Meta-Blog

SEARCH QandO

Email:
Jon Henke
Bruce "McQ" McQuain
Dale Franks
Bryan Pick
Billy Hollis
Lance Paddock
MichaelW

BLOGROLL QandO

 
 
Recent Posts
The Ayers Resurrection Tour
Special Friends Get Special Breaks
One Hour
The Hope and Change Express - stalled in the slow lane
Michael Steele New RNC Chairman
Things that make you go "hmmmm"...
Oh yeah, that "rule of law" thing ...
Putting Dollar Signs in Front Of The AGW Hoax
Moving toward a 60 vote majority?
Do As I Say ....
 
 
QandO Newsroom

Newsroom Home Page

US News

US National News
Politics
Business
Science
Technology
Health
Entertainment
Sports
Opinion/Editorial

International News

Top World New
Iraq News
Mideast Conflict

Blogging

Blogpulse Daily Highlights
Daypop Top 40 Links

Regional

Regional News

Publications

News Publications

 
The One (Party) Ring
Posted by: Jon Henke on Tuesday, July 18, 2006

While some supporters are trying to play the 'we're down to a $300 billion deficit' for applause, John Merline at TCS Daily points out that there's a very clear explanation of our current fiscal situation. That 2001 CBO analysis that "predicted that the federal government would run a surplus of $505 billion for 2006"? Well, it turns out, their economic assumptions for 2006 weren't far wrong. But their revenue and spending assumptions were...
First, spending on discretionary programs was vastly higher than the CBO predicted — $269 billion higher, in fact.

Yes, a good chunk of that was the result of the defense build-up. But spending on non-defense programs was also way up — $109 billion higher than the CBO had projected. And only a small portion of that reflects the increase in spending on homeland defense.

Second, despite the wishes of Laffer-curve enthusiasts, individual income tax revenues came in far lower than the CBO had projected — $1.06 trillion instead of $1.35 trillion. The result, presumably, of Bush's income tax cuts.
And while it's conceivable that we could grow our way out of that $300b deficit, I doubt we'll grow our way out of the $800 billion deficit the Heritage Institute has predicted for 2016. Especially not when 'getting control of spending' means this:
Overall federal spending has increased by almost 9.1 percent in 2006. That's not just the steepest increase since George W. Bush moved into the White House. It's the steepest since 1990.
Many Republicans — the actual fiscal conservatives and libertarians, anyway — are becoming more and more disaffected with this state of affairs. Douglas Kern fingers the three prominent rationalizations that Republicans have deployed...
My handy Republican catechism tells me that The Three Deadly Republican Spending Rationalizations are:

  1. "This program will be expensive, wasteful, and corrosive to the virtues that make a free society function, but it's popular, and we need it in order to keep the Republican majority."


  2. "This program will be expensive, wasteful, and corrosive to the virtues that make a free society function, but it's necessary in the name of national security."


  3. "This program will be expensive and wasteful, but it will actually improve the virtues that make a free society function, because it uses the power and affluence of a large central government to subsidize independence, self-discipline, decentralization, and the rejection of the welfare state mentality."
The rationalizations so far have been, as Kerns puts it, "the political equivalent of drinking yourself back sober."

And yet, the alternative is...what? The Democrats? Not likely. If the Republicans have any good argument at all, it is that the Democratic Party will be worse. That's a useful argument for a time, but it has lost its persuasiveness as it evolved into an excuse for inaction. And as Kerns notes, the leviathan temptation is powerful...
The modern Republican lives in a Washington he hates — it's too rich, too powerful, too centralized, too self-important. And yet the modern Republican wields all the power at the command of this bloated monstrosity. He sees the nail of big government, and he wants to hit it with the nearest available hammer — more big government. I'll just cut off the head of one more Hydra, he thinks, and this time it won't sprout two more heads, because I have a clever plan.

The modern Republican is Gandalf, having won the primary against Frodo, and fidgeting with the Ring of Power in his palm. So much good I could do, so many people I could help, if I only slipped it on, and besides, you just know that Saruman would wear the Ring if his party took Congress...
It seems to me that the optimal libertarian and fiscal conservative strategy is to seek gridlock. And if that means a temporary alliance with the Democrats, well, what of it? The Democrats may be worse than the Republicans in many ways, but a divided government can thwart the ambitions of both.

The libertarian constituency has lost its influence within the Republican Party precisely because it has been 'reliable". Like the Democrats with black voters, Republicans just sort of assumed libertarians were a 'natural constituency' that wouldn't be lost. It seems to me that we'd become enablers, rather than an influential interest group, and now that many libertarians are calling foul, the people who'd taken us for granted are mad.

Well, that's what you get when you're a reliable dupe. So, we probably ought to explore our free agency, rather than becoming dependable votes in the future. The Democrats will certainly be The Enemy again, but not until they are actually in charge of something.

In the meantime, libertarians oppose an overweening State and the Republican Party is the State. Do the math.

UPDATE:

Mary Katherine Ham brings up another great argument for the Republican Party. Democrats don't really act like they want us.
On the contrary, instead of seeing folks like Goldstein or Reynolds as possible allies on certain issues, the Left blogosphere doesn’t just avoid engaging or wooing these guys—it actively attacks them.
[...]
As much as the Left blogosphere likes to accuse the whole center-right of existing only to parrot the command-and-control messages of Chimpy McBushitler, it is the Left blogosphere that has seemed so intent on alienating itself and the Democratic Party from political hybrids and moderate Democrats of late, and doing so in dramatic, nasty fashion.
[...]
When you’re knocking on doors at election time, burning dog poo has never been known to get out the vote.
Nor does the Kos-ian approach of asking libertarians to stop all that silly libertarianism and vote for Democrats sound like a serious overture. As Micha Ghertner noted at Catallarchy, "when you’re a Democrat and you’re putting out feelers hoping to make libertarians like you or something, aren’t you supposed to - I don’t know - concede something? Preferably something that we didn’t already know about you?" Nor do I find much utility in Billy Beck's 'don't just stand there, get angry! And then stand there' approach. Gridlock may not be as emotionally satisfying, but it's certainly no less effective a temporary political strategy than Beck's angry abstention.
 
TrackBacks
Return to Main Blog Page
 
 

Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
"Well, that’s what you get when you’re a reliable dupe."
What we’ll get with gridlock is 0 improvement possible—it may not get worse, it will not get better.

What you have mentioned is that the deficits are quite certain to grow in the future.

I contend we need improvement.

How, Mr. Henke, do you propose to turn gridlock into improvement?

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
The libertarian constituency has lost its influence within the Republican Party precisely because it has been ’reliable". Like the Democrats with black voters, Republicans just sort of assumed libertarians were a ’natural constituency’ that wouldn’t be lost.
I couldn’t agree more, and I’ve employed this analogy in barroom, er, "debates" as well. Unfortunately, rather than making me want to vote Democrat, it just makes me want to vote "none of the above" (didn’t somebody do that recently? Hmmm ... wait, it’ll come to me).

I’m thinking that this November, there’s a strong chance that I’ll just write in a candidate ... I wonder if I can get my wife to vote for me too?
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://
Perfectly rational theory. Now reconcile it with another of your [I think] beliefs. Politicians are constantly trying to latch on to hot issues that motivate voters to vote the way the politician desires them to vote.
So where is the politician who sees things as you do who is is reaching out to libertarians? Presumably he would be a Democrat. And why are the consultants not including this appeal in their recommendations?
The Republican establishment is [more or less] reaching out to blacks (with little success so far) and featuring black Republicans from time to time. I don’t see any libertarians being featured by the Democrat establishment. Some volunteers, like yourself, but not a movement. Why is that?
 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
"The Democrats may be worse than the Republicans in many ways, but a divided government can thwart the ambitions of both."

Theory.

I am not sure that it is a correct one, though. We’ve seen rather large deficits basically since Nixon was forced out of office. During that timeframe, we have had divided government and we have had both parties in control.

For example, Democrats had comfortable margins in both the House and Senate during Ford’s years, resulting in deficis of 53-73, where the worst before was a 33 during Vietnam (and where Nixon had averaged 12.8 and had, in 1969, the last surplus).

Dems controlled it all during Carter, but his average deficit was even higher than Ford’s.

Things were somewhat split with Reagan. In 6 of 8 of his years, the Republicans had a majority in the Senate but Democrats held the House comfortably. Deficits soared.

Things were divided for Bush the elder, with Democrats holding both chambers of Congress. Deficits went even higher.

During the first two years of Clinton, with Democrats in control of everything, deficits remained very high.

The only time since Ford became President where we have seemed to make a dent in it was after Gingrich led the takeover of the House. And when he left office, things regressed.

I don’t think that the data accrued since Watergate supports the divided government panacea. The solution is much simpler than hoping for a governmental quagmire. The solution is electing the right people.

Simple in concept, that is. Devilishly hard to do in reality. You have to figure out who really are the right people, and they have to figure out how to sell themselves, and we actually have to pull the levers...
 
Written By: Gerry
URL: http://redstate.com
Voting Democrat will sure send that "we want less government" message.

The only options I see are "R" or "L".
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Lots of theoretical discussions about which party would be worse.

No mention of the $200 billion surpluses under Clinton. Why? Because he was a Democrat, and thus would totally blow that "Democrats would be worse!" screed out of the water?

Fact is, since LBJ submitted a balanced budget for FY1969, this country has experienced precisely one sustained period of budget discipline and surpluses.

And it was under a Democratic President.
 
Written By: stickler
URL: http://
Just to be a stickler, stickler, Clinton’s surplusses were had from a bogus economy. Does the tech stock crash ring any bells. We didn’t really have the money we thought we had.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
No mention of the $200 billion surpluses under Clinton. Why? Because he was a Democrat, and thus would totally blow that "Democrats would be worse!" screed out of the water?
And they came during a time of split control (Rep. House; Dem. Senate (barely); Dem. Pres.), which would be pretty much Jon’s point — better than one-party rule.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://
Second, despite the wishes of Laffer-curve enthusiasts, individual income tax revenues came in far lower than the CBO had projected — $1.06 trillion instead of $1.35 trillion. The result, presumably, of Bush’s income tax cuts.
From an estimate made in 2001? Silly to believe there is no other possible reason.

What, exactly, is an "individual income tax revenue"? Is it different from total income tax revenue? Why that measurement?
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
To be even more of a stickler, there was no surplus under Clinton. The debt increased every year just as it has done since 1960.
http://www.publicdebt.treas.gov/opd/opdhisto4.htm
 
Written By: ABC
URL: http://
Clintons policies after Paul Rubin became treasury secretary were fiscaly sound.
If I thought that a future Democrat might have similar policies maybe I would be tempted to support them.
However, I don’t see that happening, Clinton was a fluke that could not happen under the current move towards the left in the current Democratic party.
(and who believes that Hillary would be a centrist?)
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
The senate was Republican until 2001 when Jeffords left and caucused with the Dems; from 95 till then it was GOP.

Strange that people aren’t mentioning those couple of years (mid 01-03) of soaring deficits under "divided gov’t".
 
Written By: h0mi
URL: http://
Well, that’s what you get when you’re a reliable dupe. So, we probably ought to explore our free agency, rather than becoming dependable votes in the future. The Democrats will certainly be The Enemy again, but not until they are actually in charge of something.
I agree, but as noted above I find the gridlock rationale weak. It might work, but it will be entirely dependent on the particulars. The Democrats might be worse, but they would have to be a whole lot worse to make me want to vote Republican. The gridlock theory assumes that Republicans will hold back the proclivity to spend more on the part of the Democrats. That is already happening and I doubt it would be much better with the Republicans not in power. I’ll put it another way, inspead of x the Republicans want x+2 and the Democrats want x+3. My guess is we will get x+2 in the gridlock case which is what we would get now. What might change that dynamic would be for the Republicans to suffer at the polls and change. Will they? No idea, they may just decide the reason they suffered is that they didn’t offer x+3. However, if they keep winning we may get x+3 anyway.

