How Republican is That?

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Jason Kuznicki

Jason Kuznicki is a research fellow at the Cato Institute and contributor of Cato Unbound. He's on twitter as JasonKuznicki. His interests include political theory and history.

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  1. Avatar Koz
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    says:

    Ron Paul (and Ron Paul supporters) have been bad luck for Gary Johnson. I personally think I would prefer RP to Gary Johnson, but the RP flake quotient is undeniably high, and that’s hurt Gary Johnson by association.

    And of course, vote Republican to preserve the cause of civilization in America.Report

    • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Koz
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      says:

      It’s funny.  The first paragraph I agree with entirely — spot-on, if you ask me.

      The second, I don’t even know where to begin.  Though the torture memos might be as good a place as any.

       Report

      • Avatar Koz in reply to Jason Kuznicki
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        says:

        The place to begin is pretty easy. It’s the realization that Republicans have demographic, political and intellectual credibility in America today but libertarians don’t (capital L or small l).

        The problem with too many libertarians is that they are too tightly wrapped inside their own little cocoons to even consider this as a possibility.Report

        • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Koz
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          says:

          It’s the realization that Republicans have demographic, political and intellectual credibility in America today but libertarians don’t (capital L or small l).

          Of course, the same is true of Democrats.  Last I checked, they win just as many elections as Republicans.  Yes, yes, I know, the people who vote R count, the people who vote D don’t.  The evidence is, on the whole, lacking that Democrats are any worse from a libertarian perspective than Republicans.Report

          • Avatar Jay Daniel in reply to Mark Thompson
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            says:

            Mark,

            Your ranking of the importance of the contested “libertarian” issues is of course determinative.  I tend to agree that the parties are about even on their track records, but I also think that the democratic party is prone to capture by interests that I abhor as a libertarian, and this is particularly the case in the past year.Report

            • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Jay Daniel
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              says:

              Your ranking of the importance of the contested “libertarian” issues is of course determinative.

              Absolutely – hence my emphasis on the phrase “on the whole.”  I think the GOP is equally prone to the type of capture you are concerned with. The point is just that the evidence is lacking that Team Red has credibility that neither libertarians nor Democrats possess.  The evidence is also lacking that Team Red is inherently more reconcilable with libertarianism than Team Blue, even if we might say that at a given moment in time one or the other of the two is more amenable to a libertarian worldview.Report

              • Avatar Jay Daniel in reply to Mark Thompson
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                says:

                Well, it’s getting a little far afield, but I would argue that Team Red is more inherently reconcilable with libertarianism because Team Red is constitutionally a product of the fusion of libertarianism with conservatism — or at least that could be said I think fairly safely during the period between about 1960 and pretty recently.  It may be that the “fusion” has shattered, but as evidence to the contrary I would just point to the fact that almost any Republican you bump into will make noises that sound like libertarian noises (small government, market forces, liberty, etc.) even if his heart isn’t really in the same place.  He’s basically been bred that way, and the consanguinity remains.  It’s for this reason that you can always get a hearing among Republicans as a libertarian, at least on economic issues, and you can often even successfully persuade individual Republicans on social issues as well by couching your arguments in terms of Liberty.

                On the other hand, here in San Francisco at least, I have plenty of ardent “liberal” acquaintances who do not have a libertarian bone in their body — possibly excepting sexual freedom (a relative non-issue here) and fetish for public protesting but definitely including War on Terror issues.  So basically, it comes down to the fact that there may be only one thing I know for certain, but it’s that I’m definitely NOT on their Team.

                 

                 Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Jay Daniel
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                says:

                On the other hand, here in San Francisco at least, I have plenty of ardent “liberal” acquaintances who do not have a libertarian bone in their body — possibly excepting sexual freedom (a relative non-issue here) and fetish for public protesting but definitely including War on Terror issues.

                Hrm…this dovetails with another theory of mine, actually, which is that libertarians will tend to mesh best in a given area with whatever team is more in the minority in that area.  The group that least needs their support in that area will basically ignore them and refuse to give them the time of day; the group that more needs their support in the area will moderate their least libertarian dogmas in the hopes of boosting their local coalition.  It strikes me as not a coincidence that Wyoming, which went 60% for Bush in 2004, simultaneously elected the country’s most libertarian Democrat as its governor in that election.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mark Thompson
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                says:

                How long did it take “liberaltarian” to disappear after 2008’s election? Did it even last until inauguration day?Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                That’s the idea, basically – it’s similarly worth pointing out that the term itself dates to a time when the GOP controlled every branch of government.  That said, the theory works less well on the national scale than on the local scale because the comparative base support of each party on the national level is pretty similar.  I suspect the theory works best the greater the dominance of one party or the other.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                The Demos never did care about liberaltarianism, even when they were in the minority.

                On the other hand, there is a substantial constituency for it here at the League, in spite of all evidence of intellectual and political vacuity.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Perhaps pointing out that the Republican Party is America’s last hope for Fiscal Sanity will help.Report

              • Avatar Mike in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                If you’re a libertarian who believes in freedom of speech, you ought to vote Democrat.

                If you’re a libertarian who believes in drug legalization, neither party is perfect, but all state-legislature-based legalization efforts have been from the Democrat side of the aisle.

                If you’re a libertarian who believes in gays’ right to marry, you ought to vote Democrat.

                If you’re a libertarian who believes in not getting into wars, you ought to vote Democrat. Hell, even the conservatards have clued into this: the Big Fat Druggie today had a “radio guest” who claimed to be an ex-military officer who said the reason Obama didn’t order the lost drone destroyed was “politics, because he didn’t want to be the guy sending a cruise missile into Iran and starting another war.”

                If you’re a libertarian who believes government shouldn’t get mixed up in religion, you ought to vote Democrat.

