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(UPDATED) Libertarian Democrat: Part I – Initial reaction
Posted by: McQ on Monday, October 02, 2006

[If Cato’s plan is to stimulate debate, this no doubt will do the trick. This post is based only on my initial reaction and fairly general in nature. I reserve the right to revise and extend my remarks and cover other areas in more detail. This is written in some haste in order to get it up and get the discussion going.]

I got an email from a very good friend alerting me to a Markos Moulitsas piece at Cato Unbound. I had already read the piece and was mulling a reaction.

If you’ve read the article by Moulitsas you know it begins with the following paragraph:
It was my fealty to the notion of personal liberty that made me a Republican when I came of age in the 1980s. It is my continued fealty to personal liberty that makes me a Democrat today.
It was what my friend said after quoting that paragraph in the email that really brought home my disagreement with the theme of the article:
These people are trying to *steal* a concept to which they cannot claim the slightest right. That opening paragraph of his is as wrong as it can be: if you asked him about "the notion of personal liberty" when it comes to *socialized medicine*, for instance, what do you think you would get from him?
If you read the article it isn’t hard to imagine at all. And it certainly wouldn’t be anything a libertarian would claim. It also becomes clear why my friend is right about the attempted theft of a concept to which "libertarian Democrats" have no claim or right.

Before we go on, let’s get one thing out of the way up-front. Doing so will give us an entirely different way of considering the arguments presented in the article as it will remove a potential red herring from the mix.

Stipulated: The Republicans have dramatically turned away from libertarian principles during the Bush administration. And other than a few policies there's little left a self-respecting libertarian can support. That, however – and this is important - doesn’t mean the Democrats have anything at all to recommend them to libertarians either.

Sometimes it isn’t a choice between one or the other. Sometimes neither will do.

What Moulitsas presents is an old argument in a different and more attractive wrapper. It is the same “gift” the left has been trying to give us for centuries: Larger and more intrusive government. The twist is they want libertarians to overcome their natural concerns about government power and to accept it as a “good” thing.

If the libertarian principle of less government is better government is critical to identifying as a libertarian, that isn't the principle on sale in this article. In fact, just the opposite is being touted.

Two things stood out for me as I read the article and jotted down the main thoughts - two premises I identified as the basis for the entire argument presented.

The first:

1. None of the good in this country happens without government.

Seriously. I have no idea how to phrase it differently. That is the distillation of my perception of the first part of Moulitsas' argument.

Consider what he says here:
...there’s a whole swath of Americans who are uncomfortable with Republican/conservative efforts to erode our civil liberties while intruding into our bedrooms and churches; they don’t like unaccountable corporations invading their privacy, holding undue control over their economic fortunes, and despoiling our natural surroundings; yet they also don’t appreciate the nanny state, the over-regulation of small businesses, the knee-jerk distrust of the free market, or the meddlesome intrusions into mundane personal matters.
Read that carefully if you claim to be a libertarian. What he is attempting here is to establish an argument that only Republicans are after our ‘civil liberties’ and that only corporations are “unaccountable” and “invading our privacy” etc., etc., etc?

What is implied is, with the proper people in power, there is no chance of government ever being used to violate our 'civil liberties' and, of course, they'll solve the problem of predatory corporations and their power.

Republicans provide a strawman designed to take the heat off of Democrats (after all how can you have “Libertarian Democrats” if you admit they’re just as bad as Republicans) and corporations provide another strawman to justify the size of government. Fighting corporations and Republicans is a big job.

Of course it’s quite easy to call corporations “unaccountable” despoilers of nature and invaders of privacy who hold “undue” control over their own economic fortunes (heaven forbid they should control that) when you need an enemy. They makes a convenient foil for the upcoming "government is good" sales pitch.

We all know they make you buy their products by force and fraud and, well, expand - both in size and power. And, given the line, one has to assume that the stated objection to them holding “undue control over their own economic fortunes” is unacceptable. Conveniently, there's only one entity with the power to confront them and take care of that problem, isn't there?

So we’ve now identified the demon and the champion. On with the myth.

Consider this "government is good" pitch:
My libertarian tendencies have always found a welcome home in the Silicon Valley culture (and in all of the nation’s great technology centers). It is a place where hard work and good ideas trump pedigree, money, the color of one’s skin, nationality, sex, or any of the artificial barriers to entry in most of the rest of the world. It is a techno-utopia that, while oft-criticized for a streak of self-important narcissism, still today produces the greatest innovations in technology in the world. Where else could such a motley collection of school dropouts, nerds, brown people (mostly Indian), and non-Native English speakers (mostly Chinese), not just rise to the top of their game, but dominate it? This is free market activity seemingly at its best, and it works precisely because these individuals are able to take risks and be judged by the results of their work, rather than be judged by who they are, where they’ve been, or who they know.

But there are other reasons why this outpost of libertarianism works. The government has put in an infrastructure to support the region including, among many other things, roads, the Internet, government research grants, and the most important ingredient of all: education, from the lowliest kindergarten to the highest post-doc program. Such spending, while requiring a government bureaucracy that makes a traditional libertarian shudder, actually provides the tools that individuals need to succeed in today’s world. If our goal is to promote and champion individual liberty and the free market, we need government to help provide those tools to all Americans, not just a privileged few. This isn’t a question of equality, it’s one of opportunity. Some people will take advantage of those opportunities, and others will not. That will be up to each individual. But without opportunity, there is no freedom.
Read that again, very carefully, because if you’re not paying attention it sounds wonderfully attractive.There are certainly those out there ready to buy into it.

Essentially his claim is that had there been no government, none of the “libertarian tendencies” for which he finds Silicon Valley so exceedingly attractive would have had the opportunity to germinate and grow. Without an “infrastructure” such as ‘roads’ and ‘internet’, or ‘research grants’ and ‘education’, none of it happens (btw, I loved his emphasis on government education while touting the success of ‘school dropouts’).

Given that argument, I’m frankly amazed Stephan Jobs and Bill Gates somehow managed to launch Apple and Microsoft.

What spurred the creation of Silicon Valley wasn’t government or research grants or the internet. That all came later. It was Jobs and Gates and countless others in their garages and basements without the “benefit” of any of that. They opened up a whole new technological era with their individual work. They convinced venture capitalists and other risk takers to back them. They changed the world.

To pretend Silicon Valley was a product of government is to truly not understand where it came from or why. To contend it was a result of government is an admission that one doesn’t understand the process of innovation which took place. If ever there was an example of Hayekian principle of “spontaneous order”, Silicon Valley is it. We saw innovation and technology driving markets and marketing cycles while spawning more of the same and repeating itself over and over and over again.

It is important to understand that just because something happened doesn’t mean a) it had anything to do with the government’s involvement (and, in fact, it may have happened despite it) or, more importantly b) it wouldn’t have happened without government.

As I said, Moultasis’s argument is a familiar one that has been favored by a certain element ever since the world’s first government came into being. Government is good, more government is better and without government, nothing "good" is possible – at least to the extent we now enjoy it.

Having established the justification for accepting government as a "good" and assuming it should now appeal to libertarians, he then juxtaposes it against the second premise which runs throughout the article. He introduces the necessary demon to justify that newfound love of government:

2. Corporations are the basis of all that is evil in the world and are the biggest threat to our liberty.

While some may consider that overstated, I challenge them to show me where in the article it misses the thrust. How can one characterize government as a good unless he can identify an evil which makes government necessary (and, more importantly, at least a lesser evil)?

With the newly established paradigm (good government, bad corporations) libertarians are supposed to reject the Republicans (bad government, bad corporations), recognize the threat of out-of-control corporations (always bad) and embrace the only appropriate solution (with nominal hand waves at “the market” and “freedom and liberty”). And that solution?

Everybody now: more government!

But not just any government, a Libertarian Democrat government.

Yes, governments, despite a history of centuries which runs to the contrary, are now the champions of liberty, the defenders of freedom and the sole entity upon which we can depend for such. Obviously, but for them, corporations would run the world, enslave us and make us buy their stuff.

Government, on the other hand, especially this government of “libertarian Democrats” would never be anything but benign, supportive, non-intrusive defender of our rights and positively unparalleled in ensuring the market worked properly.

How, is not exactly clear, but that is indeed the thrust of the article. He wanders into the politics of it all in due course and I'll look into some of that later.

In the meantime, let's look at another quote from the article. If you’ve read it, you know that these two paragraphs preceded the two above. However I found it more instructive to reverse them:
In the waning years of the Clinton Administration, the Justice Department waged a massive anti-trust battle against Microsoft. At the time, Microsoft seemed unstoppable, a monopolistic behemoth who would either swallow or crush anyone that posed even the most minute threat to its business. I cheered the Justice Department on, thinking its efforts would be the only thing to dent the prospects of a Microsoft-dominated world. I was despondent when Microsoft emerged victorious. Innovation seemed dead.

But I was dead wrong. What a difference a few years made. As the Internet came on the scene, first Yahoo then Google transformed the technological landscape leaving Microsoft in their wake. The market shifted, and Microsoft wasn’t able to make the transition. Despite being a dominant player in PCs and office software, no one fears Microsoft anymore. It is a remnant of a different era, reduced to providing commodity products as other companies blaze new trails. The market worked on its own.
While Moultisas was cheering on the government, libertarians of all stripes were jeering, because they already knew the purpose of the law suit. It was a blatant and brutal attempt to destroy a corporation which was considered to be too powerful by competitors. It was a result of special interest politics coupled with Democrats innate general dislike of business and corporations specifically. The power of government was enlisted to help them fight the giant who wasn’t sharing well. Yet, as noted, technology rendered the suit useless. Supposedly we’re to believe that most Democrats, like Moultisas, had an epiphany that day.

That, of course, didn’t stop the suit against Microsoft from being pushed unmercifully by by the same group libertarians are supposed to now embrace. That's because between the attempted destruction of Microsoft and their present attacks on Wal-Mart, the food industry and Big Pharma we're led to believe Democrats, or at least the "libertarian Democrat" variety have learned that the market can indeed work and handle such problems.

It is the last paragraph in the piece which makes clear what has slowly been dawning on a reader of the article as he or she plows through it. It’s nothing more than a fairly typical and transparent appeal for votes cloaked in a light libertarian veneer:
For too long, Republicans promised smaller government and less intrusion in people’s lives. Yet with a government dominated top to bottom by Republicans, we’ve seen the exact opposite. No one will ever mistake a Democrat of just about any stripe for a doctrinaire libertarian. But we’ve seen that one party is now committed to subverting individual freedoms, while the other is growing increasingly comfortable with moving in a new direction, one in which restrained government, fiscal responsibility and—most important of all—individual freedoms are paramount.
While it is certainly true that Republicans promised smaller government (which necessarily means less intrusiveness), I’ve seen nothing in this essay which promises better.

Forgotten in this appeal for votes is a pretty basic truth which essentially destroys the validity of the argument:

Not a single corporation can coerce you into buying their product. But every single government, no matter how small, can coerce you into doing their will.

