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More From Kos on Libertarian Democrats
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Markos Moultisas is back at it at Cato Unbound. Apparently he took exception to my (and others) claiming that he was pandering for libertarian votes.
My piece wasn't a play for the libertarian vote. Rather, it was a formulation for a new breed of Democrat that is finding success in the Mountain West and other parts of the country and an attempt to figure out why I — a former Republican — find the Democratic Party a comfortable place despite the fact that on an issue-by-issue analysis, I haven't changed much politically since I was 18.
As an aside, how many times have we heard about a "new breed" of Democrat? And how many times have we found the old cat underneath (Republicans aren't much better)?

Moultisas claims he was simply providing a description of this New Democrat (hello, Mr. Clinton ... any copyright infringement there?).

None other than Matt Yglesias takes the Moutisas argument apart:
Similarly, it's often said that the interior west manifests a libertarian or proto-libertarian politics. I see, however, very little support for this view. We're talking about a portion of the country that derives its economic viability largely from huge levels of subsidy from the rest of the country. From the Universal Service Fee that makes telephones in the rural west cheap, to the way highway money disproportionately flows to sparsely-populated states, to agricultural subsidies and protectionism, to cheap exploitation of natural resources (lumber, coal, metals, grazing) on federally-owned land, these are people who very much enjoy sucking on the federal teat. A principled libertarianism would sell horribly in Montana. It is true that Jon Tester is cutting ads about the Patriot Act that get Jim Henley hot and bothered but this is on a limited domain of topics.
And that domain of topics is hardly enough to permanently (or even temporarily) weld libertarians and Democrats. They're simply too far apart ideologically.

Kos continues:
The fact is, there is a new breed of libertarian-flavored Democrats that is emerging on the scene. They are no more traditionally libertarian than I am. We don't advocate the elimination of safety-net programs or the abolition of publicly funded education or any of the more extreme manifestations of libertarianism. We don't think that "corporations derive their power from government," hence less regulation will magically make corporations respect my individual liberties (a notion I find patently ridiculous). We are Democrats, after all. Yet we Democrats are also struggling to find a coherent philosophy in a world where globalization has made many of its core precepts increasingly archaic.
In fact, it appears, at least in this latest V 1.1 of "libertarian Democrat", that we're now talking about a watered down version: "libertarian-flavored" Democrats.

There is nothing "new" or "libertarian-flavored" about a breed of Democrats which still advocates safety-net welfare programs and public funding of education and health care or sees corporations as the enemy instead of engines of commerce. And, of course only a Democrat can see a corporation, and not the government, as a potential threat to individual liberties. And all of this talk about them struggling to find a coherent philosophy, is a smoke-screen. What they're trying to do is find a more appealing way to present the same old nonsense of big government welfarism to a voting faction which rejects it outright.

But this is all old news and again, Yglesias cuts to the core with a point:
Proper libertarians have all heard this line of reasoning, and they disagree with it, which is what makes them libertarians. For electoral purposes, though, the key issue isn't serious ideological libertarians, but simply people with a very autonomy-oriented emotional makeup. This way of framing egalitarian liberal politics has some reasonable chance of succeeding at persuading people of that sort. But it isn't libertarianism, it's simply the orthodox egalitarian view of how to understand egalitarianism.
Let me qualify that by saying some who identify as "proper libertarians" disagree with it. Others, however, have embraced it fully, and have rationalized their support for Democrats based on the silliness Kos has cobbled together and their disgust with this version of the Republicans.

What Yglesias points out is very important. It cuts to the core difference between libertarians and liberals. Yglesias and Kos are liberals which means their base philosophy is founded in egalitarianism. The core precept of the French revolution. Libertarianism is based in the concept of liberty, found in the American Revolution. The two are as far apart as two principles can be despite Kos's valiant effort to meld them..

Egalitarianism sounds wonderful: promoting equality in political, economic, social, and civil rights for all people.

But it never quite works as well as it sounds. Egalitarianism is something which must be forced on people in the economic and social realm (as well as in the realm of "civil rights" when pseudo rights are introduced into the game).

Most libertarians have no problem with some egalitarian inclinations in the realm of politics (one-man-one-vote, equal representation, equal access) or the law. However Democrats believe in a much more extreme version of egalitarianism than do libertarians, to the extent that Democrats support the use of coercion through government to "right" and "balance" perceived wrongs in the economic arena with redistribution and the social arena through such programs as Affirmative Action. They see no ideological conflict between their version of egalitarianism and the use of state sponsored discrimination to ensure it.

Any ideology founded in liberty obviously reject such programs as unacceptable on their face. Yet it is an integral part of that to which Moulitsas admits above. Safety net programs funded through coercion in an attempt to equalize not opportunity but outcome are a staple. Liberty demands choice, yet, Democrats insist that the only choice to which they'll agree is for publicly run schools where all students, presumably, get an "equal" education which they control. And we see similar intentions in the health care arena and many others.

Redistribution, government coercion and government intrusion into the lives of citizens is part and parcel of an ideology based in egalitarianism since, as most learn at an early age, nature never cooperates in that utopian quest. And we can clearly see the result in Europe today, where, barring a demographic miracle states will begin to fail in the middle of this century, falling under the increasingly heavy welfare burden they've placed on themselves and seem unable to abandon (while the US is projected to be spending 6.5% of its GDP on public welfare expenditures by 2050, Germany is projected at 16.9%, Spain at 17.3%, and Greece at 24.8% - those are unsustainable levels, especially with rapidly falling population numbers).

So Moultasis is right, there's nothing libertarian about "libertarian Democrats" except the "flavor". And it's a pretty faint flavor at that.

Kos then thumbs his nose at libertarians he thinks are seeking some "pandering" (seeking it?) by saying this isn't for them.

Well I'm not seeking pandering. In fact, I'm rejecting it.
In the short term, libertarians should vote Democratic simply because divided government is in everyone's interests. A good dose of gridlock will slow Bush's insatiable appetite for ever-growing, deficit-devouring big government. Mid-term, a Democratic trifecta (White House and Congress) would help reverse many of Bush's worst excesses. But 10 to 15 years down the road, libertarians will hopefully have better reasons to move into the "D" column.
Here we have a modicum of agreement on one point. I think divided government is indeed in everyone's interest. Frankly I'd like to see it from now on. But I have to laugh at the implication that somehow this libertarian-flavored Democrat Kos is touting will reign in spending and big government. As PJ O'Rourke said yesterday, "You're going to elect Democrats to control government spending? And you're going to marry Angelina Jolie for her brains."

In 10 to 15 years, given the reasons I cite above and the fact that the core principles of an egalitarian ideology require big, coercive and intrusive government (which means expensive government) to work, I see nothing in the future for libertarians and Democrats.

Kos finishes with what he says this isn't ... a plea for votes.
And if that happens, it won't be because they were pandered to and wooed, and not because Democrats have become doctrinaire traditional libertarians, but because Democrats will be clearly (in word and in deed) the party of individual liberty. Until then, I and many like me will be fighting that battle inside our own party.
Well I wish him good luck with his struggle, but it is simply an ideological impossibility given the liberal core egalitarian principle. While libertarians may, at times, find issues with which to align themselves with Democrats, it should be obvious that each will approach such alignment not in philosophical agreement, but as allies of convenience (like the US and USSR in WWII), both going their separate ways and pursuing different agendas after, hopefully, winning the fight for which they joined each other.
 
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At least with the Democrats you get something for your money, inefficiently provided though it may be: healthcare, education, some sort of safety net. With the Republicans, you get almost equal spending but it goes into the black hole and produces nothing: i.e. spending on the war and "No Child Left Behind".

The Democrats are obviously better on issues of drug legalization and setting fairer punishments for marijuana users; they are better at opposing unnecessary foreign wars; they are better at defending the 4th and 5th Amendments and have gotten much better on the 2nd (the only amendment the GOP has any use for anymore).

Taxes were not that much higher under Clinton and the Democrats, but at least we had leaders who had at least a modicum of respect for the Bill of Rights as opposed to the GOP who have reduced the ten amendments to one.
 
