A Quick Observation

Monday, August 20th, 2012

Over just the last 10 days or so . . .

  • John Boehner referred to those of us who opposed the TARP bank (executive) bailouts as “knuckle-draggers.”
  • Video emerged of Paul Ryan enthusiastically supporting George W. Bush’s stimulus package.
  • The GOP’s main talking point has been to criticize President Obama for (allegedly) cutting money from an entitlement program.
  • When asked about his foreign policy credentials, Ryan responded that he has voted for the disastrous war in Iraq. Because foreign policy is all about invading other countries.

Remind me again why libertarians and Republicans are natural allies? Because I’m not seeing it.

 

–Radley

Digg it |  reddit |  del.icio.us |  Fark

72 Responses to “A Quick Observation”

  1. #1 |  JLS | 

    I guess because republican rhetoric is always them slobbering over how much they love freedom and support limited government and people are stupid enough to actually believe that repblicans mean what they say.

  2. #2 |  David | 

    Because guns! And Obama uses populist rhetoric to support his socialist policies, while the Republicans prefer good old-fashioned American corporatism.

  3. #3 |  MH | 

    This morning Instapundit was linking to Ben Stein.

  4. #4 |  MassHole | 

    There is nothing libertarian about the Republican party. As JLS points out, just pay attention to what they do, not what they say.

    They don’t want holes poked in the “limited government” facade. That’s why Gary Johnson had to be marginalized. If he had been in the debates, their BS would have been laid bare.

  5. #5 |  Deoxy | 

    Republicans: the party of making the government bigger for personal gain.

    Democrats: the party of making the government bigger on principle AND for personal gain.

    Pretty simple, really. The Republicans are dirty, slimy politicians who seldom act in a manner consistent with their claimed principles.

    The Democrats are the same… except that, on the rare occasions when they DO act in a manner consistent with their claimed principles, that’s just as bad as when they don’t (heck, maybe worse).

  6. #6 |  Bill Wells | 

    The Republicans intend to rule your private lives. The Democrats intend to rule your use of money. But both intend to rule.

  7. #7 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    No ideology is a natural ally of any political party. Political parties adopt and/or subvert ideologies according to political fashion and expedience.

  8. #8 |  B | 

    “The GOP’s main talking point has been to criticize President Obama for (allegedly) cutting money from an entitlement program.”

    I have to quibble with this. I think the GOP is being intentionally vague with their wording so as to solicit the maximum emotional impact. But I think the GOP’s complaint is Obama did $716 billion in cost cutting for Medicare, and instead of promising to use that to ensure Medicare solvency, he used it to offset the cost of Obamacare.

    A more honest slogan would be: “We agree with the cost saving reforms, we disagree with diverting it from the Medicare trust fund and spending it on a new entitlement.”

  9. #9 |  el coronado | 

    Republicans and Libertarians aren’t ‘natural allies’. The pragmatic Libertarian, knowing that fewer than 3% of the folks out there will ever subscribe to the scary notion of ‘no free lunches; you don’t have to wear helmets when riding motorcycles, but if you don’t, the hospitals can refuse to treat you; take all the opiates you want, but pay for your own damn rehab; you’re on your own at all times’ and all that.

    Still, a pragmatic Libertarian has to try & live in the world of the Real instead of the currently unattainable world of the Perfect. So we get to choose between Team Donkey, who’re driving the bus at 90MPH towards a thousand-foot cliff, all the while happily chanting, Neo-like, “There IS no cliff!!” Or Team Elephant, driving towards the cliff at 75MPH while assuring us all that the bus is, in fact, going *backwards*, AWAY from the cliff.

    When faced with 2 really crappy options, oftentimes the only choice is “what’s the least worst option?” Boehner refers to the unruly Peasantry as ‘knuckle-draggers”. Obama refers to ‘em as “bitter clingers”. So yeah, they’re both scumbucket politicians who think they’re Gods. But which party will destroy us slower & cheaper?

  10. #10 |  JLS | 

    el coronado “So we get to choose between Team Donkey, who’re driving the bus at 90MPH towards a thousand-foot cliff, all the while happily chanting, Neo-like, “There IS no cliff!!” Or Team Elephant, driving towards the cliff at 75MPH”

    No way in hell there’s 15 MPH difference between those two buses.

  11. #11 |  (B)oscoH, Yogurt Eater | 

    Republicans support limited government. The limits are just really, really big.

  12. #12 |  Franklin Harris | 

    It’s not that libertarians and Republicans are natural allies. It’s just when I date liberals, this keeps happening: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7QhpJ3DWDA

  13. #13 |  James | 

    Remind me again why libertarians and Republicans are natural allies?

    Find someone that thinks this and you’ve probably found someone guilty of conflationism.

  14. #14 |  yonemoto | 

    Remind me again why libertarians and Republicans are natural allies?

    it’s a low bar.

