December 9, 2014

Libertario Delenda Est!

It's hard to find another vote in modern history that has laid waste to so many political careers. Sixty Democrats cast the deciding 60th vote for the Affordable Care Act in 2009 and 2010, but come January only 30 will be left in the Senate. Thatís an extraordinary political turnover in merely three elections, the largest in the post-Watergate era. As it happens, the law has been nearly as politically catastrophic for Democrats as Watergate was for Republicans. -- WSJ
I have inherited a new and borderline-nasty group of Libertarian Facebook friends. Before the confetti was swept up at the GOP victory parties, this crowd was looking for flaws. Boehner says this, McConnell says that, so and so will not be in leadership, the trapezoid between the goalie will be enforced through 2016 -- you get the idea.

I'm not expecting a lot with a narrow majority and his Profaneness in the White House. And I am not naïve enough to think a GOP win in 2016 will be a new dawn of liberty. I expect to be disappointed. But. Jeeburz.

I have been trying to remind them that democracy is a blunt instrument. It's best power is retributive. Don't think the remaining thirty didn't notice (c.f. Sen. Chuck Schumer). That alone is a great victory.

UPDATE: Ontheotherhand: House votes to extend handouts for wind energy industry They do not make it easy on me.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:57 AM | Comments (2)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Yes, it did get the attention of some of those remaining in the Senate.

"Pour encourager les autres."

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 9, 2014 1:02 PM
But jk thinks:

Oui.

Posted by: jk at December 9, 2014 2:55 PM

November 26, 2014

I do know me some folks...

Wow. I have mentioned that -- in addition to my moonbat crazy lefty friends on Facebook -- I do have some on the right who should probably have their meds monitored pretty carefully.

A great guy and superbly talented musician I know put this up:

slavery.gif

I suggested that "Slavery" was a pretty special word which should not be debased to equal "my job sucks." My friend did not respond, but two of his did. Oh yes, Oh, yes this is life. We had some respectful banter but they are not buying what I am selling.

The url in the cartoon www.rawforbeauty.com features posts to cure your diabetes with yam juice and the like. The original Facebook poster was the FB group "The Matrix Report." I am afraid to link to either: Matrix Report is Rothschild/New World Order stuff "Wake Up People!".

I have a great new Libertario Delenda Est FB friend who was actually the LP candidate for CO Attorney General this year. Enlightened debate with he and his friends, but they are so convinced of the existence of a big libertarian majority I find non-extant. To even get close, you have to start counting some people who may not be entirely reliable.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:09 PM | Comments (5)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

And yet, I may be willing to compromise with your friend's point of view on the cartoon.

Consider the concept of "Tax Freedom Day," a concept I believe all ThreeSourcers are familiar with. The popular theme is that for the average wage-earning American, we labor for between three and a half and four months out of twelve to satisfy our tax burden. We are - dare I use the word? - indentured to our government to do that. Imagine! Our government, at all levels, represents a 30% frictional loss for the operation of the national production machine.

Beyond this, the distortion of the economy as reflected by higher prices - how much has a gallon of gasoline gone up since 2007? How about meat and bread? How about medical costs and health insurance? Ethanol drives up the cost of your grocery bill; that's been discussed on these very selfsame pages. So have gasoline prices. When the cost of necessities (fuel, heating your home, groceries, electricity, medical) all eat a greater and greater part of what we earn, then we have less disposable income to spend; our want-tos become dwarfed by our have-tos.

"Slavery" is certainly a harsh word to use, but I do see the point your friend's trying to make. Perhaps it would be more charitable to say that we're experiencing a large patch of Mr. Heinlein's "bad luck" and we're not accustomed to it.

On Facebook, I've been trying to help my friends to prepare for that "bad luck," and you've been gracious enough to take note. When we have an Administration in DC that is bound and determined to plunge this nation headlong into the bad luck, there's nothing wrong with being a little prepared. If I've helped just one person...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at November 26, 2014 7:34 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I'm not sure whether that means my meds ought to be monitored, unless you're thinking of the pleasant little bottle of Merlot I'm hoping to crack open.

Which reminds me, I've picked up a few nice books on homemade wine, beer brewing, and the like...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at November 26, 2014 7:38 PM
But Jk thinks:

Well, it happens that that was right where I went. I thought there would be some common ground. But I next objected to Monoply Man and the bag of $

I view that as a charge against business, not government. Somebody choosing that "villain" is not suggesting tax freedom day be moved backwards.

Cheers, my friend, and Happy Thanksgiving.

Posted by: Jk at November 26, 2014 8:27 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Send them the article linked in 'Democrats - The New "Party of the Rich" two posts down. Maybe that will open some eyes.

I'm a big fan of Cory Pate at The Party of Choice [watch a few vids] who explains that the most effective way to reach people who disagree with you is to find the part of what they believe that you agree with and reinforce it first, before politely and methodically correcting the wrong parts. Most of us, even if we do remember that first step, go for a one-move checkmate with a pithy one liner smacked on the top of their head.

You're right, I can't believe how much harder it's become to earn a living anymore in this country. In our parents' day they could easily advance their career earnings by going to work for another company who needed them and was willing to pay more to get them. And one parent could almost always afford to stay home if he or she wanted! Which do you think is the biggest cause of this, the higher prices or the lack of job choices? Maybe it's both? I'm not sure, what do you think?
Posted by: johngalt at November 27, 2014 11:09 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Oh, and Keith, it is 4-1/2 to 5 months.

And another way government robs "the folks" without them knowing it is a favorite point of my dad's: Inflation drives up prices and wages, meaning it takes more dollars to do the same things, but since progressive tax brackets are not indexed to inflation this amounts to a perpetually creeping tax rate hike on everybody, as we are ever so slowly pushed into higher tax brackets.

Posted by: johngalt at November 27, 2014 11:14 AM

November 5, 2014

Libertario Delenda Est!

Things are tense on Facebook. I will share this here:

co_gov_2014_totals.gif

I'll even accept that Mike Dunafon (THC - Glendale) perhaps pulled his votes equally from Republicans, Democrats, Greens, and guys who thought they'd get free Doritos if they turned in a ballot.

But I met Matthew Hess and he is a thoughtful guy. He has no apologies, nor do his supporters for capturing a vote count which likely exceeds the delta. I'm not saying they should, but I cannot see how liberty was served.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:17 PM | Comments (5)
But dagny thinks:

If you are going to assume that all the LIB votes would have gone to Beauprez, it is equally reasonable to assume that all the GREEN votes would have gone to Hick, pushing the total back to the Hick side. I think its reasonable to figure that all the 3rd parties sort of cancel each other out and not that the LIBS cost us.

Here's my question. I want to talk to the people who voted for Cory AND Hick. What would cause someone to reach THAT conclusion?

Posted by: dagny at November 5, 2014 1:59 PM
But jk thinks:

Much truth in what you say, dagny, but I see the LIB votes as potentially advancing my interest in liberty. I'll let my progressive friends try to scoop up the green vote, but it concerns me that people who want the same things I do are not advancing the cause. And yes, I know they think the same about me.

Posted by: jk at November 5, 2014 4:06 PM
But jk thinks:

Those voting the Gardner-Hickenlooper ticket are clearly those you always hear about who choose the man with the best hair.

Posted by: jk at November 5, 2014 4:09 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Or, as I suggested in a separate comment thread, they chose the most friendly guy in the race. Bob can have a gruff demeanor when he talks about issues.

So there you have it - our country is most likely to be governed by jackals... laughing hyenas.

Posted by: johngalt at November 5, 2014 5:46 PM
But jk thinks:

The all-important "whom would you rather have a beer with?" primary. I'll go with that.

Let me take mine out for a spin: Younger/Cooler has won every presidential election after 1988. Clinton and Obama beat Dole, McCain and Romney. Bush was similar in age but a little spryer and cooler than the automatronic Gore and Patrician Kerry.

It may not match ThreeSourcers love of base principle, but nor is it totally American Idol. As Americans, we are a forward looking nation and as humans, there is an atavistic desire for a vigorous leader hard-wired into our genes.

If you accept my premise at least as important at the margins, would you choose Sec. Hillary Clinton as your party's nominee? Historical, yes. But perhaps a little too historic?

Posted by: jk at November 6, 2014 10:00 AM

October 30, 2014

One Movie Star I'll Listen To

First, I need to complement Reason. As elections near, the magazine (and The FBN Independents whom they constitute 33% of) are interminable to one of the libertario delenda est persuasion. But, they are cool about it. They are publishing articles, three at a time, suggesting the most strategic vote:

The GOPaean was penned by Grover Norquist. Perhaps my favorite moment of Atlas Shrugged Part III was his cameo as a nameless gub'mint bureaucrat. Great stuff -- but even better are his trenchant calls for little-l libertarians to vote Republican.

If the Democrat Senate candidate in North Carolina or Virginia wins by a narrow margin because several hundred or thousands of liberty voters voted for the libertarian third party candidate rather than the Republican Senate candidate how will this be understood by the media and by the national electorate? Will the media announce that the Democrat victories are actually a demonstration of the growing strength of the libertarian movement? Or will they argue the nation voted for big government? What message does your "message" vote send?
[...]
Well who is getting this message? When you watch the TV commentators on election night the tally they put up on the board is either, one, Republicans win and the nation wants lower taxes and spending and an end to Obamacare or two, Democrats win the Senate and the nation wants Obama's growing government. We don't get to write the script.

Liberty activists should remember that voting is only one political act. Speaking with your siblings, co-workers, neighbors, children and parents provides daily opportunities to advance liberty and multiply the voice and power of the liberty movement. Call your grandparents. Speak with the waitress. Don't whine that Republican candidates do not talk about liberty. You talk about liberty to everyone who will listen. Whining about other people is not work. It is whining. The struggle against statism is a great deal of work and the only person you control is you. Be the calm, coherent voice for liberty you wish the Republican candidate for Senate was.


Sen. Rand Paul wrote yesterday's GOP call. I've read most of the six and they are all worth a read. They are heavily invested in the big-L path -- I really do give them props for opening it up to powerful arguments from the evil Republicrats.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:40 PM | Comments (0)

October 17, 2014

Libertario Delenda Est!

May I rant? It's been a tough week.

The midterms are shaping up pretty well. I've no crystal ball or hot line to pollsters (I did get queried by Quinnipiac last night). But whatever happens, I am pretty proud of the GOP. Just this once. We did not nominate a Todd Akin this time; Colorado it seems has done a decent job deflecting the #waronwomen trope. Fundraising seems pretty good.

Democracy is good for only one thing and that is retribution. When "the bums" pass legislation you don't like, "the bums" can be thrown out. As Glenn Reynolds says "the purpose of the Sword of Damocles is that it hangs." The difference between an actual democracy and a sham like Saddam Hussein's Iraq, Kim Jung Un's North Korea, or Richard Daley's Chicago is that you can lose; who cares if the occupant won -- it's real if he or she can lose.

Poised with the chance to send a brutal message to the House, Senate, and Executive which foisted the PPACAo2010 on us, I would think we could line up the Judean People's Front and the People's Front of Judea. Yet my success with big-L libs, whom I expected to be responsive to reason, is comparable to my successes convincing progressives. Videlicet, the big goose egg.

I've had some fiery exchanges with a bright Facebook friend this week. He's a great guy, but he has located every nutjob in every State House or Dog Catcher race. While the GOP did not have a Todd Akin in a major race, there are some down-ticket doozies. And my friend has posted every MSNBC, Mother Jones, Gawker, or Slate Post saying "See! The Tea Party really is racist and homophobic! How can you possibly vote for such a party?" I had the same conversation with Andrew Sullivan once. It's a big beautiful country and I will not be responsible for what everybody in it says.

