You Know What’s Worse Than Bad Cops Who Beat, Shoot, and Kill Innocent People? Libertarians.

Friday, April 13th, 2012

I gave up on having any sort of meaningful discourse with the Balloon Juice blog a good year ago or so. The noise over there is just too damned loud. But a post last night by front-page blogger Ann Laurie deserves some attention. It really goes above an beyond the usual ignorant Balloon Juice blathering.

Here’s what happened:

Earlier this week, I pointed you to the National Police Misconduct Statistics and Reporting Project, a one-man project run by David Packman that, as the name indicates, catalogs police misconduct around the country. Packman understandably is having problems keeping the project going while also working a full-time job, and indicated he may have to shut the site down unless he can make other arrangements.

I was delighted to learn yesterday afternoon, then, that my old supervisor Tim Lynch is interested in bringing the project to the Cato Institute. Cato would provide a great platform for the project, bringing Packman’s work and the issue of police misconduct the sort of national exposure and broad institutional support both deserve.

As it turns out, Packman also received other offers to take over the project—a good indication that others have recognized the value of his work. So Packman decided to put the offers to a vote, and allow his readers to have a say in what happens next.

So yesterday afternoon I received an email from my friend Johnathan Blanks, who is Lynch’s research assistant, someone I happen to know is pretty passionate about these issues, and the guy who would likely be overseeing the project if it were to come to Cato. Blanks’ email, sent to a small circle of people he knew used Packman’s site regularly, explained what was going on, pointed us to the poll, and urged us to vote. Blanks also explicitly urged us not to post the poll on our blogs, Twirter accounts, or Facebook accounts. His thinking, which I think was appropriate, was that the fate of Packman’s site should be determined by the people who read it regularly. He didn’t want it to look like Cato was using its institutional might to overwhelm the poll with people who aren’t already familiar with what Packman has been doing.

Enter the idiots at Balloon Juice. A trolling twit from that site who goes by the name “Joey Maloney,” and whom I’ve banned from this site after repeated warnings, emailed Balloon Juice blogger Anne Laurie about Packman’s poll, asking her to direct the site’s hivemind to go skew the poll against Cato. And she complied, telling Balloon Juicers to go vote for “anyone but CATO [sic].” To top it off, Ann Laurie admits in the post that she has never read Packman’s site. Which means she really has no idea what the hell she’s writing about. But no matter. On any issue. No matter what. Anyone but Cato. And of course the Balloon Juicers then mindlessly carried out her command.

Here’s the thing. Cato published and promoted my paper on police militarization. In fact, Cato had already published another paper on the issue in 1999, one that noted how the trend was affecting poor and minority communities. This was a good 12 years before mainstream liberals really started giving a damn about this issue, which was once heavily militarized cops started beating middle class white kids at Occupy protests. Cato has also been maintaining an online map of botched SWAT raids since my paper came out in 2006. But you know, anyone but Cato.

Also, Anne, Cato has been filing amicus Supreme Court briefs on police and prosecutorial misconduct cases for years, now. They often team up with organizations like the ACLU and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. In recent years, Cato has hosted forums on asset forfeiture abuse, ending the drug war, and hosted a screening of a film directed at minority communities about how to protect their civil rights when dealing with cops. Cato scholars have recently written about police GPS tracking, the inequities of juvenile justice, the overuse and unfairness of plea bargaining, police militarization, New York City’s stop-and-frisk happy police commissioner Ray Kelly, the importance of preserving Miranda rights, the First Amendment right to record the police, and debunking the notion that immigrants are disproportionately prone to criminal behavior.

But sure, Anne. Anyone but Cato.

The thing is, Cato won’t be hurt in the least should Balloon Juice’s poll jacking send Packman’s project elsewhere. But you know what will happen? Packman’s great, systematic work exposing and documenting police misconduct will get less national attention than it otherwise would. Which means the issue of police misconduct itself will get less attention than it otherwise would. And Packman’s project will go to someone who lacks the budget and institutional support of a place like Cato. But hey. If the issue of police misconduct must get less attention so a petty Balloon Juicer blogger can casually register her loathing of libertarians by sending the blog’s sneering idiots to swarm a small poll put up by guy who’s just trying to preserve a worthy thing he started, well, I suppose that’s the price we all must pay. Good job, Anne!

Of course, in the end this is Packman’s project, and it’s his to do with as he pleases. My scorn here is for Laurie. Her casual, knee-jerk contempt for Cato is a tidy example of the depths to which the discourse at that site has sunk. Because she’s ignorant of Cato’s work on police abuse and criminal justice, she readily buys into Joey Maloney’s nefarious characterization of Cato. Because Cato supports lower taxes and less regulation, everything they do must be opposed, even if it’s stuff that a good liberal like Laurie ought to otherwise support. That principle extends out even to actively undermining causes liberals ought to support, if doing so in a particular instance might bring some small benefit or credit to a nasty bunch of Rand worshippers like Cato. I can only guess that in all her cunning, Laurie somehow sleuthed out Cato’s covert plan to contract the entire police misconduct project out to Haliburton. Also, something about Nick Gillespie’s leather jacket. And a bunch of Internet cliches. Butt-hurt. Derp!

Watch. I give it a month before a Balloon Juice blogger puts up yet another post about how libertarian organizations like Cato are just fronts for the Republican Party—because they never devote any real time or resources toward civil liberties issues.

(Side note: I know I’ve promised a post on the Koch vs. Cato controversy. That’s still coming.)

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161 Responses to “You Know What’s Worse Than Bad Cops Who Beat, Shoot, and Kill Innocent People? Libertarians.”

  1. #1 |  Salvo | 

    Which is a pity. I discovered this blog through Balloon Juice, which had posted laudatory comments on some of the work going on here. I don’t read BJ anymore (too much noise drove me away), but I still read here daily, even if I don’t comment anymore.

  2. #2 |  nigmalg | 

    A comment:
    “Considering that two of the non-CATO candidates are libertarians/conservatives, and that the other one (ACLEPD) is completely unknown to me, it’s Strauss by default.”

    What’s with the fevered hostility toward libertarianism from liberals? Most of the people I speak with that align themselves as independents have been receptive of more limited government roles in general.

    From my experience on the various liberal leaning internet blogs and forums, I’m left to consider the only subject hated more than libertarianism is Sarah Palin.

  3. #3 |  Jack Dempsey | 

    Those damn libertarians. . .

  4. #4 |  Legate Damar | 

    Uninformed partisan hacks gotta be uninformed partisan hacks. Don’t hate the players, hate the game*.

    * The game is a result of our first past the post single member district democratic republic structure, which we won’t even consider altering until it’s way way past too late. Do not play the game while operating heavy machinery.

    Seriously, though, there are only a handful of sites that I can stomach any more. So thanks for yours, Radley.

  5. #5 |  Lucy Steigerwald | 

    Oh man, full on Radley Balko rants are such a beautiful thing. Slow clap for excellent use of italics as well.

    Balloon Juice, ever since I realized they had it in for you, of all people, but also since they trashed Reason.tv’s great taxi wars feature without watching it, but with lots of LOL LEATHER JACKETS, has made me irrationally furious. It’s almost disturbing how hard they seem to try to miss the point, all for the greater cause of mocking evil, evil libertarians.

  6. #6 |  Brandon | 

    It’s not so hard to understand why these people believe these things. Every libertarian I’ve known has either been an ex-conservative or is a conservative but their just too cowardly to admit it.

    I generally agree with a lot of what Libertarians believe. It’s just the overwhelming pretentiousness that puts me off. Every Libertarian I’ve ever met has had an attitude of “these idiots don’t get it like I do.” I know it’s not all of them but it is nearly all the ones I’ve met.

  7. #7 |  Jerryskids | 

    Jesus, what a shitty thing to do to such a nice guy.

    To dismiss Cato as a group of “Kochsuckers” is to say 1) you haven’t bothered looking into the fact that Cato is right now fighting to keep the Koch brothers from taking over control of the Cato board and 2) you are so simple-minded that you are incapable of making or comprehending anything as complicated as a two-word argument.

    This is just disgustingly repulsive and repulsively disgusting.

  8. #8 |  Jim | 

    You’ve just described every leftist I’ve ever known.

  9. #9 |  Mike T | 

    Every Libertarian I’ve ever met has had an attitude of “these idiots don’t get it like I do.”

    Never spent much time with serious leftists, have you?

  10. #10 |  Jim | 

    #8 was @ #6

  11. #11 |  billhang | 

    Pretty rough out there in the marketplace of ideas. What the activity in the BJ section of the idea marketplace is telling you is that regardless of what Cato has done in the past, the Koch’s recent takeover maneuver leaves many folks distrustful of what Cato will do in the future. At this point, “anybody but Cato” really means “anybody but the Kochs,” and nothing you say about Cato’s past commitment to important discourse will address the fears of those who think the organization is soon to be hijacked by big-money propagandists.

  12. #12 |  M | 

    I was divided internally between CATO and Jesse Strauss. I just hope it continues.

  13. #13 |  Radley Balko | 

    billhang — This sort of mindless nonsense was going on at Balloon Juice long before the Kochs attempt to take over Cato.

  14. #14 |  Kevin | 

    Honestly, I’m just going to start substituting “closet authoritarian” for “liberal” in the future. Time was, liberals could at least be relied upon to (rhetorically!) oppose restrictions on civil liberties, but they can’t even mumble the arguments anymore. If it’s an argument against the government, it must be attacked.

  15. #15 |  derfel cadarn | 

    Balloon Juice proves once again that they are precisely as advertised,bad smelling hot air. Brandon, like most conservatives doesn’t get it. Where you are willing to impose your belief on others we are willing to tolerate yours without interference as long as it doesn’t cause others harm.

  16. #16 |  Aresen | 

    Brandon:

    I entered libertarianism from stage left, along with many others I know. Most who follow that route do so from a realization that power will always be abused, no matter who holds it.

    But the left-liberal confusion of libertarianism with conservativism is partly due to conservatives and corporatists attempting hijack libertarianism for their own agendas which leads to confusion of the two by people who won’t invest the time to check it out. Among the punditocracy, however, the confusion is deliberate and malicious as it threatens their agenda of controlling people.

