of Bush's adventurism four years ago, ridiculed McCain's candidacy, and now feigns surprise that Sharanskyism is in tatters.
It's as if The Weekly Standard did stories on the lack of the poor's access to health care.
December 15, 2010
If Governor Palin's for Liberty...
Tell me I'm wrong. I have been pretty tough on the boys at Reason, so I am going to beat up on a female libertarian as a change of pace.
There are several reasons behind the backlash. One is that campaigns to promote healthy behavior have a way of escalating from friendly persuasion to ham-fisted propaganda and prohibitionism. The war on tobacco is an obvious example (though the case for harsh anti-smoking laws was based on claims about the harm of second-hand smoke). Anti-drug zealotry in schools has caused teens to get in trouble for such crimes as sharing an aspirin with a friend who had a headache. It's not completely unreasonable to ask if cookie witch-hunts are next.
Oh boy! Some FLOTUS bashing in Reason! I am so very much there!
But when you click through, the excerpted paragraph is the "yes, but" paragraph. As in "Yes I hate statism, but..." And the but in this column is "but I hate conservatives more."
Unsurprisingly, Sarah Palin has led the fray. In a radio talk show appearance in November, the former vice presidential candidate derided the first lady's "Let's Move" initiative--"the anti-obesity thing she is on"--as practically un-American: "She cannot trust parents to make decisions for their own children, for their own families in what we should eat." Earlier, on a visit to a private school in Pennsylvania, Palin assailed the state's planned school nutrition guidelines that would encourage healthier snacks and fewer classroom birthday parties; she brought a batch of 200 cookies to protest "a nanny state run amok."
Eeeew! Sarah Palin! I think the cookies are an awesome, magical stroke, making me think she deserves reevaluation on my part. And it is un-American, as it happens, to trust the state over parents. Am I on HuffPo? No, it's Reason.
Two years ago, Palin herself, as governor of Alaska, championed a state-level health care plan that included support for anti-smoking, anti-obesity, and pro-exercise efforts.
And there is no difference between a State program in the schools and a Federal one. What a hypocrite that woman is. And did you see she changed her hair?
Ms. Young also writes for RealClearPolitics, so maybe conservative-phobia is an odd claim. But the column cannot seem to decide whether to bash statism or opportunistic opposition.
November 23, 2010
Reason Gets One Right
It's Tuesday. Thanksgiving is on the way. It's about time I said something nice about the Libertoids over at Reason.
I was surprised to see the WaPo story Most support full body scanners
Nearly two-thirds of Americans support the new full-body security-screening machines at the country's airports, as most say they put a higher priority on combating terrorism than protecting personal privacy, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Once again, they didn't poll ThreeSources. But the outrage is a blogospheric phenomenon. Media outlets are covering the controversy, but it appears the editorial side drives the story.
Matt Welsh, gives props to his peep Radley Balko and nails it in "Editorial Boards to the Little People Complaining About the TSA: Bend Over and Take it Like a Man!"
More evidence for Radley Balko's thesis that the media is more statist than liberal (and for my contention that the unsigned newspaper editorial should go the way of the dodo bird):
Conservatives make a huge mistake attributing all the media sins to bias. The media are lazy, incurious, uncourageous, elitist, and biased. Without understanding all their flaws, crying "bias" does not fit all the symptoms and sounds black-helicopterish. Time to add statist to the flaw list.
November 9, 2010
Something for Everybody
Mother Jones author Chris Lehmann disses Ayn Rand on Reason.tv: enjoy
November 4, 2010
Libertario Delenda Est
A comment to a linked piece gets promoted by Insty today. I thought it deserved the full force of ThreeSources:
I was a three term Republican Precinct Chairman from George W's first run for Governor until I retired from active politics due to my health. I say this because I have a certain amount of experience in working politics.
November 1, 2010
Et Tu, Dalmia?
Not nearly the headline of "Et tu, Tunku?" But I am twice as broken-hearted.
Shikha Dalmia has become one of my favorite writers, and no it is not solely because of her attractive profile picture by her Forbes columns. She is smart, principled, and a clear communicator.
Today she takes to the pages of Reason.com for a snarky, elitist, Tea Party bashing that is completely unworthy of her
Anyone who has not been living under a pumpkin lately knows that the single, biggest threat to this country's economic future is its gimongous (hey, if Sarah Palin gets to invent words, why not me!) entitlement state.