This same week, I watched absolute meltdowns by libertarian and independent candidates. And this is where I start to get prickly. The third party gadflies are so many magnitudes removed from serious contention that there is never any vetting or substantive criticism. The GOP candidate for state district E-I-E-I-O on Oklahoma gets a microscope. While...

LOTR-F favorite Mayor Michael Dunafon is running for Governor. He's a strip club owner and liberty activist. I missed his talk but watched the video -- it's great. But he was brought back for a debate with Libertarian Matthew Hess last Monday. But he canceled -- not because of a fan -- but because he had the chance to go smoke weed with Snoop Dogg. People gave him money and put his signs up and pushed him on Facebook and he cannot be bothered to attend a debate. Who cares if he gets 0.9% or 0.89% of the vote anyway?

That's Monday. Tuesday, Gov. Gary Johnson is on The Independents in his "hi" T-shirt to promote his marijuana branding company. He gets a fawning interview. Is he running in 2016? Yeah probably. Oh boy. (You know, he ran for NM Governor as a Republican, won, and advanced the cause of liberty. His career as a big-L? Not. So. Much.)

Wednesday they had the Libertarian Senate Candidate and Pizza driver Sean Haugh of North Carolina. Like Montana in 2006, he might spoil the race for the Democrat.

My Facebook (and real live corporeal LORT-F) friend and I want the same things. The Independents's hosts and I as well. But the free passes handed out to these gadfly candidates are too much. Libertario Delenda Est.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:00 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Speculation: Supporting a minor party candidate is a form of "fence-sitting" or saying "none of the above" to the D or R choices. One big reason for the "No and Hell No" stance is that there are so many other people one may come across that have nothing but hatred for one or the other of the major party candidates (or parties.) So by refusing to identify with one of the "un-cool" candidates, our voting subject can claim to be "cool" in almost any circle.

And then there is the nice bonus of never having to explain why you voted for someone who screwed up in office. Because, well, connect the dots.

"Reason is not automatic. Those who deny its existence cannot be swayed by it. They cannot help you. Leave them alone." - Rand, Ayn

Posted by: johngalt at October 17, 2014 7:23 PM

October 2, 2014

Partisan Hackery

CATO has released its Fiscal Policy Report Card on America's Governors 2014 [summary]  [pdf].

It's a mountain of fun with sprinkles on top. Our dear incumbent in the Centennial State is second from the bottom (he should send Gov. Jerry Brown of CA a card).

But I mean to pick a libertario delenda est fight. I read my big-L friends on Facebook every day that there is "no difference" between the parties. (Red Pill-Blue Pill / Two wings of the same bird of prey / Not a dime's difference / yadda-yadda...) And yet:

  • All four A's are Republicans
  • Ten of the top 11 are Republicans
  • All eight F's are Democrats

Quite a coincidence, nicht wahr?

Posted by John Kranz at 5:51 PM | Comments (4)
But johngalt thinks:

"Governors who have cut taxes and spending the most receive the highest grades, while those who have increased taxes and spending the most receive the lowest grades."

And Republican governors, in contrast to Republican senators and congressmen, are remarkably more likely to earn high grades on that measurement than are Democrat governors. As I alluded, party affiliation is a less reliable indicator of Fiscal Policy Report Card grades for legislators, particularly at the national level. Why? As individuals, executives are more accountable than are the legislative cogs who simply blame their failures on "the body" or "the caucus" or "the leadership."

So perhaps our big-L brethren are half right?

Posted by: johngalt at October 3, 2014 3:36 PM
But jk thinks:

Big Ls tend to be 90% right. What is so maddening is how bitterly they cling to their mistaken decimation.

You and I have a lot of friends at LOTR-F who will be supporting Mike Dunafon and Michael Hess. I like both those guys, but if Gov. Hiockenlooper wins by less that the sum of Beauprez + Dunafon + Hess, I'm going to poison some drinks.

Posted by: jk at October 3, 2014 3:42 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm wondering out loud if the anti-2 party crowd can be persuaded to exercise their Quixotic principle only on legislative races, where it earns more merit, and to be pragmatic enough in executive races to vote, not for the "lesser evil" but against the greater one?

Posted by: johngalt at October 3, 2014 4:21 PM
But jk thinks:

I like it. Long time readers will know I took up the "Libertario Delenda Est" flag with great emotion. My efforts to influence lefty and moderate friends were disappointing, in the sense that the 2014 Oakland Raiders have not established themselves as a lock for the AFC Championship. That kind of disappointing.

Perhaps, methought, my calling was to instill pragmatism in the highly-rational big-Ls. That takes me from the Raiders to the Washington DC Football Enterprise that cannot be named.

So, I am tempted to eject but your suggestion might be worth a try.

I must push back on the Senate, however. John Tester won in Montana in 2006 thanks to a big-L candidate -- and he provided the 60th vote for Obamacare. Likewise there are a couple races which might be spoiled this year -- preventing perhaps serious efforts at trimming its unwieldy edges. Liberty is not served.

Posted by: jk at October 3, 2014 5:54 PM

September 16, 2014

LINOS!

There are two guys who make me really angry. One is my former Congressman, Jared Polis. He voted sigma-5 with Speaker Pelosi and financed much pro-government mischief in the Centennial State. But, because he wrote one clever OpEd and accepts campaign contributions in BitCoin, he is feted as "a Democratic Libertarian."

The other is Elon Musk. He, too, is feted as a "libertarian" and has energized liberty lovers to aid his righteous cause in bypassing state dealer requirements. On this, and on private space travel, he is dead on.

But his business is based on the most base crony corporatism imaginable. You pay people to buy his product, you pay his suppliers to develop parts, and you give the company massive loans. The TED-talk, silicon valley glitterati celebrate that he has paid the loans back -- but they were there in the early days and there is no talk of reimbursing Treasury for all the $7500 giveaways they made to wealthy Tesla customers.

This guy has a business that would not employ more than three were it not for subsidies and mandates, yet I am supposed to celebrate him as some kind if Hank Reardon.

Have I established my basic premise here? Today, the WSJ Ed Page details his sweetheart deal from the Silver State on a new battery factory.

Earlier this month Mr. Musk declared Nevada the winner. "It wasn't all about the incentives," he noted. Nevada is "a get-things-done state." Gov. Sandoval surely appreciated that in-kind contribution to his re-election campaign. Mr. Musk also intimated that Nevada made the most logistical sense. Reno is easily accessible by rail and highway to Fremont, and Nevada hosts the only active lithium mines in the U.S.

But if those were the attractions, then why should Nevada have to pay such a steep subsidy price? Tesla will be exempt from property taxes for 10 years and sales taxes for 20 years at a cost of $1.1 billion to taxpayers. Tesla will also get $195 million in transferable tax credits that it can sell to other businesses. Since Nevada has no personal or corporate income tax, Tesla will effectively operate tax-free in the state.

Tesla will also receive a 10% to 30% electricity discount over eight years. The NV Energy public utility will pay for this discount by charging other customers $1.84 more on average per year. Mr. Musk claims the factory will generate all the renewable energy it needs, but the utility discount will pay for back-up power from the grid because renewables provide intermittent energy.

By being connected to the grid, Tesla will also be able to exploit Nevada's "net-metering" regulations to sell its excess renewable power back to the utility at the retail price, which can be up to 50% higher than wholesale. So Tesla can buy electricity at a discount, and then sell it for a premium.


They are different from GE, how?

Posted by John Kranz at 12:31 PM | Comments (2)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Ironic: the maker of electric cars needs a 30% discount on electricity?

All that being said, I do hope Jeff Keith and Dave Rude's new automobile company gets around to that flying car I keep hearing about...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 16, 2014 2:50 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Amen, JK. Tesla is GM with a fancy logo, nothing more. I expect their taxpayer-funded phaeton will be as much a flop as the Volt.

Not, for the very-connected Mr. Musk, of course, which again is a root problem. I wish McConnell would keep pounding away at the Venture Socialist crowd.

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 18, 2014 1:57 PM

September 11, 2014

Libertario Delenda Est!

Why libertarians lose at the polls 101:

This is funny but it's not as an astute and relatively handsome commenter points out. The Being Classically Liberal page considered changing its Milton Friedman profile pic, and asked for suggestions. The primary was in some smoke filled room in the back of the convention center, but we were presented with three choices:

vote_hayek.gif

Got it? Three choices, three comments. "Like" your choice and the moderator can quickly see the totals.

Umm, but there are 88 comments include the general People's Front of Judea "OMG, Friedman was a Statist!" plus outside selections, the occasional video link or meme or just a separate comment with a vote (like writing in the name the nominee). Jumpin' Jehoshaphat people this is not an Article V convention.

This is how libertarians vote; this is why we can't have nice things.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:50 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Somebody say Libertarians can't win at the polls? Libertarian Tyler Bagley has withdrawn from his race and endorsed one of the "Oligarchy Party" candidates. (You'll have to click through to see which one. Here's a hint:

"After analyzing Don's agenda and meeting with him, it became apparent that we agree on most matters of importance to the people of Adams and Jefferson counties," Bagley said. "I'm confident Don Ytterberg will improve things for District Seven."
Posted by: johngalt at September 11, 2014 4:02 PM

August 19, 2014

Libertarian Scolds

This is not a "classic" Libertario Delenda Est post. Those refer to the pragmatic politics and tactics that I feel will better promote the ideas Libertarians and I share. This is a darker disagreement.

You're not going to like or agree with fellow travelers all the time. But there is an underreported strain of crabbiness in the libertarian community. For all the libertine feelgoodism of a Penn Jillette, there is an equal and opposite amount of ill humor. The ideas hurt to find their "happy warriors."

Being Classically Liberal is an outstanding FB page. I do not agree at all times with posters Frank and M, but the retort to the obnoxious "Being Liberal" page starts them with 40 points, and they tend to rise from there.

Today though, some classic curmudgeonliness slipped out.

I despise the ice bucket challenge and I seriously wish people could find a less obnoxious way to raise awareness for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), otherwise known as Lou Gehrig's disease. I mean seriously, why the hell would you want to accept a challenge anyone can complete IN ORDER TO AVOID DONATING TO CHARITY?

I voiced my disagreements in the comments. The short version is that this is non-coercive, good clean Toquevillian fun. I mentioned that the MS Society emails me frequently to demand more government $$$; getting $100 from Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerburg, Peyton Manning and Jimmy Fallon seemed okay.

It's a fair disagreement, but the comments went better than 2:1 against me. I can even stand to lose, but the smug tone brought me down.


So instilling guilt and pressure on someone is the most efficient way to raise money for charity? Pressuring someone to donate takes the whole charitable aspect out of it.

People are sheeple and will do anything their favorite celebrities do. It makes me sick to see all of those videos of people showing their true colors in stupidity

I live in Southern California where the drought is the worst it's been in a hundred years. People are getting fined for using too much water while these guys dump it on their heads. I appreciate what they're accomplishing, but their message is out. Now it's just wasteful.


I could join a Progressive group if I wanted to be around killjoy scolds all day -- and they'd probably have better buffets.

UPDATE: Maybe we need a "Grouchy Libertarians" category...

thomaswoods.gif

Posted by John Kranz at 1:22 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Kinda puts a kink in their "we like everyone" sales pitch, don't it?

"We don't require any moral principles in order to defend freedom, because freedom is a good in and of itself, but some of you should be ashamed of what obnoxious things you do with it."

Posted by: johngalt at August 19, 2014 2:56 PM

August 6, 2014

Libertarianism's fatal flaw

I have, of late, been at a loss to explain my philosophical differences with the Libertarian Party. Its siren song of "because: freedom" has a sweet, sweet sound, after all, and the threat of an all-encompassing government constitutes a desperate time, possibly justifying desperate measures like, say, voting Libertarian. But Craig Biddle's 2013 article in The Objective Standard is both thorough and precise in explaining the folly of libertarianism, with a big or small L. Essentially, Biddle explains, libertarianism is a political philosophy without a moral philosophy, thus making it "compatible" with multiple moral philosophies. Or so they claim.

