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More on "libertarian democrats" and an appeal to NOTA
Posted by: McQ on Saturday, October 07, 2006

Jane Galt announces she will be voting for Democrats during the midterms, but not because she feels any libertarian kinship with them. Instead it is to punish Republicans for whom she also feels no kinship at the moment. The problem is, that's a double edged sword as all of us who are advocating mixed-government understand (and why most of us who do so only want them to take one part of Congress and not the whole thing).

So putting that point aside and addressing the larger point of "libertarian Democrat", consider her reaction to the "civil liberties" argument:
As I said at the debate I was in last night: who does the average American fear more—the FBI or the IRS? The local zoning board, or the NSA? What does he fear more: the ten commandments on the wall of his child's school, or having the new addition to the house disallowed by the zoning board, the EPA, or the Americans with Disabilities act? On what does he spend more time: preparing his taxes, earning the money to pay for them, and arguing with the various tax authorities about what he owes . . . or checking for roving wiretaps?

Let's face it: one of the biggest problems civil libertarians are battling in the war against warrantless wiretaps, and so forth, is that 99% of the citizenry (correctly) believes that the government is not planning to use such measures against them. I'm on the side of the civil libertarians, mind you, but I recognize that this is why all the cries about America descending into a dark night of fascism, and Bush being the worst president ever on civil liberties (which even a light perusal of history reveals as silly), are falling on deaf ears.
She nails it. What is the first thing Nancy Pelosi promises in the first 100 hours of a Democratic House? Roll back tax cuts. That is much more of an assault on the citizenry's liberty than the NSA ever has been. The party that backs the assaults Galt lists isn't one libertarians could, or should, ever feel comfortable with. As I noted in my article about "libertarian Democrats" the insistence on government action and activity as a "good" is anathema to any real libertarian. And government expansion is doubly so.

That is why the argument is so transparently fraudulent in its appeal. It is hard to believe those who are touting it really believe in the argument themselves. Not if they actually consider the ideology upon which they're trying to build a libertarian appeal.

Galt goes on:
For most people, the economic areas of life dominate their contact with the government. And the powers granted to the tax authorities are broader and more abusive than any other civil authority that deals with US citizens. They have their own special, and opaque, court system in which their cases are tried. The rules for criminal acts are, by and large, clear and commonsensical; most people have a pretty good idea of what constitutes assault with a deadly weapon, murder, burglary, criminal trespass, and so forth. People may be falsely accused of being involved in a terror plot, but at least they have a solid notion of what "conspiracy to commit terrorist acts" means. Tax law, on the other hand, is incomprehensibly complex, and the courts tend to make their decisions based less upon what is just than upon what maximises revenue collection for the government. Securities law, environmental law, zoning questions, building codes, and so forth, are similarly flawed.
Taxes and Democrats go together like fish and water. And also hand-in-glove with that is expanding government. Both is size and reach. Taxation isn't integral to Democratic politics because they like to collect money. It is integral because Democrats, on the whole, want it to fund government and government programs. And for libertarians taxation is a fundamental civil liberties violation because at base it assumes that someone else's priorities for your money should take precedence.

Most libertarians understand that while the fight against taxation as a concept is all but lost (in terms of repealing them for good), that doesn't mean we have to like taxation or support ideologies which do. And that goes for other areas in which government imposes itself to the detriment of our liberty.
Democrats say: but look at all the goodies we get! And that's a fair argument—but not a convincing one to libertarians, who want to maximise freedom of action and minimise interference of government, not maximise security and minimise white collar crime. That's why they tend to vote Republican: they disagree with the Republicans on many issues, but if you want to minimise the power of the state, you need to hack deep into the apparatus limiting economic freedoms, because that is where there is the most state to minimise. The Democrats will, I expect, get a fair number of libertarian votes this election, including mine. But it will be a vote of protest against the various sins of the Republican party, not a conversion to the notion that sexual freedoms are the only ones that really matter.
The Republican party has squandered its privilege to call on libertarian voters, at least for this election and possibly for good. It has turned its back on its own ideology and pandered to the left. Why is anyone's guess. And this isn't the first time. The left is never going to vote for them, ever. Yet, they seem satisfied, time and time again to choose pleasing those voters over and above their own base and libertarians. They constantly abandon the mandate they're given for one which panders to voters who couldn't care less about them.

But given that, let's also be clear about this "libertarian Democrat" thing. The Democrats are pandering as well. They are asking for libertarian votes to help them take back power with unconvincing arguments that they'll be more "libertarian" than the Republicans if we help.

Poppycock. Democratic ideology isn't libertarian friendly ideology and never has been, no matter how many appeals they write to "libertarian Democrats". While Republicans have seemingly abandoned an ideology which was at least compatible to libertarian ideology, the Democrats have never had one.

No, if the Democrats come to power in this next election with the help of libertarians, it will most likely be because of one of two things. One - libertarians will vote for Democrats because they want to punish Republicans as Galt admits.

Not. Our. Job.

The obvious problem with that strategy is the possibility they might win the entire Congress. Should they do so, Democrats will try to make good on their "100 hour" strategy and raise taxes, minimum wage and take other anti-libertarian economic steps.

Two - libertarians will rationalize their support of Democrats by attempting to make comfortable the ideological blinders necessary to vote for for them by claiming the Democrats are the lesser of two evils.

Again, poppycock.

Of the two parties, the one which is more dangerous to libertarian ideals and ideology has always been the Democrats. Pretending otherwise to justify a vote for them requires a whole lot of purposeful ignorance.

So while I still favor gridlock, I don't intend to enable it by voting for Democrats (I won't be voting Republican either). That may seem a contradiction, but it really isn't. Obviously, I'm hoping that it just happens to fall out that way (Dem House, Rep Senate).

In reality I'd love to be given another choice altogether. I'd love to see "None of the Above" (NOTA) as a valid choice on the ballot so I could really register my feelings about this election and both parties. It is that sort of message they need to see and understand. Imagine, if at the end of an election the vote was split between the two party candidates and a 25% NOTA vote.

They'd no longer be able to deny dissatisfaction, would they? And competition being what it is, it isn't difficult to imagine the losing party trying to woo those 25% is it?

In a two-party, winner-take-all system like we have, there isn't an effective way to register dissatisfaction with politics or politicians. NOTA would at least allow that. Providing it as a third choice would also give the electorate an effective way to reject both arguments. Yes, that means one of the two parties will still win. But that takes us back to the competition aspect NOTA introduces.

As a commenter reminded us, third parties don't really have a chance in the US because when a grassroots movement begins to build momentum, one of the major parties co-opts the idea. In regards to NOTA, that would actually be a good thing.

Imagine, if you will, each party researching the NOTA contingent and attempting to determine that group's dissatisfaction with them with an eye on satisfying those objections before the next election

Note that NOTA would obviously not be a monolithic body. I would have dissatisfactions spread across the whole political spectrum. And thus it would be segments of this group that each party would attempt to focus upon. But even that gives those unhappy with the present political situation more of a voice than they now enjoy.

Far fetched? Not with today's research capabilities and such a polarized political climate.

Something they'd actually do? They are already engaged in trying to win votes on the margin ... what do you think this "libertarian Democrat" thing is?

As polarized as politics is today and as hard as parties work to attract votes, I think NOTA could be a powerful way to get their attention, and, over time, change the way politics in this country work.

UPDATE: Welcome to "The Agitator" readers. If you have a moment you may wish to read my response to the claim I'll be voting for Republicans here. Having read this far I'm sure you have already read the line in the piece where I specifically say "I won't be voting Republican either." You might want to pass it along to Radley Balko so he can correct his erroneous post concerning my intent.
 
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Comments
You nailed it with this post, McQ. I think what you are describing is exactly what many libertarians feel. We really don’t like Republicans at the moment, but the idea of Democrats gaining 100% control of the government (both Congressional bodies and the White House in ’08) is the stuff nightmares are made of. Lest libertarians, in their zeal to punish the social-cons, vote the straight Democrat ticket come Novemeber and in ’08, think about the ramifications of that vote. Imagine a Demo pres, with a Demo Senate to back his/her Supreme Court appointments. If you think the Kelo decision was bad, just wait. So I advise any libertarians (not LINO’s [also known as Libertarian-Democrats]) to seriously consider voting either independent or a straight Libertarian ticket in the upcoming election (assuming there are Libertarian candidtates). This basically boils down to the NOTA vote. Unless, of course, you happen to be one of those terribly lucky people who happen to live in a district with an (R) or (D) candidate that has actual libertarian credentials.
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
None of this makes any sense. Spending eventually has to be paid for and it is virtually impossible that the Democrats could come close to matching the spending increases of the GOP-spending orgy of the last 6 years. You can pat yourself on the back and tell yourself that you got a tax cut (minimal thought it was compared to the Reagan years), but unless you die soon, you will have to pay for all of Bush’s spending through some type of increased revenues. Neither Carter, nor Clinton spend at anything close to the rate Bush has, even controlling for increased military and security spending.

With respect to the transparency of criminal law, the writer’s point is simply not current. Very few of the federal criminal statutes require what might be called traditional mens rea, and they certainly are not based on common sense. Having dealt with both the IRS and the FBI on a professional basis, I can tell you that the IRS is not even in the same ballpark with respect to the tactics it takes, compared to the FBI. If you think that federal criminal law is based on commonsense, then ask yourself why not even the feds can give an answer as to whether Foley broke the law: it is exceedingly complicated and based upon anything but commonsense.

With respect to any true libertarians, you might peruse the Cato site. They have advocated for years that the so-called liberal judges are much less of a threat to liberty than are the conservative judges, which is the same argument that Madison made.
 
Written By: william
URL: http://
I’ll be voting libertarian (in a district so democratic that my vote is irrelevant as anything other than a registered protest).