Bash Governor Palin, check -- hey this must be a very smart person!
Geithner has yet to encounter an economic woe anywhere in the world that a good dose of stimulus can't cure, its fiscal side effects be damned. He is to the cause of global stimulus and bailouts what Bush was to the cause of global democracy.
President Bush, check -- girl's on a roll!
[...]although a vast majority of Tea Party supporters favor smaller government, they don't want cuts in their Medicare or Social Security, a contradiction perfectly captured in a sign at a Tea Party rally: "Keep the Guvmint out of my Medicare."
They're so stupid!
In fact, setting aside the lapsed witch of Delaware, Christie O'Donnell[...]One is Joe Miller of Alaska, a man so unfamiliar with the First Amendment[...]
Two candidates who did what you wanted but still get a slap...
I don't know if it's better that she sees the flaw in her position and ignores it or not. Umm, why might some candidates be unprepared to make a bold stand to cut entitlements? Wait...I know this one...
To be sure, much of this backsliding is in response to attacks by Democratic opponents who are undoubtedly worse and shamelessly demagoguing the issue. Still, the fact of the matter is that instead of pulling Democrats in the direction of reform, the Tea Party candidates themselves are moving in the direction of the status quo. This wouldn't happen if these candidates could count on a strong and large constituency for reform within their own movement. Elections are a discovery process through which candidates find out what their base really wants. And what many of the Tea Party candidates have found is that when push comes to shove, their backers want to protect their entitlements as much as the next guy. In fact, much of the fury of the Tea Partiers against government stimulus and bailouts might have less to do with any principled belief in the limits of government and more to do with fear of what this will do to their own entitlements.
To recap: Angle, O'Donnell, and Miller are holding their ground and have turned "cakewalk" GOP victories into two nail-biters and an expected loss. Why won't the rest follow suit?
Breaking up is hard to do. I could have handled the analysis -- especially from Reason -- but to put it in a snarky, smarmy package like this is too much.
October 5, 2010
Et Tu, Stossel?
I have made no secret of my appreciation for John Stossel. Looking for public figures whose philosophy most closely matches my own, Stossel would be in the top five. While his philosophy is pure, I have always sensed an underlying pragmatism.
He sadly left that under the covers at home when he posted Another Useless Republican.
The "UR" is Linda McMahon, WWE doyenne and GOP Senate candidate in the Nutmeg State. Stossel is right to be saddened by McMahon's backtracking on the minimum wage. She came out against, the Democrat Demagogue Machine shifted into gear, and she was forced to proffer one of those mealy-mouthed retractions we've all come to dislike. "I'm sorry I offered good economic theory in the public sphere and I PROMISE it won't happen again!"
Disappointing, yes. But that does not make her useless. She is running against The Devil Incarnate, Connecticut AG Richard Blumenthal. Eliot Spitzer without the charm. And at least Spitzer approved of prostitution, Blumenthal has yet to find a business he likes.
So McMahon runs a largely self financed campaign in one of the most heavily blue states in the union against a well known incumbent Attorney General. Guessing here, but I bet AG Blumenthal would vote to double the minimum wage. Because Ms. McMahon will not stake her campaign on lowering it, I am not going to toss her over the edge.
Naive waif that I am, I have been simply-stuperfied at the level of demagoguery in the Colorado Senate Race. Buck once mentioned opposition to the 17th Amendment (page four of the libertarian hymnal). This warranted a frequently run "KEN BUCK WANTS TO REWRITE THE CONSTITUTION! TAKE AWAY YOUR RIGHT TO VOTE!" spot in the "TOO EXTREME FOR COLORADO!" DNSC series.
They drove you out of ABC Mister Stossel. Our ideas are not going to get a fair hearing in the media. Even Rand Paul seemed "neutered" in his FOX News Sunday interview. Not fair to dump on McMahon for backing out of a battle she cannot win.
February 19, 2010
Libertario Delenda Est
Add David Boaz to the list of big-L libertarians who dislike the Mount Vernon Statement because it does not whack our 43rd President enough.
Conservative leaders may have restated principles of long standing, principles that reflect the philosophy of Buckley and Reagan rather than the practice of Bush. And Tea Party activists may be demanding that both parties get control of spending and stop expanding government. But in 2008 and 2010, it appears that when you get committed conservatives together in a room, they display no regrets about the Bush disaster.