The reason to not vote Republican (and Mary Katherine Ham is exactly right about why I can’t vote Democrat, they aren’t even lying about wanting my vote enough to change. They just say we should hate the Republicans without giving me a reason to like them.) is to make them realize they need us (that is, if they really do.) They need to see those who are unhappy not turn out, libertarians supporting third party candidates, etc. That way they know it is not love for the Democrats (once again, unless the Democrats actually changed or offered us something) but disaffection with them. If we all vote Democrat we may just strengthen the hands of the statists in the party and encourage the Democrats to ask for x+4.

If the Republicans got that message (and I am dubious they would) then gridlock might work. As pointed out above, gridlock preserved spending under Reagan (because the Democrats wanted more of it and wouldn’t allow it to be cut) and restrained spending after 1994 because Republicans were under the impression that that is what its supporters wanted. Unless they get that message again gridlock will not be the result, but even more spending. That is why not to support Republicans, to demonstrate that it has an electoral price to increase the size of the state. Gridlock isn’t what held spending back in the 90’s, the desire of Republicans to reduce spending did so. They no longer do (with a few notable exceptions.)
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://
Wow! {The link is to Jon’s update] I not only get two good candidates for “Lefty Boy” blogs, but also an excellent dissertation on how the lefties are blowing it:

Damn, you’ve got to be quick, to comment here. Democrats obviously believe that they can win without the votes of anyone other than "full-groupthink" types. They are even busy casting out apostates [see Lieberman] Looking at Lieberman, one is hard put to buy Jon’s hope that libertarians have any welcome in the Democratic party other than as a vote; to be taken and then ignored. Given what I think of their full-groupthink positions, I have a difficult time seeing the wisdom of voting them into office. Jon is asking us to volunteer for the position currently held by blacks in the Democratic party. Is that wise?

As a Greenwald apologist, like Mona, Jon carries the odour of "I am a libertarain [or whatever]and I just happen to be crusading for the Democrats until the next few elections." OK. It’s a free country. However, it does make the task of following the debate harder to have all of these sub-classes. I, for one, have no trouble at all sweeping Mr. Greenwald, Mona and Jon’s ...liberal posts...into the box with the rest of the liberals.
 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
Damn! Of course I did not mean "the rest of". Please excuse.
 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
My recommendation is this:

Those who wish to restrict the government come in many different stripes. Everyone has their problems with some part of government, but trying to build a coalition around agreement on an agenda is a non-starter. Same goes for building them around a particular party.

So they should vote on an issue-by-issue, candidate-by-candidate basis. Parties aren’t as powerful as they were in the old days; they can’t enforce discipline too well when the votes are stacked against the party line; in this country a politician serves himself, not the party, so he’ll only be as loyal to the party as the party is able to get him re-elected. Problem is, many politicians don’t know just how many votes are coming from people who want government to butt out of their lives on this particular issue or set of issues, so they can’t weigh your vote against the votes the party can help them attain.

So they should be aware of just how many votes they lose when they act against limited Constitutional government, against checks and balances, and against responsible finance. They should know which issues are most likely to alienate limited-government people of all breeds.

And the people who are already interested in limiting government should be keyed into information on which issues and candidates press their limited—government buttons.
If a limited-government person wants to actually do something practical, they should have a vote out there for the getting, to whoever meets their criteria. And they should be vocal — not necessarily in an angry way, because that just puts them on the defensive, but in a I-want-you-to-work-with-me way. Being vocal, whether you do that by sending letters, forcing their interns to answer calls and take memos, or whatever, lets them know you’re out there and that your vote is there for the taking.

Further, let them know that you won’t settle for just rhetoric (although liberty-friendly rhetoric is a plus). You expect results. So take the effort to mention bill numbers and other specific information so they know what you mean when you ask them to change their behavior. It’s all about staying vigilant and informed.

And finally, intelligent people think at the margins. While you must always draw lines in the sand, things you simply will not tolerate, you should always make an effort to make your support attainable. Don’t be so stubborn that you find yourself asking for a laundry list of things the politician can’t deliver. You can keep the laundry list in your head, but don’t make it an ultimatum, i.e., choose your battles. Nudge them in your direction a little on every issue, and save your strength for the really big violations like Kelo. Otherwise they’ll likely consider the liberty vote too much trouble, because they won’t give up more than one non-liberty vote to get one liberty vote.

The best part of not having a party is, you can make demands on every political party that can be convinced to act a little more like you want them to. Democrats too interested in your pocketbook and Republicans too nosy about your personal life? Tell each side to compromise a little to get your vote. The neat thing is, you can do this both with the people in power and the people out of power.

So, recap:
Libertarian Organization:
1) Educate and inform.
2) Don’t even try to enforce ideological purity.
3) Contact voters and sympathetic groups based on their preferences to get them involved... not on your preferences. In other words, even if your organization wants to stop the government at every step, mobilize people based on their particular favored limitations.
4) Don’t tie yourself too hard to a particular party, or they’ll take you for granted. Period. Make them buy your vote.

Individuals:
1) Let them know that you will act, and tell them that they’re close to getting your vote. Make it specific how they can get on your good side.
2) Don’t tie yourself to a particular party, or they’ll take you for granted. Period.
2b) Talk to every party that might possibly compromise one or more of its issues for you.
3) Keep your demands realistic, but be persistent in those demands.
3b) Keep a small number of lines you simply will not allow them to cross, even if you think just about everything they’re doing is criminal and irresponsible.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
And by the way, Jon’s not crusading for a particular party. Check your assumptions. He’s crusading against consistently supporting people who don’t even come close to supporting you, because they’ve learned to take you for granted and can get away with murder without losing your vote.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
Just to be a stickler, stickler, Clinton’s surplusses were had from a bogus economy. Does the tech stock crash ring any bells. We didn’t really have the money we thought we had.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp


Clintons’s high tech economy is less bogus than Bush’s - which has created jobs only in the government, security jobs that add little or no GNP value, and (mostly) low-paying service sector jobs paid for with borrowed Chinese and Japanese money that will only kick into repayments after Bush and the corporate cronies leave office. (But not before they try and lock up all that tax cuts for the rich Chinese money by eliminating the estate
tax on multimillionaires.)

The Bush economy is like a company you encounter that says sales and gross revenue is increasing. Executives are making fortunes. The firm is spending like crazy, but you notice they are only hiring low-skilled employees and you are at a loss to figure out what they are making a profit on that justifies the top dogs making so much. Then you find they are taking on debt like crazy by using the firms most valuable assets to secure them, to embark on a series of non-profitable enterprises that artifically boost gross revenues. Then a real close look at the books and insider employees info reveals they have exploding debt and haven’t been profitable for 5 years.

I’d take the Clinton economy anyday over the "spend now, let some other generation pay for it" Bush economy, and I’m a Republican.

3 trillion more in debt created under the Republicans.
A new 13 trillion dollar entitlement.
The unfunded Medicare and SS liability went from 24 trillion to 42 under Bush due to out of control costs, more Bushie benefits, and his Open Borders importation of tens of millions of new immigrants who contribute little but will be heavy users of "free" SS and Medicare if legalized.

Jon Hencke has a point. The Democrats until Rob Rubin were already discredited as having the fiscal restraint of Robert Byrd and Teddy Kennedy, and the Republicans just turned out to be even more reckless in their Kenny Boys, Dubyas, pork-mad Dennys, and Abramoffs. Libertarians are too small and still to wedded to nutty beliefs like Open Borders to ever have power, so the best they can do is work for a divided Government that stops the greedfest of an unchecked Democrat or Republican Party.
 
Written By: C. Ford
URL: http://
"...the best they can do is work for a divided Government that stops the greedfest of an unchecked Democrat or Republican Party."
The best I can do is help the Democrats "purify" the Democratic party? Sorry. I’ll join the ranks of the non-voters first. Clever of you to include "Democrat" - as if that were part of the issue. I recognize a fifth columnist when I see one. [Don’t hold me to that precisely. I think I know what a fifth columnist is. One who claims to be against the party that they really support in order to influence those who are against that party in ways favorable to the ends of that party.] better we should all write in "Gridlock" so that everyone knows where we stand and how to get our vote in the future.
 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://

In a well-run business, when there is a problem with output, managment doesn’t point at this input or that input as being the cause. Instead, they hold the system responsible, and look for ways to change the system to improve output.

Congress (the system), with either party in charge, spends more than it brings in simply because it can. Until it is constrained by statute or Constitutional amendment, it will continue to do so. Why? Because that’s the way the system works; over-spending is simply what our current system does.

yours/
peter.
 
Written By: Peter Jackson
URL: http://www.liberalcapitalist.com
Very good point Peter. Congress has no in-built institutional control or even motivation to restrain spending and balance the budget. If we were to pass a balanced budget amendment, though, they would leave themselves wiggle room, like well yeah we borrowed money to balance the budget this year, but hey we don’t have to worry about paying it back till next year and so on and so on like they have been doing for decades.
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://
Just a question, i dont really mean anything ulterior meaning by this, but am honestly wondering. Has any govt in the history of govt ever restricted its own power, or given it up voluntarily, without the use of force?
 
Written By: Chris
URL: http://
Regarding Clinton’s surpluses: only a fool would vote for the Democrats in the expectation that future Democratic administrations will model themselves after Clinton’s.

Clinton was a conservative Democrat, a founder and former Chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council. In the current Democratic party, the DLC may be even less popular than Joe Lieberman, if that’s possible.

Furthermore, the Republicans had just captured Congress in the 1994 Mid-Term elections with their Contract With America, which promised (among other things) that Republicans would seek an Amendment to the Constitution requiring a balanced budget. Clinton was under tremendous pressure from Congress to deliver a balanced budget just as the tech boom was delivering enough tax revenue to allow the budget to be balanced without actually cutting anything or causing any pain to anyone.

Such a perfect storm of events leading to a budget surplus will not likely occur again in our lifetimes. In fact, Democratic candidates in 2004 were trying to top each other with national healthcare plans: Dean and Kerry released competing health-care plans with a 10-year cost of $932 billion and $895 billionn, respectively, and Dennis Kucinich topped them both with a plan that would impose a new payroll tax on employers to fund a government takeover of the health-care system, costing the federal government about $1 trillion a YEAR.

The fact is that the Republicans have shamelessly violated their core principles of limited government and fiscal responsibility, but the Democrats have never had any such principles in the past and are not claiming to have them now.

In fact, reducing government may very well be INSTITUTIONALLY IMPOSSIBLE for the Democratic party, since most of the party’s activist base and leadership, not to mention funding, comes directly from public employee unions. Cutting any part of the Federal bureaucracy would be like cutting the party itself.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
Can someone please explain to me why a budget deficit of 2.3% of GDP is a Bad Thing? It is assumed so by this post, but I’m not really seeing it.

As I look at it, budget deficits at less than ~3% of GDP aren’t really harmful. Heck, it occurs to me that so long as the budget deficit is less than the rate of inflation, our relative level of debt would be decreasing, not increasing. Am I wrong?
 
Written By: A.S.
URL: http://
A.S.,

I am not endorsing the deficit, but you have a point. I think the real concern is that the deficit is unlikely to stay that small as entitlement spending ramps up. However, the level of spending is the real issue for most of us, not a relatively small deficit. It should also be remembered this is the best year of his vicious right wing rule, previous years were worse.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://
Yes, we should reach out to Reynolds & Co. Now, is that before or after they say we’re cheering for Saddam?
 