But I disagree when you say
Of the two parties, the one which is more dangerous to libertarian ideals and ideology has always been the Democrats.
The Democrats in the past have been more dangerous. But for the last couple of decades, the democrats have been so politically innefective as to make them far less threatening.

They could never have passed a massive new entitlement program. The Republicans pushed the largest one since the great society programs through with ease. With the Democrats, you have to listen to them talk about all the stupid things they’d like to do. With the Republicans, you get to listen to wonderful talk while they actually do all the things the Democrats were talking about.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d be punching NOTA in a heartbeat and I think it’s preferable for the Democrats to just get the house. But, I think, in our present political climate, the Republicans are far more of a threat on the economic fron than the Democrats. The current Republicans are so anxious to pander to traditionally Democratic groups that they are far more likely to implement the Democrat’s dangerous ideas than the Democrats are.
 
Written By: Yorvium
URL: http://
By the way, I do think, contrary to Jane Galt, that voting libertarian, especially in heavily partisan districts, is precisely the best way to send a message to the GOP. A massive loss of seats let’s people know that we’re... displeased. That same loss of seats with libertarian totals reaching even 5% in key districts tells them precisely why we’re upset and which direction they need to go in order to get those votes.
 
Written By: Yorvium
URL: http://
The Democrats in the past have been more dangerous. But for the last couple of decades, the democrats have been so politically innefective as to make them far less threatening.
Ideologically they’re far more incompatible.

The fact that they’ve been politically ineffective because they’ve been out of power (they kind of go hand-in-hand) doesn’t mean their ideology has gotten any less dangerous or more libertarian compatible (despite their plea for libertarian support).
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
"In reality I’d love to be given another choice altogether. I’d love to see ’None of the Above’ (NOTA) as a valid choice on the ballot so I could really register my feelings about this election and both parties."

That’s what a blog is for, Bruce. A check mark on a ballot is a very poor substitute, and no compliment at all to what you have to say.

Don’t vote, and say why.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
The fact that they’ve been politically ineffective because they’ve been out of power (they kind of go hand-in-hand) doesn’t mean their ideology has gotten any less dangerous or more libertarian compatible (despite their plea for libertarian support).
Even when they were in power, they weren’t successful. Given that we have had republican presidents for most of the period when they controlled congress in recent decades I can only put up the 92-94 period for honest comparison. At that point, they didn’t have enough agreement to put together even simple plans. And, the public’s disgust at what they were trying to do was enough to push them dramatically out of power at the end of that time.

There are enough of the current crop who explicitly run against that kind of effort to keep them divided and avoid passage of those ideas for the next couple of years. The democrats know that they are vulnerable to charges of excessive spending and so have some minimum restraint. The current bunch of republicans thinks they have economic conservatives in their pocket and so is willing to pass any social program they can find as a way of expanding their electoral appeal.

But let’s say I’m wrong and the dems push through a cornocopia of liberal projects (not so different from the last five years). I think Bush is far more likely to veto something coming from a Democratic congress than he would the same bill from the current bunch.
Ideologically they’re far more incompatible.
No arguments on that point. Like I said, I think that their stated aims are far worse than the republicans. I prefer what the republicans say. It’s just that when I look at the numbers for the past five years, the republicans have actually passed democratic plans that the democrats themselves would have found politically impossible. I do not support the democrats, I just marginally prefer them for the next two years.
 
Written By: Yorvium
URL: http://
Yorvium,

Your point on the spending is only true because in the past Republicans have resisted the spending. The problem with this congress is that when the Republicans chose to spend there was no party saying no. The Democrats said more please. The Democrats responsible spending meme only works if Republicans enforce it.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: www.asecondhandconjecture.com
Your point on the spending is only true because in the past Republicans have resisted the spending. The problem with this congress is that when the Republicans chose to spend there was no party saying no. The Democrats said more please. The Democrats responsible spending meme only works if Republicans enforce it.
I totally agree. The problem is that the Republicans only say no when the Democrats are in power. I think a Republican minority will say no more effectively (and successfully) than the Republican majority.

As I’ve said, I’ll be voting libertarian. I don’t want another near-permanent Democratic governing majority. But I think that the Republicans have made the electoral calculation that they can steal democratic votes by actually passing democratic policies while keeping economic conservatives on board by talking in ways that please us. That, to me, makes them the most dangerous combination of both major parties. I think an electoral loss now is about the only chance of changing that direction. Moreover, I think that two years with democrats in charge will leave my ears bleeding from listening to their ignorant proposals, but at the end of it fewer of those proposals will have actually passed than if the republicans had kept power under present circumstances.
 
Written By: Yorvium
URL: http://
A short rebuttal:

Let’s face it: one of the biggest problems civil libertarians are battling in the war against warrantless wiretaps, and so forth, is that 99% of the citizenry (correctly) believes that the government is not planning to use such measures against them.

Yeah, 99% of the populace believes it, but does that make it true? Isn’t the history of every power granted by the government that it starts small and expands? How long before warrantless wiretapping and national security indefinite ghost detainment sans courts expands into, oh, pursuit of "narco-terrorists"? Has anyone even *read* the definition of "material support" under the new detention law?

From my point of view, the bullshi**ers here - leaving out Democrats entirely - are the people mocking the threat to basic political liberties in the post 9/11 era. Every government in the world has taxes. 90% of the developed ones have government-run health care support in some form. Ordinary citizens live, from their own point of view, basically satisifed lives in most of them. And the United States is out on the front of the global pack for low taxes, minimal government participation, and redistribution.

But in 2006, I and a lot of other people feel we’re not at the front of the pack - not by assessing laws and government restrictions alone - for political liberties. And political liberties are more fundamental to a basically non-tyrannical state then economic liberties, bottom line. As demonstrated by a survey of modern governance structures among generally acknowledged free states.
Most libertarians understand that while the fight against taxation as a concept is all but lost (in terms of repealing them for good), that doesn’t mean we have to like taxation or support ideologies which do.
This seems ridiculous or hypocritical. Doesn’t the neolibertarian movement call for an active global role in America’s national interests? Tell me, how you fight against all taxation itself in principle, and simultaneously be pro-military and pro-active-US-global role? without taxes, there is no national defense, and there sure ain’t any military.

So *every* political party supports taxation for what it assumes are correct purposes. And, I imagine, given their perception of America’s global role, so do Neolibertarians (you). Only genuine doctrinal libertarians who wish for the end of the state itself, can support the end of taxation, even in principle.

So, this statement is seems misleading:

Taxes and Democrats go together like fish and water. And also hand-in-glove with that is expanding government. Both is size and reach.

Taxes and everyone go together, it’s just a question of degree. Plus, there is no ideological Democratic commitment to expanding the size of government. Bill Clinton, the most recent Democratic president, cut the actual number of government employees in office by 400,000. George Bush, the most recent Republican president, has expanded it. Ditto spending. There’s a solid argument that Democratic presidents feel more pressure to govern in a fiscally repsonsible manner, in order to keep support high for their positive economic programs, then Republicans.

And when it comes to reach of government -
yeah, I don’t know what to tell you. If you’re a Club For Growth Libertarian, and think the party that cuts taxes the most is the best political party to vote for, at all times and in all places.. then yeah, stay home. or, heck, vote for Republicans. If you’re rich, they’ll keep your taxes lower. (If you’re poor, they’ll raise them - just not with federal income taxes - but that’s another discussion).
But there’s a lot more to government reach than levels of taxation.

Your statement here is that the parts of expanding government reach that Republicans threaten - civil liberties, free movement of peoples, corporate competition, enforced cultural homogenization and the suppression of cultural dissidence - matter less to you than the parts of expanding government reach that Democrats threaten - health care access, relative taxation, and provisions of citizen services.

So be it. To the extent that libertarian democrat cheerleaders are trying to sell the argument that Democrats are now libertarians, they are indeed fooling themselves. So stand up for that.

But personally, I think that the center of political gravity has shifted away from government *getting bigger* for the intellctual elite on all sides. I think Democrats ideology is still committed to *doing more* than Republican ideology... but whether that involves absolute growth or not, is open to question.
In reality I’d love to be given another choice altogether. I’d love to see "None of the Above" (NOTA) as a valid choice on the ballot so I could really register my feelings about this election and both parties. It is that sort of message they need to see and understand. Imagine, if at the end of an election the vote was split between the two party candidates and a 25% NOTA vote.
Sounds like you need to find a libertarian billionaire and convince him to run for office in 2008. It worked for Perot.

 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
I totally agree. The problem is that the Republicans only say no when the Democrats are in power. I think a Republican minority will say no more effectively (and successfully) than the Republican majority.
That’s precisely what I’ve pointed out in the past.

Republicans never act more "Republican" than when they’re out of power or have to share power. From that comes my "gridlock is good" slogan.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Yeah, 99% of the populace believes it, but does that make it true?
In the case in point, most likely yes.
Every government in the world has taxes.
No one argued otherwise. Read the post.
Your statement here is that the parts of expanding government reach that Republicans threaten - civil liberties, free movement of peoples, corporate competition, enforced cultural homogenization and the suppression of cultural dissidence - matter less to you than the parts of expanding government reach that Democrats threaten - health care access, relative taxation, and provisions of citizen services.
That’s not at all what was said.

What was said was neither of them deserve our votes. I’ve said that now in two separate posts and I’m not sure how you’ve managed to miss it.

Just because Republicans now seem worse than Democrats doesn’t mean Democrats rate libertarian votes.
Taxes and everyone go together, it’s just a question of degree. Plus, there is no ideological Democratic commitment to expanding the size of government.
Nonsense. Tell me again why ideological resistance to tax cuts in general somehow translates into no ideological commitment to expanding the size of government. What do they plan to do with the extra tax dollars, bury them in the White House lawn?