Boaz's problem is not with the document at all. He loves a good segue even more than me, and launches into the real topic: Gov. Romney's embrace of President GWB in his CPAC Speech.
I'm thinking this is the big lacuna. Libertarians and Conservatives are separated in 2010 over the legacy of George W Bush. Odder still, I'm on the Conservatives' side (hardee har har). The Reason gang all hate President Bush passionately. President Obama? Well, we'd like to tweak some of his policies...
Reason has met the enemy -- and it is George W Bush. I read Gene Healy's superb "Cult of the Presidency" after President Obama was elected but before his inauguration. The book is brutal on W for arrogation of executive power. As I read it, I thought "Gene, Gene, you ain't seen nothin' yet" but I would guess if you cornered him a cocktail party, he probably still rails on the previous occupant more than the current.
They hate the Romans, but it's the People's Front of Judea whom they despise!
February 18, 2010
Quote of the Day
Okay, I ripped on the Reason folk pretty hard earlier today. I'll give QOTD honors to "The Jacket:"
And yet, even (or perhaps especially) in Obama's America, where Dick Cheney is still making millions of ill-gotten gains by keeping unemployment high and sending troops to the Middle East and Central Asia to secure Haliburton's ultra-lucrative tapioca concessions, there are signs that this world was never meant for one as beautiful as Olbermann. -- Nick Gillespie
I Was Right
As I predicted, the folks at Reason do not like the Mount Vernon Statement.
-- Jesse Walker, Mount Vernon Mush
Tough room or Libertario Delenda Est? I am going with the latter.
Doherty: Goddammit! How can you have a Constitutional document that fails to enumerate the evils of the Bush/Cheney administration??? (I'm paraphrasing...)
Sullum: Some of the signers are impure!! A good document cannot be signed by a bad person!!
Walker: D. All of the above, plus a serious comment (echoed 'round here) that "[T]he rhetoric here is so all-inclusive and platitudinous as to be practically meaningless. Even the plank on foreign policy is carefully phrased so that both hawks and doves can embrace it[...]"
I complement the ThreeSources commentariat who provided far more substantive and serious critiques than Reason Magazine.
Libertario Delenda Est!
January 27, 2010
Libertario Delenda Est!
Gee, I just can't figure out why Libertarians don't have a bigger voice in Government. Oh wait, maybe its this:
Advice to Barack Obama by Two People Who Didn't Vote for Him (or John McCain)
That's the headline of an otherwise good article by Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch. But the headline explains why the GOP will cater more to Huck's Army that the voices of liberty. They did nothing (less than nothing if you read their magazine) to prevent the election of an unabashed statist. Now he has nationalized General Motors, tripled spending, attempted to take over health care, and -- never never forget -- appropriated the equity of GM and Chrysler bondholders for distribution to more politically aligned groups.
But even after he did all the above, even after he did nothing for gay rights, even after he continued the war policies they so despise, even after he appointed an Erlicher to be Science Czar and a drug warrior to be USAG -- even still, this does not disqualify him from future support by the myrmidons of Reason Magazine.
Of course, they could NEVER support Mayor Giuliani after a comment he made in a 1992 Mayoral race! But President Obama, if he picks it up a bit, can still get the coveted Welch-Gillespie vote.
Puke make to me want.
September 24, 2009
Save us from the Libertoids!
One of my favorite guys named Perry in the whole world is Perry de Havilland of Samizdata. I have been reading him probably as long as any other blogger, and one of my few regrets in life is that I missed a chance to attend one of the early Samizdata bloggers' bashes. I was in London at the time but could not put the pieces together.
That said, he does exasperate me with his refusal to accept political exigencies. I don't know if it is his being British and used to parliamentary politics. There is no shortage of fellow travelers over here.
He links to Michael Barone's " Can the Republicans win the House in 2010?" and claims the question is "would it matter?" Because George W. Bush and John McCain were not Lysander Spooner incarnate, it does not matter whether John Boehner or Nancy Pelosi holds the speaker's gavel.
Until the Big State Tax and Regulate schmucks like McCain, Romney and their entire ilk are explicitly repudiated and figuratively (and in a perfect world, literally) thrown into Boston Harbour, I will tell you what difference re-electing the party that gave the world George Bush (either) will make... No meaningful difference at all.
The ThreeSources pragmatist left a comment suggesting that a little blessed gridlock could impede some very bad ideas.
Besides, they don't even know how to spell "harbor..."