Libertarianism is an effort to establish a big tent under which everyone who advocates "rights" or the "nonaggression axiom" can gather and get along and fight for "liberty" -- regardless of any moral or philosophic differences they may have. As Alexander McCobin, executive director of Students for Liberty, explains, "libertarianism is a political philosophy that prioritizes the principle of liberty":
[Y]ou can be a libertarian and be a Hindu, a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Deist, an agnostic, an atheist, or a follower of any other religion, so long as you respect the equal rights of others. . . . Libertarianism is not a philosophy of life . . . or metaphysics or religion . . . or value, though it's certainly compatible with an infinite variety of such philosophies.16

McCobin is correct. You can be a libertarian regardless of any deeper philosophic ideas you might have. Libertarianism is precisely a big-tent ideology that is not concerned with deeper moral or philosophic issues. But this is not a favorable feature of libertarianism; it is a fatal flaw.

People cannot credibly, coherently, or effectively defend liberty if their more fundamental moral and philosophic ideas are in conflict with rights. And the fundamental tenets of most people's philosophies and religions flatly contradict the idea that rights should be respected -- or that they even exist.

I highly encourage reading the entire article here. It is long but, as I said, thorough. (If you're into that kind of thing.)

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:02 PM | Comments (18)
But johngalt thinks:

I agree they are heartwarming stories. They even warm my cold, cruel, secret-decoder-ring heart. And on top of that, I WANT TO KNOW WHY. I give a flip as to the causes of joyful emotions, because I really want to avoid sorrow.

What SC calls a "secret-decoder-ring" definition, Plato described as an extra dimension. Rand explained emotions as "print-outs, daily and hourly" generated by your subconscious mind, calculated according to your values - values which are consciously chosen or "programmed by chance - and you deliver yourself into the power of ideas you do not know you have accepted." Morpheus offered Neo a choice - "believe what you want to believe" or "stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember, all I'm offering is the truth - nothing more."

I am unaware of any ThreeSourcer who has taken the blue pill so I'll continue.

The idea that altruism is equivalent to love and compassion, with no nasty side effects, is programmed into us by all of the philosophies named by Biddle, each in its own unique way. But that idea is wrong.

The dictionary definition of altruism as "the principle or practice of unselfish concern for or devotion to the welfare of others" is incomplete. But the same dictionary offers the not-so-secret key, in the form of an opposite definition: egoism.

egoism (n) 1. the habit of valuing everything only in reference to one's personal interest; selfishness (opposed to altruism.)

So you may easily see that the complete definition of altruism, i.e. the opposite to egoism, is as follows:

the principle or practice of valuing everything only in reference to the welfare of others

At this point it is important to understand that the habit of valuing everything only in reference to one's personal interest leaves an open door to valuing the interests of others. But valuing everything only in reference to the welfare of others makes no reciprocal allowance for the welfare of, yourself.

"Oh you're just being overly literal, jg." True. But this is the complete principle of altruism, in opposition to the "evil" and "self-centered" egoism, and its accolytes are judged relative to the purity of their adherence to it. No matter how selfless you are, you are told to give more. But at some point, most men turn around and tell the looter, "No. That is enough. The rest is for me and the ones I love." The remainder are monks.

Tell me now - if you have made it this far without an emotional response that caused you to dismiss everything I have said - doesn't the true evil and self-centeredness dwell in the minds of men who keep telling you, "Give more?"

We think we like the stories where people learn the joy of helping others instead of achieving their selfish goals but what they are really doing is, choosing different selfish goals.

Posted by: johngalt at August 8, 2014 12:06 PM
But jk thinks:

Emotional? Nope "Now we're really havin' fun!"

I must defend the Secret Decoder Ring (SDR) as I brought it up. It was used against me and I have to admit its legitimacy. Even you, I'm going to point out, discard the dictionary definition for one of your creation. That's SDR.

"Altruism Bad" and "Selfishness Good" are purposefully provocative statements. Ayn Rand has whole books and preternatural expository skills to defend these points. When the poor acolyte (in this instance me) is called upon, it doesn't always go so well.

I wonder that it would not have been better to make up words. Provocative conversation-starters are swell, but you end up asking someone to discard their definitions of words and accept not only a new philosophy but also accept its terminology. Rand and Biddle are welcome to define and explain what "Objectivism" is. When they redefine words in frequent use, then they are fiddling with the SDR.

The only accusation is entomological (I hope that's words and not bugs, I often confuse them), not philosophical. You say altruism is bad -- but then every thing I say is altruism you say is not.

That is why I go to George Bailey. If that is not altruism, I am packing my bags and heading for Cleveland. He subsumes his prodigious talents and desires to live a life which frustrates him, working with dimwitted relatives in a trade he hates instead of joining his intelligent and ambitious friends. But at the end, we're told "it's all okay, because a lot of people really like him. And isn't that what really matters?" And then they give him their money.

I chose that as an unmistakable example and think Mister Dickens's close behind. I can provide about 654,391 more of these against about five of self-reliance (maybe six, Nick Gillespie's recommendation of Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Blithedale Romance" is shaping up very well).

That's just art and artists. I'm also reading Bob Margolin's superb "Steady Rollin' Man" and you'll be shocked to hear that the great blues guitarist is not a closet Hayekian. He's just played a Republican fundraiser and is stupefied that they do not have three heads and that they like, know and appreciate blues. He is more happily surprised that they buy out the cases of CDs he and Pinetop Perkins have brought -- even after paying the astronomical $75 to attend!

Pretty funny, but only a slight digression. I accept that art tends more Dionysian than Apollonian, but think that Objectivists need infer from this the existence of innate communitarianism and altruism.

Posted by: jk at August 9, 2014 11:58 AM
But johngalt thinks:

That is a fair criticism, if redefining words is really what I am doing. This is the first time I've taken this new explanation out for a spin and it may not work right. Let's look under the hood.

I linked a specific dictionary definition. I find it self-contradictory. It gives a "definition" and an antonym, or as they expressed it an "opposite," of egoism. But the definition is not precisely opposite. The culturally accepted definition is purposely vague. Why? If a man's fate hangs in the balance of a judgment based on this definition, how is it to be fairly decided? So is egoism its opposite, or not? And if egoism is not altruism's opposite, what is? Name that word that for centuries has been allowed to hide behind the "evil" word egoism.

Since the dominant western morality is founded on the principle of altruism, shouldn't it have a more precise definition than does pornography?

And is completing a definition really changing it? I added the missing words "everything" and "only." If more altruism is always better than less, is pure altruism not the ideal?

Posted by: johngalt at August 11, 2014 12:03 PM
But jk thinks:

All is exacerbated by starting with the generally accepted meaning of altruism which comes pretty close to "be nice." You have to move them to a more precise usage -- and then nudge it to the side which contains the disturbing implications.

I'm more interested in George Bailey. You and Nathaniel Branden rightly ask people to understand Rand and point out areas where you disagree (instead of just saying that she's wicked...) I think she is wrong to claim altruism is learned and egoism is innate.

Posted by: jk at August 11, 2014 12:35 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm not trying to explain this to "them" but to you. You mentioned your not buying in, but several of your answers refer to "we" and "them." I'm not inquiring whether you believe some group of people might understand this, but whether you do as an individual. And I encourage a cleave between understand and agree. Perhaps it is I who needs change his conclusion, if you can help me see the inconsistency through reason.

What does it mean to credibly, coherently, or effectively defend liberty?

Can it be done if your more fundamental moral and philosophic ideas are in conflict with rights?

I am saying that unless the proponent of liberty is prepared to place the principle of rights above the conflicting principles in whatever deeper moral philosophy he holds, he cannot expect others to do so when he attempts to defend liberty from their opposing principle. In fact, a libertarian will not even ask that question. Perhaps libertarianism is a stepping stone to a political philosophy that arranges liberty as the deeper principle, but it does not do that itself. Adherents seem to think that would be too confrontational and a barrier to entry in the movement. And they're probably right. But the more explicit philosphies continue to have greater appeal, even when they are flawed.

-

By the way, I believe I erred earlier when I implied that all of the "joy of helping others" stories embodied individuals changing their selfish goals to ones that also benefit others. The two examples you chose are excellent because I think that dynamic fits in the Scrooge story but not George Bailey. He clearly sacrificed his future goals because he thought that others needed him. He allowed the needs of others to place a claim on his life, and most of those who cheered did not ask why - nor did Bailey. But viewers were happy that the story took that turn, even if Bailey was not. If altruism is not learned, why are there so many lessons in it? You see ubiquitous stories as celebration of genuine human nature and I see it as a self-reinforcing perversion of human nature. If altruism is innate, why did Bailey struggle with the question, even for a moment?

I hesistate to ask another question here in comment #17 but maybe we'll reach a mutual understanding on one of them, without a secret decoder ring between us, so here goes: Why are there so many books and programs and debates about the origin of the universe, and so few about the origin of altruism? We could just as well accept the existence of the universe as innate, couldn't we? But a fair number of people do seem to ask some questions that, on their face, seem unanswerable. And I might add, have much less impact on their daily lives.

Posted by: johngalt at August 11, 2014 3:50 PM
But jk thinks:

Fair cop on pronouns. I'd like to explain to "them" the importance of individual rights without really being a "we" in accepting Rand's derivation of the source of these rights. Clearly Kimosabe should declare his antecedents.

Where we differ, it is more on your second question, "Can [defending liberty] be done if your more fundamental moral and philosophic ideas are in conflict with rights?"

Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! That's where I part with Biddle. I could look to my personal friends, or ThreeSourcers, or even the brilliant founders of this great Republic. I see a great disparity in "fundamental moral and philosophic ideas" and yet a great commonality in their belief and capacity to defend rights.

Only a little flippancy causes me to ask whether philosophies "with greater appeal" are in-spite-of or actually because-of their underlying flaws and inconsistencies.

The victory of altruism in "It's a Wonderful Life," for the same reason I'm not ready to concede "A Christmas Carol," is that of course we want to be selfish (you've succeeded beyond your wildest dreams at establishing innate egoism). What is heroic is to want to travel the world and build dams and revolutionize industry -- but to overcome that and accept your duty to others. If it was not hard, it wouldn't be heroic. Liking ice cream is rarely the climax of fine literature.

I suggest the plotline resonates with an innate altruism in the reader/viewer. Yes there have been a thousand PBS cartoons on the joys and wonders of recycling, but this story transcends cultures centuries, and languages.

Not sure I get the final question (or I am frightened). I consider the universe innate but still enjoy books about its structure, workings and history. There is insufficient entropy around altruism to warrant too many books.

Posted by: jk at August 11, 2014 5:21 PM

July 24, 2014

Libertario Delenda Est!

I got into a very good Libertario Delenda Est on Facebook today. Several bright folks, most of whom I know from Liberty on the Rocks -- Flatirons. I did pretty well but my performance is tarnished by a pretty well deserved pushback against my humor. The public at large is not inured to it as are ThreeSourcers. I issued a well deserved apology. (It was not even a People's Front of Judea joke).

What I will share is a post from State Senator Chris Holbert (SD 30). Other members on thread are inclined to stay home, vote LP, vote a blank top ballot, &c. We have a less-than exciting GOP Gubernatorial nominee in Rep. Bob Beauprez, but Sen. Holbert issues this cri de Coeur:

Please don't saddle the liberty leaders in the state House and Senate with another four years of Hickenlooper. Please allow for some measure of improvement on the first floor. For those of us who have and will continue to actually run repeal bills, please don't draw a line in the sand and demand that only the greater of evils will sit in that office for the next four years.

It's rather odd to willingly meet the repeal demand in the legislature while hearing from people who want repeals, but are not invested in preventing Hick from shutting down such efforts.