Democrats are and always have been the party of big government and there is nothing in their ideology which argues to the contrary.
Sounds like you need to find a libertarian billionaire and convince him to run for office in 2008. It worked for Perot.
Perot? Libertarian? Heh ...
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I am what in Europe is called a left-libertarian: someone who distrusts government AND big money/capitalism.

So I rarely find candidates I favor; the Democrats are too much in favor of bureaucracy and government, the Republicans are social conservatives (anti-libertarian) and have too much faith in/connection to big money. Libertarians of the American sort have far too much faith in the market, and don’t see how their use of "reason" usually imports assumptions and beliefs that are unwarranted.

All that said: WHY WOULD ANYONE VOTE FOR A PARTY IN OUR SYSTEM? I vote for individuals. I’ll probably vote GOP for Senate, Democratic for House, and an independent (not sure which one yet) for Governor. It’s not because of the party in any case, but the person. Isn’t that how our system should work?
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~blog.htm
Democrats are and always have been the party of big government and there is nothing in their ideology which argues to the contrary.

Well, you skipped over the part where I was arguing that you don’t have to see the growth of government itself, the organism, as either an end, or a good thing in general, to be in favor of the expansion of government’s *reach* in certain situations.

For example, if you could run a nationalized health care-system entirely off of one large computer, one dude reporting to congress, and an ATM network, you could shrink absolute government size, and probably spending (via the overhead), while nevertheless expanding goverment mandate.

Bit of a paradigm twister.

 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Just look at what is slithering up next to you over this, Bruce.

Look at that thing.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
The problem with voting Democrat to send Republicans a message is that a vote carries only one message: "I am giving [politician X] my mandate."

Even in macro terms, that is what more votes mean. Suppose there were only ten votes: If the Republicans got 4 votes and the Democrats got 6, Democrats might say: "The voters are giving us a chance." If the Libertarians throw their weight behind the Dems, so that now the Dems get 8 votes and the Republicans get only 2, the Democrats don’t conclude that Libertarians are really cheesed off at Republicans. Instead, they say: "The voters are giving our agenda a MANDATE!"

As a libertarian, I would rather withhold my mandate than give it to a party that represents the complete opposite of my principles. I don’t particularly enjoy sharing the Republican party tent with social conservatives, because social conservatives have a totally different worldview than my own, but if that worldview leads them to fight for limiting the the Federal government to a few truly Federal areas, such as national security, then I can work with them.

But how could I possibly join a coalition with the Democrats? To the extent that the Democratic party represents anything at all, it is simply the partisan incarnation of the public employee unions. Institutionally, the Democratic party depends on union dues paid by Uncle Sam. Government spending is literally the lifeblood of the party, and its biological imperative is to grow that funding source.

The Democratic party and the libertarians are both trying to stake a claim to the exact same parcel of political real estate; Democrats are trying to claim it for the state and we are trying to claim it for the private individual.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
In reality I’d love to be given another choice altogether. I’d love to see "None of the Above" (NOTA) as a valid choice on the ballot so I could really register my feelings about this election and both parties. It is that sort of message they need to see and understand. Imagine, if at the end of an election the vote was split between the two party candidates and a 25% NOTA vote.
And how many people don’t vote at all?

How much more of a None Of The Above™ can you get?
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
It is quite difficult to take seriously any discussion of taxation and the differences between the two branches (i.e. Dems and Reps) of the Incumbent Party (IP) without any mention at all of monetary policy and inflation.

Taxation steals from your income stream. That’s bad enough. But all of the IP are utterly committed to "taxing" your wealth as well, and that’s far more insidious and far more larcenous.

Don’t assume that once you’ve paid your taxes that what’s left isn’t also being sucked down the political/governmental rat hole.
 
Written By: Bullet Wound
URL: http://www.qando.net/details.aspx?Entry=4720
Good point, Mark. Lol. In fact, I’d say that makes about 40% or more of Americans None of the Above voters for the past, what twenty, thirty years?
I am what in Europe is called a left-libertarian: someone who distrusts government AND big money/capitalism
Well, Scott what you are proposing comes in different flavors on the Continent (I’ll leave the Brits out because their system has become so mixed up that a conservative [in the American sense] could honestly vote for a Labor Party candidate and not feel like a hypocrite). What you are talking about sounds distinctly like distributism. Being a former devotee of that particular philosophy and having read Chesterton, Belloc, Rerum Novarum, Quadragesimo Anno, and the other related encyclicals, I certainly sympathize. I would suggest that the current crop of distributists in modern Europe are the Social Democrats (or Christian Democrats in certain countries). The SD’s certainly have a solid following and are certainly not a force to be ruled out in many European nations. On the other hand, taken too far one way, and this philosophy results in the Christian Phalangist parties (Franco comes to mind). Taken too far the other way, and this results in Christian communism and Liberation theology (I hear that Hugo Chavez, among others, is a big fan of this idea).

Back home on our shores, a loose (very loose) parallel might be found between distributism and the Catholic socialist movement [Doris Day, Peter Maurin, and Mother Jones]. All of this to say that I’m sure you feel as left out in the cold as do libertarians. Maybe NOTA would be best for all of us.
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
On principle, I like the notion of a designated protest line on ballots, yet I think you overstate the potential for it to be relevant. Political scientists who study electoral systems generally agree on the concept of Duverger’s Law, which, shortly put, states that single-member plurality voting systems produce two-party systems. Duverger, who never called it a law himself, did not think it absolute and sometimes preferred to say that it would delay the emergence of new political forces and others, most prominently William H. Riker, noted that regional peculiarities and disturbances, such as the situation in the presidential election of 1860, can produce strong regional parties. However, especially in the United States, the law seems basically reliable. Single-member plurality voting results in electoral contests coming down to a matter of the candidates that the electors of a given district think have the best chance of winning, this can vary regionally, but it almost always comes down to two possibilities with the others choices ignored, something that seems particularly strong in the United States given the strength of the two-party tradition.

Having a NOTA option on ballots might attract some initial attention by virtue of its novelty, but without even a coherent and definite political platform attached to it, I think that voters might eventually just conclude that it does nothing or even less than voting for a third party, and generally ignore it. This isn’t really an argument against adding a NOTA option itself; it’s more an argument against the idea that it would accomplish anything important or enduring.

In the current system, the best hope that a minority ideology has for achieving influence is by establishing itself as a relevant faction of a major party, thus forcing the leaders and influential members of that party to make internal concessions in order to retain their support. In order to really elect Libertarians, or members of other minor parties, a new electoral system that is friendlier to minor parties would have to be introduced. That, however, opens an entirely different and perhaps thornier realm of discussion over how representation should work and the goal of elections.
 
Written By: Paul A. Br&#246
URL: http://vikinghats.com/
As for voting libertarian rather than GOP, let’s not forget the millions of progressive voters in 2000 who registered their distaste of DLC/Clinton/Gore by voting for Nadar. Look where it got them.
 
Written By: kreiz
URL: http://
I am stuck with the Republican party for now because of three reasons.

(1) Current Republican missteps can be tied directly or indirectly to the current administration. A party often takes on the character of its leadership. We all knew that Bush was a big government guy like his father. Lots of Republicans are fed up with this approach and my guess is that whoever is the nominee, post Bush it will be a "small government" candidate.

(2) There are at least some Libertarians within the Republican Party, you have fiscal libertarians like Ron Paul, and social Libertarians like Specter, admittedly this is a mixed bag, but there are NO libertarians of any sort i the Democratic party so you are getting zero representation from them.

(3) The current Democratic party is batshiat crazy. They frighten me, really they do. Forget about taxes and pulling out of Iraq prematurely. They could do all sorts of other horrible things if they got both houses. They could make an agreement with the administration to continue to fund the war, (the only thing Bush seems to care about) in return to tying us to some new draconian global warming treaty. Don’t believe it could happen? I do.
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
In order to really elect Libertarians, or members of other minor parties, a new electoral system that is friendlier to minor parties would have to be introduced. That, however, opens an entirely different and perhaps thornier realm of discussion over how representation should work and the goal of elections.
This is something i have advocated, it would require a movement to add a constitutional amendment. You would have to make all congressional seats "at large". This means that instead of districts and gerrymandering you get all of your representatives in your state, you can approach any of them for constituent services. Under this system for instance, if you have ten reps from one state, the ten with the most votes are chosen. Almost certainly, for larger states you would get some libertarians and greens and independents.

One objection to this is that rural voters would not be represented as well as heavily populated urban areas. But in the parliamentary systems where this is done, that is not the case. The Urban votes are split by many candidates thus ensuring that smaller populated areas get some representatives.

The Senate would stay the same so it would not mean that our system would come to resemble a parliament system, but I think it would do wonders for establishing a base for successful third parties.
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
My reply to McQ, and indirectly to Jane, is here. It boggles my mind that some libertarians are insufficiently alarmed at the lawlessness and civl libertarain nightmare the modern GOP has brought us. For the commenter above who says the left/Democrats have never had anything in common with libertarins, that is false, flatly so. Wrt civil liberties, libertarains have always been in sympathy with many of the left’s concerns. It has long been an area of signficant (not total) common cause.

And right now, civil liberties and the rule of law are the crucial issues.
 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://inactivist.org/
And right now, civil liberties and the rule of law are the crucial issues.
Some would say that stopping religious fanatics from blowing our butts up is a bit more of a pressing need right now.
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
You would have to make all congressional seats "at large".
Well, then we cease being any type of republic at all.

I’d prefer to increase the number of districts. Note the Constitution:
The number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty thousand,
If we were to force the number of Congresscritters at 1 per 30K, we’d have a House of Representatives of roughly 10,000 members instead of 435 (or whatever the current fixed number happens to be).

Imagine the gridlock with 10,000 members.

