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(UPDATED) Balko gets it completely wrong
Posted by: McQ on Monday, October 09, 2006

I'm not sure how, but Radley Balko gets it completely wrong concerning my point about not supporting Democrats written on Saturday (although when you read his post - below in its entirety - you'll most likely figure out how it happened):
McQ over at QandO cites Galt's post as the reason why he'll be voting for the Republicans, despite his alleged Republicanism. As Mona at the Inactivist points out, it's baffling that one could look at what the Republicans are doing and believe that raising the minimum wage is the greater threat to liberty. Mona correctly notes that the powers we give government expand, propagate, and creep. As one of Jim Henley's commenters notes, any proper reading of U.S history shows that the wiretapping, detention, spying, and lack of access to due process "tools" people like McQ think are necessary to fight the war on terrorism will eventually and inevitably used in other law enforcement endeavors, likely starting with child exploitation, then worming into "fringe groups," abortion protesters, obscenity prosecutions, and, of course, drug prohibition.

When was the last time the federal government voluntarily limited its own power, particularly when it comes to law enforcement?

Some of us were making these same arguments in the election two years ago. Things have only gotten worse. At what point to people like McQ believe the Republicans will finally make good?
My guess is Balko never read the entry but instead relied on the analysis by others to come to a conclusion. Otherwise, I can't imagine he'd have missed this line:
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).
Emphasis added. In fact, the whole point of the article was to talk about making "None of the Above" a valid ballot choice. It even mentions NOTA in the title. Any guess as to why I talk about it? Certainly not because I'm going to vote for Republicans.

In a previous posting, speaking of both parties I said:
Sometimes it isn’t a choice between one or the other. Sometimes neither will do.
I'm sure, being the person I think he is, he'll correct this once it comes to his attention.

UPDATE: As I assumed, once alerted to the fact that his assumption was incorrect, Radley Balko quickly issued a correction:
CORRECTION: McQ does actually support returning the House to the Democrats, but keeping the Senate Republican. I was mistaken.

While that would add some measure of accountability to the federal government (or, at least gridlock), it would continue to allow for more Alitos on the Supreme Court, meaning no real checks on executive power grabs. And my larger point stands. The nearly boundless powers McQ is comfortable giving the federal government to fight the war on terror — which ought to be troubling solely within the context of the war on terror — will inevitably creep into other facets of law enforcement.
Again he gets it wrong, but I'll not press the issue. There is no one here who is "comfortable' with giving the federal government "nearly boundless powers" to fight to war on terror, regardless of what other commenters say. But you have to read the blog to know that.

This is a very complex issue which isn't easily decided by anyone. But one thing for sure, it isn't just about the WoT.

Oversimplifying and overgeneralizing a reticence to put into power a party one feels is far more dangerous to liberty on the whole than the other as being "comfortable" with giving the government "nearly boundless power" to fight the war on terror is a mischaracterization and isn't at all useful to the dialog.

In either case there is a risk. Each of us must decide where the biggest risk to liberty lays. I think, in the long-run, it is Democrats who pose the greatest risk. And I simply cannot find it in myself to vote for them even while hoping, for the short-run, they take the House.
 
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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).
I have trouble with this. If I favoured a given outcome, especially if I thought it was something as important as potentially deciding the course of my home nation for the next few years, I would do whatever was legally in my power to generate that outcome. The most obvious thing I could do would be to vote in a certain way. So if, for example, I wanted a Democratic House and a Republican Senate then I would look to see how things were falling in my district. If the Dems were looking to be ahead in the Senate race I would vote for the candidate who was closest to defeating them, whether it was GOP or not, and vice versa.

It makes no sense to me to talk about favouring an option but not intending to enable said option. For a decision so potentially important, hoping that it might happen and not trying (in your own minute way) to influence it seems wrong.

Of course you are far more aware of how things lie in your district than I and might have already determined that your vote in unnecessary to get the desired effect (Dem in the lead for House, Rep in the lead for Senate). In which case fair enough.

Remember though, if your favoured option does not come to pass and you did nothing to try and influence it, relying instead on hope, then you lose all bitching priviledges until the next election. ;-P
 
