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Purging the Ranks
Posted by: McQ on Monday, August 14, 2006

As dependable as sunrise, there always arises in any movement some who think they are more pure than others and, of course, then hope to use their purity as a means of ostracizing others within that movement who don't reflect the same purity. We see them in religion as well as politics (ideology) and philosophy. In religion we call them fundamentalists. A lot of them are the newly converted and there is no greater fervor than that of someone who has suddenly discovered "the truth".

Those who have made this great discovery usually want others to either convert to their point of view or get out of the movement or religion (or at least not be identified with it). So they attempt to define, or redefine, their movement in such a way as to place these others of whom they don't approve outside the lines they're redrawing. In a word, to make them apostates.
But having said that, I am damned if I can see how some who today claim the [libertarian] label, even with this or that prefix or qualifier affixed, have anything to do with what I adhere to.
The tactics are fairly common, obvious and well known (they mirror the purge presently underway on the left). Since only they are holders of "the truth" they can draw those lines anywhere they wish. And they then attempt to demonize those who fall short of the criteria they've put together and exclude them.

For example:
So, those are some of the self-identified “neolibertarians.” Virtually all of them are in the tank for Bush and the GOP, most especially on any matter touching and concerning foreign policy or national security; any criticism they might make in those areas will almost always come from the right (i.e., we gotta kill a LOT MORE PEOPLE George!). (And N.B., one gaping omission — but Instapundit isn’t on the neo-libertarian list, so what’s a girl to do!?)
"In the tank for Bush and the GOP?" Of course left out of the criticism is the fact that the vast, vast majority of the support has to do with the war on Islamofascism. Additionally, the support has not been criticism free. So distilling their support to "we gotta kill a lot more people, George!" is simply disingenuous rhetorical nonsense. But it is useful rhetorical nonsense when trying to demonize a group. The inclusion of the term "neolibertarian", is also useful rhetorical device since it puts that group outside the lines as well. A crude attempt at guilt by association.

It goes on. Under the guise of "discussion", shots are taken at other sorts of "libertarians" as well, or at least those who are commonly considered to fit under the libertarian tent. As with most purges, the attempt isn't to make the tent bigger, but instead smaller. Any indication of impurity is grounds for ouster, even though, as you'll see, a claim of "tolerance" will be made at a later point. In reality, those who possess "the truth" have little patience or tolerance with others who don't toe their line.

Consequently the inevitable attempt at consensus is made immediately after condemnations and thinly veiled attempts to prejudice the reader have occurred:
But in the meantime I propose to discuss two questions in light of what I’ve set forth above:

1. Should any of these be ostracized and shunned from the libertarian ranks? and

2. On the basis of what litmus test(s)?

Careful now. We are a tolerant people, we libertarians. Let us only protect the integrity in, and utility of, having a coherent definition for the libertarian descriptor, in all its pristine glory.

No icepicks or bullets in the head, please.
Ummm. Tolerant. Heh ... yeah, reading the body of the post leading up to the questions just oozed with tolerance. After figuratively putting a good portion of those who call themselves libertarians outside the new lines, they are now called upon to justify being allowed back in based on a "coherent definition for the libertarian descriptor". Any guess who feels they are the final arbiter on that "coherent definition?"

So, go, discuss, determine. Me? I'm a neolibertarian who believes in libertarian principles but understands that we can't pretend the rest of the world doesn't exist nor pretend we don't face threats to which we have to respond. If that puts me "in the tank" for whatever, so be it. However what I don't intend to do is waste my time justifying my beliefs to someone who has done everything they can to mischaracterize and dismiss them in an attempt to exclude me from their definition of "libertarian".
 
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Well McQ, Mona may be in the process of creating a "libertarian" movement akin to Buchanan’s "Conservative Movement." That is, a group so small in numbers but large in ego. Pat IS a COnservative, I am a dupe, an infidel, an apostate, as you say, a parvenu, a Johnie-Come-Lately. Of course I am in the mainstream and outnumber Pat’s crew by a factor of 10, but he KNOWS, in his heart of hearts, he’s right and I’m wrong...

Same thing with Mona. She’s going to take a group of that represents .3 to 3% of the electorate and produce a minority within the minority, but they’ll be TRUE LIBERTARIANS. One day you others will come crawling to them for sanctification and foregiveness... alternatively, "You’ll miss us when we’re gone." It’s like Nutroots, they’d rather have a small group of good folks, rather than a large tent of not-so-pure folks.

Generally in militaries, "I’d take a Marine Corps that fit into a phone booth, if they’re good Marines" is a good attitude, but for political movements it generally has bad results for either the politcal party, Reform Party, or the society, Nazi’s, Bosheviks. Small "pure" groups either fail or end up inflicting tremendous damage on the larger body politc as they "purify" the society.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Heh heh heh.
Okay, you gave clues, but I didn’t have to think real hard about who was laying out the new marching orders for the party. I didn’t even check the link until I finished reading, just to be sure I could guess correctly.

So, was there a death and asscenion to the throne that I missed while I was out slaying miscreant weeds and reminding myself that it only takes 20 minutes of Texas sun to receive your ’Order of the Red Neck’ when you’re not wearing sunblock?

I can see I’m going to fall outside the lines, again.

Anyone want to form a "let’s be realistic" party?

One good thing about pure parties, they spend a lot of time weighing people in the balance, and discovering, person by person that the only people who are true "true believers" are the founder, the syocphants, and a random sock puppet here and there.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Trying to keep a monopoly on your labels is really, really dumb. The libertarian tent isn’t small enough already? Gotta go kicking people out who agree with you on many aspects of limited government but just won’t budge on a few others?

Who died and put Mona in charge of expanding the cause of liberty?
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
McQ, excellent post and I agree with you 100%. I had a similar exchange with the "lifelong libertarian" (make sure not to use the large L) who wrote this post right here at this very blogsite.

http://www.qando.net/comments.aspx?Entry=4370 look near the bottom of the comments on this one.
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
I just left this comment there, and it bears repeating here:

One of the things I believe (and I consider myself a neolibertarian) is the legitimate purpose of government is protecting the rights of individuals. Thus I accept police and courts and armies whose purpose is to do just that. My support (even though I consider myself a libertarian) for the GWOT derives from that.

It doesn’t have to be complicated.

As for the litmus test. Using the NY Subway is a voluntary act. you could always drive, walk, or work somewhere else. If the subway was privately owned I think the owners would protect their investment by conducting random searches. No one’s being moronic here.
 
Written By: Josh Poulson
URL: http://pun.org/josh/
So, let me get this straight, a Democrat, who has NEVER been a Libertarian or VOTED Libertarian is now going to determine who or who is NOT a L/libertarian...Oh man that ’phone booth is gonna be looking like the Superdome, after a big game, when she gets thru.

I just want to let you know...If it gets bad in lib-land you can always come to my house, we have an extra bedroom or two, heck we’ll even feed you, for a while. After that you’re going to ahve to do yard and house work for you room and board.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
LIBERTARIAN LITMAS TEST:

Do you or don’t you support a policemen who shoots at someone raping or murdering an innocent person?

After all:

1) The policeman is paid with tax money. Do you support theft? The policemen has no right to shoot the alleged "rapist" because he is paid with stolen tax loot.

2) The non-aggression principle. Libertartians can’t initiate force, hence you can’t shoot the "rapist." He is minding his business, you do the same.

3) Innocent bystanders. There is a chance that the policemen will hit innocent bystanders, so there is absolutely no moral way he can take a shot.

4) The fact the policemen is (or works for someone) Jewish or Isreali or a neoconservative. Nuff said.

5) The so-called "rapist" is really against Buscho and the neocons. They are anti-State because they are against Isreal or the United States. They are allies in our Grand Movement to overthrow USA, Inc. and install libertopia! Onward comrades!!!

6) We are trying to build a Movement here! And how else can we get the progressives, Noam Chomsky, Cindy Sheehan, Daily Kos as our buddies? By slamming the imperialist, corporate policeman and any of those neocon traitors who support aggression, theft of tax money and the oppression of "rapists!"

7) Sure some "neocon" warmonger is going to come along here and claim the "rapist" in question was really rapign entire territory of Iraq, and raping and murdering millions of victims, but they are probably tools of Bushco and the Zionists. They need to be purged. No true libertarian supports any war at any time.

 
Written By: L. Ron Rothbard
URL: http://www.lewrockwell.com
McQ: It’s been obvious for a while that there is a schism in the ranks of libertarians that began with the war in Iraq. Myself, I don’t think that issue should always serve as a "litmus test" for libertarians, and I agree with Milton Friedman who opined over a decade ago that libertarianism does not dictate a particular foreign policy.

But I do think it precludes some. Libertarians do not embrace state-run, domestic social engineering, because we know our Hayek and the truth of human nature he so well explicated, as well as the limits of knowledge and planning he addressed, all of which truthes demonstrate the follies of such engineering projects. A foreign policy predicated on nation-building is, as I have said many times before, social engineering writ large — at the point of a gun.

My post is a genuine attempt to flesh out what self-identified libertarians deem to be disqualifying positions. (Note, please, that this is not a post I cross-posted at Inactivist, because I didn’t want that level of "accusation" at that ecumenical site.) In addition to the "neo-libertarians" who seem mostly supportive of an expanding and lawless Executive branch, I also cite paleos (Lew Rockwell) who embrace actual theocrats like Gary North, and bless them with the denomination of "libertarian." Lew Rockwell hosts North’s archives at his web site, even tho North would execute homosexuals and criminalize religious proselytizing that was "anti-Christian" as he defines that. That is some damned peculiar notion of libertariansism North has, and yet Rockwell sees him as a brother.

Are there any other peculiar positions that would stretch the libertarian label beyond coherent meaning? That’s what I’m seeking to have people discuss.

As an aside, if people don’t like intimations they are not really libertarians, well, thicken your skin. I’ve repeatedly been advised I’m actually a liberal and/or a Democratic Party hack, and no libertarian at all. So you will excuse me if I’m happy swimming around in a venue where the libertarian creds questioned are those of some of my detractors. We have, I believe, the much better argument regarding the essence of liberty.
 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://
Removing dictatorships is now "social engineering"?

Damn those warmongring Founders! How dare they initiate their social engineering project by overthowing the rule of King George! And damn that tyrant Lincoln! What did his social engineering project accomplish! Did it free anyone? Err...cept for all those slaves, which pains the crowd at LRC to no end.

Toss out reason and logic and you have today’s "libertarianism." There are so many false assumptions and fallacies in your post that I don’t even want to bother fisking them.
 
Written By: L. Ron Rothbard
URL: http://
Well L. Ron Rothbard, Lincoln was a TYRANT! He violated Habeus Corpus, suspended civil liberties, and expanded the power fo the National Government at the expense of the states! Slavery was dying and would have disappeared without him! The War of Northern Agression was all about TARIFFS, you fool! Man how deluded you people can be.....

And Mona, so you’re saying that that whole rebuilding Germany and Japan thing was a FAILURE or that they were just waiting to be liberal democracies and all the firebombing and occupation merely allowed it to flower?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
McQ, my thoughts are here. Couldn’t get a trackback to take for some reason, so this comment will serve as my trackback.
 