Written By: william
URL: http://
Ahhhh.... The new Compassionate Libertarian!
 
Written By: Jay Evans
URL: http://
At least with the Democrats you get something for your money, inefficiently provided though it may be: healthcare, education, some sort of safety net.
Tell us again about being a libertarian will you William?

This has nothing to do with what you "get" from either of them.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Taxes were not that much higher under Clinton and the Democrats, but at least we had leaders who had at least a modicum of respect for the Bill of Rights as opposed to the GOP who have reduced the ten amendments to one.
Which one?
 
Written By: Come on, Please
URL: http://
So let me get this straight: The tradeoff Libertarians can expect in exchange for higher taxes is an expansion of government services?

I think if you are going to seriously court the vote of Libertarians, you should focus on some of the key tenants of what they believe, namely, limited government and lower taxes.

Promising more confiscatory tax policy in exchange for expanding involvement of government won’t have me jumping over to vote Democrat.

Combine that fact with the propensity of both major parties to say whatever it takes to get elected and then do whatever they please once in office doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.
 
Written By: Ken
URL: http://www.dailylibertarian.com
I think divided government is indeed in everyone’s interest.
I’d like to believe this but I’m not sure there are enough differences between the two parties to enable gridlock.
At least with the Democrats you get something for your money,
Not that I agree with this sentiment but even if I did, I’m not sure thats a good thing, in the long term the perception of getting nothing for your money might provoke an actual demand for smaller government by the populace demanding a refund.
With the Republicans, you get almost equal spending but it goes into the black hole and produces nothing: i.e. spending on the war and "No Child Left Behind".
You forgot the prescription drug bill, which like NCLB was favored by the Dems who actually wanted to spend more.
Taxes were not that much higher under Clinton and the Democrats
Did the Dems control Congress during Clinton’s reign?
 
Written By: err
URL: http://
William,

You are delusional when it comes to the democrats and civil liberties. You said

"The Democrats are obviously better on issues of drug legalization and setting fairer punishments for marijuana users"

Pot arrests doubled during the clinton administration, they strongly prosecuted and opposed the medical marijuana clubs in californa. Don’t forget the "stroke of the pen law of the land" comment that came out of the clinton whitehouse regarding executive power. Only one democrat voted against the patriot act and the democrats strongly support the war on drugs.

If the dems were decent on civil liberties I could support voting for them. The fact is they are as bad if not worse on civil liberties especially when you look at the democrat war on fois gras, junk food etc.

If people like you who think the dems are so great on civil liberties recognized how bad they actually where and pushed the dems to improve their civil liberties postion we would all be better off.

 
Written By: TJIT
URL: http://
What Yglesias points out is very important. It cuts to the core difference between libertarians and liberals. Yglesias and Kos are liberals which means their base philosophy is founded in egalitarianism. The core precept of the French revolution. Libertarianism is based in the concept of liberty, found in the American Revolution. The two are as far apart as two principles can be despite Kos’s valiant effort to meld them..

Egalitarianism sounds wonderful: promoting equality in political, economic, social, and civil rights for all people.

But it never quite works as well as it sounds. Egalitarianism is something which must be forced on people in the economic and social realm (as well as in the realm of "civil rights" when pseudo rights are introduced into the game).


MCQ, you’re dead-on. I just finished The Quest for Cosmic Justice by Thomas Sowell, in which he totally dismantles the notion of liberal egalitarianism and demonstrates how it is both philosophically and practically inconsistent.
 
Written By: Fyro
URL: http://
At least with the Democrats you get something for your money ...
I think you meant to say, YOU get something for MY money. If I want to give you some of my money, I’d rather do it on my own, thank you very much. And if I want something from you, I’ll ask for it or I’ll earn it.

While you may approve of taking from a disfavored class in order to give to a favored class, I certainly don’t. The only thing more appalling than such rationalized theft is how politicians deftly employ such rhetoric when they buy votes from their favored classes with my money.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Some of us, are realists. No Child Left Behind is akin to throwing money down a hole (at least by burning money, you generate some heat). If tweedle-dee wants to spend one trillion dollars on unprovoked foreign excursions, and tweedle-dum wants to spend one trillion dollars on "free" health care, then at least with tweedle-dum (provided as with public edudation, there are still opt-outs), then I will opt for tweedle-dum as the lesser of the two evils.

I love the idea, ERR, that somehow the GOP is doing us a favor by wasting our money, so that ultimately we will all turn libertarian someday! What a campaign strategy. How much longer do I have to wait?

Secondly, unlike the GOP, which lied directly to my face and claimed that it believed in smaller, constrained government, the Democrats are at least looking for coming together ground with libertarians.

No, the Democrats aren’t promising very much, but it is a whole lot better than the "Go f*ck yourself" approach that Bush and the GOP have had towards libertarians.
 
Written By: william
URL: http://
"Pot arrests doubled during the clinton administration, they strongly prosecuted and opposed the medical marijuana clubs in californa. Don’t forget the ’stroke of the pen law of the land’ comment that came out of the clinton whitehouse regarding executive power."
("Stroke of the pen. Law of the land. Kinda cool." Paul Begala, 1998)

It was the Democrats under Tip O’Neill who got out-front on mandatory sentencing back in the day. Rolling Stone did a great article on this some years ago, which I can’t find, but William might find this informative, to start with.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
The Democrats are obviously better on issues of drug legalization and setting fairer punishments for marijuana users; they are better at opposing unnecessary foreign wars; they are better at defending the 4th and 5th Amendments...
Hee hee, yeah, I love the way liberal court judges defended my rights so I can have my property taken for private (corporate!) development under the 5th Amendment! Hurrah for such appointees to the Supreme court!
Bring on more such defense of my rights by Democrats William!

Experts at generating class and race division and envy, yes, they are certainly the friends of the nation.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
What I always find is missing from this debate is the understanding that American politics is THE most libertarian in the world. We need some perspective, people. Both the Republican and Democratic parties in this country are WAY more libertarian than any major political party in any other first world country. We have much lower taxes than the rest of the world, much less regulation, and far fewer government programs. So let’s keep that in mind.

Second, though I realize that most people who self-identify as libertarians in this country tend to be driven more by economic libertarianism than social/civil libertarianism (if they weren’t, they would all have been voting Democratic a long time ago). But isn’t it time to rethink those priorities, especially in light of the point I made above? After all, which is a bigger threat to liberty, a slightly higher marginal tax rate on the top %2 or a law giving the president the authority to detain whomever his pleases without charges?

And why are American libertarians so oblivious to the enhanced personal and economic freedom that comes with universal healthcare? People in other countries who want to quit their job and follow their dream or go into business for themselves don’t have to worry about what will happen if they get sick. Many Americans are stuck in dead-end jobs or scared of going out on their own because they have some sort of medical condition or because they won’t be able to provide health insurance to their family. That’s a HUGE problem and a huge obstacle to meaningful personal and economic liberty. People always talk about preserving choice, but I’d much rather have the choice to do what I want for a living than the choice of which crappy HMO to join (and let’s be honest, most people don’t even have that choice).
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
And why are American libertarians so oblivious to the enhanced personal and economic freedom that comes with universal healthcare?
Uh because we understand that the "Healthcare Faeries" are not magically providing FREE healthcare and that a Universal System of Healthcare, provided by the government produces high taxes, low growth, and ultimately abysmal healthcare.

You’re not serious, right, that WAS satire?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
All this spouting off about libertarianism or egalitaritarianism or any other ism is just plain throwing sand in your eyes -ism.
At bottom are two starkly different ways of relating to society and where along the scale between these two views one fits in.
The neo-libertarian view embraces the MY MONEY view, with the correlate that those unable to meet the challenges of the market place, including the intellectually and physically challenged, can just get it over with and sink. The successful ones can pass their MONEY on to their heirs in toto, thus ensuring that their children won’t need to compete on a level playing field. I bet Paris Hilton is a devout neo-libertarian.
The other view, represented by Democrats in politics, recognizes that even the incapable and unworthy remain a part of society and the problems they project are society’s prollems to address. They are, just by virtue of tackling the problems, likely to make errors in the tactics of addressing them. But at least they address them. Those of the MY MONEY persuasion make no tactical errors, because they don’t participate in addressing the challenges of society.