                If you’re a libertarian who believes that the constitutional prohibitions against unreasonable search, seizure, and government surveillance of citizens ought to be strong – then you ought to vote Democrat.

                Plenty of reasons for libertarians to vote Democrat. The against? Well I suppose if you’re for letting the poor die in the streets, for increased instances of easily prevented transmissible disease in the population, for the growth of the illiterate underclass, then you might want to continue voting Republican.

                Bill Maher said it best. “A Christmas Carol” as put on by Tea Party groups would have the “hero” Ebenezer Scrooge, an innocent “job creator”, forced into socialism by the machinations of three evil spirits sent by satan after the satanic prayers put out by the true villain, Tiny Tim, who by rights ought to have been killed after birth because he was obviously never going to be a productive member of society.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                To be honest, I would prefer an equal amount of spending on social welfare programs to the military spending we’ve been seeing.

                I don’t think that social welfare spending is particularly effective at alleviating poverty (on the current margin it’s often the opposite, in fact, because welfare traps are real, and they could be all we will get with extra spending), but at least social welfare spending doesn’t spread death and destruction, doesn’t make the rest of the world hate us, and its effects on domestic civil liberties aren’t as bad, either.

                So yeah, there’s a strong case to be made for voting Democratic, and I’ve done so in the past on occasion.

                [Edit: Also, I don’t generally vote Republican. If I were to vote for either Johnson or Paul, it would be the first time I’d voted Republican in a presidential election since 1996.]Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Mark Thompson
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                says:

                An interesting theory, Mark.  At first pass, at least, it sounds logical.  After all, there’s precious little to be gained from siding with someone who doesn’t need you.Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to James Hanley
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                says:

                That’s definitely the underlying logic.  I’d be curious to see if it plays out statistically, as it would seem to be something easily falsifiable by someone with better math-fu than I.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Jay Daniel
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                says:

                Jay,

                Not “a libertarian bone in their body” except “sexual freedom,” “public protest” and “war on terror” issues.  That’s already a good set of exceptions.

                How about free speech in general?  Support for separation of church and state?  Do they support freedom of religion (I’ve rarely met a liberal who didn’t, anyway).  Where do they stand on the war on drugs?  What about same-sex marriage?  What about prosecutors who falsify evidence? Do they oppose book banning?

                If they, like most liberals I know, are strong civil libertarians, they have more overlap with libertarians than you might at first think.  It’s unfortunate, I think, that everyone focuses on the economic issues (although I’m deeply guilty of that myself), because it creates a misperception.

                In fact, here’s libertarian economist Robert Higgs arguing that if there’s a libertarian litmus test, it’s on issues of war and peace, not economics.

                Although I generally eschew quarrels with fellow libertarians over doctrinal matters…I draw the line at the question of war and peace. In my judgment, this issue is fundamental; it well nigh defines a genuine libertarian ideology. Professed libertarians who support an aggressive warfare state are in effect giving up the ship without a fight.

                Granted, being anti-war does  not make one a full-blown libertarian.  But there’s really a great overlap between liberals and libertarians on civil liberties and militarism issues.Report

              • Avatar Jay Daniel in reply to James Hanley
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                says:

                I was trying to say that they DO NOT care about war on terror issues. That’s been eye-opening.  Some of them cared when Bush was president, but now that Obama is in, it’s either totally off their radar or something that they now say they’ve “come around on.” I don’t know a single person who does not support gay marriage.  So maybe in that sense everyone here is a libertarian, but it’s also not a wedge issue.

                I am an attorney, and I work with the ACLU occasionally.  Among them, I know several “liberal” civil libertarians.  So I don’t disagree with you as far as that goes, except to say that very few of those people are actually aligned with the democratic party on many economic issues.

                However, I would say that many of the people I was referring to in SF also do not care much about the First Amendment with respect to religion.  Maybe its because they don’t know anyone who is religious, but I frequently hear people in my community say that various religious practices should be illegal.

                Finally, I think I’m pretty libertarian, but I have zero sympathy for “occupying” a public park, turning it into a tent city, and destroying one of the few public spaces downtown.  In fact, I don’t think libertarianism has anything to do with most of the ridiculous protests that occur in my community, which appear to be nothing more than an attempt to recapture the sense of purpose people imagine 1960s civil rights protesters felt.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Jay Daniel
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                says:

                I was trying to say that they DO NOT care about war on terror issues. That’s been eye-opening. 

                Ah, gotcha.  Yikes!

                I frequently hear people in my community say that various religious practices should be illegal.

                I hope they’re talking about virgin sacrifices and female circumcision, and not praying quietly on the Muni.  Otherwise, yikes!

                the ridiculous protests that occur in my community, which appear to be nothing more than an attempt to recapture the sense of purpose people imagine 1960s civil rights protesters felt

                Ah, I miss San Fran protests.  The weekly march of 20 people with signs for 15 different causes.  You’re making me nostalgic.  The last time I was there so much had changed I felt kind of lost, then I saw one of those cute pointless little protest marches and I felt all warm and fuzzy again (that, and a a double hot dog at Red’s Java Hut!).Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to James Hanley
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                says:

                The overlap between libertarian and liberal views is actually pretty substantial. If any actual marriage is in the works, both groups would obviously have to make changes to their views, conceding some important points to the other side.

                On the liberal side, we’d have to concede that we don’t pay enough attention to policy specifics or to the negative effects of government itself. And one way to do this is to adopt certain libertarian principles as normative guides (even if only under ceterus paribus conditions) for policy creation. On the libertarian side, they’d have to relax on the rhetoric of a Grand Vision and concede that situational context and pragmatics and political possibility and practicality (etc!) are a necessary part of determining good policy, ie, that sometimes a marginal improvement according to certain metrics is actually a marginal improvement (especially if that improvement is more – rather than less – in line with libertarian principles). So the ibertarian would have to take a more incremental, less principled approach to realizing their ideals.

