Breitbart on Libertarians and Conservatives

Over at Reason, they have a review of Andrew Breitbart’s speech to CPAC:

Breitbart, who admits to having libertarian leanings, thinks libertarians should not be discouraged by the media’s portrayal of the conservative movement. “[Libertarians] don’t want to be in the same room as conservatives because it will hurt their street cred. Conservatives, especially right now, have a hell of a lot more in common with libertarianism than Barack Obama and what the progressive left stand for,” he said.

Alas, I think there is quite a bit to say for what Breitbart is claiming.  Certainly, libertarians — even those who are hostile to conservatives — must recognize that Obama and the progressives are the great threat now.  And I think, as compared to 2008, libertarians tend to get this.  It is true that, even if the Republicans and conservatives win the Presidency, the Senate, and the House, they would likely achieve less than one would hope.  But that is, one must admit, the reality of politics.  Change is gradual.

Libertarians are in a tricky situation.  Being neither liberal nor conservative, they must navigate in a world in which they are a small minority.  For those in the academy, there is a strong temptation to emphasize the distinction with conservatives, so that they can “pass” for non-conservatives.  Back in the day, which I was less conservative than I am now, I was invited to a wedding of a guy I knew in law school.  His bride admitted to me at the wedding itself, that I would not have been invited, had I been a conservative.  A libertarian could pass, but not a conservative.

Libertarians who are in other circles dominated by conservatives — say in Republican politics — have the reverse situation, where they are treated badly by social conservatives.  Sadly, the Weekly Standard for many years was quite unfair to libertarians.

I have seen this from different perspectives over the course of my life.  In my early years as a libertarian, I equally resisted the conservative and liberal labels.  (Hence, I was invited to the wedding.)  But over time I came to move a bit to the conservative side, and often was viewed as a conservative — I still am to this very day.

There is, whether we like it or not, a social side to politics, and people — being both social and political animals — respond to both.  So there is no use denying or ignoring it.

Reader Discussion

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on February 18, 2012 at 21:35:03 pm

O, that's funny. I guess that's the price one pays for being a professor. (If only there were a reward!) At our wedding, we put all the liberals at one table, so they wouldn't annoy the other guests. They had a good time, although the hoped-for romance between my brother and my wife's girlfriend didn't materialize.

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on February 18, 2012 at 21:47:23 pm

Isn't it rich that liberals tend to be less tolerant than conservatives, but in general conservatives are labeled by liberals as intolerant? I can only imagine how bitter a life the groom has had having to live with a hater, unless he was smart enough to dump her when he realized his mistake. I am sure you have lost all contact with her.

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Image of CJ
on February 18, 2012 at 21:49:54 pm

"Alas, I think there is quite a bit to say for what Breitbart is claiming. Certainly, libertarians — even those who are hostile to conservatives — must recognize that Obama and the progressives are the great threat now."

Professor, if "progressive" were merely a synonym for "liberal," that might be true. But since Progressivism is a governance strategy rather than merely an ideology (Santorum certainly qualifies as a right-leaning Progressive), it's by no means cut-and-dried. A conservative President allowed 'McCain-Feingold' to pass contra to the 1st amendment, and under a supposedly-conservative court, Kelo vs. New London effectively endorsed a fascist-utilitarian reading of private property rights.

So there's the rub of it. A social conservative would see Obama as an obvious danger, sure. But with two out of the three likely Republican nominees openly disdainful of libertarian ideas, your statement above presumes what it should be arguing.

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Image of Russ
on February 18, 2012 at 21:55:17 pm

One of the joys of retirement from working in a state university is that I can finally openly admit political opinions. It has indeed cost me some contacts, including a flaming liberal relative who couldn't stand ever losing a debate, wanting to continue them by changing subjects until either he won or the universe ended. I don't miss the constant straw man arguments and ad hominem attacks on everyone I still admire in politics.

What I'm trying to say is that if being either Libertarian or a TEA Partisan ever keeps me from being invited to a wedding, then thank God! I don't want to waste a costly gift or hours of my time on someone who can't accept me as a free person.

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Man in the Middle
on February 18, 2012 at 21:58:28 pm

Why would you want to go to the wedding of people who are so bigoted they would keep out people of a different political view. I didn't ask anyone for a political purity test when I sent out wedding invitations. I can't imagine how small-minded a person would have to be to do so. If you have to claim "libertarian" in order to have liberal friends, maybe they aren't really your friends. Come to the dark side, we conservatives let anyone in.

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Image of BurkeanMama
on February 18, 2012 at 22:01:04 pm

An excellent little blurb, the pith and the perfect summation being the very last line. Those claiming or believing that they operate only within a sealed, perfect vacuum of politics -- whatever their bent -- and that whatever is done will not have any effect outside of politics, ignore where the country (and western civilization) now is, and how it arrived there. Morality (social responsibility, or positive personal responsibility turned outward) matters, and politics is merely a mode through which the power over society's organization and continuation is distributed. Politics has no innate morality, and it merely a tool handled to constructive or destructive ends, according to the morality, or lack thereof, of the users.

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Your Inner Voice
on February 18, 2012 at 22:07:27 pm

I don't know any data on this but my impression is that it is much more likely that liberals are the ones who will break off friendships, snub people, and fail to invite people places due to politics. It's a rather nasty and smug thing to say: "I don't care if you are my new husband's friend, how good you've been to him, or how much he likes you. I don't like your politics and that trumps everything."

It's a common attitude on the left. I think the broader term is "totalitarianism."

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Alex Bensky
on February 19, 2012 at 00:50:36 am

I must agree.

Conservatives believe in Liberty and Freedom, as do Libertarians.

Fight the skirmishes later.

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Image of currently
on February 19, 2012 at 01:10:38 am

I consider myself a conservative, but I think they are blowing it by surging for Santorum, or for any legislator for that matter. We need a President, not someone who thinks in terms of more laws and programs. That's a lot of what's wrong with Obama.
I think we're quite unaware of how serious our financial distress is, and I don't think the electorate, let alone most politicians, has any grasp on what it will take to turn it around.

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Image of flataffect
on February 19, 2012 at 01:55:57 am

"His bride admitted to me at the wedding itself, that I would not have been invited, had I been a conservative. "

I'm confident this was said without the least hint of irony or embarrassment, much less shame.

And so very representative of one of the defining, unspoken attitudes of the post-modern liberal: an absolute, rock-solid certainty in not only the perfect correctness of one's positions, but in one's intellectual and even moral superiority over such lesser beings as conservatives. Unspoken, because to liberals, today these are the things which are truly self-evident.

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Image of Sardondi
on February 19, 2012 at 05:59:56 am

May I present an alternative approach?

Liberals and conservatives, with the exception of those whose true agenda is power over others and nothing else, are in fundamental agreement about the most fundamental of issues: Why be concerned with politics at all? The answer: "We want things to be better, if possible for everyone."

The differences between such persons -- i.e., men of good will toward others -- are methodological. The liberal believes in using State power to improve men's economic conditions, but sees moral issues as unimprovable by those means. The conservative believes in using State power to compel conformity on moral issues, but believes that the free market works better than the command economy to improve men's material lot.

The libertarian is capable of respecting both liberals and conservatives on their intentions. He differs with them on methods. When he's at his most effective, he says to both sides, "Wait a minute. You can both have what you claim to want if you're willing to change your means." He can point to history about periods of economic and moral improvement, and note that freedom -- noninterference by coercive entities -- has worked better than any other tactic for achieving both. The capstone question, whether to a liberal or a conservative, is: "Now, which are more important to you: your means, or your ends?"