He'll just be worse in his second and last term. Please don't put him back in that chair, please give us a chance.


I'm on your side, Senator -- Libertario Dlenda Est!

Posted by John Kranz at 6:23 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Can you link the post where the comment appeared?

Posted by: johngalt at July 25, 2014 12:20 PM
But Jk thinks:

Is that accepted FB etiquette? I messaged it to you and would do any others on request.

(You just don't believe I apologized to someone...)

Posted by: Jk at July 25, 2014 9:53 PM

June 11, 2014

Libertario Delenda Est!

I may have something of a fellow traveler over at Reason. Brian Doherty pens a Libertarian-focused look at the Brat/Cantor race. What's the L-cred of this soi disant Randian Econ Professor?

Brat seems really solid on some things, like surveillance (against it), the Second Amendment (for it), spending (for balancing budget), and Obamacare (against). He's bad on immigration and ambiguous, which generally means bad, on a sane foreign policy. And if Virginians want an actual capital-L Libertarian Party candidate to vote for in Cantor's old House seat, they have James Carr, part of the team assembled in that state where Robert Sarvis did amazingly well in his governor's race last year and is trying to repeat history in his federal Senate race this year.

Good story, good story. . . Then, The "Radicals for Capitalism" author describes the "Structure of Liberty" [Review Corner] author:
For example, Randy Barnett is a true blue, Lysander Spooner-loving anarchist, the product of the libertarian movement machine of the Center for Libertarian Studies and the Institute for Humane Studies in the 1970s and '80s. He has also, unusually for such a radical libertarian, become an important public intellectual--recognized by The New York Times as one of the most influential legal thinkers and activists of his time due to his work fighting in the Supreme Court for getting the feds out of state-level medical marijuana and for undercutting the legal argument for Obamacare. Barnett managed to both write the best modern defense of an anarchist legal order and be the darling of the conservative legal group the Federalist Society for his explication of the libertarian roots of the Constitution.

Barnett also thinks, and recently tweeted, that when it comes to politics, "a 'libertarian moment' does not entail across-the-board libertarianism." Barnett has long insisted that libertarians really ought to vote for Republicans over Libertarians (even as polled public support for the idea of a third major party opposed to Democrats and Republicans reached a record high 60 percent last year). As Barnett told me this week, "to move in a libertarian direction doesn't require a politician to agree with" the entire consistent body of libertarian thought. Besides, by definition, he points out, a Libertarian Party makes the other two major parties less libertarian than they would otherwise be by siphoning libertarians toward that third party. (He doesn't put a lot of credence in the "making a major party lose will make that party embrace libertarianism" idea.)


Indeed. Libertario Delenda Est.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:08 PM | Comments (0)

May 20, 2014

Falsus Libertario Delenda Est!

Having recently escaped Colorado's Second Congressional District, I consider myself well-informed about Rep. Jared Polis (Libertarian? - CO).

He is currently the darling of the big-L Libertarians who are certain to have discovered the elusive "Libertarian Democrat:" cryptozoology's greatest prize! Rep. Polis is a regular on "The Independents" on FOX Business Channel. He received positive coverage in Reason:

A conventional Democrat in some respects, he also supports many causes that matter to libertarians: legalizing marijuana and hemp, restraining NSA surveillance, reforming copyright and patent laws, and making space for the virtual currency Bitcoin.

"A conventional Democrat in some respects." Yes, the obligatory disclaimer for interviewer Scott Shackford. Let me help you, Scott. He is a conventional Democrat EVERY FREAKIN' PLACE AND EVERY GORRAM TIME THAT IT COUNTS. Minority Leader Pelosi does not have to worry about his vote (including yea on ObamaCare on March 21, 2010).

When he's on his own, he pens a Libertarian Editorial in the WSJ. And he accepts campaign contributions in Bitcoin! He's like Mises reincarnate!

If they looked a little deeper, they'd see not only "A conventional Democrat in some respects," but a wellspring of dirigisme. The Blueprint [Review Corner] chronicles Polis as one of four überfunders of statehouse races providing the Democratic legislative majorities in Colorado which brought us draconian gun laws and insane regulations on energy -- especially to rural Coloradans. Thanks, Jared! Or shall I call you Murray Rothbard?

Today, he is in the press for using his considerable funding to force his energy views on the entire state. (Remember when Hayek did that?)

DENVER -- Democratic Rep. Jared Polis reminded Coloradans Monday why it's tough to tangle with a rich guy, outraising his pro-business foes in the latest campaign-finance reporting period on his proposed statewide anti-fracking initiatives.

One Polis group, Coloradans for Local Control, donated $1.45 million to another Polis group, Coloradans for Clean and Safe Energy, which is running the campaign to place a slew of anti-fracking measures on the Nov. 4 ballot.

That one donation--the only contribution so far to the Polis-sponsored issue committee--exceeded the combined $900,000 raised by two energy-backed coalitions during the two-week reporting period ending May 14, although their overall fundraising tops the Polis campaign's at $3.77 million.


Those damned oil companies and the nefarious Koch Brothers outspent in one day! By a statist who is feted as a "Libertarian."

If that's what they're like, I definitely want out! Libertario Delenda Est!

Posted by John Kranz at 3:36 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Snap! This is a kick-ass takedown of Jared NIMBY-King Polis and his Reason puff piece. This should be tagged in the Rant category. I'm going to come back and read it regularly whenever I'm feeling down.

Posted by: johngalt at May 20, 2014 5:07 PM
But jk thinks:

As I did lapse into all caps, it does indeed belong under "Rant" (added). I had self-visualized better self control when I started :) As the great philosopher Peter Green said, "Oh, well."

Thanks for the kind words.

Posted by: jk at May 20, 2014 5:11 PM

March 4, 2014

Speaking of "Throat Clearing"

As was raised by JK and Jonah Goldberg last week, one really shouldn't bloviate as a way of opening an essay, particularly when one has a 700 word limit. This illustrative specimen comes from Matthew Hess who, I hope you don't know, is the Libertario delenda est candidate for Colorado governor.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:50 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Hate to name drop, but I met Mr. Hess at LOTR-F one night. I gave the most polite version of "Libertario Delenda Est." He was polite in kind, and we both moved on.

He was better in person. I agree that spending 350 words on "I can't say it in 700" seems a poor value.

Posted by: jk at March 4, 2014 4:25 PM

November 7, 2013

Libertario Delenda Est

I should be starting this argument on Facebook -- I have a surfeit of third party loyalists there.

Robert Tracinski dispels the concern that the Virginia LP Gubernatorial candidate somehow spoiled the race and handed it to McAuliffe. But then he follows with a truth that is far more damning:

But this story still says a lot about the uselessness of the Libertarian Party and its failed four-decade experiment in creating a third party. In the Virginia race, the Libertarian offered no distinctive agenda. On social issues, he was opposed to the religious right and was pro-abortion rights, and on economics he opposed tax and spending cuts and told a reporter that he embraced "mainstream economics" (i.e., big-government Keynesianism) rather than "Austrian economics," i.e., pro-free-market economics. Which makes him--what? A moderate Democrat? No wonder he drew more votes from McAuliffe. My guess is that he got the Democrats who really, really want to legalize pot.

For all of the complaints about the Republican establishment in Virginia, it strikes me that the problem with the Libertarian Party is they have no such establishment. The Libertarian Party remains so small, so thinly staffed, and so desperate for attention that it sometimes seems like anybody can just waltz in and spread around a little money and get their nomination. (Does anybody remember back in 1994 when shock-jock Howard Stern walked into the Libertarian Party convention and walked out with their nomination for governor of New York?)


Libertario Delenda Est!

Posted by John Kranz at 5:41 PM | Comments (0)

July 22, 2013

Libertario Delenda Est

Tid bit du jour, courtesy of Jim Geraghty:

Second Amendment advocates aim to replace Democratic senators John Morse of Colorado Springs and Angela Giron of Pueblo. (They also tried to recall Senator Evie Hudak of Westminster and Representative Mike McLachlan of Durango, but failed to collect enough signatures.) Back in 2010, Morse won, 48.1 percent to 47.2 percent, with about 250 votes separating him from his opponent (and Libertarian Douglas Randall collected 1,258 votes).

If the Libertarians had any sense (hahahaha I do crack myself up sometimes), they would fold the party, stop running candidates, and become a powerful interest group along the lines of the NRA. They could direct large amounts of money to the best liberty candidates in both parties and publicize lesser known but philosophically kindred candidates in primaries.

Instead they act as spoiler to elect Jon Tester in Montana, the 60th vote for ObamaCare® and Rep Morse in Colorado, a majority voice for gun confiscation. Way to go.

Posted by John Kranz at 9:23 AM | Comments (0)

June 24, 2013

Life Imitates ThreeSources

James Pethokoukis at AEI reaches about the same conclusion I did with his colleague, Henry Olsen's, look at Libertarians versus Post-Moderns. But JimiP has a cool Venn diagram -- I did not.

postmoderns.png

In a Madisonian system, the only reason to have a party is to get a plurality of the vote. If you don't have a consistent shot at 50.0000001%, you have a PAC, a club, a 527, a 501c(n), or a Facebook page. Semper Fusionism, Libertario Delenda Est!

Posted by John Kranz at 2:48 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:
But you can certainly have pro-growth, pro-market policies that boost per capita GDP and enhance income mobility and make voters feel they are not completely at the mercy of an economy buffeted by technological change and globalization.

This was the premise of the economic system in RAH's "For Us The Living." Dagny and I really need to do a Review Corner on that. It's nothing new either, having roots at least as far back as Milton Friedman's negative income tax. (Yeah, look where that has gotten us.) Putting these ideas into the hands of practical politicians is like giving Curt Cobain free morphine. There must first be an effective and unavoidable de-naturant. For a while it was the "stigma" of being "on the dole" but modern economic "medicine" has done away with that unpleasant side-effect.

Posted by: johngalt at June 24, 2013 3:25 PM

March 13, 2013

Q: Why Are Libertarians So Powerful?

A: Unanimity!

cato_v_reason.png

Sorry to those who saw this on Facebook, but it made me laugh.

Posted by John Kranz at 7:54 PM | Comments (0)

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?

Posted by John Kranz at 6:13 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

Libertarians: determined to stay at 9% electoral support!

Posted by: jk at February 15, 2013 7:11 PM
But AndyN thinks:

I would have guessed that any conservatives who had been watching Glee stopped when the show blatantly ripped off a small time performer's intellectual property and then told him that he should be grateful for the exposure they gave him by using his composition without acknowledging who the composer was. Maybe I don't really get libertarianism because I would have thought libertarians would disapprove of that sort of behavior as well, although it fits the caricature of libertarianism that if somebody else is big enough to take what you have then they deserve to have it because you shouldn't want the government to step in and protect you.

Posted by: AndyN at February 16, 2013 2:29 PM
But jk thinks:

I confess this is new to me. A little searching reveals two property complaints: are you referring to "Baby's Got Back" or the fan-suggested episode or something else?

Posted by: jk at February 18, 2013 12:29 PM
But AndyN thinks:

I was referring to Baby Got Back, but mostly I was being a smart ass. I think Jonathan Coulton is amazing, and I think it was inexcusable for Glee to use what was undeniably his composition without giving him credit, but I doubt very seriously that watching the show either before or after that occurred says much of anything about anybody's ideological views.

Posted by: AndyN at February 18, 2013 9:01 PM

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

In negotiations over the so-called fiscal cliff, U.S. President Barack Obama is calling for $1.4 trillion in new tax revenue over the next decade.

The Republican opposition, led by House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, has signaled that the Republicans could stomach generating as much as $800 billion in new revenue over the next decade, or half of Obama's number.