 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
Uh because we understand that the "Healthcare Faeries" are not magically providing FREE healthcare and that a Universal System of Healthcare, provided by the government produces high taxes, low growth, and ultimately abysmal healthcare.

You’re not serious, right, that WAS satire?


Oh please. That’s rubbish. We spend WAY more on healthcare than any other country, just not all through taxes, and we get demonstrably worse results. Something like 20% of the money we spend goes just to overhead costs like paperwork and claims-filing. Based on actual results, just about every first world country has a better health care system than ours, and they spend way less money. The notion that providing healthcare inhibits growth is just a ridiculous canard. We waste money on health care. And that doesn’t even take into consideration the fact that, as I explained before, tying healthcare to employment actually limits entrepenuership and makes our domestic industries less competitive vis a vis their international counterparts (just ask GM).

If libertarians could just put aside for two seconds all the industry propoganda they’ve been fed, they could see that there is a strong liberty-based argument in favor of providing universal healthcare (not necessarily socialized healthcare, but universal healthcare).
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
a slightly higher marginal tax rate on the top %2 or a law giving the president the authority to detain whomever his pleases without charges?
Class warfare - we all use the same roads, military, etc. Why are the ’rich’ (and the fun starts when I see the definition of rich, by the current definition, I’m almost ’rich’ even though my wife and I both work the usual 45-50 hour weeks to get there) expected to pay more for their government services?
People in other countries who want to quit their job and follow their dream or go into business for themselves don’t have to worry about what will happen if they get sick.
And suppose the dead end job they’re bound for in this hunt for personal enrichment (freedom) is to be a professional skate-boarder, or a professional surfer. Why should I sit at my desk for 40 hours a week to subsidize that life style? Why should any of us, other than the guy who wants to surf, or write bad novels, or whatever? What gives you the idea that they should be able to use my toil and effort (my cash) as a spring-board towards their personal freedom and economic liberty, regardless of what they want to do for a living?

I’m working to support my choices, why shouldn’t they? Who promised them they could do what they wanted and I’d help foot the bill so they can fullfill their dream?
Based on actual results, just about every first world country has a better health care system than ours, and they spend way less money.
Yeah, that’s why so many of those who can afford to, come HERE for treatment, because their systems are better, and the quality is better.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Based on actual results, just about every first world country has a better health care system than ours, and they spend way less money.
Yet, strangely Americans rarely travel outside the US for health care, but the rest of the world seems to find its way here. But I’m sure you’re gonna back up this nonsense you wrote with some facts, right?

(not necessarily socialized healthcare, but universal healthcare)
.
Don’t be a clown. They’re both the same.
Something like 20% of the money we spend goes just to overhead costs like paperwork and claims-filing.
So what? You think if the govt. is running the H.C. show, what, the HC system will be run as efficiently as the DMV?


I’d rather have ALL the money I spend on Healthcare go to my health care. Yet under this wonderful socialized medicine you speak of we’ll ALL be paying for Healthcare, even though we may not be receiving it.
 
Written By: Come on, Please
URL: http://
I don’t think Yglesias or Kos (or most non-residents of the Mountain West for that matter) understand the libertarian streak out here, especially if like Yglesias they want to argue that libertarianism would be a hard sell in Montana. The Mountain West is growing by leaps and bounds, and surprise surprise, most of the jobs aren’t in ranching or mining on Federal lands! That’s not to say that federally subsidized programs aren’t big out here, just that there is an increasing number of people who are not sucking on the federal teat and have little desire to, and that most of the growth is in that sector.

A lot of what you might call "Mountain West conservative-libertarians" believe certain issues should be handled by government, but at the state or local level, not the federal level. They’re not on board with the Democrats or the Republicans, although they tend to side with the Republicans because at least the Republicans are dealing with some of the issues most important to them (e.g. education), albeit at the distasteful federal level. (Honestly, I don’t like NCLB, but what would Democrats do differently to improve education? Throw MORE federal dollars into putting up-to-date computers in crowded classrooms with underpaid teachers??)

So anyone who thinks libertarian-flavored Democratic Kool-Aid would be the beverage of choice out here in the Mountain West, simply because there are federal ranching subsidies, is smoking something pretty strong. (Libertarian-flavored Democratic Jell-O, though, might stand a chance...) ;)
 
Written By: Wacky Hermit
URL: http://organicbabyfarm.blogspot.com
I don’t think Yglesias or Kos (or most non-residents of the Mountain West for that matter) understand the libertarian streak out here, especially if like Yglesias they want to argue that libertarianism would be a hard sell in Montana.
Ygelesias differentiates between "libertarian" and "rugged individualist" if you read his whole piece. You may not agree, but he does make a difference. What you’re describing falls more under the "RI" category. He’s using libertarian in more of an umbrella political sense rather than as a description of individual political desires.

He has a point about the subsidy level in the west.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Something like 20% of the money we spend goes just to overhead costs like paperwork and claims-filing.
Ah, the wonders of socialized medicine. I guess if you ration healthcare you can make it seem better:
Nearly 1,000 operations are being cancelled every working day in the NHS, new figures have revealed.

The vast majority - more than 620 each day - are called off as a result of administrative errors, missing notes or outbreaks of MRSA.

A total of 161,000 operations were abandoned last year as a result of these "managerial" problems - a rise of a quarter over the past four years - according to a survey of NHS trusts. In 2002, the figure was only 130,000.
[...]
While Labour has poured billions of pounds of extra funding into the health service, he stressed that the figures showed that the overall number of cancelled operations had stubbornly remained around 250,000.
Damn those 20% overhead costs!
 
Written By: Jordan
URL: http://
The successful ones can pass their MONEY on to their heirs in toto, thus ensuring that their children won’t need to compete on a level playing field.
What is this level playing field bullcrap? Where’s that written down as a law? What legal document espouses this belief that life should be a level playing field?

How do YOU know what people contribute money to? Have you been reviewing the tax forms to see what charitable contributions are made in monetary form or personal time?
People can choose to contribute, and I think many would, and frankly would probably contribute a bit more if they didn’t have a gun pointed at their heads extorting cash for programs for which they don’t agree.

If I want to contribute I can, and don’t want you to do it for me.
What a concept, me, using my money, that I made. And if that means I hand it on to my kids, what business is that of yours?
Where’s my right to the liberty to do with my money as I see fit?
What made you the expert social engineer to determine if my heirs will or won’t handle their money in a fashion that is acceptable to you?
Who are you to decide if they’re worthy of it or not?

Would you agree to it if I demanded the right to come over to your house and make sure you’re living in a manner of which I approve?
Than what makes you think you have a right to tell me to whom I may leave every dime I have on the earth without handing a pile of it to the government first?
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Secondly, you obviously don’t have kids - if you’re a decent parent you try and give them every advantage in life you can manage, because life ISN’T a level playing field and won’t be until we re-engineer human nature on a world wide basis.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
To those upeset by the ’level playing field’
reference:

You proved my poinst better than I did. It’s all about MY MONEY, MY children’t advantages, MY etc.

Donating to charity is laudable, but ti doesn’t address the problems of society. It puts a bandage on them, while waitign for your next donation.

What I don’t hear is an acknowledgement that our society has problems and that we should address them as a society.

Interestingly, India claims to be aiming at bringing all levels of society into benefiting from their growing economy. We’ll see how that plays out in real life, but at least they acknowledge that there is an inequality issue to be addressed.