The basic concept of government is and always has been contrary to libertarian principles.

Government is force. It is all about force. Force is its very nature. And, make no mistake, what is being offered by Moultisas here is more government. He simply wants libertarians to embrace rather than reject that choice and feel good about it.

If, as Friederich Hayek said, “freedom is the absence of coercion”, then the group that touts more government as the acceptable solution to any problem is selling snake oil. And Moultisas is correct. I’d never, ever mistake a Democrat of “just about any stripe” for any type of a libertarian, doctrinaire or otherwise.

This isn't an appeal to libertarianism and its tenets. It is an appeal to libertarians to help Democrats attain power with an unconvincing promise which is very uncharacteristic of the group making it, namely to become the party of less government in the future. Why, just look out west.

They want our votes, not our ideas. But the case for the libertarian Democrat is the case for more government coupled with a vague claim that their version of government will always be good, responsive, just the right size and with just the right power. Never intrusive, never abusive, always perfect.

And those individual rights emphasized above? Well they'll always be guaranteed until such a time, as a famous Democrat once declared, they decide they have "to take things away from you on behalf of the common good"

My two word answer concerning libertarian Democrat?

No thanks.

Better yet: no way.


[I could write on this exclusively for 3 days. Anyway, more later]

UPDATE: Zen Politics comes to the same conclusion:
No, I think Kos is out to win the next election and sees libertarians as a convenient way to leverage a few votes. As soon as Democrats can regain power they’ll forget about us, and all libertarian principles, as quickly as the Republicans did in 2000.
More from Homeland Stupidity:
The problem is that Moulitsas sees “government as a good, not an evil,” while all libertarians know that government is always an evil, most seeing it as a necessary evil which must be tightly restrained, and some seeing it as an unnecessary evil which, once humans are more civilized, we can eventually dispense with altogether.
From leftist Shakespeare's Sister, the salient question first posed in my friend's email:
Where do issues like the government’s responsibility to provide a social safety net fall into the “Libertarian Democrat” paradigm? What about socialized or universal healthcare? Interestingly, of the people I know who come from countries with socialized/universal healthcare, access to healthcare is regarded as a right (a sentiment, btw, with which I agree—surely healthcare should be regarded as the most fundamental of rights, as making use of all others is contingent upon life and health); can L.D.s regard healthcare as a basic right and thusly support socialized or universal healthcare?
Tell me again libertarians, how do we reconcile beliefs which state that government has a 'responsibility to provide a social safety net' with supporting Democrats. A group who considers such things as "rights"? Do you really want to enable that?

Because you see, Lib Dems would be a minority within that group and what Sis asks comes from their mainstream. Any doubt as how she'd define her "personal liberty"?

Andrew Roth at Club for Growth notices the same problem concerning government that I cover:
But [Kos] never adequately disproves or reconciles the fact that being a libertarian Democrat is a contradiction in and of itself.

You can not be for smaller government while at the same time promote larger government. As far as I can tell, calling oneself a libertarian Democrat is to believe in "smarter" government, which of course, is just as nonsensical as calling oneself a "libertarian Democrat".
 
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Comments
KOS means Liberal Democrat and wants Bill to be used by the liberal party in Canada again.
 
Written By: Jor
URL: http://
But without opportunity, there is no freedom.
This is completely backwards.
The market worked on its own.
I’m having a hard time accepting that he actually believes this.
...while the other is growing increasingly comfortable with moving in a new direction, one in which restrained government, fiscal responsibility and-most important of all-individual freedoms are paramount.
This is complete and utter BS. Government, even conceptually, represents a reduction in the control each individual has over his/her own lives. Both parties favor more government, therefore they favor more centralized control over peoples lives, therefore they favor less freedom. Where is this paramount concern when it comes to: McCain-Feingold, school choice, socialized medicine, living wage laws, drug laws, the friggin anti-smoking movement, private savings accounts to augment Soc. Security, the "Fairness Doctrine", the 2nd Amendment, private property, etc. etc. etc? Freedom of contract is an Individual Freedom.
My two word answer concerning libertarian Democrat?

No thanks.

Better yet: no way.
My answer: Not no, but Helllllllll no
 
Written By: err
URL: http://
The guy (Moultisas) really deserves no attention for this. Just because he’s got a big mouth doesn’t mean his ideas should be given respectful treatment.
 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
I will be voting straight ticket for the Democrats. When "libertarians" such as the ones on this site support items like Bush’s military tribunals, it is clear to me that there is simply no possibility of supporting such a party in any way, shape, manner or form. Ron Paul is the only GOP-member worth keeping. The rest of the GOP is full of vile, degrading corporate lying moralist thugs like Bill Frist, who have no compunction about outlawing internet gambling through the back door of the Ports bill.

I think it is laughable to even raise the question of the treatment of Microsoft or Walmart—as though these corporations don’t have enough money to buy off the government themselves(anybody ever read the Constitution of Liberty by Tullock and Buchanan?) and compare that to the specter of the power grab by Republicans and their so-called "libertarian" allies who continue to tout the Republicans as the lesser of the two evils between the parties. I guess the slogan is "lower taxes is worth being spied on a little." What garbage the Republican party has become.

I spent 25 years of my life working for the GOP and unlike the pseudo-libertarians on this site, I am not going to equate mere criticism of Walmart with the specter of unbridled executive power and the eradication of habeas corpus. Republicans are pathetic thugs who will finally get what the deserve in November.
 
Written By: william
URL: http://
The Liberal party leaders are being chosen. One, Kennedy, advocates more government by guaranteeing incomes for citizens, favoring more freedom. The controls come in when the citizen is not single. The error in thinking is that a citizen has to have children to generate more income. The answer is a guaranteed income at 18. The median income argument comes into play when people see breeding as a way to make money. The answer is the median income is a false argument because it is not enough to raise a family. The population will probably see little or no increase.

Socialized medicine became the excuse for no guaranteed income. Half of all government expenditures will be for socialized medicine in the future. The answer is private insurance and implications for the real estate market in Canada with a guaranteed income. The unions looked pretty bad here, trying to guarantee work in health care at the expense of citizens’ incomes.

School chioce will see little change, most are’nt willing to invest. Drug sales may go up, but laws will be changed.
 
Written By: LG
URL: http://
Moulitsas has made this argument in the past. This is how I characterized it back in August in the comments section at Inactivist:

"[The libertarian democrat movement] co-opts the libertarian identity and language but substitutes corporations for that state as the greatest threat to individual autonomy, allowing them to make the Orwellian argument that increasing the power of the central state is furthering the ends of individual liberty."
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
Look at how Kos defines "Libertarian Democrat" here:

www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2006/6/7/131550/7297


"A Libertarian Dem believes that true liberty requires freedom of movement — we need roads and public transportation to give people freedom to travel wherever they might want. A Libertarian Dem believes that we should have the freedom to enjoy the outdoor without getting poisoned; that corporate polluters infringe on our rights and should be checked. A Libertarian Dem believes that people should have the freedom to make a living without being unduly exploited by employers. A Libertarian Dem understands that no one enjoys true liberty if they constantly fear for their lives, so strong crime and poverty prevention programs can create a safe environment for the pursuit of happiness. A Libertarian Dem gets that no one is truly free if they fear for their health, so social net programs are important to allow individuals to continue to live happily into their old age. Same with health care. And so on."



Based on that definition, is there any limit to what would be within the purview of the state?

Kos is magnanimously willing to concede that there may be some areas where the private sector could do a better job at achieving his ends than the government, but, in principle, he sees no limit at all to the purview of the state, and he explicitly argues for increasing government intervention in every area of our lives in order to counter what he perceives as the greater threat from corporations

Some people here have made some very public calls to ostracize libertarians off of the reservation who have committed heresies against the FISA statute. To me, if we are looking for "fake libertarians" to condemn, the so-called Libertatrian Democrats would top the list.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
Gee William, I guess it’s been so long since the Dems were in power that you forgot that power corrupts them too. Either that our you just turned 18.
 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
I thought this sounded familiar, that I had seen it earlier, and Aldo gratefully provides the link. I think Kos is, in the end, very intelligent — but a fool. In the mold of Clinton (another intelligent fool), Kos succumbs to the prime mover fallacy, with the prime mover being government: without it, nothing happens; with it, all is bliss. If you were to compare Kos, to his face, to a mediaeval Catholic inquisitor, I think he would be offended, and would not see the similarities. Yet Kos demands purity, and expels heretics (Lieberman, for example, or even Hillary Clinton). Kos demands surrender in the name of Deliverance, conformance in the name of Freedom, and all with the promise of Heaven and the threat of Hell. He is a shyster and a fraud, and should be roundly ignored.

But didn’t I mention that Kos is intelligent? At the margins, where all change occurs, such an appeal will gather a few adherents. Perhaps "william" is one, though I doubt (from his word choice) that he has ever been Republican or libertarian. And in another place, Kos (or another government über alles type) will make the argument in a different way, targeted at fiscal conservatives or Hamiltonians or whatever &mdash even targeted at big businesses as protection from the government! — to get those few votes here and a few votes there.

It would seem pathetic if it weren’t the mechanism behind political success in a two-party system. And it’s far from clear that the netroots will not eventually control the country. And all the gods and goddesses combined may not be able to help us then.
 
Written By: Jeff Medcalf
URL: http://www.caerdroia.org/blog
What do the people do when both parties have gone off the deep end and can’t swim?
 
Written By: SkyWatch
URL: http://
What do the people do when both parties have gone off the deep end and can’t swim?
Pull up a chair and open a beer?
 
Written By: err
URL: http://
I started looking into this campaign back when Mona mentioned the work he was doing on this "project" in the comments of this very blog. He has been corresponding with several people including Greenwald (and according to Mona, herself) in crafting this BS. That has been from what I understand part of the rationale for the Townhouse mailing list, which includes some so-called libertarians of the left leaning variety. Whatever that means. Anyway, he posted on this subject at Kos and it was the same schtick, but he has made it a bit slicker.

I am actually still a bit miffed after all these years at the perversion of the term liberal. This is just as disappointing.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
SkyWatch -
What do the people do when both parties have gone off the deep end and can’t swim?
In order of most rewarding actions:

1. Change the system/process to ensure the regular availability of better options (very difficult),
2. vote for the good ones (easy, where possible),
3. effectively support the lesser of available evils, if the lesser of available evils is tolerable (difficulty depends on how much support the lesser evil needs to win)
4. create—and win with—a new option when the existing options are intolerable (much more difficult/costly, not likely to succeed),
5. resort to other means of living freely if you can’t work through the normal process where you are (see below).

"Other means" include:
A. moving to another, better place (entails straightforward costs, often high)
B. disregarding illegitimate law (passive resistance, entails risks)
C. disrupting the enforcement of illegitimate law (active resistance, entails greater risks)

6. Deal with it (difficulty depends on just how bad situation is, but if costs of resisting system are greater than costs of dealing with it, what are you gonna do?)