Written By: Wulf
URL: http://www.atlasblogged.com
Oh, and McQ, about this:
However what I don’t intend to do is waste my time justifying my beliefs to someone who has done everything they can to mischaracterize and dismiss them in an attempt to exclude me from their definition of "libertarian".
You will not find one word or even an implication from me that I exclude you from "libertarianism." Indeed, only a few days ago I was ridiculing some moron here who insisted he didn’t care what libertarians think, and I pointed out to him the "New Libertarian" button at the top of your page, and further notified the idjit that all three bloggers here self-identify as libertarians.

My issues with those who claim the "neo" label are far more to be found with the neo-libertarian bloggers I actually linked to and discussed, for the reasons I discussed — and more. Most of them have zero concern about Bush’s Executive power grabs, and many blindly defend them. Individuals such as thatlike that comment here as well when they, for instance, reject Jon Henke’s anti-torture posts as "tripe." That is the kind of person I’d be willing to argue is no libertarian if we are to have any coherent set of principles. But I did not identify you, and specifically don’t identify you now.
 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://
Getting libertarians to agree is like herding cats.

SPLITTERS!
 
Written By: mojo
URL: http://
Removing dictatorships is now "social engineering"?
No, nation-building is. And that’s what we are failing at in Iraq, to enormous cost in blood and treasure.

You neo-libertarians, well, many of us mere libertarians see you as Republicns first. Allow me to heavily quote from American Conservative in 2003, a piece titled Conservative Crack-Up,Will libertarians leave the Cold War coalition? The article mentions Jim Henley, for whom I am guest blogging at the moment, emphasis is mine:

In the not so distant past, even when compared to explicitly libertarian publications, there would be great similarity in subject matter (arguments for lower taxes, school choice, and Social Security privatization), contributors (Charles Murray, Thomas Sowell, and Walter Williams), and intellectual heroes (Hayek, Friedman, and Ludwig von Mises). There might be differences of emphasis, tone, and degree—the conservative magazines were much more concerned with political feasibility and the electoral fortunes of the Republican Party than their expressly libertarian counterparts—but also substantial agreement. The op-ed pages of conservative newspapers remain heavily populated by commentators affiliated with the libertarian Cato Institute, often described in the press as a conservative think tank.

Pick up copies of the mainstream conservative and libertarian magazines and compare them today. In their treatment of the Bush administration, Attorney General John Aschroft, the Iraq war, and the Republican leadership, the libertarian magazines will read much more like the Nation than conservative outlets like the Weekly Standard. There have been increasingly testy exchanges taking place between the writers of National Review and Reason over such issues as the Patriot Act.

Also consider that in two recent cases where popular conservative figures have been embroiled in personal controversies—when the Washington Monthly and Newsweek reported on William Bennett’s substantial gambling habit and Rush Limbaugh disclosed that he was addicted to painkilling drugs—libertarian commentators piled on with the same relish as their liberal counterparts. FoxNews.com columnist Radley Balko lambasted Bennett as a hypocrite on his Web site: “Your vices—sinful, regretful, damnable. My vices—not so bad. The guy lost $1.4 million in one two-month stretch. But he doesn’t have a problem. Cancer patients who want to smoke marijuana—they’re the ones who have problems.” Reason editor Nick Gillespie wrote how conservative defenses of the pre-eminent radio talk-show host were ruining the “otherwise enjoyable story of Rush Limbaugh’s exposure as a pill-popping hypocrite.” This hostility... [[partly]shows the degree to which many conservatives and libertarians no longer see themselves as being on the same team.

The combination of libertarian and traditionalist tendencies in modern American conservatism was due in part to the need to gather together that ragtag band of intellectuals lingering outside the New Deal consensus who were opposed to the rising tide of left-liberalism. An alliance made out of political necessity, it drew some measure of intellectual consistency ...
“Fusionism” was the name for Meyer’s synthesis, and while it was never without critics, it worked well enough for most conservatives and for the development of an American Right that counted anti-statism and traditional morality as its main pillars, alongside support for a strong national-defense posture. When Ronald Reagan became the Republican presidential nominee in 1980, this even became the basis of the GOP platform: smaller government, family values, and peace through strength.

Yet a growing number of libertarians no longer think they are getting much out of the fusionist bargain. Liberty magazine editor R.W. Bradford called upon his fellow libertarians to cease thinking of themselves as operationally part of the Right. ...

Jeffrey Tucker of the Ludwig von Mises Institute has argued that “conservative” as a term for those who love liberty has gone the way of “liberal”—hijacked by statists so that it now means precisely the opposite. “We lost the word liberalism long ago, and only adopted the term conservative with the greatest reluctance. It is time to give it up too, neither describing ourselves as such nor allowing others to do so. We don’t take our marching orders from neocons. We don’t believe what we see on TV. We do not love the GOP. We are not nationalists. We believe in the idea of liberty. We are libertarians …”

FoxNews.com’s Balko normally votes Republican and cast his ballot for George W. Bush in 2000 but now says he’s “90 percent certain” he “won’t be voting for President Bush in 2004.” He further argues that the “right now poses a greater threat to freedom than the left.” Jim Henley, a noted libertarian blogger, put it even more bluntly: “Having abandoned the substance of limited government since early in the Gingrich ‘revolution,’ conservatives increasingly eschew even the rhetoric of limited government. Animosity aside, they’re just no use to libertarians any more.”
A realignment is occurring. If the Democrats play their cards right, a lot of ’tarians will end up tilting toward them, as we used to heavily tilt GOP, for all the reasons the above article examines. Read the whole thing.
 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://
Wulf, Mona -

I have absolutely no problem with asking individuals why they lean one way on one issue but take a seemingly contradictory stance on another. And I enthusiastically support the idea of liberty-loving people extracting real promises from the major parties rather than letting themselves be taken for granted.

But if you start enforcing ideological consistency, and if you start setting up litmus tests, you’re setting up the Slip-n-Slide that has led directly to the current LP.
If there was a manual for setting up a Losing Machine, it would come with two directions:
1. Should any of these be ostracized and shunned from the libertarian ranks? and

2. On the basis of what litmus test(s)?
It’s a lot like the comic posted by Wulf.

"Oh, we don’t like this part, it adds weight to the plane."
"Yeah, but it also creates lift..."

If the cause of liberty is to have any traction at all, we won’t be ostracizing people who have some sympathies for the cause. Ask the individuals to state their case for seemingly contradictory stances, sure, but don’t aim for purity.
-=-=-=-
Wulf specifically:
As for the accusation that QandO commenters would disagree with Mona if she called the sky blue, make sure you qualify your comments. I for one don’t reflexively disagree with everything Mona says; I just have a serious problem with the idea of enforcing ideological purity. It’s a really really dumb political move; it never augments any political movement in the long term. It’s especially poisonous when that movement is small and disorganized to begin with.

As I see it, people have a very wide variety of reasons that they favor restraining one part or another of the government, and if we start ostracizing people because they want to restrain government in ways W, X, and Y, but not Z, then we’re going to shoot ourselves in the foot.
Instead we should be seeking out people who have their little bones to pick with the government and organizing them according to issues. If someone really only wants to restrain Z but not W, X, and Y, we should be clapping them on the back and welcoming them to the "Vote Against Z" barbecue—so that we have some chance of beating Z—and neglect to invite them to the others (they don’t want to come anyway).

If the only people who get to associate with us are those who are fully lined up against W, X, Y, and Z, we’re going to have a real lonely barbecue.

I can’t repeat it often enough:
1. Politics is the art of the possible.
2. Don’t make the perfect the enemy of the good.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
So Mona, let me see a drive by regime removal is OK, but sticking around to see that the place doesn’t turn out like the Belgian Congo is FOOLISH? Good plan, Taliban you’re outta here, Saddam Hussein hit the bricks, "OK everyone now you’re on your own." Sounds like an excellent recipe....

Yes, we "Conservatives" are all anti-freedom....*SIGH* the evidence that refutes you and Radley is on the screen in front of you or in the lack of output from Iran...

But you Progressive/Culturally libertarians continue to live in that world where Dubya is a bigger threat than Hillary or that Islamism isn’t the threat, but the governmet IS.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
You L/libertarians make me happy, as a Conservative Republican. First, the Kossacs toss out "Rape Gurney" Joe Lieberman and they begin a purge of the Democratic Party. NOW Mona wants to to do the same for you!
*WOO-HOO* So ALL threats to my party have decided that rather than grow they will first SHRINK, ridding themselves of the "excess baggage" of the impure of thought!

Oh Frabjous joy, for I AM Mona, or rther the Anti-Mona. I’m a REPUBLICAN who feels that libertarians have a tremendous amount to offer my party...and Mona and the LP, separately it’s true, have decided that the best plan is to exile from the movement some of the best and brightest IN the movement! Hooray!

One opponent self destructs and another decides it’s "Juden Raus" for those foolish enough to tolerate Dubya and the Republicans!

I’m doing the Happy Monkey Dance!


Mone, you go grrrrrl, you go grrrrrl, you go!
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
My issues with those who claim the "neo" label are far more to be found with the neo-libertarian bloggers... Most of them have zero concern about Bush’s Executive power grabs, and many blindly defend them.
What a load of sanctimonious crap.

Those that you linked to don’t agree with your OPINION that, 1) it is a power grab, and/or 2) that tolerating the government mining data, or listening in on suspicious international calls is insignificant when compared to what we see as a real external threat to our very existence.

 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
It’s been obvious for a while that there is a schism in the ranks of libertarians that began with the war in Iraq. Myself, I don’t think that issue should always serve as a "litmus test" for libertarians, and I agree with Milton Friedman who opined over a decade ago that libertarianism does not dictate a particular foreign policy.
This isn’t about a schism, this is about a purge, Mona. It is about pushing out those who are more vociferous in their support for the war than others. You’ve conveniently characterized that as "in the tank" with Bush and given as its main goal the absurdity "we gotta kill a lot more George".

The irony is, after that completely dishonest treatment of most of those you single out, I’m sure you’d like other to treat your ideas and thoughts with respect.
Libertarians do not embrace state-run, domestic social engineering, because we know our Hayek and the truth of human nature he so well explicated, as well as the limits of knowledge and planning he addressed, all of which truthes demonstrate the follies of such engineering projects. A foreign policy predicated on nation-building is, as I have said many times before, social engineering writ large — at the point of a gun.
Yet it is you who is advocating getting tight with Democrats who are the absolute champions of social engineering projects and the antithesis of anything libertarian. So should we drum you out as well?

Or should we judge you on more than a single issue, look at what you have to say, and hope to understand that in fact you may not be advocating wholesale sell out to the Democrats and instead include you under the broader tent?

Anyone who believes that it was the ’plan’ of the Bush administration to become nation builders simply hasn’t been paying attention. There was no plan. In fact it is more plausible to believe they believed in magic than to believe they had any sort of plan for nation building.