I style myself a libertarian-conservative. That is, politically I prefer freedom to all other methods of social organization, but my personal preferences and practices would suggest to most that I'm a conservative. I can tolerate others whose personal practices differ from mine, though I might not choose them (and they might not choose me) for "bosom buddies." That brings me to the libertarian's subtlest and IMHO, most effective thrust: "I try to be a good neighbor. I keep my nose out of my neighbor's affairs, unless he comes to me and asks for my involvement. That's my social ethic. But from me you'll get only as good as you give. Are you willing to grant that degree of tolerance to me?"

I find that this works on everyone whose true aim is NOT to coerce conformity or to punish. It can take a little while for the political implications to sink in, but that's the nature of human self-criticism: we tend to surrender our erroneous preconceptions only after having them tattooed onto our heads with a blunt instrument.

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Francis W. Porretto
on February 19, 2012 at 07:34:54 am

Only a liberal could inject politics into her wedding invitations.

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Image of Steve
on February 19, 2012 at 10:28:30 am

Social conservatives are annoying, and their power should be checked, but leftists are diabolical.

Social conservatives want control of the government because they believe that can be used to make others more virtuous. They are wrong of course, but that doesn't mean that their motivations are malign. Leftists simply want to see the world burn.

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Lee Reynolds
on February 19, 2012 at 10:52:40 am

Why is it perfectly OK to discriminate against conservatives, but no other type? To torture Marx (Groucho), that wedding was a club to which I would not want to belong if it would have me as a member.

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Image of Mxymaster
on February 19, 2012 at 11:12:13 am

Libertarians should also understand that the non-stop campaign of ridicule, ostracism, double-standard scrutiny and demonization designed to de-legitimize and marginalize conservatives will eventually be directed at Libertarians.

Progressives, for all their pious proclaimations of open-mindedness, don't deal with intellectual competition very well. The rest of the permanent political class of all ideological stripes can be counted on to at least look the other way while emerging 'Emanuel Goldsteins' are dealt with.

If the thought of being considered uncool terrifies you, if Libertarianism is an above-it-all refuge from which you can claim reasonableness and moderation, then the media's sneering treatment of conservatives is intended to help you keep your head down and your 'backwards' notions economic liberty and peresonal freedom to yourself.

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vinny vidivici
on February 19, 2012 at 15:02:43 pm

The conservative believes in using State power to compel conformity on moral issues, but believes that the free market works better than the command economy to improve men’s material lot.

Where a bigoted and false statement. You would probably not approve of a mother having her baby killed five minutes before birth. And you would probably not approve of adult men (or women) being able to marry girls or boys under the age of what? 18? 16? 12? 8? infant? There are societies that allow children to be married and there are societies that allow parents to kill their own (born) children. It's all about where you draw the line before the cops get called in.

Politics is the vehicle we use to make decisions as to what age we allow children to drive, to drink, or walk down the street naked. Acting as if the place where YOU believe the lines should be drawn on social issues are the final word and that anyone who disagrees with you is "using the state to compel conformity" just shows you don't get that we need to let go of our own opinions and vote to assure that we have the freedom to argue whether or not we think abortion or polygamy or being naked in public should be legal or illegal.

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Image of Becky
on February 20, 2012 at 15:10:21 pm

you know, i cannot blame your liberal friends for their wedding guest selection. as a libertarian with many gay and otherwise non-traditional friends, i would also hesitate to invite social conservatives to any social function I host, just to avoid risk of conflict situations, like having some neanderthal trying to convince my gay couple friends that the gay marriage is evil and that they will go to hell. what social conservatives rally against is very personal, and hurts people on deeply personal level. it has a potential not only to ruin the day, but also subject good people to hard dilemma of either taking abuse silently, or ruining their friend’s – me – gathering. i wouldn’t force my friends to face such dilemma.

fiscal policy disagreements can be calmly and rationally discussed over glass of cognac, however.

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Image of poul
on February 20, 2012 at 16:54:53 pm

Folks, Libertarianism is not anarchism.

Since Rick Santorum's (Catholic) Christian beliefs are mixed up in this discussion, I'll argue the following from an openly Christian point-of-view:

Government is that organization in society to which "We The People" grant a license to use force to achieve its duties (which are also defined by "We The People").

It is, under God's Moral Law, immoral and damnable to use force against another human being without sufficient moral justification. God grants human beings the right to use force against other persons only in very narrow circumstances. Typically those involve the defense of ourselves or an innocent third party from wrongful forcible assaults on their intrinsic human dignity and unalienable human rights. "Wrongful forcible assault" is the key phrase: The less descriptive that is of the wrong you're trying to oppose, the less justification you have for opposing it forcibly. If the wrong is utterly non-forcible, then you have utterly no justification for pointing a gun at your fellow man over it.

We, as individuals, have just authority under God's Moral Law to point a gun at a "bad guy" to deter, halt, or punish that "bad guy" for raping (or being about to rape) a woman, for example. We have that just authority because the "bad guy" is assaulting someone's intrinsic human dignity and violating her unalienable rights. This is the kind of situation which justifies force.

But we, as individuals, do not have just authority under God's Moral Law to point a gun at someone to deter, halt, or punish them for engaging in consensual sexual activity using a condom, or for failing to offer health insurance as an employee benefit, or for gossiping, or for talking loudly on one's cellphone in the theater during a movie, or for listening to Britney Spears' music. All of these are moral wrongs. But they are not moral wrongs of that forcible type which justifies the use of force to oppose them.

And the same goes for our government, of course. Our government is a bunch of employees that "We The People" hire for our convenience to better organize our Just Use Of Force For The Defense Of The Innocent. After we hire these employees, we delegate authority to them through a kind of employment contract called a "Constitution." The particular authority we delegate to them is the authority to use force on our behalf in defense of the rights of innocent persons.

It stands to reason, therefore, that the government cannot justly use force for just any purpose. It cannot justly use force to outlaw something which isn't wrong, or something which, while wrong, is consensual and doesn't violate anyone's rights. Government can't justly do that, because "We The People" can't justly do that, and government's authority is all delegated from us. (One can't delegate an authority that one does not have!)

Now an anarchist believes that there is nothing which may be justly opposed by force, not even forcible wrongdoings. They conclude that there should be no such organization as government, since government only exists to wield force. Anarchists, though few of them seem to realize it, are also pacifists if they're perfectly consistent. The Amish and the Quakers, though few of them seem to realize it, are also anarchists if they're perfectly consistent.

Not so with Libertarians. Libertarians share the more common view (indeed, the Catholic view) that one is sometimes morally permitted to use force. However, Libertarians believe one is only morally permitted to use force to oppose force (including fraud, which is intellectual forcing, and contract-violation, which is a form of fraud). Libertarians therefore say that the government should use force to deter, halt, or punish wrongful assaults on the intrinsic dignity and unalienable rights of persons.

(Which is why morally- and scientifically-consistent Libertarians are pro-life: The killing of an unborn person is a wrongful assault on his/her right to life. The only "out" from this logic is to express skepticism about the unborn human's personhood, grouping them with unpersons after the habit of totalitarians dealing with Jews and political opponents. But skepticism itself, for the morally consistent man, argues in favor of the pro-life position if you think about it. Does one shoot at the rustling in the bushes because it might be a deer? What if it's your fellow hunter? Does one drive over the man-sized bundle in the road because it might merely be a heap of debris? What if it's actually a passed-out man? Skepticism -- doubt, uncertainty -- leads inevitably to the conclusion that one ought to err on the side of caution. One may abort only that which one is quite certain is not a human person with rights. But all this is an aside.)