Such a large difference obscures a more fundamental agreement: Neither side is interested in addressing the central role federal spending plays in creating persistent deficits and, more important, damping economic growth.


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.

Arbesman, Samuel (2012-09-27). The Half-life of Facts: Why Everything We Know Has an Expiration Date (Kindle Locations 604-607). Current Hardcover. Kindle Edition.


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.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:13 PM | Comments (2)
But Terri thinks:

That's torturous, but absolutely true. Well said.

Posted by: Terri at December 18, 2012 4:52 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Brilliant literary citation to explain why the smug Nick Gillespie has his cranium up his rectum. Four stars.

Posted by: johngalt at December 18, 2012 5:29 PM

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?

Posted by John Kranz at 6:26 PM | Comments (5)
But johngalt thinks:

Yup, purdy good. Two thumbs up from me.

But I'll bet you a free beer for each of them that none of your Libertarian friends can be reached with reason. (Little-l libertarians don't count.)

Posted by: johngalt at November 1, 2012 6:46 PM
But dagny thinks:

How do I email this link to someone?

Posted by: dagny at November 1, 2012 6:49 PM
But jk thinks:

@dagny: http://youtu.be/wPjBXufufUU or click "share" in the title bar to send it from YouTube.

Posted by: jk at November 1, 2012 6:52 PM
But jk thinks:

@jg "It's my dream, let me live it!" :)

You might be right, but through a mutual friend, I have discovered quite a vein of people of mixed case Ls. They have listened respectfully and I am not alone in my pragmatism.

I have moved exactly zero votes in the previous two Presidential elections, so I am potentially stepping up.

Posted by: jk at November 1, 2012 6:59 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Don't think of my wager as discouragement, but a challenge. Not a barrier but a pot-sweetener for your interlocutors.

"...and if this video persuades you to actually pull the lever (in Colorado) for Romney/Ryan instead of [insert favorite wasted vote here] my Objectivist friend will meet us at our favorite watering hole and buy you a beer!"

I'll trust your judgement of each convert's honesty.

Posted by: johngalt at November 1, 2012 7:46 PM

October 24, 2012

Otequay of the Ayday

Huh?

"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.

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:00 PM | Comments (0)

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!

Posted by John Kranz at 1:23 PM | Comments (3)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Here's hoping that the Revolution finds itself on the receiving end of a swift kick to the ...

Yeah, I know; childish comment. But, say the good guys lose Ohio, and we wind up with the SCOAMF winning by just that much - for want of a nail, you know this song...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 28, 2012 5:14 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm a calm guy, brother ka. John "Equanimity" Kranz they called me in preschool. But this sends me non-linear.

It is usually understated but now they are coming out and bragging that the whole gorram enterprise of the Libertarian Party is devoted 100% to making Republicans lose. "Then, they'll feel bad about the way they treated us! We'll be invited to their birthday party next year, fer sure!"

I almost started out the blogging day with a "Viva Libertario" link to this poll which CATO shows demonstrates that Libertarians are supporting Gov. Romney 77% -- a record high.

And what poll are the lads at Reason quoting? It's the same one -- oh dearie freakin me!

Posted by: jk at September 28, 2012 5:37 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Hmmm. I sure don't like President Obama but the most recent online candidate match survey I took said Mitt Romney only agrees with me 76% of the time. Even though I know he can't win - hell, if he did win he couldn't even be sworn in - even so, I'll feel a lot better about myself if I write in a vote for Ronald Reagan!

Posted by: johngalt at September 28, 2012 5:56 PM

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.

When I asked if he was now backing Mitt Romney, Root responded, "I am," adding, "I don't deny that Romney and Ryan aren't libertarians, but Romney is a pro-business capitalist and Obama is a Marxist-socialist."

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

Posted by John Kranz at 9:19 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

"Truther?"

Posted by: johngalt at September 7, 2012 11:04 AM

September 4, 2012

Viva Libertario!

Early signs suggest that President Obama may not get another free ride from the lads at Reason.

Five Broken Democratic Promises from 2008

Good stuff, Maynard!

Posted by John Kranz at 7:21 PM | Comments (0)

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.

Mr. Paul received 190 delegate votes, versus more than 2,000 for Mitt Romney. But on the convention floor the Paul supporters were seething as they booed loudly and shouted "shame" over the new rules to create an acclamation for the nominee. The GOP leaders said the rule is intended to bind delegates to their commitment based on the primary votes in their states, which probably makes sense.

But the incident was a misstep, according to former Republican National Committee chairman Haley Barbour, who said that the party doesn't need distractions and "overreaching" by the old guard.

Posted by John Kranz at 9:47 AM | Comments (0)

August 26, 2012

Libertario Delenda Est!

Presented without comment:

Posted by John Kranz at 10:28 AM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

I've been anticipating a messy divorce ever since what I saw during the Colorado GOP Assembly. During those heady days of Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich (I was duped) and finally 'maybe Ron Paul could actually engineer a win in this thing' I actually looked forward to a floor fight at the convention. The passage of time, along with Ron Paul's deactivation of his campaign and, not least, Paul Ryan's addition to the ticket, have put me back into the "establishment" camp. Of course the party should seek to include everyone under the tent but how does one find common ground with someone who calls Mitt Romney a "monster?"

Posted by: johngalt at August 26, 2012 10:51 AM
But jk thinks:

I love heady days. Put me down as a yes for encephalodiemism! The primaries are a great time to exert all the influence you can for your ideas on the party. I won't retract my vote for Rep. Paul.

But this is the libertarians' quadrennial song. You just have to listen to the first guy. "Won't it be great when the Republicans lose! Then they'll wake up and realize how important we smarmy college know-it-alls are!! AND THEN WE'LL RULE THE WORLD!!"

Sadly, it is not confined to the young and over-enthused. Matt Welch does it every time. A "successful" election for the libs is when they can make a GOP candidate lose. They still get orgasms thinking of throwing the Montana Senate race to Jon Tester. Power to the people! Too bad that was the 60th ObamaCare vote.

But this time, mind you the GOP is going to learn. And they will kick out all the guys who give money, walk precincts, donate meeting spaces, and show up to vote -- and they'll come crawling to us who stayed home! And beg us to join their little party.

Libertario Delenda Est -- this is what it's about.

Posted by: jk at August 26, 2012 2:01 PM

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.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:24 AM | Comments (8)
But johngalt thinks:

The back story is far more nuanced and interesting than are the headlines. After a federal court in Texas declined to stop the USADA's single-minded pursuit of Armstrong, "the USADA set an August 23 deadline to either choose arbitration or accept a lifetime ban for Armstrong."

But Texas federal judge Sam Sparks had plenty to say prior to dismissing Armstrong's injunction case against USADA:

In the opinion, Sparks takes USADA to task, stating, "there are troubling aspects of this case, not least of which is USADA's apparent single-minded determination to force Armstrong to arbitrate the charges against him, in direct conflict with UCI's equally evident desire not to proceed against him."

In another note, Sparks writes, "Among the Court's concerns is the fact that USADA has targeted Armstrong for prosecution many years after his alleged doping violations occurred, and intends to consolidate his case with those of several other alleged offenders, including - incredibly - several over whom USA Cycling and USOC apparently have no authority whatsoever. Further, if Armstrong's allegations are true, and USADA is promising lesser sanctions against other allegedly offending riders in exchange for their testimony against Armstrong, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that USADA is motivated more by politics and a desire for media attention than faithful adherence to its obligations to USOC."

Posted by: johngalt at August 24, 2012 11:59 AM
But jk thinks:

And three cheers for ThreeSourcers! I expected to be lonesome on this.

Lance's politics have been an interesting question. He used to train with President Bush and sleep with Sheryl Crow (presumably at different times of the day) so one can speculate.

Thanks for the link. What I did not get from Lance's letter was the ultimatum set -- by the USADA -- of Aug 23. They leaked salacious accusations to a Danish paper on the second day of the Tour de France, then they set this up for the second day of the Pro Cycling challenge.

No the guys are clearly not headline grabbers -- they are just out to protect the children!

Posted by: jk at August 24, 2012 12:54 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The wiki page for "Lance Armstrong" has a politics section. It quotes Lance saying he doesn't choose a party because he fears it would diminish his access to the other half of government. It also cites his active support for a California ballot initiative to tax cigarettes an extra buck a pack to fund cancer research. (Perhaps gov't doesn't appreciate the competition?)

Sadly, this looks like nothing more than another case of Tall Poppy Syndrome.

Posted by: johngalt at August 24, 2012 1:30 PM
But jk thinks:

Tall Poppy in the US and an undercurrent of anti-Americanism abroad. Perhaps if the US does not stand up for due process, her foes have a point.

I have commented negatively on his/Livestrong's smoking bans on Facebook and have been surprised there as well that I am not alone; I'm never the only one to disagree with coercion. But, if your gig is Cancer prevention, I can shrug my shoulders at your over-exuberance.

Posted by: jk at August 24, 2012 1:49 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I haven't yet seen signs of anti-Americanism (at least, not from outside of America.) As Judge Sparks observed, "in direct conflict with UCI's [International Cycling Union] equally evident desire not to proceed against him."

Posted by: johngalt at August 24, 2012 2:01 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

USADA has little man syndrome, like so many wannabe pundits in our 24/7 media age. Best advice is to ignore them; and for Lance to have a headline photo next month, showing him holding his medals and wearing yellow :-)

Posted by: nanobrewer at August 25, 2012 12:15 PM

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.

Historically, the Libertarian Party (LP) has always been laced with moral subjectivism, the notion that right and wrong are matters of opinion or social consensus; and anarchy, the notion that the ideal society is one without a government. Although not every self-identified libertarian today embraces subjectivism or anarchy, these elements continue to characterize the Libertarian Party and the broader libertarian movement.

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.

Posted by John Kranz at 9:17 AM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

You're right JK, I do agree with Ari's observation: That the Libertarian Party is a political organization that has no concrete guiding principles. Many of the Republican party's guiding principles are wrong but at least they are concrete and not subjective as a commenter at Ari's piece said, "Christianity is subjectivism where whatever God says is good, is good." Christianity gets some things wrong but it has concrete principles all over the place.

As is always the case, Objectivists must return to the words of Rand herself. Of government she said men need a government because, "If physical force is to be barred from social relationships, men need an institution charged with the task of protecting their rights under an objective code of rules."

Those who ally themselves with the Libertarian party will never have such an objective code. The Libertarian Party has been shaped and guided by its membership over the decades but even in the sixties Rand referred to them as unprincipled "hippies." Beginning from a foundation of "anything goes" can only ever lead to "nobody agrees on anything." Philosophically it is a dead-end.

Those who strive to reform the Republican party have, at the very least, an unmoving target at which to aim their efforts. More importantly, putting individual liberty ideas behind the wheel of the GOP vehicle can actually take our government somewhere, while all the expertly driven Libertarian politicians in the country won't affect our governance one iota. (How many seats does the LP hold, exactly?)

Posted by: johngalt at August 18, 2012 10:26 AM
But Bryan thinks:

You need to add a "Like" button to ThreeSources. :)

Posted by: Bryan at August 20, 2012 6:36 PM
But Robert thinks:

http://www.libertarianinternational.org/apps/blog/show/6534264-lio-observer-ayn-rand-recalled-as-movie-opens

A lot of people who go on about the LP and Libertarianism have no idea of what was really going on or have read the actual LP or Libertarian goals. Get a fact, 'objectivists' OK?

Posted by: Robert at August 30, 2012 2:28 PM

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!

They hate the Romans, but it's the People's Front of Judea whom they despise!

Posted by John Kranz at 7:51 PM | Comments (0)

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!

Posted by John Kranz at 2:17 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

"...or even a 'libertarian.'" To the Libertarian party there is such a thing as a second-class liberty lover. (Perhaps 'libertarian Republican' is third or fourth class.)