                In short, the fusion of the two views would require liberals to apply their principles with more consistency across the entirety of political economic issues, and libertarians to apply theirs with less.

                In other words, it may be hopeless.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                I think it’s inevitably a case-by-case alliance of convenience.

                What would really be interesting is if we had a parliamentary system, and the Dems and Reps each got 45% of the vote, with the Libertarians getting 10% (other third parties excluded out of convenience and ideological bigotry), so that to form a government either the Ds or Rs would have to strike a deal with the Ls.  Which way would the Ls go?  Would the Rs or the Ds offer a more enticing compromise?

                Or would the Ls tear themselves apart bickering over which party to form a government with?Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                Or would the Ls tear themselves apart bickering over which party to form a government with?

                Most likely this – nothing quite so much resembles Life of Brian as libertarians trying to formulate a strategy.

                But in terms of who would offer the more enticing package, I’m guessing it would depend on the circumstances of the moment.  If all were as it is right now, I’d guess the Republicans would offer the more enticing package, if only because they’re less in power than the Dems at the moment and thus more desperate.  They also have a clear goal that just about any libertarian would get behind in terms of repealing PPACA.  By the following election, though, if it were the same results, it would be the Dems offering the more enticing package.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to James Hanley
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                says:

                I agree with Higgs.Report

              • Avatar Renee in reply to Jason Kuznicki
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                says:

                And his boson!Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Jason Kuznicki
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                says:

                I don’t believe in the God particle.

                 Report

              • Avatar Renee in reply to Jason Kuznicki
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                says:

                There is a cool interview with Peter Woit over at Big Think about how finding the Higgs Boson actually would be less interesting than not finding it.

                http://bigthink.com/peterwoit#!video_idea_id=18235

                Essentially, it (the higgs mechanism) isn’t particularly predictive.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Mark Thompson
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                says:

                “The point is just that the evidence is lacking that Team Red has credibility that neither libertarians nor Democrats possess.”

                Yeah but this is just libertarian cocoonism. Like where you wrote,

                “I will consider voting party-line Republican again when the party decides that the Paul Ryans and Jeff Flakes and Tom Coburns of the world are worthy of leadership positions rather than being people from whom the leadership distances itself.”

                https://ordinary-times.com/blog/2010/02/17/the-first-draft-not-the-compromised-second-draft/#comment-41142

                While libertarians have been entertaining themselves about marijuana dispensaries for lolz, the Republicans fought a really hard battle against PPACA, and have a decent chance of still winning it. And they’ve taken some real political risk with the Ryan plan. But does this get them any love? Of course not. Instead, we get Jason complaining in the OP about Gary Johnson being excluded from the Presidential debates.

                Taken separately these could be legit complaints, but in general they’re not. Libertarians are just indulging their cultural alienation from the GOP and the mainstream America it represents. If it weren’t this it’d be something else.Report

              • Avatar Jay Daniel in reply to Koz
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                says:

                Koz, I’m not sure that either of the issues you raised is a clear win for “liberty.”  Health Care is frigging complicated, and Republicans’ attacks on the PPACA would seem a lot more principled and less of a reflexive anti-Obama move if they had actually come up with a good solution that could ever be implemented.  I don’t really agree that the Republicans’ political tactics vis-a-vis the PPACA have advanced the cause of liberty.

                I’m a qualified fan of Paul Ryan, but again, I’m not sure what political risk the party leadership too by putting his plan forward given that the leadership support he received was actually pretty tepid, and I also think that the criticisms of his plan that came from many economists, including libertarian-leaning ones, had some merit.  At any rate, I wish there were more people like Paul Ryan in Congress, and I found the lack of enthusiasm by the Republican leadership for his plan to be really annoying.

                As for me, I’d be a lot more enthusiastic about the Republican Party if they would actually *accomplish* something in the cause of liberty when they have the opportunity.  And that’s where the war on drugs comes in.  There is really no question in my mind that now would actually be a great time to finally do something about our federal government’s ridiculous approach to marijuana, and I find it horrifying that there are not enough Republicans in Congress to form a coalition with like-minded democrats to change these policies. And I don’t think this cowardice and wrongheadedness is a laughing matter.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Jay Daniel
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                says:

                “I don’t really agree that the Republicans’ political tactics vis-a-vis the PPACA have advanced the cause of liberty.”

                Oh I think it did. PPACA is a horrible policy of course but the benefits of opposing PPACA go well beyond policy, ie, here:

                https://ordinary-times.com/blog/2011/11/03/sound-off/#comment-201683

                In contrast what some libs try to get the American people to believe, there’s nothing inevitable of the expansion of the welfare state. In general, the growth of the welfare state occurs as the result of particular actions from Team Blue. In other words, the cause of the problem is liberals. Get rid of the liberals, get rid of the problem.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Koz
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                says:

                Because if the Republicans got control of the House, Senate, and White House, they’d be able to resist creating new entitlements if not actually shrink the size of government and spending?Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Jay Daniel
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                says:

                “And that’s where the war on drugs comes in. There is really no question in my mind that now would actually be a great time to finally do something about our federal government’s ridiculous approach to marijuana, and I find it horrifying that there are not enough Republicans in Congress to form a coalition with like-minded democrats to change these policies.”

                Actually, that’s been a subject of the discussion here as well. The upshot is, the War on Drugs is an upshot of the lack of empowerment of the citizens in general.

                It’s important to realize that the War on Drugs isn’t a partisan issue for the most part anyway. Politically speaking, it is protected by the cops, prosecutors, corrections officers and some other organs of the establishment. It continues on inertia without really even being part of the political process.

                It will continue on inertia until enough energy forces the political arena to confront it. But the energy for that is limited. There’s no reason for the GOP fight against the War on Drugs, an issue that they don’t care about and where the people may not be with them, at the expense of PPACA that the GOP does care about and the people are with them.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Koz
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                the War on Drugs is an upshot of the lack of empowerment of the citizens in general.