But that doesn’t change the ground truth with which we find ourselves faced. We’re there, our security is better served if they become a successful democracy and that means we have to help make that happen. Unfortunately that means nation building. But it as a result of poorly thought our foreign policy instead of some grand plan to engage in nation building from the get go.

We’re now stuck with having to ensure, as much as possible, we move Iraq in a direction which best benefits our interests.

Advocating that doesn’t mean anyone has "gone in the tank" with Bush. It means we realize that while a mess, it is in our best interest to make the best of the mess.

You obviously have chosen another route, but for the life of me, I can’t understand how you figure this broad characterization of war supporters is helpful, and especially when you attempt to become the arbiter of libertarian purity, given your propensity to support the Dems taking power.

And yes, I’ve advocated split government, but then I’m not out there swinging a ideological meat cleaver at anyone who dares support the war.

One thing which has become clear to me over the decades is people’s political beliefs come in all shades and colors driven by their own personal needs and perspectives.

Politics is about consensus building among all of that, not purity tests. It’s about persuasion, not demands. Evolution, not revolution. Inclusion, not exclusion.

The one way to remain a faction, and a small and powerless one to boot, is to start swinging that ideological meat cleaver and demanding rigid limus tests and bright ideological lines. Libertarians have been doing it for years and the results should be obvious.

If we had all the answers, and the answers were as persuasive as we think they are, we wouldn’t be such a minority in terms of political power, would we?

Yet here we are. And there you are trying to tell a group, that for the most part may not fit your perfect ideal of a libertarian, but do mostly side with libertarian ideals (smaller, less intrusive government, less spending), that they’re just not good enough. Mostly over a disagreement on a single issue. That’s useful, isn’t it?

We’re reduced to arguing about labels - who’s entitled to them and who’s not. That’s inclusive, isn’t it? Libertarians have never done that before have they?
My post is a genuine attempt to flesh out what self-identified libertarians deem to be disqualifying positions. (Note, please, that this is not a post I cross-posted at Inactivist, because I didn’t want that level of "accusation" at that ecumenical site.)
To what end? If not to "ostrasize" and "shun" them, as you mention in your first question, what’s the purpose? I know what a libertarian is in broad terms. So do you.

How does one "flesh out" disqualifying positions when no one is sure of what the qualifying positions are given the fact that in other libertarian circles (doctrinaire) "neolibertarianism" is already a disqualifying position?

Personally, the I find that libertarianism known as "left libertarianism" to be laughable on its face and completely disqualified from anything I’d call or claim as "libertarian". But I’m not pursuing a vendetta to drum them out of the tent. Maybe there’s some common cause we can point too and reach an accommodation which supports libertarian ideals. And perhaps they’ll come around to an understanding that libertarianism is against the use of coercion and government like most of the left embraces. But I certainly won’t demand they drop the title libertarian since I don’t own the rights to the term.

Maybe it’s just me, but I see more use in encouraging people who self-identify as libertarians of whatever ilk than claiming, self-righteously, that they don’t have any right to the name. They are people you can talk to and persuade. They’ve at least expressed some desire to accommodate libertarian principles, even if some of them may not completely understand what that means. Drive them off and they’ll find somewhere else to go, that’s for sure.

I’ve seen it a thousand times.
Are there any other peculiar positions that would stretch the libertarian label beyond coherent meaning? That’s what I’m seeking to have people discuss.
Of course there are. But what proportion or mix causes one to fall completely out of the libertarian fold?

We have a number of Republicans who claim to have libertarian leanings. At what percentage of "libertarian leanings" should I engage them. Below that percentage, should I ignore them, regardless of what they claim? And should I demand they quit using the name "libertarian"?

No matter how strong or weak those leanings are, I think we should help them identify and expand them instead of claiming, "well then you’re just a Republican". Slamming the door isn’t helpful to a faction trying to build bridges that will allow it to influence policy and hopefully encourage downsizing of government and more fiscal responsibility.
As an aside, if people don’t like intimations they are not really libertarians, well, thicken your skin. I’ve repeatedly been advised I’m actually a liberal and/or a Democratic Party hack, and no libertarian at all. So you will excuse me if I’m happy swimming around in a venue where the libertarian creds questioned are those of some of my detractors. We have, I believe, the much better argument regarding the essence of liberty.
I think one the biggest problems you have is the broad brush with which you paint.

You may feel your posts are completely reasonable, but given your propensity to tar whole swaths of this or that group, people are less inclined to give you the benefit of the doubt.
You will not find one word or even an implication from me that I exclude you from "libertarianism." Indeed, only a few days ago I was ridiculing some moron here who insisted he didn’t care what libertarians think, and I pointed out to him the "New Libertarian" button at the top of your page, and further notified the idjit that all three bloggers here self-identify as libertarians.
Broad brush. I’m a "self-identified", neolibertarian. I’m a war supporter. I remain a war supporter. Break me out from those you attacked, because I sure as he** wasn’t able too.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
If the cause of liberty is to have any traction at all, we won’t be ostracizing people who have some sympathies for the cause. Ask the individuals to state their case for seemingly contradictory stances, sure, but don’t aim for purity.
Precisely. And if that wasn’t a call for purity, and ostracism, I don’t know what it was.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Precisely. And if that wasn’t a call for purity, and ostracism, I don’t know what it was.
It wasn’t. Aside from the fact that I lack any power to effect a purge, I was asking questions: "What is too anti-liberty or statist to fall within the libertarian label by any reasonable measure?" I wanted a discussion, and I got one. Stalinists and Objectivists purge with wild and viscious abandon, but really so have almost all libertarian orgs done some ideological gatekeeping.

When I joined the Republican Liberty Caucus in the early 90s, I called to inquire whether my tendency to be pro-life was an impediment. They said "no" — at that point, their only non-negotiable was being a drug warrior. That struck me as reasonable. But that issue is now overwhelmed by Bush/GOP populism and statism. The non-negotiables may be changing for some of us.

If libertarians are to have some bottom-line principles and positions, purge-like attitudes will be neceesary. I, for one, don’t care what Noam Chomsky and Gary North say, they are not libertarians by any understanding of the term that makes sense. Short of them, are there any other positions beyond the pale? That is the discussion I seem to have successfully incited, both here and at UO.

 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://
Well, I would say the Democrats are certainly to statist to fall withing the "libertarian label."

Why anyone who would consider themselves libertarian would spend so much time defending and promoting them is beyond me.

Ya know, as a pragmatist, I want to hear a better way of doing things. I’m tired of the attacks against each other, trying to define the "other" as X, Y, or Z.

What do you stand for?

What are your answers to todays problems?

How are you going to turn your answers into action?

That’s something which is much more important then what label you choose for yourself, or who you wish to exclude from the label you choose for yourself.

That’s something that’s been lost.

And I would dare say, that is something which shouldn’t be lost.

If you want to change things for the better, you ought to start with a positive agenda, and how you are going to accomplish it.
 
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://
Stalinists and Objectivists purge with wild and viscious abandon, but really so have almost all libertarian orgs done some ideological gatekeeping.
That makes it all ok, doesn’t it? And since when do "all libertarian orgs" necessarily represent libertarianism as a whole?
If libertarians are to have some bottom-line principles and positions, purge-like attitudes will be neceesary.
Well then quit pretending this isn’t about purging, ostracizm or shunning and is just a discussion, ok?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
This is just the intolerant left come over to the libertarians to make intolerant libertarians.

While preaching tolerance of views like their own, of course. It isn’t hard, because there are a lot of Bush hating lefties and Bush hating libertarians, so maybe the libertarians will help the lefties build the collective.

Which goes against basic libertarian individualist viewpoints. Since I don’t want the collective, I shall not be joining the pool of leftie libertarians. Primarily because I see them trying to embrace a contradiction.

Your Mileage May Vary.
 
Written By: David R. Block
URL: http://
OrneryWP, I don’t think you and I actually disagree. You are right that I should have been more specific in some of my comments, as they weren’t directed at you. But some regular QandO commenters have become knee-jerk when Mona is involved. I didn’t want to get into naming names, but I should have noted that your comments in this thread were certainly not what prompted what I had to say.

As for the question of litmus tests, I don’t approach this issue as one of “enforcing ideological purity”. I see it as understanding that when somebody calls themselves (prefix)libertarian, that doesn’t mean that they and I necessarily agree on policies or even principles. I don’t like litmus tests; as I noted in my post, libertarians are better described as having certain strong indicator issues. Most self-identified libertarians are not as consistent and principled as Billy Beck, and it is useful to feel out the positions of anybody who uses the same label as I use for myself.

Doesn’t mean that I can’t work with these people, once I understand how they and I disagree. It also doesn’t make this a "purge". Calling this a “purge” is sensationalism – especially since Mona is completely incapable of taking the word “libertarian” out of anybody’s self-identification.
 
Written By: Wulf
URL: http://www.atlasblogged.com
Calling this a "purge" is sensationalism - especially since Mona is completely incapable of taking the word "libertarian" out of anybody’s self-identification.
Well tell me then, Wulf, is a "purge-attitude" something less than sensationalism?

If libertarians are to have some bottom-line principles and positions, purge-like attitudes will be neceesary. - Mona

Questioning whether ’we’ should "ostracize" and "shun" them also tends to reinforce the "purge-attitude" as well, doesn’t it? More sensationalism?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
McQ, the most basic criteria that I’ve seen Mona throw-up regarding being a libertarian (or Libertarian) or not is whether or not you dogmatically agree with her particular interpretation of Hayek, agree with the bulk of what the various editors of Reason magazine write, and are similarly in agreement with the bulk of what the Cato Institute officially endorses. Never mind that some of these sources contradict or disagree with each other. Those are the three defining agencies of modern libertarianism (in Mona’s world, especially as she seems able to cite all three chapter and verse). Deviate from the norms that they establish, and, oh, out of the party (or political movement or ideological gestalt) you go. As you aptly point out, this is an attempted purge of non-dogmatically correct individuals in pursuit of a more "purist" interpretation of libertarianism. Anyone who basically wants smaller, less intrusive government, more civil liberties, and more free market competition, but cannot quote Hayek from memory is inadequate for the needs of the new libertarian movement. I guess we can call it the neo-neo-libertarian movement. Let’s see how long it lasts.

Wulf : Although I understand the point you make about sensationalism, this really is nothing more than an intellectual gateway that’s being established. Call it a purge or not. The point is that Mona and those who agree with her are very clearly saying "If you want access to the promised land of true libertarianism, you must accept the following without question." Those who fail to accept their dogmatic views are excluded from their little clique. Attempting to spin this as anything other than an ideological litmus test (or as Billy Beck would say, a test of principles) is just not intellectually honest.
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
Well tell me then, Wulf, is a "purge-attitude" something less than sensationalism?

No, it doesn’t seem to be. Again, assume for argument that I don’t measure up to Mona’s standards. What’s she going to do about it? She can make arguments that I am not libertarian, but would I care? If large numbers of (prefix)libertarians decide that I am not a libertarian, and they ostracize me, either I won’t care (and who is hurt by this?) or I would care and put up an argument (and who is hurt by this?)