Posted by: johngalt at August 10, 2012 4:29 PM

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!

Posted by John Kranz at 9:52 AM | Comments (3)
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Well, I am with you brother. I voted for Ed Clark for President in 1980 and missed a chance to vote for RWR twice. I switched registration to Republican 22 years ago. As to how hard it was to vote for the George H.W in '92, perhaps I'll write a post someday.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at August 8, 2012 8:52 PM
But Jk thinks:

I voted for John Anderson in '80! The shame of my life. You can at least claim principle -- I bought into the Reagan is going to nuke us all nonsense.

I was a child, what can I say.

Posted by: Jk at August 9, 2012 8:09 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I wish I could find some discussion of this but I recall a report that one or the other (I can't remember which) of Gary Johnson and Ron Paul would siphon more votes from Obama than from Romney. An interesting prospect.

Posted by: johngalt at August 9, 2012 3:25 PM

July 12, 2012

Libertario Delenda Est

On queue: the Reason puff piece on Governor Johnson. The man who is so interesting, he has to protest outside CNN's office's to get coverage.

Yeah, that's a winning vote!

Posted by John Kranz at 4:46 PM | Comments (2)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Could be worse... I just saw the Green nominee announcement. At least I have to give them one smidgeon of credit: Roseanne Barr was too wacky even for them, even as the Veep nominee.

Though I really was hoping for Ms. Barr assimilating a chunky bite of the SCOAMF's leftmost votes...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 12, 2012 5:22 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm sure they're swell guys. I LOVED Governor J. But Reason's quadrennial drip drip drip attacks on the GOP drive me mad.

Posted by: jk at July 12, 2012 6:02 PM

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!

Posted by John Kranz at 12:45 PM | Comments (0)

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."

"Mitt Romney has some friends, relatives and fellow Mormons ... some people that are going to vote for him. But thatís not what this election is about. This election is going to be a referendum on the presidentís failed economic policies."

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.

Brian Doherty, a senior editor at the libertarian magazine Reason and author of a new book about Ron Paul, predicts that most Paul supporters won't vote at all for a presidential candidate, "which doesn't mean they're disengaging but that they won't give their support to someone they don't believe in 100 percent."

He and others take the position of McCobin ó that the election itself is far less important than effecting lasting philosophical change over policy and politics.

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.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:15 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

I don't like to criticize my blog brothers, but this post belongs in "Libertario Delenda Est."

If it's not Governor Johnson it will be another. And considering how he lit up the electorate in the GOP Primaries, we're getting off easy.

The problem is Doherty -- and Matt Welch, and Nick Gillespie, and Veronique du Rugy, and ... All of them are way too cool to be pragmatic. And Reason will run a vicious hit piece on Gov. Romney every month until the election. One month will feature a cover story on Johnson with a puff piece.

Then next year, they will wonder how Obama won a second term.

Libertario Delenda Est!

Posted by: jk at July 9, 2012 3:45 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Mea culpa. Category suggestions always appreciated.

Wondering why you don't use "quote of the day" category?

Posted by: johngalt at July 9, 2012 5:49 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

I don't want to "fall in love" with the country's leadership. The very notion is New Age gobbledygook. Can you imagine what Ike would have said if his campaign team reported "the voters aren't in love with you, General"?

I want someone to respect for their vision, persistence and mental toughness. If you want to be loved in Washington, talk to God, or your dog. :)

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at July 9, 2012 6:48 PM

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.

That makes IPAB more than an advisory board. It's a super-legislature whose members are more powerful than members of Congress. If eight members of Congress propose a bill, all that's necessary to block it is a majority of either chamber, or one-third of either chamber plus the president.

Worse, Obamacare forbids Congress to repeal IPAB outside of a brief window in the year 2017 -- and even then requires a three-fifths supermajority in both chambers plus a presidential signature. Under Obamacare, after 2017 Congress could repeal Medicare, but not the board it created to run Medicare. Congress and the states could repeal the Bill of Rights -- but not IPAB.

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:13 PM | Comments (0)

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!

Posted by John Kranz at 11:39 AM | Comments (0)

May 16, 2012

"Forward"

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."

"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.

No need for virtual reality. There is a real-life timeline for an average person in a society where the government plans, regulates and provides free services for its citizens in countries past and present ó the USSR, Cuba, etc.

(...)

I personally lived that life in the former USSR until age 30. When my young family of three immigrated to the USA, my parents stayed behind. After botched medical procedures in a free hospital, my father screamed from pain for three days before he died at age 70.

Like President Obama, Russians also evolved on the gay rights issue. Homosexuality used to be outlawed in the Socialist Soviet Union. Today it is not a crime in Russia. Even so, facing an alarming decline in number of newborns and an eventual demographic disaster, they do not play with the redefinition of marriage.

Otherwise there's a lot in common among an Obama administration striving for total government involvement in people's lives, the communists of the former Soviet Union and modern Socialists in Russia.

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:15 PM | Comments (0)

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!

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:47 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

John Fund has been on this beat for many years. He enjoyed this...

Posted by: jk at April 9, 2012 5:10 PM

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.

I apologize in advance to all of you who think that we should only be encouraging Chairman Ryan who, after all, is one of the very few members of Congress who has had the courage to talk about reforming Medicare. But I think this is not the time to compromise. Considering the situation we are in today, the size of government, the level of our debt, the continuous violations of our economic and personal freedoms, free-market advocates should be breathing fire everyday and fight for truly smaller government. This plan isn't enough.


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.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:14 PM | Comments (0)

March 6, 2012

What if?

This clip is about much more than just Ron Paul.

Hat tip: M4GW

And then there's this Whittaker Chambers-esque rebuttal.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:09 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

I wondered where the Judge went, I have not seen him in some time.

Put me in the Occam's razor group: bad ratings. (I don't have much other truck with in your rebuttal link. The Founding Fathers were horrified at the development of "Factions," not proud developers of the first parties. Rep Paul's spending record is better than Senator Santorum...)

I did get itchy fingers because I have seen several lefty Facebook friends post this -- with approbation. I guess half bashes Republicans, it must be 50% okay. But I was still surprised. My favorite comment was "How did they slip this past the FAUX censors???" Umm, he does this about every night, people.

In the end I have to put the Judge -- entertaining as he can be -- in my "Libertario Delenda Est" camp. I may not be overwhelmed with Governor Romney's liberty bone fides, but the idea that he's "just like Obama" will go a long way to giving us a second Obama term.

Posted by: jk at March 6, 2012 5:26 PM

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.
Posted by John Kranz at 11:13 AM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Heh. Anyone else get the same Google banner ad that I did when clicking through?

Posted by: johngalt at February 20, 2012 12:49 PM
But jk thinks:

Nope. "Lease a Chrysler 2012 Town & Touring for $299/mo." Better clear your cookies, brah...

Posted by: jk at February 20, 2012 1:00 PM

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!

Posted by John Kranz at 4:59 PM | Comments (0)

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 dirty hippies Occupy Wall Street protesters. Nick Gillespie and Matt Welsh both tweet with approbation. "Go beyond the caricatures," suggests The Jacket.

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.

While there's no question that the Occupy movement has an ethereally left-leaning tilt--and to be sure, the appearance of traditional unions can make that tilt more pronounced--all the "End the Fed" advocates, Ron Paul supporters, Internet freedom activists, and even some who identify as "Tea Party Patriots" in the mix make this phenomena difficult to characterize with pithy soundbites.

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.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:24 AM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

I am curious if blog friend GD sees the Paulite participation in #Occupy as the revelation of their true colors that I see: Anarchy, mostly.

Posted by: johngalt at October 8, 2011 1:00 PM
But johngalt thinks:

What we have here is a "comment-rich environment."

Firstly, Jon Stewart clip - awesome.

Secondly, "Two hundred dollars a week. How am I supposed to live on that?" Less hungrily than on zero dollars a week. I can only conclude that "plumber's assistants" are not in short supply, nor is the job particularly distasteful. Otherwise they'd have to pay those undeniably shortchanged by our government-run cartel education system way more money to do this job. This wage is also an inducement to learn more and aspire to ever greater earnings. You know, something you could "live" on.

Thirdly, whatever organization they have for sanitation is apparently a failure. And who could expect otherwise? How do people with no money to buy food pay for porta-potties or for their trash to be carted off? (Or pay the dump fee if they haul it themselves.)

I welcome these sort of "urban burning man" festivals. The participants are learning first-hand that every toilet flush costs someone money. Porcelain and running water don't just appear spontaneously in nature. Maybe they'll grow an appreciation for civilization and, perish the thought, man-made objects.

It is said the Occupiers don't have a coherent message. They rail against corporatism, capitalism, cronyism, bankers, lobbyists, politicians. In many cases these gripes overlap those of the TEA Party. But the big difference I see is after the day's work is done the T.P. crowd goes home and watches Sunday Night Football. The Occupiers don't appear to have homes. Which leads to my keystone observation of the Occupy Movement: "We don't actually have any money." There is no sustainable public policy solution to this problem. Instead, see point two above.

Posted by: johngalt at October 10, 2011 3:03 PM

July 1, 2011

Review Corner

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."

Posted by John Kranz at 12:41 PM | Comments (2)
But dagny thinks:

Any book using the description, "obfuscating political malarkey," goes to the top of MY reading list.

Posted by: dagny at July 1, 2011 4:09 PM
But jk thinks:

Heh. I hear you bought the Luskin book ; this hardcopy is up for grabs...

Posted by: jk at July 1, 2011 5:49 PM

June 27, 2011

Semper Libertario...

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.

More than 50 Tea Partiers, many from Utah, stormed the offices of the National Republican Senatorial Committee here in Washington on Monday to protest the organizatio's support of Republican incumbent Sen. Orrin Hatch.

I don't plan to change my affiliation. I still have pragmatic beliefs that the GOP is the best least worst path toward the changes I want. But, I don't know that I want to even send a token $50 to the RSNC. The thought of its being used to prop up a 347-term incumbent against challenge from a Tea Party or Freedom Works candidate inspires teeth-gnashing.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:51 PM | Comments (0)

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 would then be up to the junior prosecutors to figure out a plausible crime for which to indict him or her. (...) The trick and the skill lay in finding the more obscure offenses that fit the character of the celebrity and carried the toughest sentences. The, result, however, was inevitable: "prison time."

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.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:47 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Three Words: Bastiat, The Law.

Looking the other way at drugs invites discrimination against the statistically minority poor. That has been one of my big objections. Rightly or wrongly, minority youths feel that they are hassled by law enforcement, increasingly under the rubric of suspected drug possession.

Taken to its logical conclusion, unenforced law is no law, but rather rule by police and prosecutors.

Excellent post. The undermining of voluntary enforcement is a powerful point as well.

Posted by: jk at June 12, 2011 1:32 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Love the link. Six stars! If you've posted it before I was delinquent in following it.

"The Desire to Rule Over Others" is a good reply to your current FB tilt.

Posted by: johngalt at June 12, 2011 3:19 PM
But gd thinks:

Agreed. Great post and response. Nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced.

Posted by: gd at June 12, 2011 9:31 PM

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!

Yessssssss!

Posted by John Kranz at 6:44 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

This one is worth a click-through on the click-through. Hey GD, you gettin' this? This is right up your alley.

Posted by: johngalt at June 1, 2011 2:49 PM

May 13, 2011

Libertario Delenda Est!

Not just me saying it. David Bernstein, author of the 5-stars Rehabilitating Lochner, suggests "Time to Wind Up the Libertarian Party?"

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?

UPDATE: Note that even if none of the three candidates noted above gets the nomination, or even comes close, the eventual nominee typically absorbs activists from competing campaigns into his. Letís imagine that candidate Romney winds up with a campaign staff with 20% of so libertarians, who in turn get 20% or so of the plum political appointments in his administration. That would certain be an improvement over the Bush and Obama years, no?