  15. #15 |  En Passant | 

    #7 | C. S. P. Schofield wrote August 20th, 2012 at 10:57 am:

    No ideology is a natural ally of any political party. Political parties adopt and/or subvert ideologies according to political fashion and expedience.

    That’s it in a nutshell.

    To elaborate a bit just for example, racism is an ideology — a loathsome ideology, but an ideology nonetheless. Because it is an extreme and easily recognized ideology it serves well to illustrate the point that particular ideologies are not the defining characteristics of political parties, or that political parties adopt or subvert ideologies to their own ends.

    The “progressive Democrat” President Woodrow Wilson was a profound racist, and implemented racist federal government policies that were not undone until the Truman administration. The “conservative Republican” President Dwight Eisenhower sent federal troops to enforce racial desegregation in Little Rock schools.

    Yet, present day “progressive Democrats” tend to call “conservative Republicans” racist.

  16. #16 |  Phelps | 

    Because when it comes to protecting civil rights, Republicans are third rate firemen, but Democrats are first-rate arsonists.

  17. #17 |  Captain Noble | 

    Politicians will say whatever they think they need to say in order to get elected. Conviction and ideology have little to do with this.

  18. #18 |  Bramblyspam | 

    @Franklin #12 – Here’s an extended version of the phenomenon. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhGuXCuDb1U

  19. #19 |  Bill Wells | 

    There’s a reason why libertarians are generally more comfortable (or less uncomfortable) with Republicans than with Democrats. More precisely, more comfortable with conservatives than with liberals. Probably the simplest way to put this is that, at root, most libertarians and conservatives are egoists while most liberals are not.

    That said, any libertarian who thinks that the Republicans or the conservatives actually support liberty needs to have his head examined….

  20. #20 |  Mattocracy | 

    There is a difference between voters and politicians. I don’t think anyone is a natural ally of any elected politician, even the pols they vote for. If Paul Ryan had a (D) after his name, conservative voters would turn on him in a heartbeat.

    It’s that letter man. It means more than voting records for most people. People still think they are getting what is being promised on paper.

    And when you show people evidence to the contrary, they’re just not going to believe it. Ever. People are addicted to their political affiliation. Addicts aren’t rational actors. That is applicable to those of us who vote (L) as well.

  21. #21 |  EH | 

    Bill Wells:
    The Republicans intend to rule your private lives. The Democrats intend to rule your use of money

    How do you explain the PMRC? “Video games = murder” cultural determinism is a Democrat thing, like “poor people = lazy” is for Republicans.

  22. #22 |  MH | 

    If libertarians tend to be more comfortable with conservatives I think it is because American conservatism is a weird fusion of the classical liberalism that was prevalent at the country’s founding and more traditional Burkean conservatism and nationalism. When conservatives appeal to classical liberal values, libertarians find common ground. By contrast American liberalism seems to have less and less in common with classical liberalism, but there are some exceptions: some liberals (e.g. Glenn Greenwald) are strong on civil liberties. The trouble is that anti-interventionist, anti-drug war, pro-civil liberties American liberals seem to be rather marginalized these days. Thus: with conservatives the overlap with libertarians is demographically big (a lot of conservatives care, or _think_ they care, passionately about economic liberalism), while the overlap with American liberals is demographically small, creating an impression of an affinity for conservatives. But I think libertarians are pretty far apart philosophically from both conservatives and liberals.

  23. #23 |  CJ | 

    Knuckledragger ain’t the right term, but the fact is, anyone who doesn’t understand the necessity for TARP is quite plainly ignorant of the crisis at hand in late 2008.

    Now, you may say that the system shouldn’t have required it if it were better constructed, you may rue the need for it, but saying we shouldn’t have done it is like standing around a burning house and saying “Don’t put that fire out, build the house from something fireproof instead.”

  24. #24 |  Robert | 

    Those wonderful Texas border cities that have low crime rates that you’ve been using as evidence Radley?

    http://pjmedia.com/tatler/2012/08/20/border-conspiracy-exclusive/?singlepage=true

  25. #25 |  JLS | 

    MH “The trouble is that anti-interventionist, anti-drug war, pro-civil liberties American liberals seem to be rather marginalized these days.”

    Oh they’ll be back in force if a republican gets in the white house. If the Romneybot wins then they’ll suddenly discover that the US government is making war in 7 or 8 nations, that NDAA, TSA, NSA, and others are violating everyone’s privacy and that the drug war suddenly exists again although it hadn’t for the past 4 years.

  26. #26 |  Meiczyslaw | 

    Your question is actually asked over on conservative blogs a different way:

    “Why are we (conservatives) in the Republican Party, again?”

  27. #27 |  Brandon | 

    #23:”Knuckledragger ain’t the right term, but the fact is, anyone who doesn’t understand the necessity for TARP is quite plainly ignorant of the crisis at hand in late 2008.