Up to you to determine what you’re willing and able to do.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
It is my continued fealty to personal liberty that makes me a Democrat today
I guess "personal liberty" doesn’t extend to certain things such as:

1) The ability to choose your schools
2) The ability to manage your own health/social security accounts

just for example. Do I even need to list the draconian PC/quota systems mindset synonomous w/ the Democrat party? I daresay even a (laughing) libertarian democrat would only be a democrat with a thin libertarian veneer for show
 
Written By: Shark
URL: http://
I think we are all clear that neither party gives a rats a** for libertarian principals. But both parties to generally are supportive in completely different small areas that are of interest to libertarians. Dem’s are better on individual liberties, Republicans are better on economic liberties, and neither are very good at these. The fact is that any favor of a libertarian principal is usually coincidental.

I am not going to bother making the case why I think Democrats are the better choice for libertarians because Democrats adhere more closely to libertarian principals, they don’t, the are accidentally closer in my opinion, but I won’t argue the point.

Here’s what I’m thinking... I watched Braveheart and The Fountainhead a few days ago (love the book), and somewhere in the mix an idea struck me based on the following historical constant...

The problem with government is that it never gets smaller.

So we have all these conservatives pretending to want smaller government, and never delivering even when they theoretically have the power, and we have all these libertarian actually wanting to have a smaller government, but not many voters seem to actually want that.

So we have a government that is going to grow, sometimes slower (like under split party control) and sometimes faster (under one party control, either party, but especially Republicans) and we are going to have more and more programs, simply because that’s what politicians do.

So I decided that liberalism is the answer, but the problem with liberalism is there are too many liberals running it.

So here’s the punchline... If a libertarian were told to create a social program, and they did not refuse on principal, leaving it to the liberals and conservatives to make the mess they usually do, it’s not going to be a program that pours taxpayers money down the drain, at least they will focus enormous attention on the investment/return aspect as opposed to the liberal who focus only on how much better they can make someone’s life by giving them something, or a Republican, who will focus on giving as little as possible to anyone, but will still manage to spend just as money as the liberal.

A similar concept has been my ideal since I was a young Republican, but what has changed is that I realize now that Republicans were never more fiscally responsible than liberals, it just seemed like it when they were out of power saying they WOULD be.

No social programs that do not have a positive return on investment!

If that were the guiding principal, rather than the typical libertarian mantra of "no programs", could at least guide the growth of government to be done in such a way that the growth of the economy always surpasses it. Theoretically, if you use expenditures relative to the GDP, you have a chance of being liberal and growing the government, but never have the relative size of government grow.

So that’s the overall concept of why I think libertarians should become effective liberals.

By the way, the line that caused this epiphany (or anurism if you don’t like it) was in Braveheart when Edward Longshanks said, "The problem with Scotland is that there are too many Scots!"

Oh, and by the way, anyone that calls themselves a libertarian and votes Republican while the Republicans control the House, Senate, and White House, is about a libertarian in their mind only. (LITMO?)

Cap



 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
How now, are we separating "individual liberty" from "economic liberty"? Run that by me again.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
The problem with government is that it never gets smaller.
One of the very few things that you have written with which I can agree.

While your solution is interesting, I would simply require that each federal law would have a sunset clause. And each one requires an individual vote to renew.

Restrictions such as that on the legislative side would also require restrictions on Executive Orders.

Either of our solutions are highly unlikely to be implemented, since that would result in a loss of power for our Congresscritters.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
How now, are we separating "individual liberty" from "economic liberty"? Run that by me again.
Republicans are generally fond of less regulation on business and more regulation on people’s personal lives, and Democrats are generally fond of more regulation on business and less regulation on people’s personal lives.

Neither is absolute, and neither does a great job protecting individual or economic liberty, but in general, I think this is valid description.

Cap
 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
Either of our solutions are highly unlikely to be implemented, since that would result in a loss of power for our Congresscritters.
Not necessarily. A sunset clause per se might be difficult, but the laws could be written in such a way that if they are not accomplishing their intended result with the intended efficiency, they automatically sunset if they are not revised to correct it. Basically a warranty on a program. Who doesn’t like a money back guarantee?

Better still, all laws will have to be written with a specific definition of what the expectations must be met for the legislated action to continue.

Heck, that could be the new Democratic (libertarian) party platform. A REAL contract with America!

What do you think?

Cap
 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
I would simply require that each federal law would have a sunset clause. And each one requires an individual vote to renew.
Now thats an idea I would get behind!
Heck, that could be the new Democratic (libertarian) party platform.
How about instead of bouncing back and forth between the two disfunctional parties we try turning the Libertarian Party into more of a governing coaltion based on libertarianism and less a party of ideological/philosophical purity?
 
Written By: err
URL: http://
How about instead of bouncing back and forth between the two disfunctional parties we try turning the Libertarian Party into more of a governing coaltion based on libertarianism and less a party of ideological/philosophical purity?


I like it in theory, but in practice I believe that this would only split and weaken the already pathetic Libertarian party. There are just too many true believers that would rather lose and be true to their principles than to come up with something people vote for that will America better than the two party’s we have can do.

Look, I think that libertarians (small "l") in general are smarter and more capable than the party faithful of either party and could change either party from within... if they had a message they could sell.

Since the Republicans have already been selling smaller government with dismal results, I say we sell liberalism, only smarter, within the Democratic Party.

I think I’ll e-mail John Kerry and tell him to make this the key plank in the Democratic platform.

Liberalism, only smarter!!!

Cap

 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
I need to add a point here.

Americans, when polled, are squarely behind the policy ideals of the Democratic Party. Were it not for gay marriage and abortion and other wedge issues, Republicans would still be the minority party. This is not to say that the Democratic policy ideals are the best, 50 million people can be wrong, and often are.

But the point is that if we did what we are talking about, the support is there. Promise Americans what they want, and give it them, but do it in a way that makes sense, in a way that has a positive ROI.

Health Care
College tuition
Welfare

All these things are coming anyway, but if people with the sensibilities we are talking about put the programs together, at least they won’t strangle us.

Do you really want the traditional Democrats doing this, handing out anything to anyone for nothing? Or the Republicans, handing everything to a bunch of corporations to hand out to people for nothing with a tidy profit in the middle?

Of course the problem is power and it’s tendency to corrupt, but you have to believe in something. If just sit there and watch other people put these programs together while we whine and talk about government growth, we’ll get exactly what we deserve.

How about this for a press release: Libertarian Party joins forces with the Democratic Party as they come to agreement that Democratic policy initiatives can be accomplished, but need to be done with responsibility and a guarantee of effectiveness. All while keeping guard of the rights of all Americans.

Cap
 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
Cpt. Sarcastic...you have some interesting points there.

Question 1: How do you measure the ROI of say, Head Start?

Question 2: If we could measure the ROI, how would you deal with opportunity costs? What I am saying is that we cannot just do every program with a positive ROI (I am guessing there would be a lot of 0.1% ROI programs possible.) Who makes those calls?

Idea 1: Split the budget into sections and apply % of GDP limits on them. (I like this because it might make people realize that there is not an infinite supply of government money.)

Idea 2: Minimum Tax. Everyone should pay a tax, even a token tax.

Idea 3 (not mine) : Election day must be the day after Income Taxes were due.



 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
I have to assume that Markos is not attempting to address libertarians voting republican rather than libertarians voting Libertarian. The former are clearly open to strategic voting. The argument that the democratic party offers a better home to the former right now seems persuasive to me. The republican part today offers only the mildest rhetorical support of small goverment and virtually seemingly no substantive support to a libertarian agenda. While democrats advocate larger goverment than republicans at least they’re more willing to confront its costs leading to a rhetorical playing field that libertarians are better able to succeed on. Republicans today offer a larger government at a cheaper cost while democrats offer a larger government that costs more. The latter is clearly easier to fight.
 
Written By: Adam
URL: http://
Hmmmm, I guess you could pass a law regarding minimum ROI to implement or keep a program...that would be nice.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
While democrats advocate larger government than republicans at least they’re more willing to confront its costs leading to a rhetorical playing field that libertarians are better able to succeed on.
That is only a recent development, and one I am sure they would jettison as soon as they got into power. Although Republicans have been a disappointment there are at least a few libertarians elected within the republican party, while the Democrats have swung wildly to the right.
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
"That is only a recent development, and one I am sure they would jettison as soon as they got into power."

I’m not sure how correct this is. When democrats were in power they were not unfairly tagged as the "tax and spend" party. This isn’t great for libertarians but it’s easier to defeat politically than the current republican don’t tax and spend method. Looking only at the current election cycle shifting control of at least one of the houses would prevent the excesses that single party republican rule generates.
 
Written By: Adam
URL: http://
The argument that the democratic party offers a better home to the former right now seems persuasive to me.
Home? Hardly. A party to ally with on certain issues. Possibly. But then that applies to both parties now. Whereas Republicans in the past subscribed to the principles of limited and smaller government, Democrats never have, the present noise notwithstanding. It is the Republicans, at least in this present administration, which have abandoned libertarians. But that doesn’t mean libertarians have a "home" with Democrats.

As I said, sometimes neither side will do.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
How ironic, this call for libertarians to join the Democrats comes at the very time that the Republican Liberty Caucus, representing the libertarian wing of the GOP is larger, more organized and has had the greatest amount of success in electoral politics in its 15 year history.

The RLC just held its national convention in Orlando. In attendence were Stephen Moore of the Wall Street Journal, Congressmen, State Legislators and even locally County officials. It was the most successful convention ever for the RLC. (www.mainstreamlibertarian.com).

And except for the Wall Street Journal which covered the RLC convention, there was a complete media blackout.

The libertarian wing of the GOP is having more success than ever before and the liberal-biased media, and even the conservative media is completely dodging the story.



 
Written By: Eric Dondero
URL: http://www.mainstreamlibertarian.com
Leftists are now suggesting libertarians align with the Democrat Party. Really? Let’s look at the facts.

There are more libertarians elected to Congress and State Legislatures around the Nation than ever before, and every single one of them has been elected under the Republican banner:

1. Goldwater Inst. President Congressman Jeff Flake (AZ), Former Libertarian Presidential Candidate Cong. Ron Paul (TX), Cong. Butch Otter (ID), Cong. Tom Feeney (FL), Libertarian Movement Founder Cong. Dana Rohrabacher (CA).

2. Over 30 State Legislators, many of whom are former members of the Libertarian Party, or closely aligned with the LP; including, Rep. Toby Nixon (WA), Rep. Leon Drolet (MI), Rep. Vic Korhing (AK), Rep. Jerry Doyle (WI), Sen. Bob Hedlund (MA), Rep. Ken Lindell (ME), Sen. Tom McClintock (CA), and at least 10 Reps in New Hampshire House.

3. Countless locally elected libertarian Republicans nationwide like GA County Exec Ben Brandon and Santa Clara County, CA School Board Member Bill Evers.

How many "libertarian Democrats" have been elected in the last 20 years?