                I’m skeptical of that.  In places where judges are elected, they tend to impose harsher sentences for drug crimes.  And DAs running for re-election certainly think being tough on drugs is good for their re-election chances. And at a debate between our state Senate candidates I asked if they’d support decriminalizing marijuana to reduce the state’s prison population, so as to help the state balance it’s budget.  They both eagerly–in front of voters–denounced the idea, insisting that we had to keep pot illegal.

                I think the evidence demonstrates that there is citizen empowerment in this issue, and it’s a strong contributing factor in continuing the war on drugs.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Koz
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                says:

                There’s an important one-way ratchet dynamic that I don’t think you’re seeing.

                The people who want more aggressive law enforcement can vote for law-and-order DA’s prison construction and the rest of it. But the people who support legalization or decriminalization have no real means to leverage their support.

                They can, once in a blue moon, repeal some state drug laws. But the primary effect of that is to send a calling card to the DoJ to send their drug cops in to bust heads.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Koz
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                the people who support legalization or decriminalization have no real means to leverage their support.

                Yes, because we’re in the minority.  That’s not equal to “the people” being disempowered.  It’s just about the minority being disempowered.  “The people,” to the extent we can use that phrase meaningfully, are the ratchet.  That “click click click” you hear as the ratchet turns?  That’s them dropping their pro-drug-war votes in the ballot box.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Koz
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                “Yes, because we’re in the minority. That’s not equal to “the people” being disempowered. “

                Actually, I don’t think so, at the very least not everywhere. In mountain West at least, you can be politically successful on an anti-drug-enforcement platform. You can can’t create any policy with it. There have been several successful state referenda on the issue, and there was at least one case in Montana where the DA publically refused to work low-level drug cases. Not because he wasn’t willing to prosecute them, but because he could never empanel a jury willing to convict.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Koz
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                says:

                Koz,

                Point taken.  There is a libertarian streak in parts of the Mountain West politics that I’d overlooked.  There’s a lot of reason to like the region, and that’s one of them.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Koz
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                says:

                It’s important to realize that the War on Drugs isn’t a partisan issue for the most part anyway. Politically speaking, it is protected by the cops, prosecutors, corrections officers and some other organs of the establishment. It continues on inertia without really even being part of the political process.

                It will continue on inertia until enough energy forces the political arena to confront it.

                This plus the ratchet comment following, +1.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Koz
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                says:

                I’m glad you approve. Btw, this idea of inertia and the energy required to overcome it applies to your tax rate argument from the other thread as well. Ie, an exact differentiation isn’t necessarily obvious (though I will work on clarifying it), but it’s not at all nebulous or subtle when you see it.

                That’s why I’m surprised by your tax rates argument. It’s difficult for me to believe that you really think that the public support for tax increases is remotely comparable to public opposition to PPACA.Report

              • Avatar Mike in reply to Jay Daniel
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                Did you actually READ the Ryan Plan? Because it was a complete joke. It assumed things that can’t possibly occur.

                First there’s the fact that it assumed unemployment would not just nosedive to 2 points lower than the lowest point it’s been in the last 100 years and STAY there… and then there’s the fact that it was described as “what would be the greatest transfer of resources in modern American history by an act of the government from the bottom part to the top part.”Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Mike
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                says:

                This is just me, unofficially. But great comment, Mike. More like this please.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Mike
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                says:

                “First there’s the fact that it assumed unemployment would not just nosedive to 2 points lower than the lowest point it’s been in the last 100 years and STAY there… “

                Well yeah, good things tend to happen when you bust heads on the libs.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Koz
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                says:

                Taken separately these could be legit complaints, but in general they’re not. Libertarians are just indulging their cultural alienation from the GOP and the mainstream America it represents. If it weren’t this it’d be something else.

                My objection is that the Republicans are big spenders.  Objectively.  What they talk about doesn’t mean anything — they spend big, just like the other guys.

                From where I sit, the contest appears to be between (a) those who want to spend big and raise taxes and (b) those who want to spend big and pretend they can cut taxes forever while doing it.

                If anyone here is using marijuana… as a red herring…  it’s you.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Jason Kuznicki
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                says:

                “My objection is that the Republicans are big spenders. Objectively.”

                Really? Like objectively where the hell have you been since the we’ve been up and running here at the League?

                With the CR issues, the Ryan plan, and the debt limit drama the GOP has been fighting this battle as hard as it conceivably be fought.

                Other people in the world have offices, resources and prerogatives, and their ability to exercise them is an actual objective constraint on the political actors we pretend to speak for. It’s only those who give themselves a license to piss on the legitimate prerogatives of other people who tend to think otherwise (and that goes for inside game and the outside game as well).Report

          • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Mark Thompson
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            says:

             The evidence is, on the whole, lacking that Democrats are any worse from a libertarian perspective than Republicans.

            I’m thinking of developing a survey of libertarians, just to sort out issues like this.Report

  2. Avatar James Hanley
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    Republicans overwhelmingly don’t want a more libertarian public policy. They want power, exercised by powerful people, who also just happen to be themselves

    Nailed it.  And in addition to “war, war powers, and war spending,” you need to add in the social policy aspects, which also normally result in bigger government (certainly if we count “intrusiveness” as an element of “big”).Report

  3. Avatar 62across
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    says:

    The Republican Party hasn’t been like him for a good ten years and three months.

    I’m curious. What watershed moment are you pointing to here?Report

    • Avatar James K in reply to 62across
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      says:

      The timing would be right for 9/11.

       Report

      • Avatar 62across in reply to James K
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        says:

        Of course!  D’uh.