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.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:10 PM | Comments (11)
But jk thinks:

The first link was to David Bernstein's "Time to wind up the Libertarian Party." Music to my ears. Perhaps we have digressed and diverged a bit as we are won't to do 'round here...

Let me clarify: Speaker Gingrich is not on any kind of "No Support" list for me. He has time and an open ear to give me a lift to Damascus if his conversion is true. His previous proclivities lead me to think that small government is not his thing.

Sad but true on your DH comparison (and I'm an NL guy!) But I still think Gov. Daniels is in and that he has a credible shot at the nomination.

Posted by: jk at May 15, 2011 11:02 AM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Judging from his current pronouncements in favor of individual mandates on national socialized health care, and in favor of some minor fine-tuning of Medicare without any structural changes, I'd say that if Gingrich's claim of conversion to the TEA Party philosophy is just an act, then he's reading from the wrong script: http://bit.ly/kFBLA4

I'll choose to hold him to account now rather than later. I'm open to intelligent persuasion, but I'm not seeing any from Gingrich. He's about this close to being dead to me.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at May 15, 2011 7:29 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Dive in, LPers, all you have to lose is your irrelevance!

If Gingrich is the GOP's designated hitter, then it's not the LP that's become the irrelevant party.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at May 15, 2011 7:32 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm not a betting man, but I'm willing to put quite a bit on:

-- Speaker Gingrich will NOT win the GOP nomination in 2012.
-- The GOP nominee, whoever, will get no less than eight times the popular vote of the LP nominee.

Posted by: jk at May 16, 2011 12:10 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Competition is essential, even when the best provider is perfect. Without competition, that best provider can get away with providing less than what customers would like as an ideal.

There was a grocery store in a town north of me. It had been open for, geez, probably 40 or 50 years. It was pretty good when there was a long-standing competitor across the street, but it really went downhill when that competitor's chain went bankrupt. Produce and meat were ok, but it was really expensive.

This store could get away with it. Its nearest new competitor was a few miles away, through several long traffic lights. Then a few years ago, a new competitor opened across the street. The new place's rices were equal, maybe a little higher on certain things, but meat and produce were so much better at comparable prices. The store was also easier to navigate.

My wife and I sometimes wondered how the old store stayed open when far fewer people went there. This last March, the old store finally went out of business, and I'll miss it. We need a competitor to keep the winning store in line.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at May 16, 2011 8:35 PM
But jk thinks:

100% for competition -- just think in our Constitutional system that it is best done inside a vaible party. I like having Paul and Johnson in the GOP debates.

Posted by: jk at May 16, 2011 8:40 PM

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:


Posted by John Kranz at 4:25 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

One need not love to tsk-tsk GOP failures in order to engage in the practice. It's a valuable step in achieving GOP successes.

That said, I'm in agreement with you that this guy nails it. Yes, I'm cooling on Bachmann. At the top of my list, in no particular order - Daniels, Cain, Johnson, Bachmann - OK, in that order.

5-stars for Boaz' use of the term "classical liberals" to describe conservatives who don't want a powerful central government like the one created by modern liberals, differing only in what values said government imposes upon citizens.

Posted by: johngalt at May 7, 2011 2:26 PM

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.

We have far more respect for Jon Tester, the Montana Democrat who is running for re-election in 2012 and voted against all four bills to limit the EPA. Those votes may hurt him next year, but at least he didn't join the cynics. As for the rest, they are today's reason to hate politics.


Who knows, there might be a lesson for the Tea Party in there.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:34 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

This is a tailor-made example of Ayn Rand's dictum: "There are two sides to every issue. One is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil." Montana's Mr. Tester gets credit here for being merely wrong and not evil.

Rand is routinely criticized for her use of inflammatory words like evil, sacrifice and selfishness. They are inflammatory only to those who wish to evade the full meaning of what she describes. In this case the "cynics" (I'll call them duplicitous) vote for shackles on our economy and tell their constituents "we got your back in Washington." That, friends, is evil.

Posted by: johngalt at April 11, 2011 7:51 PM

April 6, 2011

Dammed Libertoids!

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?

Megan McArdle:

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.

Anyone criticizing this plan without offering a specific and equally bold program of his own has failed in the public duty to be honest and clear with Americans about the gravest danger we are facing together.


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.

Mr. Ryan's budget rollout is an important political and policy moment because it is the most serious attempt to reform government in at least a generation. The plan offers what voters have been saying they want--a blueprint to address the roots of Washington's fiscal disorder. It does so not by the usual posturing ("paygo") and symbolism (balanced budget amendment) but by going to the heart of the spending problem, especially on the vast and rapidly growing health-care entitlements of Medicaid and Medicare. The Wisconsin Republican's plan is a generational choice, not the usual Beltway echo.


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.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:55 AM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

Where is it written that, eventually, we cannot have BOTH the Ryan plan and the Rand Paul plan? They aren't mutually exclusive. Fact is, Speaker Boehner gives the Ryan plan a shot at success NOW, while the Paul plan will have to wait for Majority Leader Paul sometime in the future.

Posted by: johngalt at April 6, 2011 1:20 PM
But EE thinks:

There is an explicit reason why Social Security was not tackled within the context of the plan. Paul Ryan outlined the reasons for neglecting SS in the plan in the video here:

http://www.cnbc.com/id/42429728

Posted by: EE at April 6, 2011 2:07 PM
But johngalt thinks:

As I understand it, the Paul plan doesn't refreeze glaciers or lower sea levels either.

Posted by: johngalt at April 6, 2011 2:40 PM

January 13, 2011

I'd Get a New Tag Line...

Just sayin...

LP.gif

UPDATE: On the other hand...

mandolin.gif

Posted by John Kranz at 8:20 PM | Comments (0)

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."

Posted by John Kranz at 2:52 PM | Comments (0)

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 clean, articulate... but my complaint is that he has chosen to write a long piece on something he cannot comprehend. I don't mean that he is stupid, but he just cannot philosophically empathize with the odd creatures he studies. Beam and I had the same book:
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.

Jillette might choose his words differently today. Everyone knows going through airport security sucks, even without "porno- scanners." But few dispute the need for some line of defense. More-efficient, less-intrusive security would be great. But none at all? Jilletteís tract is a good example of how libertarianism ventures down some fascinating paths but usually ends up deep in the wilderness.


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.

UPDATE: Arnold Kling is a little closer to my camp (Hat-tip: Everyday Economist):

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.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:04 AM | Comments (0)

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.


Posted by John Kranz at 10:28 AM | Comments (0)

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.

Insty links to this Cathy Young piece in Reason. And Professor Reynolds provides a great excerpt:

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.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:23 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Don't forget that "that Palin woman" is a Creationist! (At least, that's what a friend told me his sister read on Facebook.)

Seriously, I tried to check up on Ms. P using the candidate "positionograph" that Brother Keith linked recently. A bazillion politicians I've never heard of are indexed but, curiously, not the former Governor of America's largest state.

Posted by: johngalt at December 15, 2010 3:12 PM

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.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:00 AM | Comments (0)

November 9, 2010

Something for Everybody

Mother Jones author Chris Lehmann disses Ayn Rand on Reason.tv: enjoy

Posted by John Kranz at 12:16 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

Lehmann doesn't think that "unions are all powerful" and "class warfare is the order of the day" today. I think there is far too much of both of these political-economic poisons.

And no, the point in Atlas Shrugged was not that the geniuses were "misunderstood" but that their contributions to society were handed over by the geniuses for little or no compensation - voluntarily - coerced by altruistic guilt. The crucial "misunderstanding" was in the minds of the geniuses themselves.

Posted by: johngalt at November 9, 2010 3:19 PM
But jk thinks:

You're remarkably calm. The Jacket is being polite, but I'd suggest this as the final coffin nail in Brink Lindsay's "Liberaltarianism." At the end of the day, there is so little convergence between Lehmann and, well, sentient individuals.

Posted by: jk at November 9, 2010 3:40 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I can afford to be calm these days. I'm reading her book! (again)

Posted by: johngalt at November 11, 2010 2:56 PM

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.

During those three terms I noticed who did what. The Country Club Republicans put up most of the money and provided meeting places. Important.

The religeous right provided a lot of work. It was they that walked precincts and they that worked phone banks. Very important.

The libertarians talked. The libertarians also complained. They were always too busy taking and complaining to do any work.

Perhaps things are different now, I don't know. I have been retired for twelve years. Yet from what I have read, it's still the same, the RR folks working, the CC folks contributing and the libertarians talking about how the other two groups are RUINING EVERYTHING!!!!!111!!!

I would like to say that this has changed for I have a pretty big "leave me alone" streak when it comes to politics. I got involved through my work with a shooting club, the 2A is my big issue. Yet I see no trace of a change. The libertarian wing will suck the hind tit until y'all stop talking and start working.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:07 AM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

I've been talking about the RR part of this with a good friend, who tells me Christians are taught it is morally wrong to vote against their beliefs. (The key belief in question is over the competing values of individual liberty versus the life of unborn zygotes/fetuses/babies.] So until those beliefs change their votes won't either. I can see this happening, very slowly and with much consternation, and certainly much slower than the Progressive Left can adopt a completely new dogma.

Posted by: johngalt at November 4, 2010 2:34 PM
But jk thinks:

I think that is why Frank Meyers's Fusionism worked for many years. A good friend of this blog has teased me for years that the pro-lifers line up to vote when it's 40 below (not that this individual lives in Minnesota or anything...) when the pro-dope-legaization guys say "Dude, was that election yesterday? I was so gonna vote this time!"

The last great hope of this republic is that tea partiers or whatever you want to call them can work together for limited, Constitutional government. There's a chance. But the rights-based libertarians will not be running things.

Posted by: jk at November 4, 2010 3:41 PM

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.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:17 PM | Comments (0)

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.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:42 AM | Comments (0)

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!

Posted by John Kranz at 1:19 PM | Comments (0)

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

Posted by John Kranz at 4:13 PM | Comments (0)

I Was Right

As I predicted, the folks at Reason do not like the Mount Vernon Statement.

-- Jesse Walker, Mount Vernon Mush
-- Jacob Sullum, All for the Constitution, As Long As It Doesn't Obstruct Their Moral Crusades
-- Brian Doherty, Conservatism, for Party Over Country

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!

Posted by John Kranz at 11:40 AM | Comments (4)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I like Sullum a lot, and you misrepresent him. He's actually warning you to consider the source: "Nice words, but do you expect these guys to live up to it?"

Brent Bozell, of all people. Good lord.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 18, 2010 1:41 PM
But jk thinks:

I like Sullum too. I actually like all the Reason guys, which makes it hard to work 24 x 7 to destroy them.

I paraphrase but don't think I misrepresent. Sullum will never agree with anything that Brent Bozell has signed? I'm not a big fan of Bozell or Tony Price but I am not going to run away from something because they like it.

I'd like to channel those guys' energy, money, and power to good uses. And if this is an opportunity to do that, I'm in.

Posted by: jk at February 18, 2010 2:04 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Sullum, judging by his writings, and I are not the types to dismiss something because of who is proposing it. However, there are certain people -- Obama, Pat Buchanan, Bozell -- of such loathesome character that you must automatically question anything they support.

I will always consider words themselves, but I also reserve my right to question the source.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 19, 2010 4:01 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

"consider the source," I meant.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 19, 2010 4:02 PM

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)
But just might if he ever got serious about governing.

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.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:37 PM | Comments (0)

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.

Obama is the bastard child of the both parties, make no mistake about it. Nothing he is doing now would have been even within the realm of political possibility if the state had not already been vastly expanded with Republicans in the Whitehouse.


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..."