We’ve had a discussion about this before.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
Let’s face it: one of the biggest problems civil libertarians are battling in the war against warrantless wiretaps, and so forth, is that 99% of the citizenry (correctly) believes that the government is not planning to use such measures against them.
Another way to express this is to say that we all have a certain intuitive expectation about how much liberty we are entitled vis-a-vis the state. Most of us (at least most libertarians) intuitively believe that we should be free to smoke a twisty without being surveilled by the government. Far fewer people intuitively believe that they should be free to contact an al Qaeda captain in Yemen without the communication being monitored by an NSA satellite.

Let’s face it: a lot of people in the libertarian camp were driven here by their opposition to the drug war. I am starting to suspect that some of these "Drug War Libertarians" lack a visceral understanding of the case for economic freedom, or their intuitive expectations of liberty are deeper when it comes to certain issues, but not quite as broad as those of traditional libertarians. That is a tentative conclusion. What I AM confident in saying is that the Drug War Libertarians seem willing to risk the remainder of the libertarian agenda in order to protect an absolutist and inflated concept of civil liberty.

Despite snarky attempts to minimize the threat, or dismiss it altogether as "fear mongering", I think a holistic libertarianism recognizes and accepts that the stakes are higher in the War on Terror than they are in the Drug War. I WOULD allow the state more leeway in the international war on terror than I would consider acceptable in domestic criminal pot cases.

The trade-off between national security and civil liberties becomes even easier for me, though, when the "civil liberties" at stake are not core liberties but instead the cocoon of procedural due process that has built up around certain favored rights since the 1960’s. This cocoon has allowed civil liberties absolutists to evoke misty-eyed nostalgia about 60’s-era civil rights battles when talking about things like the FISA statute. To me, there is nothing sacred about FISA. It is not holy writ, and it is not the only thing standing between us and a police state.

The Bush administration believes that executive powers have been unwisely constricted beyond what the Founders intended in the wake of Watergate, and they have been pushing to expand the prerogatives of the executive, especially during wartime. I believe that view, and not "lawlessness" or an attempt to establish a monarchy or police state, explains why they have avoided using FISA. I am agnostic on the executive power issue and the merits of FISA, but I do not see this as a Constitutional crisis that warrants giving the Leftists/statists another toehold on power, especially during an age when Leftistism is on the ascent around the world and economic liberties are not widely understood or supported.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
Amen, Aldo. Too many people (LINO’s, as I’ve dubbed them) are willing to cut their noses off to spite their faces. If you want to punish the incumbent (R) regime, do it by voting for libertarian leaning independents or Libertarians, not statist Democrats (despite their reminders to us of the good old days of singing kumbayah around the civil rights fire). Why some people even bother to call themselves libertarians or Libertarians when they vote for Democrats instead of indies or L’s is beyond me.
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
In reality I’d love to be given another choice altogether. I’d love to see "None of the Above" (NOTA) as a valid choice on the ballot so I could really register my feelings about this election and both parties.
But McQ, we already have this. On my ballot there are spots for Libertarian, Constitutional, Green, and Socialist, to name the more prominent "third" parties. Checking any one of these allows the main candidates to see immediately where, and why they are losing votes.
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
William:

"it is virtually impossible that the Democrats could come close to matching the spending increases of the GOP-spending orgy of the last 6 years."

Statements like that create a disturbance in the Force.

 
Written By: Dave
URL: http://
As for voting libertarian rather than GOP, let’s not forget the millions of progressive voters in 2000 who registered their distaste of DLC/Clinton/Gore by voting for Nadar. Look where it got them.
It got them a Democrat party leaning more to the left! Look no further than Gore himself. He is the Nadar of today.
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
]This is something i have advocated, it would require a movement to add a constitutional amendment. You would have to make all congressional seats "at large". This means that instead of districts and gerrymandering you get all of your representatives in your state, you can approach any of them for constituent services. Under this system for instance, if you have ten reps from one state, the ten with the most votes are chosen. Almost certainly, for larger states you would get some libertarians and greens and independents.
I’m not too keen on this particular solution. I dislike separating legislators too much from their districts, besides that, at-large elections have been known to fall prey to ’sweeps’ by one party or another. I think that in such cases, a large majority of voters would simply fall back on party identification and vote accordingly. An at-large, statewide election, outside of very small states, would produce very long ballots, which would overwhelm some, decreasing their ability and willingness to make considered decisions. The only case I know of like this in United States history is a one-time at-large election of all state and federal legislators that was tried in Illinois. I don’t know many details, but it did not go well, although it was the enormous ballots required by the state legislature that contributed more than the federal legislators that made it so unwieldy.

For these purposes, I think that a preferential system, such as the Borda count or single transferable vote with multiple-member districts would serve better. States with four to five or more representatives could be divided into a number of two to five member districts, depending upon demographics, which would control the size of the ballots and still retain some connection between legislators and their constituents while still inhibiting gerrymandering. There is still a problem. A preferential system would allow for the statement of opinion in a manner similar to the NOTA procedure without rendering such protest votes ineffective.

To impose this upon all states would require a constitutional amendment, but I think this neither necessary nor wise. Article 1, §2, clause 1 stipulates that representatives be chosen by the people of the several states, but does not specify a method. Certainly single-member plurality voting was likely expected, but I think that states indeed have the authority to use other systems of their choosing so long as said method is a popular one. I am not keen to remove powers from the states, even dormant ones, so I prefer that reform movements in each state press for such changes. This would have the advantage of allowing for multiple systems to be experimented with, giving the states the role of, "laboratories of democracy," thus allowing for the determination of the best system without the impossible nuisance of a series of corrective amendments. Besides that, the solution that befits one state may not suit another, so by not mandating a method federally, the peculiarities of each state may be accommodated. This is a slower method, but if I reform is popular in one state, it can spread to others. Granted it would be best served by a larger state, such as California or New York, especially considering that Nebraska’s unicameral legislature, though generally an excellent reform has not spread among the states. The entrenched parties would resist is, I imagine, but I think that state-level battles for reform with a more controlled set of interests would be more successful than a titanic national clash.

I doubt that adopting a preferential system could overthrow the Democratic and Republican parties, but it could lead to the election of third party candidates, which, at least in tighter races, give them greater sway over national legislation, especially if they should hold the balance of power.

As for the senate, I support the repeal of the seventeenth amendment, at least, although my preferred model, that of the German Bundesrat, would not be feasible in so large a federation as ours.
 
Written By: Paul A. Br&amp
URL: http://vikinghats.com/
It boggles my mind that some libertarians are insufficiently alarmed at the lawlessness and civl libertarain nightmare the modern GOP has brought us.
What is not surprising is the left’s incredulity that many folks simply dont share their opinions.
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
Aldo:

The trade-off between national security and civil liberties becomes even easier for me, though, when the "civil liberties" at stake are not core liberties but instead the cocoon of procedural due process that has built up around certain favored rights since the 1960’s. This cocoon has allowed civil liberties absolutists to evoke misty-eyed nostalgia about 60’s-era civil rights battles when talking about things like the FISA statute. To me, there is nothing sacred about FISA. It is not holy writ, and it is not the only thing standing between us and a police state.

You’re *agnostic*??? What the heck does that mean? Is that a clever little end run where you can support the expansion of government power into monitoring your communications without court processes - in other words, anytime it wants - without having to come out and *say* you support it, because that feels weird?

Is the vague assertion of "national security" enough for you to just throw up your hands and allow an FBI agent sole rights to determine when you are an alledged "terrorist supporter" or not?, and therefore to do anything he wants to you, an American citizen, after that determination, unchecked by laws that hardly say more than "supporting terrorism is illegal"?

Let’s pretend I’m a particularly deranged right-wing fundamentalist describing his particular vision of a nightmarishly moonbat president. Said moonbat president decides that not alienating "moderate" local muslims is critical to preventing terror threats in the US. She therefore has someone make up a list of 1000 right-wing organizations in the country known for advocating aggressive policies in the War on Terror. She then uses court-sealed "national security letters" to obtain their membership and subscription lists. She then has the NSA wiretap every phone conversation of every member for year-long periods, looking for inflammatory, allegedly anti-Muslim statements.

Are you okay with all of the above so far? It only stretches the imagination because of the criteria involved regarding who should be wiretapped. Every other practical step in the process is absolutely possible right now, as is the final step of declaring people —— who say unflattering things, plan non-violent, once-legal domestic opposition to GWB’s, or Hilary Clinton’s, policies, or attempt to cooperate in what they believe to be innocent ways with who they believe to be ordinary law-abiding people, but whom the government has secretly decided are "terrorist supporters" —— declaring said people to be enemy combatants and dissapearing them.

FISA is not some ACLU conceit. It’s the bar - the only bar- on the door of the government listening to your telephone conversations at its own discretion. If you want the United States Government listening to your telephone conversations, I find that a bizarre statement for a libertarian to hold. I think active governement monitoring of private citizen communications in the absence of the specific evidence identifying of the specific citizen as a lawbreaker, proved to a neutral judicial body, to be the arrival of, at the very least, soft *tyranny*. (Of course, the recent GITMO bill, whose elimination of habeus corpus has been completely passed over by Q and O, brings the potentiality of *hard* tyranny as well, so FISA seems minor by comparison..)

I hope such powers never get to be used against your ideological clique anytime soon.


 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Is the vague assertion of "national security" enough for you to just throw up your hands and allow an FBI agent sole rights to determine when you are an alledged "terrorist supporter" or not?, and therefore to do anything he wants to you, an American citizen, after that determination, unchecked by laws that hardly say more than "supporting terrorism is illegal"? - Glasnost
Failure to vote for Democrats that will end the lawlessness and civil libertarian nightmare brought to us by the GOP could be characterized as unpatriotic. I say that not to be inflammatory, but rather because when Democrats are the only means of stopping the nascent GOP rogue police state, I see no other way to cut the question. - Mona

Darn funny how some miss what both Jane and McQ point out - more hyperventilating about pet issues isn’t going to convince a populace that listened then rejected the first round of hyperventilating.