 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
PS
I don’t necessarily endorse the current or any past Democratic Party or any particular legislation. I was discussing the people who favor the "Democratic’ view of society.
 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
You proved my poinst better than I did. It’s all about MY MONEY, MY children’t advantages, MY etc.
Well, as long as our society provides private property rights and individual liberties, you’re just going to have to deal with it. There’s nobody stopping you from giving away however much of your money you see fit. Tell me why it’s my obligation to help my neighbor. Tell me why he has a claim on my money.
Interestingly, India claims to be aiming at bringing all levels of society into benefiting from their growing economy. We’ll see how that plays out in real life, but at least they acknowledge that there is an inequality issue to be addressed.
You know, I was deadset on staying home when elections rolled around to punish the Republicans, but this envy and class warfare is just too much. Really, you guys are your own worst enemy.
 
Written By: Jordan
URL: http://
Well, at least you’re not ashamed that you think it’s okay for you to decide what I do with "MY" money.
I’m also glad you’ve decided how efficent charity can be, as opposed to how efficent government re-distribution and re-allocation of wealth can be.
And that you’re completely comfortable with wealth re-distribution under the pretext of social engineering.

Sure, society has problems, some I’m willing to help out with, some I’m not.
For example I’m not willing to support starving artists just for the sake of art, because I don’t view failure to appreciate their art as a social problem.
I’m willing to provide support for people who’ve lost their possessions in a fire, for example.
I’m not willing to provide support for people who’ve lost their possessions because they gamble too much.
Who gets to decide what is a worthy societal problem, and what isn’t?

Let’s pretend you and I are part of a small society -
If I’m going to start addressing problems a society has, I can assure you, I’m going to start telling people how they can live their lives to prevent those problems from occurring. I can assure you, I’m not the only one who will take that approach, because there is limited funding, and many problems, and any we can prevent up front will be that many we don’t have to spend our limited funding on. Reducing them via lifestyle modification will be an economical and practical approach as a society.
You’re in for that I assume, this business of being told how you may and may not live and what you may or may not do so we can prevent these societal problems?
You tell me what the problems are, I’ll administer the system. I’ll be in control of YOUR money and MY money, and I’ll do my level best to fix the problems you identify.

Still want to play?
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Jordan, Hooker, et al:

Don’t ascribe to me any particular policy position
That’s McQ;s area of expertise: First you tell me what I’m proposing (which as often as not totally false)and then you tell me why I’m wrong to sussscribe to a policy which I don’t subscribe to.
I’m pointing to the different ways we relate to OUR society. One way is to see the problems in OUR SOCIETY as OUR problems. Anoyher way is to simply not address them and glory in the failures of those who try.

I see the problems of homelessness as OUR problems. I see the increasing numbers of school shootings as OUR problems.
I don’t have the answers for solving these problems. But I’m willing to support efforts that attempt to examine and address them.
 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
And while I’m at it, I don’t like that MY MONEY is being used to support a stupid and inefficient government. By your reasoning, then I should keep my money and become anarchist.
 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
No Child Left Behind is akin to throwing money down a hole (at least by burning money, you generate some heat).
Democrats voted 195-10/46-2 (1 absence) in favor of it. This was a bipartisan bill.
 
Written By: h0mi
URL: http://
Yes, Laime, that’s correct. And I’ll bet the reason you do send in YOUR MONEY is because you’ll be arrested otherwise. So much for a society voluntarily looking to solve problems.
 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
Laime,
The fatal flaw of your thinking is revealed in this quote of yours.

"They are, just by virtue of tackling the problems, likely to make errors in the tactics of addressing them. But at least they address them."

I suspect you have never had to run a business or make a payroll or deal with any of the business regulations that exist in the real world. If you had you would realize that government action can and does make life harder for the less fortunate but I guess that is OK with you because at least they are addressing the problem.

Furthermore big government always favors big companies and wealthy individuals, Always has and always will.

Paris Hilton and Ted Kennedy both have a battalion of lawyers and accountants to deal with the esatate tax, and they will never be hurt by it. The people who get financially killed by the death tax are the small business owners, ranchers, and farmers who don’t realize they might have a death tax problem, don’t have a battalion of lawyers to help plan for it and therefore lose their business, ranch, or farm because of the death tax.

Same thing applies with regulations. Big companies use regulations to crush their smaller competitors. Big companies can afford to have lots of people to deal with regulations, small companies can’t. A good example of this was in colorado when the major beer distributors were attempting to use regulations to make businees harder for their new competitors, brew pubs and micro breweries.

Libertarians want the less well off to do well and have a chance at a better life. They just realize many of the government actions to help the less fortunate end up harming the less fortunate and make it harder for them to improve their situation.

 
Written By: TJIT
URL: http://
Lamie -

When I proposed you and I were members of a small society, I took control of how the money to be spent would be spent, and took it (the money and control) away from you. Which is exactly what you’ve proposed with my money, except you’re expecting to put some other person in charge of it that you think perhaps more worthy than me (more qualified, when in fact you don’t know whether I’m actually qualified or not).
I did not ascribe any policy to you, I simply said I’d control the money that would be collected, you would not, and I’d do the best I could to handle it properly. The same promise any qualified bureaucrat would make. You wouldn’t have control, because society would, and we’d be dealing with problems as society saw fit. If your views, and society’s views coincided, so much the better for you, if not, ah alas, needs must.
That’s what your proposing for my property, presumably not all of it. You’re happy to see someone else judge what that percentage should be, and willing to determine how ’much’ I can have before I have ’too much’.

At what point I was ’glorying’ in the failures of those who try to address the problems you didn’t outline in the first place, I don’t know. What I was doing was telling you I wasn’t interested in having you take my money on the chance that your social view and my social views were the same.
I see the problems of homelessness as OUR problems. I see the increasing numbers of school shootings as OUR problems.
I don’t have the answers for solving these problems. But I’m willing to support efforts that attempt to examine and address them.
I see these as problems too, nor do I have the answers to such problems, but I can tell you, I’m not willing to spend YOUR money to solve them, because it’s YOUR money.

Therein lies the difference.
I perceive your property to be YOUR property.
You perceive MY property, it would seem, to be social property. I’m not sure how you view YOUR property with regard to society, but I have my suspicions how it would work in reality once the collection of your portions of hard won property actually started to occur if you’re a relatively normal person and perhaps have plans for it yourself.

I am not suggesting I’m not beholden to some level of support for society. I live here, that means I agree that I’m due to pay some support. Schools, roads, etc. I AM suggesting I’m don’t want anyone to be cavalier about reallocating other people’s money. You seem to think I’m entitled to ’x’ amount of my property, and if I make ’too much money’, well, I’m NOT entitled to that, nor are my heirs entitled to it without paying, again, some levy on it. Trust me, ALL my income is taxed - every, last, dime, I don’t have trusts, or bonds, or anything remotely resembling them, so pardon me if I suggest that having taxed it once while I live, I’m not in favor of seeing it taxed again when I die.

You’ve proclaimed in your best high liberal dundgeon-
The neo-libertarian view embraces the MY MONEY view, with the correlate that those unable to meet the challenges of the market place, including the intellectually and physically challenged, can just get it over with and sink.
We were, in effect, unwilling to think of anyone but ME, ME, ME, were willing to watch suffering abound around us, as if any practical thinking person does not understand that in order to live IN society, one DOES have an obligation to contribute back to it, and presumed that through this social decay our money and property alone would keep us warm and safe.

You allow for your view, and some other evil fiction of what you think many of us are like. We’re in it only for ourselves, we help no one unless forced to do so by good people like yourself. No middle ground, we’re b*stards.

Thanks, we love you too!
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
After all, which is a bigger threat to liberty, a slightly higher marginal tax rate on the top %2 or a law giving the president the authority to detain whomever his pleases without charges?
AL, notice how no one has directly answered this question?

It has always puzzled me why so-called libertarians care so little about personal liberty - literally, being personally free of government restraint - and so much more about property rights. I have made this point before numerous times here, and I have yet to hear a cogent answer. I’m not talking about an answer I agree with, I am talking literally about an answer that is logical. Stated another way, they seem to take greater offense to the government taking their property in return for a fair price than they do with the government locking them up indefinitely without access to the courts.