Answer: One. His name is Steve Villaincourt, and as a Democrat he won election in a fluke to the NH House in 1998 on the Libertarian ticket. Well, almost. A year later he switched to Republican.

For a complete list of elected libertarians natiowide:

www.mainstreamlibertarian.com










 
Written By: Eric Dondero
URL: http://www.mainstreamlibertarian.com
"Home? Hardly. A party to ally with on certain issues."

you’re right, that was poor phrasing on my part. Looking only at the upcoming elections I don’t see any reason to give my vote to the republicans. It seems likely that republicans will renew their commitment to small government if they can fight against bad democrat programs rather than trying to buy electoral success and expanding government.
 
Written By: Adam
URL: http://
There’s a record number of Libertarians this year(including current Libertarian Party members like in New Hamphsire and Vermont), running on the Republican ticket nationwide for Congress and especially State Legislators.

In Vermont alone 5 (!!!) current Libertarian Party members have secured the GOP nomination and it is expected that at least 2 to 3 of them will win election.

In New Hampshire, longtime Libertarian Party hero Don Gorman is running on the Republican ticket for State House and is expected to win.

Are libertarians willing to discount these Libertarian victories, and maybe even abandon the GOP thus saying to the Libertarian Republicans, ahh, we don’t care if you get elected or not, all because the Democrat Party is putting on a last minute push to widen their coalition enough to win over those few voters who vote Libertarian?

Think about it.

On November 8 there could be more Libertarians elected to state legislators than EVER BEFORE IN THE HISTORY OF THE LIBERTARIAN PARTY, all under the GOP line.

Not too mention two Governors closely aligned with the Libertarian Party, Republicans Palin in Alaska and Crist in Florida.

Right at the point when we are experiencing more success and victories with the Libertarian-Republican strategy than ever before, some libertarians want to abandon it.

How idiotic!






 
Written By: Eric Dondero
URL: http://www.mainstreamlibertarian.com
It’s easy, if you can’t stomach voting for Republicans this year as a Libertarian, then don’t.

I myself, am voting for Independent Kinky Friedman for Governor of Texas and NOT for incumbent Republican Rick Perry!

Vote for Libertarian Party candidates straight ticket if you don’t want to vote Republican!

But at the very least, PLEASE support the Libertarian Party members and friends of the Libertarian Party running under the GOP banner nationwide in states like New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Michigan, Colorado, California and Alaska.

And never, ever, ever vote Democrat. They are the enemy of Libertarians.

Ask yourself this. Who is it that is behind all the efforts nationwide to keep libertarian initiatives (Property Rights, Spending Limits) off the ballots in Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Washington, Maine and Michigan?

Answer: It ain’t the Republicans. Starts with a ’D’.











 
Written By: Eric Dondero
URL: http://www.mainstreamlibertarian.com
It’s easy, if you can’t stomach voting for Republicans this year as a Libertarian, then don’t.

I myself, am voting for Independent Kinky Friedman for Governor of Texas and NOT for incumbent Republican Rick Perry!

Vote for Libertarian Party candidates straight ticket if you don’t want to vote Republican!
I think you’re exactly right (and I’m leaning toward voting for Kinky myself), and I’ve advocated doing the same here and at Mona’s inactivist website. I think all this talk of collective punishment is wrongheaded, and somewhat oxymoronic coming from individualists such as ourselves. Vote for the individual. If the republican candidate is not pro liberty, vote libertarian. If the LP and liberty caucus republicans get higher than normal vote totals, then that will send a message to congress, a message that the people demand smaller govt and more liberty. If you just vote democrat, the message will be that people demand more govt intrusion and taxes.
 
Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
@Eric
ok... so a lot more Republicans CLAIM to be libertarians. That doesn’t mean the Party in power has actually done anything to advance libertarian goals. The current crop of Republicans are great at lip service that never seems to be followed through. This blog has covered many of the anti-liberty items the current R’s in power have implemented and continue to implement.
 
Written By: Tito
URL: http://
I am sorry, Eric, you are better than most, but your group is not delivering anything and there is zero probability that the Republican Party will deliver any meaning libertarian legislation. They will lower taxes on corporations and maybe from 37% to 35% on individuals and then act as though they are Von Mises back from the dead.

Your party, Eric, believes in nearly unbridled power for the President. Your party, Eric, believes in harsh penalties for any users of drugs(except Rush Limbaugh). Your party, Eric, believes in expanding the Department of Education and No Child Left Behind. Your party, Eric, believes in overriding state laws in areas of euthanasia, living wills, and medical marijuana. Your party, Eric, believes in taxing me and then making me pay for anti-marijuana advertisements that I disagree with and that call me a terrorist. Your party, Eric, puts doctors in jail for prescribing pain medication to desperately sick people. Your party, Eric, is supporting a bill that would make burning the flag a crime. Your party, Eric, has started a program that teaches "faith-based" organizations all over the country how to get "their fair share" of federal spending. Your party, Eric, questions the patriotism of any American who doesn’t support your party’s war.

Thanks, but no thanks. I will be voting straight-ticket Democratic this year.
 
Written By: william
URL: http://
And do you think that can’t change william? Did you not study how the growing influence of the populist party and socialist party influenced the democratic party? Why can’t the same thing happen to the republican party by way of the liberty caucus, and the libertarian party? He’s not advocating voting for republicans, but for liberty minded invidivuals. Would you vote against Ron Paul just because he’s a republican? Would you vote for a democrat over Libertarian Bob Smither just because he promised to caucus with the republicans? How can collective punishment jive with our indiviualist libertarian ideals?
 
Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
The horse is out of the gate. Bush has deliberately driven libertarians out of the party and has replaced them with former democrats who are populists. And all of these so-called libertarians that Eric touts, like Steve Moore and Feeny(!) never say anything strong against the party when it violates formerly stated principles such as federalism. When the feds went after medical marijuana users in California, the silence was deafening by the so-called libertarian Republicans They just mumble how they might disagree, but never do anything about it. Ron Paul is a hero, but he isn’t enough obviously to get the job done.

If there are any libertarian hopes for the Republican Party, the only way is for the entire edifice to be destroyed this November and then one can see what rises from the ashes.
 
Written By: william
URL: http://
I think we are all clear that neither party gives a rats a** for libertarian principals. But both parties to generally are supportive in completely different small areas that are of interest to libertarians. Dem’s are better on individual liberties, Republicans are better on economic liberties, and neither are very good at these. The fact is that any favor of a libertarian principal is usually coincidental.
Democrats are only concerned with individual choice and liberties if it involves abortion or gay marriage. Otherwise, they don’t give a s%&t. They are more concerned with the rights of terrorists and criminals than they are with the rights of citizens and criminal victims. They are fine with FBI files in the White House if they are Republican files, but in gathering intelligence against terrorists, they support the terrorists, unless the right people (ie Democrats) are doing the snooping. I don’t trust them to do the snooping.

Right to keep and bear arms, forget it. Despite noises to the contrary they are still in favor of the war on SOME drugs, they had the same no-knock raids as under Republicans (but when the Republicans do it, it is bad). And they needlessly gave David Koresh the Arrmageddon that he wanted, thus making him a martyr in some parts. Way to go Democrats. They are no friends to individual liberty.

The problem being that most Democratic policy initiatives are either pork for their constituencies (college tuition pays the Democrat college indoctrinators, er, professors) using money they have taken from me, or anti-choice and anti-liberty impositions from the Democratic Dopes in DC (health care legislation with a "one size fits all" scheme). Sorry for the redundancy with "Democratic Dopes."

My wife can tell you that the "one size fits all" doesn’t work for clothes, much less health care.

Sadly, here lately, the Republicans have joined the "pork for constituents" bandwagon and left the small goverment bandwagon. But that doesn’t mean I should support the Dems, who never did anything for the small government bandwagon except laugh at it.

Curiously enough, every year that we had a Democratic congress from 1960s forward there was also a deficit. Now they’re the party of fiscal responsibility? Really?

Pull the other finger.
 
Written By: David R. Block
URL: http://
First,
Republicans are generally fond of less regulation on business and more regulation on people’s personal lives, and Democrats are generally fond of more regulation on business and less regulation on people’s personal lives.
I ask AGAIN: how do you separate regulation on someone’s economic life (and all economics is the study of choice: what people choose to do with their life given their incentives and constraints) from someone’s "personal life"?

The two are inseparable. You are either regulating a great deal of what people can choose to do, or you’re not. You are either limiting their personal choices, or you are not. If you want to start talking about real examples, let’s hear ’em.

Until you get this point, you are not going to understand squat about libertarians. Try reading a little Milton Friedman, or better yet Thomas Sowell (Knowledge and Decisions, specifically: it’s an excellent book).
Kos clearly has not gotten the message. He doesn’t know how to sell libertarians because he hasn’t even attempted to understand where they’re coming from. His dogged devotion to winning tactical battles for the Democrats has left him unable to understand anyone else’s viewpoint, and that’s why his ham-fisted plea for votes from libertarians comes off so poorly. He’s trying to change up his terminology a bit, as if all that stands between Democrats and most libertarians is a verbal misunderstanding.
There’s a reason the DFC (Democratic Freedom Caucus) is so small compared to its Republican counterpart, the RLC.
-=-=-=-=-=-=-
Eric Dondero’s right about a number of things. First of all, I absolutely adore Tom McClintock, and he could very well become Governor of California after Arnold’s next term ends (he can’t be re-elected again) if he wins the Lt. Governor race this November. He’s has high likability ratings in California, has great name recognition numbers since the recall race in 2003, is about unanimously considered to have been the winner of the televised debate in that race, and is generally considered a rising star in the Republican Party—and the guy is fairly libertarian.

He’s perhaps the only person I’ve ever voted for without holding my nose. And he’s had quite a bit of success considering he’s been in California this whole time, at lowering taxes (by a LOT—see our car registration tax, the man spearheaded the effort to save California families each hundreds of dollars a year), cutting through regulation, and overall sticking up for true limited-government principles.
-=-=-=-=-=-
So, william, I don’t know what the Republicans are like where you live. Maybe the ones where you live all deserve punishment. But the pragmatic thing to do is to send a message about who you *actually* want to win by voting your conscience. Your vote won’t swing the tide, but it sends a message when you stand and let yourself be counted. If libertarian-leaning candidates do better than those hostile to liberty, it sends a message. But if you vote for one group of people hostile to liberty to toss out a different brand of hostility to liberty, you’re not sending the appropriate message. Democrats will just be all the more firmly convinced that people are A-OK with more government regulation and nannyism.

Vote. Your. Conscience.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
The single greatest sign that Democrats won’t do jack to preserve liberty is their rather selective give-a-damn regarding the Constitution. Ask any Democrat politician what he/she thinks of the Second, Ninth, and Tenth Amendments. Ask him/her on the other hand how he/she interprets the "elastic clause" (in Article I, Section 8) and the "commerce clause."

Is it a sea of rights surrounding a few islands of government power, or a desert of government power with a few puddles of rights?