    Now, you may say that the system shouldn’t have required it if it were better constructed, you may rue the need for it, but saying we shouldn’t have done it is like standing around a burning house and saying “Don’t put that fire out, build the house from something fireproof instead.””

    Bullshit. TARP may have actually made the problems worse, and almost certainly has inhibited the recovery, along with the ARRA. It wasn’t necessary, nor was it useful, and making up a stupid simile for it doesn’t change that. The only positive aspect of TARP, or what would be the only positive aspect if not for the True Believers like you who refuse to look at any actual evidence, is that it disproved Keynesian economics. But of course, since it was passed, its defenders can still maintain the unfalsifiable (hence unverifiable) delusion that “IT WOULD’VE BEEN WORSE” despite the fact that, with the stimulus, the recovery has been worse than they forecasted without any stimulus.

  28. #28 |  liberranter | 

    Remind me again why libertarians and Republicans are natural allies?

    What credible libertarian has ever said that?

  29. #29 |  Mark F. | 

    We are “natural allies” with conservatives because the left thinks we are!

  30. #30 |  Mark F. | 

    The Koch involvement with CATO confuses people, you have to admit.

  31. #31 |  Cyto | 

    Brandon: Seconded.

    TARP was absolutely critical to buy up all those completely unsaleable assets (the “troubled assets” in TARP) to solve the mark-to-market valuation problem that was combining with asset ratio rules to drive banks to insolvency.

    Except…. Within days of passing the legislation and before they actually spent the TARP funds they changed their mind and decided to give the money to the banks for other purposes instead. So they never actually relieved any of those troubled assets that it was so metaphysically imperative that we purchase. I call bullshit on calling bullshit on those who call bullshit on TARP. It was a giveaway to their banker buddies (particularly at Goldman) just as much as the GM/Chrysler bailouts were a giveaway to the unions.

    If they had really wanted to solve the mortgage backed securities problems they would have eased the mark-to-market accounting rules to allow for a reasonable valuation. Problem solved – banks quit going under and the housing bubble deflates naturally with investors taking their losses only on the loans that default – not on their entire portfolio when they are forced to sell into a bear market in order to maintain asset ratios.

  32. #32 |  derfel cadarn | 

    Radley you know better than to believe Libertarians and Republicans are natural allies. If that were the case Ron Paul would have been the Republican nominee years ago. The Libertarians want to Freedom and Liberty for the People the Republicans want power for themselves. It is always a choice between Socialism and Merchantilism both are shitty choices\. Would the time come that there was a third, America might have a chance. But as of now the party is over for America.

  33. #33 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    “Toxic Asset Recovery Program” gave me the idea to tell my wife about my “Strategic Sexual Partners Outside of Marriage”. I still have a lot to learn how Congress gets away with these things.

  34. #34 |  Jeff W | 

    Isn’t there a saying about communications equaling a value of very little worth.. ah probably not.

  35. #35 |  Bill Wells | 

    (try number 6)

    #21: “‘The Republicans intend to rule your private lives. The Democrats intend to rule your use of money’

    How do you explain the PMRC? “Video games = murder” cultural determinism is a Democrat thing, like “poor people = lazy” is for Republicans.”

    Cultural determinism is part of the liberal paternalism thing, whereby they justify telling people how to spend their money. So, vidgames are evil, you aren’t capable of controlling your thirst for evil, so we will prevent you from buying vidgames. You can substitute any number of things for vidgames….

  36. #36 |  sweatyfederalist | 

    All this said, Barry and the Ds promise to let taxes on capital formation double or more in January, and Mittens and the Rs will likely hold the so-called Bush tax cuts steady. If my boss loses a double extra scoop to federal taxes, I could very well lose my scoop.

    Best practices for the frustrated libertarian?
    1. Focus your electoral efforts on state capitals. (Read Madison’s Federalist #46). If the States are not willing to reclaim their sovereignty, we have zero chance at rolling back the unconstitutionally massive nanny state.
    2. Read the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of 1798. Nullification has started in earnest over the NDAA, REAL ID & Obamacare. Again, the States are here for that purpose.
    3. Find allies in the Tea Party that agree with your limited government, constitutional models and take over your local GOP committee. Many states (like my native PA) game the electoral process against third parties. This has been happening in earnest since the 2010 election.
    4. Even if you think Romney is a milquetoast and Paul Ryan is re-arranging deck chairs on the Titannic, the alternative will guarantee an unavoidable and crushing new tax on job creators in January. It’s fun being a purist, but that doesn’t mean I’ll refuse fiat currency until we re-adopt a gold standard.

    In liberty,
    The Sweaty Federalist

  37. #37 |  Danny | 

    The problem is Libertarians focusing on marginal tax rates. Tax structure is a legitimate Libertarian issue. Top marginal rates inside a given tax structure is the most trifling liberty issue that can be imagined.