  17. #17 |  CTD | 

    #5 | Lucy Steigerwald | April 13th, 2012 at 10:28 am

    Yeah, I could never figure out why the BJ crowd reserved such vituperation for Radley, out of all the libertarian bogeymen they could pick. He writes mostly on issues of civil liberties, police misconduct, government corruption by vested interests, etc. You know, all the stuff you’d think progressives should agree with. I guess the notion that he might convince a few people that we’ve let the power of the state get a little too out of hand is just so dangerous too them that it abrogates any “good” he might otherwise to. (Like, you know, tirelessly working to get a southern black man off of death row).

  18. #18 |  Monte | 

    One of the BJ commenters doesn’t “trust Cato not to commit voter fraud”, haha! What a cesspool.

  19. #19 |  Jerryskids | 

    The confusion between libertarianism and conservatism comes from the fact that conservatives sound so libertarian – they all talk about how they favor a smaller, less intrusive government of limited powers. But it is only talk, none of them follow through with actions.

    And Radley, I have seen sites where you can click on a commenter name and see all the posts he has made in the past – how difficult is to add that function to a website? I ask because it looks like David has given up on the idea of turning over his site to whoever his readers vote for. If he could allow voting only by his readers – people who have posted comments on his site prior to last month – we would have a fair vote. But he would need to be able to see whether or not a particular voter is eligible under that rule.

  20. #20 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    I’m just going to start substituting “closet authoritarian” for “liberal”

    I’m not seeing the “closet”.

    Every Libertarian I’ve ever met has had an attitude of “these idiots don’t get it like I do.”

    That’s not unique to libertarians. Also, people can get pretty defensive when they talk to someone who actually knows what they’re talking about.

    I have to think that some libertarians can tell stories of that ONE time a liberal or a conservative was dismissive.

  21. #21 |  picachu | 

    Kevin “Honestly, I’m just going to start substituting “closet authoritarian” for “liberal” in the future. Time was, liberals could at least be relied upon to (rhetorically!) oppose restrictions on civil liberties, but they can’t even mumble the arguments anymore. If it’s an argument against the government, it must be attacked.”

    This.

    Liberal and conservative have been growing increasingly meaningless and outdated terms since the end of the cold war. The new dichotomy is not liberal vs conservative but authoritarian vs libertarian.

  22. #22 |  MaraMagee | 

    I’m not fan of Anne Laurie, but this blog post here is basically summed up as: “We put it to a vote and the vote isn’t going the way I want it to and now I’m upset”.

    From what I can see over at Balloon Juice, the motivation for “anyone but Cato” is not because “Cato supports lower taxes and less regulation”, it’s pretty clear that the attempt to control more of the site by the Koch Brothers is what is steering the concern here. Julian Sanchez brought up the same damn concerns about the threat to the integrity of the writing there only a few months ago. Does he get a screed like this devoted to him as well, or is it okay if it’s not someone that writes for Radley Balko’s chosen internet nemesis’ blog?

    I’ve read and supported Packman’s site on a regular basis and have done so for a long time now. And I think if the Koch Brother’s want a larger share of Cato, they have every right to try to grab it. But I have concerns that if Cato were to be bought out by them, the writing there could possibly be compromised by a very strong ideology that we’ve seen from the Koch brothers in the past, and as a result, I would rather see it go with Strauss.

    But if it doesn’t go that way, or if Packman disregards the polling results and it goes to Cato instead, that’s fine, I hope for the best for him and will continue to read him. I’m not going to write a long blog post whining about how it’s so unfair that The Agitator (a) mentioned the poll or (b) expressed an opinion on how they would like that poll to go and as such (c) “rigged” the poll (based only on a poor understanding of what “rigged” actually means), because I don’t own the guy or his work just because I call myself a fan.

  23. #23 |  PeeDub | 

    “Every libertarian I’ve known has either been an ex-conservative or is a conservative but their just too cowardly to admit it.”

    Guess you never met me then. I was anti-religious anti-Jesse Helms conservatism more than “leftist”, but I pretty much voted Democrat.

    That was before I started caring about fiscal matters, or, you know, had any consistency in my opinions of course.

  24. #24 |  Rob McMillin | 

    It’s stuff like this for which SMH was made.

    It reminds me in no small way of the Kelo v. City of New London vote tally, in which the “liberals” could not give a damn who got gored, so long as the primacy of the state was ensured. But watch ‘em howl when they get hurt by the logical consequences of their own inattention.

  25. #25 |  Michael P ack | 

    They hate you and yours because they are socialist .

  26. #26 |  Radley Balko | 

    I’m having a hard time seeing how a project solely devoted to documenting police misconduct could somehow be “compromised by a very strong ideology.” Do you think the Kochs would instruct Cato to only document police brutality against rich people?

    If Koch takes over Cato, the worst scenario is that they stop supporting the project, at which point Packman could take it elsewhere. But Laurie’s post clearly stated that her general philosophy on anything is “Anyone but Cato.” And BJ has a long history of lobbing accusations that libertarian organizations like Cato and Reason don’t give a damn about civil liberties — accusations easily rebutted by a rudimentary Google search. So no. I’m not buying it. You also overlooked the fact that Laurie has never read Packman’s site, yet still feels it’s her place to instruct the BJ hordes on how to vote. Or at least whom to vote against.

  27. #27 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    My gut reaction is that what we are seeing here is the instinctive hatred of the passionately emotive for people who insist on THINKING, and thereby exposing favorite emotive Causes to be so much hogwash.

    But i’m running on low blood sugar just now, and it makes me crabby.

  28. #28 |  Aresen | 

    @ C. S. P. Schofield

    You mean I’ve been running low on blood sugar my whole life? ;)

  29. #29 |  The Other Dan | 

    Why doesn’t Cato simply hire David Packman, or provide a sustaining level of funding for his efforts? It occurs to me that is the win-win here.

    Anyone who has followed that site is aware of the personal tribulations that David, and his family have endured. And through all of them he maintained that resource. I’m all for Cato stepping in and Tim Lynch would do a great job, but you will never find anyone more capable or dedicated than David Packman to run it.

  30. #30 |  justinslot | 

    “I entered libertarianism from stage left, along with many others I know. Most who follow that route do so from a realization that power will always be abused, no matter who holds it. ”

    Oddly enough, I left libertarianism for stage left, for that same reason. Perhaps I just loathe oligarchic power more than state power.

    And if you want people on the left to take your seriously at this point, “anyone but Cato” is a defensible choice. And–I mean–look, if Packman brings his work to Cato, it’s just going to be part of the broader Cato mission of critiquing state power, and it’s going to have more trouble attracting fellow travelers at that point.

  31. #31 |  Michael P ack | 

    They also have understood they do not need to own the means of production to crotrol the economy.They can do this wit laws,regulation and taxes.They can tell you how to live,eat,drink,who to hire,what products to make and how much to charge.To do all this they need the force of government.You are the enemy,the police have been and will be useful.By the way,I consider myself to be a liberal in the classical meaning.

  32. #32 |  JusticarSammy | 

    The butthurt is strong with this post.

    You’re very very mad, brah.

  33. #33 |  Sam | 

    How does your headline jive with the story you’re telling in your article? Are you contending that the website will cease to be if Cato doesn’t back it? Are you contending that Balloon Juice is going to bat for murderous cops?

  34. #34 |  Burgers Allday | 

    Packman rules. He makes literally heroic efforts to put out the quality information that he does.

    I am so happy his project will continue. He has influenced my thinking more over the past couple of years than anyone except perhaps Mr. Balko. CATO would be a fine home. Or anywhere. I could sort of imagine him doing better with a kinder-gentler work environment than I imagine CATO would provide. But, that is pretty speculative for me to say. Then again, I am still bummed that “the Sanch” got bumped outta reason’s “Hit’n’Run” blog for Weigs. And that was so many years ago now and maybe the decision had nothing to do with CATO.

  35. #35 |  perlhaqr | 

    Well, generally the folks over at Balloon Juice masturbating with each other feces manage to keep themselves occupied, but every once in a while they get too vigorous and splash on something useful. This is one of those times.

  36. #36 |  Radley Balko | 

    And if you want people on the left to take your seriously at this point, “anyone but Cato” is a defensible choice.

    If you’re a liberal who gives a damn about civil liberties, you have more in common with places like Cato and Reason than you do with your current president or Democratic leadership.

    If you find Cato’s position on economic issues so offensive that you’d rather undermine the cause of civil liberties than ally with them on an issue or two, than it really isn’t worth caring whether people like you take me seriously.

    And–I mean–look, if Packman brings his work to Cato, it’s just going to be part of the broader Cato mission of critiquing state power, and it’s going to have more trouble attracting fellow travelers at that point.

    You mean like Glenn Greenwald, Nat Hentoff, the ACLU and NACDL? Just because you’re a closed-minded idiot doesn’t mean everyone is.

  37. #37 |  Phelps | 

    For an authoritarian liberal, libertarians really are their worst enemy. We promise all the same things they do, but cheaper, faster, and on everyone’s own individual terms.

  38. #38 |  Aresen | 

    justinslot | April 13th, 2012 at 11:22 am

    “I entered libertarianism from stage left, along with many others I know. Most who follow that route do so from a realization that power will always be abused, no matter who holds it. ”

    Oddly enough, I left libertarianism for stage left, for that same reason. Perhaps I just loathe oligarchic power more than state power.

    I distrust big corporations, but, except where the state has granted them a monopoly, I can avoid dealing with them. When you deal with the state, however, there is no alternative. And I really prefer not to have my money taken for some bureaucrat’s pet cause, be it “save the butterflies” or “bomb Libya”.

  39. #39 |  Peter Ramins | 

    So what happened was BalloonJuice stooped to the sort of intellectual dishonesty that they so readily accuse others of, huh?

  40. #40 |  Phelps | 

    If you’re a liberal who gives a damn about civil liberties,

    lulz

  41. #41 |  JusticarSammy | 

    “If you’re a liberal who gives a damn about civil liberties, you have more in common with places like Cato and Reason than you do with your current president or Democratic leadership.”

    No political figure that aligns himself with the views of Cato or Reason will ever have a chance to hold an imported elected office. See: Ron Paul or Bob Barr.