July 6, 2009
Tea Partio Delenda Est!
Can I try to kill a really bad idea before it gets too far? Instapundit reader Paul Lee started the longest post in Instapundit history by suggesting that Sarah Palin co-opt the Tea Party movement into its own party.
[Insert long string of curse words here] This stupid argument is pretty well refuted in the Instapundit post by both Professor Reynolds and other readers, but then the idea makes an evil return in an Insta-poll: What should Sarah Palin do?
Friends, you are proposing that those who like individual liberty and limited government divide into THREE ineffective parties and then compete in winner-take-all elections against a party that is united in its devotion to collectivism. (And has the Commanding Heights of media, academia and entertainment in its control).
Third parties hold great romantic sway over smart and reasonable people. Who wouldn't like to pitch some of the GOP's baggage, failures, losers, posers, and crooks? Lee gives it away in his response: "Ross Perot got 19% of the popular vote." The implication is that Governor Palin could get 29 or 39. The magic number is 50% + 1 of the electoral vote.
Nip this bad idea in the bud.
May 18, 2009
Yet Another NRA Win
I suggested a couple of weeks ago that the NRA model would be far better for libertarians to follow than the big-L Libertarian Party.
The WSJ Ed Page provides one more example of how the NRA has changed the debate.
Amid so much other news, a Senate vote last week to allow loaded guns in national parks slipped under the media radar. The vote shows how the political cause of gun control is as dead as a mounted moose.
My favorite NRA moment is when they were pushing the "I'm the NRA" campaign. Lot's of young moms and reasonable businessmen highlighting the group's diversity. I saw a bald, tattooed, camo-clad redneck hop out of a 20-year old Ford pickup with an "I'm The NRA" sticker. "Whoa duse, this is not the image they intended!"
In spite of this and several other missteps -- they thought D.C. v Heller was premature -- the NRA has moved the playing field. They are not tied to a single candidate or party, as in "we'll have freedom again when we find another Reagan." This is a good model for the liberty lover.
May 5, 2009
Libertario Delenda Est
Another in the series (and I remain open to suggestions or grammatical corrections to the name).
I was toying with a post idea this morning. And now that I have found a segue, I must continue. Will Wilkinson pens (and Instapundit links) a serious look at different levels of libertarian buy-in for politics. He takes a few friendly whacks at libertarians of all stripes. While I don't want to pile on, I do want to segue. He ends the piece strongly:
Most libertarians donít want to move to man-made islands. Most don't even want to help take over New Hampshire. If libertarians are going to shift the politics of the countries we live in, we've got to get it through our thick skulls that many people have considered libertarian ideas and have rejected them for all sorts of decent reasons. We've got to take those reasons, and those people, fully seriously and adequately address them. Otherwise, we should probably just accept that libertarianism is a niche creed for weird people and reconcile ourselves to impotent, self-righteous grousing. Or get serious about life on the sea. For my part, I'm going to continue to try to convince people that free markets and limited goverment are better than they might have thought.
Here is my take. The Libertarian Party should cease operations as a political party. Instead, it should model itself on the National Rifle Association.
Look at the gains made by the NRA from what I call "Norman Lear America" to today. Archie Bunker, in the early seventies, got big laughs from his plan to end hijackings. I quote from memory: "Pass out pistols to everyone as they board -- and the hijacker will be afraid to get up and use the tourr-let!" I think gun control was at its apogee in the 70s, with a liberal post-Watergate Congress ready to try to turn Texas into Great Britain.
Today, the NRA has completely changed the frontier of discussion. Only protected legislators in certain districts can afford to be seen as anti-gun. District of Columbia vs. Heller went in our column -- in spite of some severe NRA miscalculations -- and the national electorate has been educated on rights issues and efficacy. Pretty good 30-something years.
Reason Magazine just took a 40-year victory lap and I conflate them with the LP just for time purposes. They boast progress in innovation and society but concede that government has grown larger and more intrusive under their watch.
Had the NRA fielded candidates, we'd have background checks for slingshots. Instead, the NRA educated and lobbied; recruited, funded, and rated candidates from both parties. This worked and the organization remains politically powerful today. The Libertarian Party could educate and lobby; recruit, fund and rate candidates from both parties and become a powerful organization. Nine percent of voters as a potential swing block is a game changer. Nine percent who may or may not be "into the system" enough to vote at all or for the LP candidate is just a game.