        But, to second what James Hanley writes, 31 years would better indicate the turning point, if there ever was one.  It’s Reagan that used the Moral Majority to rise to power and he’s the one who really ratcheted up the defense spending.Report

        • Avatar Liberty60 in reply to 62across
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          says:

          Which is the time when the Republican Party actually got its hands on the levers of power.

          At which time they promptly discovered that their comrades in arms such as the neocons and business interests had absolutely no interest whatsoever in small government, even though they had spent the previous 20 years shouting the slogans of small government.

          The divorce between rhetoric and reality began at that point.Report

  4. Avatar 62across
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    says:

    I could go for Gary Johnson. I think he’s right on so many things. Unfortunately, his problems in office would be the same as Ron Paul’s. They’d have no one in Congress to coalition with on their core agenda.Report

    • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to 62across
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      says:

      This actually is far less of a problem for a libertarian-leaning President, I think.

      Effectively, because of the veto, they become the force that would require parties to come to the table and actually negotiate.  Nothing too one-sided would get through, because you’d have to be able to override the veto and neither party would be likely to have the chops to pull that off.Report

      • Avatar 62across in reply to Patrick Cahalan
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        says:

        Well before the veto they’d have to partner with a party caucus to craft the legislation. Johnson or Paul would partner with the Republicans, don’t you think?

        Do you see a Republican House helping with any of the civil libertarian elements of their agendas? How about the end of the War on Drugs or the War on Terror? How about defunding the military. Republicans will fight them on these issues. OTOH, Democrats will seen no benefit in helping on this agenda on behalf of a Republican President.

        Now, there could be success on the economic front, but as Jason makes clear in his OP, nothing will be done to limit the size of government as both parties will push the other way.

        About the only thing I think Johnson or Paul would be able to accomplish would be diminishing the power of the Executive Branch through executive orders. That in itself would be a good thing, but it ain’t much.

         Report

  5. Avatar Chris
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    says:

    And why? Because, win or lose, Republicans overwhelmingly don’t want a more libertarian public policy. They want power, exercised by powerful people, who also just happen to be themselves. And that’s not something Gary Johnson promises.

    This, unfortunately, is just the way things are in pretty much any competitive political system. It’s why people with political views like yours, or mine, will never run things in such a sytem. Even if they get elected, they’ll stop being who they were. Competitive political systems make power grabs inevitable, because if you don’t grab it, the other guy will. Entrench everything you can while you can.Report

  6. Avatar James K
    Ignored
    says:

    You’re absolutely right Jason, the Republican party is the party of small government rhetoric, not the party of small government.Report

  7. Avatar Jay Daniel
    Ignored
    says:

    Gary Johnson is my preferred candidate.  I generally refer to myself as a libertarian.  My wife tells me all the time that I’m deluded to still be voting Republican, and that the party moved from where I can comfortably participate a decade ago.  So she’ll be happy to see that you agree with her.

    My problem is that I still think (feel?) I am less aligned with the democratic party.  I actually got caught up in the happy talk and voted for Obama in 2008.  But I now think that that was a mistake.  My basic belief is that most elected Republicans are idiots, but most elected Democrats are unprincipled and capable of caving into the demands of certain groups within the party that I believe to be literally crazy for the sake of continued power.  I also don’t believe that there will ever be a viable third party with which I feel more kinship.

    Maybe you feel more comfortable with the democratic party than I do — including with its vulnerability to capture by interests for which I have absolutely no affinity (with the latest being the “99 Percenters”).  Or maybe you believe that the “War on Terror” issue trumps other considerations — although the democratic party is not uniformly better on these issues either.  As for me, I don’t know what to do at this point other than reflect on how I came to be so outside of the mainstream of American society that I detest all of the political parties that garner any significant degree of support and, in 2012, vote Republican while holding my nose.  Unless its Gingrich.  I simply can’t vote for that turd.Report

    • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Jay Daniel
      Ignored
      says:

      I’m not endorsing any candidates or parties here, not even Johnson.  Though I certainly do like most of what I hear from him, and I can’t usually say that about a politician.Report

    • Avatar Koz in reply to Jay Daniel
      Ignored
      says:

      If Gingrich gets the nomination, I’ll vote for him. That said, he is pretty much a turd.

      It’s not just the case that we have these Team Red vs. Team Blue foodfights in Washington. For the bigger picture, it’s useful to remember how we got here. The reason we have the battles we have is because of some subtle but important things Team Blue has won in the past. We have substantial organizational and Constitutional safeguards for limited government. But Team Blue has successfully bulldozed most of them away as collateral damage on the way to something else. That’s what creates the lay of the land today.

      Therefore, if we can successfully defeat the Demos, we have hope to restore not only the policy of limited of government but the structure as well. Though, we’ve taken quite a few hits and it’s going to take a while to put Humpty-Dumpty back together again.Report

      • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Koz
        Ignored
        says:

        “Unitary Executive.”  The damage the Dems did to Constitutional limitations was, by and large, accomplished 70-80 years ago.  The damage the Republicans have done to Constitutional limitations has been achieved in the last decade.Report

        • Avatar Koz in reply to Mark Thompson
          Ignored
          says:

          Not at all. I was thinking more of the budget shutdown dramas. The idea is, that a Demo President or a Demo Congress blocks spending that they do want in order get spending that our team doesn’t want.

          For me it’s pretty much self-evidently ridiculous. But somehow, we have come to expect that this is normal. And there’s more where that came from. Part of the general pattern is the idea of entanglement. Team Blue believes in entanglement. You can’t do what you want you want unless you satisfy some obligations that Team Blue entangles you into.

          We believe in engagement. That we see, in each other, compelling possibilities for collaboration or association such that we voluntarily choose to enter or leave.Report

          • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Koz
            Ignored
            says:

            “Bulldozing Constitutional safeguards” =/= “successfully maneuvered to increase government spending on their preferred programs.”  Also, too: the defense budget.  Regardless, “spending” has little to do with “Constitutional safeguards.”  The “unitary executive” has everything to do with it.