What is a purge-attitude without the power to do something about it?

 
Written By: Wulf
URL: http://www.atlasblogged.com
McQ, That was funny, I knew who you were talking about within a paragraph. I knew this was coming some time ago.

I guess this is a new example of the Heathers. All the cool kids are purgin’ these days. Look at the Koz crowd.

The problem you find with purificationists is that given time they reveal rather horrible traits.
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
No, it doesn’t seem to be. Again, assume for argument that I don’t measure up to Mona’s standards. What’s she going to do about it?
Well according to Mona she can work to "ostracize" and "shun" you if that’s the consensus of the "discussion", and ensure everyone knows that you don’t fit what she and others deem to be the ideology of a proper libertarian.

Now given, you can continue to use the name/label, but your credentials are suddenly put into deep question. But that would be a bit like me calling myself a member of a team in which all the acknowledged or accepted team members deny my membership. The "purge-attitude" would leave you outside the room where further "discussion" is taking place and your input and presence simply wouldn’t be welcome.

You may consider that doing nothing, but me, I see it as an attempt to control the "discussion" as well as who participates in the discussion.

And the intent, as I see it, is to decide on what those "rigid-floor" principles are so they can be used accordingly (and dismissively). How else do you interpret the call for "fleshing out" disqualifying positions?

Frankly I don’t particularly care what others choose to call themselves as they self-identify, and, as I said in my reply to Mona, those who self-identify as libertarians, even if we agree that they may be libertarian lite (if for no other reason than having a shallow knowledge of what constitutes libertarian thought), or mistaken about certain libertarian attributes, have at least shown some inkling of being open to discussing libertarian principles.

If, however, it’s all about a rigid floor and a "purge-attitude", you can count on the positive conversation which might follow with that person self-identifying as some flavor of libertarian never taking place. Instead the first thing they’d be hit with is "you’re not a libertarian - not if you believe that!"
What is a purge-attitude without the power to do something about it?
Well that depends on who listens and then acts doesn’t it? The call for purity (and purge) has certainly worked among libertarians in the past, hasn’t it (much to their detriment)?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Wulf,

I think the reason it matters to McQ is because he would like to see libertarian leaning people, the big tent of libertarianism if you will, achieve some political influence. The kind of ideological splintering that libertarians have constantly engaged in has prevented that. Mona is perpetuating this tendency. McQ and I have both been involved in libertarian circles for over twenty years, we are getting weary of this nonsense. I think that is why Mona strikes such a chord here on a regular basis.

In the article we are discussing she calls Glenn Reynolds an authoritarian. Let us figure out in what way she could possibly mean. Terry Schiavo? No. NSA wiretapping? Not really, he said in his first post on the matter that he didn’t see it as a big crisis, but also didn’t see why the administration couldn’t have gone through the FISA courts. Drugs? No. Guns? No. Spending? No. He supports the war in Iraq? Maybe that is it, because that means he doesn’t respect facts and empirical data. That support makes him an authoritarian extremist. See, this isn’t about removing statists, or she would spend more time taking on the Kos kids than Glenn Reynolds. It is about anyone who prefers Bush and his war over a Democrat. I have never heard her come up with one issue where Glenn is an authoritarian except to quote Glenn Greenwald, whereupon you go there and find out Greenwald has misrepresented him.

I bring up Reynold’s because we all know who he is, but it goes to her larger point. She takes a completely ass-backward reading of Hayek, decides being a Hayekian is the sine qua non of what it means to be a libertarian (though if we have to have an oracle he would be my choice, provided you knew anything about what the man actually believes) and those who don’t measure up are to be sneered at.

I suggest Mona re-read "The Essence of Hayek." I read it for the first time in 1984, it made quite an impression. Reading Hayek gives one an appreciation for humility before your own ability to understand complex social phenomena. Claims to prescience and simple answers to what our policies should be and the ability to understand them fully even after the fact were what he was aiming at with his critique. Hayek was the ultimate big tent libertarian, who even went so far as to endorse certain non-libertarian positions and support wars against totalitarianism. He didn’t know they were the right decision, hence he generally didn’t become an activist over them. What is sad is that there is a good Hayekian case against Iraq, and Mona at times hits upon it before losing any of the subtlety and intellectual humility with which Hayek approaches such things. Oh well.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
I think the reason it matters to McQ is because he would like to see libertarian leaning people, the big tent of libertarianism if you will, achieve some political influence. The kind of ideological splintering that libertarians have constantly engaged in has prevented that. Mona is perpetuating this tendency. McQ and I have both been involved in libertarian circles for over twenty years, we are getting weary of this nonsense.
Exactamundo, old sod. For such a supposedly liberty loving bunch we seem to spawn, at regular intervals, those who would dictate what loving liberty must mean and thereby who is or isn’t a real lover of liberty. They then circle the wagons and shoot at the "indians" left on the outside with their newly made ideological ammunition. And that passes, among some libertarians, as being an effective libertarian.

And you’re right ... I’m tired of it.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
The kind of ideological splintering that libertarians have constantly engaged in has prevented that. Mona is perpetuating this tendency.
Lance, I wholeheartedly disagree. I do not think that Mona is perpetuating such tendencies.
Mona once had a “guest post” where she criticized the Right and “cautiously” proposed looking at the “donkey team’s lure”.
She was summarily ridiculed.

To me, her post screamed of “big tent” libertarianism. But, her post was followed by a post from Dale Franks who dismissed her suggestions as “risible”.

Now what kind of “big tent” libertarianism is that?

To me, there seems to be a number of “lefties” that would look at smaller government, primarily looking at civil liberties, and deem libertarianism a favorable alternative versus statism. These potentials should not be discarded, but embraced.

A big tent libertarianism should have a door that swings to the Left as well as one swinging uncontrollably to the Right.

Don’t you think?

Cheers.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://ceilidhcowboy.typepad.com/
To me, there seems to be a number of "lefties" that would look at smaller government, primarily looking at civil liberties, and deem libertarianism a favorable alternative versus statism. These potentials should not be discarded, but embraced.
How, given the way the political conventional wisdom portrays left and right, would a lefty look at "smaller government" favorably, given that lefties, on the whole, view government as a means to their ends (and that rarely means smaller or less intrusive government)?

As I’ve said before, I have no problem hooking up with lefties on certain issues, as you note, mostly those of civil liberties. There are indeed instances where they are pro-liberty. And it is that part of the tent we can share. We may be coming from different ideological directions, but we can certainly agree on the outcome we’d like (again talking about civil liberties).

But let’s not fool ourselves. That doesn’t mean there’s any ideological sharing (or fusion) that’s going to go on, mostly because of the fundamentally different views each side has concerning the function of government (meaning size, strength and level of intrusion).

But again, that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t welcome their help in the area noted.

However I do have a question: if one is a lefty by self-identification, how does one shake what that entails in terms of government, its use and its size and still say a lefty?

Just wondering.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Pogue,

First of all everybody should check out Pogue’s new blog; http://ceilidhcowboy.typepad.com/
I was very impressed. Or to quote McQ:

Oh, my!

Look what I found.

Heh ... oh, goodie.

As for Mona, Maybe on that post you are right, but not in most of the rest of her work. How many times have I heard from her and her quotes from Mr. Greenwald that certain people can no longer call themselves libertarian, and of course she has made several posts to that effect recently at Inactivist and the post we are debating now.
To me, there seems to be a number of “lefties” that would look at smaller government, primarily looking at civil liberties, and deem libertarianism a favorable alternative versus statism. These potentials should not be discarded, but embraced.

A big tent libertarianism should have a door that swings to the Left as well as one swinging uncontrollably to the Right.
I think at this point you have read enough from me to know that I am no routine smearer of the left, so I am even less patient with broad based smears of libertarians. Therefore I am a fan of Jon’s work at Inactivist. Mona however doesn’t seem to be getting the hang of reaching out. You have to give those you disagree with some credit, not misrepresent their views or cartoonishly portray their beliefs or ignore the faults of those you have decided to agree with on any particular issue. I know that is done a lot on all sides, but that doesn’t mean I have to give her a pass. As you have noted in both your case and Mona’s, when I have crossed that line, I acknowledge it, or at least I try. I am still not perfect.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
How, given the way the political conventional wisdom portrays left and right, would a lefty look at "smaller government" favorably, given that lefties, on the whole, view government as a means to their ends (and that rarely means smaller or less intrusive government)?
I don’t have an answer for you, McQ. Just as you probably don’t have an answer for me as to how the Right doesn’t, “view government as a means to their ends (and that rarely means smaller or less intrusive government)?”.
I could site evidence, but there is no need. You know full well what I’m talking about. You yourself have sited such instances on this very publication.

So what’s the difference?
That the Right at least feigns being for smaller government? Not good enough.
However I do have a question: if one is a lefty by self-identification, how does one shake what that entails in terms of government, its use and its size and still say a lefty?
Yeah, I realize that. But people can change, can’t they. My wife – poor soul that had the misfortune of marrying me – proudly calls herself a liberal. But my influence over the years have guided her away from such foolishness. The other day, I caught her reading my reason in lieu of her The Nation, isn’t it?

And that’s what I’m talking about, that liberals like my better half can be … ahem … reasoned with.

And such bright minds shouldn’t be discarded as lost causes. I understand that you realize this, but I believe that it can be encouraged with greater enthusiasm.

Cheers.

 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://ceilidhcowboy.typepad.com/
I think at this point you have read enough from me to know that I am no routine smearer of the left, so I am even less patient with broad based smears of libertarians.
I know.
You’ll forgive me, I habitually root for the underdog. And here, Mona is frequently outnumbered.

Cheers.
And thanks for the kind words.

http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com/
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://ceilidhcowboy.typepad.com/
Pogue,

I know a little sucking up would get me some slack;)
those who would dictate what loving liberty must mean and thereby who is or isn’t a real lover of liberty.
A good example of that is the war in Iraq. Never mind whether it was a wise conflict to engage in, wanting to try and make Iraq a safer place for liberty may make you a fool, but it in no way means you don’t care about liberty. Feeling that tightened security that infringes somewhat on our liberties is necessary to protect our lives and liberty in toto may be unwise, unnecessary or any number of other things, but it does not mean you care any less about liberty in general. It just means you have a different estimate of the various threats that exist to our liberty.

These things are all debatable, but they do not have any real connection to who is most concerned about liberty or mean that in almost every other sphere we can’t consider each other allies.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
I think the reason it matters to McQ is because he would like to see libertarian leaning people, the big tent of libertarianism if you will, achieve some political influence. The kind of ideological splintering that libertarians have constantly engaged in has prevented that. Mona is perpetuating this tendency.

Lance, as I said in a previous comment, I don’t see this issue as one of “enforcing ideological purity”. I don’t understand why some are viewing it as a “splintering”. So Mona disagrees with some self-identified libertarians, and she doesn’t seem to like it. I have never found a libertarian with whom I agree on everything. Many libertarians give me the impression that it scares them. To accuse her of somehow undermining the cause is to assign her a motivation and a power that she simply does not have.