Written By: Oliver
URL: http://www.oliverwillis.com
Omar!
If we were to pass a balanced budget amendment, though, they would leave themselves wiggle room, like well yeah we borrowed money to balance the budget this year, but hey we don’t have to worry about paying it back till next year and so on and so on like they have been doing for decades.
Of course they will. And they’ll write in regular pay raises for themselves. And sorghum subsidies. And subsidies for planting trees alternating with subsidies for cutting them down, and an initiative to make every road in America eight lanes wide, i.e., every manner of pork known to man.

When I say the system needs to be changed, I mean the whole enchilada, including entitlement reform, by which rules determine what percentage of revenue goes into several different categories of funding each year, not Congress. Congress can instead direct their efforts setting the funding priorities within the categories.

But if there is one thing, just one single thing that ought to be clear to each and every one of us by now is that Congress simply doesn’t possess the discipline within the imperatives formed by our current system to continuously restrain themselves from buying votes with taxpayer dollars. Our current system is really little more than an iteration of the Tragedy of the Commons.

yours/
peter.
 
Written By: Peter Jackson
URL: http://www.liberalcapitalist.com
A.S is right, as of right now there is no problem. There may be a problem soon, just like there may be a problem with global warming. And like global warming evidence of future harm is not conclusive and the remedies are not popular. Spending cuts are unpopular, tax increases are unpopular.

If you vote Democrat you endorse tax increases as a remedy for this future problem.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
How about when there are no candidates from the two major parties are not even pretending to be libertarian-ish, vote Libertarian?
Then at least they could see how many people’s votes they lost by choosing a different way. Just voting for the ’underdog’ masks that and in most case has no effect on the outcome.
 
Written By: anomdebus
URL: http://
Jon is right about one thing: the Republicans are taking the libertarian vote for granted. Not only are they not supporting any part of our agenda, they are no longer even paying lip service to us.

This has apparently led him to conclude that our best option is to temporarily throw our weight behind the party of big government, in the hope that they will win just enough to bring the government to a stand-still.

If that is the best plan, libertarians might as well quit politics and become a gardening club. I would prefer to sit out entirely than to give our mandate to a party that represents the polar opposite of everything we stand for.

I think that OrneryWP has a better idea: libertarians should rally around individual candidates of either party who are willing to make solid and specific commitments to support at least some parts of our agenda.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
Libertarians should use the Kos method. They need to pick a few candidates they really don’t like, who are vulnerable on some issue, and then go at them at the primaries. Just a few...pour encourager les autres

This lets the party know there are red lines for the libertarian base.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Sorry to move off-point some, but I am new to this blog and know very little about Libertarianism. From reading the various commments and posts here, it is clear that there are many permutations to the Liberalist philosophy. Could someone please direct me to a primer, either on the internet or in print? Also, is the reason that Libertarians (evidently) vote Republican b/c Republicans (traditionally) believe in limited government? Finally, the big one, I think: What role do Libertarians see for government in today’s America? All suggestions and thoughts are welcome.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://dsthinkingloud.blogspot.com/
David S: Hit "The New Libertarian" button at the top of the blog ... it’s a start, at least for this type of libertarianism.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://qando.net
"Clintons’s high tech economy is less bogus than Bush’s - which has created jobs only in the government, security jobs that add little or no GNP value, and (mostly) low-paying service sector jobs paid for with borrowed Chinese and Japanese money that will only kick into repayments after Bush and the corporate cronies leave office. (But not before they try and lock up all that tax cuts for the rich Chinese money by eliminating the estate
tax on multimillionaires.)"
C. Ford, you assert much and prove nothing.

Please read this at least the first two paragraphs. Then make a convincing case your asserted facts are more valid.

Of course the death tax should be ended, even if it does benefit a few Chinese millionaires—it’s their money. Why should their heirs lose it just because the estate holders die? And it also hurts the brewers and their children.

You aren’t any kind of Republican if you are telling me that money—especially riach people’s money—needs to be cycled through government for the betterment of us all. Get in the grave with Marx, dummy.
"I’d take the Clinton economy anyday over the "spend now, let some other generation pay for it" Bush economy, and I’m a Republican."
The issue with your idea is that the deficit is shrinking in both absolute terms and the debt is shrinking as a fraction of the economy as a whole. Do you imagine that gridlock can either prevent the structural/entitlements balance of payments from becoming an issue in later decades? Do you think the other posters who have shown Clinton’s economy was never even in the black with respect to the deficit are wrong? If you claim to speak about facts, prove, don’t merely assert.
"Jon Hencke has a point."
Oh yeah?
"How, Mr. Henke, do you propose to turn gridlock into improvement?"
Crickets. Chirp.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Interest on the $8 Trillion plus(and growing) debt is over $321 Billion/yr. It will increase as long as there is a deficit, even if the deficit is an acceptable percentage of GDP. It will increase even faster during the next recession, when borrowing will no doubt increase. I haven’t done any research, but I would guess that interest payments would not qualify as an economic stimulant, even to Keynesians. Au contraire, in my opinion, particularly as a good bit of the interest payments go to foreign debt holders.

When I lived in Parkersburg, WVA, I noticed one day a huge, grand, granite building of the style you see in Washington DC. Engraved over the doorway was "Bureau of the Public Debt". Not very encouraging to see such a permanent structure devoted to servicing government debt.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Also, is the reason that Libertarians (evidently) vote Republican b/c Republicans (traditionally) believe in limited government? Finally, the big one, I think: What role do Libertarians see for government in today’s America? All suggestions and thoughts are welcome.

I will use your invitation as a pretext for revising my previous comment. I was trying to keep it punchy and to-the-point, and I ended up over-simplifying.

In answer to your first question, there is a semantic difficulty that is unique to libertarians. People on the Left can use the term "Democrat" to describe their party affiliation and words like "liberal", "Progressive", "Leftist", etc. to describe their general political orientation. In the case of libertarians, though, the word describes both a general political outlook and a specific political party here in the US.

Libertarian purists vote for the Libertarian Party (LP), and they would probably dispute that people like myself, who do not drink the Kool Aid, are libertarian at all. That is why I describe myself as a "small L" libertarian. I think it is fair to say that people like myself have generally voted Republican in the past, because we are too politically pragmatic to vote for the LP, and Republicans have at least been willing to pay lip service to the idea of limited and decentralized government.

In my previous comment I dismissed the current Republican party with a flick of the wrist, saying that they no longer support any part of our agenda. This is true in domestic policy, where the party has been throwing rhetorical red meat to the social conservatives and trying to buy new voters with government spending as the Democrats have been doing since the New Deal (see: Medicare entitlement).

The complication comes in foreign policy. I’m sure that many here will disagree with me, but I do not believe that there IS such a thing as a Libertarian foreign policy. Almnost all libertarians will agree that national security is one of the legitimate functions of a federal government. Therefore, depending on whether or not they believed it was necessary for our national security, libertarians might have either supported or opposed the war in Iraq.

At the moment, there appears to be a very big difference between Republicans and Democrats over foreign policy generally, and the War on Terror (WOT), specifically. Republicans favor taking a pro-active, agressive approach to seeking out and destroying terrorist networks, at the cost of some civil liberties, and Democrats favor a civil liberties absolutist approach, leading to a more defensive and law enforcement-oriented approach to terrorism.

I tend to agree with the Republican approach. Libertarians are not Anarchists. We do concede some role for government, and once we do that, we automatically begin trading away some absolute liberty. If we concede that the government has a legitimate role to play in national security, and we concede that the biggest current threat to our national security is shadowy terrorist networks that attempt to blend into civilian populations to target those populations, then I think it is justified to use new techniques like data mining to counter that threat. Some people see measures like this as proof that we have become a police state. I think this is hysteria. It is simply adapting to the nature of the threat, and the cost in terms of lost civil liberties has been exaggerated.

I hate to mention Greenwald, because he seems to have taken over this blog like Kudzu despite the mediocrity of his thinking and writing, but someone attributed to him one idea that I do agree with: the difference of opinion over the correct approach to fighting the WOT may end up being the most significant issue that dtermines which ideological camp we are in for the near future, creating some strange bedfellows.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
The complication comes in foreign policy. I’m sure that many here will disagree with me, but I do not believe that there IS such a thing as a Libertarian foreign policy.
I don’t disagree at all
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://
Funny, the advocates of the "Teach ’em a Lesson/Libertarians should Align with the Dems" strategy are fine in talking theory and strategy, but never mention the practical applications of their suggestions.

If Libertarians were to back Dems for 2006 and 2008, then just which Dems would we be backing?

How about mentioning some specific candidates, PLEASE!!

A recent so-called "libertarian Democrat" on another Forum was touting the candidacy of John Tester, Candidate for US Senate in Montana. Well, Tester was the lesser pro-freedom candidate in the Dem Primary last Spring. The guy’s a total Socialist. If that’s the example of a "libertarian Democrat" no thank you. I’ll stick with the libertarian Republican strategy; a tried and true method for actually electing libertarians to public office.
 
Written By: Eric Dondero
URL: http://www.mainstreamlibertarian.com
Well put, Aldo.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://
Lance quotes and says
The complication comes in foreign policy. I’m sure that many here will disagree with me, but I do not believe that there IS such a thing as a Libertarian foreign policy.
I don’t disagree at all
Nor do I. Milton Friedman said the same in an interview with Reason over ten years ago.

That said, I am aware of no serious libertarians who accept social engineering domestically. Their reasons for rejecting it are sound (I trust these reasons need no elaboration here). But then, it does beg to be asked: why would a libertarian believe that cultures with (a)little to no experience of democracy (b)who have never operated under a rule of law that recognizes individual rights such as are set forth in the BoR, and(c) which are mired in theocratic beliefs, why would a libertarian believe these cultures can be transformed into secular democracies at the point of a gun? Social engineering doesn’t work, and/or has heinous unintended consequences, and that is true both domestically and in terms of foreign policy.

Wouldn’t libertarians know that?
 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://
I don’t know where you think that link is going or how you did that, Henke, but it’s not even close.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Mona, Mona, Mona...
"Social engineering doesn’t work, and/or has heinous unintended consequences, and that is true both domestically and in terms of foreign policy."
True, but it isn’t "social engineering" to try to bring a society to more directly express known human truths, such as those embodied in the Declaration of Independence and US COnstitution (quit snorting, Beck).

Social engineering is short for socialist engineering—you know, what can’t work at all.

Like the Democratic Party.

Oh, and Henke?

How is gridlock improvement? Chirp. Chirp.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Timactual -
Interest on the $8 Trillion plus(and growing) debt is over $321 Billion/yr. It will increase as long as there is a deficit, even if the deficit is an acceptable percentage of GDP. It will increase even faster during the next recession, when borrowing will no doubt increase. I haven’t done any research, but I would guess that interest payments would not qualify as an economic stimulant, even to Keynesians. Au contraire, in my opinion, particularly as a good bit of the interest payments go to foreign debt holders.
Exactly. Bush and his ever-dwindling band of supply side gurus know they have created a permanent deficit even in prosperous times and more and more of each tax dollar will be going overseas to our Saudi, Japanese, and Chinese lenders instead of being spent in America. Not that they care too much. Their goal is to maximize tax cuts of the wealthy, pork for their fatcats - get it while the getting is good. They added a 13 trillion unfunded entitlement and refused to do anything with SS or Medicare other than to imply they will fail and that is why the rich need to make even more their income tax-free to set up private medical and additional retirement income accounts that pass on to their heirs.

Tom Perkins and the last of the Ayn Rand worshipers talk about a deficit of "only" 3% of the GDP in prosperous times - ignoring the exploding unfunded liability debt, the burden in services being shifted to the states, Bush’s new immigrant underclass future drain on dwindling fiscal resources, and the growing foreign "cut" of our GDP and government spending to service the interest on debt from our overseas lenders.
When I lived in Parkersburg, WVA, I noticed one day a huge, grand, granite building of the style you see in Washington DC. Engraved over the doorway was "Bureau of the Public Debt". Not very encouraging to see such a permanent structure devoted to servicing government debt.