    And, Reason comments are a circle jerk of lolol team red/team blue lolol those two sides are soooo stupid and ignorant, just like Balloon Juice comments are making fun of Gillespie’s jacket.

    And…you don’t think Reason Hit and Run readers have a hivemind?

  42. #42 |  Brandon | 

    “Oddly enough, I left libertarianism for stage left, for that same reason. Perhaps I just loathe oligarchic power more than state power.”

    Perhaps you just got tired of thinking, and the left’s comforting embrace of thoughtless ideology was easier? Look at the results of leftist ideology: War, famine, poverty, tyranny. Look at Greece, hell, look at the rest of Europe, look at Russia, China, California, almost anywhere that has embraced supposed “liberal” governance.

    Or, to take a tactic from the left and right: I’m libertarian because I have both a conscience and a brain. Incentives matter, and liberty matters, and I am not willing to dehumanize and sacrifice any “undesirables” in the name of some selfish utopian vision.

  43. #43 |  mb | 

    Considering the state of flux Cato is in currently, avoiding Cato would be rational, imo.

  44. #44 |  Brandon | 

    “The butthurt is strong with this post.

    You’re very very mad, brah.”

    About average intelligence level for BJ comments. I get why you wrote this post, but is there any way to, like, not link to that font of excrement?

  45. #45 |  Darwin | 

    A “libertarian” quasi-academic think-tank which acts as a mouthpiece for the globalism, corporatism, and neoliberalism of its corporate and conservative funders. Cato is an astroturf organization: there is no significant participation by the tiny libertarian minority. They do not fund it or affect its goals. It is a creature of corporations and foundations.
    The major purpose of the Cato Institute is to provide propaganda and soundbites for conservative and libertarian politicians and journalists that is conveniently free of reference to funders such as tobacco, fossil fuel, investment, media, medical, and other regulated industries.

    Cato is one of the most blatant examples of “simulated rationality”, as described in Phil Agre’s The Crisis of Public Reason. Arguments need only be plausibly rational to an uninformed listener. Only a tiny percentage will notice that they are being misled. That’s all that’s needed to manage public opinion.

  46. #46 |  PoliticalHack | 

    I was going to comment on the Cato/Koch issue, but (good thing I read entire articles) saw the comment on the future article. I’m looking forward to it. Until that whole brouhaha is fleshed out, though, I’m with @mb (#43).

    As to “what do liberals have against libertarians?” – Right now the biggest issue is Ron Paul and his heartless kid Rand. A couple of gross generalizations may shed light on it – a liberal thinks of folks in need and thinks “awwww, poor folks – we need to do something to help them”, while a libertarian thinks “guess they didn’t pull themselves up by their own bootstraps…. maybe the system needs to be tweaked to give them room to grow.” Liberals feel bad and want to help *now*, libertarians feel bad and want to change the system to make sure folks have the opportunity to help themselves, but short term come across as “sucks to be you, dude.”

  47. #47 |  PeeDub | 

    @#45 “That” “is” “an” “interesting” “point”.

  48. #48 |  (B)oscoH | 

    I don’t think liberals are against police militarization. Anything that scares a parent into making sure their kids wear helmets and padded protective suits while eating leafy greens and staying away from transfats is good.

  49. #49 |  PeeDub | 

    @#46 Funny, because what comes across to me is liberals saying “awww, we should get someone else to help them”. Whereas if they *actually* wanted to help them, they would, you know, help them.

  50. #50 |  Andrew S. | 

    The comments left here by regular Balloon Juice posters are a better advertisement for how terrible that place is than anything Radley could ever say.

    But… this was a classic rant, Radley. Well timed and well put.

  51. #51 |  Iced Borscht | 

    Great stuff, Radley. Thanks for posting these kinds of items. It’s probably frustrating and exasperating to write about, but also greatly appreciated.

  52. #52 |  Dante | 

    I don’t read BJ.

    I read here, and many other sites, daily.

    I’m not going to change that.

    Enough said.

  53. #53 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    @ #41 | JusticarSammy

    No political figure that aligns himself with the views of Cato or Reason will ever have a chance to hold an imported elected office. See: Ron Paul or Bob Barr.

    Today I Learned that Senator and Representative are not “imported elected” offices. Rep. Ron Paul and Sen. Rand Paul…just to name two.

  54. #54 |  johnl | 

    Radley don’t feel compelled to step into the minefield between Cato and CGK. No need for you personally to burn bridges and spoil relationships that might be important to you in the future, just because other guys are holding a bridge burning and relationship trashing party. OTOH, can’t wait to read your thoughts.

  55. #55 |  Brandon | 

    “A “libertarian” quasi-academic think-tank which acts as a mouthpiece for the globalism, corporatism, and neoliberalism of its corporate and conservative funders. Cato is an astroturf organization: there is no significant participation by the tiny libertarian minority. They do not fund it or affect its goals. It is a creature of corporations and foundations.
    The major purpose of the Cato Institute is to provide propaganda and soundbites for conservative and libertarian politicians and journalists that is conveniently free of reference to funders such as tobacco, fossil fuel, investment, media, medical, and other regulated industries.

    Cato is one of the most blatant examples of “simulated rationality”, as described in Phil Agre’s The Crisis of Public Reason. Arguments need only be plausibly rational to an uninformed listener. Only a tiny percentage will notice that they are being misled. That’s all that’s needed to manage public opinion.”

    Amazing. Ad hominems, false conciousness accusations, guilt by associations, this is just a fallacious gold mine!

    BTW, Radley, the idiot posting at 6 up there isn’t me. Is there a way to reserve usernames to avoid my being associated with that hypocritical whining? Like change my name to Real Brandon and his to Fake Brandon, by email address associaton? If not, no problem, it just bothers me to have my name associated with subliterate misusage of “Their.”

  56. #56 |  InMD | 

    I have mixed feelings about the Koch brothers and Cato though to me it still seems like the natural place for Injustice Everywhere. It’s unfortunate that ever since the guy in the White House got a ‘D’ next to his name mainstream Democrats have decided that every big civil liberties issue of the day is irrelevant.

    Granted I also think posters like Brandon are no different than the folks at Baloon Juice. People come to libertarian views in their own ways. No one should be out of the conversation for not being a purist nor do I think libertarianism is inherently conservative, at least not the way “conservative” seems to be used now. The impulse shows that he, and others like him, haven’t really rejected the tribalistic inanities they so viscerally criticize.

    Really I don’t think the folks at that blog are worth Mr. Balko’s time. It’s pretty obvious who does serious work and who is just part of the noise machine.

  57. #57 |  David | 

    I really miss that brief moment when John Cole wrote from the perspective of a conservative who had finally realized that the Republican Party had become a gathering of complete dickheads, and grudgingly threw in his lot with the Democrats because hey, two-party system.

    Yeah, that didn’t last.

  58. #58 |  Andrew S. | 

    Brandon, do you know how I know you’ve never read a single thing that Cato has done? You called them “corporatist”.

    Here’s a clue: Our current President, our prior President, and most members of Congress are “corporatist”. CATO is capitalist. There’s a difference. Learn it.

  59. #59 |  Andrew S. | 

    Er, that should’ve been directed at Darwin, not Brandon. Misread. Sorry.

  60. #60 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Liberals cannot escape their mistaken belief that libertarians are just a different flavor of conservative. It should be noted that a lot of conservatives also mistakenly think the same thing. This is completely understandable when you realize that, to these people, there are only two kinds of people in the world, so if you’re not a liberal, you can only be a conservative (and vice versa). If Cato supports a conservative position on something, they are immediately branded by liberals as being not liberal and therefore it makes no difference if they hold a liberal-like position on anything else.

    In any case, dedicated liberal loyalists (just like dedicated conservative loyalists) hate everything done by the other side. Regardless of the issue, liberals will oppose whatever action conservatives take on it. But, the very same action taken by a liberal is perfectly acceptable. There is no more irrefutable evidence of this than the fact that there is no liberal opposition to Obama’s carrying on the very same dumb-ass policies liberals abhorred when Bush was President.

    Radley, you are so steeped in the belief that reason should guide people’s lives that you are surprised when you stumble into an environment that is completely ruled by a mob mentality. You are, therefore, doomed to experience this kind of disappointment regularly because reason is the exception and the mob is the rule.

  61. #61 |  Radley Balko | 

    Brandon —

    Do you know what percentage of Cato’s funding last year came from corporations? I’ll give you a hint. It’s less than 5. The organization is overwhelmingly funded by individual donors. Leftist advocacy groups are far more likely to get money from corporations than an organization like Cato. (You’ll have to do some digging to find out, though. Leftist groups are also far less transparent about their donors than Cato.)

    Here’s a challenge: Give us an example or two of positions Cato has taken that are pro-corporation but anti-free market. Just paste the links here into the comments. We’ll wait.

    From my time there, I personally know of a number of occasions in which Cato turned down money from corporations because it either came with strings attached or with the implication that strings would at some point become attached. So you really have no idea what you’re talking about.

  62. #62 |  zendingo | 

    @60 dave krueger:

    you put that very well.

  63. #63 |  Andrew S. | 

    Radley, that should be directed at Darwin #45. Brandon was just quoting him. I made the same mistake too…

  64. #64 |  johnl | 

    Burgers – I thought reason traded Sanchez to Cato for Balko, as they were both better fits at the other organization. It’s possible draft choices were also involved.

  65. #65 |  Kingadingding | 

    #46: “Liberals feel bad and want to help *now*, libertarians feel bad and want to change the system to make sure folks have the opportunity to help themselves, but short term come across as ‘sucks to be you, dude.'”

    Hi. I am a liberal civil libertarian. I read comments like this all the time and rarely respond, but sometimes I just can’t help it. Changing the system so that folks have the opportunity to help themselves is what I want too! I’m not liberal because I walk around feeling bad about other people’s situations, but because I believe it is a pragmatic approach to improving the system we have. And I think that’s where conversations between libertarians and liberals go off the rails a lot of times, at least conversations I have with libertarians I run into.

    I am often told what liberals believe, but those beliefs are often unrecognizable to me. And my differences with libertarians are not based upon some ideological commitment to government control of everyday life, but because libertarian solutions seem as though they would simply lead to more coercion of individuals, by less accountable actors.