I’ll place my bets on how he/she answers, and it’s not pretty for limited government.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
Ask Bush how he feels about the 9th and 10th amendments. Or ask Bork. Or ask Hastert. Republicans no longer differ on the commerce clause, Ornery. That was Lopez and Bush asked the Court to overrule it in the medical marijuana case.

Overall, Republicans are better on the 2nd Amendment and Democrats are better on the 1st,4th and 5th.
 
Written By: william
URL: http://
A libertarian Democrat would be someone who’s opposed to government pushing people around—except of course when it’s for their own good. (And guess who determines that?)
 
Written By: Bilwick
URL: http://
Ask Bush how he feels about the 9th and 10th amendments. Or ask Bork. Or ask Hastert.
So what? No one is asking you to vote for them. Most of us here wouldn’t vote for them either. We’re asking you why you seem intent on punishing those few who actually agree with you because you don’t like Bush. And why through that punishment are you voting for those that hold little/less regard for libertarian principles. Look I’m not even saying vote for any republicans (well I am saying that in some cases), but I would find it just as acceptable to at least vote for a Libertarian above a democrat.
 
Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
I voted for libertarians the last two presidential elections. But the Republican "libertarians", except for Ron Paul, are enablers who permit the GOP to achieve its pernicious goals and it is time to get rid of the thugs who are currently in control of the Party. If I vote Libertarian, my vote counts half as much as if I vote Democratic in terms of the mathematics of achieving this goal.
 
Written By: william
URL: http://
Ask Bush how he feels about the 9th and 10th amendments. Or ask Bork. Or ask Hastert.
The Dems are big in favor of the 9th and 10th Amendments? Heh
Overall, Republicans are better on the 2nd Amendment..
Agreed
...and Democrats are better on the 1st...
Umm, Campaign Finance Reform, the "Fairness" Doctrine, threatening the license of ABC because of "The Path to 9/11", etc.

 
Written By: err
URL: http://
So, McQ, congradulations on making the obvious point that Kos is not a libertarian. And probably can’t be a libertarian, and would be lose his place is he was one. And that libertarianism and modern liberalism have - to the worldview of a classical libertarian, at least -contradictory values.

Great work.

However, you’re also watching the gutting of any libertarian indpendent movement, once again (perhaps that’s what is making you so irritated). Whenever a third-party has some genuinely popular principles, or is confronting some genuine problems with the modern world, one of the other two parties will swoop down and selectively cannibalize it.

Kos, from the beginning, has represented and stood for a competing block of power against the disintegration of the Democratic party into a pigpile of privledged constituencies and minority-activist fringe groups. He likes the causes, but he wants to break the old system. He’s casting around for a coherent governance philsophy - not ideologically consistent from first principles, but one composed of competing principled planks in a realistic package. And he has it. The package includes, whether you want to blow it off or not, a conditional recognition of the market as a useful tool of the common good, and a renewed emphasis on individual liberty.

Does it make him a libertarian? Nope. You figured it out, darn. Are his (and most liberals’) beliefs on government in contradiction with total economic liberty? Yes. Just like how in real life, one’s individual values must be weighed against each other, and extremism is eventually punished.

But nevertheless, you’re being shortsighted to dismiss what’s happening here because it doesn’t meet your litmus test. No one expects you to say, "well, I’m sold! Q and O endorses the dailykos!" - but it’s foolish to dismiss the rhetoric of the leaders of movements. What Kos says becomes an agenda that carries costs for jettisoning. Kos is softening himself up for concessions to the libertarian movement. It’s a good moment for incremental progress in personal liberty, yet a bad moment for the libertarian independent movement.
Most of all, it’s a useful tool for the Democratic agenda.

There will come a day when a Democratic President is elected who manages to expand social-economic redistributive and regulatory mechanisms while simultaneously shrinking both the absolute size of government, and its total spending. If you think the pressure on libertarian ideology is tough now, wait till then.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Umm, Campaign Finance Reform, the "Fairness" Doctrine, threatening the license of ABC because of "The Path to 9/11", etc.

Grow up a little, err. Athenian democracy didn’t require media communication. Campaign Finance reform is in the interests of genuine decentralization and the inherent increase in liberty within. The fairness doctrine - decentralization. And you’re worried about ABC’s licenses while the Republican-led FCC cracks down on genuine independent radio broadcasts throughout the country - all those that don’t contribute to an extortion-based "licensing" program you’re so worried about.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
What Kos says becomes an agenda that carries costs for jettisoning.
Whatever it is, it’s a bargain at twice the price.
 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
Campaign Finance reform is in the interests of genuine decentralization and the inherent increase in liberty within.
This is nonsense. Campaign Finance reform is in the interests of protecting incumbents, and if you consider governmental interest a sufficient rational for ignoring constitutional checks on government power, then I don’t trust your judgement on what will increase liberty.
The fairness doctrine - decentralization.
Also BS, the fairness doctrine is about control over political speech and thus the marketplace of ideas.
And you’re worried about ABC’s licenses while the Republican-led FCC cracks down on genuine independent radio broadcasts throughout the country - all those that don’t contribute to an extortion-based "licensing" program you’re so worried about.
Actually, I’m not particularly fond of the "licensing" program, that was one of several items I listed that convinces me that the Dems are no better on the 1st Amendment than the Repubs.
Grow up a little, err.
If by grow up, you mean buy the load your selling, no thanks.
 
Written By: err
URL: http://
But nevertheless, you’re being shortsighted to dismiss what’s happening here because it doesn’t meet your litmus test. No one expects you to say, "well, I’m sold! Q and O endorses the dailykos!" - but it’s foolish to dismiss the rhetoric of the leaders of movements.
Not when they’re incompatible. I’ll listen, glasnost, I’m just not buying. And the reasons are in the post.

And as I said in another comment, that doesn’t mean we can’t align ourselves on certain issues with Democrats. But to pretend there is some sort of libertarian wing in the Democractic party is, well, laughable.

All Kos did, as Aldo pointed out, is substitute corporations for government and hope libertarians weren’t quick enough or smart enough to see it (or to be so disgusted with Reps they’d swallow it without chewing).

His attempt to do so shows me a very shallow understanding of what a libertarian is, and his appeal was pretty transparently evident as you read his piece. It wasn’t about compatibility with libertarian ideals, it was a pretty poorly constructed appeal for votes.

"Libertarian Democrats" isn’t a brand, it’s a facade. "Read the sign and come inside, at least long enough to vote for us before you figure out we’re nothing like I describe."

You want short-sightedness? That is political short-sightedness. A true case of bait-and-switch. I can’t wait to hear all the libertarians who are now enraptured with the Dems and the idea of allying with them - and you know who I’m talking about - in a few years if Dems gain power.

So I’m not at all dismissing what he is claiming is happening, ’nost. However, unlike some of the erstwhile libertarians I know of, I’m simply not going to endorse or support it.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Oh, and this:
However, you’re also watching the gutting of any libertarian indpendent movement, once again (perhaps that’s what is making you so irritated). Whenever a third-party has some genuinely popular principles, or is confronting some genuine problems with the modern world, one of the other two parties will swoop down and selectively cannibalize it.
Absolutely. Which is something which was recognized by the neolibertarian movement and, in fact, is integral to its strategy.

It is a major reason we don’t identify ourselves as a third party movement. The intent is to influence the major parties. So, in fact, that’s not a ’bad’ thing as far as we’re concerned when a major party internalizes our ideas and adopts them.

What I’m arguing is the Dems are not "cannibalizing" it at all, what they’re doing is erecting a false front. Cannibalizing does at least mean internalization of what you’re taking.

But a facade is just that ... a false front. And reading Kos, I see no internalizing. Instead I see someone desperately trying to compare what they’re doing in any way that might favorably reflect on what libertarians want without any evident commitment to or even an understanding of the ideals entailed.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Grow up a little, err. Athenian democracy didn’t require media communication. Campaign Finance reform is in the interests of genuine decentralization and the inherent increase in liberty within. The fairness doctrine - decentralization.
Wow.

Well I guess we’re all prone to doing a little spinning, but, you know, let’s not get carried away, ok?

"Decentralization"?

You’re kidding right?

I agree with the comment that they were both assaults on the 1st Amendment - one bipartisan and one all on the left. In both cases the idea is to limit debate or the ability to speak at all.

Add in the speech codes found at most major universities, the assaults on religion and attempts to stifle political speech and - despite your spin - it isn’t that difficult to make the case that plenty of evidence exists showing the left isn’t particularly sweet on the 1st.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Let me make this statement again, and see if any libertarians can disagree.

Government, all governments, at all times, ALWAYS grow, PERIOD.

Is this historically true or not? (please don’t pick nits and waste time trying to point to a year here or there)

If you think it’s not true and that libertarians have in the past and can in the future stop government growth, then fine, my point will be irrelevant to you and you can skip the rest.

But if you agree that this is true, that it is just the nature of people and governments that Time+ = Government+, then libertarians have already lost and they are swinging at windmills with their best hope being to oppose everything and pat themselves on the back for the government not being as big as it possibly could have been.

Or, they can embrace growth, manage it, and make the inevitable at least as efficient and practical as possible.

You can look at the ocean and be anti-wave, but that’s not going to stop them from coming, but you could learn to surf!
There will come a day when a Democratic President is elected who manages to expand social-economic redistributive and regulatory mechanisms while simultaneously shrinking both the absolute size of government, and its total spending. If you think the pressure on libertarian ideology is tough now, wait till then.
That President will be someone who has grasped this concept.

Cap



 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
There will come a day when a Democratic President is elected who manages to expand social-economic redistributive and regulatory mechanisms while simultaneously shrinking both the absolute size of government, and its total spending
Please stop! Can’t...stop...laughing!
 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
Hey Cap, let’s assume that historically governments have always grown (I don’t know and I doubt it). Are you concluding, therefore, that they always will and this cannot be reversed? Personally, I’d put no money on that bet. I imagine there were plenty of knowledgable nay-sayers in the past who never believed government could exist without royalty either.
 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
The Republicans have dramatically turned away from libertarian principles during the Bush administration.
they haven’t turned away from libertarian principles. They’ve simply modified them into neo libertarian principles.

And that seems to be all the rage these days around here as well?
 
Written By: Davebo
URL: http://
And by the way, to all the commenters from Texas here talking about voting for Kinky for governer and mentioning libertarian republicans in states like New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Michigan, Colorado, California and Alaska.

Hello! Assumably you are Texans and Libertarians. Yet you left out the ONLY Libertarian currently serving in congress under the Republican moniker.

His name is Ron Paul.
 
Written By: Davebo
URL: http://
Republicans are generally fond of less regulation on business and more regulation on people’s personal lives, and Democrats are generally fond of more regulation on business and less regulation on people’s personal lives.

Written By: CaptinSarcastic


Most all regulation impacting people’s lives comes from Democrats.