            At best all you are saying is that the Dems continue to take advantage of Constitutional safeguards they successfully bulldozed 70-80 years ago (and  I would certainly challenge the notion that Republicans are any better about not taking advantage of this, but that’s besides the point).  My point is that the  Republicans have found new and interesting ways of unilaterally bulldozing Constitutional safeguards within the last decade.

            Economic liberties are important in no small part because the breach thereof can (will?) eventually  result in breaches of fundamental civil liberties.  The Republicans seem pretty intent on making sure that the government just goes directly to the breach of civil liberties.Report

      • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Koz
        Ignored
        says:

        Koz, Newt’s a progressivist plus we have the problem of a lot of RINO’s in the Senate and House who will block enlightened conservative legislation along with their commie-Dem friends. The Tea Party will have to continue to purge the progressivists/RINO’s in order to purify and cleanse the GOP and make it a fit “American” political organization capable of resisting the evil commie-Dems. In the meantime, should Barry the First, win election I continue to buy guns and ammunition (some really good buys at Classic Arms for commie 7.62X54 ammo).Report

        • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Robert Cheeks
          Ignored
          says:

          Robert,

          Are you aware that those Republicans “in name only” are more representative of what the Republican Party historically was?  And that those who are claiming to be the “true” Republicans are actually more representative of the old Southern Democrats?

          If y’all want to call yourself the true conservatives, I don’t think you’ll find much disagreement.  But if you want to call yourselves the true Republicans then just engaging in historical revisionism.Report

          • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to James Hanley
            Ignored
            says:

            James,

            You gotta good point, historically speaking, though I’d argue that the true Paleo isn’t a racist, at least he wouldn’t want to see gummint used to oppress people predicated on race, creed, or color. Historically, as you point out, that was the provenance of the commie-Dems down South and in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Maryland, and Pennsyltucky.

            My RINO isn’t necessarily anyone else’s RINO. However, in order to provide some definition, I’m referring to those GOPers who eschew limited gummint, who seek to consolidate power among the elite in Washington City, while doing all they can to subvert federalism.Report

            • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Robert Cheeks
              Ignored
              says:

              I’d argue that the true Paleo isn’t a racist, at least he wouldn’t want to see gummint used to oppress people predicated on race, creed, or color. Historically, as you point out, that was the provenance of the commie-Dems down South and in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Maryland, and Pennsyltucky.

              For the sake of argument I’ll grant you your definition of Paleos (I have o stake in that term anyway), but the second sentence in there puzzles the fish out of me.  Commie-Dems were the ones who supported Jim Crow?  I’m lost.

              My RINO [is] those GOPers who eschew limited gummint, who seek to consolidate power among the elite in Washington City, while doing all they can to subvert federalism

              You mean like Lincoln, Grant, McKinley, Roosevelt?   I’m still seeing historical revisionism in your definition.  I think it’s fair to say you’re talking about what you wish constituted a true Republican, or what Republicans, in your view, ought to be.  But I don’t think you get to ride in 160 years after the fact and start redefining what “true” Republican means.Report

            • Avatar Koz in reply to Robert Cheeks
              Ignored
              says:

              Really James, aren’t you a professor of something? This is pretty old hat for paleos.

              “Commie-Dems were the ones who supported Jim Crow? I’m lost.”

              Yep.

              “You mean like Lincoln, Grant, McKinley, Roosevelt? “

              Like them.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                Really James, aren’t you a professor of something?

                I don’t do parties and elections or anything of that sort.  Never took a class on it, don’t teach it, don’t study it.  I can’t say the term’s not in the professional literature, since I don’t read the articles where it might appear, but the only place I’ve personally seen the term “paleoconservative” is in the media and blogs.  And I’ve usually seen it used as a pejorative, so I don’t fully trust the users’ definition.  I truly, honestly, don’t know what paleoconservative means beyond where the etymology would take me (very old-style conservative).  That would seem to take us back to Jim Crow and slavery, but I think you dispute that, and since I don’t pretend a clear understanding of the term, I’m sincerely asking for your definition.

                 

                “Commie-Dems were the ones who supported Jim Crow? I’m lost.”

                Yep.

                I was asking for an explanation, not an affirmation.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                Ok, to a first order explanation, the definitional point of paleoism is that Lincoln’s a bastard. After that, it gets pretty thin pretty quick.

                Though, imo at least there is one crucial point of politics which must be credited to the paleos, specifically Mel Bradford in Dallas IIRC. Ie, the universal brotherhood of mankind is a crock. As a practical matter, it is a crutch to evade our local obligations and responsibilities. And if we apply ourselves correctly, we can actually meet those obligations.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                James, I’m a John Randolph of Roanoake, Tertium Quid sans support of African Chattel Slavery. I’m also an agrarian until they start talking about Catholic (or Protestant) Distributism. My branch of Paloeconservatism isn’t likely to take over anything anytime soon, though the true Paleo believes in a claim of transcendental representation wherein the term describes a gummint that is representative of divine order. Paleos cannot abide ideological history and adheres to a belief in the possibility (hope) of a metastatic faith and the potential for a metastatic apocalypse.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Robert Cheeks
                Ignored
                says:

                In other words, paleos tend to have very definitive opinions regarding issues which never seem to come to fore in reality.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                Actually Koz, dear pal, that’s pretty much the way things are. The problem is your view is way too narrow..the horizon of reality, as it were.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Robert Cheeks
                Ignored
                says:

                So in other words, I should just accept the liberals’ ideologically biased definition?  OK, then.

                Maybe I’ll spend five minutes on JSTOR and find a definition from someone who’s brave enough to not shy away from a real definition.Report

        • Avatar Koz in reply to Robert Cheeks
          Ignored
          says:

          Come on Bob, cut the shit. What exactly do you expect to win when you’re done purging?