    Libertarians should be focusing on fixed and immutable constitutional rights, particularly with respect to limits on police and law enforcement, as determined by the Supreme Court. On those issues, it’s no contest. The more liberal appointees vote much more reliably in favor of individual rights in the criminal justice and civil liberties contexts. The conservative justices only vote for individual rights in those contexts in rare and unpredictable circumstances, at best.

  38. #38 |  Comrade Dread | 

    My two cents…

    Republicans want to screw you over on behalf of their donors. But they want to leave a tract on the nightstand to convince you that you can do better even though they couldn’t.

    Democrats want to screw you over on behalf of their donors. But they want to leave you a $20 bill on the nightstand to salve their conscience about screwing you.

    You’re going to get screwed over either way, so I guess the question is whether or not you want a safety net and how big it will be.

  39. #39 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Comrade Dread,

    I would also suggest that you need to decide whether the ‘safety net’ the Democrats are supposed to be so good for will actually be of any help when you actually need it. It’s all very well for one side to yell “They want to steal your social security”, but there is no money there. It’s all spent. All three branches of government (SCOTUS ruled that funds could NOT be sequestered from the general fund) and both parties spent it.

    Some – repeat, SOME – Republicans are prepared to admit this. I have yet to hear a Democrat do the same, but I can hope.

  40. #40 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Another thought;

    Both parties got captured by Big Government weenies, certainly by the end of WWII. The fight for the soul of the Republican party against these idiots has already started. It isn’t going very well, but it is happening. There are a few signs that a similar fight in the Democrat Party might be starting, but it hasn’t really kicked off yet.

    I will not vote for a Libertarian candidate for President before there is at least some Libertarian presence in Congress. A third party President would have the same trouble getting anything done with no cooperation from Congress that Jimmy (poor prat) Carter had, only more so.

    It is in the interests of Libertarians (and the country) to join the fight for whichever major party you would be least uncomfortable working with. TAKE BACK YOUR GOVERNMENT by Robert Heinlein is no longer in print in a dead tree format, but Baen Books will sell it to you in an eBook format. I recommend it highly.

  41. #41 |  Comrade Dread | 

    I suppose that would depend upon what economist you listen to and/or just how much in taxes you are willing to pay to maintain it.

  42. #42 |  supercat | 

    #23 | CJ | “Don’t put that fire out, build the house from something fireproof instead.”

    A better analogy might be to say that one team wants to add clean-burning fuel to the fire to stifle the appearance of smoke, lest people stop going into the building and those inside figure out there’s a fire and panic; the “knuckledraggers” oppose such efforts. Neither team has any interest in conducting an orderly evacuation, nor in putting out the fire.

    With regard to “troubled” assets, mark-to-market, etc., the fundamental problem with the markets is that swindlers have deliberately arranged many interconnected assets in such a way that it’s difficult to judge their true value, for the purpose of making the assets appear more valuable than they really are. If unwinding all the assets would reveal that they are worth 25 cents for each dollar that the current holders paid for them, that would solidify the fact that the current holders have lost 75 cents on the dollar, but it wouldn’t cause the loss of that money. THE MONEY IS ALREADY LOST. Keeping the values of the assets obscure may give the current holders a chance to sell the assets, but every dollar of loss that isn’t absorbed by the current holders would have to be absorbed by someone else. Further, there are substantial real costs in maintaining the appearance of normalcy:

    -1- The longer the illusion is maintained, the harder it will be to track down and prosecute the original swindlers (of course, some politicians might regard this as a good thing…)

    -2- The money which is funneled into maintaining the illusion of assets’ worth can be siphoned out of the market by those who know what things are really worth, whether because they are responsible for having set them up, or whether they have simply managed to decode some of what’s going on (some politicians might regard this as a good thing too)

    -3- If the owners of an asset think it might be worth fifty cents on the dollar, and prospective buyers aren’t certain it’s worth even ten cents on the dollar, the asset will likely be stuck in the hands of people who can’t really use it but don’t want to sell it for less than it’s worth. The illusion that the asset is worth more than it actually is thus has a substantial opportunity cost, namely the amount of good that the asset could have done its actual worth was known by the owner, who couldn’t use it, and a prospective buyer, who could.

    It’s too bad that people seem to think that multiplying the quantity of an asset that exists, times its current market marginal price, yields a meaningful number. The widespread perception that (absolute quantity) times (marginal price) yields a reasonable approximation of (total absolute value) creates substantial resistance to any actions which would cause the prices of goods to reflect their actual worth. Only when prices reflect worth, however, can markets actually generate wealth.