 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
The two most important freedoms you can have are 1) the freedom to defend your life; 2) the freedom to keep your own wealth, which is a fancy way of saying PURSUING YOUR OWN HAPPINESS. The D’s are generally against both. So now that we’ve tackled the Libertarian Democrat issue, can we move on to more important discussions, like say Famous Midgets of the NBA.
I hope such powers never get to be used against your ideological clique anytime soon.
Since ’my’ side still has guns, I’m not all that worried. You lefties should be just fine, too. I mean, you guys seem to love Fascism as long as free health care is part of the deal. Yeah, I know, you guys don’t really support Castro, Chavez, Stalin, Cuddly Che G., Saddam et al. You’re just not interested in lifting a finger to stop them, being pacifistic lovers of freedom and all.
 
Written By: Come on, Please
URL: http://
One major point that has apparently slipped the attention of many commentators including Bruce, is the concept that people not voting or voting "none of the above" is precisely how we ended up with so many liberals (both Democrat and Republican) in power and all of the problems attendant to that power balance, in the first place.

It comes down to a simple math problem:

If we withdraw from voting as libertarians, that leaves what centerist Republicans there are and that 40%% of the country that traditionally tends to vote far left. Ummmm...... whom do you suppose, under those conditions, is going to get elected? And whose wallet do you suppose that’s going to come out of? Is that really supposed to advance libertarian philosophy?

And Omar,

While I sympathize with your argument, I submit that most people don’t have the ability to vote libertarian. The people running in most areas of the country under the libertarian party flag (where they can) are about as hopeless a group of people as you’ll ever find. (with the exception being, the Democratic party, of course)

Which, (unfortunately, in the view of some) leaves us with but one option; only one way out... voting Republican.

Frequently, when I say that, I get the old "but the Republicans are already in power!... line.

Well, no, not really.

What are in power are Republicans, mixed with a number of Republicans in the name only. What the near- on 50/50 split congressional split in the Senate means is that the liberal mindset still holds a majority there, since the whole of the Democrats and a number of RINO’s supposedly caucusing with Republicans adds up to the leftist mindlessness, holding the majority.

No blinking WONDER the Senate votes as it does... and that sets the tone for everything else that happens at the federal level of our government, particularly, but just about every level of government eventually.

I submit that what needs to happen, is that we need to have a strong enough Republican majority, so that the Republicans are not being led around by the RINO crowd, like Chaffee, and McCain, and the remander of the RINO crowd, and they can be summarily dismissed from their positions of power.

It’s the only way I can see where we’re going to be able to stop compromising with the left. Such compromises have been the bane of libertarians for generations.

Oh... lest we forget.... Granting the Republicans such a large majority, also has one other advantage; that it’s never been tried before.

And before you start, No, I have no particular love with the Republican party as a whole at the moment. Nor have I, for several decades. It’s just that I see them at the moment as the best tool to use towards the defeat of the Democrats, who I see as the largest problem in this country faces, both in terms of its exterior policies, (Example, Iraq) and in terms of the promotion of libertarian philosophy in its interior policies.(example, Taxes.



 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://
Well, Scott what you are proposing comes in different flavors on the Continent (I’ll leave the Brits out because their system has become so mixed up that a conservative [in the American sense] could honestly vote for a Labor Party candidate and not feel like a hypocrite). What you are talking about sounds distinctly like distributism. Being a former devotee of that particular philosophy and having read Chesterton, Belloc, Rerum Novarum, Quadragesimo Anno, and the other related encyclicals, I certainly sympathize. I would suggest that the current crop of distributists in modern Europe are the Social Democrats (or Christian Democrats in certain countries). The SD’s certainly have a solid following and are certainly not a force to be ruled out in many European nations. On the other hand, taken too far one way, and this philosophy results in the Christian Phalangist parties (Franco comes to mind). Taken too far the other way, and this results in Christian communism and Liberation theology (I hear that Hugo Chavez, among others, is a big fan of this idea).

Back home on our shores, a loose (very loose) parallel might be found between distributism and the Catholic socialist movement [Doris Day, Peter Maurin, and Mother Jones]. All of this to say that I’m sure you feel as left out in the cold as do libertarians. Maybe NOTA would be best for all of us.
At some level I’d break with all of them. I think the biggest diaster of the 20th century was the rise of ideologies, and people basing political decisions on abstract arguments about what the best political system "ought" to be. In other words, I am becoming more convinced of the need to rebel against "isms," at least in dogmatic form. An "ism" provides a method of interpreting data to fit the belief system, and there is so much data out there that you can always fit reality into an ideology or "philosophy." This harkens back to conservatives like Burke who recognized that the best form of government has to match the political culture at some level (which, of course, can change — he was arguing against the utopianism of the reason-based French revolution, which was the first truly "ism" or "philosophy" based revolution). Burke saw what was coming before most did, as political culture and shared traditions are the strongest glue of any society.

So for me it’s distrust of concentrations of power. That causes me to find some Republican and "market libertarian" (i.e., American Libertarian) arguments persuasive in some cases, but arguments for regulations of business and dangers of free markets running rampant in others. I’m increasingly skeptical of redistribution and social welfare policies that are not primarily designed to enable/empower. Too many just redistribute and foster a psychology of dependency. So rather than tie myself to particular authors or some philosophical set of principles — something I think ultimately counter productive and dangerous — I work from a distrust of concentration of power, a distrust of bureaucracy, and yet a recognition that reality is not perfect, and the key is to find the right balance, solve problems, and empower people.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~blog.htm
So who is Jane Galt? Here is what her site says:
Who the hell are you?

That’s a very interesting question. Since I don’t have time to go off to an Ashram for five years right now, I’ll have to get back to you.

Okay, how about some vital stats?

Late twenties, female, 6’2, an undisclosed number of pounds. Brown hair, green eyes, pug nose and freckles. Rumored to look like an overgrown elf.

Education?

Too much. BA from the University of Pennsylvania, Class of 1994, English Literature and Economic. MBA from the University of Chicago, Class of 2001, Economics and a number of other things.

Employment?

Previously. . . startup victim, editorial assistant, network engineer, investment banking summer associate. Presently, sort of an executive copy girl at the World Trade Center disaster site.
So, it turns out she is something of an elitist. White, well educated, and definitely white collar.

It is hardly surprising, then, that she sees the IRS and the EPA as more of a threat than, say, other arms of government, like the state or federal criminal law.

Now, take the average, lower incone,inner-city male who is a member of a minority group. Think his biggest fear is the IRS? The EPA? Indeed, take the average wage earner in an inner-ring suburb who takes the standard deduction and who rents his apartment. Think that person stays up late worrying about the IRS? The EPA?

Galt’s problem is that she sees the world through elitist glasses. In other words, she is young, white, and my guess she is very well insulated from the reality that most people in the United States lives through. But, of course, as MsQ says:
She nails it
Uh, no, she doesn’t. She doesn’t even come close. For perhaps 10% of the population she does. But for the rest of us, she has no idea what is going on. But that’s what happens when you get an post-graduate degree at the University of Chicago.

For most people, the IRS and the EPA are benign entities. If anything, the EPA does not do enough for them. Ditto on the IRS. For most people, vigorous enforcement of the tax laws is a good thing, because such enforcement tends to nail the tax cheats at the top of the income scale. For the average person, their income is so meek, and do easily discovered, and so incapable of being deducted away, that the IRS is basically meaningless.

No, the IRS is not a concern for most people. Ditto on the EPA and any other regulatory agency. It does tend to be a concern for the well heeled, or the well connected. But not for the average American.

A degree in English literature from Brown? Investment banking associate? Galt wouldn’t know an average American if one came up and hit her on her pug nose.

Tell you what, Jane. Spend some time actually working with the middle class. Spend some time in a public university with the offspring of the middle class. Spend sometime away from hedge funds and Byron and Shelley. Then you can presume to lecture the rest of us on what we do or should fear about government. I can tell you that it is not the IRS or the EPA.

As for the Republicans being libertarian? Give me f*ck*ng a break.

The right wants one religion taught in schools. Christianity. The right wants one religion recognized by the courts. The right wants religious testing for politicians. My god, Katherine Harris is the GOP nominee for Senate in Florida.
Six weeks after urging voters to elect only "tried and true" Christians, Senate candidate Katherine Harris is questioning her opponent’s faith by saying he "votes completely contrary" to Christian principles.
The wants to tell you what kind of sex you can have in your own bedroom. They want to tell you can’t have an abortion, or smoke pot to medicate yourself.

After all, name one medical procedure the left has ever said the government has the right to limit.

And according to the right, you certainly don’t have the right to assisted suicide. You see, the right wants the government to make these decisions for you. Oh yes, all end of life decisions should be made by the government. After all, was it the right or the left that said Terry Schiavo’s husband couldn’t decide whether to pull the plug on his wife? The right believes the government should have made that decision, not the womnan’s husband. WTF is wrong with these people?

Terry Schiavo ends this debate. The right wing, Bush, Frist, et al, literally intervened in this most basic of private/family decisions. And they did it to pander to their right wing base. The right wing base wanted Bush to intervene in this private matter. That is the right wing today, b*thc*s.

More importantly, the political right in this country wants to give Bush the power to lock up citizens indefinttely. Seriously, the political right in this country believes that the government should have the power to lock up citizens indefinitely without access to courts, all in the name of fighting the war on terror. The right truly believes this.

Ultimately, no control of your body. No control of end of life decisions. No control over who you can marry, what kind of sex you can have,what kind of medicine you can take. No control of any of these things. According to the right, the government has ultimate authoity in these areas. Not you.