Written By: timactual
Another "tribute" to the Man With the Golden Hand, Robert C. Byrd. Not the blatant grab that moved substantial Navy assets to landlocked West Virginia, not a billion dollar Federal funded airport serving a town of 50,000 operating in the red for years and requiring regular taxpayer infusions, his many "highways to nowhere", but fitting. What better monument to the Great Senatorial Appropriator than giving West Virginia jobs to perpetuate the bureaucracy of public debt - Byrd’s true legacy - overshadowing the earlier years of his life.
 
Written By: C. Ford
URL: http://
"Exactly. Bush and his ever-dwindling band of supply side gurus know they have created a permanent deficit even in prosperous times and more and more of each tax dollar will be going overseas to our Saudi, Japanese, and Chinese lenders instead of being spent in America. Not that they care too much. Their goal is to maximize tax cuts of the wealthy, pork for their fatcats - get it while the getting is good. They added a 13 trillion unfunded entitlement and refused to do anything with SS or Medicare other than to imply they will fail and that is why the rich need to make even more their income tax-free to set up private medical and additional retirement income accounts that pass on to their heirs."
The funny thing is, the very wealthy paid more in taxes under Bush than under Clinton. That fact must not make an impression on C. Ford. And Bush tried to do something about SS, he got no support. From us! C. Ford wants you to forget that. I want out from under SS so I can set up a private medical and retirement account, and I ain’t wealthy.

C. Ford, crawl out of FDR’s purifying a$$. Progressive taxation is EVIL. Compulsory charity isn’t charity.
"Tom Perkins and the last of the Ayn Rand worshipers talk about a deficit of "only" 3% of the GDP in prosperous times - ignoring the exploding unfunded liability debt, the burden in services being shifted to the states, Bush’s new immigrant underclass future drain on dwindling fiscal resources, and the growing foreign "cut" of our GDP and government spending to service the interest on debt from our overseas lenders."
I don’t ignore it, C. Ford—its just an inevitability since the New Deal happened. It was a foregone conclusion before he was born. Sooner or later, Ponzi schemes crack up. If anything, I’m glad about the prescription drug boondoggle because it’s such an obvious screw-up it may call the whole federal entitlement concept into question in time.

Which gridlock can’t do. Which is the topic of the thread.

I also think Ayn Rand was was a screwball old witch with barely two valid points to bang together. And other people had already made those points.
"Another "tribute" to the Man With the Golden Hand, Robert C. Byrd. Not the blatant grab that moved substantial Navy assets to landlocked West Virginia"
Like desks and satellite antennae need to float.
"his many "highways to nowhere""
Actually, those roads go somewhere, for example, I-64 goes between the several ports in the Carolinas and Southern Va and St. Louis quite efficiently.

God C. Ford, you’re a hack.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Tom Perkins
How is gridlock improvement?
Why are separate legislative, executive and judicial branches an improvement?

Its called checks and balances.

The USSR had one party rule. If we have one party rule we will go bankrupt too, regardless of the party.

BTW: the largest growth of the deficit in the last 25 years occured the years following the Reagan tax cuts. He increased defense spending and cut revenues. Historically the size of the deficit is not an area where the dems are weak. They really only talk like big spenders individually. When it comes to agreeing on anything they really have trouble.



 
Written By: cindyb
URL: http://
Tom Perkins, you are mistaken in your understanding of social engineering, including the implications of that notion for foreign policy. I can’t explain why to you any better than Julian Sanchez did not long ago at Reason, in a piece titled A Concord of Visions
How the neoconservative right adopted the worst errors of the left
, in which Sanchez takes Thomas Sowell’s Unconstrained Vision as his jumping off point:

Broad and ambitious plans for social improvement—especially when they propose bettering not just human conditions but humanity itself—are to be regarded warily, because the knowledge explicitly available to even the wisest individual or group is dwarfed by the implicit wisdom of our evolved traditions. As Sowell puts it, "the particular cultural expressions of human needs peculiar to specific societies are not seen as being readily and beneficially changeable by forcible intervention."…

The problems [Francis] Fukuyama diagnoses with the planning of the Iraq War and its aftermath are typical of the unconstrained vision as Sowell describes it....

It now seems clear that many of the neoconservative thinkers who supported the Iraq war as a vehicle for democracy promotion decided to focus on the threat of weapons of mass destruction precisely because they concluded the broader public would not accept the deployment of American troops in the service of an abstract-sounding end. And George Bush’s expansive views of executive power and penchant for secrecy, as evidenced most recently in the revelation that he had authorized a program of warrantless wiretaps by the National Security Agency, bespeak a supreme confidence in the ability of well-intentioned and well-informed leaders to do good without oversight.
 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://
Here’s the post I think Jon was trying to link to...
http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php?id=P2440

*****
How is gridlock improvement?
Well, if you were on a boat that was sinking, and you managed to bail out just enough water so you didn’t sink further, that would be an improvement.

It’s not a solution, but a stop-gap measure. A way to try and play one side off the other until you can get the "right" people, or the "right" legislation enacted to correct things.

I can understand it, but can no longer subscribe to it. If it weren’t for National Security, I would say there is little difference in the bottom line results of the two parties. Both are increasing the deficit, both curtail liberty to some degree. However, there are substative differences on any number of issues, such as national security, and who they want to see on the bench.

I’m also hopefull that enough members of the Republican party will be able to steer things in the right direction. There are certainly to many old timers who are up to the usual games in DC. But there are also a good number of representatives who aren’t satisfied, either with the status quo, or the direction the old boys network is taking the Party, and the country.
 
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://
for some reason the link is getting messed up when you post. For those who wish to, cut and paste this link. (there’s two dashes between two and four.)

http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php?id=P2440
 
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://
Mona,

To a degree my point was rhetorical hyperbole. If you were to state the American Revolution was social engineering, then you would be philosophically at a point where you could not understand my point at all.

Err. Well. Quite likely you are.

The American Revolution was not social engineering—it was not attempting to transform colonial society into its verison of the New Soviet—I’m sorry, Progressive—Man.

Back then progress meant actual, improvement.

The best theories as to how human society could be organized were Lockean, hence the Constitution is largely Lockean, in the sense of a social contract.

Your ever so elliptic references to "nation building" in Iraq fail in attempting to frame that effort as "social engineering" because they aren’t that.

From your own source:
"Broad and ambitious plans for social improvement—especially when they propose bettering not just human conditions but humanity itself—are to be regarded warily"
For this to apply to Iraq you have to say the Iraqi’s are some sort of subhuman creature who are best fit to be governed by Stalinist dictators.

Arriving organically from the efforts of those in Iraqi society to organize itself—where America’s forces are providing a greenhouse where a Bastille once stood—there will be no more social improvement attempted by the Iraqis than they can themselves best see to be done.

To say that in and of itself that is social engineering, and that it should not have been attempted...

To say that is to say two things.

That democracy should not be attempted, it’s a bad idea.

And

With it’s far more explicitly Progressive goals, that the Democratic Party should itself be dissolved. Social engineering bad, y’know...

Iraq isn’t social engineering, because it has so far moved along small "c" conservative lines within parameters of political economy which are known to work. Unlike "Progress" or "social engineering" which has never been shown to work or produce improvement.

Call it axiomatic and dismiss it you have to.

Just don’t try to sell that, or stake your game on it.

Stick with illegal immigrants and dead cats voting, it’s more your type’s speed.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Aquick mathematics note for Keith and Cindy,

I believe that as it stands, single party government by the two current parties presents an increasing rate of increase in the rate of debt growth. The Republicans are probably better overall than the Democrats on that score, recall the Democrats only objection to the federal medical entitlements bill Bush passed were that he didn’t promise enough.

Gridlock could possibly create a stabilization of the rate of increase of the debt.

That isn’t good enough.

Keith, to analogize to your boat, we get the crazy captains fighting each other so neither is making the hole bigger.

It will still sink us, just next week instead of next Friday or Saturday.

We need to get them off the boat.

The party duopoly is stable. The Democrats are the least stable.

In fact, they are nearly ready to come apart, none of their constituencies have any strong organic commensal relationship to the others, its all about with what the Party can pay them off. If the Dems don’t get people in office, they can’t pay anybody off. Bye, bye Jacka$$ Party.

Checks and balances are great at preventing overcentralization. They aren’t good at repealing legislation.

The Slaughterhouse cases need to go. Wickard needs to go. SS needs to go. The idea the commerce clause was ever about anything but an American free trade zone needs to go.

That would be improvement.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Tom Perkins writes:
The American Revolution was not social engineering—it was not attempting to transform colonial society into its verison of the New Soviet—I’m sorry, Progressive—Man.
Quite true, and in fact, it was not really a revolution; it was a rebellion. The Founders did not, in the main, cast off the corpus of common law and judicial institutions and protocols they inherited from the Brits. They were heirs to the Magna Carta. The libertarian improvements they made here were of huge historical importance, but did not constitute anything like a total break with what came before. Hence, their “revolution” (after the bullets stopped flying to and from King George’s soldiers) was comparatively organic, smooth and peaceful, certainly as contrasted with the actual, radical (at the root) revolution going on in France.

In sum, America in 1776 was culturally prepared for the evolution our revolution was.

This readiness for democracy under the rule of law, in which the individual is the unit of moral and legal analysis, is not universal in time and place. The culture must be fertile for that to grow, and not all cultures then (1776), or now, are. There is much evidence that radical (at the root) changes would be necessary for many Muslim nations to emerge any time soon as (classically) liberal democracies.

That radical alteration of culture cannot be made to happen by wishful, aspirational thinking, and certainly not with guns. Because social engineering does not work.
 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://
Mona!
But then, it does beg to be asked: why would a libertarian believe that cultures with (a)little to no experience of democracy (b)who have never operated under a rule of law that recognizes individual rights such as are set forth in the BoR, and(c) which are mired in theocratic beliefs, why would a libertarian believe these cultures can be transformed into secular democracies at the point of a gun? Social engineering doesn’t work, and/or has heinous unintended consequences, and that is true both domestically and in terms of foreign policy.
Hey, that looks great on the menu, but here in the kitchen (the real world), exactly what choices do we really have, and what are the implications of those choices?

You and Sanchez make a mistake when you use leftist social engineering a template for "neoconservative" social engineering. The term engineering—"the application of scientific and mathematical principles to practical ends such as the design, manufacture, and operation of efficient and economical structures, machines, processes, and systems"—implies a much lower level of contrivance then what is being practiced in Iraq, which has basically been an effort in coordinated institution-building mixed with post-war reconstruction. A more accurate term would be "social cultivation."

And social cultivation may very well prove fruitful in Iraq and elsewhere where our choices are otherwise limited by the unacceptableness of the status quo. In spite of all of the difficulty experienced so far, we should also keep in mind that we’re on the cutting edge here. Future efforts may be even more successful based on lessons learned in the crucible of Iraq.

yours/
peter.
 
Written By: Peter Jackson
URL: http://www.liberalcapitalist.com
RE: Gridlock

If your assembly line is producing sh*tty, unsalable automobiles that each require enormously expensive re-working to recover even a fraction of your investment, it may be in your best interest to shut the line down temporarily. But of course the question left begging is "then what?".

Then you have to fix your assembly line.

yours/
peter.
 
Written By: Peter Jackson
URL: http://www.liberalcapitalist.com
"In sum, America in 1776 was culturally prepared for the evolution our revolution was."

The failure of Baath’ism—PanArabism—the evident failure of Communism and communism—the evident disastisfaction of the Iranian people with their mullahs—and the evident relative success of the American experiment—these have prepared the Iraqis for the rule of law.