Anyway, Libertarians approve of government using force to deter, halt, and punish rights-violations. They just don't approve of government using force to deter, halt, and punish things which, while they may be wrong in some way, aren't wrong in that way that merits the use of force. They lack that forcible character which justifies using force against it.

Now, while Rick Santorum and a lot of Conservatives are muddled about much of this and won't articulate it as clearly as I just did, they actually tend to agree.

For example, Rick Santorum has already stated that he's "personally opposed" to artificial contraception, but doesn't support government outlawing the sale of contraceptives. And obviously that goes for all the conservatives who don't even oppose contraception.

A leftist or "liberal," by contrast, is all about using the force of the state to do what they think is right or wrong, without ever asking the question whether the right or wrong in question is such that the use of force is morally authorized. (I always have to put the word "liberal" in scare quotes because, really, what in the hell is liberty-oriented about anything that is, today, called "liberal?" And the Orwellian "progressive" is no better, when used to describe such a reactionary and retrogressive political view!)

Now, a leftist might respond to me saying, "Oh, so Rick Santorum is personally opposed to contraception, but wouldn't impose his view on others by force? Well, why can't he be personally opposed to abortion, but refuse to impose his view on others by force?"

The question is welcome: The difference comes from Rick Santorum making a distinction which every Libertarian agrees with, at least in principle: Contraception does not involve a forcible attack on someone which violates their rights. Abortion -- if an unborn human is a person and not an "unperson" -- does.

Therefore force is not morally permissible in opposing contraception; one can only oppose it through persuasive speech, as Rick Santorum attempts and intends to do. But if the unborn human is a person and not an "unperson," then government is obligated to defend that innocent person's right to life. That is why a large minority (and in my home state of Georgia, a majority) of libertarians are pro-life.

So I hope that even non-Christian libertarians will see that when Christians are libertarians, they do so in obedience to how they view the moral limits on the use of force. Christians who are not libertarian are implying that one may whip a gun out and point it at one's neighbor for all kinds of reasons...which, if you think about it, doesn't sound like a very Christ-like philosophy! Libertarian Christians -- which is to say, Christians whose threshold for justifying the use of force is compatible with the teachings of Jesus Christ -- believe these moral limits on the use of force derive from God's Moral Law or "Natural Law"; non-Christian Libertarians presumably derive them some other way.

But however those limits are derived, once they are established in principle, the rest follows:

One can hope people don't use condoms; but one can't force them not to.

One can hope that employers offer health insurance as a part of a compensation package for employees; but one can't force them to.

One can hope that health insurers offer contraceptives as a "free" add-on to all health insurance plans; but one can't force them to.

One can hope that Catholic hospitals offer voluntary sterilization services to patients, but one can't force them to.

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on February 21, 2012 at 07:30:41 am

These labels are about as useful as teats on a boar. Oh, the "gift" of allowing you attend her special day. Your observation about "Christians" with guns should cause some to consider their relationship to Christ.

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Image of Frank
on February 21, 2012 at 20:35:54 pm

I agree with you on Santorum. No libertarian is likely to support him, except perhaps if we hold our noze and just say he is not quite as horrible as Obama. Even Tea Partiers should be worried, because Santorum looks to me to be exactly the kind of Bush 2 "compassionate conservative" that the Tea Party hates almost as much as Obama. Conservative only on useless social issues, and questionable on everything else. This is a year for fiscal conservative issues, as was 2010, and with Obamas terrible fiscal record, we should be able to win. There is only one way we wont, if we nominate Santorum and the dems manage to make the election about his social conservative positions, rather than what it should be about, Obamas terrible fiscal record. Romney is not as conservative as I would like, but at least the conservative issues that he does appear to really beleive in, controlling spending, supporting free enterprise, and reducing anti business regulation, are real conservative issues, that both libertarians and Tea partiers beleive in.

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Image of richard40
on February 21, 2012 at 20:59:56 pm

I agree with you that Santorum is not as bad as the left makes out, but he is still the wrong candidate for president. He will divert the discussion from where it should be, Obamas terrible fiscal policies, to useless disgussions about whether he personally likes contraception or wants people to use condoms, or whether women should be in combat, gay marriage, gays in the military, etc.

I completely agree with you on the key issue being whether something justifies using gof force, and that unless defense against violence, fraud, honoring a contract, or theft is involved, gov force is not justified.

But the way, I dont agree with all the items on your One can hope list, such as:

If somebody is going to engage in sex outside of marriage, I hope they DO use condoms.

I dont want health insurers to offer free contraceptives on all their plans. I would hope they offer both contraceptive and non- contraceptive plans, and let their customers choose which they want. The free market is all about offering consumer choice.

I dont agree that all employers offer full health insurance. For lower end jobs like fast food clerks, it might be more cost effective to offer abreviated plans, and better salaries instead, especially since many of their younger employees already have coverage from their parents.

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on March 05, 2012 at 15:50:44 pm

My impression: The way I saw it, the letnrbariais simply made fewer mistakes than the conservatives. Both sides sounded flawed. The conservatives shot themselves in the foot when it came to general logos, namely on the drug issue. More powerful conservative debaters certainly exist. Likewise, despite sounding "smarter," the letnrbariais made themselves come off as amoral, hostile to virtue, elitist, and borderline anarchic. It is the sort of patronizing presentation that will crush a libertarian when it comes to addressing mainstream America* ; of the negative ethos that sentences you to 3rd party irrelevance by decree of the median voter. More powerful libertarian persuaders certainly exist. I was reminded of Rachel Maddow. Too much passion, reliance on strawman, and above all else, too much hostility for the opposing view. They would've gained points by taking care to sound equally calm as the conservatives. Both teams need to keep practicing. The conservatives most definitely, but the letnrbariais are not exempt. Its not what you say, its how you say it. ~David~ *[believe it or not, the audience of "mainstream" America primarily consists of apolitical individuals *not* in the 18-34 year demographic. If you can't frame your philosophy in a manner that'd get ma and pa from Kentucky on board, nothing you say matters. Regardless of your believes, you must *sound* like you hold their values. Candidate Obama knew this. When will letnrbariais understand?]

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Image of Arlete
on March 05, 2012 at 17:31:57 pm

Great video, and excellent iedatbng Libertarians! Unfortunately, conservatives cant see the difference between true conservatism and fusionism, the 20th Century fusion of libertarian & conservative positions in the wake of FDR's hijacking the liberal (not really) cause look at his original platform.A stronger conservative presence would have been better, as they just appealed to authority and made no arguments. I was expecting some kind of communitarian/classical republic arguments about civic virtue (they kind of incoherently wandered in this direction w/o focus) and the role of the state in culture.Anyways, nice iedatbng Libertarians. You really made some excellent points.