And if you don’t like it, well, then the government can lock you up indeinitely. Because, after all, that’s the power the right wing believes government should have.

As I have said before, the right wing doesn’t want the government to have the authority to regulate private property. But they have no problem with the government having the authority to lock up the property owner forever with no recourse to the courts. If that is not the most f*ck*d up way of thinking, nothing is. But par for the course for the right.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
I’m guessing you dont own your own business MK.
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
Not that anybody cares, but it seems every time I try to change the URL entry to my right blog entry, it comes out ~blog.htm for some reason. So I’ll just put down my main page (with access to fun stuff like course syllabi, travel pictures and my blog)...hopefully that will come through this time (http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb). My approach is rather the anti-neo-libertarian in that I emphasize humanist concerns and the importance of empathy and consideration of victims over rationalism and abstract political philosophy or power politics. I also am not into pop politics (scandals, midterms and the like) and dislike partisanship. I’d not bring all this up except that my address keeps popping up wrong!
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~blog.htm
You’re *agnostic*??? What the heck does that mean?
It means that I’m less concerned with process right now, than with results, as in preventing the next attack. I have confidence that we will work out the process as we go along. In fact, we are doing that already.

What I hear your camp saying is that the threat of terrorism is over-blown, so the most important thing is making sure that the government dots all the i’s, crosses all the t’s, follows all the proper procedures, and fills out all the proper forms in triplicate.

Well, procedures like the FISA court were created in the 1970’s, which was a different era with different priorities. If the administration has broken a rule, we need to avoid indulging in hysteria about police states and think through whether they have made a serious mistake that must be prevented from recurring or whether the rule needs to be modified to reflect the current situation.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
More importantly, the political right in this country wants to give Bush the power to lock up citizens indefinttely.
Just you, MK. Just you.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
Why not "None of the Above" (NOTA) on the ballot? It’s a basic principle of democracy that government must obtain the consent of the governed. Elections are the most fundamental way by which consent is given. And clearly all legitimate consent requires the ability to withhold consent. NOTA gives voters the ballot option to withhold their consent to an election to office, just as voters can cast a "No" vote on a ballot question.

Any state could enact a Voter Consent law requiring a votable line, "None of the Above" (NOTA), at the end of the candidate list for each office, giving voters the ballot option to reject all candidates for an office and to call for a new election. If NOTA gets more votes than any candidate for that office, then no candidate is elected and a new by-election, with new candidates, is called fill such offices. While NOTA by-elections are an expense, they would not occur unless voters voted to hold them, and they are likely to be less costly than electing unacceptable candidates to office. An example of Voter Consent legislation with a binding NOTA ballot option can be found at http://www.nota.org/massbill

With a NOTA ballot option, voters make the final decision about the choices political parties made, rather than those parties deciding the final choices voters can make. Even candidates running unopposed would have to obtain voter consent to be elected. And all political parties would know their selected candidates must face NOTA as well as any opponent, reducing the incentives for negative campaigning and "lesser evil" candidates. Buying "access" to candidates or determining election outcomes with contributions becomes a more uncertain enterprise. Surely a Voter Consent law will not solve all the problems with democratically governing ourselves; however, it seems to me a reasonable, fair, and workable improvement, returning some power to "We the People", from whom our constitution draws its legitimacy, and taking some power from political parties and corporations, whom our constitution never mentions.

In the meantime, for voters who do not vote for any candidate for an office, or do not vote at all, because of dissatisfaction with all candidates, I suggest voting and writing-in "None of the Above" as a clear way to withhold consent as well as to call for enactment of a Voter Consent law.

Sincerely,
William H. White
Director, Voters for None of the Above
 
Written By: William H. White
URL: http://www.nota.org
Just you, MK. Just you.


Not me. Jose Padilla, however. You see, the case this citizen was being held for indefinitely was ultimately dismissed. But the right wing had no problem with holding him indefinitely.

So why would the right wing be ok with that? 2 reasons come to mind.

1) No problem with this ultimate exercise of governmental authority over a single individual. The individual is meaningless in the face of the needs of the right wing. Indefinite incarceration without recourse to the courts is necessary.

2) Padilla had brown skin.

Sick and twisted.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
When you can’t make points any other way, play the race card.
 
Written By: David R. Block
URL: http://
NOTA is cool, but I’d rather have approval voting, where voters are free to vote or not vote for any candidate in any race. That way I could vote for every candidate in every race except for the Democrats.

With approval voting, every voter would be free (IOW, have the power) to vote for every candidate they would support holding the office in question. Voters could evaluate candidates independently, based on their qualifications for office instead the lack of qualifications possessed by their opponents. And we can maintain first past the post contests, or, where we prefer, we can implement a runoff system. Candidates for office would suddenly find their campaign imperatives shifted from trying to make their opponents look bad to making themselves look good. In any given race any voter could vote for every candidate, or none of them (a true NOTA). At the end of the day, more votes would equal more power for the People, and thus less power for the major political parties and the government itself.

And as far as third parties go, I’m certainly on the record complaining about the onerous state and federal practices that keep third parties marginalized and protect the two majors from competition. But the truth is, the single vote, winner-take=all voting system we currently practice is by far the biggest boot on third parties’ throats.

yours/
peter.
 
Written By: Peter Jackson
URL: http://www.liberalcapitalist.com
After all, name one medical procedure the left has ever said the government has the right to limit.
Since the LEFT wants the govt. to control the entire health care system, I’d say the LEFT wants to limit ALL medical procedures, you know, for the children.
Think his biggest fear is the IRS? The EPA? Indeed, take the average wage earner in an inner-ring suburb who takes the standard deduction and who rents his apartment. Think that person stays up late worrying about the IRS? The EPA?
No, he stays up late crying over poor Jose Padilla and his innocent brown skin.
The wants to tell you what kind of sex you can have in your own bedroom. They want to tell you can’t have an abortion, or smoke pot to medicate yourself.
Funny how the rights of the unborn never seem to factor into the equation. Name one serious RWer who wants to regulate sex in the bedroom. But why do you care? Your posts smack of chronic virginity.

So, it turns out she is something of an elitist. White, well educated, and definitely white collar.


So which Soul Brutha who keeps it real on the Fershizzle Nizzle did you cizast your vizote for in ’04, homey? Nader/LaDuke or Kerry/Edwards/Soros?

 
Written By: Come on, Please
URL: http://
When you can’t make points any other way, play the race card.
I usually reserve my suspicion that the right tends to be racist. First, I don’t need to - the right usually makes its racist tendencies clear. Macaca and all that. George Allen singled out the only person in a crowd with brown skin and called that person, - that human being, a smart, intelligent, thinking person, with a family, and an education - a "monkey." He called him a monkey. And the political right is just fine with that. When was the last time you saw someone on the right honestly deal with Allen’s racist tendencies?

By contrast, did you read the reaction on this site to Cynthia McKinney and her meaningless escapade? Was the reaction rational, given her relative lack of power? Or was it about something else?

And no, and more to the point, I didn’t point out the fact that Jose Padilla was a person of color until I made several other points. Points about how the right is anti-libertarian that had nothing to do with race. After all, the right is dominated by religious fanatics very much unconcerned about limiting the power of government.

Can you imagine if Jose had been white and from a southern family? A Christian family? Do you imagine the reaction would have been the same?

But yes, shocking as it is to say, the right in this country is sexist, racist, and especially homophobic. It has always been. Not everyone, but most. I don’t blame them. But it is a fact.

If you find that surprsing, you have not been paying attention.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Can you imagine if Jose had been white and from a southern family? A Christian family? Do you imagine the reaction would have been the same?
Yeah, I remember all the outporing of grief over the execution of Timothy McVeigh. "We can’t execute a white man." "Are you sure one them Negroes didn’t do it?" "He can’t be guilty, he’s white."
But yes, shocking as it is to say, the right in this country is sexist, racist, and especially homophobic.
Exactly what Ted Kennedy said to Jay Rockefeller during their recent Sunday yacht outing at Martha’s Vineyard with Howard Dean.

Yeah, sure, the Left loves persons of color, as long as their fringey and loose cannons and wield no real political power: see the Rev. Al Sharpton and C. McKinney and C. Mosely Braun for more info.

My Conservative "black" list features: C Rice, C Powell and C Thomas. Now your turn, MK. Name all the prominent blacks the Dems have put into similiar positions of power.
By contrast, did you read the reaction on this site to Cynthia McKinney and her meaningless escapade? Was the reaction rational, given her relative lack of power? Or was it about something else?
WTF are you talking about? I have no idea and sadly, neither do you.
 
Written By: Come on, Please
URL: http://
"Yeah, I remember all the outporing of grief over the execution of Timothy McVeigh."

Yes, but thw WHOLE POINT is that McVeigh actually was given the right to defense and trial before being executed. If he had been declared a terrorist today (by executive order) he could have been detained forever without trial, and unofficially executed in a secret prison.
 