Posted by John Kranz at 6:53 PM | Comments (6)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

You nearly had the Greatest Blog Post Ever, until the 14th word. :)

I have to agree with him. Though I haven't seen the clip, I understand Glenn Beck was trying to make the same point, using a (rubber?) frog boiled so slowly that it wouldn't notice what's being done to it.

"If all you do is "stop the Democrats" by electing Republicans who will NOT shrink the state in any meaningful way, but will just increase the size of it a bit less than the Democrats, all you are voting for is how big a bite you have to take of the same shit sandwich."

The problem with Republicans taking back Congress is that they're just as spend-happy. In the 1990s, tax revenues were increasing faster than they could spend it. That is why the budget was eventually "balanced," not because of this myth of responsible spending or a "peace dividend." But this time, we don't have a looming global economic surge to pin our hopes on.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 24, 2009 10:20 PM
But jk thinks:

One of. One of.

My two favorite Perrys both let the perfect be the enemy of the good I fear. We have the system we have and must protect our liberties with the tools at hand. To split off into a thousand "People's Front of Judea" groups and have zero effect does not appeal to me.

Posted by: jk at September 25, 2009 10:21 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Ah, "one of" it was. :)

Perry and I don't believe there is a choice. "Perfect" and "good" are both musts when it comes to government, and we accept nothing less. Right now, there's no "good" about the Republicans. Wasn't 2001-2006 enough evidence that they're plenty bad in their own way? Sure, they don't want to raise taxes, and some (but not all) want to roll back the environmental suicide pills, but in the end it's allying with Beelzebub to defeat Mephistopheles. If the GOP were entirely of Goldwater types, I might be convinced to support the imperfect against the evil, and work toward the perfect. Right now it's just one evil against another, so right now, at this moment, I demand nothing less than perfect. I refuse to accept the two choices I'm given: I will make my third.

Take Mark Levin as an example. He talks a lot about individual liberty and free trade, but then he caveats with phrases like "as long as you don't break any fundamental laws and live a moral life." So now who gets to decide what a "fundamental law" is, and what is "moral"? As Jefferson put it, "Law is often but the tyrant's will," and a tyrant can be a majority of the population as much as it can be a single individual. I don't trust the GOP any more than Democrats in wielding the force of law.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 25, 2009 11:53 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Hmmm. Excellent arguments on both sides of this one. But time marches on and elections are held every other year for congress and every other congress for president. Unless you are George Soros and can proffer your own Manchurian Candidate you have to take what is offered. In the last election I voted for McCain/Palin knowing the evils of McCain yet counting on Palin's influence to make him "less bad." In retrospect, since she couldn't even influence the dunderhead's campaign, it was a futile strategy.

Looking to the future I am encouraged by candidates such as Rand Paul in Kentucky and the "We're not interested in government fixes, we're interested in freedom" speechifying of Sarah Palin. A single charismatic trendsetter can do more to re-shape a party's purpose than all the blog posts and policy papers on the face of the Earth. From what I can see "from my front porch" she's off to a great start.

Posted by: johngalt at September 25, 2009 12:18 PM
But jk thinks:

I don't think we are likely to solve the larger issue of pragmatism versus purity for another week or so.

But I am extremely comfortable taking on the narrow case that de Havilland disputes. We are not talking about Bush, McCain, Trent Lott, Denny Hastart or Tom DeLay. The debate resolution is:

"Resolved, that a GOP led 112th House would be no better for liberty than another Democratic Congress."

You can be as mad at the Republicans as you want, but can you really say -- as de Havilland does that next January it make no difference whether Speaker Pelosi or Leader Boehner wields the gavel? That forcing President Obama to work with adversarial committee chairs would not slow down his agenda?

This is not defense of pragmatism or Frank Meyers's Fusionism, this is an assertion that a change in this one election would matter very much.

Posted by: jk at September 25, 2009 3:22 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

"you have to take what is offered"

As I said, I refuse to accept the two choices. This country was founded on the principle of not having to eat a slightly less bad Crap Sandwich, and we are rapidly approaching our equivalent of 1775.

"Resolved, that a GOP led 112th House would be no better for liberty than another Democratic Congress."

It wouldn't be. The "Bush tax cuts" are expiring no matter what, and the current stock of Republicans are arguing "health care reform" that further increases government power. See what they're doing? Instead of fighting for Americans' natural right to transact peacefully with others (e.g. buy insurance policies from companies in another state), they're accusing Democrats' proposals of reducing Medicrap benefits. In fairness, the reduced benefits mean that people will turn to AARP and other "supplemental insurance" providers. But it also means that Republicans are asking for our support because they'll keep government big, just not as big as the Democrats would. That is no choice.

"That forcing President Obama to work with adversarial committee chairs would not slow down his agenda?"

It's not like Republicans have any principles under which they'll stalemate Obama into frustration. They'll play ball so that Obama will sign their bills in exchange for GOP leadership letting his watered-down legislation go through. Recent history shows us what will happen: CBO.gov has data on the federal government's growth under Clinton and a Republican-controlled Congress.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 25, 2009 4:43 PM

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.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:48 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Agreed.

Posted by: johngalt at July 8, 2009 9:10 PM

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.

By 67-29, the Senate passed Oklahoma Republican Tom Coburn's amendment to let law-abiding visitors carry legal firearms into national parks. This overturns a 1983 federal rule requiring that firearms be kept unloaded and in an inaccessible place such as a trunk of a car. The provision (now part of credit-card legislation) protects Second Amendment rights, and it preserves the right of states to pass firearm laws that apply consistently, even on federal lands.

As recently as the 1990s, guns in parks legislation would have provoked a Congressional uproar. But gun control has proven to be a consistent political loser, and last year the Supreme Court cast doubt on state gun bans. No fewer than 27 Democrats voted for Mr. Coburn's amendment, and the ayes included Majority Leader Harry Reid, who is up for re-election in Nevada next year.

Congressional liberals are furious, and are threatening to hold up the credit-card bill, much as they have held up Washington, D.C. voting-rights legislation to which Republicans attached gun-owner protections. Holding up both bad bills forever would be fine with us, but in any case it's clear liberals have lost the gun control debate even within their own party.


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.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:14 AM | Comments (10)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

"But I dare you to suggest an organization that has more thoroughly achieved its objectives in the past 20-30 years."

I presume you mean besides the Democratic Party, ACLU, Planned Parenthood...

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at May 18, 2009 11:10 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

"PE is incorrect that the NRA tries to make this a issue about sportmen and hunting."

It would be a better world if I were wrong, but I'm not. What I said is correct: every time the NRA talks about hunters or sportsmen, and it does, it's creating a red herring. Any talk about "gun rights" needs to from a pure understanding of liberty. That's why the NRA begs government to "allow" weapons, instead of demanding that government cease infringing upon people's rights (the proper negative view of liberty).

Again, compare them to the JPFO, which is strictly about the right to defend oneself against aggressors (including your own government).

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at May 18, 2009 11:19 PM
But jk thinks:

"I presume you mean besides the Democratic Party, ACLU, Planned Parenthood..." Serious touche, Perry!

I call myself the pragmatist and my point holds that the NRA has effectively changed the playing field. The JPFO (not, I hope, associated with the Judean People's Front) sounds like they have the right idea and I salute your supporting them. But the money that folks have given to the NRA has achieved substantive objectives.

On that point, Perry, I come back to my thesis. That libertarians should copy the NRA's tactics of supporting rather than fielding candidates. The LP can somewhat rightfully craw about its purity of thought, but they have accomplished nothing in forty years.

Posted by: jk at May 19, 2009 10:57 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

PE, it's a minor point but I have to set the record straight. The NRA takes the idea of gun ownership as a fundamental freedom very seriously and one that was put there by the Founders as the last defense against a tyrannical government.

My father was a director in the NRA for a number of years in the '90s and intimately involved with it dating back to the days of Harlon Carter in the '70s. He was also the chairman of the National Firearms Museam until his death in 2006. Although I can understand your perception based on media attempts to frame the argument (they're the ones that pull the quotes), I can assure you that it is a misperception.

The NRA has been criticized by some members by being too focused on the Second Amendment as a Constitional issue (you can't please everyone). As a practical tactic, however, you have to fight Congress one law at a time. You also have to personalize the argument to be effective, which is why hunting and home defense is woven into the argument.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at May 20, 2009 12:14 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

J: Remember God's promise to spit out the lukewarm church. Similarly, I've grown tired of compromising by throwing my lot in with "mediocre but at least they can win" candidates. I'm willing to lose while I stick to my principles, rather than water them down so that someone .

The Anti-Defamation League cites the Holocaust and says, "Never again." The JPFO looks at the Holocaust but also the Warsaw Ghetto, and says, "Never again."

BR: I can return your assurance by saying I'm going by the NRA's own publications, so it's not that I'm unaware of their "true" positions. It's almost insulting to see you accuse me of falling for the MSM's perceptions, when I of anyone

Again, I'll spell out the flaws in the NRA's "rights" arguments. First, they can cite the Second Amendment until Armageddon, but to what end? It's talk about "gun rights," but not in the most important sense. There isn't much talk at all about RKBA to defend oneself against aggressors, including our own government, because they're afraid it'll make them seem like loons. But in that case, Jefferson was also a loon, so they'd be in good company.

Look back again at what I said: "Second, the NRA talks about "sportsmen" and other such nonsense." One more time, this creates a red herring. The only argument is about freedom: life, liberty and property, which implicitly include the right to use any force to defend one's rights. If that means a shotgun blowing off an intruder's nuts (heaven help anyone who tries to invade my home, because I'll take my time), or a bazooka to blow up a tank sent to subjugate my neighborhood, that's all legitimate.

Once you say, "I justify my guns because I like to hunt," liberals will counter in the same way they do "I need a car so I'm free to drive around as I need." Liberals reply that, well, you don't need a powerful rifle, or armor-piercing ammunition, to go hunting. So here's a tiny, underpowered rifle with all the rounds properly registered and distributed only as the government sees fit, just like here's a tiny, underpowered car that the government says is all you need to drive yourself around.

This ties in to my second point that I'll repeat. The NRA views "gun rights" as positive liberty, otherwise they wouldn't have pushed for "allowing" firearms. The proper wording would be for government to cease infringing upon this a priori right. It's a common fallacy among most Americans, though, not just the NRA. Maybe your father is an exception, but he'd be a rare one.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at May 21, 2009 10:37 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

P.S. I don't fight for just one right at a time. When you do, government makes you expend all your efforts on that single front, allowing it to seize the rest of yours while you don't notice.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at May 21, 2009 10:42 AM

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.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:59 PM | Comments (4)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Sounds like a great idea on first reading. Not splitting votes would help in close contests. However, how would this organization differ from the numerous Libertarian think-tanks and educational organizations that exist today?

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at May 5, 2009 10:26 PM
But jk thinks:

I had thought of that. I'd suggest Cato has done a lot more to promote liberty than the LP. But I cannot think of an organization that would support the candidacy of a gasp! Republican or double gasp! Democrat if they were well dedicated to principles of liberty.

Thinktankery is valuable, but I would like to see a more active lobbying and political presence than the AEI or Cato would condone. Club for Growth is close -- a similar organization that would promote the libertarian social agenda as well as economic.

Posted by: jk at May 6, 2009 12:14 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I don't want to see government or politics involved in ANY social agenda. I would prefer to see a "Liberty and Freedom Association" that simply advocated for removing government from the social fabric of the nation. Religious organizations should promote morality and hippies should promote hedonism and both should be free to do so without government interference or aid.

Beyond that then yes, rename the Club for Growth the American Freedom Association and follow the NRA's model. I'd join and make donations to that. It will be more challenging however to maintain a clear focus on a principle of individual freedom than one of individual gun ownership.

Posted by: johngalt at May 6, 2009 2:58 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Does anyone know if Cato/AEI deploy lobbyists?

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at May 6, 2009 4:03 PM