  43. #43 |  Cynical in New York | 

    Ive never trusted conservatives to begin with. As for Ryan, Bob Wenzel of Economic Policy Journal has put together a nice list that exposes Ryan.

    http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2012/08/the-truth-about-paul-ryan-wenzel-cuts.html

  44. #44 |  Elliot | 

    Remind me again why libertarians and Republicans are natural allies? Because I’m not seeing it.

    For libertarians who vote, I think many subscribe to the policy that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” I don’t agree, even though I view the entirety of the Democrat party as enemies of individual rights. I hate nearly all Republicans almost as much. There are a few outliers, but even Ron Paul fails to be 100% consistent on principles of individualism. I also don’t agree that democracy has anything to do with freedom. But that’s another issue.

    If one accepts the premises behind elections, I can understand an individualist voting defensively for a Republican if the Democrat has a chance to win. And, if the Republican is also reprehensible, I can understand voting for a Libertarian Party candidate, putting NOTA, writing in “Radley Balko”, or leaving it blank as a way to make a point. But I will never understand a self-described libertarian ever voting for a Democrat.

  45. #45 |  el coronado | 

    An interesting thread. What’s even more interesting is the sudden absence of the crowd of ‘left-leaning Libertarians’ who’ve been showing up & commenting here over the last few months. Surely more than just a couple of ya are willing to explain why L’s should give the donkey party a look….why the sudden shyness, comrades?

  46. #46 |  Other Sean | 

    It’s simple. We lean toward the side that doesn’t punctuate every mention of libertarians with a hint that we’re all just mentally ill. We lean toward the side that lets us speak. For a minority faction with no hope of changing policy in our own lifetime, speech is the only thing that really matters.

    A simple thought experiment will do to make my point. Which of the following public speaking assignments would make you more uncomfortable, in the terrible sense of looking out upon a big crowd and knowing that every man, woman, and child in it would jump to their feet cheering if you were suddenly killed:

    1) If you had to attend a Republican party event in Texas and deliver a speech on behalf of drug legalization, ending the death penalty, and withdrawal from Afghanistan.

    2) If you had to stand before an audience of Manhattan Democrats and explain why libertarians believe the ’64 Civil Rights Act is actually a grave infringement of the freedom of association.

    I’ll give you a hint: one of these things never happens, and the other happens every time Ron Paul visits his home district.

    That’s why.

  47. #47 |  Elliot | 

    @Other Sean (#46), the Republicans who don’t call us crazy are usually the ones who aren’t overly religious or part of the officious law-and-order crowd. And, while most Democrats focus on being anti-Republican and are dismissive of libertarians as “fringe” elements, the true believer Democrat fanatics tend to be angry beyond belief at libertarians, because they know that the Republicans will drift towards their position over time, as they compromise half the distance to the goal every few years. The libertarians and some of the “tea party” types, on the other hand, refuse to compromise, which makes them a bigger threat to their big government plans.

  48. #48 |  donttread | 

    Politics is about forming coalitions. Until such time as those of us who believe in both economic and personal freedom can convince a majority of the population that a consistent approach to freedom is desirable, we are forced to seek the coalition partners that will best help us further our goals. This means working together with those partners on areas in which we have common cause, and ignoring differences until another day.

    The Republicans offer at least some support for limited government, and while I agree with many of the comments that this support from many R’s is at the lip service level only, that isn’t true of all Republicans. The D’s, on the other hand, are firmly wedded to the idea of a powerful state that can take care of all of our wants and needs, this is why they offer so little real support to any kind of individual freedom. (read any of Radley’s posts about how the Obama administration continues to crack down on medical marijuana in CA)

    Like el coronado, I too would be interested to hear the case for the Democrats being the better coalition partner for a purist libertarian, if such a case can be made.

  49. #49 |  JThompson | 

    The responses in this thread are why I howl with laughter every time I see libertarians take credit for moving gay rights along.

    “Yeah, we don’t hate you, but if it’s your life or being promised a tax cut that won’t affect our income bracket anyway, we’ll support the guys that want to jail you, thanks.”.

    Which group a libertarian naturally aligns with pretty much depends on what kind of libertarian they are.

  50. #50 |  el coronado | 

    So if I read that right, #49, your acid test for a ‘good Libertarian’ is one who agrees with your (apparent) stance on the Single Most Important Issue Ever, gay rights?

    And could you enlighten us on who it is nowdays – not back in the repressive Roosevelt/Truman Democrat Police State/Internment Camp/HUAC heyday of the 1940′s, pls – what national party has called for “jailing” gays recently?

  51. #51 |  Elliot | 

    donttread (#48): Until such time as those of us who believe in both economic and personal freedom can convince a majority of the population that a consistent approach to freedom is desirable, we are forced to seek the coalition partners that will best help us further our goals.

    I’m not forced to do any such thing. Voting is a hostile act, equivalent to giving a permission slip to one group or the other group to violate the rights of my neighbors.