That and the fact the’re human.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Re this post.

Gridlock is not a step.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
I don’t know where you think that link is going or how you did that, Henke, but it’s not even close.
I thought we’d explained that to you before. My mistake. For reasons beyond my understanding, our platform turns double-dashes into a single dash, and — I’ve no idea how — automatically transforms your URL into the strange formulation you see in the post. (it works on the blogroll because I use blogrolling.com) I have no control over it. I can either provide a busted link or not link you at all.

And to (briefly, as I’m busy) address the points you made on your blog:

1) I wasn’t trying to "hide" anything from you — you’re as free to join the discussion group as anybody. It’s an open list.

In any event, you won’t let me email you, and I didn’t want to waste space on the blog with the points I made in my email to others. If you choose not to correspond with me, you can hardly blame for for discussing things with others. Anyway, I figured Bithead or McQ would let you see it. It was no secret.

2) I think your anger with (generally) those who seek an "optimal libertarian political strategy" and (specifically) me is conceptually flawed. Your problem is with the existence of this thing called "politics" in the first place. If you’re upset at the people enabling it, those who seek to limit it should be the least of your concerns.

3) I don’t really care if you’re "nice" to me. You’ve made it abundantly clear that you despise everybody. (shrug) I’m more concerned with my own premises than with yours — a fact by which you can’t seem to abide.

4) You seem to view abstention — you don’t actually abstain, considering the compromises you’re willing to make — as morally superior to a strategy of "finding the brakes". Fine. It won’t slow the go-kart one iota, but if that rocks your boat, go for it. But let’s not pretend that my working for gridlock is "murdering" you.

I’ve decided that I have two options:

1) Abstention — which I don’t believe has any chance of success at all.

2) Participation, with the aim of working towards my ideals. Which I believe has a slight chance to make a marginal difference.

Only #2 has a chance of helping me. Or, for that matter, you.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
Better than voting democrat to achieve gridlock would be to vote libertarian. This would be the solution to showing your displeasure with republicans, while both repudiating the ideas of democrats and supporting the general notion of libertarianism.

The way to get the republicans to be more fiscally conservative isnt to have the dems winning in big numbers, but to have the libertarians have a very strong showing. That would send them the message, having dems win big would just give the impression that the people support the democrats message and ideas.
 
Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
"Your problem is with the existence of this thing called ’politics’ in the first place".

You don’t know what you’re talking about. Here’s what I know: "politics" is built into what we are. It’s the branch of philosophy that studies how human beings should treat each other in a social context. I don’t reject that, at all. Now, I know what you actually have in mind, but what I don’t understand is why you handle the language like an ignoramus, and you have no standing to judge my position as "conceptually flawed" when you don’t even know what it is. I could do this all day long, every day. Just for a couple of more examples:

"You’ve made it abundantly clear that you despise everybody."

You should ask Bruce about that, fool, just to begin with. It’s just not true. Now, I could write that all day long — "It’s not true, you idiot" — but I have no confidence that it would stop you from writing stupid and un-true things.

Tell me what you think you know about my "compromises".

 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Peter jackson writes:
And social cultivation may very well prove fruitful in Iraq and elsewhere where our choices are otherwise limited by the unacceptableness of the status quo. In spite of all of the difficulty experienced so far, we should also keep in mind that we’re on the cutting edge here. Future efforts may be even more successful based on lessons learned in the crucible of Iraq.
What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other word would smell as sweet.

Or: What’s in a name? That which we call social engineering
By any other phrase would yield the same results.

Brent Scowcroft, National Security adviser under President George H. W. Bush, during a strained lunch with his friend, Cond Rice:
They also argued about Iraq. “She says we’re going to democratize Iraq, and I said, ‘Condi, you’re not going to democratize Iraq,’ and she said, ‘You know, you’re just stuck in the old days,’ and she comes back to this thing that we’ve tolerated an autocratic Middle East for fifty years and so on and so forth,” he said. Then a barely perceptible note of satisfaction entered his voice, and he said, “But we’ve had fifty years of peace.”
An exchange between Mohammed of Iraq the Model and his Father, my emphasis:

Me: How is this mess going to resolve dad?

Dad: it is not.

Me: Are you positive? Why?

Dad: People find solutions only if they wanted to and I think many of the political players do not want a solution.

Me: Is there a chance the situation will further escalate?

Dad: Most likely yes, we are a state still run by sentiments rather than reason which means it’s a brittle state and any sentimental overreaction can turn the tide it in either direction.

Me: what kinds of challenges can make things worse?

Dad: Virtually anything…assassinating a leader, a fatwa, attack on a shrine like last time; we do not possess the institutions that can abolish the effects of severe sentimental reactions.

Me: Is there going to be no role for politics?

Dad: What politics are you talking about?! We are dealing with deeply-rooted beliefs…Yes, in politics everything is possible but with religion you find yourself before very few options to choose from and our people have mostly voted for the religious.

Me: And what’s America’s role here? Will they stand by and watch while things go against what the way they desire?

Dad: Why do you always put America in the face of the canon? America is a super power but it’s not superman. These are our problems now and America has nothing to do with it. We have to fix our mess or no one will.

Me: But their interests and presence here makes Iraq’s stability a top priority for them, right?

Dad: And this stability is not going to happen soon…Why do you always want things to be the way you like them? Failure exists just like success does.

Me: Will America leave Iraq?

Dad: Not now of course but they will at the nearest possible chance. Don’t forget that America had been in the region long before 2003 and Iraq is not an irreplaceable base. Syria and Iran can be dealt with from Turkey of the gulf countries.

Me: We need another 9th of April.

Dad: There will be no new 9th of April.

Me: Why do our politicians seek confrontation?

Dad: The religious seek death because after death comes heaven they believe…Do you want to deny them this dream?
 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://
Well Billy Beck,

Is the fact that the email address on your blogsite is one that bounces a fact that shows carelessness or one that shows contempt?

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Then a barely perceptible note of satisfaction entered his voice, and he said, “But we’ve had fifty years of peace.”
Mona, if in his mind, the 50 years leading up to 9/11 were peace, then his opinion isn’t worth much to me.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
All I can say to Sowcroft is 50 more years of peace like that, and we are undone.
 
Written By: Chris
URL: http://
To paraphrase Gertner, when you’re a libertarian and you’re putting out feelers hoping to make Democrats like you or something, aren’t you supposed to - I don’t know - concede something? Why isn’t this a two-way street? Shouldn’t a libertarian who’s tired of being taken for granted by the Republicans and is looking for a new dance partner consider what they might do to make something happen? Why does the less (electorally) desirable partner think they have all the leverage to demand concessions? Maybe those who would otherwise be irrelevant in US politics should be the first to offer a compromise. What it Reynolds, or Goldstein, or anyone here, going to do to make alliances possible or appealing?
 
Written By: Platypus
URL: http://pl.atyp.us
Platypus, you dolt, the swing voters have what you need. You need to make supporting your team attractive.

We’re in the position of selling, not buying.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
All I can say to Sowcroft is 50 more years of peace like that, and we are undone.
Codswollop. The "regime change" foreign policy has brought elections that put Hamas in power, bloody and sectarian-driven chaos in Iraq with no end in sight, Lebanon and Israel being bombed at levels worse than seen in decades, and Bill Kristol calling for us to take out Iran militarily — he demanded it again on Fox today. All while we have lost 2,500 troops in Iraq with close to 20,000 maimed and injured, and another 130,000 trapped in the midle of what may yet become WWIII.

What we had in the 50 years Scowcroft refers to was, by any rational metric, comparative peace, especially from the POV of the U.S.
 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://
You don’t know what you’re talking about.
This is why I find it fairly useless to argue with people who invent their own dictionary. Worse, though, you even concede that you know what definition of politics I intend, but yet you still pretend that I’m mangling the language. You’re willfully incapable of communication. You’ve replaced it with a long, monotonous sneer.
You should ask Bruce about that, fool, just to begin with. It’s just not true.
"I never liked any of you sonsofbitches, but I always wished I could have."
Tell me what you think you know about my "compromises".
Ever pay sales tax? Ever comply with federal, state or local regulations? Ever stop for customs at the airport? Ever pay a fine? I know you have. Did you do it in a voluntary exchange with free individuals, or with the State? I know it’s the latter, as well.

You’ve acknowledged reality when you saw the need to do so. So have I. We’ve merely drawn the line at different places.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
And to answer Tom Perkins question from earlier:
How, Mr. Henke, do you propose to turn gridlock into improvement?
Frankly, except on some margins, I don’t know that we can turn gridlock into improvement. That’s why I said it was a temporary strategy.

For that matter, I’m not at all convinced that we can ever "succeed", per se. I think making the best of the slippery slope is the best we can reasonably do.

For what it’s worth, though, I’d note that the most useful Republican movements came after they’d been out of power for a bit, and turned to their anti-state roots to regain power. Reagan in 80, the Republican Revolution in ’84? Both were the result of a period spent wandering the desert, trying to find a raison d’etra.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
Mona, those years explicitly included Vietnam and the better part of the Cold War, and metaphorically include Korea.

It pains me to see someone breaking the first rule of holes:
When you are in one, quit digging down.
Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Mona, those years explicitly included Vietnam and the better part of the Cold War, and metaphorically include Korea.
Tom, read the whole article; it is clear the context is peace in the Middle East.

More importantly, Scowcroft was right — Condi and Co. cannot democratize Iraq in any sense in which democracy is stable and operating under a secular rule of individual-rights-based law. Even Mohammed’s father knows it, and so do many others.

Social engineering, whether domestic or foreign, does not work; indeed, it most often triggers that nasty phenomenon of unintended (usually bad) consequences.
 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://
"That’s why I said it was a temporary strategy."
And do you have any thoughts on how to turn it into non-temporary strategy? On what strategy can be adopted as a follow on strategy?

Or are you hoping to skate things along until you’re in your grave and your (metaphorically at least) and my (literally) children have the burden. That would make you a hopeless, pathetic a$$. I hope you have another answer.

It was Keynes who said in the long run we are all dead. Well, he had no children.
"For that matter, I’m not at all convinced that we can ever "succeed", per se."
Then there would be very little point to any of this.

We should take up knitting.
"For what it’s worth, though, I’d note that the most useful Republican movements came after they’d been out of power for a bit, and turned to their anti-state roots to regain power."
And they’ve done what to roll back state power, or even decentralize it to the states?

The duopoly is stably set on a course we do not want. Destroy the duopoly by supporting the stronger party ’til the weaker disintegrates. Then and only then will the formerly stronger Republican Party be vulnerable to cracking up.

From that chaos, productive things can happen.

Between the Euston Manifesto to Kos setting Leiberman in his sites, it sin’t clear the Democrats are on the verge of collapse or the sort of utter reformation that made them from the CSA recidivist party into the PC/quota/pinko party?

Gridlock isn’t good enough!

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp

 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Tom,
Is the fact that the email address on your blogsite is one that bounces a fact that shows carelessness or one that shows contempt?
The default is contempt. Jon is unfair, Billy doesn’t hate everybody, just most.

Mona,

Peter is by far more eloquent and adept at this kind of thing than I, but I’ll step up before he does.

Brent Scowcroft, Kissenger (and Rumsfeld by the way, though everybody wants to stick him in with the neo-cons, which is stupid whatever your definition of one is) and the rest of the Realpolitik crowd used to be despised on the left and by many libertarians which was a shame, because there is much of value. Now however they get those same critics warm embrace. I’ll keep my distance from its cold calculation or the hypocrisy from their new allies if you don’t mind.