          The feds shot Randy Weaver. The sniper is not going to miss you, whether you have a sufficient stash of 7.62×54 or otherwise.

          You should hope that the current Republicans are good enough to get the job done, because those are the ones we’ve got.Report

          • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Koz
            Ignored
            says:

            Jeez Koz, there ain’t a romantic drop of blood in them veins, are there?

            Seriously, I’m kinda, sorta, a little joking/hyperbolicatin’ about defended the old homestead but I think there are scenerios where the social breakdown can rather easily turn violent. I was kinda expecting it with the Occupados. Your definition (Randy Weaver) doesn’t impress given the times, social conditions, etc. however, should Barry screw up where we fall into a depression where food is difficult to get (unemployment at 11% and climbing) then, yes, we’d better be armed. And, don’t count on the military being willing to shootdown their starving friends and families.

            Re: ‘purging’ dear Koz, what exactly, do you think the TPers are righteously attending to? If’n it ain’t to get rid of RINO’s and Neocons and other GOP statists then I’ve misunderstood the ‘movement.’

            I do appreciate any number of the ‘current’ GOP congrerssmen, but there’s a whole lotta purgin’ to be doin.’ I’d like to be able to tell the difference between a commie-dem and a Republican.Report

            • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Robert Cheeks
              Ignored
              says:

              a depression where food is difficult to get (unemployment at 11% and climbing) then, yes, we’d better be armed.

              That’s funny.  Unemployment topped 15% in my county, and peace and harmony prevailed. Methinks you might want to up your cutpoint a little bit.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                Are you French?

                BTW, that wasn’t a ‘cut’ point. I think it’ll take a significant collapse, as Peter, Paul, and Mary said, “A whole lotta nothin’ can make a man feel ill at ease.”Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Robert Cheeks
                Ignored
                says:

                Not French.

                Hey, you’re the one who suggested food riots at 11% unemployment; now you’re moving the goalposts to “significant collapse.”  I’m just holding your feet to the fire, but so far all I’m seeing on this thread is trying to have a say without saying anything you’re willing to stand by.

                I’d hate to think that’s what conservatives think of as having principles these days, but it does seem to explain a lot.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                “feet to the fire”, “moving the goal posts” James, calm down. I’m just throwing out some opinions, dude. You may agree or disagree, if you wanna win every debate, have at it, I gotta cook dinner.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Robert Cheeks
                Ignored
                says:

                It’s not about winning every debate, Bob, it’s about having a worthwhile discussion.  Refusing to give  a sincere definition of your terms, throwing out an opinion then pretending it’s not really something you were saying; all that undermines the potential for a good discussion.

                Enjoy your dinner.Report

            • Avatar Koz in reply to Robert Cheeks
              Ignored
              says:

              “Jeez Koz, there ain’t a romantic drop of blood in them veins, are there?”

              Not much for the paleo infatuations. Sorry Bob.

              “Re: ‘purging’ dear Koz, what exactly, do you think the TPers are righteously attending to? If’n it ain’t to get rid of RINO’s and Neocons and other GOP statists then I’ve misunderstood the ‘movement.’”

              Unfortunately, I think they are engaged in self-indulgent clown show hackularity.

              Ok, so the Tea Party was the first to figure out Barack Obama was a fraud, fair play to them. But now the rest of the world has caught up to that, and the Tea Party is still doing crankiness as performance art, circa 2009.

              I don’t doubt at all the possibility that we might endure violent social breakdown in America, fairly soon even. And when that happens I’d very much like to have some working firearms and a decent amount of ammuntion. But it’s still ridiculous to think that’d be enough to save us. We’re much better off preventing it from happening in the first place, and for that we need Republicans.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                I don’t doubt at all the possibility that we might endure violent social breakdown in America, fairly soon even. And when that happens I’d very much like to have some working firearms and a decent amount of ammuntion.

                I suspect it would be Bible-waving Tea Partier types hunting down commie-dems that I’d be shooting at, while my union Democrat neighbor was cooking the steaks on the grill and guarding the beer.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                James, you may, if you’d like, think of we Paleos as the “Temple Priests” and Prophets of the American republic. The True Believers as it were. Koz, my dear interlocutor, can be seen as a “conservative” derailed by one or the other of modernity’s sundry perverse ideologies. A real Paleo (conservative) does not honor the GOP (or any other political party for that matter) when, they misuse the Constitutional authority/intent of the executive by, for example, projecting military power abroad in order to “bring Democracy to the Middle East.” And, so forth.

                The current political problem lies with a serious social breakdown caused by the gross failure of statist ideologies to establish a meaningful social order measured against an oft confused, fractious, and disruptive existential order. The wisdom, both politically and spiritually, of the first generation provided a unique republican general gummint. Sadly, we’ve allowed these  principles and symbols of the olde republic to be corrupted and lost. The Tea Party people to their credit are doing their best to begin the process of restoration. It remains to be seen how successful they’ll be.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Robert Cheeks
                Ignored
                says:

                James, you may, if you’d like, think of we Paleos as the “Temple Priests” and Prophets of the American republic. The True Believers as it were.

                No, I’d rather not support you in your game of make-believe that only your type are true the real America.

                A real Paleo (conservative) does not honor the GOP (or any other political party for that matter) when, they misuse the Constitutional authority/intent of the executive by, for example, projecting military power abroad in order to ”bring Democracy to the Middle East.” And, so forth.

                That’s great, up until the “and so forth” bit.  It’s not at all clear what else follows from that.

                I honestly can’t say anything polite about the rest, so for once I’ll try to exercise good judgement and just say I hope you had a nice dinner.

                 Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                Yes, a nice dinner. It’s all good!Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                “I suspect it would be Bible-waving Tea Partier types hunting down commie-dems that I’d be shooting at,…..”