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Image of Chs
on March 05, 2012 at 20:08:17 pm

DJ,I have stopped rnediag and listening to a great many of the hardcore right pundits and bloggers. I was disgusted with their behavior over Harriet Myers, Dubai, and the "Bush is a traitor" theme that emerged. I never saw such vitriol for a President from our own party.I think much of the ranting is an attempt to draw more traffic, listeners and readers.I have spent most of my blogging time rnediag "moderate" blogs like the Anchoriss, Statisphere, Big Lizards, you, Wizbang, etc. (the same ones you link!)I am going to say goodbye to the extremists; I can't stand the shrillness and moral righteousness anymore.I think a permanent break from we so-called Rhinos is what the far right is heading towards. Once they see that they will efffectively win very few elections and that they really have no voice in the Republican Party anymore, some may rethink their extreme positions.Yes, the Republican Party will be a minority for awhile, until centrist Democrats get disgusted enough that they join us and some of the right extremists decide to be pragmatic, and a Centrist-type Republican Party will become the majority.Just my opinion; in essence I agree with you and at least I have some really blogs to read and comment on!

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Image of Artemis
on March 05, 2012 at 20:44:48 pm

Leonard Read is spelled with an "a", unikle the new Reed at FEE, Larry. Interesting historical summary here Clark. Though, I do think you understate the philosophical component and overplay the political "achievements" of fusionism a bit. Fusionism actually is more about why Kirk and his ilk are not part of the same intellectual tradition of Hayek, Burke, Acton, and others sometimes called libertarians, sometimes conservatives. (Read Hayek's, "Why I am Not a Conservative" where he takes a none-too-veiled shot at Kirk as opposed to those Kirk invokes, like Burke.) Keep the intellectual histories coming though! We need to continue our grounding in the ideas and the history of the same! PS I highly recommend "Radicals for Capitalism" to anyone who has not yet read it.

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Image of Sarah
on March 05, 2012 at 21:56:01 pm

It was meant as a comment to the whole pro-abortion side of the rliertaiban movement.You're illustrating the blatant dishonesty of the uterus federalizers.My opposition to your nationalization of a woman's reproductive system doesn't make me "pro" anything. It makes me ANTI-statist.Your statism is not "pro life." It's pro control, and it's not "libertarian."Your entire argument is no different from a socialist who calls a free marketeer "pro poverty" for opposing HIS statist scheme. Both of you are deliberately obfuscating the issue to extend your own control over others.Government-power-craving abortion regulation advocates are as "libertarian" as "libertarians" who favor government intervention in foreign countries, the economy, the bedroom, or any other scheme where government doesn't belong.

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Image of Seda
on March 06, 2012 at 00:58:24 am

I definitely agree with the idea that we suohld engage the left (and the right, for that matter). I've always been of the opinion that we suohld build alliances on an issue by issue basis, even if we have strong disagreements with those allies outside of a particular issue.I guess my point is that just as the Bush administration showed that the we agree with the right on fiscal issues and the left on social issues CW doesn't really apply with respect to the right, I'm increasingly finding that it doesn't really apply to the left, either. Outside of gay rights and abortion rights (and I don't think the latter is a litmus-test libertarian position), the left's paternalistic instinct and a consuming hatred of advertising/marketing seems to trump any concern for individual liberty.Tim, you asked in an email if the crowd was with me or Kleiman on my NN panel last year. Most were drug reformers, so they were with me most of the time. But when Kleiman turned the discussion to alcohol, how he thinks alcohol companies prey on people with their evil marketing and advertising practices, and how he doesn't want to see corporations doing the same thing with pot or heroin, I sensed the crowd turning. I think most of them would still legalize. But they seemed sympathetic to the idea that we suohld ban all advertising and for-profit sales of now-illicit drugs. (And probably do the same for alcohol.)I've written this before, but I think the left values equality over all else. When choice and personal freedom conflict with their egalitarian instincts, equality is going to win almost all the time. That still meshes with some of our goals as libertarians, and it makes sense to form alliances when it does. But I really don't think we have a shared respect for personal freedom when it comes to social issues and lifestyle choices.

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Image of Gloria
on March 06, 2012 at 03:47:15 am

But the closing point I’m not as shepatymtic to, though. If our criteria for judging whether we should be having any debate is how much it directly influences real world suffering right now, we need to toss out a lot of intellectual goings on. I understand the anger that leads to the conclusion, but that conclusion is simply too strong. Fair enough! Looking back, I realize I do come off as demanding that all posts be topical to current events, but you're right that it's too strong a claim (and hypocritical from my viewpoint!).So I'll just settle for wanting them to merely be more so. I thought the best part of the Boaz piece was that he made the case (indirectly at least) that examining past topics like this was only going to result in problems, because invariably someone will have a slightly different interpretation about how terrible some past wrong was (slavery wasn't as bad as you thought!) and then modern commentators will take that as a sign that someone isn't as serious about their commitment to the modern incarnation of that issue. Which is precisely what happened!Boaz is completely right about libertarianism' lack of appeal to non straight-white-males, and why and that's precisely why I wish Caplan's detractors, despite my agreement with them, would've said something like this: Look, 1880 s women's rights were definitely wrong by common-sense libertarian standards, (Will Wilkinson outlined this point much more eloquently than I) on this we all agree so let's move to to the larger point of Boaz's piece how we can convince the people who feel estranged by our silly focus on the historical viewpoint that our ideas on school choice, gay marriage, policing and drugs are pretty cool! But instead we got really, really deep into that historical viewpoint! I truly feel that libertarian views on these topics offer the greatest benefit. And if women, African-Americans or any other groups are not convinced of that, it's because libertarians have not made them a particularly persuasive argument. And I want to see those arguments, especially from the people involved in this debate, because I feel they're currently the most powerful advocates for these policies.

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Image of Eti
on March 06, 2012 at 07:31:49 am

Now, to be clear, none of these projects are lrirbtaeian, as such, you write; precisely so. I don't buy the Oh, just shut up about the other stuff line of thinking, but it is important to distinguish our cultural preferences from what we mean we talk about freedom from force. That should be simple enough to do you just did it. But should Reason launch a Homophobia watch section? No, I don't think so. Should Cato appoint a fellow in anti-scientology studies? Uhh. Nope. There's enough tangible government coercion going on that limited resources should be devoted to that. Wouldn't call for a dessicated dialogue from lrirbtaeians on these issues, just wise use of scarce resources.My other concern is that if one becomes too attached to some liberal conception of the good life (which I'm all for, personally speaking) it can bleed over into assessment of government policy in an unlrirbtaeian fashion (e.g, Hey, I really *love* science. Why do I oppose allocating more funds to the National Science Foundation? ). That usually isn't too much of a problem, but you see it happen sometimes, and obviously there are lots of complications given how far we are from anything like a free society.The last point I'll make on this subject, for now, is that for the purposes of practical politics it doesn't matter. Libertarian views are deeply unpopular, and cosmotarian ideas even more so. Against God, country and family while simultaneously opposing leftist, quasi-religious conceptions of eco-friendliness and egalitarianism we appeal to just about nobody, numerically speaking. So how much does it matter, really? Just say what you believe. Chances are no one is listening very closely, and will not make much of a difference in the world at large, driven as it is by superstition, conformism and irrational fear.

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Image of Lety
on March 06, 2012 at 08:18:13 am

As a registered Democrat, and a woman of color I found this pdesoie of Glenn Beck more 'comical' than watching the Joe Biden vs Sarah Palin debate. I have never witnessed a group of uneducated minorities make inaccurate historical facts regarding politics. Please learn to distinguish the difference between Communism and Socialism. They're two separate political ideologies. Not all Democrats are liberals. Not all Republicans are right wing conservatives. Reverend Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are not liberals. They're demagogues. There are more White liberals than Black liberals. Proposition 8 in the state of California proved that! You will NEVER be successful at promoting conservative ideologies through grassroot campaigns. Why? Throughout this spectacle of a show, I did not hear ONE valid Republican stance. As a registered Democrat, I would have done a better job defending the Republican Party. As for the reference, " The Republican Party is the political party of our ancestors." Another dumb Palin comment. The ideologies of political parties have changed over the years. Times change, so do ideologies. { The Federalist Party, The Whig Party, The Republican Party, and the Democratic Party}. John Adams and John Quincy Adams were one of the first Presidents to address the indecent morality of slavery. Did you know they embraced both political parties, Republican and Democrat? Becks conservative ideologies lean more towards Ron Paul than John Mc Cain. Unfortunately the 'idiots' on the show were not politically sophisticated enough to understand this. Next time you attempt to 'ridicule' African-American Democrats for supporting Obama, The Black Republican Party needs to be more successful at defending their own premise.