Written By: Kav
URL: http://livingrealworld.blogspot.com
The most obvious thing I could do would be to vote in a certain way. So if, for example, I wanted a Democratic House and a Republican Senate then I would look to see how things were falling in my district.
Heh ... even if so inclined, my district is Republican and the incumbent is running unopposed. Neither senator is running. So, like I said, even if so inclined (and I’m not), in reality there is absolutely nothing my vote would change in that regard.
Of course you are far more aware of how things lie in your district than I and might have already determined that your vote in unnecessary to get the desired effect (Dem in the lead for House, Rep in the lead for Senate). In which case fair enough.
Exactly.
It makes no sense to me to talk about favouring an option but not intending to enable said option. For a decision so potentially important, hoping that it might happen and not trying (in your own minute way) to influence it seems wrong.
I’m not favoring an "option", I’m favoring an outcome. But I’m still saying, given the option of doing so, I couldn’t find it in myself to vote for my ideological foes to enable it. And I’m also say, given the option, that Republicans, by their action, have lost access to my vote.
Remember though, if your favoured option does not come to pass and you did nothing to try and influence it, relying instead on hope, then you lose all bitching priviledges until the next election. ;-P
Well that’s the line, isn’t it? That’s why I prefer NOTA on ballots. Then I have every right to bitch, huh? ;)

BTW, I will be voting NOTA this time even if I have to write it in.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
But there’s more consequences than just ending up with dems in control of the house to be had for your vote kav. Remember all that talk of the republican mandate after the 04 elections? If everyone votes dem there will be talk of a dem mandate, that the majority of people will favor their policies. And thats not a message I want my vote to convey. I’ll be voting libertarian, because it’s not rewarding the republicans, it shows I don’t agree with the democrats policies, and a high turn out for a third party will show that people care about those issues.
 
Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
As Gomer said: Sur-prise Sur-prise Sur-prise !...What do you expect, Q?

If it quacks like a republican....

Even if you vote NOTA, your posts indicate you are anti-liberal to the point of being a biased Big C Conservative. You got Demo’s Repub’s and ’insignifant others’. There is little else. Today.As in...right now.

Let me break it down in terms even you can understand: You are either a supporter of the religous-right status quo or not. And inactivity like NOTA will NOT change the status quo in THIS election.

Quack.
 
Written By: Rick Day
URL: http://
I triple-dog dare you to write in "Neolibertarian" instead of just going the NOTA route. ;-)
 
Written By: Watcher
URL: http://www.watcherofweasels.com/
Is Rick Day saying "You’re either with us, or against us"? How very absolutish and neo-con of him.
 
Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
Let me break it down in terms even you can understand: You are either a supporter of the religous-right status quo or not. And inactivity like NOTA will NOT change the status quo in THIS election.
You might have a point had I supported (i.e. voted) Republicans the last election ... but I didn’t (how do you support a party which passes Medicare Part D and NCLB and call yourself a libertarian?).

And I’m not interested in joining in putting the Democrats in power because Democrats stand for just about everything I deplore.

If it happens fine. In the short-run I think that’s a good thing. But only if they have one of the chambers of Congress.

Personally I have no problem with Congress staying that way (split) for the foreseeable future. I think that would actually be a healthy thing for the country. But that doesn’t mean I find the Democrats acceptable nor plan on supporting their effort to take the House. If they get it, great. But the reason I favor it is because I think them holding one part of Congress will actually force the Republicans to be truer to their ideology.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Radley Balko read something carelessly and reported it wrong?! I’m shocked, shocked! Did I mention that I was shocked?
 
Written By: Xrlq
URL: http://xrlq.com/
Radley Balko’s argument sounds a lot like mine. Aren’t you glad to have had a nice, attention-free trial run?
In either case there is a risk. Each of us must decide where the biggest risk to liberty lays. I think, in the long-run, it is Democrats who pose the greatest risk. And I simply cannot find it in myself to vote for them even while hoping, for the short-run, they take the House
For what it’s worth, what you’re saying here is what I suggested was the implicit point of your earlier post — quoting myself:
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.
I’m sure we’d disagree about the items I’ve placed on the scales, but it sounds like you’ve come to put your message pretty much as what I suggested your argument implied.

Well... a’ight then.

I think, in the long-run, it is Democrats who pose the greatest risk.

I don’t agree with this, of course, but it’s a framing I respect as a fairer way to frame it then "Republican violations of liberty principles are transient and abberant while Democratic violations of liberty principles are intrinsic and core."

Although I’m sure you wouldn’t back away from the above either, in the end you’re making a subjective choice about which aspects of the multidimensional concept of liberty are more important to you than others - there is no absolute liberty index from which to draw universally valid assessments of which party contradicts libertarian principles more, when both parties contradict them. "More" is in the eye of the beholder.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Although I’m sure you wouldn’t back away from the above either, in the end you’re making a subjective choice about which aspects of the multidimensional concept of liberty are more important to you than others - there is no absolute liberty index from which to draw universally valid assessments of which party contradicts libertarian principles more, when both parties contradict them. "More" is in the eye of the beholder.
Glasnost,

That’s not entirely true. We can consider both quantity and quality of liberty violations, as well as the results of these violations, and I suspect the Ds end up on the wrong side of the equation (from a pro-liberty standpoint). The "quality" portion is subjective to some degree, but we can put in different values to do some sensitivity analysis . . .