    I don’t often get to have that conversation with libertarians, but when I do, it is often preceded by a half-hour of wide-eyed disbelief that I have come to my conclusions because I think they simply make more sense than that they give me warm fuzzy feelings inside.

  66. #66 |  mme6546 | 

    when I first started reading B.J., it was usually like “Yea!O.K.!” with a side of “hmmmm…?”
    that progressed to “yea…..ooookaaaaay….” and “mmmmmmaaaaayyyybe, but I dunno…”
    thru “huh? ok? wha…?”
    and finally ending up at “NO! NONONONONONONO!!!! NOT OK!! I NEED AN ADULT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

    ::sigh::

  67. #67 |  Billy Beck | 

    PoliticalDumbAss: “Liberals feel bad and want to help *now*…”

    No. They want to rope *me* into the project “*now*”. You missed a crucial step which is so obvious that I now have to really wonder how smart you are.

  68. #68 |  Jeremiah | 

    Cato should have written a much more thorough proposal for taking over the site.

  69. #69 |  Sam | 

    Which individuals gave that money Radley?

  70. #70 |  tarran | 

    Here’s a challenge: Give us an example or two of positions Cato has taken that are pro-corporation but anti-free market. Just paste the links here into the comments. We’ll wait.

    They supported Bush’s plan to nationalize the stock market through “Social Security Privatization”.

    Also, IIRC, Cato has supported school vouchers, which would allow state governments to completely coopt the private schools within their borders through a “embrace”, “extend”, “extinguish” strategy.

  71. #71 |  JOR | 

    “Time was, liberals could at least be relied upon to (rhetorically!) oppose restrictions on civil liberties,”

    lol, no. Modern liberalism and conservatism are both descended from 19th-20th Century progressivism, which whatever else you want to say about it, was at least ideologically consistent in its totalitarianism. The best thing American liberalism has done since it emerged from that slime, from a civil liberties standpoint, was largely co-opting the civil rights and labor movements and turned them into toothless, obedient voting blocs for the Democrats. Yes, that’s their closest thing to a libertarian accomplishment, even rhetorically.

  72. #72 |  Andrew S. | 

    @#69: Wait… allowing individuals to choose to direct portions of their government-mandated retirement savings into a non-government plan = Being pro-corporate and anti-free market?

  73. #73 |  tarran | 

    Being pro-corporate and anti-free market?

    Yes it is, because the government will be picking what investments funds/vehicles are on the list of approved choices for the forced savings.

    It allows the government to apply pressure to fund managers as to what they invest in. For example, can you imagine how much longer Enron would have kept their fraud going if their buddy Al Gore could strong-arm American Funds into not selling their shares and getting out by threatening to end the income stream of forced savings?

  74. #74 |  Iced Borscht | 

    Let’s get down to brass tacks and end this dispute.

    Radley’s work has FREED WRONGLY IMPRISONED INDIVIDUALS from jail.

    Balloon Juice has contributed nothing of worth to society, the Web, discourse, etc. Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

    End of argument. Everyone can go home now.

  75. #75 |  tarran | 

    #73 ^^^^^THIS!!!!!!111!!!!

  76. #76 |  Mike T | 

    #70

    Each generation’s conservatism is the liberalism of the previous generation. It’s been that way sense the French Revolution. There hasn’t been a fundamental disagreement between “conservatives” and “liberals” since the ancien regime was wiped out by the Jacobins and their supporters.

  77. #77 |  Jason | 

    @69 tarran is here.

    Reality is ————————————————> here.

    What an absurdly ignorant response.

  78. #78 |  KristenS | 

    Brandon (#6) also needs to learn the rather large distinction between Libertarians and libertarians.

  79. #79 |  zendingo | 

    @72 tarran
    “It allows the government to apply pressure to fund managers as to what they invest in. For example, can you imagine how much longer Enron would have kept their fraud going if their buddy Al Gore could strong-arm American Funds into not selling their shares and getting out by threatening to end the income stream of forced savings?”

    Read the article you linked to and couldn’t find mention of the government determining what invest vehicles were allowable.

  80. #80 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    I have some problems with the terms “Liberal”, and “Conservative”.

    1) A lot of professional Democrat politicians wrap themselves in the “Liberal” mantle (and then confuse the issue by trying to duck it during elections) to disguise the fact that they are little more than career job-holders, determined to pay off their political debts, and having few if any scruples, much less ideals.

    2) A lot of professional Republican politicians wrap themselves in the “conservative” mantle, to disguise the fact that they are little more than career job-holders, determined to pay off their political debts, and having few if any scruples, much less ideals.

    3) A fair number of so-called “Liberals” are self-selected intellectual elitists, far more interested in preserving their aura of moral superiority than they are in promoting practical solutions.

    4) The great “Liberal”/”Radical” cause of the first half of the Twentieth Century was Socialism. The great “Liberal”/”Radical” cause of the second half of the Twentieth Century, and as much of the Twenty-First as we have seen, is pretending just as hard as possible that Liberals and Radicals never cheered for Socialist/Communist revolution, or if they did had no reason to think it would result in millions of murders, and never mind all the rabble-rousing quotes you can find about “up against the wall”. There are no accessories to mass murder here, move along, nothing to see….

    5) Conservatives are often not against government. They are against Government centered so far away from them that they cannot control it’s agenda.

    6) Liberals are not for principles. They are for causes. Any action that can further their cause is a Good Thing. Any action that can impede their cause is a bad thing. And never mind if both actions spring from the same principle; if you were one of the Elect you would understand that what was needed was a State that could act one way in one set of (Liberal approved) circumstances and another way in (Liberal condemned) circumstances.

    Me? I’m a Crank. I trust the Government as far as I could kick it in my stocking feet. On the other hand, I trust my unhindered fellow-citizens about as far as I could kick them, if that. I hope to be let alone as much as practicable.

  81. #81 |  tarran | 

    Dude!

    Do you think the government is going to let you send your 5% to just anyone?

    Forced private savings intrinsically require the government picking who gets the savings as sure as government control of highway building means the government picks who gets an on-ramp and who doesn’t, or government mandated health insurance purchases mean the government picks what health insurance plans people are allowed to buy.

  82. #82 |  Lee | 

    For the top 5 individual contributors to CATO, what is their individual percent of total?

  83. #83 |  Lee | 

    It seems the “Anyone but CATO” was present in the comments prior to the BJ post.

  84. #84 |  johnl | 

    Tarran the cronyism you describe is an inevetable result for a sov wealth fund or a state run pension plan, but not for a forced saving plan where individuals have any choice at all about investment direction. For example, a saver could have directed all investments to treasuries (ha!) and thereby avoided polluting the equities market with the influence of bureaucrats.

  85. #85 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Ok, I can see that we aren’t necessarily all on the same page when it comes to the meaning of the words, conservative and liberal. I tend to use the contemporary meaning that comes mainly from those who are often cited as spokespeople for the respective sides. If you speak of these terms in their “classical” sense, most people won’t know what you’re talking about.

    So, when I say conservative, I’m visualizing people like Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, etc, etc. When I say liberal, I’m visualizing people like Rachel Maddow, Al Sharpton, Michael Moore, etc, etc.

    And of course, their respective disciples, groupies, or worshipers.

    By the time you get into Congress or the White House, you are really no longer a liberal or conservative. You’re more like an opportunist by then, willing to change parties if you think it will benefit you, but always open to the highest bidder, independent of political affiliation.

  86. #86 |  Dave Krueger | 

    And Yes to what #79 C. S. P. Schofield said.

    Except I would change this: Conservatives are often not against government.

    To this: Conservatives are almost never against government.

  87. #87 |  Lucy Steigerwald | 

    +100,000 to my twitterbro, Iced.

  88. #88 |  zendingo | 

    @80 tarran

    so…….. is there source you can cite for this claim or……..

  89. #89 |  Mont D. Law | 

    I am a civil rights absolutist and I voted against Cato from the Balloon Juice blog, which I read daily, just like I read this one and in the future will read David’s. Which BTW I would not have even known about without Balloon Juice.

    The reason I voted against Cato is the Koch fight plain and simple. If the site goes to them and the Koch’s win control will Tim Lynch and his assistant even have jobs? My guess is they will quit or be fired like most of the Cato staff as none of them are siding with the Koch’s. Under different circumstances I think Cato would be a good fit, but not now. It is too big a risk.

  90. #90 |  Todd S. | 

    #69 tarran

    It’s possible that Cato has supported vouchers in the past, but all of their efforts recently (last few years anyway) have been in the area of tax credits, which are less ripe for the abuse that concerns you (IMO).

    I see your point about the Social Security plan, but I think you have to agree that even that plan would move us closer to a free market than the current one. Or at least closer to actual property rights.

  91. #91 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Dave Kruger,

    Conservatives are often against one level of government (that they don’t think they can control) and in favor of another (which they think they can), as; against Federal control of public schools, and for School-board level control. Or; Against local Gun Control laws and for State level pre-emption.

    Conservatives are SOMETIMES against government intervention, particularly when the subject of the intervention is generally unpopular, as; Gay Marriage. They are in favor of allowing Marriage to fall to its default setting, in the (largely correct, as it happens, but that’s mostly an accident) belief that that default setting is that marriage is heterosexual by nature.

    Aside; even the Alexandrian Greeks, who revered Homosexual pairings above heterosexual ones reserved the term that translates as “Marriage” for heterosexual pairings.

    Even when they believe that the culture is behind them, I have noticed that Liberal tend to want to get the matter judged by the State, to enforce Right Thinking.

    BTW; I trust neither of these groups.

  92. #92 |  Dave | 

    “everything they do must be opposed, even if it’s stuff that a good liberal like Laurie ought to otherwise support.”

    I felt compelled to write about this. I don’t often do so, I’m much more of just a reader. Do you remember this post, from about a year ago?

    http://reason.com/blog/2011/02/25/the-koch-brothers-right-wing-c

    There is a persistent belief that Cato speaks like a Libertarian, walks like a Republican, much like many libertarians when pressed. This is not helped by the current Board fight, which appears to only be about how Republican Cato should be. You may not like this point of view – but it is a common and repeated one, and one that has stuck throughout the years. And that Cato should not be trusted.
    Your links do nothing to change this belief, just that you’re having a little tantrum that this belief exists. That would be a much better post – “Why don’t liberals trust Cato? Well, here are some reasons:”

    More than that? You leave out valuable information in this post. It appears nowhere, and you would have to follow just the one to the offending Baloon Juice one. I wonder if the tone of the responses would have changed if you would have lead with this:
    “Unfortunately, one of those orgs is the CATO institute – you know, the one currently in the midst of a Koch brothers hostile takeover?”