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Image of Beyhan
on March 06, 2012 at 08:19:13 am

I'm more of a libertarian in my bleeifs, but I must salute the conservative debaters for their cool, calm, and collected response to the strident attacks of the libertarians. I found many of their comments to be downright below the belt and aimed more at making the conservatives look foolish than answering the proposed topic. Bad form. Moreover, comments on physical appearance show nothing other than a lack of intelligent commentary and aren't appreciated. Seth might do better in future to remember that.

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Image of Kotoe
on March 06, 2012 at 09:39:31 am

nothing at all about aagrimre and did nothing more than grant equal treatment to gay and straight couples for, say, taxes, we wouldn't need to fight over gay aagrimre any more than we would need to fit over Mormon aagrimres or Baptist aagrimres. To each, his own in his own church/context! If parents could send their children to schools of their choosing (which the illiberal Left opposes), we wouldn't need to fight over, say, intelligent design. In other words, libertarians and conservatives can potentially agree to disagree in what Robert Nozick called a where each utopianism is free to pursue its own conceptions of justice and the good life. I fear this is far less true of the Left, whose utopianisms are what Nozick called imperialistic (those that countenance[] the forcing of everyone into one pattern of community ), where as the utopianisms of the Right tend to be more missionary (those which hope[] to persuade or convince everyone to live in one particular kind of community ). There are plenty of imperialistic conservative utopianisms, of course (think abortion) but I think the Left is generally far more imperialistic. Libertarians, of course, want nothing more than for a framework to exist in which missionary utopianisms can flourish alongside, and compete with, existential utopianisms ( which hope[] that a particular pattern of community will exist (will be viable), though not necessarily universally, so that those who wish to do so may live in accordance with it ).

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Image of Carmen
on March 06, 2012 at 12:36:31 pm

harry: Just because they left Cato doesn't mean Lindsey and Wilkinson have left the iaterbarlin movement . I've already seen a couple posts from Will at Democracy in America, and they've been great. And yeah, I think the movement does need smart, persuasive people, no matter what flavor of iaterbarlinism they find most attractive.I do think though that the dynamics of Obama's election and presidency are perhaps a bit more relevant than Tim implies here. What bothers me is the rope-a-dope aspect to it Obama and Democrats in general seemed a lot more iaterbarlin prior to November 2008 than after January 2009. So there's a level of deception there. And while I'm perfectly fine working with progressives toward greater civil liberty and less aggressive foreign policy, I also don't want to feel used to win an election without having any real hope of my goals being pursued once power has been secured.This is of course a defining characteristic of modern American politics; broken promises are nothing new at any level of government. But there are different degrees of deception, and like Carney described, Obama's rejection of iaterbarlin-ish governance was anything but mild. I take Tim (Lee's) point that flawed execution doesn't necessarily indicate a flawed approach but I think we need to be wary of throwing our weight behind any major candidate or party without being sure it's a productive alliance.

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Image of Vasek
on March 07, 2012 at 21:53:37 pm

Maloney wrote:"First, Beck is factually way off base: the hills of rural and ubaurbsn San Diego County couldn't be more conservative if they tried. Those are solid areas for Republicans, not America- bashing leftists."Ah, Brian you just can't help yourself, can you? Here I am, all hopeful that you are making sense, trying to not be an uninformed polemicist for a change, and you have to slip in your ill-informed opinion.As a proud liberal who, unlike most of the knuckle dragging right wingers who read and comment on this site, I served my country proudly as a Marine. What they say is true... once a Marine, always a Marine. In case you don't understand, my oath of loyalty wass not to a party, not to an administration, it was and is to the Constitution. I have made a sacred oath to preserve, protect and defend it against all enemies... foreign and domestic. As much as you nancyhawks hate to admit it, that document wasn't a conservative, elitist idea. It was forged by progressive thinkers as a contract by the people placing very specific limits on the government. To be a true Constitutionalist is to be for government "of the people, by the people, for the people."Not only do I have the right, I have a sacred duty to criticize this government when it strays from Constitutional constraints. You and your fellow nancyhawks may not like it, Brian, bu the Constitution was specifically crafted to be a strait-jacket on governmental power. To not criticize your government when it does wrong doesn't make you a patriot... it makes you a sycophant. I demonstrate my love for my country when I demand that my government uphold its Constitutional mandates. The real haters are those who put party above the people. Then again, as you've never taken the oath, I think you fail to understand that. Americ hating indeed!

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Image of rani
on March 07, 2012 at 21:57:37 pm

Tim, I take issue with the premise of this post: Getting arbeills to talk to libertarians, because libertarians are arbeills and what you (and nearly everyone else in this linguistically confused country) call arbeills are anything but: They are leftists, paternalists, social democrats, socialists, statists, central planners, and dare I say top-down-ers? It may well be too late to redeem and reclaim the L-word, but we need not further abuse the word by misusing it to refer to what I would generally group under the label of Leftists. Now, I'm not just being a philological prig here: I'm actually suggesting this because I think there are fundamental philosophical differences here that make a left-libertarian alliance difficult. I'm not at all against finding common cause wherever possible and actually generally agree that it would be a great thing for true arbeills (believers in individual rights and limited government) to actively seek out opportunities to speak to the Left, as you suggest. But I'm pretty skeptical that it's going to yield the fruits you imagine it might, for the very reasons raised by Radley and Adam which essentially boil down to paternalism. If the Left lacks confidence in the ability of ordinary people to make the right decisions about, say, their diets, we shouldn't be surprised that they would want to nudge (or shove) us into making smart decisions about, say, smoking pot even after it's legalized. I'm well aware that the Right can be just as paternalistic say, by keeping pot illegal! but would submit that the one measure that matters most is trending upward on the Right and downward on the Left : confidence in the individual to choose for himself.As a gay, atheist nisei (first-generation German-American), I have little patience for the religiosity, moralizing and xenophobia that characterizes (to varying degrees) much of (though not all of) the Right. But I at least see them drawing on an intellectual tradition grounded in liberty, decentralization, property, skepticism of power, and confidence in the ability of individuals acting in their own self interest to produce order, wealth and tolerance from the bottom up. I'm sorry to say I see precious little of that on the Left, even though I would find more in common with them on specific policy issues like opposing American Empire or legalizing drugs.But, really, there is something fundamentally rotten about a movement that rejects perhaps the most basic social freedom the freedom of association enshrined in the First Amendment as the right of the people peaceably to assemble in the name of tolerance or fairness or whatever. Three examples should, I think, suffice: First, if a voluntary organization (Tocqueville's civic society ), say a Christian law student's group, would rather not associate with me because of my sexual deviance, what kind of liberal could possibly countenance forcing them to allow me into their organization? Yet this, of course, is precisely what the so-called arbeills on the Supreme Court just held in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez. Second, if I rent out a room in my house, and would prefer not to have, say, a Muslim or a Mormon or a East-Asian or an African-American as a roommate because, say, these groups tend to be highly homophobic, why on Earth should the State bar me from such discrimination (as the Fair Housing Act does except that I am permitted to discriminate based on sex along where a bathroom, kitchen or common area might be shared). Indeed, why should it matter what my motives are? It's my house, my property mine! (I could go off about Kelo and takings here, which would equally prove my point about the profound philosophical corruption of the statist Left, who would allow developers to steal my home to subsidize developers! but I will stick to the theme of the freedom of association.)Third, the Left's obsession with the appearance of corruption (or, conversely, their fixation on the Rousseauvian purity of the democratic process) has led them to the absurd results of arguing that the state could ban books, as Elena Kagan argued to the Supreme Court in Citizens United and, no less obscenely, prevent me (beyond a trivial donation cap) from assembling with those of like mine to pool our humble resources to fund wider dissemination of our speech than we could accomplish on our own both in the name of campaign finance reform. I am disgusted by such profound iliberalism, as should all true arbeills/libertarians. At the very least, I will not provide the sanction of the victim by allowing these statists to steal the word liberal alongside my liberties. Again, that doesn't mean we shouldn't find common ground to Leftists where their inconsistencies make them receptive to our message on some issues (generally social and foreign policy) but don't get your hopes up that it will lead to anything sustainable.