 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Ask Bush how he feels about the 9th and 10th amendments. Or ask Bork. Or ask Hastert. Republicans no longer differ on the commerce clause, Ornery. That was Lopez and Bush asked the Court to overrule it in the medical marijuana case.
The D’s have been raping the 10th since the 30s. And you are worried about Bush and Lopez!
Overall, Republicans are better on the 2nd Amendment and Democrats are better on the 1st,4th and 5th. facts interfere with his narrative.
No, the D’s are worse on these; the main modern threat to the 1st is campaign finance, to the 5th environmental law. With respect to the 4th, Clinton was every bit as bad as Bush.

The only area where the R’s are worse is the drug war, and that’s by small degree.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
It might also be instructive to consider which justices voted in favor of Kelo.

The things that truely threaten individual liberty are pushed by Democrats. Gun bans, campaign finance, environmental law, etc.

The Republican threat—NSA wirtapping for example—remains a threat in theory only as far as I can see. And certainly not worse than Clinton’s proposed terror bills or controls of cash transfers.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
And by the way, to all the commenters from Texas here talking about voting for Kinky for governer and mentioning libertarian republicans in states like New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Michigan, Colorado, California and Alaska.

Hello! Assumably you are Texans and Libertarians. Yet you left out the ONLY Libertarian currently serving in congress under the Republican moniker.

His name is Ron Paul.
Davebo, take a closer read.

From Eric Dondero:
1. Goldwater Inst. President Congressman Jeff Flake (AZ), Former Libertarian Presidential Candidate Cong. Ron Paul (TX), Cong. Butch Otter (ID), Cong. Tom Feeney (FL), Libertarian Movement Founder Cong. Dana Rohrabacher (CA).
From myself:
Would you vote against Ron Paul just because he’s a republican?
We’re well aware of Mr Paul, and really, we’re the ones who are advocating voting for him. William seems to be the only one marginalizing Ron, and arguing voting Democrat over actual Libertarians, and future Ron Pauls.
 
Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
Or, they can embrace growth, manage it, and make the inevitable at least as efficient and practical as possible.
It is just that I have this thing for windmills.

No sale Cap. What goes up must come down or some such wisdom.

While I grant your point that government has grown, I don’t grant that it is inevitable or must be accepted as beneficial or necessary.

What’s the saying ... when rape is inevitable, lay back and enjoy it? That sounds precisely like your prescription. It also assumes that expansion is good and that it can be "efficient and practical". I don’t buy that assumption either

It’s hard for someone who already is of the opinion that government is much too large and intrusive today to pretend he can accept making it larger and more intrusive with the hope I can also make it more efficient and practical (in fact, wouldn’t a more efficient and practical government be smaller?). Seems at cross purposes with being a libertarian.

Nope ... I see no benefit in enabling that sort of thinking or that trend. You and Kos can have it and I’ll satisfy myself with fighting you every step of the way.

Back to the windmills.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
While I grant your point that government has grown, I don’t grant that it is inevitable or must be accepted as beneficial or necessary.
We have seen ’tactical’ rollbacks of some government regulations over the past 60 odd years.

The biggest growth in government was due to two administrations: FDR’s and LBJ’s. Medicare, Social Security and similar programs are bound to grow the government in proportion to population, hence FDR and LBJ left a legacy of growing government. On top of that, they left in place a ’process’ for ignoring the 10th Amendment, making it easier for future politicians to grow the government. FDR & LBJ have their legacy, but it isn’t ineventable that we will always follow it.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Add in the speech codes found at most major universities, the assaults on religion and attempts to stifle political speech and - despite your spin - it isn’t that difficult to make the case that plenty of evidence exists showing the left isn’t particularly sweet on the 1st.
I disagree on the first and second point, and partially on the last point(imagine that).

Speech codes at universities are a sad result of vicious intimidation and expressions of racism, however, no IDEAS are being outlawed. Someone can easily, and within the bounds of the speech codes, express any ideas, even abjectly racist ideas, on any of these college campuses. The simply cannot do it using epithets. A person supporting slavery, or denying the holocaust, or even agreeing with the holocaust, can express these opinions, so the free expression of ideas is not abridged, just some of the offensive epithets that can be associated with such ideas. If someone is limited to expressing their ideas by have some words removed from their rhetorical quiver, what were they really bringing to the discussion anyway?

Assaults on religion? No one is restricted from practicing the religion of their choice, period. Unless someone is restricted from practicing their choice of religion, then you really cannot make this argument. For people to believe that taxpayer money should be used to promote ANY religious beliefs and oppostion to that is an assault on religion are simply wrong.

Attempts to stifle political speech - I assume (but could be wrong) that you are referring to various campaign finance reform attempts. If so, my response is to ask if you really believe that in a society where virtually 100% of information dissemination is done through paid media outlets, where dollars, not necessarily the message, determines how "loud" one can speak, that dollars should be unequivocally synonymous with speech?

I recognize the First Amendment issues surrounding attempts to protect our political system from being totally corrupted by money. But I also recognize the need to protect the system from this corruption. I agree it is a tightrope walk, and I agree that at times, these campaign finance reform laws have stepped off the tightrope. Some people believe that the current environment of campaign financing is threatening our Constitutional system in toto, so edging on this issue is not nearly as unpalatable as following the current course which some people see as ending First Amendment Rights as well as the other 9 in the long run. Perhaps that is overy dramatic, but frankly, when we see the wealth of Americans being concentrated to a degree GREATER than the time of the Robber Baron’s, with 1% of the population owing nearly 45% of all private assets, we are approaching critical mass. I am sure that the system will make a correction, it always does, but those corrections can be long, bloody, and devastating to a society. (here’s where people get to accuse me of class warfare... but like Warren Buffett said, "If there was a class war, my class won!".


Cap
 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
Thanks ChrisB.

I was referring to those implying they were from Mr. Paul’s home state (and mine).

I’m a huge fan of Ron Paul. Though I doubt many Q&O type neo-libertarians take a positive view of him given his refusal to support the Iraq War resolution.
 
Written By: Davebo
URL: http://
Ron Paul is difficult to vote for if you aren’t in his district.

It’s not a statewide office.
 
Written By: David R. Block
URL: http://
We have seen ’tactical’ rollbacks of some government regulations over the past 60 odd years.
You have not seen rollbacks, you have seen trades of one kind of growth for another.

When are you folks going to realize that when the government does something, it is benefits government (meaning the people causing something to be done, be it legislation or repealing legislation, or executive orders) and someone else. Sometimes that someone else is a special interest group, sometimes it is an industry, sometimes it is a corporation.

Do you really think when something is "deregulated" it is a rollback of anything? It’s not, it is just a different interest being favored.
What’s the saying ... when rape is inevitable, lay back and enjoy it? That sounds precisely like your prescription. It also assumes that expansion is good and that it can be "efficient and practical". I don’t buy that assumption either
When government is written by people unaware and unconcerned with the effects of their legislation, only with how it sounds when they make the campaign speeches, then you are going to have a government that grows inefficiently. If you have a requirement that you MUST care about the results of legislation and programs or they will automatically sunset, then you will get more efficient government.

WOuld you rather have an education bill that spends $50 billion and serves a perceive need, or an education bill that requires a specific result or the program must be altered to specific address the failure or be killed.

Or you could just swing at the windmill and let others spend your money in any foolish way they want because you refuse the game that is going to played, whether you show up or not.

All I’m saying is that if we are going to spend money, I wouldn’t mind having a McQ saying "if you’re going to spend X, it better accomplish Y, or it’s dead in 2 years". Your rape analogy is not wrong, you can raped by democratic process, and in fact, by your understanding of what this country should be according to the Constitution, you have been raped with respect to economics and liberty for years. But while you go back to your windmills, remember, you are not even showing up at the real fight.

You’re not John Galt, you can’t stop the engine, but you could, if you wanted to, tune it up a bit.

Cap
 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
I was referring to those implying they were from Mr. Paul’s home state (and mine).
Which would be Eric Dondero and myself, who both mentioned Ron Paul.
I’m a huge fan of Ron Paul. Though I doubt many Q&O type neo-libertarians take a positive view of him given his refusal to support the Iraq War resolution.
Then I think you don’t understand the goals of neolibertarianism, or perhaps I don’t understand them. I’d vote for him even though I was for the Iraqi war and he was against it, and even though he is anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage while I am for both. I’d support him because he is (more than likely than not) the most liberty oriented candidate in whichever race he’s in.
 
Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
Speech codes at universities are a sad result of vicious intimidation and expressions of racism, however, no IDEAS are being outlawed.
No. Speech codes at universities are an attempt by leftists to shut down conservative speech.

Here is one specific example:

http://www.thefire.org/index.php/article/6673.html

Speech codes at universities are, in fact, a sad result of the left having no viable arguments.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
I’m a huge fan of Ron Paul. Though I doubt many Q&O type neo-libertarians take a positive view of him given his refusal to support the Iraq War resolution.
Neo-libertarian? Is that different from whatever Mona claims to be?

I’d vote for Ron Paul, given the chance. I support the war, but think a reasonable argument can be made against it. It is just that the Democrats and the Mona/Greenwald types don’t make a reasonable argument.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
I’m a huge fan of Ron Paul.
Yeah, I’m sure you are.
Though I doubt many Q&O type neo-libertarians take a positive view of him given his refusal to support the Iraq War resolution.
Actually I have a very favorable view of him.

Unlike you, I’m not a single issue person.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
If you have a requirement that you MUST care about the results of legislation and programs or they will automatically sunset, then you will get more efficient government.
We already have a ’requirement’ that limits federal power that everyone ignores. Why would the friends of big government go along with your lower level requirement?
Or you could just swing at the windmill and let others spend your money in any foolish way they want because you refuse the game that is going to played, whether you show up or not.
Certainly there are libertarians who refuse to ’play’, but in the past there have been some who have had results. Mostly by influencing Republicans. McQ seems to fit that latter description.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
WOuld you rather have an education bill that spends $50 billion and serves a perceive need, or an education bill that requires a specific result or the program must be altered to specific address the failure or be killed.
Neither. I’d rather see the federal government out of education.
Or you could just swing at the windmill and let others spend your money in any foolish way they want because you refuse the game that is going to played, whether you show up or not.
I didn’t say a thing about sitting out the game. I just don’t accept your two choices as the only choices.
All I’m saying is that if we are going to spend money, I wouldn’t mind having a McQ saying "if you’re going to spend X, it better accomplish Y, or it’s dead in 2 years". Your rape analogy is not wrong, you can raped by democratic process, and in fact, by your understanding of what this country should be according to the Constitution, you have been raped with respect to economics and liberty for years. But while you go back to your windmills, remember, you are not even showing up at the real fight.

You’re not John Galt, you can’t stop the engine, but you could, if you wanted to, tune it up a bit.
Don’t want to tune it up, want to pull it and put in another.

We’re running a V-12 when all we need is a 4 banger.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Neo-libertarian? Is that different from whatever Mona claims to be?
Hopefully, yes.