Yes, when push comes to shove, so-called libertarians care more about economic freedoms than they do about social freedoms. But what is so strange is that they exalt economic freedoms even over personal freedoms, i.e., the right not to be locked up indefinitely just because some government stooge thinks it’s a good idea.

It’s too bad the government didn’t seize Jose Padilla’s house - had it done so, many of these so-called libertarians might have actually gotten fired up about his case.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Anonymous Liberal,

If you had a little more experience outside the US and could just put aside for two seconds all the liberal political propoganda you have been fed, you would realize that universal health care has a substantial set of problems.

In fact if you had been in Canada last week you would have seen the following two headlines inside the Globe and Mail.
1. "Clement defends waiting-times strategy"
2. "Here’s progress - very long wait times are now just long"
You could also find and article in bmj (June, 1999) that started with this paragraph
Faced with long waiting lists for cancer treatment, the government of Quebec province, Canada, plans to send patients to the United States at a cost of $US15000 (£9375) each. About 1200 patients are waiting for radiotherapy, 500 in Montreal alone, some for as long as five months
And you would know about the recent canadian court decision forcing the government to allow private health insurance because the government insurance monoply was negatively impacting the human rights of Canadian citizens.

Canada can send patients to the US when the canadian universal health care system starts failing, the US does not have that luxury. So look before you leap, single payer health care sounds great it just never works the way its supporters thought it would when it is tried in the real world.

 
Written By: TJIT
URL: http://
After all, which is a bigger threat to liberty, a slightly higher marginal tax rate on the top %2 or a law giving the president the authority to detain whomever his pleases without charges?
Uh, because the marginal tax rate exists while the detaining whoever he pleases without charges is a lefty fantasy. I mean, you guys are okay when Castro, Mao, Stalin, Hussein did it, but....
 
Written By: Come on, Please
URL: http://
MK Ultra,

In referring to Anonymous Liberal’s comment of
"After all, which is a bigger threat to liberty, a slightly higher marginal tax rate on the top %2 or a law giving the president the authority to detain whomever his pleases without charges?"
You said
’It has always puzzled me why so-called libertarians care so little about personal liberty - literally, being personally free of government restraint - and so much more about property rights.’
The fact is you can’t separate property rights from personal liberty. If the government can take your house, your property, your business, your livelihood, you have no personal liberty.

Chance of anyone of us getting locked up by the nonexistent "law giving the president the authority to detain whomever his pleases without charges?" pretty thin.

The chances of having your personal liberty destroyed by government attacks on your property rights are much, much greater then any risk from being detained by legislation related to the war on terror. Libertarians care about personal liberty, they just focus their defense of it where it is most at risk.


Hope that is a cogent enough answer for you.
 
Written By: TJIT
URL: http://
The fact is you can’t separate property rights from personal liberty. If the government can take your house, your property, your business, your livelihood, you have no personal liberty.

Chance of anyone of us getting locked up by the nonexistent "law giving the president the authority to detain whomever his pleases without charges?" pretty thin.

The chances of having your personal liberty destroyed by government attacks on your property rights are much, much greater then any risk from being detained by legislation related to the war on terror. Libertarians care about personal liberty, they just focus their defense of it where it is most at risk.


It’s a cogent answer. But frankly, it’s not like the Kelo decision had at any time, the support of either grass-roots liberalism or mainstream democrats. When government wants property, it tends to get it. That’s pretty much all that the Supreme Court decision reflects, not liberal philosophy.

What a lot of people don’t know about Kelo is that the local liberals in New London hated the NLDC’s plans to evident domain the poor and minority people there in order to help Pfizer build a megaplex. I knew this story (by freak accident) well before Kelo, and the conservative protest was absolutely nil until the Supreme Court decision.

Property rights are important, and I don’t support the Kelo decision, but it’s not liberals who are out to seize property. When a liberal wants a project built and locals are in the way, they prefer the government *buy* it from the people in question. Government spending, hooray!

Besides - you have no idea and no promises on how the government is going to use its detention abilities. Your sense of security is reasonable for today’s conditions, but very shortsighted.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
William, MK Ultra, et al,

You all appear to be laboring under the false impression that democrats are better then republicans when it comes to civil liberties. I’m getting very tired of this unjustified reflex of people thinking that the democrats are better then the republicans on civil liberties.

David Boaz of Cato (the libertarian think tank) had some commentary on civil liberties during the clinton adminstration here.

Some choice comments from Boaz column
"Clinton has spent eight years in the White House, giving us "don’t ask, don’t tell," the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act, and a doubling of marijuana arrests."
"American Civil Liberties Union president Nadine Strossen wrote recently in the book The Rule of Law in the Wake of Clinton that "a single essay cannot do justice to the injustices that the Clinton administration has perpetrated through its far-ranging assaults on free speech and privacy.""
"Anthony Lewis of the New York Times said, "Bill Clinton has the worst civil liberties record of any president in at least 60 years" — that is, worse than Lewis’s old enemy Richard Nixon. Nat Hentoff of the Village Voice went further, saying that no other American president "has done so much damage to constitutional liberties as Bill Clinton.""
"It should be noted that the president has reversed none of the policies that exercise his critics. Gays are still being discharged from the armed services at a record rate. Marijuana users are still being arrested at a record rate. The administration has not stopped trying to censor the Internet and wiretap our e-mail. Federal databases contain and exchange more information about us every year. So his recent civil liberties rhetoric is just that — rhetoric."
You can also look to the site Talkleft for more commentary on how bad civil liberties were abused by the clinton administration here.

All of this was going on before there were any major terror attacks within the US. If that was what the democrats were doing in that benign environment I shudder to think how much of an assault on civil liberties we would have seen if the democrats had been in power after a September 11 size attack.
 
Written By: TJIT
URL: http://
People in other countries who want to quit their job and follow their dream or go into business for themselves don’t have to worry about what will happen if they get sick.
Ignoring of course that those people who want to quit their present job to "follow their dreams" face extraordinarily onerous impediments established by the same nanny state that provides that extremely costly and not too effective universal health care.

Interesting, isn’t it, AL, that with such freedoms to quit work and follow ones dreams has left Europe with a stagnant GDP. One might even surmise that those following their dreams are a hindering rather than helping said economies.
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
Same thing applies with regulations. Big companies use regulations to crush their smaller competitors

Big companies use all kinds of things to crush their smaller competitors, including intellectual property, selling product at a loss, lawsuits, squeezing distributors and suppliers areas, fraud, and in Russia, assasination.

Some of these tactics are aided and abetted by the state, but the answer is not to rollback the state, because local authorities are even more willing to do this than federal ones. And before the state was involved, the guild system took care of coercive monopoly status by themselves. In a genuinely neuteured state (magic?), the guild/cartel system would simply re-emerge. It’s the nature of man.

The answer is not to rollback the state but to fight specific anticompetitiven abuses. They may include regulations, but usually the answer is to tweak the regulation, not eliminate it, or to counterbalance the effect with small-business subsidies/incentives, of which we have many.

Even if corporations use governemnt to stifle competition, the driving engine of the stilfling comes from the corporation. Markets fail. If they didn’t, anarcho-capitalist utopia would really be possible. If government wasn’t around, corporations would simply control people directly.

 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
I’ll say it again, if the democrats would support civil liberties I could vote for them based on a reasonable trade off between higher taxes and more civil liberties.

Unfortunately the democrats tend to provide us with the worst of both worlds.

First, we get the same reduction in civil liberties through crimminal law that we have with the republicans. Don’t forget when it was politcally expedient to support the patriot act only one democrat voted against it in the senate.

Second, we get a reduction in economic liberties in the form of higher taxes and more regulations that benefit big business. Finally, we get an increasing push into very personal issues like what kind of foods we should be allowed to eat.

If the democrats want to be taken seriously on civil liberties they are going to have show they have changed their past bad behavior on civil liberties. And if their supporters want to be taken seriously on the issue they are going to have to acknowledge the past failures of the democrats with respect to civil liberties and show what they will do to protect civil liberties.
 