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Image of Burak
on March 07, 2012 at 22:25:34 pm

Manufactured outrage.When you have a live talk show every day for 3 hours a day, plus a TV show, onoesme is bound to be able to pull out a soundbite once in awhile that makes you look bad. Having listened to Beck for years, I'm pretty sure he isn't gleefully celebrating the fact that Malibu is burning. And after his long, rambling speech about everyone coming together in the center, it surely sounds to me like he thinks it's unfortunate that Malibu Leftists are in tragic circumstances right now.

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Image of Diya
on March 07, 2012 at 22:44:06 pm

Okay, you've definitely got me thnnkiig more about this. Maybe I can articulate it better: From Boaz's piece, I think (and maybe I'm wrong) that he might be advocating something like this: Libertarians (at least those who haven't already) should concede that historical wrongs against certain groups are just as bad as those groups are claiming them to be. When what lots of people heard was: We should analyze these historical wrongs and come to terms with what certain members of our community believe about them. I think that women aren't really interested in a detailed analysis of coverture or marriage law in 1880 I think they simply know they were bad, and, if engaged in a discussion with a libertarian about them, would much rather just have the libertarian agree.Because except perhaps for historians, when a modern political commentator brings up a historical example, the only reason is because they want it to shed light on some modern debate. When I criticized one of JFK's speeches, it was because I wanted to critique the blustery, aggressive national greatness policy (well and amphetamine abuse by presidents!) he represented and that still exists today. When someone brings up 1880 marriage law, it inspires a level of suspicion, i.e. Why are you bringing this up now, hmm? In the same way that a libertarian might be skeptical of someone pointing out how Soviet Russia wasn't as bad as previously thought! and probably wouldn't be persuaded that the speaker was merely trying to get our historical accounting figures right.

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Image of Muzaffar
on March 07, 2012 at 22:52:59 pm

Radley, thanks for asirhng that story. I'm pleased to hear there's been at least one libertarian at a NN panel. Once again, though, I think it's worth asking which way the cause-and-effect runs. One of the main functions that libertarians play within the fusionist alliance is to push the conservatives to be more conservative on economic issues. When the Bush administration was spending like a drunken sailor, it was Cato, not Heritage or AEI, that was pointing out that this is not what conservatives are supposed to stand for. Cato was more effective in this role (though obviously not effective enough) because it has earned the respect of the conservative movement.Libertarians should be playing the same role on the left: pushing left-wingers to be more left-wing on social issues. Just as the Cato guy is likely to be the most right-wing guy on a CPAC panel on economic policy, it makes sense that the Reason guy would be the most left-wing guy on a NN panel on drug reform. So-called liberals often aren't as liberal as they should be! And it ought to be our job to point that out and push them in a more liberal direction. I think that's a valuable role for us to play even if we never convince a single left-winger of the merits of school choice or Social Security privatization.

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Image of Mikihiko
on March 07, 2012 at 23:14:02 pm

) and liberals don't aacutlly like libertarian policies when they hear them (what Radley and Adam are saying) can both be true, without we should try to convince liberals being wrong.Libertarians should go to liberal conferences, and apply to speak at them. They're gonna get shot down a lot. And I definitely agree, lots of liberal people there would (stupidly, in my opinion) disagree, as Kleiman did to Radley. But in nearly all situations, libertarian opinion is going to be disagreed with. That's why it's a marginal political faction. But it's obvious that at some point in the past, libertarians said things that convinced a large number of conservatives to adopt (perhaps only nominally for some) some libertarian ideas. There's no reason they can't persuade liberals too, though I'm certain it won't happen very quickly.I mean, I know this sounds naive, but if you're a libertarian, then you genuinely believe that those ideas are best. So go persuade people. Most of the people I hang out with now, despite having pretty liberal inclinations, are a lot more libertarian than they used to be (don't tell them I said that). And it's not because I have a sweet dream device to plant ideas in their head like Mr. DiCaprio, it's because, as naive and self-serving and annoying as this sounds, I've argued for what I thought to be the right thing with them, when the topics came up. And in many cases, I had to phrase my arguments in ways that would naturally appeal to someone with liberal inclinations: maybe we shouldn't have the govt fund the media because then when a Republican got in office, they'd support FOX News! just like Tim is advocating.For other than a few people, libertarian ideas are going to have strong resistance. So, almost always, you're going to be among people who disagree with you. We can't avoid that. So, use ideas and words they recognize and already agree with in order to try to persuade them. Just because a group of people is officially opposed to your beliefs doesn't mean you shouldn't try to persuade them. I loved this Penn Gillette quote, when accused that If Hitler had a talk show, you'd probably go on that too.':yes, I would, and I would tell the truth.

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Image of Kim
on March 07, 2012 at 23:44:54 pm

Sorry, I just don't see the problem. This is just aothner overhyped piece of crap from the Left, desperate to smear SOMEbody, ANYbody! who thinks to the right of Stalin. California is a well known ultra-liberal state, and saying that liberals/people who hate America are losing their homes is hardly "asinine". That's a statement of probable FACT! If he had been dancing with glee and throwing a party, I might be inclined to agree with you, but as it stands, you and the other conservatives who agree with you are wayyy over blowing this. It's a non-issue.

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Image of Valquiria
on March 17, 2012 at 22:50:07 pm

(Too many comments on the orgiinal post site, so I will put my two-cents worth in here.)Labels are most effectively used and understood when applied to soup cans, blue jeans, cars and anything else that some "Mad Men" have convinced society that such requires notation for effect. Groups tend to collect adjectives as identifiers to amass groupies and money--all subject to change to meet the perceived immediate needs of their current standards and/or agenda.As for the "victims" of society--we are all victims. We are all born, we all die. What we do in between is ultimately denoted by the " - " between the date of birth and date of death on one's headstone, if one has the foresight to have purchased a marker of such to leave on a very small patch of this very large planet. The acts one does when given choices to make determine the quality of their life's circumstances--education usually improves what we determine to be a better quality of life, but sometimes simplicity is overlooked as cheap and underrated, especially by those who have more money than sense (pun intended).So maybe the overlooked answer to the orgiinal title of this piece is obvious and simplistic--an independent thinking human being. A somewhat rare commodity these days, so please do not stop; remain compassionate (as long as it is not misguided), avoid contempt, and above all, have no shame and keep learning and share positively when you can.