I admire Iraq the Model, and his dad may end up being right, but it doesn’t prove Scowcroft right or you. You have no idea whether Iraqi’s as a whole are ready for Democracy. If the project in Iraq fails it could be for any number of reasons. A minority supplied by outsiders and fascist thugs may crash it. Outsiders entering the country may crash it. We and/or the political leaders of Iraq may crash the project. A combination of all those factors amd more may crash it. All mean failure, but the implications for how ready the Iraqi’s are for democracy is very different. Of course it may be satisfying to have a prima facie case that your thesis is true, but how cold it is to the hopes and dreams of the substantial minority or even majority of Iraq’s people.

More to the point, if scowcroft meant what he said my opinion of him just diminished. That is a huge piece of self satisfied, ass backward, crap. In Iraq alone during the peaceful times he speaks of at least a few hundred thousand were murdered, plus rapes, tortures and millions driven into exile. Not thousands, millions. Then we have the less peaceful times such as the military operations against the Kurds, The shiites and the Marsh Arabs. That is peace? Now let us throw in the wars. I don’t know how many died in Iraq or Kuwait during the first Gulf War, but it was substantial. I seem to remember something called the highway of death, but go ahead and google it to be sure. Then there is the Iran-Iraq war which is credited with at least a million casualties, along with untold other barbarities. In the history of death and destruction in Iraq over just the last thirty years this conflict is hardly a blip.

Throw in a string of full scale wars between these many states, plus the various Arab Israeli conflicts, and the constant low grade warfare and Scowcroft wants to call it peace? In addition, as Peter Berman, who should be required reading for any liberal (not that you are one) or libertarian who wants a non-conservative overview, documents in Terror and liberalism these various secular and religious fascist states in the middle east have murdered millions. The slaughter, if it could be attributed to one regime rather than a bunch of small regimes, would rival the greates in history. Yes, I mean Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, etc. So, if that is you and Scowcrot’s definition of peace you can have it.

I am not saying the world was a worse place because of these mens leadership, but the record is hardly one which deserves unqualified praise either. Often you fail despite your best efforts. Nobody has figured it out and nobody will. This is a muddle through world, nowhere is that more easily seen than the middle east. If you can’t accept failure, and I always believed Iraq and Afghanistan were both prone to failure then we should go back to being isolationist, because the world will not improve easily. That road however has its own terrors, and in my mind worse ones, as the Middle East, Rwanda and Sudan, the Congo and many other places have shown again and again. Maybe for awhile we can sit back and ignore the slaughter, but my guess is that eventually we will find out it doesn’t really work. I would have thought 9/11 gave us a small taste of that already, but obviously many disagree. I don’t have answers, but isolationism and Realpolitik haven’t been the cure either.

Jon,
For what it’s worth, though, I’d note that the most useful Republican movements came after they’d been out of power for a bit, and turned to their anti-state roots to regain power. Reagan in 80, the Republican Revolution in ’84? Both were the result of a period spent wandering the desert, trying to find a raison d’etra.
Hey, I already said that earlier! Just with a lot more words. Grumble, grumble.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://
"Tom, read the whole article; it is clear the context is peace in the Middle East."
Mona, the context is too limited to have meaning.

Also, Yom Kippur, Six-day war, 1948, etc...

Even in that context, what peace?

Not to mention the Embassy Hostage crisis, Marine barracks bombing, Entebbe, the build up to Gulf War I, GWI. Afghanistan.

Oooh! Oooohooh! And that little thing called 9/11.

Put the shovel down, Mona.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Lance wrote:
Jon,

For what it’s worth, though, I’d note that the most useful Republican movements came after they’d been out of power for a bit, and turned to their anti-state roots to regain power. Reagan in 80, the Republican Revolution in ’84? Both were the result of a period spent wandering the desert, trying to find a raison d’etra.
Hey, I already said that earlier! Just with a lot more words. Grumble, grumble.
Yeah. And it still got us where we are now.

You guys want us to keep on riding a wrecking ball while nudging it right and then left. It going towards the same cliff it ever was.

You’re daft.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Daft I might be, but so is voting for most Republicans at this point. The world is daft Tom. I am sitting out of the two party fight until one offers me some improvement. That is your goal isn’t it?
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://
"Exactly. Bush and his ever-dwindling band of supply side gurus know they have created a permanent deficit..."

Please. The permanent deficit predates Bush by quite a few years.
**************************
Tom Perkins

And what rationale do you have for moving a large chunk of the FBI to Clarksburg, WVA?
*********************************************

." He increased defense spending and cut revenues."

No. He cut taxes. Revenues increased, for whatever reason. In fact, they increased by a greater amount than the defense increases. Non-defense spending, in spite of democratic howling to the contrary, also increased.

*******************************************
"It was Keynes who said in the long run we are all dead. Well, he had no children."

Yeah, but even people with children die.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Lance wrote:
"I am sitting out of the two party fight until one offers me some improvement. That is your goal isn’t it?"
And that will get you to the same place the two party system is already going, and at the same rate it’s already traveling at.

Timactual:
"what rationale do you have for moving a large chunk of the FBI to Clarksburg"
No rationale, but I will point it was going to be somewhere. The point was the roads to nowhere crack was overplayed.
"Yeah, but even people with children die."
I do think we owe to our children our best stewardship. Keynes spoke that line WRT to that being ultimately unimportant.

Do you disagree or agree with him there?

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Mr. Beck,

Normally some particularly arrogant a** whom I don’t know whose post, when directed at me, included the line—and I believe I quote accurately"
Tell the truth.
Would be someone to whom I never gave another thought. Also, the fact you placed no significance on my use of lower case and upper case letters when I wrote, "There is no pragmatism in Pragmatism."

That irked me.

But your association with McQ persuades me you must have some worth.

You wrote:
"I hold a very particular concept of America that is set in a context which includes a very scrupulous understanding of values ("ethics", although very few people who use the word have a clue to what it’s all about) and their origin and function. I am an individualist. I happen to have concluded that the finest political development in human history was the applied individualism manifest in 1776 — and 1789 had nothing to do with any of it."
And I’d like very much for you to show that several things either are or are not true.

1) There were changes made to state constitutions on, about, or between those years that were substantially more protective of liberty than either the BoR or the orginal Federalist "limited grant of power" constitution.

2) The states did not assume they inherited unchanged the full powers of the crown as their due after the Treaty of Paris.

3) Federalism could be preserved as much as the state’s legislators felt it was advantageous to them, absent the 17th amendment.

4) No constitution by wording, adoption, or rejection could have any meaning if the populace it "governed" determined by sufferance of its derogation that it should not.

Yours, Tom Perkins,

molon labe
montani semper liberi
para fides paterna patriae
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Does this hurt or help libertarians in the GOP?
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Mona!
Or: What’s in a name? That which we call social engineering
By any other phrase would yield the same results.
Having been a theatre major in a past life (yes, I know I’m going to regret admitting that), I appreciate an invocation of the bard at least as much as the next guy, but still, a wave of the hand is a wave of the hand.

Let me put this in Hayekian terms for you: think of Hayek’s large complex phenomenon versus small complex phenomenon. I’m not arguing that one is the other. In fact, you are.

I’m arguing that generally the history of civilization, and specifically the history of liberty, are nothing if not the history of humanity’s long hard slog out of the tribalist muck in which much of the world is still stuck to this day—including the Middle East. And I’m also arguing that it’s completely possible (given that you and I are both right at this moment soaking in it) for a nation to put some distance between itself and tribalism.

Although we can’t, say, command all of the various producers in the health care market to provide the fruits of their labor to everyone equally without causing shortage and unnecessary expense, a health care market can spontaneously organize itself within a framework of general market rules in iterations so sophisticated that they can provide the best for the most relatively efficiently.

Likewise, as we agree, it is not within our wherewithal to "democratize Iraq," but that doesn’t mean they can’t democratize themselves if given half a chance. And that is the moral debt we owe Iraqis: to provide an opportunity to organize their society in a more liberal way. We do that by planting a framework, not engineering their society. They may be able to take advantage of this opportunity, or they may not. But going back to the menu versus the kitchen analogy, we may not have any better choices in the pantry. Consider:

You broke out the Cost of the Iraq War litany above. Well consider that the damage done by ten Jihadists and two airplanes to New York clocks in at about a trillion dollars—and that’s just direct costs, just to New York. One trillion dollars, almost ten percent of our GDP for 2001.

So what do you think the price would have been from, say, 130,000 people dying over a four-to-eight day period in Los Angeles after Jihadists disperse two liters of Saddamite "Anthrax in the subway? Or maybe having to bury two thirds of Manhattan beneath a Chernobyl-style concrete sarcophagus following Uday’s IheartNY dirty bomb of 2009? How many years do you think the resulting global economic depression would last? You see, there was potential costs to NOT war on Iraq too, and even though they were only potential, after 9/11 it became obvious that the enormity of the costs associated with those potential outcomes outweighed giving Saddam’s torture state the benefit of the doubt for the umpteenth time.

That was our actual non-menu, real-world choice, and given that choice we did the intelligent and moral thing.

By the way, your quote didn’t say: does Mohammed @ ITM agree with his dad?

yours/
peter.
 
Written By: Peter Jackson
URL: http://www.liberalcapitalist.com
TDP: "the swing voters have what you need"

That’s not clearly true at all, especially when you stick to the subject of libertarians and don’t substitute "swing voters" as though it meant the same thing. There are other swing voters the Democrats can appeal to. The Democrats might well be able to get what they need without libertarians’ help, but it’s the libertarians who will be up a creek if they manage to alienate both major parties (e.g. by calling other people dolts for stating unpleasant truths). Those who claim to know all about free markets would do well to learn about market leverage. The libertarians are in the position of selling, as you say, but it’s a buyers’ market and there are only two buyers worth considering. What typically happens to prices in such situations? They fall, and sellers who refuse to concede on price go out of business.

In case that’s not clear enough, here’s a more concrete example. Let’s say I represent a small high-tech startup (as in fact I do) negotiating with one of the industry heavyweights. Should little FubarCo try to dictate terms to HP or EMC? They wouldn’t even get through their "elevator talk" that way, no matter how cool their product or technology is, and they might even get kicked off the elevator. I’ve seen that scenario play out, from both sides. When small fry want to negotiate with big fish, it’s in their own best interest to make the first concession. Ego has to take a back seat.
 
Written By: Platypus
URL: http://pl.atyp.us
The Democrats might well be able to get what they need without libertarians’ help, but it’s the libertarians who will be up a creek if they manage to alienate both major parties (e.g. by calling other people dolts for stating unpleasant truths).
We’ll see won’t we.
"Let’s say I represent a small high-tech startup (as in fact I do) negotiating with one of the industry heavyweights."
We’re talking about politics in a first past the post balloting system. The rules are different.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
How does the difference in rules lead to a difference in the way the system actually works, or the outcomes it produces? In a proportional-representation system where even the most popular party might need a coalition to reach majority you might have a point, but not in a first-past-the-post system. How do little fish get to tell big fish what to do in a system where a mere plurality is sufficient to win seats?

We’ll see, all right. We’ll see how many congressional seats the libertarians win on their own, and how much influence they have if they lack a voice in either of the parties that do have seats. That’s where hubris gets you.
 
Written By: Platypus
URL: http://pl.atyp.us
Platypus, the only impersonal calculation the Dems need to make is will the Democratic party lose more votes than it gains by making the concessions it needs to to attract the generally libertarian and independent minded swing voters, and will those votes get them past the Republican candidate in enough races to return them to power?

The Democrats need to make the concessions because they don’t have the votes.
"We’ll see how many congressional seats the libertarians win on their own,"
They need to win ANY on their own—the Democrats need to win them.
"how much influence they have if they lack a voice in either of the parties that do have seats"
The point is not that the Libertarians can’t win. That’s already well established.

The question is, how long do the Democrats want to be a minority party?