Written By: TJIT
URL: http://
McQ,
Your third draft is an improvement on your previous ones. It is indeed intellectually consistent for genuine libertarians to resist the idea that Democrats have become ideologically identical to them. Both libertarians and Democrats should be able to admit that. Of course, Kos has also clarified, saying what I thought he was always saying - not that he’s becoming a libertarian, but indeed that he sees a libertarian-flavored segment of his party arising and supports it.

Thus the debate is over what "libertarian-flavor" actually means. For me, it means more careful political, legislative, and regulatory policies that allow greater competition, and at times, more market-mechanisms. No Child Left Behind is a good policy idea, Republican or not - I’m not sure how it’s been implemented, and I don’t support vouchers, but like most ordinary folk, we want to see public schools graded and punished if they don’t improve.

It’s not libertarianism. It’s not the end of public schooling. But it differs from a traditional democratic solution of _only_ increasing funding as a response to problems. Not only that, it’s probably an attempt to incorporate libertarian-like methods at a micro-level to achieve traditional egitalitarian and positive-freedom social-benefit ends.

That’s the sort of policy you might see libertarian-flavor-democrats supporting.

Something to think about, longer term:

Yglesias and Kos are liberals which means their base philosophy is founded in egalitarianism. The core precept of the French revolution. Libertarianism is based in the concept of liberty, found in the American Revolution. The two are as far apart as two principles can be despite Kos’s valiant effort to meld them..

on the other hand, doesn’t "no taxation without representation" sound a lot like a cry for equality? Political, that is.

Most libertarians have no problem with some egalitarian inclinations in the realm of politics (one-man-one-vote, equal representation, equal access) or the law. However Democrats believe in a much more extreme version of egalitarianism than do libertarians

Most people inherently support both liberty and egalitarian outcomes. Egalitarianism is the intellectual outgrowth of altruism, a core human instinct. As is liberty. The different political philosophies stem from how individuals choose to resolve conflicts between the two values in practice.

However, smart thinkers find creative ways, helped by technological change, of shrinking the marginal cost of implementing either value against the other.

By the way, pardon the pretention of the opening line, I thought this was intelligent and reasonably objective.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
He has a point about the subsidy level in the west.
I seem to recall seeing that somewhere McQ, do you happen to have a quick link?

I ask because IIRC, it wasnt really the west, rather the rural that benefitted at behest of the urban.
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
on the other hand, doesn’t "no taxation without representation" sound a lot like a cry for equality? Political, that is.
Of course, which is why, in the post, I noted:
Most libertarians have no problem with some egalitarian inclinations in the realm of politics (one-man-one-vote, equal representation, equal access) or the law.
The egalitarian extremism comes in the realms of the social and economic (again, as noted).
Most people inherently support both liberty and egalitarian outcomes.
I’m not sure that’s true. Most support both only if liberty is enhanced in the process.

Affirmative Action is quite egalitarian but hardly pro-liberty. Income redistribution is extremely egalitarian, but woefully short on the liberty front.
It’s not libertarianism. It’s not the end of public schooling. But it differs from a traditional democratic solution of _only_ increasing funding as a response to problems. Not only that, it’s probably an attempt to incorporate libertarian-like methods at a micro-level to achieve traditional egitalitarian and positive-freedom social-benefit ends.
No, it’s not libertarian, as you note. And the fact that you see it as faintly libertarian compared to what the present Democratic position might be doesn’t at all mean I find anything at all attractive about it.

While the stated objective of neolibertarianism is to back legislation which enhances liberty, sometimes micro-level enhnacements to such don’t fill the bill given the macro-level assaults on it in the same legislation.
By the way, pardon the pretention of the opening line, I thought this was intelligent and reasonably objective.
I really didn’t consider your opening pretentious at all, probably because I agree with you. The first post up was one I simply threw up there in reaction to the post (in fact, I even called it an "initial reaction"). It wandered a bit.

I’ve had an opportunity to mull it over more and more and this latest Kos piece gave me an opportunity to give my position a little more clarity.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Oh, just stop it!
Re big government, big corporations, big fovernemt = you keep telling me what I think. And You’re wrong, wrong, wrong!
As a matter of fact, I agree with TJIT about small business vs. big business. I would go further and say that big business is beginning to act like a parallel government.

For the nth time: I was simply pointing out that we approach issues from different angles.

On personal responsibility, for example, the very first question that comes to my mind is: what about those who can’t measure up, like the mentally ill? You would say the answer lies in charities, but I have a problem with the vagaries of donors deciding which cause to support this month vs. last month, etc.
I agree that government programs are wasteful, inefficient and often counter productive. I don’t see any reason why we can’t look for more efficient and more productive programs, constantly evaluating and re-evaluating the results: accountability.

The whole question of taxes is problematic. You don’t like to be forced to pay for social programs. I don’t like to be forced to pay for cronyism over ability, for elected officials enriching themselves through the power of their office, for an obscenely wasteful Defense Departmet, and a whole host of other tax paid ventures.

If you identify yourself as part of a community/nation, you will always have to live with some policies you don’t like. We just have a different scale for priotitizing. My number one priority is to eliminate waste, inefficiency and corruption. But issues involving poverty and disadvantage rank high. You rank things differently.

In the middle, there is lots we could agree on. Vut we will get to the middle from different angles.

 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
It really all boils down to the big gorilla in the corner: What is the proper role of government and what are its limitations. All the talk about corporatism is besides the point. Any group of people will wield influence in proportion to their numbers and wealth. It might be corporations, it might be values voters, it might be Unions, it might be the civil rights coalition.

The only way to be sure that groups whose goals are foreign to your own do not lord it over you is to not give government much power in the first place.
BUT! government can in fact do many great things, many useful things, so it’s always a balancing act.

That is why I find my comfort zone with a synthesis of Libertarian, and right wing views, with a little contrarianism thrown in.

Do we need a welfare system?
Uhmm yes, you need a small efficient system as an inoculation against getting full blown socialism

Do big corporations sometimes have too much power?
Yes, the answer is not to emasculate industry, but to stop giving handouts and freebies to industry.

DO we need public education?
No, we need public FUNDING of education with some oversight roll. Go with vouchers.

Do we need progressive taxes?
Got no problem with progressive taxes, I have a problem with Oppressive taxes,
answer? An alternative maximum tax, or just go with sale taxes. (the are progressive enough, after all the more you spend, the more you pay.)



 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
"If government wasn’t around, corporations would simply control people directly."

Here’s an assertion for which I’d like to see evidence.
 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
Let me qualify that by saying some who identify as "proper libertarians" disagree with it. Others, however, have embraced it fully, and have rationalized their support for Democrats based on the silliness Kos has cobbled together and their disgust with this version of the Republicans.
Having read the arguments of the "proper libertarians" who buy into the Libertarian Democrat canard, I have become firmly convinced that they identify themselves as libertarians due to their hyper-legalistic and absolutist views on civil liberties. Many of these libertarians are lawyers, and many of them seem to have been driven into our (libertarian) camp by the Drug War. These libertarians do not seem to value economic liberty as much as "old school" libertarians, and, in some of their writings they actually seem to tacitly agree with the Democrats’ "positive rights" philosophies.
Egalitarianism is something which must be forced on people in the economic and social realm (as well as in the realm of "civil rights" when pseudo rights are introduced into the game).
Egalitarianism violates Kant’s categorical imperative that each man is an end unto himself, never to be used as a means to other ends.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
Ask some of the holocaust survivors if corporations can have negative effects on liberty? Every heard of the German corporations Bayer or IG Farben?

With respect to where to go? Most people tend to go where they are wanted. The Democrats are making overtures to libertarians; the Republicans are not. Bush, Rove, Hastert et al. despise and scorn libertarians; small government Republicans like Kasich, Armey and Bill Armstrong have either been driven from the party or voluntarily term-limited themselves and been replaced with fundamentalist puritanical know-nothings.

Basically, the Republican Party views libertarians the way the Democrats have viewed Blacks. And in the same way that Jackie Robinson supported Richard Nixon, who offered to actually work with him on some issues, as opposed to JFK, who took the Black vote for granted, this libertarian will be voting straight ticket Democratic for the first time in his life.
 