    If you have a valuable resource that matches your interests, and a group of people who are hostile to your interests may be in a position to acquire it, and you believe these people would corrupt your resource – why wouldn’t you try to disrupt this?

    Go to the Cato front page right now. Recently published in? National Review, DC examiner, Daily Caller, Daily Caller, American Conservative.
    I can’t imagine why a liberal might be shy away from full throated support of such an organization.

  93. #93 |  jmcross | 

    Wait. Is this supposed to be my Friday gut-punch? Intramural internetz poo flinging? I’m http://www.unoutraged.org!

  94. #94 |  billhang | 

    @RB — re – “This sort of mindless nonsense was going on at Balloon Juice long before the Kochs attempt to take over Cato” – that’s certainly true, but it wasn’t the ONLY thing going on there or in similar spots, and Cato was in a better position six months ago to defend itself against accusations of faux-libertarian corporatism than it is now.

    You can blame liberals for hatin’. But it’s not the commenters or posters at BJ that have done the most damage to Cato’s reputation at this point. It was the Koch’s apparent takeover bid (as reported by Cato insiders, to their great credit) that did that, and put people like Ann Laurie in a position to say, “Look! See?”

    I certainly hope your man finds a host for his project, but I wouldn’t let predictable blogo-bile distract you from the free-market lesson here. The Kochs messed with the brand – the hallmark of which has been independence – and this poll is an example of how the brand is suffering.

  95. #95 |  Sorenzeo | 

    I named my newborn son Cato this year. I did it for the name’s historical association with defense of liberty and its literal Latin meaning, not specifically for the Cato Institute. And yet, the first question about it I got was “Did you name him after the Hunger Games character?” Sigh…

  96. #96 |  jmcross | 

    Here:

    http://www.thegavoice.com/news/atlanta-news/4426-atlantas-total-cost-for-illegal-police-raid-nears-3-million

    $3M worth of stupid.
    Upside: 6 assholes fired.

  97. #97 |  tarran | 

    I see your point about the Social Security plan, but I think you have to agree that even that plan would move us closer to a free market than the current one. Or at least closer to actual property rights.

    I disagree. A country were the government controls the capital markets tends to have a very unfree economy. The current system, while terrible – effectively siphoning 6 – 12% from people’s paychecks – at least allows them to have their needs met by an economy that has a somewhat free (as in speech) capital market.

    An aside, if everybody saved 10% of their income from their mid 20’s (in the form of not only stocks, but with proper insurance protections as well), by the time they were 70, they’d have amassed enough wealth and insurance protection to ensure that they could retire comfortably and not be too much of a burden if disabled or needing long-term care.

    The 12% that the SSI system confiscated prior to the current emergency is a terrible travesty in that people have to devote an additional 10-15% of their income to actually build their savings.

    And, to get money out of the system, people are forced to sign up for Medicare, which is a big source of the manifold problems besetting that sector of the economy.

  98. #98 |  Joseph Stromberg | 

    Re #90: The American Conservative has so little to do with the GOP that regular conservatives (war-prone haters of civil liberties, etc.) regard the magazine as enemy territory. I hope it stays that way.

  99. #99 |  SW | 

    The problem is authoritarians of all stripes. And this bullshit about capitalism/socialism? Grow up. There are no pure economies that are successful. What works is a mixture of well regulated markets and a robust social safety net. Deal with it. If we could agree on this we could all work together to root out the authoritarian impulses that tend to get in the way of personal liberty. Otherwise it is divide and conquer. Shooting fish in a barrel.

  100. #100 |  johnl | 

    Tarran the problem you suggest isn’t very likely. Individual account holders would notice the poor performance of bureaucrat manipulated funds and push back.

  101. #101 |  Radley Balko | 

    ….and Cato was in a better position six months ago to defend itself against accusations of faux-libertarian corporatism than it is now.

    So Cato very publicly rises up to resist an attempt by the Kochs to exert undue influence on the organization, and this some how makes Cato less credible?

  102. #102 |  stu | 

    oh snap freddie!
    http://www.balloon-juice.com/2012/04/13/radley-balko-defends-the-cato-institute/

  103. #103 |  Radley Balko | 

    Go to the Cato front page right now. Recently published in? National Review, DC examiner, Daily Caller, Daily Caller, American Conservative.

    When I worked at Cato, I frequently submitted to left-leaning publications, given that there should have been some interest at those places in the issues I was covering.

    My submissions were almost always rejected. On the other hand, National Review Online published several pieces I wrote about the drug war. As did FoxNews.com.

    You can’t easily associate with people who won’t associate with you.

  104. #104 |  Andrew S. | 

    SW @#97: “If we could agree on this we could all work together to root out the authoritarian impulses that tend to get in the way of personal liberty.”

    The problem is that while Team Red and Team Blue may not agree on the economic issues you pointed out, they certainly agree on everything with regards to “the authoritarian impulses that tend to get in the way of personal liberty”. They’re for as much authority, and as little personal liberty, as possible.

  105. #105 |  Christian Sieber | 

    There have got to be better ways to make a decision about a project than an easily-overrun Internet poll like this one, and there have *got* to be better uses of 1100 words than complaining about how unfair it all is after the fact.

    Also, I have to echo the sentiment from comment #90 that your rant gives a very misleading impression of Anne Laurie’s original post, which mentions “anything but Cato…” as almost a postscript, with the bulk of the post quoting Joey Malone about the Koch takeover and asking for informed discussion of the project candidates. Your rant obscures this and it feels like you are deliberately painting Laurie’s post in the worst possible light to stage your rant-slash-whine.

    Have any of the libertarians posting here stopped to think about *why* it is that “the idiots from Balloon Juice” think that Cato and Reason are wankers? Keep in mind that this includes John Cole, who writes posts like this one about police misconduct: http://www.balloon-juice.com/2012/04/05/youre-free-to-go-of-course-but-you-dont-mind-me-searching-your-car-do-you-i-didnt-think-so/. Clearly this is not a guy who is philosophically opposed to you on this topic, but it didn’t take me long to find a post by John about libertarian wankers either! I wonder why that could be…

    The idiots at Balloon Juice have a lot of pretty good reasons for disliking Cato and it sure isn’t because they are all leftists, or statists, or closet authoritarians, or whatever other bullshit label your commenters want to come up with. As long as the discourse on this blog (and in the libertarian movement at large) is limited to lumping all liberals or left-wing thinkers together into an unthinking mass of authoritarian sheeple — and nearly every comment on your blog does this, unsurprisingly — then I doubt you’re going to win very many “good liberals” as converts to your cause.

  106. #106 |  Radley Balko | 

    Which individuals gave that money Radley?

    Get a copy of Cato’s annual report. They list their top 200 donors, as well as all foundations and corporations that gave in the last year.

    If your real question here is, “Wouldn’t most of Cato’s donors work for, or have worked for, corporations?” I would guess that the answer yes.

    And I would guess that if you posed the same question to any non-profit in the country–political, religious,research, educational, etc.– the answer would also be yes.

  107. #107 |  Radley Balko | 

    ….then I doubt you’re going to win very many “good liberals” as converts to your cause.

    Do you consider the idiots at Balloon Juice “good liberals?” I really have no interest in winning them over.

    I work with the ACLU, the Innocence Project, the NAACP, and NACDL all the time. I’ve given speeches sponsored by the ACLU, the IP, and Amnesty International. I work for Huffington Post. There are plenty of liberals who work on criminal justice issues who are far more interested in finding common ground with people like me, and with places like Reason and Cato, than sticking their fingers in their ears and screaming about Ayn Rand and leather jackets at the mere sight of a libertarian.

  108. #108 |  Jerryskids | 

    @ #41 Reason comments are a circle jerk of lolol team red/team blue lolol those two sides are soooo stupid and ignorant

    No, no, we are closet conservatives, part of the Koch machine. We only pretend to hate Team Red. Secretly, we love the Patriot Act and the NSA and the WoD and the WoT. Just like the Kochs told us to.

    And guess what else David Koch paid $100 million to suborn to his right-wing simulated rationality. Sneaky bastard!

  109. #109 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @14 – Ah yes, because lying and trying to starve millions is your modus operandi. There, that’s a nice attack of the same sort you made, now let’s see you explode in response. Only YOU can make them, after all!

    I’m an anarchist for flip sake, and you manage to come off as nuttier than me to the general populace, especially in the UK. That doesn’t tell you something?

    @16 – I don’t care where you entered from, you’re still a right-Libertarian afaik if you’re going to blindly lash out at “authority” in those terms. Of course, I’d also point out that the American “left” are still to the right in most country’s terms…

    (The American left also tend to annoy the hell out of me because of wooly thinking. I usually get on better with the non-bible thumper American right, who are at least honest about their views.)

    @60 – It’s a natural result of FPTP. It’s why voting reform needs to come first. Then we’ll see far more representative politicians.

  110. #110 |  Radley Balko | 

    oh snap freddie!

    Last time I read a post by Freddie, he was using a not-yet-released video by Reason.tv as a launching pad for a tedious rant about how libertarians don’t give a damn about urban minorities.

    Had he waited until he could actually watch the video, Freddie would have seen it was about how D.C.’s big cab companies were lobbying for a medallion system that would have crushed the city’s mostly-minority, mostly-immigrant independent cab drivers. The city backed down, in part because of the publicity Reason (and the illegal arrest of a Reason journalist) generated.

    His comment about how libertarians haven’t caused any positive change on police issues is also terribly ill-informed. But I suspect he knows that. He knows the only way for me to rebut it would be to provide a list of examples where my own work has had a real-world impact—at which point he can write, “Wow, what an arrogant asshole.”

    It’s a clever little tactic.

  111. #111 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @107 – Yea, mostly because you’re NOT a Randroid. Anyone who starts quoting rand gets a cold shoulder from me as being two fruits short of a vegetable.