If I’m not mistaken she’s a Kosatarian.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Davebo,

I’ll have to second everybody on Ron Paul. In fact I would say that amongst everyone whose preference has been expressed that I am aware of amongst the neo-libertarians is 100% in favor of Ron Paul.
I’d vote for Ron Paul, given the chance. I support the war, but think a reasonable argument can be made against it. It is just that the Democrats and the Mona/Greenwald types don’t make a reasonable argument.
That is one of those statements that distills it all down. I am a fan of Tom Palmer and he was opposed to the war, that isn’t what it is all about.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
With respect to the 4th, Clinton was every bit as bad as Bush.

This statement is off the deep end. The bill that was just passed at the explicit request and full-court press of the Republican White House allows American Fu*king Citizens on American soil to be detained as enemy combatants and held in undisclosed locations for an indefinite period of time on the Secretary of Defense’s whim, allows him to be coercively interrogated, and that evidence to be used against him in a closed military tribunal. No violent acts or intent to commit them neccesary. Was that President Clinton? Ex-cuse me????

With respect to the 4th, Clinton was every bit as bad as Bush.

Lunacy. Worse than that, willful distortion borne by irrational hatred.



 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Wow.

Well I guess we’re all prone to doing a little spinning, but, you know, let’s not get carried away, ok?

"Decentralization"?

You’re kidding right?

I agree with the comment that they were both assaults on the 1st Amendment - one bipartisan and one all on the left. In both cases the idea is to limit debate or the ability to speak at all.

Add in the speech codes found at most major universities, the assaults on religion and attempts to stifle political speech and - despite your spin - it isn’t that difficult to make the case that plenty of evidence exists showing the left isn’t particularly sweet on the 1st.


Decentralization. I’m not spinning and I’m not kidding. It’s an empirical assessment, and it’s the core of the ’Campaign-finance reform is pro-liberty.’ argument. Caps on contributions simply allow indivduals relative parity in contributing to influence political decisions, regardless of income. Allowing unlimited contributions is no different from alloting individuals the right to vote one additional time for every 30K they make in income. Campaign contributions are a form of political activity that not everyone can effectively participate in, regardless of the right in abstraction to do so. There are simplistic defintions of liberty that would disagree - the pro-liberty argument is indeed an argument - but the decentralization effects are beyond argument. I have never heard a logical argument that decentralization of power will not occur when every citizen can contribute as much as any other citizen.

 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Don, my tone was a little uncalled for in my last comment. I regret that, but I’m angry, angry, angry about the detainee bill, and arguments about republicans and the fourth amendment really set me off these days.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
All Kos did, as Aldo pointed out, is substitute corporations for government and hope libertarians weren’t quick enough or smart enough to see it (or to be so disgusted with Reps they’d swallow it without chewing).

His attempt to do so shows me a very shallow understanding of what a libertarian is, and his appeal was pretty transparently evident as you read his piece. It wasn’t about compatibility with libertarian ideals, it was a pretty poorly constructed appeal for votes.


Your assessments and your conclusions don’t follow from each other.

He’s not a libertarian. He’s not claiming to be one. He made an extensive case for positive government that is clearly in contrast with doctrinaire libertarianism. He’s not hiding it at all.

He is calling himself a libertarian Democrat. He believes that a Democratic government should emphasisize and support, for certain, civil liberties, and, in likelihood, make use of more market mechanisms in government policies, and look more favorably on corporate "self-policing" - i assess - than prior Democratic administrations. He didn’t give specific examples of how he would bend Democratic policies to these goals, which is the cautious but lame approach. If you think the speech lacked substance, on that note I agree.

However, It’s quite likely that Kos’ ideal candidate, as a question of degree, would take more libertarian-friendly stands than a Dick Gebhardt Democrat. And certainly more than Joe Lieberman.

I’m not 100% comfortable with his leanings on this issue myself, frankly. I’m only a fan of Kos to the same extent I’m a fan of Q and O - as a question of degree, As people who have interesting viewpoints worth balancing in my dialogue, or people whose arguments/actions could concievably form part of a societally beneficial whole.

If you want to reject Kos because his libertarian softening is a long way from classical libertarianism - like I said - good. I don’t think the marriage is meant to last, either - at the elite, intellecutal level. However, at the popular level, the Democratic process of cannibalizing libertarianism is well underway. Like, in my opinion, Ronald Reagan cannibalized it.

Who knows? Perhaps it’s systemtically inevitable that once one party gains ascendancy, be it in 1976 or 2006, the party out of power co-opts libertarian arguments. But a government not ideologically hostile to its own existence is more likely to perform better than a government that is.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Your assessments and your conclusions don’t follow from each other.
Well that may be because I was addressing different portions of your comments.
He’s not a libertarian. He’s not claiming to be one. He made an extensive case for positive government that is clearly in contrast with doctrinaire libertarianism. He’s not hiding it at all.
Oh nonsense, glasnost. You don’t entitle something "The case for the Libertarian Democrat" if you’re not trying to sell something and he was trying to sell himself as a "kind" of libertarian, for heaven sake.

The fact that even you saw through it is indicative of how poor an argument it was. And I agree, he’d have been much better off to just say "hey, we’re more closely aligned with libertarian ideas at the moment, so why not vote for us".

Instead we got this convoluted argument which tried to claim libertarian roots but kept overwatering the thing with too much government.
He is calling himself a libertarian Democrat. He believes that a Democratic government should emphasisize and support, for certain, civil liberties, and, in likelihood, make use of more market mechanisms in government policies, and look more favorably on corporate "self-policing" - i assess - than prior Democratic administrations. He didn’t give specific examples of how he would bend Democratic policies to these goals, which is the cautious but lame approach. If you think the speech lacked substance, on that note I agree.
Yeah, given his article, the libertarian part of it reminded me of Michael Jackson’s glove. He wore it for no apparent reason. I’ll be darned if I could find the ’libertarian’ in that Democrat.

As to corporations, they were used to make government look more palatable. But in reality, any "power" corporations have can be traced to government. They are legal creatures, and we all know who creates that. So his big battle was between government and son of government.

That’s a fairly common pairing. Government and problem created by government. Solution? More government.
However, It’s quite likely that Kos’ ideal candidate, as a question of degree, would take more libertarian-friendly stands than a Dick Gebhardt Democrat. And certainly more than Joe Lieberman.
Ah, you mean like Mr. "Universal Health Care" Ned Lamont?

 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
glasnot,

Bush’s detention bill states:

"This chapter establishes procedures governing the use of military commissions to try alien unlawful enemy combatants engaged in hostilities against the United States for violations of the law of war and other offenses triable by military commission."

It also defines "alien unlawful enemy combatants". The definition seems to rule out US citizens.

You might want to look into Clinton’s H.R. 896.

http://nsi.org/Library/Terrorism/rites.htm

 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
The GOP is more welcoming of libertarians than ever before. I remember back in 1990 when I founded the Republican Liberty Caucus we libertarians could barely get inside the door. The first few years it was a struggle for us to be allowed to set up libertarian info booths at GOP conventions. The Republicans were deeply suspicious of us.

Nowadays, they not only welcome us, but practically roll out the red carpet for libertarians. The Texas RLC now gets prime front row booth space at Texas GOP conventions.

We libertarians fought for years to gain inclusion into the GOP, and we’ve won it!

It would be absolutely absurd to abandon the Republicans now, precisely when they’ve become our friends and are now welcoming us with open arms.

 
Written By: Eric Dondero
URL: http://www.mainstreamlibertarian.com
Question for the advocates of the "libertarian Democrat" strategy?

If you want us libertarians to support you, then why is it that you are blocking our petitioners and seeking to get our petitions off the ballot all across the US, mainly in Western states for property rights and spending limits?

These libertarian backed initiatives have been blocked by liberal Democrats quite brutally in fact, every step of the way.

Their liberal union/teachers/AARP lawyers have managed to get our property rights, anti-affirmative action and spending limits initiatives kicked off the ballots in Nevada, Missouri, Montana, Michigan and Oklahoma.
 
Written By: Eric Dondero
URL: http://www.mainstreamlibertarian.com
"Allowing unlimited contributions is no different from alloting individuals the right to vote one additional time for every 30K they make in income."
I assume you have no problem with disproportionate influence relative to taxation. The person who contributes $1000 in income tax has the same influence (1 vote) as I even though I may contribute 10 times as much. This ’democracy’ is therefore reliant on the people to resist authorizing the legal transfer of my money for their programs. Campaign-finance ’reform’ further erodes the ability of the highly-taxed to have more parity with the lowly-taxed. Since your whims require a disproportionate amount of my dollars, I think your - and all liberal’s - claims to be all about equality are hypocritical in the highest. While I think everyone should be equal before the law, I don’t think everyone should be equal before the Federal Checkbook.



 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
Vote buying is illegal, prosecute it.

Ad buying is the 1st amendment, respect it or else.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Bush’s detention bill states:

"This chapter establishes procedures governing the use of military commissions to try alien unlawful enemy combatants engaged in hostilities against the United States for violations of the law of war and other offenses triable by military commission."

It also defines "alien unlawful enemy combatants". The definition seems to rule out US citizens.


I’d be a lot happier if this were true. It conflicts with the analysis I’ve read. We’ll have to see what the executive branch ultimately does to learn what the law ends up claiming to mandate, won’t we? If I saw an unequivocal statement by President Bush that no US citizens were going to be warrantelessly detained indefinitely as quote enemy combatants unquote, and saw no executive branch agency head statements that contradicted it...

I could live with the rest.

Another way we’ll learn if your hopeful proposition is true, is when the Supreme Court rules on it.



 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
I assume you have no problem with disproportionate influence relative to taxation. The person who contributes $1000 in income tax has the same influence (1 vote) as I even though I may contribute 10 times as much. Interesting argument. But 1 vote, regardless of income tax levels, tilts the playing field in favor of equal political power for every citizen- which I explicitly support. Campaign-finance is more of the same - it’s not about bringing rich people up to parity, it’s about bringing them *down* to parity.

The only way to bring the rich heavy donors *below* parity in political power with people who can’t afford to contribute is to confiscate not just precentages of income, but massive static wealth, and transfer it all to poor people, making the poor people rich and the rich people poor.

Not something I support.

Campaign-finance-reform is, by comparison, neutral.

 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Equal political power individually, yes, but nevertheless a disproportionate ability to vote themselves (the less well-off) more goodies at the expense of the wealthier. There’s nothing fair about that.
 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
Equal political power individually, yes, but nevertheless a disproportionate ability to vote themselves (the less well-off) more goodies at the expense of the wealthier. There’s nothing fair about that.
I am almost stunned by the statement above.

I swear, when I read this, it looks like Unknown is complaining that if wealthy people could not fund elections, it would not be fair because if that were the case, non-wealthy people would vote themselves goodies.

Yup, I think that’s what it says.

Well, it’s nice to see someone admit the truth, that some wealthy folks use money to convince people to vote against their own interests, we call those people Republicans.

What’s sad is that there are still a lot of terribly misinformed people who think that half our budget goes to welfare queens driving Cadillacs. Non-wealthy Americans rarely vote themselves goodies, and though they might prefer lower taxes, they also often vote for funding programs for those less fortunate than themselves.