Written By: william
URL: http://
Interestingly, India claims to be aiming at bringing all levels of society into benefiting from their growing economy. We’ll see how that plays out in real life, but at least they acknowledge that there is an inequality issue to be addressed.

Everyone recognizes that inequality exists. Where we differ is in the belief that we can do something about it. While India may seek to "address" inequality, they will fail because "equality" of the kind that you describe can’t be defined, much less balanced out.

It is the nature of the universe that reasources are limited. Not just physical, material resources but conceptual and metaphysical resources as well. People have different IQs and different levels of emotional and intellectual capacity, as well as millions of other points of advantage and disadvantage. You’ve tried to account for all the unknowable characteristics that make people different from each other by reducing them all to a least common denominator of economic status or income, but that measure ingores thousands of other characteristics that, actually, are not negligible.

Because resources are limited, and are not available to the same degree to all people, there can never be "equality" of the kind you seek to impose.

A ship with 300 people aboard is sinking. There are only 200 life-preservers. Applying your definition of equality, the only "just" course of action is for all to drown.
 
Written By: Fyro
URL: http://
And the Drug War violates Kant’s imperative in exactly the same way, Aldo.
 
Written By: william
URL: http://
I am as much opposed to the drug war as you are William.

If you are willing to give the Democrats carte blanche to carry out their statist agenda as long as you perceive them to be better in terms of your single-issue litmus test then you would be more accurately described as an "anti-drug-war voter" than a libertarian.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
Aldo, would that I had carte blanche to give. Say, isn’t that a French term?. Bob Ney isn’t going to like that, freedom fries and all. Oh wait, he’s in jail now. Let freedom ring.

Having just perused the Bill of Rights, the Democrats are better on most of them, certainly on the 1st, 4th, 6th, 7th, and 8th. Republicans are better on the 2nd, although the gap is narrowing and maybe on the 3rd Amendment. Both parties pretty much ignore the 9th(my favorite) and the 10th.
 
Written By: william
URL: http://
I’ll say it again, if the democrats would support civil liberties I could vote for them based on a reasonable trade off between higher taxes and more civil liberties.
Today George Bush signed a law that says the president can designate any citizen and enemy of the state, er, I mean, an enemy combatant, and have that person held indefintitely, without ever getting into court. Oh, and torture them too, at least if Bush says it isn’t torture. For the first time in American history, a law has been passed that the president can jail anyone he deems an enemy of the state, I mean an enemy combatant. Have presidents assumed this power before? Yes. But never has a law been passed through the usual process to reach this result.

So the libertarian universe is abuzz with cries for revolution against the federal government. Right? I mean, after all, when the government passes a law that says that one person in the government can keep a citizen of the United States of America in jail for years, and can unilaterally deny that citizen the right to confront his accuser in a court of law, haven’t we reached Soviet territory? My god, libertarians must be going nuts. Right? This is the end, right? The watershed moment? The government has crossed the Rubicon. After all, isn’t the power to designate a citizen an enemy of the state and stick him in jail and deny him access to the courts the very opposite of libertarianism? Right?

Hardly. From what I can tell, libertarians have no actual problem with it. To them, it’s Kelo that is the real threat. On this historic day, the so-called libertarians - at least on this site - have sent out a collective yawn.

Funny that. And here I thought libertarians cared about liberty. What the hell could I have been thinking?
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
For the first time in American history, a law has been passed that the president can jail anyone he deems an enemy of the state, I mean an enemy combatant. Have presidents assumed this power before? Yes. But never has a law been passed through the usual process to reach this result.

Yes, as you answered your own question, presidents have assumed this power in the past. The biggest difference between presidents using this power in the past and our current president’s use of it today is only a matter of scale. In the past the use of this power was on a scale massively larger than today, with less oversight than today, with more abuses than today, and with far less guilt-ridden hand-wringing than today. If we’ve reached Soviet territory, it certainly is a Brady-bunch, p*ssy-whipped version of Soviet territory.

Why stop at comparing it to the Soviet Union? Why not go for the Spainish Inquisition? or the mother of all hyperbolic comparisons: the Nazis, omg!

The rules for the President’s authority have been around since the Constitution was created, but that’s not good enough for you. The entire reason that this law had to be passed was because people with your mindset insisted that it be done.
 
Written By: Fyro
URL: http://
The biggest difference between presidents using this power in the past and our current president’s use of it today is only a matter of scale. In the past the use of this power was on a scale massively larger than today, with less oversight than today, with more abuses than today, and with far less guilt-ridden hand-wringing than today. If we’ve reached Soviet territory, it certainly is a Brady-bunch, p*ssy-whipped version of Soviet territory.
Inside nearly every so-called libertarian is a closeted authoritarian, willing to suspend disbelief about the current government, because it could never be as bad as past governments. That could never happen. Government continues to get better, right? Isn’t that the libertarian mantra? Or is it the opposite?

As to your utterly meaningless point, you say that Bush has not abused the law to the extent that others have abused the power in the past. That seems to be your point.

Of course, the law was just passed today. Of course the president has not had abused a law that was passed today. It was just passed today. You know what I mean when I say today? Like, within a matter of hours. Although Bush is crafty, how does even he use a law within a matter of hours?

You’re comparison is meaningless.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
We spend WAY more on healthcare than any other country, just not all through taxes, and we get demonstrably worse results.
Prove it. You don’t provide any facts to substantiate this claim which is at the core of the liberal argument for nationalized heath care. Since you don’t provide any basis for your claim, I’ll help you out with the typical liberal talking points by quoting Paul Krugman
In 2002 the United States spent $5,267 per person on health care. Canada spent $2,931; Germany spent $2,817; Britain spent only $2,160. Yet the United States has lower life expectancy and higher infant mortality than any of these countries.
American life expectancy has everything to do with our lifestyle and just about nothing to do with the quality and quantity of health care we consume. Furthermore, comparing U.S. infant mortality rates with other countries is just plain dishonest.

That being said, let’s see how well nationalized health care works everywhere else. Just last year the Herald of Scotland reported on an 800% increase in patients forced to wait a full year before they could even see a doctor. The Scottish health ministry is on top of the problem however, and its health minister was quoted as saying "But now we have set six month maximum waits for both outpatient and inpatient treatment by the end of this year and we will deliver." Yeah, those six month waits are a lot better than what I get with my health plan. Hell, I could walk about five blocks from my house down to the Venice Family Clinic and get seen today, without any health insurance. Or, I could call my doctor up and get seen within the week with my health insurance.

How about Canada’s vaunted health care system that Hillary wanted to recreate here? They spend less on health care because they ration it and they outsource it ["Canada outsources to the United States certain medical procedures for which the waiting line in Canada is years, but can be accomplished in only months in the US."].

We spend more on health care than other countries and we get more for our money. Don’t take my word for it, take Paul Krugman’s
"Why can’t we seem to keep the lid on medical costs, for older adults and for everyone else as well? The answer — the clean little secret of health care — is simple: we actually do get something for our money. In fact, there is a consensus among health care experts that the main driving force behind rising costs is neither greed nor inefficiency nor even the aging of our population but technological progress...We spend ever more on medicine mainly because we keep on finding good new things that (a lot of) money can buy."
But of course, that was back in 1997. What was going on back then? Oh yeah, a Democrat was President.

Liberals are full of it. Nationalized health care would be a disaster. And by the way, does anyone really think that Bill or Hillary or Krugman would wait six months to be seen by a doctor like the rest of the proles? Not a chance because they are special and deserve to get special treatment. I know that because they have told us how great they are.

That is at the core of why a real libertarian can never vote Democrat. Big bureacracies don’t foster freedom. They don’t even achieve egalitarianism. Does Castro go to one of those filthy Cuban hospitals that his subjects are forced to go to? Do you really think Paul Martin ever waited to see a doctor when he was Prime Minsiter of Canada? This appeal to libertarians is just another Orwellian attempt by the Democrat party to use newspeak to hide what they are. Thay are totalitarians who want to control everyone else. I’m not buying it.
 