Written By: Tito
URL: http://
Damn MK, some days you are better than a cuppa joe to get my blood going. I’ll keep this short and sweet - towards the end of the comments you write -
And no, and more to the point, I didn’t point out the fact that Jose Padilla was a person of color until I made several other points.
But jump in the way back machine and go to the first post you make -

So, it turns out she is something of an elitist. White, well educated, and definitely white collar.
Later you write -
I usually reserve my suspicion that the right tends to be racist. First, I don’t need to - the right usually makes its racist tendencies clear. Macaca and all that. George Allen singled out the only person in a crowd with brown skin and called that person, - that human being, a smart, intelligent, thinking person, with a family, and an education - a "monkey."
But I ask, it didn’t stop you from calling Jane Gault ’white, elistist and white collar’. Do you KNOW her MK? Do you REALLY know her?
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
MK- a few points. First, you copied and pasted Ms. Galt’s bio from her site, but then later claimed that she atttended Brown University where she earned a degree in English Literature. This is just sloppiness. Her bio (that you cited) indicated that she received her English degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Secondly, you contend that racism is an inherent feature of right wing politics. I’m curious as to your view of Ward Connerly, Larry Elder, John McWhorter, Alberto Gonzales, Lynn Swann, etc. Not to mention the above trio that Come On, Please cited. Although I’m no fan of President Bush, I believe he does hold the record for largest number of minority Cabinet level appointments (unlike President Clinton, our first black President). Lastly, regarding racism, your defense of this article (and the attached image) contrasts greatly with the denunciation of racism that you gave in your above comments. I assume, then, that your argument is that racism is only bad when engaged in by right wing, white Christian politicians, but pretty much ok when engaged in by everyone else.
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
Bithead, I certainly understand your arguments. I agree that some type of majortiy coalition government dedicated to libertarian principles is the only way we are going to undue the damage that statists have done to our country. Since many people who normally incline towards voting Republican seem to be engaging in wailing and gnashing of teeth regarding the upcoming elections and seem intent on "punishing" Republicans for not keeping to libertarian or at least small government conservative principles, my suggestion was for them to vote for indies or Libertarians. I think that a much more palatable solution than just pushing the buttons for (D) candidates, don’t you? If we keep demanding that those who share our core values vote exclusively Republican, Republicans will never change and we will continue to get more RINO’s, among other things. The RNC leadership needs to have a message sent to them, but voting for Democrats is the wrong message. If everyone dedicated to the idea of sending a message to RNC HQ votes Libertarian instead (or at least indy), not only does the RNC get the message, but we have a chance, however small, of actually putting some solid Libertarian candidates into office. There shouldn’t be any ambiguity about how they stand on issues (unlike R’s whom we have to examine in some detail given the prevalence of RINO’s in the system).
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
Scott, I accept your rejection of "isms," but I find them useful as a commonly understood basis upon which to unite people under a particular banner or simply as common ground to use for the purposes of discussion. Birds of a feather, and all of that. People like to form groups and unite around an idea (or ideological system). It’s human nature. While I may not necessarily agree 100%, ideologies and parties are a major part of our political system and do not show any signs of going away.

I apologize for my misunderstanding of your political leanings. At first, they appeared very distributist to me. Given that you have explained in further detail that your personal philosophy is built around a core distrust of centers of power (or accumulation of power), I would suggest that anarcho-capitalism may be a more appropriate title (I know, there I go pigeonholing you again, lol). Or perhaps simple anarchism. Either way this seems more in line with Robert Nozick’s ideas or perhaps Proudhon, Tucker, or even, and I hesitate to mention this individual, Bob Black.
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
Voting libertarian at this point does nothing more than split the right, and doom us to another long cycle of Democrat party domination. And I think we both agree that we can’t afford that, any more.

On the other hand, not voting all, simply hands the democrats the victory, as well. Over which they will crow about "this is what the country wanted... the country WANTS to move left".

And again, I fear we can’t afford that.

As for ambiguity, and there has been done in the cases of the people I cited. And wherein lies precisely the problem. If anything people like Cahfee have been flagrant in their non-conformity.

Nor are the Republicans unique in this problem; Both parties have had problems controling their left, but they both put up with them, knowing any chance of haolding a majority (And thereby being able to set the congressional agenda) goes away if they seperate themselves from such people... particularly with the balance of power in each house so close, in terms of caucus votes.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://
By the way Omar, anarcho-capitalists have just been insulted.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://
With respect to any true libertarians, you might peruse the Cato site. They have advocated for years that the so-called liberal judges are much less of a threat to liberty than are the conservative judges, which is the same argument that Madison made.
Liberal justicies are a disaster for liberty. Kelo is just one example. Conservative judges tend to rule based upon the law, liberal judges rule based upon a desired outcome.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Even when they were in power, they weren’t successful. Given that we have had republican presidents for most of the period when they controlled congress in recent decades I can only put up the 92-94 period for honest comparison. At that point, they didn’t have enough agreement to put together even simple plans.
The Democrat problem in ’92-’94 is that they were trying for a very complex plan. On top of that, the Clinton Administration made considerable mistakes, including putting Hillery in charge of ’The Plan’.

Just ’cause Truman and JFK failed to push though big plans doesn’t mean an LBJ can’t.

Other points: Clinton did sign a nasty "assault rifle ban" and Brady in the ’92-’94 period. It was a modest Democrat success, but a more direct assault on American rights than anything W has done . . .
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Scott, I accept your rejection of "isms," but I find them useful as a commonly understood basis upon which to unite people under a particular banner or simply as common ground to use for the purposes of discussion. Birds of a feather, and all of that. People like to form groups and unite around an idea (or ideological system). It’s human nature. While I may not necessarily agree 100%, ideologies and parties are a major part of our political system and do not show any signs of going away.
Oh, I agree there. I teach a course on comparative politics, and to start we go through the different ideologies, and I try to "teach" each one in its most persuasive manner (including fascism — especially pointing out its popularity in times of chaos and economic hardship). We need to know them; I just find myself more skeptical than ever, especially thinking, in retrospect, of how the 20th century had mass killings (Stalin, Pol Pot, Hitler, Mao, etc.) due to ideology.
I apologize for my misunderstanding of your political leanings. At first, they appeared very distributist to me. Given that you have explained in further detail that your personal philosophy is built around a core distrust of centers of power (or accumulation of power), I would suggest that anarcho-capitalism may be a more appropriate title (I know, there I go pigeonholing you again, lol). Or perhaps simple anarchism. Either way this seems more in line with Robert Nozick’s ideas or perhaps Proudhon, Tucker, or even, and I hesitate to mention this individual, Bob Black.
I can’t be anarcho-capitalist because I don’t believe markets would yield the kind of decentralized power and maximum liberty that most of them seem to believe. Collectivist anarchism, on the other hand, has too much faith that humans will choose to work together if given the chance. That’s the problem — I end up seeing that some kind of power centralization is necessary because of practical concerns. I’d prefer small governments (by that I mean I’d rather the state of Maine be a country than a part of a huge mega-state — and even then I’d be happy with three or four regions in Maine being states) because usually (though not always) smaller governments (smaller territorial and population units) are more easily held accountable, and there is less at stake drawing people to power. Lloyd Etheredge wrote a book *Can Governments Learn* and he said that a problem we have is that our government has so much centralized power that it draws to politics too many of the kind of people we’d rather not have there — hard ball politicians (by his definition people of low self-esteem who use acquisition of power to try to bolster their self-esteem). From my experience working in DC, there is something to that theory; even idealists have to start playing like hardball politicians to get things done. But in places like Pierre, South Dakota, or Augusta Maine you get more of the average citizens in politics as a belief in public service.

But my "ideology" as it were is not set. 25 years ago I was a Republican, in Detroit as part of the Reagan youth at the GOP convention. (I was even then what one might call a liberal Republican — if the GOP was where Maine Senator Olympia Snowe still is, well, maybe I’d still be leaning Republican). After studying European politics I shifted to the Social Democratic side and your labeling might have been accurate around 1995 or so. The demise of communism, the lessons we see from the former East bloc, the problems of European social democracy, and the changes in world affairs caused by globalization have, if anything, led to really question my own biases and pre-conceptions, as well as the conventional wisdoms out there. I think a kind of anarchism is probably closest to my core belief structure (that’s what one of my colleagues, a traditional Johnson Democrat, would emphatically assert) but tempered with a sense of pragmatism/humanism and a distrust for any pat ideological solutions. (Which is probably one reason I end up reading sites like this, even if I annoy people like McQ). If there was a soundtrack to this post, it would be Billy Joel’s "Shades of Grey."
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~blog.htm
While I sympathize with your argument, I submit that most people don’t have the ability to vote libertarian. The people running in most areas of the country under the libertarian party flag (where they can) are about as hopeless a group of people as you’ll ever find. (with the exception being, the Democratic party, of course)

Which, (unfortunately, in the view of some) leaves us with but one option; only one way out... voting Republican.
There might be a few Democrats in the country worth voting for. Can’t think of any myself, but I live in California, and CA D’s run from vile to evil.

My plan is to vote "R" or "L", depending upon the details of the election. The "L" vote is a protest vote. Voting "D" as a protest is to protest that the current Rs are not fulfilling your needs for big, intrusive government.
Frequently, when I say that, I get the old "but the Republicans are already in power!... line.

Well, no, not really.

What are in power are Republicans, mixed with a number of Republicans in the name only. What the near- on 50/50 split congressional split in the Senate means is that the liberal mindset still holds a majority there, since the whole of the Democrats and a number of RINO’s supposedly caucusing with Republicans adds up to the leftist mindlessness, holding the majority.
I agree. As a CA voter, my choice is typically between a RINO, a Democrat who should be running under Peace & Freedom, and some kook Libertarian who thinks the key issue is ferrets (or something of comparable political significance).
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
I can’t be anarcho-capitalist because I don’t believe markets would yield the kind of decentralized power and maximum liberty that most of them seem to believe. Collectivist anarchism, on the other hand, has too much faith that humans will choose to work together if given the chance. That’s the problem — I end up seeing that some kind of power centralization is necessary because of practical concerns.
Collectivist anarchism simply can’t work for several reasons, one of which you suggest, the other is the economic calculation problem.

The main problem I see with with anarcho-capitalist is that, absent some state, a state will form. Street gangs are a small proto-state, for example, regulating commerce the larger government has banned to the sidelines. If the anarcho-capitalist dream comes true, the homies will form a group to provide "protection" and start collecting "taxes". The non-homies will have to form a group to prevent taxation without representation. And we will be right back with a government.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
The RNC leadership needs to have a message sent to them, but voting for Democrats is the wrong message.
Omar, I agree. Problem is: the big parties are coalitions with lots of issues, and L’s have little pull.