As I said before, I view the questions like those she asked as simply understanding that when somebody calls themselves (prefix)libertarian, that doesn’t mean that they and I will agree on everything. So what? Debate is healthy. It helps to clarify the wheres and whys of our existing disagreements. It is a big tent, isn’t it? Is there no room for the woman who dares to ask whether everybody here is one of us?

I’d like to see somebody put forth a good explanation of why Mona isn’t a libertarian, without enforcing an ideological purity on her. Hey, let’s not purge the woman or examine her beliefs too closely – that would splinter the movement, everybody. I guess my being a smartass about it won’t persuade anybody to change their mind, but it’s exasperating to see her shunned for saying the word “shun”.
 
Written By: Wulf
URL: http://www.atlasblogged.com
Well, I don’t root for Mona. Mona has taken advantage of the free speech nature of the magazine and, as any well-trained purveyor of propaganda might do, has cleverly set up this disussion so that wherever it goes, unless one "knee jerks" and criticizes Mona, Mona ends up inside the circle of what is being discussed.
She wants to appear to be trying to ignite a discussion of libertarianism. I think she is trying to enhance her position as an authoritative poster on this magazine and otherwise couldn’t care less about how the discussion comes out.
Now, I don’t like her beliefs. That is not the point here at all.
The point is that I don’t like Mona representing herself as a libertarian when everything meaningful she writes is liberal Democrat, straight out of the Liberal Narrative. Is that a "knee jerk"? Only if I am wrong about the characterization of her comments.
And why does so much of her writing defend her status as a libertarian? Is there any other commenter here who spends so much time, other than in responding to her posts, on that issue? If she cannot establish her credentials as a libertarian, then her stuff will be judged on its merits and we have seen what that earns her. I don’t know what a libertarian is, but I know a liberal Democrat when I read one.
 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
I’m not a libertarian so I’ll stay out of the discussion regarding the bona fides of those claiming that status. But I do have experience with Mona, and more especially with Hypatia, the name she writes under at Glenn Greenwald’s blog. Mona/Hypatia increasingly emulates Greenwald’s writing style, with the bombastic pronouncements and the demonization of dissenters and that is the reason for much of the negative reaction to her comments. Perhaps more important for present purposes, I think that Mona/Hypatia’s "mission" is to round up libertarians — including those here — to vote for Democrats in upcoming elections. This explains her relentless and hyperbolic agitprop, and it also explains the negative reactions she engenders: people rightly feel that she is trying to manipulate them and they resent it. From my observation point, Mona/Hypatia has been generally unsuccessful in her recruiting and she is now frustrated and lashing out. In my opinion, if she wants to be treated with more respect, she should stop with the shenanigans.

 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://dsthinkingloud.blogspot.com/
Just as you probably don’t have an answer for me as to how the Right doesn’t, "view government as a means to their ends (and that rarely means smaller or less intrusive government)?".
But I do. Not all of the right does view government as a means to their end, which is why I feel libertarians, on the whole, line up better with teh right than the left. There is indeed a portion of the right in which the principle of small government is a fundamental one.

Show me the same sort of segment on the left.
I could site evidence, but there is no need. You know full well what I’m talking about. You yourself have sited such instances on this very publication.
Agreed. But again, given the lay of the political land, the right is where individualists are normally located. Not so on the left. So while some of the right is exactly as you say, there is a point at which it begins to go the other way and bend toward less government and less intrusion. Where’s that point on the left?
But people can change, can’t they?
It’s not about people, Pogue. If it were I’d agree. It’s about philosophy and its fundamental principles. The philosophy associated with the left is large and intrusive government as a means to their ends. How do you change that and still stay on the left?
And that’s what I’m talking about, that liberals like my better half can be … ahem … reasoned with.
But if they can be reasoned with and change, with the change being one which has them espousing limited government, less spending and less intrusion, how are they liberals any longer?
And such bright minds shouldn’t be discarded as lost causes. I understand that you realize this, but I believe that it can be encouraged with greater enthusiasm.
Look, I’m not trying to be flip here. I’m fine with your point that we should reach out. But I’m more interested in how someone who self-identifies with the left can possibly remain on the left while espousing the fundamental attributes of limited government I keep repeating. Doing so is the antithesis of being of the left.

Seriously, I’d like to know. I can’t see it and I’d appreciate any "breakthrough" explanation which might clear it up a bit.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
On the other hand, I am one of those Libertarian/conservatives who do indeed wish George would KILL a lot more people.
Theres whole lots of varmits who need killin.
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
I’d like to see somebody put forth a good explanation of why Mona isn’t a libertarian, without enforcing an ideological purity on her.
Between Lance and myself, which has tried to do that?

That’s the point Wulf. She’s welcome to call herself what she wants. I’ll decide what I think of that based on what she says. What I won’t do is go around claiming she’s violated some "rigid floor" of libertarianism and thus has set off my "purge awareness" alarm and needs to be "shunned" or "ostracized".

Frankly I think it is interesting to see libertarians even contemplating "ostricizing" or "shunning" others.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Between Lance and myself, which has tried to do that?

I haven’t seen either of you refuse her the label "libertarian" that I can recall. But some around here do assert that she has no claim to the label. And I haven’t seen any of them prove to me that she has to be stopped from self-identifying as a libertarian - which means they are just huffing and puffing over her for some silly reason.

The rest of what you wrote there seems to be what I have been saying. The only difference is that I am prepared to ignore anybody who might suggest a shunning, whereas you seem prepared to throw down. Perhaps I am too much an inactivist for your tastes.
:)
 
Written By: Wulf
URL: http://www.atlasblogged.com
sniff, sniff...

Can’t we all just get along.

The following is why I came here, and why I keep coming here. Attacking others doesn’t seem to be on there at all. Using rhetoric to negatively paint a group of people a certain way, doesn’t further debate, it shuts it down. Trying to find a "base level" of libertarianism, by showing examples of what a particular person would exclude, doesn’t tell me a thing about what being a libertarian means.
1. When given a public policy problem, the solution that maximizes personal liberty is the best choice.

2. The policy choice that offers the least amount of necessary government intervention or regulation is the best choice.

3. The policy choice that provides rational, market-based incentives is the best choice.

1. A policy of diplomacy that promotes consensual government and human rights and opposes dictatorship.

2. A policy of using US military force solely at the discretion of the US, but only in circumstances where American interests are directly affected.

Obviously, this brief list of principles leaves a lot of wiggle room for debate on specific policy issues. But unlike the Paleos, who often treat dissenters on even minor points as pariahs, the Neos believe in a big-tent libertarianism. Debate should not be taken as a sign of ideological apostasy. It is, instead a sign of confidence, and a willingness to subject one’s ideas to intellectual conflict in an ongoing attempt to create principled solutions to public policy issues.

In fact, we encourage this debate. Some of it will take place in the blogosphere. Some of it will take place here, in the pages of this magazine. We welcome it as a necessary part of creating a more pragmatic and popular concept of libertarianism.
 
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://
And I haven’t seen any of them prove to me that she has to be stopped from self-identifying as a libertarian - which means they are just huffing and puffing over her for some silly reason.
I don’t consider intellectual honesty a silly reason Wulf. The animosity you see has far more to do with her relentless "suggestions" that libertarians would be better served by allying with the left. To bolster this, she myopically, and as a result dishonestly imo, focuses upon what she thinks is disastrously wrong with the right and what is wonderfully right with the left. These are Mona’s pet issues however, and her arguments come off like the smoker who just quit. We are cast as apostates if we disagree that the "Bush administration’s... radical lawlessness*," is the biggest issue facing us these days.

What is ignored, dismissed, or glossed over is a host of other issues which both Dale and McQ have devoted posts to, that lay out compelling reasons why, while working together on specific issues, a strategic libertarian-Dem re-alignment is antithetical to our fundamental beliefs.

When asked what it means to adhere to libertarian beliefs, my quick answer is "I just want Governments to get out of my way." To expand using a bicycle race, it’s nice if the government is the food/aid stations - but the entry cost of the race in increased. My choice whether or not those stations are worth it. If there are no food/aid stations, I’m perfectly capable of loading up on the basics I know I’ll need. But when the food/aid stations are mandatory stops with pre-determined items that I must eat/take, that’s a race I don’t want to enter.

In the last government is clearly in my way... That is how I view the left’s ideal government. And it’s really tiresome when a self-identified libertarian keeps spoouting off that because in her opinion, government is no longer legitimate because it employes chase cars to monitor my speed and verifying that I’m not cheating, that it is really in my best interest to chose that which I find most objectionalbe.

*Glenn G.
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
Wulf,

I’ll go with what McQ said, but I do think pointing out that a narrow definition of libertarian is hardly useful. More importantly, this kind of stuff has been destructive to the cause of libertarians achieving political impact in the past. Maybe "this time it is different," generally I find that phrase a prelude to disaster.

For what its worth, I have been picking away at this topic ever since Mona’s post at inactivist last week. I put some of the thoughts down at the blog, it seems Michael did the same. Here are the links:

http://asecondhandconjecture.com/?p=41

http://asecondhandconjecture.com/?p=56
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
And I doubt that many here are trying to prove that Mona should be stopped from self-identifying thusly, rather I find, and I think some others would agree, her brand of libertarianism peculiar, her opinions dogmatic, and her arguments disingenuous.
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
cross posted at highclearing, because I don’t want to waste much time on this.

Mona, following her hero Greenwald, is a liar, a propagandist, and about as nuanced as an Andrew Dice Clay monologue. Though she tries to paint herself as a deep thinker.

Anyone who reads my site and comes away thinking that I embrace death and other nasty things — or that I don’t want peace in the middle east — is either an idiot or a liar.

Or in Mona’s case, both.

Screw her. And yes, that’s about all the seriousness she deserves.

Maybe one day I’ll break out all the fawning emails she sent me before we parted ways over my support of the NSA program — and a disagreement over the extent of executive power and over what co-equal branches of government actually means.

But until then, I’ll just say that Mona, Greenwald, et al., consistently try to paint those who favor different strategies for achieving similar ends as wretched barbarians who are "in the tank" for someone or other — conveniently bracketing out all the instances where the object of their cartooning has criticized that someone they are supposedly in the tank for.

Ironically, Greenwald and Mona must not have exchanged emails today, because as she was writing about my being in the tank for Bush, Greenwald was quoting me in a post titled " Defeatism and attacks on the Commander-in-Chief during a time of war."

Of course, in typical Greenwald fashion, he doesn’t note anything I write in my updates or any of my follow up posts on the subject.

 
Written By: Jeff G
URL: http://www.proteinwisdom.com
Stalinists and Objectivists purge with wild and viscious abandon...

Still smarting over that, eh? Funny... we aren’t. Fifteen years is a lot of time, so we put it to good use.

It gets funnier when one realizes that all the schism and "purge" fun for the last decade seems to be going on exclusively out here amongst the, er, "Trotskyites" and such.

We’re sorry we are so behind on our pogroms, but the people in charge of those things have been awfully short of time since this sort of thing started happening, sometimes every week.

If libertarians are to have some bottom-line principles and positions, purge-like attitudes will be necessary.

