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The "Ron Paul Voter"
Posted by: McQ on Friday, October 19, 2007

I couldn't help wondering if the entire purpose of the latest Michael Kinsley article in TIME was to describe another 'voting bloc' ala the Soccer Mom or the Angry White Male, as a target for the two major parties.

Kinsley, as he says himself, oversimplifies much of the ideology at work among the various groups he identifies, but he takes the occasion of Ron Paul's candidacy and his amazing fund raising performance to tell us who he suspects Paul's supporters might be:
The computer revolution has bred a generation of smart loners, many of them rich and some of them complacently Darwinian, convinced that they don't need society—nor should anyone else. They are going to be an increasingly powerful force in politics.
If you've been around the 'net for more than a couple of years, and ever ventured into Usenet or Yahoo groups, you know that the on-line political community is, or at least was, disproportionately libertarian or libertarian-leaning for quite some time. Since the birth of political blogs and the movement of both right and left activism onto the internet, that doesn't seem to be the case anymore, at least in my estimation. But there is still a large population of libertarians on-line who have found it a congenial place to gather.

Now a bit surprisingly, with Paul, libertarians have become more activist as evidenced by his support and fund raising success. And with that in mind, Kinsley has a bit of a point, 5 mil is 5 mil and in the world of political fund raising, nothing to sneeze at. But "increasingly powerful force"? Eh, I don't think so.

Kinsley breaks down the two major influencing forces in today's politics as libertarian and communitarian. His oversimplified descriptions do well enough. But when you read about them and take a moment to think about it, you will realize that it isn't the libertarian side which is growing in strength, at least not as I've observed recent political events. It is the communitarian side, or, Democrats.


One particular statement from Kinsley I wanted to highlight:
"Very few Democrats self-identify as libertarians, but they are in fact much more likely to have a live-and-let-live attitude toward the lesbian couple next door or the Islamofascist dictator halfway around the world.
Best response comes from Reason's Jesse Walker:
The modal Democrat's tolerance toward her lesbian neighbors might dry up if they take to smoking after sex.
Heh ... that's just "on target". See Jon's post about choices and keep it in mind as you read the Kinsley article.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

I just about blogged on that article, but it just didn’t quite punch all the way through my deeply-cultivated ennui, today. His second paragraph was enough to crash the whole project.

He "oversimplified" because he’s a bloody simpleton.

Just what we need: Michael Kinsley describing libertarianism to readers of Time magazine.

That’s really going to work out. You bet.
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—
I appreciate your point and that’s why I mostly took the approach I did. To sift through everything Kinsley said and and attempt to "unsimplify" it would take a book.

But anyone who looks around at the situation today and then concludes the libertarians are going to be an increasingly powerful force is not located in the same universe I am.
Written By: McQ
I think a more in-depth exploration of the libertarian v communitarian mores of the internet over time could be fascinating. With the internet’s recent past identified by things like Linux, Wikipedia, MySpace, and YouTube, I think you could argue for a distinctly communitarian shift in the collective attitude of the internet.
Written By: James O
URL: http://
OTOH, McQ you are too "frightened" of the communitairans....SCHIP failed, with any luck even if she is elected HillaryCare will fail. It’s NOT "communitarians" v. "libertarians". It’s leadership cadres fighting for the middle. From 1948 to 1968 there a broad Keynesian consensus in this country. Not everyone was J M Keynes or J K Gailbraith, just a few were, but they had the support of a majority of voters, most of the time.

That’s what you’re fighting for, MOST of the voters, MOST of the time. Look at Marxist-Leninism, never a more failed ideology is there, but it is still extant, or even rife, in the West, usually as Frankfurt Schule Marxists. Marxism hasn’t been "defeated" as in ther aren’t any Marxists, but rather that only a few die-hards buy into it and it is ELECTORALLY dead. I don’t worry about communitarians getting stronger or weaker...on the ’Net or on campus. Ideologues are always the minority in any political coalition, they are the visionaries and the leaders, "the revolutionary vanguard" but not the majority of the coalition.

The goal is to influence voters, most of whom probably have the motto of, "I don’t care if it’s a black cat or a red cat, I only care if it catches mice." It’s just the libertarian/conservative/communitarian’s job to explain that the red cat/black cat is the preferable option, and it will most likely be done on a case-by-case basis. After a long time, most people will tend towards one set of ideologic biases, a la the 1948 example...and that usually means that that paradigm is about to shift. Once "We’re all Keynesians now" usually the Conventional Wisdom is about kaput. The era 1968-75 really saw the end of that Conventional Wisdom, with the rise of the New Left and it’s control on the McGovern Wing of the D-party, the end of "Scoop Jackson Democrats" and the rise of "Supplyside Economics and Reagan Conservatism."

Bottom-line: who cares if one group or the other is bigger on the ’Net, what counts is who mobilizes at the polls.
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
"Very few Democrats self-identify as libertarians, but they are in fact much more likely to have a live-and-let-live attitude toward the lesbian couple next door or the Islamofascist dictator halfway around the world.
Hmmm - I guess it would all depend if they were Vivid Girl lesbians or the Rosy O’Donnell lesbians...

One of those options would not be so bad ;-)
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
"...would take a book."
John Hospers. 1971.

It’s pretty good, even accounting for the fact that he went looking for pimp-work in ’72.
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—
"Very few Democrats self-identify as libertarians, but they are in fact much more likely to have a live-and-let-live attitude toward the lesbian couple next door or the Islamofascist dictator halfway around the world.
I like that line. To be more accurate, its more like: "If we are nice to the Islamofascist dictator halfway around the world, we hope they will let-us-live"
Written By: Jimmy the Dhimmi
Kinsley isn’t paying attention, is late to the party. Ignore him.
Written By: NH Votes Ron Paul
URL: http://
On the federal level, there is very little difference if any between conservatives and libertarians. That is why Ron Paul is both. Because at the federal level, and the office Ron Paul is running for, they historically agree. And this is why many libertarians have voted republican for years.

They do not differ until the state level, which this is not an election for. Libertarians believe the limited government should also apply at the state level, while a conservative believes in alot more state power.

The neo-cons are not from the right, they are from the side of big government. They in fact deceived republicans by saying they were 1 way, but then doing the opposite once in office.

For the reason, about half of republicans are pissed as they are starting to realize this.

When the media calls Ron Paul libertarian, they are doing it as a way of saying he is not a republican. This is false, and it is a lie. He does not fit the bill at all on a state level for a libertarian.
Written By: badmedia
Great site!

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Written By: Steve

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