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Image of Dany
on March 17, 2012 at 23:10:46 pm

I find the separation of ccruhh and state interesting since I find Obama to be the preachiest of all. I don't get the separation of ccruhh and state issue, it seems to be founded on the idea that only atheists should be allowed to serve in political positions, as if atheism were not it's own religion. We do have freedom of speech in this country and so that should include the right to express thoughts about God, even for politicians In the Federalists Papers, Publius frequently refers to “the Devine. They did not, however, refer to Jesus, because that would be a reference to Christianity, even though many of our founding fathers were Christian. I haven't heard any politicians recently referring to Jesus or Allah or Buddha, or any other specific religion, and certainly not legislating any particular religious view (with the possible exception of atheism). and so I do not know what the issue on separation of ccruhh and state is about. (I don’t hear any of our politicians professing to be atheists)The libertarian position hardly seems different than the liberal position. If libertarians are for freedom, I do not know what that should be associated with any position on Iraq. Those for the war and those against the war most likely see their positions as a freedom issue, for different reasons.If libertarians are difficult to distinguish from liberals, why would it be surprising that a liberal would represent their point of view as well as anyone else?

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Image of Elena
on March 18, 2012 at 05:55:41 am

Great question!Republican is a party atlifiafion. Conservative is a set of beliefs and principles like small govt., low taxes, individual responsiblity, freedom, etc. Many conservatives are republicans but not all republicans are conservatives.On the left side, most democrats would say that they are liberal or progressive. There are so-called moderate democrats but I've never seen one. They all seem way too liberal for my taste.

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Image of Sittichok
on March 18, 2012 at 08:33:16 am

Simple explanation: These Anarchists you ran into are ineded NOT libertarians. They are just usurpers who've come into our movement to use our label. They know Anarchism doesn't sell. Stop being hoodwinked by these leftwingers.Libertarianism is about Goldwater: Fiscally conservative, Socially tolerant and STRONG ON DEFENSE!Obama is the polar opposite of a libertarian: Fiscal socialist, Civil fascist, and weak on Defense.

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Image of Mujeeb
on March 18, 2012 at 16:44:40 pm

Clearly I have to get myself out to some Alliance of the Libertarian Left etraips. Looks like they’re having a great time! Precisely. And this is why we can attract more people to left-libertarianism than libertarianism ever did. The paleolibertarians offer stifled misery and the partyarchs offer us the false promise of a free society to be experienced by our grandchildren after generations of selfless, heartbreaking organising. Left-libertarians can offer the experience of freedom now, in any place and time where you can get left-libertarians to socially cooperate with a prior mutual commitment to ignore our friend the state and other established structures of oppression. Create a functional society wherein illibertarian laws and illiberal customs are not recognised and you have created a context in which illibertarian law does not exist. The free market economists have shown up what freedom and incentives can do for efficiency. Let's do that. Let's also create a libertarian culture and show what liberty can do for consciousness as well as existence. If we have a world which respects spunk and exhilaration, entrepreneurship and the good life, pleasure and passion, then we have more to offer than our sociopolitical competitors ever will. People who want a better world will run to us if we merely have the courage and commitment to start founding it, and invite them to join us in the excitement of building our global polycentric boom town.Oh, and in times where liberal civilisation is nervously unsteady, maintaining a vibrant culture can help preserve some of humanity's most cherishable accomplishments through difficult times, accomplishments which might otherwise fail permanently. People who would otherwise have nowhere to turn to find a life of their own will come to us. That makes this a good cause.Left libertarianism: idealistic, profitable, and fun and a flame of freedom to keep through an unfree age, if necessary. You can't beat that.~~~~~~~~Of course, those who hate human human pride and passion, or who have given up their sense of a right to these things, will try unceasingly to destroy it.

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Image of Syukur
on March 19, 2012 at 21:18:57 pm

Why Libertarians (in swing states) shuold vote for Obama as the lesser evil.by Vaughn(Libertarian)Tuesday, October 21, 2008Why Lovers of Liberty* Should Support Barack Obama* In Swing StatesI want to begin my first column for Nolanchart.com with a little personal history. In eight presidential elections since 1976, I've voted for one party Libertarian. In cases where a Libertarian wasn't available, I would usually vote for the Republican, considering that the lesser of the two evils. No longer. In the 2006 Congressional elections, I voted Democratic.Why? In short, because George W. Bush and the Karl-Rove-dominated GOP has betrayed every ideal that Republicans and Libertarians have in common. They lied us into two unnecessary wars. They've busted the budget and bankrupted our country. They've gutted the Bill of Rights and spied on Americans, with the excuse of a hugely-exaggerated terrorist threat. And- this is probably most unforgivable - they've been complicit in the confiscations of guns in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.So it's my opinion that the GOP needs to be rebuked, strongly and decisively, even if it means voting for "the enemy." Now in my case, I may still vote Libertarian (despite my utter dislike of Bob Barr ) because I live in Arizona and I think it's quite unlikely that McCain will lose in his home state. The same goes in other states that are decisively for McCain or Obama . By all means, show your displeasure by voting third party, any third party.But what about those states where the race is still up for grabs? In those states, I believe we shuold support the clear lesser evil: Barack Obama.By now, all my Republican friends and colleagues are shouting "heresy!" (At the moment, I'm registered Republican myself- which I did so I could vote for Ron Paul in the primary, naturally.) But I think I can list ten good reasons why libertarians and even conservatives shuold hold their noses and vote for Barack.1. Much of the stuff going around about Obama on the internet is total nonsense. "He's a Muslim, he supports terrorism, he hates the flag." As Colonel Potter would say, "Horse-hockey!" I'll admit there's plenty to dislike about Obama's politics without resorting to lies. The man isn't THAT bad.2.Obama has a more sane, even-tempered personality than McCain. McCain was a hot-head to begin with, then he spent five years in a POW camp, which will mess anyone up psychologically. I don't want John McCain's finger anywhere near the nuclear button.3.Likewise, despite my strong dislike of Joe Biden, at least he's not Sarah Palin. The woman is unqualified to be dogcatcher, much less Vice President. She has indicated a willingness to go to war with Russia in support for Saakashvili's Georgia, a despotic regime in a small country with absolutely no strategic importance to the US.4.The right-wingers say that despite Obama's flip-flops on the "war on terror" and US support for Israel, that he still holds to his radical anti-military views, and will immediately pull out of Iraq and end our "special relationship" with Israel. We can only hope! Look, we've got a presence in over a hundred countries, and we spend almost as much on our military as all other countries combined. Isn't that a little overkill?5.Speaking of the Welfare Queen of the Mideast, if you've ever checked out the Israeli press online, the candidate who received the most vitriol was Ron Paul. The second most hated man was Barack Obama. Anyone who's that despised by the Israeli right wing can't be all bad. Look, I've got nothing against Israel, I'm just tired of supporting its government, which is influenced out of all proportion by the fanatical loud-mouthed Arab-hating settler community.6.I'll admit it- either Obama or McCain could conceivably try to become dictator, but Obama is less likely to succeed. That's because the Right already hates him, and they're the ones with the guns. Anything McCain does, they're likely to accept like bleating sheep, because he's a "war hero" who will invoke patriotic rhetoric to justify his actions. His biggest foes would likely be in the Peace Movement. As much as I respect them, most of them are liberals who are far too wimpy to stage a revolution, shuold one (God forbid) become necessary.7.With the public uproar over the bailout of Wall Street, it's likely we'll have a backlash against the Democrats in the House, the majority of whom supported that fiasco. So Congress could easily go to the Republicans. And a divided government is good for freedom =checks and balances and all that.8.The American free enterprise system may not survive another corrupt big-government conservative administration. George W Bush has done more damage to capitalism than any president since FDR. His Social Security privatization plan was so flawed that it may be a generation or more before we have another crack at it. And the mortgage meltdown ? Forget the propaganda about the Community Reinvestment Act. The major cause was the Fed's super-easy money policy, enacted with Bush's support, to try to fix the economic damage caused by the Tech Bubble and the 9/11 attacks (which were in turn enabled by the criminal negligence of You Know Who.)9.Obama is just plain smarter than McCain. Obama graduated from Harvard Law School in the top ten percent of his class. McCain graduated from Annapolis near the bottom of his class. Voting for McCain is like telling your kids, "Don't study, do nothing but party in college, and you too can become President."10.Our first Black President, how cool would that be? I'd rather it be Walter Williams or Thomas Sowell or even Colin Powell- but still, it would say to the world that we're finally putting this racism stuff behind us.-VT