Good thing we "Stalinists" got ahead of the game and purged ourselves during Bush I to save you all the work.
 
Written By: Seerak
URL: http://
Mona (who else?):
It’s been obvious for a while that there is a schism in the ranks of libertarians that began with the war in Iraq. Myself, I don’t think that issue should always serve as a "litmus test" for libertarians, and I agree with Milton Friedman who opined over a decade ago that libertarianism does not dictate a particular foreign policy.

But I do think it precludes some. Libertarians do not embrace state-run, domestic social engineering, because we know our Hayek and the truth of human nature he so well explicated, as well as the limits of knowledge and planning he addressed, all of which truthes demonstrate the follies of such engineering projects. A foreign policy predicated on nation-building is, as I have said many times before, social engineering writ large — at the point of a gun.
With all due respect, that’s a pile of horse sh*t, and the fact that you’ve said so "many times before" doesn’t change that, except in the sense of making a bigger, smellier pile. Rather than whining about the token amounts of "social engineering" that inevitably figure in anytime one regime is replaced with another, let’s look at the big picture. For all of its problems, would you say today’s Iraq is (1) freer than it was under Saddam Hussein, (2) less free than it was under Saddam Hussein, or (3) about the same? Then ask the same question about all the other countries whose governments we’ve toppled over the past century. I don’t think you’ll find a pattern of the evil U.S. government invading countries run by freedom-loving philospher-kings, only to replace them with authoritarian dictators. If you do, feel free to make the "libertarian" case against U.S. interventionism then. Otherwise, you’d do well to admit your opposition to U.S. foreign policy has nothing to do with libertarian principles, and may even be at odds with them.
 
Written By: Xrlq
URL: http://xrlq.com
The fundamental problem of libertarian foreign policy is that there is anti-libertarian repression inherent in the current international system (westphalianism). Westphalian sovereignty means, among many good things, that one guarantees to repress your own population that wants to cross borders and deal with a foreign tyrant who has personally wronged them or at least wronged their sense of justice. This is why we regularly patrol our cuban-americans to make sure they’re not going to assassinate Castro or invade Cuba and why we had persistent problems with the UK over US support for the IRA. There is no nice, neat solution for this from a libertarian perspective.

If you let the private groups go redress their wrongs, you end up with foreign squads over here making war in the US on behalf of dictators who are scared spitless of free men who have the resources to overthrow them. If you repress the private domestic groups, you’re giving vital support to profoundly anti-libertarian evil regimes. So how do you square the circle?

For the Iraq invasion supporting segment of libertarianism, you support the invasion and try to end the problem’s recurrence by pitching in on nation building, advocating as much private involvement as possible. If you’re against the invasion you... what? Do you just whistle past the graveyard and try and pretend that this sort of repression isn’t a major contributor to the persistence of dictatorships these days?

As a condition for avoiding perpetual war, we engage in some serious repression of liberty minded people. It’s a pretty stable tradeoff and we’re *very* socialized to accept it but the consensus is breaking down, not least because Al Queda and co is making a frontal assault on that westphalianism.

Westphalianism is obviously not going to last. It’s doomed by technology that provides sub-national groups and even individuals with power levels that used to require at least a small state. At most, a holding action is necessary until we come up with something better. So the choices are to either allow Al Queda to win and push us back to a pre-westphalian state (a state where the islamic caliphate had distinct advantages) or we need to create a post-westphalian consensus that takes into account the new technological reality but uses that as a springboard to improve the old order. The neo-libertarians have an answer. I’m trying, but not seeing any serious alternative to that answer coming from other strands of libertarianism.

That doesn’t make other strands of libertarianism verboten or purge worthy. It just means that they haven’t gotten around to dealing with this question. But it certainly means that those other strands have no cause for purging the one strand that does have an honorable libertarian solution for one of the crucial policy questions of our time.

 
Written By: TM Lutas
URL: http://www.snappingturtle.net/jmc/tmblog/
Since when did being libertarian mean being unable to take steps to defend oneself, one’s neighbors, and one’s country from attack? I missed that in my reading of Hayek somehow. And if national defense is allowed then how is that supposed to be organized, through a anarcho-syndicate committees or though a strong executive branch of government?

What is the true libertarian response to an attack on one’s homeland? I don’t know that libertarianism mandates a specific foreign policy in that instance, but it does allow for self defense. That being the case, and if one is more inclined to take the fight to the enemy than not, then one is going to end up deposing the leadership of state sponsors of international terrorism at some point.

And if it’s OK for libertarians to remove tyrants then is it OK for them to deal with the humanitarian and organizational crisis that follows the change? That is to say, try to keep the whole thing from degenerating into a horrible bloody mess a thousand times worse than anything we might have imagined? Because if the latter is precluded under the rubric "nation building" then it seems to me that we can never accomplish the former, which seems rather anti-liberty if not anti-libertarian, and ultimately against our own best interests.

And just exactly what was it that Bush did that was so darned illegal? It seems to me that these overheated presumptions of illegality here seem to depend a lot on what’s been written at Daily Kos — based on a number of false presumptions and distortions of the facts and rooted in the desire that the Administration become unable to accomplish anything.

 
Written By: Frew
URL: http://
While I am probably more libertarian than 95% of the population, I would probably be one of those that Mona does not think is pure enough. While I would probably eliminate most current federal government spending if it was in my power, there are some areas I would actually increase such as defense, law enforcement, border enforcement, and intelligence gathering, because that is why we have governments. They do serve some legitimate purposes even if our government in its current form has over stepped its boundaries in so many other ways.

I voted libertarian a few times before for congress, but stopped taking the Libertarian Party at all seriously last election when its presidential candidate decided the most important issue facing our nation was the unjustness of requiring driver’s licenses. There are so many issues that libertarians support that other normal people support as well like reforming eminent domain or pork barrel spending or the drug war or the deficit or school choice, but no let’s focus on the horrid unjustness of driver’s licenses because somehow requiring that drivers have a very minimum amount of ability is a grave injustice. That was almost as bad as the Libertarian candidate for the US Senate a few years back who turned himself permanently blue from using a home made remedy made from silver. So I am stuck voting for the Republicans because for all their many faults they are definitely a serious party that has room for people like me, which I suspect is fine with many libertarians since that means I and my potential unclean votes have been cleansed.
 
Written By: pete the elder
URL: http://www.petetheelder.com
This is the kind of thing you get when you form a collective. It’s unavoidable. True libertarians avoid such things altogether.
 
Written By: Kyle Bennett
URL: http://www.humanadvancement.net
any criticism they might make in those areas will almost always come from the right (i.e., we gotta kill a LOT MORE PEOPLE George!)
Interestingly, this is the actual criticism of our foreign policy that’s been coming out of the Ayn Rand Institute. They’re saying that we’re spending far too much time worrying about hungry Afghanis, Baghdadis without electricity, and prisoners at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. What we should be doing is killing the Taliban, shooting terrorists in Iraq, overthrowing Iran, and cheering Israeli bombing runs.

 
Written By: Warmongering Lunatic
URL: http://
Practically everyone who identifies as a libertarian is familiar with the "World’s Smallest Political Quiz", which nicely deconstructs the ’left-right’ one-dimensional spectrum, replacing it with two axes (personal and economic).

Why is it so hard to imagine a third axis (foreign relations) as an independent variable? If the WoT has shown us anything, it’s that there’s a big part of the world where the legal structures that respect and defend individual liberties simply don’t exist. How those relatively-free nations deal with these unfree states and stateless actors is the great question of our day, cutting across old political alliances as slavery did in the early 19th Century.

For instance, I believe that my right to personal privacy requires Executive Branch agents to get a warrant from a judge to authorize tapping my domestic phone calls, but not my foreign calls. I understand that taking an action that crosses international borders inherently exposes my activities to the authorities of all countries involved. I have no expectation of privacy in that situation. Civil libertarian purists will vehemently disagree with this, of course.




 
Written By: The Monster
URL: http://home.kc.rr.com/mharder/sem
Hmmm.

Honestly I’ve long since given up on libertarians. You’re all nice people, but you’re a fractious lot at best.

Frankly if you’ve got 5 libertarians in a room, you’ve also got 11 vastly differing and often mutually exclusive opinions, a heated debate over definitions and 4 equally sized political cliques.

 
Written By: ed
URL: http://
The Libertarians have no way to purge me.

I purged myself shortly after 9/11.

Never looked back.

BTW I was Scty/Treas of the local club for 3 years.
 
Written By: M. Simon
URL: http://powerandcontrol.blogspot.com/
This discussion seems pretty circular to me. I thought I would like to insert a personal note. This is my first time here, I followed a link found on Instapundit. I used to consider myself a libertarian. I was a member of the California LP. Today I identify as a libertarian conservative rather than a conservative libertarian. That may seem to be a small difference, but I think it is substantial. I never attended a party meeting that I was not scolded for my lack of purity. My first and longest standing difference with the party is over immigration. Until my birthday in 2001 (Sept. 11) I pretty much agreed with their non-interventionist concept of foriegn policy. Boy was I wrong. 9-11 changed everything for me. Today I am impure as the
undriven snow. I don’t feel welcome in lib circles even though I agree with most lib principles. When it is the stated objective of a large percentage of muslims to bring sharia to the rest of the world, I choose to feel threatened. I love my liberty and want to increase it. Failing to challenge this hateful philosophy, politically, militarily and in every other way imaginable is anti-libertarian. Sharia is about submission not liberty.
I am hoping that a political party will arise that espouses libertarian principles, while recognising the reality that free people must resist any effort to limit their freedom by illiberal forces, at present represented by the people who would export their beliefs by force (islamic fundamentalists).
 
Written By: neanderthal286
URL: http://
Just for fun, I thought I would stick in the argument that we objectivist lean on, when we we’re excluding you libertarians from our tent. Well ok, not the argument for your exclusion but the argument that ALLOWS exclusions when people start with the arguments against exclusion:
- it’s mean ( you just don’t like those guys)
- the tents too small
- your doing it gain power not to improve the party
- etc. (see post above)

It has to mean something or it means nothing.

Libertarianism is a CONCEPT, agreed it is a more fluid currently than a concept like fork but it is still a concept. you know, genus - differentia. Concepts can have fuzzy boundaries but they have to have boundaries. Why not include the fascists, stalinist, maoist, republicans or democrats in your party?

Because if the concept is to mean ANYTHING it has to include some concretes and exclude others. That’s what concepts do. There are always borderline cases, so what? Show a me a piece of machinery that’s perfect. But that doesn’t change that fact that seperating concretes is what concepts do.

So you wanna have a party of ideas or a party of people? I recommend a party of ideas and let the people fall where they may. Getting 100 million people to sign a petition that says we agree to be ’in’ when they can’t agree on anything else, is, you guessed it, not going to change a damn thing.

:P

 
Written By: Objecto-reminder
URL: http://
Until Libertarians decide to be a political party instead of a gongeries of philosophers, they will have no influence on the way the country is run.

It is also pretty hard to organize people whose dearest wish is to mind their own business and whose second dearest wish is that everybody else would do the same.
 