    If a majority of the population thought slavery or persecuting particular groups was legal and righteous, then democracy only gives them the power to impose a tyranny of the majority. If such a vote were held, then casting a ballot to oppose slavery would be agreeing to the outcome, including the possibility that 51% votes for slavery. Just don’t participate and refuse to acknowledge the moral validity of the outcome. Our rights should never be put on the auction block of public opinion.

    Furthermore, the winner-take-all nature of elections works against finding solutions to conflicts which benefit the parties involved. Instead, majority parties get to cram whatever they want down everyone’s throats. Rather than the interested parties in a dispute finding common ground, outsiders get to impose their notions, which make everyone worse off (except cronies, usually).

    Like el coronado, I too would be interested to hear the case for the Democrats being the better coalition partner for a purist libertarian, if such a case can be made.

    A “purist libertarian” won’t compromise on principles. Voting, as I explained, compromises on principles.

    As for Democrats, they reject the premise that your life belongs to you, so finding common ground on individual rights is impossible. At best, they’ll use wedge issues like abortion or drug prohibition to pose as someone who stands for freedom. Except, they’ll want to force people to pay for others, or to tax a plant you can grow in your yard, just because.

    At least a small portion of the Republican voters can discuss individual rights without running back home to big government solutions.

  52. #52 |  Sancho | 

    I don’t think it’s that complicated.

    A lot of self-styled libertarians – and I would say the majority – are only libertarian on the topics of guns, taxes and welfare. “Libertarianism” is rebranded conservatism and naturally fits with the right-wing political establishment.

  53. #53 |  AlgerHiss | 

    The oly difference between the two major partys is one walks leftward, and the other runs leftward.

    You are only voting for the speed at which things move leftward.

  54. #54 |  Duracomm | 

    Republicans are allies of libertarians because democrats are civil liberties disasters. Their terrible policies are made worse because the media does not pay attention to civil liberties when a democrats are violating them.

    So the best thing for civil liberties is a republican president because at least the media will suddenly find civil liberties to be an important issue.

    Here is an example for you.

    http://reason.com/blog/2012/08/20/why-is-david-brocks-democratic-pac-attac

    “”Why Is David Brock’s Democratic PAC Attacking Paul Ryan for Voting Against More Drug-War Funding?

    But just because I couldn’t find a single record of Ryan talking about the drug war doesn’t mean my search was entirely without fruit. In the course of digging, I found an oppo research file on Ryan published by American Bridge, a Democratic PAC started by David Brock. Amazingly, that file
    criticizes Ryan for not voting in favor of increased drug war funding.

    But I nevertheless find it fascinating that a progressive group is hammering a Republican for voting against giving more drug-war funding. That $145 million for the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign? It paid for the Above the Influence ad campaign, which the GAO deemed a failure with unpleasant unintended consequences. Those High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas? They’ve since been used to crack down on low-level drug offenders and medical marijuana.

    As for Ryan’s 2000 and 2007 votes against funding the Office of National Drug Control Policy: The head of the ONCDP through 2001 was Gen. Barry McCaffrey, a hardcore drug warrior who was later revealed to be a paid shill for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and who recently said that Portugal’s decriminalization efforts were “bullshit.”

    The second time Ryan voted against increased funding for the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Drug Czar John P. Walters (2001-2009) was in charge. Not only did Walters advocate for randomly drug-testing high school students, he wrote a piece for The Weekly Standard earlier this year decrying any and all legalization or decriminalization efforts.

    So, in addition to wanting to know more about Paul Ryan’s stance on the drug war, I’d also like to know why David Brock’s super PAC is attacking Ryan for not giving more money to Barry McCaffrey and John P. Walters. “”

  55. #55 |  Cynical in New York | 

    #52

    I don’t know if you have been actually paying attention but the Conservative establishment is pretty openly hostile to libertarians. You honestly think conservatives like Savage, Levin or Ingram would give an interview to people like Lew Rockwell? To call libertarianism a re-branding of conservatism is ridiculous and lazy at the very least.

  56. #56 |  Deoxy | 

    I don’t know if you have been actually paying attention but the Conservative establishment is pretty openly hostile to libertarians.

    Let me fix that for you: “I don’t know if you have been actually paying attention but the establishment is pretty openly hostile to libertarians.”

    The “establishment” is made of lifelong politicians. The vast majority of these people are in it for themselves first, and their stated beliefs and political stances are for political benefit, nothing more.

    As such, libertarian thought is a direct attack on their REAL beliefs. Which party they are a part of does not matter.

    Elliot: So, what manner of government do YOU find acceptable? Anarchy, while intellectually satisfying for certain things, has a snowball’s chance in hell of even being listened to much less contemplated by the vast majority of the US population, so don’t bother.

    Seriously, democratic methods of government are the absolute worst form of government… except for all the others we’ve tried. Pure democracy is essentially mob rule, but even mob rule is often preferable to monarchy.

