How shall we repair relations after the election? Perhaps there are things on which we can all agree. I'll let Jim Geraghty introduce my idea:
Can we just put away any talk of a "Libertarian Future" for a while? I'd love to live in it, but there's no sign it's coming, in either a capital-L Libertarian Party way or a small-L philosophical way. This was the year that the Democrats nominated a corrupt, longtime-insider, big-government, scandal-ridden statist, and the Republicans nominated a guy who wants government to get bigger -- more infrastructure spending, mandated maternity leave, opposes entitlement reform, cheers eminent domain, and a new 35 percent tax on companies that fire workers. Trump's focus was never freedom or liberty. It was about empowering government, run by him, to address grievances of working-class whites and return America to a golden past, undoing decades of changes to the country and the world.
This year was the golden opportunity libertarians -- capital L and little L -- had dreamed of for decades... and they fumbled it away.
I'm not giving up on the little-l stuff. But boy-howdy Geraghty is right about the Big-Ls. The worst nominees evah, and they're fighting to hit 5%?
Jeeberz, will the last one out please turn off the lights?
I was wrong giving the title to the Ivanpah Power plant. Though someday some planet-of-the-apes civilization will find it as mumble "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot."
No, the dumberest thing is the Libertarian Party. Don't take my word for it -- how about the esteemed Aaron Ross Powell? Don't dilute Libertarianism Just to Defeat Donald Trump.
That's the risk for libertarians if Republicans turned off by Trump migrate toward the Libertarian Party and change our ideological center of gravity. In March, the Federalist's Ben Domenech sketched out a scenario where, "If the #NeverTrump people want a protest vote, their best path is a Libertarian takeover, with someone who is Libertarianish on some issues -- pot, prostitution, marriage -- and yet pro-life and pro-religion enough to win over the votes of the holdouts to the Trump machine." Last week, former two-term governor William Weld (R-Ma.) announced that he is teaming up with former two-term governor Gary Johnson (R-N.M.) to contend for the Libertarian nomination when the party convenes in Orlando this weekend. Johnson, of course, was the LPís nominee in 2012. And Weld's brand of fiscal conservatism, combined with tolerance on social issues, offers, as my Cato Institute colleague David Boaz writes, "a clear alternative to Trump and Clinton." But Weld's record is really that of a moderate Republican.
'Xactly. There are not enough true believers to elect a dog catcher in an off year. To win, you dilute or you lose -- if you're a party. If you're an advocacy organization along the lines of the NRA however, you can keep your soul and move policy.
And you escape the insuperable fundraising needs. Gov. Johnson says we're going to need more money next time.
But, paradoxically, the fact that the Republican Party is in such a sorry state is a reason for liberty advocates to stick with the Republican Party (or join or rejoin it), not abandon it.
Please note that I am calling on liberty activists to officially join the Republican Party and become active in it, not necessarily to always vote for Republican candidates. (Certainly I will not vote for Trump.)
Sometimes, the most effective way to participate in a party is to refuse to support its unworthy candidates, so as to encourage the selection of more-worthy candidates down the road.
As the Kurt Weill & Maxwell Anderson song goes, "It's a long, long way from May to November." I don't know for whom I'll vote at the top of the ticket. Right now, writing in "Ass Cancer" truly seems the best option.
But I will NOT be voting for Gov. Gary Johnson. If the Republic and the Republican Party is ever to recover from this travesty, it will not do so with the liberty lovers hiding in the basements with the "pure" 9% of their fellow travellers. Libertarians are 9-19% of the electorate, depending on how weaselly it is described. That is not a majority, as I tried to remind Reason folks in an attempted bon mot:
Way past quota on "All Hail Tarantos" this week, but he noticed an item I noticed.
On my Facebook feed, it was a triumphant boast: "Gary Johnson Now in Double Digits!" I almost blogged that his amazing 11% seemed a bit short of a majority in the maths systems I was taught. James is a bit more blunt:
This is a shock: Johnson only gets 11% against such weak opposition? He should just drop out.
I had been thinking more than usual about possibly pulling the lever for Governor Johnson and I will not rule it out. But it remains unlikely. Yes, perhaps it sends a message of sorts to the GOP, but The LP is not the answer and I'd hate to provide any encouragement.
Seriously Big-Ellers, this is your golden year -- yet your most promising candidate polls less than a tenth of Trump's and Clinton's combined disapproval ratings. You don't have to be Nate Silver to find some answers in those numbers.
I know, I should let it go. But I have watched Reason Magazine and the sadly-cancelled Libertarian Hour of Power "The Independents" on FBN heap constant and effusive praise on my old Congressman, Jared Polis (Owner - CO). Poor folks, they cannot bear to be aligned with the GOP, so they must hunt mythical Democratic Libertarians. Polis accepts campaign donations in Bitcoin (oooo!) and supports gay rights. Clearly, a Libertarian.
Let's play the "Legislative Association Game!" What name jumps out at you from this list:
I'm going with Sen. Jon Tester of Montana. He was the 60th vote for ObamaCare® and now he's the 34th to scrub an Iran veto. Wonder the good people of Montana sent such a feller, is it not? Oh, wait:
Now, I'm a little sympathetic to the suggestion that the Iran deal may have some merit. I'm dubious because of PM Netanyahu's opposition, but I'll accept that there is a debate to have.
My issue is that this is clearly a treaty and clearly should be debated and should require a supermajority ("Advice and Consent of the Senate..."). Instead a Superminority is making law -- and when the time comes to stop it. Mister a-Libertarian-held-the-door-open-so-I-walked-in is there for another key vote.