Some time ago Liberty magazine analyzed D vs R Congress voting, concluded that Rs were better with social issues and even better yet with economic issues. This was Clinton era, so perhaps it isn’t that surprising, but my point is that a mathematical analysis is possible.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://

In either case there is a risk. Each of us must decide where the biggest risk to liberty lays. I think, in the long-run, it is Democrats who pose the greatest risk. And I simply cannot find it in myself to vote for them even while hoping, for the short-run, they take the House.
Why are you hoping, for the short-run, they [Democrats] take the House?

 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://inactivist.org/
Why are you hoping, for the short-run, they [Democrats] take the House?
Because, as I’ve said many times, Republicans are never more "Republican" (i.e. stick more closely to their ideology of limited and less intrusive government) than when they have to share power or are out of power.

Secondly, there are actually some investigations I’d like to see initiated because there are issues which need to be settled in law. Those would include the extent of executive power vis a vis war, the NSA/FISA issue, etc.

We’ve consistently called for those to be looked into and it is clear a Republican Congress isn’t going to conduct them (I also suspect a Democrat House would inevitably go over the line on the number and subject of investigations to the point that the American public would get tired of them rather quickly ... but that’s a subject for a different time).

Third, I think the Republicans have been in power too long, been co-opted by that and are arrogant and due for a come-uppance. This is as good a time as any.

Last, I prefer mixed government ... for that matter we can even elect a Democrat for Prez, next time if we keep one or both sides of Congress in opposition hands. As long as there is a way to thwart Democratic inclinations as they pertain to individual liberty (economic and otherwise), I’m pretty much on board, because as I mention in the first part, it is in that environment that limited government Republicans seem to hold more sway and do more good.

However, all that said, I cannot in good conscience vote for the Democrats (couldn’t even if I wanted too since I’m in a district where the Republican Rep is unopposed). So I hope it happens even though I won’t be enabling it in any way.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Having not read much of Balko, I spent some time on his site today. Two things most profoundly struck me.

1) He was still in high school during Clinton’s tenure. This means he was in Jr High during Bush 41, elementary school during the Reagan years, and just a toddler when Carter was President.

2) He claims he came to libertarianism from the right.

I don’t know if Radley visited East Berlin before the wall came down, I don’t know if his folks took him into the Soviet Union, and I seriously doubt if he has any personal recollection of Mohammed Reza Pahlavi’s Iran. (I’d also be really surprised if he’s self employed)

I do know that I did, and that I came to libertarianism from the left.

Not as hyperbolic as GiGi, not as sanctimonious as Mona, Radley never-the-less approaches issues of liberty in a typical myopic progressive fashion. warrantless wiretaps are the outrage de jour... funny how we all open up our luggage (warrantless searches) with out question when returning to the US. Data mining of phone records is taboo, but the IRS needs to access ALL the financial transactions of taxpayers. And these are the every day benign "affronts" on our liberties. People serves 20 years for a crimes they did not commit, and we are worried that Jose Padilla - a case that everyone knows about - has been shipped outside our legal systems? I’d say that what is lacking in this kind of commentary is perspective, but in fact it incorporates perspective - political perspective , and too often traverses in to the realm of political expedience.

Oh, and one other thing, which echoes an aside Megan mentioned, having spent nights in three different county lockups and one city jail, civil libertarians railing against the horrendous treatment of the GTMO detainees, are either partisan hypocrites, barefoot and pregnant, or frankly don’t know what the f_ck they are talking about.




 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
When was the last time the federal government voluntarily limited its own power, particularly when it comes to law enforcement?
In the spirit of this question, I’d like to know what good could be expected of the Dems gaining power?
 
Written By: err
URL: http://
Because, as I’ve said many times, Republicans are never more "Republican" (i.e. stick more closely to their ideology of limited and less intrusive government) than when they have to share power or are out of power.
What on earth kind of argument is that? Of course the Republicans, like everyone else, talk a "better" (more ideological) line when they’re out of power and can’t do anything but talk. It sounds like you’d rather hear a great speech than obtain a mediocre result.
 
Written By: Xrlq
URL: http://xrlq.com/
What on earth kind of argument is that? Of course the Republicans, like everyone else, talk a "better" (more ideological) line when they’re out of power and can’t do anything but talk. It sounds like you’d rather hear a great speech than obtain a mediocre result.
Obviously when they’re out of power all they can do is talk. But that wasn’t the whole argument was it?

Note the term, "share power". Then note the latter years of the Clinton administration.

It is only when Reps get it all to themselves that they manage to completely lose touch with their ideology. So obviously, then, it makes more sense, given recent history, to want mixed government over single party government. In the case of both parties, single party government is the worst form of government for us.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog

 
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