    In the short term, an omniscient, benevolent dictator would be the most efficient and best for of government, but even if you could somehow achieve an approximation of that, succession is a serious problem (somehow, the people that want control the most are the ones we least want in charge, but are the ones most willing to fight for and hardest for that control).

    No way in hell there’s 15 MPH difference between those two buses.

    You’re right – it’s more like 75 mph and 150 mph… as judged by how fast Bush and Obama administrations have added to the debt.

    Of course, really, even that’s not fair, since a large chunk of what happened under Bush was after the Democrats gained control of Congress (where they set the budget… or just the continuing resolution, like the last several years, now).

  57. #57 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    In the short term, an omniscient, benevolent dictator would be the most efficient and best for of government

    I’ll take, instead, a businessman running a resort that I pay to stay at—with other competing resorts just down the road. No nations. No government.

  58. #58 |  Deoxy | 
    In the short term, an omniscient, benevolent dictator would be the most efficient and best for of government

    I’ll take, instead, a businessman running a resort that I pay to stay at—with other competing resorts just down the road. No nations. No government.

    Right up until the guy down the road is losing too much business to the guy you’re staying with a has him bumped off in some plausibly deniable way.

    That’s how those kinds of things end. Everywhere in the world that has been tried, that’s how it ends – city-states that are essentially the equivalent of dictatorships without formal borders (usually). The group most willing and/or able to engage in violence is in charge.

    We have governments as an attempt to give exclusive (or nearly so) right to violence to someone that is under our control (theoretically).

    Yes, they have all kinds of problems. Pretending they don’t is stupid. Pretending there aren’t all kinds of problems with the alternatives is also stupid.

  59. #59 |  Elliot | 

    Deoxy (#56): Elliot: So, what manner of government do YOU find acceptable?

    That begs the question: why do I have to “accept” a system to rule others? I can accept something for myself, but other people ought to have the right to make their own decisions.

    I can tell you what I would prefer for myself and in my ideal world, everyone else would agree with me on what would be best. Of course, if everyone agreed, then it would be a voluntary collaboration, which is not a government.

    In a slightly less ideal world in which I’m forced to be dictator for a month and made to have some government, I’d design it to be minimal (law enforcement, no victimless crimes, defensive military). In short, a free market libertarian “minarchy”.

    But in the real world, I won’t presume to know what’s best for you or millions of others.

    Anarchy, while intellectually satisfying for certain things, has a snowball’s chance in hell of even being listened to much less contemplated by the vast majority of the US population, so don’t bother.

    Seriously, democratic methods of government are the absolute worst form of government… except for all the others we’ve tried. Pure democracy is essentially mob rule, but even mob rule is often preferable to monarchy.

    I don’t dispute any of that and I have said basically the same thing, many times.

    So, I don’t offer blueprints for how to rule others. I simply point out the ethical flaws in how people who wield government power violate the rights of others. I don’t have to give a “better solution” to point out that those people are doing wrong and should stop. It’s no incumbent upon a witness to force a rapist to stop. The rapist should refrain from rape in the first place.

  60. #60 |  James Solbakken | 

    Political party is always partisan and never principled. I see partisanship in the big “L” Libertarians similar to the big “R” Republicans, which means they both suck. Political principle is, like, the opposite of party affiliation. Most people do not understand principles, and therefore do not trust principles, so they stick to party politics. A small “l” libertarian and a small “r” republican should have a lot in common, and they do, once they give up the politics.
    Isn’t it a bit of a straw-man ploy to hold up a well known RINO (isn’t it telling that principled republicans have a name for partisan Republicans? Do libertarians have as well a developed nose for LINO’s? Yeah, I think some do)
    as an example of the weasely weaselhood and weaselality of all Republicans?
    How about bringing the people together who we would LIKE to have brought together? Why not reach out to the people who loathe the whole idea of TARP, and actually drive a wedge between us and them? Why say things in such a way that TENDS TO ALIENATE the people WE need to reach? So it’s good to point out that Boner is a phony balony plastic banana, but it’s bad to assume that stealth has nothing to do with the success of the statist juggernaut.

  61. #61 |  James Solbakken | 

    I am CONSERVATIVE in that I believe that the moral choices of moral agents have seriously deadly consequences, so I tread carefully and guard those whom I have responsibility for, especially when it comes to keeping away those who DON’T believe that morals and their lack have consequences.
    I’m LIBERTARIAN in that I believe that if someone else’s moral choices do not directly put me and mine or some innocently ignorant person at unacceptable risk, then it ain’t none of my beeswax.
    What I can’t figure out is what is so effing complicated about this?

  62. #62 |  AdamPM | 

    Actually I think a better way to put this is Republicans want to control your life through morality. Democrats want to control your life through money.