At a 2013 gun-rights rally [Glendale Mayor and Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Mike] Dunafon referred to his small (0.6 square miles, 4,200 residents) enclave inside Denver as "the Vatican of liberty." But itís looking more like the Vatican and less like liberty now. -- Peter Blake, Complete Colorado
Dunafon spoke to Liberty On The Rocks -- Flatirons (LOTR-F). I missed it but enjoyed the video. He is entertaining and has a Penn-Jillettish mixing of the libertarian with the libertine. Out-of-towners may not know Glendale; it is a small enclave surrounded by Denver (not a suburb) and it has been known for bars, nightlife, and a younger demographic resident. Dunafon owns (via marriage) a popular strip club called "Shotgun Willies." (Our band had a rehearsal space down the street before it converted from Country to [well, fill in your own joke here...]
He's likeable, but got on the wrong side of this humble blogger for a) Running as a Libertarian (delenda est!) and b) I kid you not, bowing out of an LOTR-F debate because he had the chance to "smoke weed with Snoop Dogg."
He has lost his remaining friends in the libertarian community with this crazy eminent domain deal. Everybody on FB is saying "Even Mike Dunafon?"
Most ThreeSourcers are aware of the dynamics that cause politicians to resist actually solving problems that they claim to champion, and that those factors cause the same to happen with social activist groups - think Jesse Jackson and the Rainbow Coalition. But what never occurred to me until now is that, sometimes, the same thing can happen in gun rights advocacy.
JK dubbed the National Association for Gun Rights the "People's Gun Rights of Judea two weeks ago. He directed ire at the NRA for blacklisting pols who associate with the competing group. Without any opining on the NRA in its own right, it is becoming painfully clear that the NAGR and it's Colorado predecessor, Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO) are not gun owners' friends.
A full-blown public war of words has developed between RMGO and Colorado liberty groups and the Independence Institute. Independence's president, Jon Caldera, held a radio telethon of sorts to lay out the depth and breadth of RMGO malfeasance. In short, it is opposing state legislation that would EXPAND gun rights, in the form of increasing magazine capacity limits, for the express reason that ANY limitation is an infringement on gun rights and gun owners should hold out for full repeal of the law.
"Shut your pie hole and go buy one [magazine of 16 round capacity or more] and ignore the law," said Dudley Brown, president of RMGO. But ignoring the law doesn't make it go away, and the law's existence helps RMGO raise money through political donations by citizens who fear that the law will be expanded, not rolled back. Okay Dudley, will YOU ignore the law? Will you stop fundraising on it?
I have long accused Reason magazine of holding GOP candidates to far higher standards than Democrats. I felt they had to show their independence, so they would bash every word of a Republican that wasn't doctrinaire libertarian, yet borderline socialists like Senator Barack Obama seemed to get a pass.
I may have been right then, but Matt Welch has been busting Senator Clinton's chops fairly regularly, and has given breathing room to GOP announcements as the mixed bag that they are.
Today, Welch delivers a crushing -- and well deserved -- blow to the entire Democratic field as tired, old, and bereft of ideas. The maraschino cherry on top is the most unflattering picture of Sec. Clinton you will see..
If there was to be a Tea Party-style wave of contested Democratic primaries (and there won't be any time soon), it would likely not be on the issues of drug policy or surveillance (alas!), but rather income inequality, Robin Hood taxes, and jacking up the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Progressives who think those are winning national issues may want to reflect that the only likely 2016 candidate to fully embrace them will be a geriatric socialist from Vermont.
So the base is trying desperately to foist the Blue State model onto recalcitrant Red State America; the party establishment is coughing up deeply unlovable dynastic schemers like Hillary Clinton and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and meanwhile the Clinton machine is neutralizing potential challengers by God knows what means. I know it's fashionable among some to bemoan the "clown show" of the 2016 Republican presidential field, but at least there's an actual contest there, and a detectable pulse.
After a committee hearing, the Keystone bill spent three weeks on the Senate floor, where it was debated at length and amended by senators of both parties. In all, the Senate voted on 41 amendments--almost three times as many amendment roll call votes as the Democrat-led Senate conducted in all of 2014. -- Sen. John Thune (Better Than Dashle - SD)
It is not liberty in its own right, but the return to regular order is a return to following the Constitution.
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.
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:
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.
Things are tense on Facebook. I will share this here:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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...
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.)
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!
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.)
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?
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!
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.
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?)
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.
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.
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!
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?
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.
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.
"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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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:
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."
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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:
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.
Nick Gillespie and Veronique de Rugy have a thoughtful column on the Ryan budget plan. "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" spends much of its time on the good, and delivers some serious props for seriousness.
But then, this is Reason, we have to get into the bad and "the ugly:"
The Ryan budget punts completely on the issue of Social Security reform. There's simply nothing of substance in the document, other than vague hand-waving of the historic greatness of the system and the observation that current and near-retirees will get screwed if nothing is changed. There are statements about how it would be a mistake to increase the amount of wages subject to payroll taxes and that people are living longer, but no clear proposal for how to maintain a system that no longer makes demographic sense.
No sprinkles on that ice cream sundae? What do the other kiddies think?
I think it's no longer credible to complain that the GOP has not put forward any sort of meaningful solution for the budget. At this point, they're the only ones who have put forward a detailed outline; the Democrats still seem to be hoping that if they kind of mill around long enough, eventually an angel will float over the horizon and deposit a plan that doesnít annoy anyone (and/or allows them to pay for the entire thing by raising the marginal tax rate on the Koch brothers and Richard Mellon Scaife to 110%).
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
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.
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.
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..."
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.
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.
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.