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
ARGGHH!!!
They need to win ANY on their own
/=
They don’t need to win ANY on their own
Yikes. TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
the Democrats need to win them.
Democrats winning seats doesn’t do libertarians any good if libertarians continue on the path of alienating the left which constitutes the bulk of the Democratic party.
how long do the Democrats want to be a minority party?
Again, why are libertarians so focused on what someone else can do to achieve electoral success or political change? If libertarians can afford to break away from the Republican party, the Democratic party can surely afford to reject libertarians. Democrats don’t like their support being taken for granted by libertarians any more than libertarians like theirs being taken for granted by Republicans. Ask not what others can do for you; ask what you can do for yourself. Isn’t self-reliance part of the libertarian creed? What are you willing to do to make a Democrat/libertarian alliance possible?
 
Written By: Platypus
URL: http://pl.atyp.us
"If libertarians can afford to break away from the Republican party, the Democratic party can surely afford to reject libertarians"
Do you know what first past the post means?

The Libertarians already know they can’t get past the post first, but they can maybe get some other party past the post first. If the compromises that "other party" needs to make to get libertarians voting for their candidates will get the "other party" past the post first, and those compromises are acceptable, then they need to make them.
"What are you willing to do to make a Democrat/libertarian alliance possible?"
Personally, nothing. I will never vote for a Democratic Party candidate if the Dem Party Platform stays largely as it is. It’s idiots like Henke who want to give it away.

BTW Platypus, unless you show some glimmer of understanding as to how electoral mechanics works, we’re done talking for now.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
As a long-time host of the Voting Systems FAQ, I don’t think I’m the one who lacks understanding of how electoral mechanics work. First past the post means, most importantly, that a mere plurality is sufficient to win an election. That means the Democrat candidate only needs more votes than the Republican; s/he does not need a majority and therefore does not need the libertarians to attain one. FPP makes minor parties or factions like libertarians less powerful, not more. By focusing on FPP you focus on the libertarians’ weakness, not their strength, and only underscore my point.

Insulting people (me, Jon, ...) won’t make your broken logic work. It just shows that you’re a jerk as well as a fool, and not worth debating further. Have a bad day.
 
Written By: Platypus
URL: http://pl.atyp.us
Platypus, I never said the Democrats needed a majority, I said:
The Libertarians already know they can’t get past the post first, but they can maybe get some other party past the post first
"FPP makes minor parties or factions like libertarians less powerful, not more."
If their numbers joined with yours can get you FPP it doesn’t make them less powerful, it means you get them vote for your guy by making attractive compromises.

That’s why the two majors are trying to get the swing voters on their side.

Or did you miss that dynamic in every election since 1789?

Check that. I don’t believe either of Washington’s elections were seriously contested. After that it’s been a FPP free-for-all.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
it means you get them vote for your guy
/=
it means you get them to vote for your guy
Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Well, there is a third option.

Vote your conscience!!!

Stop thinking on a strategic scale, and ask what the people you vote for are or can do.

If there’s a fiscally less leftist/more conservative candidate, vote for them. Anyone can look up the records, scorecards, etc of every sitting politician. There are a lot of old timers who deserve a good retirement NOW. There are some young guns who deserve support.

Maybe then politicians will get the hint.

And regardless of what party your representatives belong to, it is still your duty to interact with them. Let them know, with both barrels (nudge nudge wink wink ;D ) what your position on the issues are.

Vote for the candidate that may accomplish what is most important to you. Let the chips fall where they may.

Trying to unite behind some grand strategy is just not going to work with this crowd. We are more politically and philosophically diverse then any other forum I’m on. I like it that way. But these discussions remind me of someone trying to heard cats.
 
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://
Henke — "This is why I find it fairly useless to argue with people who invent their own dictionary."

"Politics".

Did you ever read Aristotle, Henke? Do you even know who he is? I don’t know how to make this clear to you, but he did a whole book on this over twenty-three hundred years ago. If anyone is "inventing" a dictionary, it’s you. The original authority on the matter is on my side on this. You’re the one who said that I’m not interested inn "politics". You could look at your own words, right ^^^^ up there. It’s not true, and you’re the one who didn’t know what you were talking about when you wrote that. Just like I said.

I know about that "I never like any of you..." gag: I’m the one who cooked it up. And you know what it is. If I’m wrong about that, then — like I said — you and I both know someone who could help you sort it out.

"Sales taxes" & all the rest of it — if I could figure a way to prevent that without just killing myself to make you happy, Henke, I would. But tell me the truth: would it satisfy you if I just pulled the plug this very morning? Is that what you want? What would you have to say, then?
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
It’s not true, and you’re the one who didn’t know what you were talking about when you wrote that. Just like I said.
While you may want to parse which particular definition of ’politics’ is relevant here, you claimed you did know what I was talking about. So I communicated effectively. You were the one who decided to ignore than communication and argue about something wholly different.
I know about that "I never like any of you..." gag: I’m the one who cooked it up.
You’d repeated it often enough that I thought there was something to it. I was not aware that you didn’t actually mean what you’d written. I’m perfectly willing to believe that you hold a few people in high regard and despise the vast majority of humanity, though. It doesn’t really change my position. I’m not blogging to make friends or to gain your approval.
if I could figure a way to prevent that without just killing myself
Well, you could go "off the grid" by moving to Montana or Alaska; you could stop going overseas, which would no longer require you to endure Customs; you could subsist entirely on barter to avoid sales taxes.

I mean, I know that would be inconvenient, but what price liberty?
would it satisfy you if I just pulled the plug this very morning? Is that what you want?
This isn’t about me. I asked you specific questions about you. Don’t pretend we’re arguing about what would make me happy.
What would you have to say, then?
I’d say "well, that was an odd thing to do. I wonder what he thought he would accomplish."
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Perkins — that e-mail address is correct and it’s the only one I have. If you’re having a problem with it, then I’d like to know about it. But this is the truth: there is no "contempt" or "carelessness" about it. You might consider that there is something else going on that I don’t know about. Meanwhile, I’ll be taking it up with my ISP. If it comes to it, I’ll be getting in touch with you and I’ll bloody open an FTP directory for your use. Would that do it for you? Would you like my phone number?

I’m serious.

As for "pragmatism"; I know a presumptive authority on invented dictionaries. On the other hand, I have no problem with that sort of thing: as long as people take the effort to define their terms, I don’t care what they refer to. This one is very tricky, though, and I have to tell you that I’m skeptical: I believe that I know this would cook down.
I’d like very much for you to show that several things either are or are not true.

1) There were changes made to state constitutions on, about, or between those years that were substantially more protective of liberty than either the BoR or the orginal Federalist "limited grant of power" constitution.
What’s the point of this? You’re changing the subject: I referred specifically to the U.S. constitution. State constitutions are a different subject.
2) The states did not assume they inherited unchanged the full powers of the crown as their due after the Treaty of Paris.
Only stipulating to the question, mind you, within the constraints of answer #1 above, whether they did or not...
3) Federalism could be preserved as much as the state’s legislators felt it was advantageous to them, absent the 17th amendment.
...it’s pretty obvious that it was well on its way to being a dead doctrine by 1887 (see "Interstate Commerce Act"), although it’s true that federalism has been rotting real well for over a hundred years since then. We won’t even get into the rise of administrative law.
4) No constitution by wording, adoption, or rejection could have any meaning if the populace it "governed" determined by sufferance of its derogation that it should not.
Tell that to the subjects of the Soviet Union. Solzhenitsyn did almost nineteen hundred pages turning essentially on Article 48 of the Soviet constitution at risk of his very life (the Politburo sat around and very constitutionally plotted his murder), and about the only thing that made him special was that he took the effort to say what untold millions of his countrymen "suffer[ed]", and they kept suffering for about another twenty-five to thirty years (depending on how one dates his "Gulag") until the thing finally fell over.

Beyond that, I still don’t undertand what your point is with any of this.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
"While you may want to parse which particular definition of ’politics’ is relevant here, you claimed you did know what I was talking about."
I’m the one who knew what you were talking about: you were talking about elections. Let’s keep this straight.
"Well, you could go "off the grid" by moving to Montana or Alaska; you could stop going overseas, which would no longer require you to endure Customs; you could subsist entirely on barter to avoid sales taxes."
It’s the same practical effect to me, whether you know it or not.
"I’d say ’well, that was an odd thing to do. I wonder what he thought he would accomplish.’"
For one thing, there would be some bloody peace between you and me.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
I’m the one who knew what you were talking about: you were talking about elections. Let’s keep this straight.
Well, since I was talking to you, then the relevant data set grasped my meaning. And then complained that I was communicating poorly.
For one thing, there would be some bloody peace between you and me.
Your comments and links to me would seem to indicate that you’re the one at war; I wasn’t told we were having a fight. I agree with you at times and disagree at others, but neither are particularly irksome to me. I’m not sure why, of the millions of people you could pick, you’ve chosen to be annoyed —frequently and viscerally — by me. But that’s your problem, not mine.
It’s the same practical effect to me, whether you know it or not.
"If I had to stop doing [X] I’d just die". I’ve never before heard that kind of melodrama from somebody older than 14.

In any event, you saw the price, made your cost/benefit calculation...and compromised. I’ve got no problem with that, but don’t pretend you are doing anything else. Self-deception does not become you.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.qando.net/
I don’t "pretend" anything, son. I know a lot more about what I’m doing, and how and why, than you do, by many orders of magnitude.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
I’m quite sure you know why you submit to the State when you find it necessary. But when you say you’re not making a compromise in doing so, you’re just wrong. You could choose to do otherwise, but you don’t.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.qando.net/
give me liberty or give me death
Some choice, but it’s still a choice.

People may not like all the consequences of their choice, but they still have free will.

But, isn’t this a little off-track of where this thread started.

I’ve always thought voting came down to one of a few strategies.

1 - Lessor of two evils, ie vote for who you think will do the lest amount of harm
2 - Maintaining the "status quo" or gridlock strategy
3 - Abstaining
4 - Voting your conscience

I think to many people are in categories 1 - 3.

Until we get better candidates (McQ for Congress,) we may not have better choices.
 
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://
I do not subscribe to the Grand (But Temporary) Alliance Theory and I find the following two comments — the first by Tom Perkins and the second by Keith, Indy — to be the most promising so far in this excellent debate:
The duopoly is stably set on a course we do not want. Destroy the duopoly by supporting the stronger party ’til the weaker disintegrates. Then and only then will the formerly stronger Republican Party be vulnerable to cracking up. From that chaos, productive things can happen.
Well, there is a third option. Vote your conscience!!! Stop thinking on a strategic scale, and ask what the people you vote for are or can do. If there’s a fiscally less leftist/more conservative candidate, vote for them. Anyone can look up the records, scorecards, etc of every sitting politician. There are a lot of old timers who deserve a good retirement NOW. There are some young guns who deserve support. Maybe then politicians will get the hint.

Vote for the candidate that may accomplish what is most important to you. Let the chips fall where they may. Trying to unite behind some grand strategy is just not going to work with this crowd. We are more politically and philosophically diverse then any other forum I’m on. I like it that way. But these discussions remind me of someone trying to heard cats.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://dsthinkingloud.blogspot.com/
I agree David. Those are two of the better suggestions that I’ve heard. It kind of works with PeterJackson’s ideas too, which I like. Supporting gridlock gets us nowhere.
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://
4 - Voting your conscience
The odds of your one vote changing the outcome of any election is very, very small. I recommend Keith’s #4. I’m more or less a one issue voter. I don’t vote for drug warriors. Ever. Or at least not for any office which has a role in the drug war. Which means I vote Libertarian almost exclusively. And it’s so easy. I always leave my polling place with a spring in my step, whistling a happy tune. My candidates don’t win of course, but so what? The voice of my individual vote speaks much more loudly from the Libertarian column than it would from the Dem or Republican column. And maybe if the voices from the Lib column grow loud enough, the other two party candidates will notice, and even co-opt some Lib positions, which frankly is fine by me.