I think we need to concentrate on key issues that have wide traction among Americans (gun control, taxes, etc), and not try for a doctrinare L approach. That won’t bring us to the Libertarian land of Milk & Honey anytime soon, but then nothing else will either. Even if Charlton Heston leads the way, it will still take 40 years . . .
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Lol, Scott. Billy Joel. Geez.

Bithead: I think we have the same desired outcomes, but different methods of achieving them. I can’t see a sweeping Republican victory come November being a major victory for libertarianism. Given that the current crop of Republicans are essentially "big government conservatives" with the leadership worshipping at the altar of neo-conservatism (and its Trotskyite underpinings), how do you propose we slow this train down? Another big Republican victory sends more messages of "political mandate" and another two years of the same old jazz. If, on the hand, the RP suffers a defeat at the polls this November, someone at the RNC or NRO or the Heritage Foundation or AEI or whomever, might just clue in that voters do not want RINO’s or "big government conservatives." I suspect (though cannot prove) that more than 50% of Republicans are libertarian conservatives, not big-government religious conservatives. I suppose we’ll find out the truth of my assertion come November.

Seriously, though, Bithead, pushing for a straight Republican ticket this election cycle is just not feasible. There is too much ill-feeling towards the R’s. I agree that there is a strong possibility of splitting the vote, a la’ 2000, but what else would you have us do? Continue to put faith in a party that has ignored and abandoned us? I think it’s high time that the LP starts chalking up some victories, and this election looks like the best time to do it.

PS How did I insult the anarcho-capitalist crowd? Nozick is almost a patron saint, or at least I’ve always viewed him as such.
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
Republicans are essentially "big government conservatives" with the leadership worshipping at the altar of neo-conservatism (and its Trotskyite underpinings), . . .
Omar, I think the big "neo-con" / Trotskyite thing is overblown. I know that some major neo-cons were not commies, but FDR Democrats (is there a difference?), and in any case they have changed their political beliefs.

People who changed their beliefs are often to the extreme in the other direction.

Essentially, I think that in the left and the antiwar.com "right", the neo-con label has become an ad hominim rather than an argument with merit. IMO, the big gov nature of the current Rs represents a realpolitik assesment for winning elections.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
But Don, have the neo-con’s really changed their beliefs? I’m not asserting that they are communists, merely that their worldview (especially on foreign policy) reflects Trotskyite ideologies (worldwide revolution, etc. only in favor of capitalist democracy instead of Trotsky’s communism). Remember who coined the term neo-con : Irving Kristol (himself a former Trotskyite), or as he says, "a liberal who has been mugged by reality." Kristol, his son, and the National Review types are some of the leading philosophers of the modern conservative movement. They help to shape the policy of the RNC and the current administration (indirectly, but the influence is still there). I find Bush and Co. much more comfortable with the National Review crowd than with Murray Rothbard, Robert Nozick, Friedrich Hayek, etc. Regardless of the actual motivation of R’s for big government, the intellectual underpinings of their new chosen direction are there are for all to see. I don’t feel that it constitutes ad hominem to simply point out the name of the R’s new ideology and its founders.
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
I can’t see a sweeping Republican victory come November being a major victory for libertarianism
Perhaps the effects are not immediate. They are, however, there. The issue still comes down to what is the biggest problem at this point. The biggest problem faced by libertarians at this point is the democrats.

Seriously, though, Bithead, pushing for a straight Republican ticket this election cycle is just not feasible. There is too much ill-feeling towards the R’s. I agree that there is a strong possibility of splitting the vote, a la’ 2000, but what else would you have us do? Continue to put faith in a party that has ignored and abandoned us? I think it’s high time that the LP starts chalking up some victories, and this election looks like the best time to do it.
It’s a reasonable question. But the answer is alarmingly simple when you consider that over half the country is voting Liberal. What kind of message do we even the staunchest of conservatives and/or libertarians get from that message? They’re going to have to compromise with the left if they’re going to get any where at all.

Libertarian victories? Sorry, Omar, Love ya, but this is nonsense.

The reality is there is nowhere in the country right now that the libertarian party as such is even close to winning any elections whatever. That has been true for decades. Let’s say by some miracle the libertarian party manages to double the number people voting for them. That still ends up being a small percentage of the total.

For the message to be sent that the population wants less liberalism in its government, the obvious solution is to elect less liberals. Throwing all your weight and effort behind a party which at best only collects a small portion of the voting public, is not going to be productive to our ends.

Sorry.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://
Not so, Bithead. This is a real chance for a Libertarian victory (however small). Bob Smither is the only candidate on both ballots (the Republican nominee is a write-in). If Mr. Smither wins then we have two (essentially) LP’ers in Congress. Granted, it isn’t much, but we have to start somewhere. Although I agree that in a district with only an R and a D running, and assuming that the D is the usual statist and that the R is at least libertarian leaning, pushing the R button is probably the best thing that a Libertarian or libertarian can do.
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
I can’t believe all the keystrokes wasted here in pretense that ideology has any relevance to action.

Both parties are reasonably effective at limiting spending when they HAVE some power. Both parties are VERY effective at spending like Paris Hilton on the rebound when they have ALL THE POWER.

This is not ideology, this is not a guess, this is not partisan rhetoric, this is just simple fact.

If one party, either one, controls the House, Senate, and the Presidency, spending ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS goes up faster than the historical average, sometimes wildly faster.

When one party, either party, holds at least one of these three bodies, then spending is checked.

The one notable exception was Ronald Reagan, who had the Presidency and the Senate for his first 6 years, and the Democrats held Congress. Reagan Democrats and Republicans made the house a defacto Republican majority in many cases, and spending went through the roof. When Dem’s won the Senate (and held the House) in 1986, spending was throttled back.

I suggest you forget tax rates, it’s a shell game, spending is the key. If you think Republicans will spend LESS than Dem’s, knock yourself out and vote for them. If you look at recent history though, you will find that Democrats spend LESS than Republicans, but consistently find themselves HAVING to raise taxes to cover some of the red ink bleeding that was left by their Republican predecessors. George H.W. Bush was hit by this blowback after the Reagan tax-cut and spend era.

If you don’t care about spending, don’t care which party historically is a better steward of the economy, and only care that none of your money goes to poor people (but to corporations instead), then by all means vote Republican for 2 more years of a monopoly on power.

Cap

Cap
 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
But Don, have the neo-con’s really changed their beliefs?


It seems that at least some of them changed some of their beliefs:
I’m not asserting that they are communists, merely that their worldview (especially on foreign policy) reflects Trotskyite ideologies (worldwide revolution, etc. only in favor of capitalist democracy instead of Trotsky’s communism).
Sounds like a significant change of beliefs to me.
Remember who coined the term neo-con : Irving Kristol (himself a former Trotskyite),
Well, sure, but does this apply as well across neo-cons? I read up on one neo con who was an FDR liberal (or leftist) but he wasn’t a Trotskyite. I suspect the Trotskyite starting point is not the norm, and I suspect we are apply a label to a current worldview, and then using it to extrapolate to the idelogical starting point. In a certain sense, using the "neo con" label is almost a Marxist act of prediction, except applied backwards and to ideology instead of forwards to economics.
I find Bush and Co. much more comfortable with the National Review crowd than with Murray Rothbard, Robert Nozick, Friedrich Hayek, etc. Regardless of the actual motivation of R’s for big government, the intellectual underpinings of their new chosen direction are there are for all to see.
I agree to some extent. I voted "L" in ’92 due to Bush 41’s neo con leanings, although I didn’t know what neo con meant at the time. I think Bush 43 is more of a pragmatic pol, I don’t view him as a neo con, however, he may have relied upon them to a greater extend post 9/11.
I don’t feel that it constitutes ad hominem to simply point out the name of the R’s new ideology and its founders.
Well, it’s become one, since it is applied with the Trotskyite origins assumed. It also seems to be applied widely, to anyone who supports Bush, the war, etc. If we restrict "neo con" to Kristol, perhaps it’s accurate.

Also, isn’t the neo con rag the Weekly Standard or something like that? National Review shares some, but I don’t think it’s 100% neo con. New Republic is for liberal neo cons.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
If you look at recent history though, you will find that Democrats spend LESS than Republicans, but consistently find themselves HAVING to raise taxes to cover some of the red ink bleeding that was left by their Republican predecessors.
You might want to split it up into discretionary spending and mandatory. The later type is typically driven by prior entitlements, e.g., LBJ’s Great Society programs. The former includes military spending, which under Reagan paid off with the fall of the USSR. Clinton got a pass on the big military spending (thanks to Reagan), perhaps he should have spent more . . .
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Don, you are correct about The Weekly Standard being Kristol’s organ of choice. I stand corrected. The cross-polinization between the various conservative publications means I sometimes get mixed up. Originally I would have agreed with you about The New Republic, but since Peter Beinart’s retraction of his support for the Iraq war and some of their recent work, I find that they are moving closer to The Nation than the other direction.
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
Other points: Clinton did sign a nasty "assault rifle ban" and Brady in the ’92-’94 period. It was a modest Democrat success, but a more direct assault on American rights than anything W has done . . .
Yeah, Don. You might want to rethink that:
In an effort to gain Mr. Padilla’s "dependency and trust," he was tortured for nearly the entire three years and eight months of his unlawful detention. . . Mr. Padilla’s dehumanization at the hands of his captors also took more sinister forms. Mr. Padilla was often put in stress positions for hours at a time. He would be shackled and manacled, with a belly chain, for hours in his cell. Noxious fumes would be introduced to his room causing his eyes and nose to run. The temperature of his cell would be manipulated, making his cell extremely cold for long stretches of time.
But yeah. That is nothing for an American citizen to undergo when compared with waiting five f-cking days for a gun.
 
Written By: Fledermaus
URL: http://

 
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