Written By: Person of Choler
URL: http://
I meant "congeries"
 
Written By: Person of Choler
URL: http://
I am hoping that a political party will arise that espouses libertarian principles, while recognising the reality that free people must resist any effort to limit their freedom by illiberal forces, at present represented by the people who would export their beliefs by force (islamic fundamentalists).
I’m not sure how much of a "party" we are, but those are some of the questions that neolibertarianism attempts to address.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I don’t know what this neolibertarianism is, but I think of myself as a Jacksonian Libertarian.

I don’t think there has been enough Libertarian thought on personal property. While a strict Libertarian society would identify personal property as only those things directly owned by you, we don’t live in a strictly Libertarian society. As things are, part of my personal property includes a common share in what amounts to Trillions and Trillions of dollars worth of equity in everything in the US as well as certain things world wide. These things include all government property, parks, roads, ports, libraries, military equipment, schools, legal system, etc...It also includes corporate held properties which because of my custom exist to provide products and services; these include utilities, markets, railroads, pipelines, etc... In addition to things inside the US borders, I also have a common share in the world trading system built and protected by US power. This is why I can’t support utterly free immigration, as this the same as giving away free shares of my property, which took centuries for me and my ancestors to build. It is also why I support protecting my common share rigorously, this is my property! And no nation or Terrorist organization can ever be allowed to destroy, damage, or steal my property.
 
Written By: Karl R. Maier
URL: http://
Objecto,

I agree that libertarianism has to mean something, but what we are resisting is the attempt of some to draw the line so narrowly, especially on something such as foreign policy. Michael and I address that at our blog in more detail, taking a cue from McQ and Dale’s post. The links are up above in a previous comment of mine. I think Michael states it best, libertarianism is first and foremost about the relationship of the individual to the state:
I don’t see how one’s foreign policy views (i.e. the relationship of state to state) are going to be very indicative of one’s libertarian credentials.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
So, if I’m so impure as to believe in an aggressive national defense, and don’t necessarily believe that George Bush is evil personified, I risk being shunned by real libertarians? So much for Free Minds, I suppose. When I stop laughing I’m sure I’ll be all choked up.
 
Written By: Swen Swenson
URL: http://coyoteatthedogshow.blogspot.com/
So, if I’m so impure as to believe in an aggressive national defense, and don’t necessarily believe that George Bush is evil personified, I risk being shunned by real libertarians?
We prefer to use scare quotes around "real" in sentences like that.

Oh, and just a word to the wise, yeah, you’d be a neolibertarian like us, and apparently "real" libertarians can’t handle the reality such thinking brings to the dance. It is more important that we mull the legitimacy of driver’s licenses as someone noted.

 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
There already is a coherent litmus test, the principle of "non-initiation of force". Someone who supports coercion, redistribution or acquisitive conquest can’t be libertarian.
 
Written By: Julian Morrison
URL: null
As I wrote above I do not advocate that libertarianism dictates foreign policy; I do however believe it rules some approaches out, e.g., wars purely for conquest, or for the social engineering that goes by the label “nation-building.” It should be unnecessary to explain to libertarians what is wrong with invading another country merely to secure its people or assets, or to “build” a culture into one that embraces and implements Enlightenment values, especially when said culture does not demonstrate any or sufficient affinity for those values.

But – and this is key — my primary objection to the “neolibertarians” is not their advocacy of the Iraq war, for which there were realpolitik reasons to support it if certain factual assumptions about an invasion and its aftermath had been correct. No, my primary problem with them is that many if not most also embrace an imperial and lawless Executive branch.

McQ has been open to criticism of a lawless Executive, and he and Instapunidt have both dithered about it – but a true lover of liberty should be denouncing and rejecting a monarchical presidency.

What you who do not categorically reject Bush’s “Article II” theories of power fail to realize, is that you are in bed with radical authoritarians at venues such as The Weekly Standard. Harvey Mansfield, in a piece approvingly linked by Powerline wrote this a few months ago, in an article titled The Law and the President, defending Bush’s illegal domestic eavesdropping in violation of FISA, and celebrating that Bush should be beyond the law. Mansfield wrote, my emphasis:
Thus it is wrong to accuse President Bush of acting illegally in the surveillance of possible enemies, as if that were a crime and legality is all that matters. This is simplistic, small-r republican thinking of the kind that our Constitution surpassed when it constructed a strong executive. The Constitution took seriously a difficulty in the rule of law that the republican tradition before 1787 had slighted. The difficulty is obvious enough, but republicans tend to overlook it or minimize it because they believe, as republicans, that power is safer in the hands of many than in those of one or a few. Power is more surely in the hands of many when exercised in the form of law—"standing rules," as opposed to arbitrary decree. Republics tend to believe in the rule of law and hence to favor legislative power over executive.

Yet the rule of law is not enough to run a government. Any set of standing rules is liable to encounter an emergency requiring an exception from the rule or an improvised response when no rule exists. In Machiavelli’s terms, ordinary power needs to be supplemented or corrected by the extraordinary power of a prince, using wise discretion. "Necessity knows no law" is a maxim everyone admits, and takes advantage of, when in need. Small-r republicans especially are reluctant to accept it because they see that wise discretion opens the door to unwise discretion. But there is no way to draw a line between the wise and the unwise without making a law (or something like it) and thus returning to the inflexibility of the rule of law. We need both the rule of law and the power to escape it—and that twofold need is just what the Constitution provides for.
Mansfield does not deny that Bush is violating FISA – nobody reasonable and informed does so any longer. (Nor does he address that FISA has been amended post 9/11, and that there is no need to "escape from the law" for safety’s sake, if Bush would simply ask Congress for whatever it is he feels he still needs to be legal.) Libertarians, as I have ever understood them, strongly embrace the rule of law, and would not in a million years advocate rule-by-Machiavellian-prince.

But the neolibertarians, many, advocate just that when it comes to the illegal NSA program, Bush’s willingness to torture in contravention of law, and they either endorse or dance around virtually all of Bush’s claims for “inherent authority” to violate any law that remotely touches on national security.

Those who accept such pernicious, authoritarian, un-American notions have so little in common with me, I do not consider them to be within the fold of liberty-lovers.

It is my patriotic duty to dissociate myself from those authoritarians who crave a prince. But any of you are free to call yourselves whatever you like; I merely want it established that I am not related to you. As I would with the Moveon crowd, I’ll work with y’all on discrete issues such as drug policy reform, but you are no more my ideological brothers than they are.
 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://
McQ has been open to criticism of a lawless Executive, and he and Instapunidt have both dithered about it – but a true lover of liberty should be denouncing and rejecting a monarchical presidency.
For what it’s worth, I don’t really know McQ’s position on the expanded Presidential powers. I don’t think ’not blogging about it’ is anything like supporting it, and I’m not at all sure that he supports it. Do you have a citation that he does?
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
But the neolibertarians, many, advocate just that when it comes to the illegal NSA program, Bush’s willingness to torture in contravention of law, and they either endorse or dance around virtually all of Bush’s claims for “inherent authority” to violate any law that remotely touches on national security.

No, Mona. They just disagree with you and Glenn Greenwald about the alleged illegality of the NSA wiretapping program (which, despite your proclamations to the contrary, remains an open question) and about the legitimate scope of executive power in wartime; and they’re asking for a concrete, workable, and sensible definition of "torture" before going all Andrew Sullivan over the latest allegation of prisoner abuse.

It is the fact that you refuse to allow for good-faith disagreement on these topics without labelling individuals on the other side as "authoritarians who crave a prince" and/or trying to cast them out of the libertarian tent for their apostasy is what has led a number of people to regard you as a disingenous posturing assh*le.

As for you wanting to establish that you’re not my ideological fellow-traveller, I reckon that your persistent rhetorical dry-humping of Greenwald adequately makes that fact clear.
 
Written By: Brett
URL: http://
Mona:
It should be unnecessary to explain to libertarians what is wrong with invading another country merely to secure its people or assets, or to "build" a culture into one that embraces and implements Enlightenment values, especially when said culture does not demonstrate any or sufficient affinity for those values.
"It should be unnecessary to explain" is, of course, Monaspeak for "I can’t back this up, but I’m going to say it anyway." Invading other countries to steal their stuff and enslave their people is a red herring; that’s classic, old-style imperalism which no one advocates today, and has never been U.S. foreign policy (but query how cheap gasoline might be today if it were). Invading authoritarian countries to replace their totalitarian regimes with less authoritarian ones may be an unwise policy, but as long as we leave each country at least as free as we find it, there’s nothing "unlibertarian" about it (aside from the fact, of course, that Queen Mona, final arbiter of all things libertarian, does not approve).
Mansfield does not deny that Bush is violating FISA – nobody reasonable and informed does so any longer.
Mona has been screeching this for months now, but when asked for proof, offers little more than a link to a well-known, dishonest hack of a blogger who doesn’t even pretend to be a libertarian.
But the neolibertarians, many, advocate just that when it comes to the illegal NSA program, Bush’s willingness to torture in contravention of law, and they either endorse or dance around virtually all of Bush’s claims for "inherent authority" to violate any law that remotely touches on national security.
International wiretaps targeting known and suspected al Qaeda members doesn’t "remotely" touch on national security, it’s 100% about national security, and 0% about anything else. Mona herself acknowledges that Congress can change FISA to accommodate the wiretaps in question, so it’s not as though we’re arguing over any fundamental human rights which true libertarians would have an equal problem with no matter which branch of the federal government is involved. All we really are arguing about, once you strip Mona’s tiresome rhetoric of all the Greewald-worshipping and BDS, is the eternal turf war known as the separation of powers. In that ongoing battle, Mona wants Congress to have a little more power and the President to have a little less. The rest of us want more power for the President and less for Congress. Either position may be a good or bad idea, but neither has anything to do with libertarianism, one way or the other.
 
Written By: Xrlq
URL: http://xrlq.com/
For what it’s worth, I don’t really know McQ’s position on the expanded Presidential powers. I don’t think ’not blogging about it’ is anything like supporting it, and I’m not at all sure that he supports it. Do you have a citation that he does?
No,that’s why I said he was "open to criticism" about it. Indeed, he politely asked me to flesh out some caselaw on the issue, and seemed genuinely grateful when I complied. As far as I know, he has since been resolutely agnostic on the question. In my view, this is not an issue on which a libertarians should be unwilling to grapple with the question and come to a firm position rejecting it.

I would add, however, that I was disappointed when McQ adopted the standard neolib insult of me, by labeling me as a "sycophant" in a link. He meant I was such vis-a-vis Greenwald, whose biggest claim to fame is the NSA program and a book on the dangerous expansion of Executive power. I took McQ’s adoption of the standard neolib insult(or variations like "acolyte" and "intellectual concubine"), as his jumping into their camp wrt my supposed errors in agreeing with Greenwald about Executive power theories.