In terms of our individual votes, all of this strategizing is more or less meaningless. The winner of the election will very, very, very likely win with or without your individual vote. And it’s like the man said: if we alway do what we’ve always done, we’ll always get what we’ve always gotten.

yours/
peter.
 
Written By: Peter Jackson
URL: http://www.liberalcapitalist.com
David, Peter, Omar - thanks...

David, I posted this over at your blog (which I will have to read further.) But it shows a way of supporing your principles, while also trying to achieve some of your goals. I have to think that people like Karl Rove, notice when a particular opponent gets monetary support, even if they don’t get a lot of votes.

***

I’ve always wondered if the money spent on campaigning, supporting issues, etc, couldn’t be better used to actually solve problems instead of propping up the current scheme of things.

The last election I threw money at several Presidential candidates.

Nader on principle, because he deserved as much chance as anyone to be on the ballot. And so, since there was an active effort oppossing him, I threw a very small amount to him.

The Libertarian and Constitutional candidates because they are closer to my philisophical leanings.

Now, I didn’t believe for a minute that any of those three had any chance at getting elected. But, people ought to have more choices. Only by doing that can we possibly hope to have better choices in the future.

And President Bush, because at that time, he was the better choice for maintaining our national security. One of the primary functions of our Federal government.

Not exactly the most efficient use of my money. But, heh, it’s only money. This year, nobodys gotten any money yet. Other then some issue groups like the NRA.
 
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://
Jon, I could not agree more. In fact I was pre-agreeing when I wrote this last May:
To support the documented benefit of divided government by voting Democratic in the 2006 election, is not the same as "finding a home" in the Democratic party. It is simply tactical support to obtain an immediate and desireable result: Fiscal restraint and better federal governance through the mechanism of divided government. To continue to support Republican single party control of the Federal Government in the face of what has actually transpired over the last five years can only be read as a naked appeal to "pay attention to what Republicans say, but ignore what they. In fact, by achieving the result of divided government through the support of Democratic candidates in 2006, the supporters of limited government will have a stronger foundation for supporting the Republican presidential candidate in 2008, with the enhanced hope that the next Republican President will actually "walk the walk".


Many great comments, and I am a week late to the party, but I cannot resist making a few comments on some of the comments:
Tom Perkins comments:
How do you propose to turn gridlock into improvement?
Ok, I’ll take a crack at it. First, divided government (defined as executive and legislative branch not controlled by the same party) is not equal to gridlock, although it can have that temporary result. This administration proved that single party Republican control can be as wildly profligate as single party Democratic control. Divided government is documented by Niskanen and Ritter to restrain spending. It is a simple historical fact. We can guess at the mechanism of wny it works, but the fact that it does work can and should be accepted as empirical fact.MichaelW comments:
I’m thinking that this November, there’s a strong chance that I’ll just write in a candidate ...Yes, this is the preferred libertarian response. One I have used myself. It is a vote for principle. It is a vote for futility. It is a vote for continuing the political irrelevance of the libertarian party.
Robert Fulton comments:
So where is the politician who sees things as you do who is is reaching out to libertarians? Presumably he would be a Democrat...
This misses the point. The idea is not to join the Democrat party. The point is to accomplish a libertarian objective of restraining gevernment growth and spending by casting a tactical vote for the Democrats in 2006. Think of it as the usual libertarian response of throwing away your vote, but accidently actually accomplishing a libertarian objective by doing it.
Gerry comments:
Theory ... We’ve seen rather large deficits basically since Nixon was forced out of office..Simple in concept, that is. Devilishly hard to do in reality. You have to figure out who really are the right people, and they have to figure out how to sell themselves, and we actually have to pull the levers..."
Actually it is more than theory. It is historical fact. Yes there are always large deficits, but Niskanen and Ritter show that they are larger and grow faster when you have single party control of the legislative and executive branch. Perhaps this is not as devilishly hard as you might think. The dynamic of divided government accomplishes the desired objective of restraining government growth, not the individuals or parties that make up that divided government state, or even what they say or believe. Democrats (or Republicans) do not create the result. Divided government does. Republican vs. Democrat is a false choice. Single Party vs. Divided Government is the real choice.
Don comments:
Voting Democrat will sure send that "we want less government" message. . The only options I see are "R" or "L".
So Don, how has that only "R" or "L" thing worked out for you over the last five years? Re-elect this generation of big government Republican congressman into another majority with this big government President, and guess what you will get for the next two years? It’s pretty simple really. You want to vote for that? Hey knock yourself out.
ABC comments:
To be even more of a stickler, there was no surplus under Clinton. The debt increased every year just as it has done since 1960.
True. But spending growth was restrained. You have to stop the bleeding before you can heal the patient. And it was not Clinton that created the fiscal restraint. It was the dynamic of a divided government.
kyle N comments:
Clinton was a fluke that could not happen under the current move towards the left in the current Democratic party. (and who believes that Hillary would be a centrist?)
No one believes that. The Dem party will not restrain government growth. A divided government will. In any case, the presidential election is in 2008. This is 2006. We have an election in four months. Vote for divided government now, stop the bleeding, then vote for a "born-again" fiscally conservative Republican in ’08.
Lance comments:
Mary Katherine Ham is exactly right about why I can’t vote Democrat, they aren’t even lying about wanting my vote enough to change...
This is not about finding a home in the Demcratic party. This is not about trying to change the Democratic party. This is not about whether you feel wanted by the Democratic party. This is not about whether they "really, really like you". This is about voting for an objective of limiting government growth through the known mechanism of electing and maintaining a divided government in Washington.
Robert Fulton comments:
one is hard put to buy Jon’s hope that libertarians have any welcome in the Democratic party other than as a vote...
This is not about finding a home in the Demcratic party. This is not about trying to change the Democratic party. This is about voting for the objective of limiting government growth through the known mechanism of electing and maintaining a divided government in Washington.
Robert Fulton comments:
The best I can do is help the Democrats "purify" the Democratic party? Sorry. I’ll join the ranks of the non-voters first ... better we should all write in "Gridlock" so that everyone knows where we stand and how to get our vote in the future.
This is not about finding a home in the Democratic party. This is not about trying to change the Democratic party. This is about voting for an objective of limiting government growth through the known mechanism of electing and maintaining a divided government in Washington. Elect a divided government in ’06, then you can waste your vote in ’08 like a good libertarian.
Aldo comments:
Regarding Clinton’s surpluses: only a fool would vote for the Democrats in the expectation that future Democratic administrations will model themselves after Clinton’s... The fact is that the Republicans have shamelessly violated their core principles of limited government and fiscal responsibility, but the Democrats have never had any such principles in the past and are not claiming to have them now.
That is not the expectation. The expectation is that a divided government will restrain the growth of government because it historically has been shown to do so by Niskanen et.al. It is a tactic, not a strategy.The Democrats won’t do it. The Republicans won’t do it. A divided Federal government will.
Peter Jackson comments:
...When I say the system needs to be changed, I mean the whole enchilada...
True. Great ideas, all. But are they going to happen in the next four months? If not, then vote for Divided Government now, stop the bleeding, and we might be able to start the process of getting some of this institutional reform in ’08.
Aldo comments:
If that is the best plan, libertarians might as well quit politics and become a gardening club. I would prefer to sit out entirely than to give our mandate to a party that represents the polar opposite of everything we stand for.
As opposed to a party that says one thing in order to make Aldo feel good about voting for them, then actually does the polar opposite of everything he stands for. Got it. That is much better, of course. But - as a practical matter - sitting out is almost as good as voting positively for divided government.
Keith, Indy comments:
How is gridlock improvement? Well, if you were on a boat that was sinking, and you managed to bail out just enough water so you didn’t sink further, that would be an improvement. It’s not a solution, but a stop-gap measure. A way to try and play one side off the other until you can get the "right" people, or the "right" legislation enacted to correct things.

Exactly.
Peter comments:
The odds of your one vote changing the outcome of any election is very, very small. I recommend Keith’s #4 (vote your conscience). I’m more or less a one issue voter. I don’t vote for drug warriors. Ever. Or at least not for any office which has a role in the drug war. Which means I vote Libertarian almost exclusively. And it’s so easy. I always leave my polling place with a spring in my step, whistling a happy tune. My candidates don’t win of course, but so what? The voice of my individual vote speaks much more loudly from the Libertarian column than it would from the Dem or Republican column. And maybe if the voices from the Lib column grow loud enough, the other two party candidates will notice, and even co-opt some Lib positions, which frankly is fine by me.

In terms of our individual votes, all of this strategizing is more or less meaningless. The winner of the election will very, very, very likely win with or without your individual vote. And it’s like the man said: if we alway do what we’ve always done, we’ll always get what we’ve always gotten.
Actually, Peter - your (our) candidates don’t win at all. Ever. I have voted this way. It is easy. It is voting for principle. Voting this way is also the reason that libertarians are an impotent political force. Libertarian ideas are powerful ideas that do have an impact on the politcal dialog, but libertarian politics are irrelevant. Why not vote to accomplish a libertarian objective instead of only a libertarion principle?

This is another easy way to vote in ’06 and actually have a real impact. It is certainly true, that we are talking very long odds here. But in ’06, with a limited turnout, and a highly polarized electorate, it is just possible that a simple idea, widely communicated, to a relatively very few voters on the margin can make a difference. If only there was some sort of ubiquitous communication medium that had the potential of getting this idea widely disseminated, we might get just enough votes to make a difference. Something like a vast network of tubes. Too bad it does not exist. If it did we could let the politicians know that there is a libertarian voting block that does not throw it’s vote away every election.

What is needed, for this to work in this very short time-frame, is an organizing principle. A principle that is so obvious, so logical, and so clear-cut, that no leadership is needed, no parties are needed, no candidates are needed, and no infrastructure is needed. Ideally it is just this easy: You think about the principle, and you know how to vote.

That organizing principle exists. It is Divided Government. It is absolutely clear-cut and easy to understand. Divided Government is documented by Niskanen et.al. to work in a practical real-world manner to restrain the growth of the state. The entire idea can be communicated in a sound byte. As a voting strategy it can be implemented immediately.

Whatever the percentage of the electorate that libertarians and disgruntled limited government advocates represent, whether it is 9% or 20%, if they vote as a block for Divided Government, they become the brokers of an evenly split partisan electorate. They arguably become the single most most potent voting block in the country, specifically because they are willing to vote either Democratic or Republican as a block. Specifically because they are not fused to one party or the other.

It means, libertarians must ignore what the politicians say and look at what they actually do (Niskanen again). It means ignoring spurious invitations to fuse with either "big tent" party that no longer stands for anything meaningful. It means voting straight Democratic in 2006, and (if successful in establishing divided government) voting Republican for President in 2008. It means the difference between libertarians being a completely impotent political force, and libertarians having the biggest swinging political "hammer" in town.

And it can be done this year.

It can be done in the next in the next four months.
Just Vote Divided.

x-posted on my blog - mw
 
Written By: mw
URL: http://westanddivided.blogspot.com/

 
Add Your Comment
  NOTICE: While we don't wish to censor your thoughts, we do blacklist certain terms of profanity or obscenity. This is not to muzzle you, but to ensure that the blog remains work-safe for our readers. If you wish to use profanity, simply insert asterisks (*) where the vowels usually go. Your meaning will still be clear, but our readers will be able to view the blog without worrying that content monitoring will get them in trouble when reading it.
Comments for this entry are closed.
Name:
Email:
URL:
HTML Tools:
Bold Italic Blockquote Hyperlink
Comment:
   
 
Vicious Capitalism

Divider

Buy Dale's Book!
Slackernomics by Dale Franks

Divider

Divider