  112. #112 |  Linda | 

    Libertarians, in my opinion, are the swing voters that always determine election outcomes. We are the true “balance”, neither too far to the left nor too far to the right, and based on the writings of the Constitution, I’d say our founding fathers were Libertarians too.

  113. #113 |  Margarita | 

    Balloon Juice is hit and miss, and Anne Laurie is not the best on offer. By a long shot.

    As to the rest, the leather-jacket japes are par for the course snark, but are generally accompanied by substantive points along with the mockery. The substantive points won’t be persuasive to those who aren’t persuaded, which is fair, but they do exist. It’s mostly unpretentious, light commentary, pet blather, and support group. I’ve found that you can easily do much worse on the internet.

    And yes, please do address the Koch issue, because it’s a legitimate concern.

  114. #114 |  Laertes | 

    This issue is important to me. I’ve long admired your work, and I’ve used your work to introduce many of my friends to the issue. I love what you do here.

    I also voted in that poll, and voted for someone other than Cato. I’d certainly have voted for Cato a few months ago, but now that Cato is doomed to become another ordinary right-wing/authoritarian think tank, rather than the extremely important libertarian institution that it has been, I don’t think it ought to be trusted with important projects like this one.

    I know it’s not your fault that the Kochs are suddenly packing Cato’s board with authoritarians, neocons, and garden-variety republican apparatchiks, and I know they have every right to do it, but these actions have consequences and an erosion of the trust that Cato had earned is one of those consequences. It’s going to manifest itself in votes like this one.

  115. #115 |  stu | 

    That’s a telling nonresponse @110 radley. That place gets under your skin. It’s easy to dismiss a place as statists or idiots. Doing it when you’re bemoaning being labeled as randroids or leather coat enthusiasts takes “talent”. i wonder why you are being defensive? You’re usually a much stronger writer.

  116. #116 |  mere mortal | 

    “Cato had already published another paper on the issue [police militarization] in 1999, one that noted how the trend was affecting poor and minority communities. This was a good 12 years before mainstream liberals really started giving a damn about this issue, which was once heavily militarized cops started beating middle class white kids at Occupy protests.”

    Being frustrated that a decision about someone’s admirable work was poll-skewed is understandable. But the statement above is completely unnecessary to make your point, indulges a dishonest caricature of liberals, and is simply inaccurate.

  117. #117 |  Radley Balko | 

    stu:

    God, how I love the “you’re better than this” condescension.

    Do you want me to respond to Freddie line by line? His post is a bunch of broad generalizations about what horrible people libertarians are, how they have no impact on anything important, and how they hate or are indifferent to poor people.

    Here’s my response: I disagree. And I don’t really feel the need to prove that any of those things aren’t true.

    The main difference between us is that I though I disagree with Freddie’s politics, and I think the policies he endorses do more to keep people poor than to lift them up, I do assume he supports those policies in good faith. I assume he believes what he believes because he thinks his politics are what’s best for everyone. Or at least for most people. I don’t doubt the motivations of any of the Balloon Juice bloggers.

    They don’t extend me or Cato or Reason or other libertarians the same courtesy. They assume the worst of motivations, that libertarians are selfish assholes, are bought and paid for, and that we’re some combination of racist, classist, sexist, and either hate or are indifferent to the poor. Believe it or not, I and most libertarians believe what we believe for the same reasons people like Freddie believes what he believes. We think limited government, free markets, individual rights, and peace are the optimal policies that enable people to flourish.

    Keep in mind how this all started. Cato wanted to host, give institutional support to, and promote a project to document police misconduct. A Balloon Juice blogger responded with a post basically saying that people should prevent that from happening, simply because people should always oppose everything Cato does. I pointed out how asinine that is. Freddie then responded to me with a post saying that libertarians suck, and that yes, people should oppose everything libertarians do, because if libertarians really cared about police misconduct they would . . . support Freddie’s preferred economic policies.

    So no, I don’t really think there’s an honest dialogue to be had, here. Or why I should bother trying.

    Now I’m going to go have a drink.

  118. #118 |  JOR | 

    “But the statement above is completely unnecessary to make your point, indulges a dishonest caricature of liberals, and is simply inaccurate.”

    Some more radical leftists have cared about and done some good work on these issues over the years. Mainstream liberals, on the other hand? No. Even in his clear frustration, Radley barely exaggerated.

  119. #119 |  Xenocles | 

    They just hate us because we’re all a bunch of Republican stooges.

    You know, sort of the same reason the Republicans hate us.

  120. #120 |  mwbugg | 

    I only came here after Freddie D pointed the way from BJ. Anybody that writes “This was a good 12 years before mainstream liberals really started giving a damn about this issue, which was once heavily militarized cops started beating middle class white kids at Occupy protests” is an idiot. I’ve come across numerous references to the good work you’ve done in my readings of liberal blogs. But that statement is idiotic. Some of us remember when cops were beating middle class white kids in Chicago in 1968, Vietnam protests, Kent Sate, Nixon, Reagan, etc. But you were just a pup then. So let me be just as idiotic. The reason I don’t read many libertarian blogs is that they all talk a good story about civil liberties, but when it comes down to brass tacks, they always seem to think lower taxes, smaller government, ending the Fed, we need a gold standard, etc is way more important than civil liberties and they end up supporting Republicans. See Koch for an example.

  121. #121 |  mere mortal | 

    “Some more radical leftists have cared about and done some good work on these issues over the years. Mainstream liberals, on the other hand? No. Even in his clear frustration, Radley barely exaggerated.”

    One would have to do some impressive gymnastics regarding the difference between “mainstream” and “more radical” to have that position land on its feet.

    For instance, ACLU has been on abuses of RICO and asset forfeiture in service of funding police forces for years. But I would probably do well to sound out whether Mr. Balco would believe ACLU is “more radical” before I cite…

    There is simply no question that libertarians have been great on this issue for a long time (F.E.A.R. since 1992, for instance), my point was that pretending liberals didn’t care until Occupy protesters took the brunt was gratuitous and inaccurate.

  122. #122 |  Andrew S. | 

    The ACLU has been on top of it. Your average liberal “on the street”? Your average liberal in government? They cared about it just as much as your average conservative — that is, they couldn’t have cared less. Police abuses were not news, and there was no gr eat public outcry about them, until it started happening to middle-class (I’d venture to say at least upper-middle class) kids at an heavily white/Asian state university in California.

  123. #123 |  wetcasements | 

    Scratch a Libertarian, a Republican who once smoked pot in college bleeds.

  124. #124 |  Iced Borscht | 

    Ho, hee! Exclamations of laughter and high-spiritedness!

    Good one, Wetcasements! How witty and droll.

    What about the leather jacket, reinventing Anton LaVey-style-Satanism-As-a-Political Philosophy, fellating John Galt, and drinking raw milk while doing bong hits to freeze-framed images of John Stossel’s facial hair?

    Hearty fits of LAFFTER, commenter! Ho! Ha

  125. #125 |  Medicine Man | 

    God, these Balloon Juice/Agitator blog spats are tedious.

    The best part about this 120+ thread counter attack on BJ is the part near the top where a bunch of libertarians and liberals trade stories about how they found X/Y/Z group populated by smug, cocksure, twats who think they have all the answers (which are all located within their favorite political philosophy, naturally). Jesus, talk about missing the forest for the trees. I’m sorry if this is a bit banal but pretty much *all* political communities have these sorts of true believers and they are *all* fucking annoying.

    I’ve read vegetarians, feminists, protestants, liberals, conservatives, and yes libertarians who operate this way. They have all the answers, associate only with their own kind, feel no need to make a case for the 101-level arguments of their group, and never examine their assumptions. Some people are like this all the time, others only when discussing certain topics.

    For what its worth I found the Agitator through Balloon Juice and I generally regard the product of these blog spats to be the lowest quality output from either site. Two groups circling the wagons, slapping each other’s backs, and slinging barbs off into the ether.

  126. #126 |  Radley Balko | 

    Scratch a Libertarian, a Republican who once smoked pot in college bleeds.

    Jesus. That was still a cliche 12 years ago. Which, incidentally, happens to be the last time I voted for a Republican.

  127. #127 |  Radley Balko | 

    But I would probably do well to sound out whether Mr. Balco would believe ACLU is “more radical” before I cite…

    I suppose I would consider the ACLU to be more radical than most Democrats. But I consider that a good thing.

    “More principled” is probably a better way of putting it.

  128. #128 |  Radley Balko | 

    Some of us remember when cops were beating middle class white kids in Chicago in 1968, Vietnam protests, Kent Sate, Nixon, Reagan, etc.

    There’s a difference between police brutality and police militarization. The mainstream left largely supported militarization through the 1980s (because the mainstream left support the main catalyst, the drug war), and through the 1990s (because the mainstream left was in charge — see Waco and the Elian Gonzalez raid).

    The right was much worse. But that doesn’t distract from my main point, which is that those self-centered libertarians have been far more concerned about this issue over the years, despite the fact that libertarians aren’t all that likely to be victims of the trend.

  129. #129 |  billhang | 

    >>> “So Cato very publicly rises up to resist an attempt by the Kochs to exert undue influence on the organization, and this some how makes Cato less credible?”

    Short version – it makes those Cato employees who spoke out more credible, and certainly speaks well of the current organizational culture, but also demonstrates that the organization’s future independence remains vulnerable.

    I was personally quite heartened to see folks inside Cato share the inside scoop – I’m under no illusion about how hard it is for employees anywhere to speak out against leadership, and it was good to see people put their money where their mouths are and offer the public some transparency. Big time props to those cats.

    But the leadership question remains uncertain (I see a new lawsuit was filed a few days ago), and there’s no reason to think that the brothers K won’t win. They obviously have an agenda – otherwise they wouldn’t be pushing for this control in the first place – and what’s been reported of it doesn’t bode well for Cato’s political independence.

    So from where I sit, asking anyone to support Cato now is like asking someone to invest in a company that’s in the midst of a hostile takeover by an interest that doesn’t share its mission and may well want to undermine it. The situation MAY resolve in such a way that Cato can remain politically independent – or it may not.

    And no matter how it resolves, to me, Cato will face a similar problem as Komen: big-time forces within have been messing with the mission, trying to steer it in an overtly partisan direction.