    From what I’m seeing neither side is competent enough to be able to discuss finances or morality. Maybe politicians should be like children, seen but not heard.

    #21 | EH | August 20th, 2012 at 1:22 pm
    Bill Wells:
    The Republicans intend to rule your private lives. The Democrats intend to rule your use of money

    How do you explain the PMRC? “Video games = murder” cultural determinism is a Democrat thing, like “poor people = lazy” is for Republicans.

  63. #63 |  agorabum | 

    Republicans want to codify the rules in the bible, start more wars, and support torture and indefinite detention. Oh, they also want to lower the top marginal tax rates, and raise the lower marginal tax rates (so you pay more on the first $250k you earn, and less on the rest).
    Democrats want to raise top marginal rates (so you pay the same on the first 250k you earn and more on everything above $250k). For this they are called communist/socialist/”they want to control you” by basically everyone on this board.
    The simple answer to Radley’s question is that lowering the top marginal tax rate takes precedent over all other issues. Support for Gitmo, Iraq, military buildup, codifying the demands of the religious right, none of it’s more important than lower taxes on the rich.
    Disappointing, but unsurprising.

  64. #64 |  buzz | 

    Because there is a small subset of the Republican party who actually believe in smaller government, the Constitution and personal freedom and if that subset actually exists in the democrat party, its exceedingly small. And that if a Libertarian wants his vote to count he can vote for a side which has no chance of supporting his policies or a side in which he has a small chance. Or you can cherrypick the worst of them, and apply a broad brush to all of them and then ask stupid questions. Which ever you prefer.

  65. #65 |  el coronado | 

    Then again, maybe another reason Libertarians (reluctantly) gravitate more to Team Elephant rather than the other guys can be found in some of the more recent comments. “Republicans want to control your private life through morality (dude)”; “Republicans intend to rule your private lives”; and of course the subtle and understated “Republicans want to (totally) codify the Bible, start (like) more wars, And (totally) support , (like), TORture and indefinite detention.”

    With no mention whatsoever of the _Zero_ Democrat efforts to, like, close Gitmo; or their wildly enthusiastic and completely unConstitutional support for Speech Codes and ‘Free Speech Zones’ and the like; Our Dear Democrat Leader gleefully signed into law HR 347, making protesting against Our Betters illegal; or the fact democrats not only continue to fund & expand the NSA/Mil-Ind complex/Police State/Drug War et al, they *started the ball rolling* with the creation of the CIA & NSA & the Harrison Narcotic Act of 1914; or the hugely inconvenient fact that every major war the US was involved in during the 20th century started while a *Democrat* was in the White House…..

    Maybe Libertarians just hate intellectual dishonesty combined with XXXL doses of sophistry – and find a tad less of it at Team Elephant.

  66. #66 |  Doc Merlin | 

    …because its actually possible to take over local republican party organizations, as we libertarians have in Tarrant county Texas (think Fort Worth).

    Its not really possible for a libertarian to do the same in the democratic party, because its structure is way less democratic.

  67. #67 |  Doc Merlin | 

    Lets see, we (I am a libertarian (little l) who is an RNC delegate) put planks in our platform against “free speech zones” and against using arial surveillance against US targets.

  68. #68 |  Doc Merlin | 

    “The Republicans intend to rule your private lives. The Democrats intend to rule your use of money”

    No, dems also want to tell you how to eat.

  69. #69 |  el coronado | 

    Doc makes an interesting point. The basis for the tired old ‘Republicans want to rule your private lives’ whine seems to stem from past GOP efforts to oppose abortion – an issue that could just as easily be framed as ‘protecting the lives of the unborn’ (and before the squeals start, when some asshole kills a pregnant woman & her fetus, nowdays most of the time he’s charged with 2 murders, right? Even by *democrat* DA’s in heavily-democrat states, right?) – and opposition to gay marriage.

    As noted above, democrats want to control what you eat & drink; and *say* – hate speech! culture of hatred/sexism/racism! – and clamp down on any & all participation on the electoral process by ANY religious groups, except – oddly – all-black churches and the black moslems. Looks about like a wash to me.

  70. #70 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @26 – There’s an easy answer to that – The FPTP voting system.

    @52 – Absolutely.

  71. #71 |  En Passant | 

    For some reason I’ve been unable to make this information post on comment threads of anybody but Radley. Somebody please post this information to the Brandon Raub article comment thread. Thank you.

    Brandon Raub has now been released by court order.

    Links:

    The Blaze.

    WTVR, Richmond, VA.

  72. #72 |  Other Sean | 

    Leon,

    Good point about FPTP. That is exactly the same reason why, in America, even avowed socialists tend to be a fierce partisans of the Democrats. They’ve nowhere else to go.

    Not to sound surprised, but it’s not often that you’re ri…I mean, um, it’s rare that you and I should agree about anything.

Leave a Reply