Here’s what democracy has given America... America today, right now, has the greatest concentration wealth in nations history with about 40% of all private wealth concentrated in the hands of 1% of the population, and 60% of all private wealth concentrated in the hands of 5% of the population, and 70% concentrated in the hands of 10%.

I recognize and support the reality that in a capitalist society, there will be our current environment is different.

Before money became legally protected speech, and for most of our nation’s history, the concentration of wealth was almost half of what it is today. The notable exception is the Robber Baron era that culminated in wealth concentration LESS than today’s concentration, and finally hit critical mass with the Great Depression.

Before you start whining "Class Warfare" and accusing me of being a socialist or some such nonsense, allow me to tell you why a libertarian, or anyone with a respect for what America was and could be, should be keenly aware of what is REALLY happening.

It’s A Kansas City Shuffle - When everybody looks looks, some folks turned right. Republicans were pointing all their collective fingers at income redistribution, which amounted to a small fraction of government expenditures, and while we were all looking left at policies that took money from the wealthy and gave it to the poor, they were implementing policies that do the exact opposite. Our current economic policies are manipulating wealth concentration to the advantage of the wealthy. In other words, we have massive wealth distribution by policy, far more than a free market would allow.

So maybe you’ll get it, maybe your kids will, but the eventual result of an excessive concentration of wealth is twofold, market inefficiencies, which we are already beginning to see in the form of offshoring, and second is civil unrest.

When societies get too out of balance social unrest increases. In the most extreme cases this leads to civil disturbance or revolution. This resentment against the wealthy may lead to their death or banishment and the forcible taking of their property. The most popularly cited example is the French revolution, but there are many other cases. Even where the rebellion doesn’t succeed the damage to the society may be severe and long lasting.

When I was a stockbroker, I worked with an 80 year old trader, and he had motto, basically about taking personal responsibility for the integrity of the market. What he said to me was, "take a little, leave a little, but don’t break up the game".

The game is heading for a breakup, and you guys are cheering it on.

The concentration of wealth in a small group allows for anti-democratic influence of policy. The wealthy have the ability to create their own "think tanks" and astro-turf front organizations. These are then used to create the perception that the public is in support of their self-serving objectives. Recent studies have shown how these techniques were used in the repeal of the estate tax debate as well as in the rise of new factions opposing the liberal social policies of the Episcopal church. When such vast amounts of money are under the control of a tiny group the basic mechanisms of democracy are undermined.

I am not advocating socialism and income redistribution (at least not in this thread), I am advocating a return to better balance so we don’t break up the game.

End of rant

Cap



 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
Whose "game"?

This is not a "game". You’re being foolish. Stop it.

 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Whose "game"?

This is not a "game". You’re being foolish. Stop it.
All that and this is all that occurred to you?

If you say this is not a game, let me ask you one question...

Are there winners and losers?



 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
Billy. I can ping your IP but not browse it. FYI. Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
It’s looking like a major host explosion, Tom.

I think this is not going to be good until I can move the whole thing, which I dread.

Not sure yet. We’ll see.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
It’s not a zero-sum ’game’ Cap. I don’t have time to reply to your string of unsubstantiated assertions and poor assumptions about what I was saying. But if you think it is zero-sum, you’ve got a lot to learn.

We are soooo far from a French revolution in this country. We have the wealthiest poor [a phrase I’m sure causes convulsions in a ’progressive’ since its use can only imply my horrid ’let them eat cake’ attitude, right?] in the world and I know a few of them. Furthermore, none of them are bitching because John Kerry, Warren Buffett, or Rush Limbaugh are wealthy. It’s a leftist fantasy that we have a teaming, resentful poor about to rise up.

I’ll bet we’re more likely to see a revolt of the productive against the redistributionists than anything else. I’d certainly take part in that should it become necessary. I’m not going to sit here complacently while working my *ss off and see my taxes increase 50% to cover the foolish spending commitments made by this and former generations of politicians. To be more specific, I’m talking about the massive increases in redistribution that will be required to meet Medicare and social security commitments in the next 10-30 years. I’m already fed up with the piles of money currently being wasted on these and dozens of other well-meaning but foolish federal programs. The tipping point will come and it will come fairly soon. It will probably happen in Europe first, but it isn’t going to be a time of celebration for advocates of coercive, redistributionist, statist policy.

Really, you people amaze me. So much b*llsh*t about equality and fairness and personal freedom. So much action in direct contradiction. As bad as Republican’s are these days, I’ll take them any day over the classist, arrogant, hypocritical, spurious ’progressive’ professing how much he cares for humanity.

Retch.


 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
It’s not a zero-sum ’game’ Cap. I don’t have time to reply to your string of unsubstantiated assertions and poor assumptions about what I was saying. But if you think it is zero-sum, you’ve got a lot to learn.
Impressive rhetorical flourish, you have refuted an assertion I have not made (that this is a zero sum game), and completely ignored the everything else.

You seemed be meandering toward something resembling a point, so I’ll complete your construction, and then demolish it.

If you had managed to complete your thought, I think you may have suggested that the rich can get richer but that everyone else can get richer too.

This of course certainly CAN be true, but in America today, it is NOT true. By most measures, median families are working harder, with more workers in a household, to make the same or slightly more than one worker would earn in the past.

I don’t really care about SS or Medicare, kill them if you like, unless they are radically revised they are DOA anyway, and neither has ANYTHING to do with my point.

The wealthiest Americans pay for the smallest pittance in SS taxes (if anything) and and they pay a tiny fraction for Medicare (if anything). If their earning are 100% W2 earnings (very unlikely) the poorest earners among the rish would pay a combined total of about 2.8% for these programs. If these programs were hurting them, they’d be dead. Remember, you were the one that made the point that the rich use their money to keep the less wealthy from voting stuff away from the rich. SS and Medicare don’t do that. Income taxes do that, or at least they used to, but the wealthy have managed to bring their tax rates to the point where Warren Buffett noted that his secretary paid a higher tax rate that him. It’s true, the top earners pay an average net rate of about 26% and significantly less if they earn all investment or dividend income, and working families pay about 25%.

What the wealthy DON’T want is single payer health insurance paid from the general fund. You know, Hillary Care.

And voila, we DON’T have that.

Do you ever really think about this stuff, or do you just label things and that allows you to dismiss it without consideration?

I was a Republican for 20 years, I know the arguments and the rational behind them, and I agree with them... until the government and market is abused and manipulated in the anti-Democratic that we have seen since money legally became speech.

Cap
 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
You asked if there are winners and losers. Since you believe this is a game, you think there are, in fact, losers. That’s pretty clear from your remarks. That implies, therefore, a zero-sum game, does it not? I suppose it’s too much to ask that you follow my reasoning if you can’t even follow your own.

Nice selective example with Warren Buffett. Do you know why his taxes are so low?
Remember, you were the one that made the point that the rich use their money to keep the less wealthy from voting stuff away from the rich.
No, I didn’t. You assumed that and you are wrong. That was not my point at all. Go back and try again.
 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
Since you believe this is a game, you think there are, in fact, losers. That’s pretty clear from your remarks. That implies, therefore, a zero-sum game, does it not?
This is a ridiculous inference, and totally lacking any basis in logic. Why differentiate "zero-sum game" from just "game", if "game" implied "zero sum game" then it would be redundant, if "game" does not imply "zero sum game" then they are not synonymous and any inference that they are is simply false.

If I had meant zero sum game, I would have said that, but I did not say that because I did not mean that, and you simply reached into your a** and pulled out this non-sequitor.
Nice selective example with Warren Buffett. Do you know why his taxes are so low?
Yes, and I answered that in the post you are responding to, Buffet does not pay any payroll taxes (or very, very little) and has discounted tax rates onhis earnings as dividend income and capital gains. So he, and others like him, can earn enormous incomes and pay a lower net tax rate than people that make 1/100 of his income. As Buffett said, if there is such a thing as class warfare, my class won.
Remember, you were the one that made the point that the rich use their money to keep the less wealthy from voting stuff away from the rich.
No, I didn’t. You assumed that and you are wrong. That was not my point at all. Go back and try again.
This is what you said in response to a suggestion that one person - one vote should be enough, that money should not be allowed to be defacto open political influence...
Equal political power individually, yes, but nevertheless a disproportionate ability to vote themselves (the less well-off) more goodies at the expense of the wealthier. There’s nothing fair about that.
I agree, your sentence is poorly constructed and does not clearly convey much, but I did break it down as follows, feel free to clarify what you actually meant if you believe I have mischaracterized your comment...
I swear, when I read this, it looks like Unknown is complaining that if wealthy people could not fund elections, it would not be fair because if that were the case, non-wealthy people would vote themselves goodies.
 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
I have this day just stumbled into qando.net.

This is quite a long blog-subject to peruse. I have read it, bringing to mind the old Machivellian axiom, "Divide and Conquer." Blogs are a good idea for the ruling class of our beloved country; NSA can now keep their eye on us. Our ruling class has successfully established a cyber-based "killing ground" for my fellow citizens to air their differences to the point of verbally expressed total disagreement in lieu of open gut-ripping warfare.

This blog is quite a lesson in self-imposed futility. I perceive all to be so angry that cooperation between you is all but impossible. You all would seem to be running in place ... in the self-imposed quicksand of your own preciously held opinions. There is nothing wrong with preciously held opinions; if its good enough for Moslems, its good enough for everyone else, ay?

If people like bloggers cannot find a way to come together in peaceful cooperation and found a sort of "People’s CyberCongress" (preferably based on Parlimentarian Democratic principles) then the current Facist Republic will continue to enjoy its ascendent relevancy. I do have a suggestion ...

Instead of pounding our keyboards to death, we could, with existing technology, establish a teleconferencing blog schedule and initiate our own cyber-government. We could build upon and refine our Declaration of Independance, our Constitution which I hope would incorporate the Articles of Confederation that took us through our first revolutionary war until replaced in 1787 by our current federal centerist Constitution aat the behest of the (then) ruling class. I advocate nothing less than adamant revolution.

I do not advocate violent revolution as the French loping off of heads, the Russian murder of rulers by gunfire, nor do I advocate the current snot-nosed childish picque of Islam by IEDs in the cowardly slaughter of innocents.

Our current ruling class has shown itself to be populated by self-serving influence-peddling money-grubbers, pedophiles, closet homosexuals and other such shame-based philosophical anomolies. To waste thought on them is enough to make me want to vomit. Living in fear and shame scar ones’ soul. I suggest we ignore our ruling class and set them aside. They are most certainly irrelevant to the social and spiritual progress of humanity.

A peaceful bloodless revolution of indifference could re-establish the USA as the beacon of hope it once was to the rest of the world and can be again. Let reason prevail.

In closing this rant I respectfully suggest that when your "elected representative" fumbles into your pocket to empty your wallet (or grope your genitalia) ... defecate in the palm of their hand.

Cheers to all,
UncleCasey, citizen


 
Written By: UncleCasey
URL: http://

 
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