    Komen is a few steps beyond Cato; they’ve already kicked out the mission-meddlers and they’re now trying to rebuild public confidence in the brand. Once the lawsuits stop and the Koch/Cato control battle settles down, Cato will have to do the same thing. It’ll have to restore people’s confidence not in libertarianism itself, but in the organization’s ability to honestly represent the libertarian point of view.

  130. #130 |  InMD | 

    At #120

    That’s about as laughable as it gets. It’s pretty impossible to say whether or not libertarians would put their money where their mouths are regarding civil liberties issues simply because they’ve never held any actual power.

    Now I do have concerns about libertarianism being hijacked by the wealthiest and most fortunate to serve their own corporatist interests. In my mind there’s a big difference between believing in free enterprise and the nihilistic, Randian fanaticism that occasionally comes out of so-called libertarians. However, one thing we can all definitely say about the left in this country is that, to the extent they’re represented by the Democratic party, they have held power. In fact, your guys currently hold the federal executive branch. And yet what’s happened with civil liberties? Oh that’s right, an all out continuation of Bush era executive power abuses, disregard for the rule of law, and all manner of authoritarianism which you guys viscerally protested until 2008.

    The reality is that the left’s political class cares about civil liberties only to the extent they can use it to their electoral advantage. Once in office, however, they’re in the pocket for the police state. Your own people (think Glenn Greenwald) regularly document it. And yet you guys want people to think you’re the champions of civil liberties in this country’s political scene? Give us all a break.

  131. #131 |  KR | 

    Your mistake is assuming liberals actually care about civil liberties and so on. They don’t. They care about their guys being in power, same as conservatives or any other mob. Cato is not “their guys”, so they should be opposed no matter what.

  132. #132 |  Another_Bob | 

    “Your mistake is assuming liberals actually care about civil liberties and so on.”

    I can respect honest arguments. But this place is a whiny wank-fest. The magic of the free market notwithstanding, without wing nut welfare, this blog and Balko’s career wouldn’t even exist.

  133. #133 |  CharlesWT | 

    The left’s and the right’s view of libertarians seems to be that they are a tiny group of powerless, inconsequential extremist nutjobs that are GOING TO DESTROY LIFE AS WE KNOW IT!!11!!

  134. #134 |  Radley Balko | 

    The magic of the free market notwithstanding, without wing nut welfare, this blog and Balko’s career wouldn’t even exist.

    I love this attack. As if markets in ideas are somehow illegitimate. There’s nothing inconsistent about supporting free markets and working for a donor-sponsored organization. Free markets are about the absence of government coercion. There’s no coercion when someone pays someone else to write about ideas.

    Also, I currently work for a corporation, not a non-profit. My first regular writing gig was with Fox News, also a for-profit corporation. I have worked for Reason and Cato, both non-profits. And yes, that work on criminal justice reform, police abuse, and prosecutor misconduct was funded by evil free market donors. Damn them!

    Finally, this blog has never relied on non-profits. It’s always been something I’ve done on my own, and that I’d have done no matter where I worked.

  135. #135 |  Episiarch | 

    Balloon Juice, and TEAM BLUE hatred for libertarians, can be summed up in one word: projection. Everything they accuse libertarians of, they engage in themselves. TEAM BLUE is the poster child for projection. Libertarians walk the walk on civil liberties; TEAM BLUE only talks the talk, and they know this deep down. And it pisses them off. Since they are liars about what they actually believe in (because they are partisans), well, libertarians just have to be liars too. Because if they’re not, that means that TEAM BLUE is a bunch of partisan, hypocritical scum, and not the champions of the downtrodden that they style themselves to be.

    So, basically, libertarians have to be just like them, merely partisans lying about what they believe in, because all they really believe in is their TEAM. Because anything else would mean they are scum. Which they are, but they cannot admit that to themselves.

  136. #136 |  glasnost | 

    The short version of Freddie’s argument, I think, goes right over Radley’s head.

    Here it is:

    #1. CATO genuinely promotes civil liberties.
    #2. However, CATO genuinely promotes fun stuff like pro-free-market sloganeering in the most general sense.
    #3. The free-market-sloganeering gets Republicans elected who more or less hate civil liberties of all forms, on net, individual exceptions aside.
    #4. The cause of civil liberties goes backwards, not forwards, because CATO’s promotion of ideological areas that overlap with Republican messaging is more impactful than its promotion of civil liberties, which is more or less ignored. This may not even be CATO’s fault, but it doesn’t matter whose fault it is. The net product of CATO is more republicans, and thus, less civil liberties. Radley likes to downplay the Democrat/Republican civil liberties difference, and heaven knows the Democrats are lukewarm, compromised, and frequently dissapointing, but somehow the Democratic Supreme Court justices are the only ones who believe civil liberties even exist.

    More to the point, and back on the original topic:

    I can parse two broad points from the original complaint. I mean, Radley makes it sound like the Balloon Juice voters were voting to have the website’s domain name seized and the man in charge shot, but they were just voting to have the project continue, but owned by someone who isn’t CATO. Radley thinks that this is equivalent to preferring to harm the project rather than see it in CATO’s hands. First of all, that’s eminently debatable – I don’t know who the other bidders are, and I don’t know that they’re going to be worse for the project’s work than CATO. How does Radley? He makes very little effort to demonstrate this, probably because he doesn’t actually know who the other bidders are.

    Second of all, there’s no evidence that the BJ folks had the intention of damaging the project. I think they probably assumed that whereever it landed, it would be fine, so how bout not a think tank about to be owned by the Koch boys. After this big speech Radley just made about how he takes people in good faith, he’s definitely failed to do that here. He didn’t even consider making an earnest-toned, Ezra-Klein-pitched, polite protest that, hey, CATO has more money than these other guys, so maybe CATO can do the best for this project, so hey, why don’t the B. Juice folks consider that? Or try emailing them? No, he goes immediately to insults and dripping contempt. I’m not sure these would have worked either… and the reason is that reasonable minds can differ as to whether the amount of support the project is going to get will really receive some steriodal boost from CATO.

    Radley and the B. Juice enclave show roughly equivalent amounts of respect for those who disagree with them.

  137. #137 |  glasnost | 

    The ‘free-market’ movement as a whole is full of people who want to make money at the expense of the people who suffer under their effective monopolies/oligopolies/collusions. The people who support the privatization of prisons call themselves the free-market movement, who just want to cut salaries, worsen conditions, pocket the difference, and run with it. The people who support privatization of roads may have noble guys in the CATO institute with a 60-slide presentation on how it makes things more efficient, but some how the actual guys who buy the roads just want to hike up fees and pocket the difference. Many school privatization projects follow the same slash and burn pattern.

    Maybe in real life this is due to a complex mix of regulation, subsidies, and private manipulation of same, but as long as the free-market multitudes in public policy is saturated with locusts who want to privatize profit and socialize losses, free-market movements everywhere are going to look ugly. They promote causes used by bad actors to do bad things, and fail to stop it. It’s a lot like being a doctor in the Middle Ages – you may be out for the common good, but people calling themselves doctors keep burning people with irons and they keep not getting healthy, and you will be blamed for their shenanigans.

    This is a lot like the problem most people have with peace activists – it doesn’t matter how good your intentions are if people are using you as a useful tool to undermine human welfare, you’re not going to be popular. And I say this as someone who personally doesn’t care who ends up supporting the Police Misconduct database, and am happy to see the civil liberties thing attempt to gain some traction in the conservative world.

  138. #138 |  glasnost | 

    It’s taken me a year or two of reading Radley to get to the point where I don’t think about the deregulation of Wall Street while reading his posts. Guys like Julian Sanchez, Jim Henley, and Tim Lee have a loose grip on some of the destructive consequences of the ideology promoted by the CATO institute. RB isn’t willing to look into that mirror. Maybe he should ask one of them exactly why people concerned with the welfare of the powerless have a hard time buying into the end of the regulatory state and the drowning of government in the bathtub. Maybe the well-argued version that I, as a crude and annoyed commentor, am not up for.

    Can you work with people you don’t agree with about causes which you do? Yeah. But if someone offers you an internet poll with the option of “people you agree with more or less completely” and “people you think are out doing evil elsewhere while doing good here”, which do you pick? It wasn’t a choice between CATO and nobody; it was a choice between CATO and liberals.

  139. #139 |  Bobby Black | 

    This string is a sterling example of why “we”, andby that I mean the libertarian/anti authoritarian slants that we ascribe by are so easily defeated by the hive minds…be it BJ or Fox NEws…they set a paradigm, subscribe to it, and follow lock step by what ever their leaders demand of them. We, the other 6’% of the country are so fragmented and factious, and even more so to each other, that there is no common earth for us dig our tows into and pull…this is a sad thing to read. I can’t even say can’t we all agree to disagree, because that is not even agreeable. I am just gonna sit out for a while and hope for the best, because there is no one true path for us, rather an alert navigation through a sea of moving mines subject to change at no notice.

  140. #140 |  Jeff | 

    “They assume the worst of motivations, that libertarians are selfish assholes, are bought and paid for, and that we’re some combination of racist, classist, sexist, and either hate or are indifferent to the poor. ”

    In fairness to the Balloon Juice guys, insufferable as they are, that pretty much describes me to a tee, except, sadly, the “paid for” part. But I guess it’s still not fair to extrapolate to a whole group based on the bad traits of one person. That’s what racists, sexists, and classists like me do.

  141. #141 |  John David Galt | 

    From what I’ve seen, “Joey Maloney” has high status and lots of friends at the Huffington Post. If he’s that bad, maybe you shouldn’t be there.

    As for Koch vs. Cato, all I’ve heard from anybody so far is direct references to the tactics each side has used to get control of Cato, or to prevent the other side from getting it. *Nobody* has yet said a word about *why* their side wants to control the organization. Is there no issue here beyond a few people’s personal ambition, or is there an actual difference between the ideas that one would-be Cato president would promote and those the other would (or does) promote?

    If there is an actual difference in ideas, I want to hear what that difference is, preferably from both sides, so I can choose one and become a follower of whatever organization or forum that side ultimately controls.

    But if the whole feud is nothing but individual greed, then would they please say so and then SHUT UP.