But my real objection is to the neo-libertarians like Goldstein, who affirmatively embrace the Bush/Yoo/Addington princely executive. McQ merely is, as far as I know, on the fence substantively, but adopts the authoritarian neolibs’ insults, i.e., the put-downs of those who defend their prince.
 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://
As far as I know, he has since been resolutely agnostic on the question.
Nope ... the subject has been blogged about extensively here at QandO. Normally I try not to blog about subjects which have been covered and covered well ... especially if I agree. So your assumption is baseless.
I would add, however, that I was disappointed when McQ adopted the standard neolib insult of me, by labeling me as a "sycophant" in a link.
Here’s a little tip for you Mona. I didn’t "adopt" anything. I rarely read other blogs at all and wasn’t aware that was some sort of "standard" insult. Maybe instead of feeling sorry for yourself you might want to review why people independently think it is an appropriate description.
I took McQ’s adoption of the standard neolib insult(or variations like "acolyte" and "intellectual concubine"), as his jumping into their camp wrt my supposed errors in agreeing with Greenwald about Executive power theories.
I rarely jump into "camps" by adopting "insults". You assume way too much for your own good. The use of the term was very specific. I will, up front, apologize for using it. I used it in reaction to your shot in another of your posts.

Recall this line:
"...to the rather petulant ridicule of certain Bush-defending libertarians ...".
Who, as usual, were you defending? And to which "petulent ... Bush-defending libertarian" did you link?

Now look up sycophant.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
As dependable as sunrise, there always arises in any movement some who think they are more pure than others and, of course, then hope to use their purity as a means of ostracizing others within that movement who don’t reflect the same purity. We see them in religion as well as politics (ideology) and philosophy. In religion we call them fundamentalists.
Yep yep. True Believers. They want all the numbers and power that come with the Big Tent, but as soon as the tent is big, they want to boot those who provide the tent stakes and canopy.
 
Written By: Tully
URL: http://stubbornfacts.us/
No, my primary problem with them is that many if not most also embrace an imperial and lawless Executive branch.
Spoken like a true acolyte in the chruch of Bush hatred. That is merely your opinion, and I suspect what your primary problem really is, is that others dont agree with your opinion.
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
But my real objection is to the neo-libertarians like Goldstein, who affirmatively embrace the Bush/Yoo/Addington princely executive. McQ merely is, as far as I know, on the fence substantively, but adopts the authoritarian neolibs’ insults, i.e., the put-downs of those who defend their prince.
Mona,

You have an unfortunate tendency to put off the very people you claim you’re attempting to sway. My own experience with you is limited, but you do seem to a great admirer of Greenwald, so while ’sycophant’ may be over the top, it’s an error of degree, not of kind. And in my (admittedly limited) experience with Greenwald, he likes to paint with a very broad brush that seems calculated to generate heat rather than light. Your frequent citations of Greenwald appear aimed at a similar end, as are your suggestions of which self-proclaimed libertarians to purge/ostracize/cross off your Chrismas card list.

It would appear, and I invite correction where I am wrong, that your goal is to convince other libertarians to ally themselves with the Democratic Party. While I’ve personally had about enough party as I can stand, I can see the logic behind trying to block Republican moves to extend government power with the available tool, the Democrats. But I’ll note, as Keith pointed out above, that one can draw more flies with honey than with vinegar, and your arguments seem to be heavily-laced with vinegar, attacking those you feel aren’t true libertarians rather than either pointing out where their arguments fall short or simply laying out your own arguments and setting aside attacks on anyone who doesn’t meet your standards for libertarianism. As a disinterested party, I am quite turned off by attacks, as I find there is more than enough heat in the blogosphere, and far too little light.

The bottom line for me is simple: I am open to arguments for supporting some Democrats, or even Democrats in general in the short-term as a counterbalance to Republican overreach. But when such calls are couched in scorched-earth rhetoric, I tend to tune them out rather than wade through the vitriol, and I do not believe I am alone in that. The question that remains for you is simple: are you looking to persuade, or only to stand on a soapbox and orate? (Not that there’s anything wrong with the latter; I seek only clarification.)
 
Written By: Andrew Olmsted
URL: http://andrewolmsted.com
Mansfield does not deny that Bush is violating FISA – nobody reasonable and informed does so any longer.
Hmm. You see, Congress could purport to pass a law requiring the veto only be exercised if the courts granted a search warrant. But nobody would pretend such a law actually has effect, or seriously accuse the President of violating the rule of law were he to ignore it. Congress has no general power to pass laws that subject the exercise of powers of the Executive branch to the finding of probable cause by the Judicial branch.

And, in fact, this interpretation — that Congress by FISA cannot require the Executive get warrants for foreign intelligence surveillance — is held by such reasonable and informed persons as at least the opinion-writer for the sole decision of the FISA Court of Review.

(No, it’s not a binding part of the decision, nor is it necessarily a correct interpretation. But the criteria here Mona establishes is "reasonable and well-informed". A FISA Court of Review judge at least qualifies as the latter, no? Now, if Mona can show he’s unreasonable . . . .)
 
Written By: Warmongering Lunatic
URL: http://
Warmongerer:

There is every reason to believe that such a law as you suggest would be struck down by the Supreme Court. That’s the Court’s job. That Constitution you mentions specifically grants the courts the power to strike down laws on constitutionality and grants Congress the power to make them.

Nobody else gets to have a say. If Congress passes the law, it’s the law until it is declared invalid by the courts. If congress passes a law making outlawing the owning of guns, political speech of any kind, explicitly allowing the cops to search you because "they feel like it", and otherwise violating every Amendment in the Bill of Rights, it’s 100% the law until they pass another law or the courts strike it down. Now, it may be such a ridiculous law so that passing it causes the system to collapse, but that’s not related.

You the citizen of course are only as obligated to follow the law as you feel, of course, but there is no Constitutional mechanism for a law passed by Congress to "not count". Period. No one’s opinions mean a dam* thing until a court rules it invalid.

Your argument is therefore an irritating and specious waste of time. If Bush things that FISA is unconstitutional, tell it to the judge. Before breaking it.

 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
This discussion seems applicable to Rothbard’s Law, which states "everyone specializes in what he is worst at." Ironically, Rothbard also wasted much of his time improperly putting together a political coalition, picking Johnson over Goldwater in 1964, and otherwise aiming to rally around the wrong elements- and I think anyone seriously considering small government (or no government) their ultimate goal would wonder why Johnson’s Great Society trumped Goldwater in Rothbard’s mind.

It turns out that Rothbardian bug has spread a bit over the years. Today the new Johnson seems to be Russ Feingold, thus the focus on the data-mining, and the challenges to Article II over international calls.

Meanwhile, John Dean’s back to label the next Goldwater a nutjob with an authoritarian complex.
In both cases, to no one’s surprise, pseudo-scholar Greenwald is heading the pincer maneuver.

As a small technical note, not everyone within the Neolibertarian Networks claims to be a libertarian first. In fact, the one titled ’Libertarian Leanings’ comes with the sub title (or do I mean tag line? I’m very sleepy) ’Ruminations of a New Hampshire Republican with decidedly libertarian leanings.’ I also can’t recall Goldstein calling himself a libertarian, rather than a conservative.

Not to denigrate any of them, but they never claimed to be the purest of the pure, and in fact the network explains that it’s "realistic" and pragmatic on issues, and therefore the whole critique coming from Mona is completely moot. Maybe not in the same way as complaining that the Christian Coalition "isn’t progressive enough," but still unimportant.
 
Written By: Typewriter King
URL: http://typewriterking.info/
WL:
(No, it’s not a binding part of the decision, nor is it necessarily a correct interpretation. But the criteria here Mona establishes is "reasonable and well-informed". A FISA Court of Review judge at least qualifies as the latter, no? Now, if Mona can show he’s unreasonable...)
Don’t hold your breath. In the thread McQ linked to, she described the inherent powers argument as "specious," and bases that assessment on the outcome of the infamous Hamdan case. Hamdan was a 5-3 decision, with Justice Roberts recusing himself because he had ruled (in the government’s favor) as an appellate judge on the same case. If she thinks a legal position shared by "only" four of the current nine Supreme Court Justices is "specious," I can’t see her giving any more deference to a lowly FISA judge.

Glasnost:
There is every reason to believe that such a law as you suggest would be struck down by the Supreme Court. That’s the Court’s job. That Constitution you mentions [sic] specifically grants the courts the power to strike down laws on constitutionality and grants Congress the power to make them.
The Constitution doesn’t "specifically" grant the Supreme Court the power to strike down any laws. The Court gave itself that power in Marbury v. Madison, and has jealously defended it ever since. Of course it grants Congress the power to make laws, but it also grants the President certain powers, which Congress can’t touch - and vice-versa. It’s called the "separation of powers," dude.
 
Written By: Xrlq
URL: http://xrlq.com/
That Constitution you mentions specifically grants the courts the power to strike down laws on constitutionality
No, it doesn’t. No such power is granted anywhere. Rather, laws that violate the Constitution themselves have no force.

In practice, since legal disputes are decided by the courts, the courts decide if a law actually is unconstitutional when there’s a dispute. This gives the appearance that the courts strike down laws (a simplification which is then taught to us in civics classes). But they do not. When a court rules a law unconstitutional, it says it was not a valid law to begin with. And if the law was never valid, the President clearly never had an obligation to uphold it, any more than anyone else had an obligation to obey it.

Now, it is messy, in practice, when people act on their belief that a statue is not a binding law before the court has made such a determination. It should be generally avoided, because of the negative effects. But it does not challenge the actual Constitutional order, or the rule of law under the Constitution.

That is, it’s bad policy, without being a matter of principle.

Now, it’s worse policy when the law is likely to be upheld, and FISA is far more likely to be upheld than my example veto act. But as the example of In Re Sealed Case establishes, knowledgable and presumably reasonable people can hold that the law could not restrict the President. Which makes it not an imperial usurpation and overthrow of the rule of law, but at worst a minor overstretch based on a favorable interpretation of the laws.

[And whether requiring warrants is itself a useful prophylactic against abuse of surveilance is itself yet another issue, again without any obviously "correct" libertarian answer (though what would be the generally-preferred answer is obvious). It’s a question about real-world practicality, because once you’re talking about warrants to permit the action, you are granting the action itself is at least sometimes permissible. And with the repeated emphasis on how easy FISA warrants are to get, the usual rhetoric in these cases approaches (without quite reaching) a concession the surveilance itself is acceptable.]
 
Written By: Warmongering Lunatic
URL: http://
WL, there is one important distinction between allowing warrantless international wiretaps (which the press and Mona/Greenwald clan frequently but dishonestly describe as "domestic" wiretaps), on the one hand, and stressing how easy FISA warrants are to get, on the other. No warrant can allow NSA to monitor international chatter at random. A warrant that broad, if it existed, would be a general warrant, precisely the kind we fought a nasty, bloody battle against the Brits to get rid of.

If you think we can adequately protect our nation’s security without monitoring international chatter at random, I’ve got a bridge to sell you. A bridge which, I might add, would not be standing today if NSA had complied with Mona Greenwald’s version of FISA or "Judge" Anna Diggs Taylor’s version of the Constitution.
 
Written By: Xrlq
URL: http://xrlq.com/

 
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