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Image of Renz
on March 20, 2012 at 00:59:12 am

There are three main political etdhars in America - Socially and fiscally liberal.Socially and fiscally conservative.Socially liberal and fiscally conservative.Beck is in the socially liberal and fiscally conservative group. Those are the "leave us alone coalition".What the "conservatives don't get is that you can't get small government from a government that wants to control social behavior. That is concerned with private morality. You need secret police to make that work.Just as the drug war requires snitches, undercover cops, etc. And of course with that you get corruption - things like "have sex with me and I won't bring you up on drug charges" are not unknown.I always like this which some of my socially conservative friends hate."If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism." - Ronald Reagan

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Image of Francesca
on April 08, 2012 at 14:25:07 pm

pure ideas like freedom,social justice being the party`s slogans create extremism of right or left kind.Conservatives in spite of their religiousness are more moderate and realistic in their attitude.Today`s world thread is the aggressive collectivism in it`s different forms from socialism to Islamism-the roads to serfdom.

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Image of Ben
on May 03, 2012 at 23:18:03 pm

Ask a liberal for an opiionn, and they tell you something they believe is true for everyone. Ask a liberal if they are more caring than others, they say yes, ask a liberal if they have better ideas, and they say yes, ask a liberal if they should control others by taxing their earnings and using the money for their particular pet programs, and they will say yes, and add that their ideas do lots of good for people.Lilberals view themselves as superior, intellectually and educationally, and that they have all the answers.Conservatives believe you can make better decisions with your money, that you have a right to keep what you earn, that you can have ideas that others may not agree with but it's okay. Conservatives are actually more tolerant of different ideas than are Liberals.Liberals have their roots in the old Democrat party of slave owners in the south, who did very little for blacks and wanted to keep slavery going even after the civil war. Conservatives have their roots in the Republican party, the party of anti-slavery, the party that fought against civil rights abuses and against the democrats and later dixiecrats that tried to institutute such things as separate but equal or whites only services and facilities.Don't let liberals fool you into believing they are anything more than wolves in sheeps clothing. They do NOT have your best interest in mind, that's why they want to remove guns, remove your money, and tell you how to live, raise the price of fuel, and insert government control into virtually every aspect of your lives.Liberalism used to mean independent much like today's Libertarian party, but over the years, Liberal has taken on a new form, it's big government, elitist behavior, know-it-all attitudes, and nobody should be responsible for their own actions, everything is relative, it's called moral relativism, and can be used by liberals to explain any behavior, regardless of how damaging it might be to others.Beware of Liberals, they are dishonest and greedy.

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Image of Alexsandro
on May 03, 2012 at 23:38:37 pm

Anonymous - Ownership of the means of production, dibirisutton and exchange is fundamentally Marxist, so the state owning businesses IS a leftwing position. None of the SOEs the Nats are seeking to part sell are even conceivably natural monopolies. If you think state ownership of business is compatible with a free market/small government view of economics you need your head read.There are multiple reasons for the state to sell SOEs, these include:- Avoiding taxpayers injecting capital into businesses that compete with the private sector and which bear inherent risks (e.g. Air NZ and Solid Energy are hardly secure investments);- Introducing innovation and experience from the private sector, especially major foreign operators to spur competition and efficiency for users (e.g. the state owning 3 power retailers/generators is seriously suboptimal)- Injecting a strategic investor who can leverage marketing/ purchasing and network benefits for the business (Air NZ needs this).- Getting a board and management appointed that isn't decided by Ministers and bureaucrats, but by the people actually risking their money in the business.- Getting rid of the Cabinet level conflict of interest between ownership and regulation (e.g. remember when the last government sought Qantas to buy part of Air NZ, even though it was grossly anti-competitive - as it was driven by money and realising a return).As someone who argues more than most in favour of cutting back the state, it's a bit of a strawman to say that shouldn't be a priority.Adolf - You too, your comment is really that level of a Murupara fifth former given the typo and the inability to see that state ownership is more than just about making money from the business, but about how this distorts the market, stymies development of the business and can result in sub-optimal performance for users (e.g. are the 3 state power SOES really that interested in being competitive with each other?).Oh and earlier anonymous? ACT was actually meant to be the vehicle to implement the proposals in Roger Douglas's book "Unfinished Business" about replacing income tax with compulsory superannuation, health insurance and education accounts, nothing to do with the Treaty or law and order - learn your history you rude cunt, you're the one fussed about "poofs" etc, nobody else.

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Image of Moinuddin
on June 09, 2012 at 08:36:10 am

"the question is wheethr those on the liberal half can get their act together"No they won't. Because they will always end up waffling over such talisman irrelevancies as drug liberalization, poofs getting married, abortion and euthanasia."ACT was set up to represent those who genuinely believe in personal responsibility"ACT - The Association of Consumers & Taxpayers was all about tight fiscal management, ending the treaty gravy train and law & order. All of the other libertine bullshit was part of Judd's "the liberal party" experiment - which was a complete clusterfuck and support generally ebbed from about 2003 onwards.There is already a political party which caters to avaricious, selfish, nihilistic progressives:www.libertarianz.org.nz

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Image of metin
on June 09, 2012 at 19:45:06 pm

A liberal and a coesnrvative walk down the street and come upon a homeless man. The Conservative take $ 5 from his pocket and tells the man to come see him to get a job.The Liberal takes $ 10 from the coesnrvative's pocket and tells the man where to file for benefits.Seriously the liberal feels the government can be an agent of social change and the government has a responsibility to fund social actions.The coesnrvative is pretty much happy with the way things are and places emphasis on personal responsibility and less government intervention.

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Image of Ana
on June 11, 2012 at 22:21:44 pm

, it's particularly hard, and hitrsoy bears this out, for an anti-war candidate to actually be anti-war in office. Even a relatively hawkish president like Bush was tested quite soon after he assumed the office (recall the incident with our plane being forced down in China), and if a president actually promises that he'll only shoot back under certain conditions, that's going to be tested. The basis of asymmetric warfare is using your adversary's weakness against them, and the political process is the weakest aspect of a democracy. It doesn't seem fair to say that he's fake, rather, no one is ever really prepared to be president.

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Image of Giorgio

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