  142. #142 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @128 – And there you go wrong again. The Republicans are moderate right, not left wingers. The actual left wingers get treated as if they’re even more wingnut-crazy by the “mainstream” in America.

  143. #143 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    …er, the Democrats are moderate right, to the Republican’s far right, that is.

  144. #144 |  Ariel | 

    “The ‘free-market’ movement as a whole is full of people who want to make money at the expense of the people who suffer under their effective monopolies/oligopolies/collusions.”

    Bullshit. You parsed words well to give you an out, but still bullshit. The European Union sets monopolies by law, as well banning traditional cheeses, and I can’t reconcile “Social Democrat” with “free-market” yet the monopolies exist. The “make money at the expense of the people who suffer” is interesting: I live in an area where there are only two power companies, each a monopoly because I have no choice, but both controlled by regulation and oversight yet I don’t suffer except in your imagination. “Free-market” doesn’t mean “no regulation” but sensible and minimal regulation; regulation that doesn’t attempt a controlled economy. Yeah, I’m not an ideological libertarian.

    glasnost, everything you’ve written applies to both sectors. The governments of this world “privatize profits and socialize losses”, with only a token to the people. The worst were the Communists. All governments rule by the gun; Bill Gates has yet to put a Glock to my head for buying a Mac.

  145. #145 |  Ariel | 

    I really wish we could get beyond the French Revolution, when “right” and “left” really meant something. The terms are really meaningless post that. Is the Right statist like Fascists, or is the Left statist like the Communists? Which group is for civil liberties, all of them? I could go on, but it would be pointless…

  146. #146 |  Other Sean | 

    Radley you wrote “The main difference between us is that I though I disagree with Freddie’s politics…I do assume he supports those policies in good faith. I assume he believes what he believes because he thinks his politics are what’s best for everyone. Or at least for most people. I don’t doubt the motivations…”

    I used to feel the same way, until I decided – with a little help from the aging process – that good faith without hard intellectual work is really not good faith at all. When a person wants to help others, the first steps he takes are intuitive and emotional (i.e., giving poor people money, telling everyone how much you oppose violence against women, etc). But when those steps fail to produce the desired results, a person who is sincere about helping others starts doing some serious thinking, and never stops.

    It’s a relentless discipline, and I’ve only met a few leftists who practiced it, because being stuck at the first step is practically what defines the left today.

    To an opinion pollster you and they share a similar suspicion of police state powers, but in reality there is no common ground between you, who authored a landmark study on law enforcement militarization, and them, who once bought a “Free Mumia” t-shirt, used. In no meaningful sense can you be said to fight for the same cause.

    And they just proved it: As far as they’re concerned you and Packman can both go to hell, if it means they have to stop for five minutes and think “Hmmm… could I maybe have been wrong about the Cato Institute? Could it maybe be something slightly less loathsome than the Death Star? Maybe?”

    When a person refuses to ask himself such simple questions, or militantly refuses to face the answers, I can’t continue to call him “well-intentioned”.

  147. #147 |  Laertes | 

    if it means they have to stop for five minutes and think “Hmmm… could I maybe have been wrong about the Cato Institute? Could it maybe be something slightly less loathsome than the Death Star? Maybe?”

    Is that really the question? Are the options “Cato or Death Star?” Or are the options “Cato or that guy from Al Jazeera English?”

    You talk a good game about honesty, but then finish with that shabby bit of dishonest hostility. It rather wrecks the effect you’d been building.

  148. #148 |  Laertes | 

    It’s really quite simple. You don’t have to believe that Cato is the Death Star. All you have to observe is that the likely consequence of packing their board with movement conservatives is that the institute is likely to become less Libertarian and more an arm of the GOP. Their brave resistance speaks well of them, but those voices of independence are Going To Lose. No about of lazy Star Wars analogies are going to change that fact.

    There are parts of the libertarian agenda that find allies more readily on the right and parts that find allies more readily on the left. If you had a project about, say, eminent domain abuses, you’d be a fool to hand it over to Liberals. It’s just not an issue on which you’ll find much common ground with them.

    Similarly, if your project is about police brutality, you’d be a fool to entrust it to Conservatives. That’s just not an issue that gets them going.

  149. #149 |  Other Sean | 

    Hey, I resent the charge that my death star comment was lazy! I worked really hard on that. Don’t you get it?

    The simplistic and childish moral universe of Star Wars is something we all identify with as kids. Most of us outgrow it by the time we start responding to blog posts, but some people never do. They are called “progressives” or “neo-cons”, and some of them can’t hear the names Koch or Cato without feeling a terrible disturbance in the force.

    I thought that was kind of deep, actually.

  150. #150 |  Laertes | 

    I see a lot of smoke & mirrors in this thread.

    There are people who love and value Cato and are, as a result, perhaps a bit in denial about the transformation it’s now undergoing. (I imagine that our host is one of these. He seems to believe that since Cato is determined to go down fighting, we should all pretend that they aren’t going down at all.)

    There are Libertarians who lean Conservative and thus aren’t concerned that a more Conservative-leaning Cato will abandon the bits of the Libertarian agenda that motivate them.

    Finally, there’s the “suck it, liberals” cohort. I expect Other Sean is among these.

    It all adds up to, one way or another, nobody can connect the following dots:

    – Cato is very likely doomed to become Just Another Right-Wing Think Tank

    – The Right is largely indifferent to police brutality and generally in favor of police militarization.

    – Cato would therefore be an unreliable steward for a project that’s concerned with monitoring police misconduct.

    If you’re interested in persuading rather than mere name-calling, there are any number of ways to do it. Talking about death stars or free mumia t-shirts isn’t a great start, but here’s some suggestions:

    – Show that the Kochs are no longer interested in packing Cato’s board with Republican apparatchiks.

    – Show that the Kochs are likely to fail in their attempt to pack Cato’s board with Republican apparatchiks.

    – Show that a Cato board composed largely of Republican apparatchiks wouldn’t have any meaningful effect on the institute’s priorities.

    – Show that movement conservatives are, in general, at least as hostile to police militarization as Liberals are.

    This Liberal would be genuinely grateful to learn that he’s wrong to believe that none of these four things are likely to be true.

    Dave at #92 nailed it. Near as I can tell, his comment bounced right off everyone’s shields.

  151. #151 |  Other Sean | 

    Since we’re the only two people still in this discussion, let me be the one to remind you that your points have already been asked and answered (by Balko) much earlier in the thread.

    The National Police Misconduct Statistics and Reporting Project needs a sponsor now and not later. Cato stepped up now. If anyone wants to claim they did so with sinister intent the burden is on him to supply some evidence. Merely invoking the name of the Koch brothers is not a form of evidence, and no one actually knows what will or won’t happen after the lawsuit is decided.

    And then there is the key point Balko raised way back in #26: If the project’s mission is threatened at some point in the future, it can always go somewhere else.

    Or are you worried that the brothers will somehow turn Packman into the Manchurian Candidate of copwatch bloggers, so that one day he’ll snap and start telling his captive audience that they must henceforth trust the police in all things?

  152. #152 |  Laertes | 

    Well here’s me, learning something. I’d gotten the idea that Packman intended to hand the thing over to someone else and then walk away. If it’s true that he’d remain in control of the project while it’s under Cato’s sponsorship, and free to take it and leave if Cato turns into a hostile environment, then I’d enthusiastically agree that Cato is an excellent choice.

    Are you sure that’s true?

  153. #153 |  Other Sean | 

    Of course I’m not sure about that personally, but it is very clearly implied in one of Balko’s responses: “….If Koch takes over Cato, the worst scenario is that they stop supporting the project, at which point Packman could take it elsewhere…”

    What I meant was that neither the founder of the site NOR his readers would have to stand still if the project were suddenly twisted into a mouthpiece of conservative police jingoism.

    Whether Packman runs it or someone else, folks like you and me wouldn’t just fail to notice (or fail to protest) if people like Heather MacDonald or Victor Davis Hanson started appearing on the by-lines.

  154. #154 |  TimPundit | 

    I used to read BJ once in a while.

    But, after this….it’s like they turned into the Tea Party, mindless villagers intent on burning down the observatory to protect the world from meteors.

    Balloon Juice, you’re off the bookmarks.

  155. #155 |  Seerak | 

    Because Cato supports lower taxes and less regulation, everything they do must be opposed, even if it’s stuff that a good liberal like Laurie ought to otherwise support. That principle extends out even to actively undermining causes liberals ought to support, if doing so in a particular instance might bring some small benefit or credit to a nasty bunch of Rand worshippers like Cato.

    It seems to me that your concept of what a “good liberal” is, needs a rather sharp adjustment to these facts — or you need to stop confusing Leftism with liberalism. “Liberalism” has been nothing but an Edgar suit for those cockroaches for a long time now.

  156. #156 |  Spinoza | 

    Liberals fear true freedom, because it leaves them exposed and requires that they justify their own existence. They embrace state power, because as long as the state is more powerful than any individual, they do not feel threatened.

  157. #157 |  deepelemblues | 

    Balloon Juice is one of the best examples of the Green Blackboard Theory of the Internet:

    http://art.penny-arcade.com/photos/215499488_8pSZr-L-2.jpg

    You can be an asshole, just because you can! It’s a never-ending circle jerk over at John Cole’s place.

  158. #158 |  Who Needs Goldstein When You Have Libertarians? « Questing for Atlantis | 

    [...] then, as reported by Radley Balko, there’s the case of the Cato Institute getting blasted by a liberal blog [...]

  159. #159 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @144 – So, “banning” cheeses. Oh, you mean preventing deceptive advertising. HOW TRAGIC.

  160. #160 |  Tracking Police Misconduct « All Things in Moderation | 

    [...] Of course, it is from Cato.   And apparently that’s created a bit of a blogosphere dust-up, as we all know that inside a libertarian is a Republican dying to get out.    For those interested in that see Radley Balko. [...]

  161. #161 |  Accounting Recruitment Agencies London | london accountants, accounting firms in london | 

    [...] Grow the film, media, and creative industries across England, except in London, to … Access Doc US Government Info Sitemap – Page 10 – Spiderbites Of About.comCity of New London,[/i] the U.S. Sup…sform:capitalize;">US Government Info Sitemap – Page 10 – Spiderbites Of About.comCity of New [...]

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