Written By: Anonymous
URL: http://www.qando.net
And why are American libertarians so oblivious to the enhanced personal and economic freedom that comes with universal healthcare?
Yeah, and also universal food! Everybody need foods and some people have to go to work at crappy jobs just so they can afford to eat. Imagine the liberty you would have if you didn’t have to worry about feeding your family.

I’ve always wanted to start my own buggy whip manufacturing company, but my pesky appetite keeps me chained to the workaday world. I’m so oppressed by the top 2%. I am not wealthy because they have the money.

I would buggy whip my way to the very top of the world, but America won’t let me.
 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
Strange how Canada has a higher life expectancy than the U.S. with all that rotten healthcare going on up there.

And guess what, the U.S. does have socialized healthcare and it is pretty good. I was born in the U.S. Naval Hospital at Camp LeJeune and my parents had no complaints. My mother said that, yes, you had to wait a lot, but the medicine was good.

So what we have in the U.S. is the following: Old People get free healthcare; poor people get free healthcare; government workers get free healthcare; the military gets free healthcare; rich people get it from work or buy their own, and that leaves the lower middle class and middle class to sweat it out and hope that they do not become suddenly unemployed.

The idiocy of the people on this site who pretend that the U.S. has some sort of free market in healthcare is perplexing, but if you want to get rid of what we do have, then let’s start with wealthy seniors and non-combatant military personnel and let’s give them a taste of the free market. I am sure that they will love it and it should be an effective political strategy.
 
Written By: william
URL: http://
mkultra,

I trust legislative actions and passed laws to show me where the political stand civil liberties, not kind platitudes and warm sentiments. I have put up numerous examples of how democrats are as bad if not worse then republicans on civil liberties.

For further examples of how pathetic the democrats are on civil liberties you could, but I suspect you won’t, look at the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996. or you could look at the proposed Know your customer banking regulations of 1999

I have no use for the republicans. Unfortunately for your position the democrats have shown they are just as bad on civil liberties as the republicans. Your willfull ignorance of the abundant evidence of the democrat’s disrespect for civil liberties shows you are more concerned about getting democrats elected then you are about preserving civil liberties.

You never knew about the statement out of the last democrat whitehouse "stroke of the pen, law of the land, pretty cool" I never forgot about it.

Hope you enjoy being a shill for democrats no matter how bad their civil liberties positions are.


 
Written By: TJIT
URL: http://
William,

The canadians also have a population that is vastly different then the US. You ignore that fact at your policy peril.
 
Written By: TJIT
URL: http://
You pretty sure that ’better’ healthcare = greater life expectancy William? Or universal health care = greater life expectancy? So sure you’re willing to bet money on it? Cause I’ll take that bet, for as much as you’ve got. Ditto on infant mortality.
 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
William,

To be clear I should have said

The canadians also have a population demographic that is vastly different then the US. You ignore this fact at your policy peril.
 
Written By: TJIT
URL: http://
Well, How about Japan? Spain? Norway? France? They all beat us too and guess what kind of healthcare systems they have?
 
Written By: william
URL: http://
The idiocy of the people on this site who pretend that the U.S. has some sort of free market in healthcare is perplexing, but if you want to get rid of what we do have, then let’s start with wealthy seniors and non-combatant military personnel and let’s give them a taste of the free market. I am sure that they will love it and it should be an effective political strategy.
Physician, heal thyself! Everybody whose cognitive function surpasses that of Cro Magnon man understands that when we argue that the U.S. has a free market healthcare system, that there is in fact a degree of socialism there (as there is in any market in the U.S., and the world for that matter). For your benefit, I’m going to spell it out for you. Next time you see "European socialism" or some variant thereof mentioned on this site, I want you to think to yourself "European socialism is not pure socialism." Likewise, when you see "American capitalism" or some variant thereof, think "American capitalism is not pure capitalism." That ought to help you keep up with us idiots.

Oh and I’m all for getting rid of government influence on healthcare, with the exception of the military. I’m sure that as a self-titled "true libertarian," you’ll recall that national defense is one the few legitimate areas of government activity. I’m sure that you’ll agree that the military having its own healthcare system is vital for national defense.
 
Written By: Jordan
URL: http://
Actually, I don’t have a problem with the military receiving healthcare, as I stated above; from all indications the socialist military healthcare system is pretty good. Unless libertarians are willing to end all subsidization of public education, I find the moralist arguments against a single-payer healthcare system to be pretty thin.
 
Written By: william
URL: http://
Well, How about Japan? Spain? Norway? France? They all beat us too and guess what kind of healthcare systems they have?
Really? Suppose your doctor suspects you might have a brain tumor. How would you feel about waiting 6 months for an MRI you can get here inside of a couple of days?

The availability of top notch health care services is far superior here to anyplace else in the world. Waiting lists, which are a hallmark of socialized medicine, do not exist here. There are also very, very few restrictions on a patient’s choice to get the treatment of their choice. The government makes those decisions in socialized medicine.

I like this way better, and I’m one of those "middle-class guys sweating it out".
 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
Your point is well-taken with respect to some nations, but is not what was being debated, which was the effects of national healthcare on a nation’s overall life expectancy. As long as there are opt-outs, nothing would prevent people from seeking outside specialists in the same why that my parents chose to send their children to private schools.

People on the right often fail to distinguish between the notions of single payor and government-run healthcare. Just because the Government agrees to pay or insure does not mean I can’t pick my own doctor, anymore than government scholarships or loans preclude students from picking their own colleges.
 
Written By: william
URL: http://
Politics is nothing but organized hatred, and nothing good can ever come from it. This being said, the headlong rush into the jaws of the tiger being practised by politically desperate LP types is particularily appalling.

First off is the ridiculous notion that Democrats are somehow less committed to the War on Drugs. Our own local Democrat whore of a congressthing, Marie Cantwell (she of the big, submissive teeth)is foursquare behind various increasingly oppressive measures against the Scourge of Methamphetamine, but I suppose that this kind of thing isn’t really "oppression" to the potheads who make up most of the legalization crowd.

Adding up a laundry list of Republican and Democratic betrayals of freedom is somewhat deceptive. Runaway spending is a slow-motion disaster; the Patriot Act and similar Stupid Party measures are an abstract threat, as they are intended for use against foreigners. This isn’t very reassuring, of course, but it’s nothing compared to what we’ll get with a Democrat president and a Democrat congress. A renewed War on Guns will bring the immediant prospect of violent repression, violent reaction and quite possibly civil war. This would be a very bad thing. Disaster is inevitable anyway, but I’d like to put the evil day off for a while.

Even the most cursory examination of sites like Democratic Underground or (ahem) the Daily Kos reveals enthusism for repressive measures against the political opposition and against the opposition press. Libertarian memories must be very short indeed, not to remember Clinton-era repression, ranging from IRS audits to Waco.

The Stupid Party is corrupt and stupid, and naive. Power is in their hands and they let their opponents run circles around them. The Evil Party is something else again: a Democrat president backed up by a Democrat Congress will use domestic power ruthlessly, and among their targets will be - of course! - all the foolish and naive libertarians who trusted the promises of a Markos Moultisas.
 
Written By: John Sabotta
URL: http://www.no-treason.com
Nothing will stop the rush of the lemmings. What amazes me is the notion that anyone as personally despicable as Moulitsas, in charge of a forum where members have advocated terror and executions, is to be seriously and thoughtfully considered. As if everything he was saying wasn’t a lie - a completely cynical lie for electoral purposes - from beginning to end.
 
Written By: John Sabotta
URL: http://www.no-treason.com
Nothing will stop the rush of the lemmings. What amazes me is the notion that anyone as personally despicable as Moulitsas, in charge of a forum where members have advocated terror and executions, is to be seriously and thoughtfully considered. As if everything he was saying wasn’t a lie - a completely cynical lie for electoral purposes - from beginning to end.
 
Written By: John Sabotta
URL: http://www.no-treason.com

 
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