                I have no doubt of that. On the other hand, I hope you realize you’ll have the same problem Bob has. It’ll come down to who has the best guns and who shoots the straightest. Is that a scenario you expect to prosper in?Report

        • Avatar Mike in reply to Robert Cheeks
          Ignored
          says:

          The nice thing about the TP’ers ethnic-cleansing the party of “RINOS”, at least, is that when they are finally done the TP/Republican Party will be a nice, neat, ignorable 20% or less of the electorate as they will have driven everyone else out of the party.

          The downside is, the more “cleansing” they accomplish, the more rabid they get, and the more they refuse to leave the nice neat confines of the echo chamber and interact with the real world, where shoving the poor into the gutter and “then they should die and decrease the surplus population” is the act of an EVIL, not good, man.Report

      • Avatar Liberty60 in reply to Koz
        Ignored
        says:

        If you want to have an argument about increasing or decreasing spending on this program or that issue, there is plenty of room for opinion.

        But the notion of the Republican Party implementing any form of “limited government” is absurd on its face.

        Unless by “limited government” you mean “cutting entitlement spending a notch” and “loosening some regulations”. Yeah, they could probably accomplish that.

        But actually limiting the size scope and power of government? They don’t even want to.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Koz
        Ignored
        says:

        if we can successfully defeat the Demos, we have hope to restore not only the policy of limited of government but the structure as well.

        Yeah, y’all had unified GOP gov’t from ’01-06, and I’m not sure I can think of even one policy from that era that moved toward restoration of limited government; I can think of quite a few that moved away from limited government and even radically undermined it’s structure.

        It’s just real hard to take your claims seriously when we have a recent real-world example of what Republicans actually did when they defeated the Democrats.Report

        • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to James Hanley
          Ignored
          says:

          James, the answer to your GOP critique lies in the differences among the RINO wing (easter elite, progressivist, statist) and the true believing Paleos who are trying to purge the deviants and capture the party. Yes/No?Report

    • Avatar 62across in reply to Jay Daniel
      Ignored
      says:

      If you detest both parties, why would you vote for the Republican rather than not vote at all?  If a Republican is elected POTUS, coattails would mean Republicans would likely also control both houses of Congress. That’s a lot of idiots, by your own assessment.Report

      • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to 62across
        Ignored
        says:

        I’d consider voting for Johnson or Paul for president.  Otherwise, I don’t think I’d vote Republican.  The leading alternatives for me are voting Libertarian or not voting at all — a much underrated choice.Report

        • Avatar wardsmith in reply to Jason Kuznicki
          Ignored
          says:

          Jason your OP needs a slight edit:

          And why? Because, win or lose, Republicans politicians overwhelmingly don’t want a more libertarian public policy. They want power, exercised by powerful people, who also just happen to be themselves

          There was an excellent op ed in the WSJ years ago about the “party of incumbency”. I hope that you’ve read it, I regret to say I can’t find it now (IIRC it was written by a politician). I’m all in favor of your non-voting strategy, although instead of throwing my vote entirely away, I like to vote for the most palatable independent in the race. Anderson and Perot got my vote (and support) Rader no although I hovered over his name for a bit. Pat wants me to write an OP about this but I haven’t decided whether it is worth it yet. You’re getting me to think that it is, although it’s much better for me if YOU write the OP and I just get to comment. 😉Report

          • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to wardsmith
            Ignored
            says:

            I’m all in favor of your non-voting strategy, although instead of throwing my vote entirely away, I like to vote for the most palatable independent in the race.

            I decided in 2009 that I would only henceforth vote on principle.  I may contribute on practicality, but the ballot isn’t going in the box for the least-worst candidate any more.  It was a liberating moment.Report

      • Avatar Jay Daniel in reply to 62across
        Ignored
        says:

        I go back and forth on the not voting at all thing.  I didn’t vote for president in 2004 (I voted for candidates for local and congressional offices and on referenda though).  But since I live in California, my vote for president really doesn’t matter, and it wouldn’t even if I was a hardcore partisan.  So I guess my main reason for voting is a feeling like I should have to take a position, even if I don’t like my options, and it shouldn’t just be a protest vote/non-vote.  I actually think it’s been important for me to be able to say to myself and others that I voted for Obama and regret my choice.  But I have an internal debate about it every election.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to 62across
        Ignored
        says:

        If a Republican is elected POTUS, coattails would mean Republicans would likely also control both houses of Congress.

        Yes, but Jason’s vote for a Republican prez wouldn’t have any effect on that, for two reasons.  First, his vote won’t determine whether the prez wins or not.  Second, his vote won’t have any influence on whether or not other voters cast coat-tail votes. Third, Jason isn’t bound to cast a coat-tail vote himself.

        So considerations of what coat-tail effects might follow should not impact his thinking, since his vote has effectively zero chance of shaping that coat-tail to any degree at all.Report

        • Avatar 62across in reply to James Hanley
          Ignored
          says:

          It’s Jay who stated he’d vote Republican even though he thinks they are all idiots.

          I agree, as a practical matter, that one vote, either Jason’s or Jay’s, won’t influence a broader effect.  But, doesn’t that make the case for a vote based on principle? And if so, why would Jay vote Republican if he detests that party?

          I understand Jason’s vote. I could see myself voting for Johnson myself, though I’d hold no illusions that he’d be able to implement any part of his agenda.Report

  8. Avatar ThatPirateGuy
    Ignored
    says:

    I’d hold my nose over his Econ policies and vote for Gary if I thought he could deliver on all the other issues. I say this as fairly hard-core liberal.Report

  9. Avatar Robert Cheeks
    Ignored
    says:

    As a Paleo, agrarian-republican there’s much to like with Gov. Johnson. However, he’s still a Libertarian-progressivist..yes/no? I can have the econ/political ‘conservative’ stuff he advocates and the conservative social position as well with Bachmann and/or Santorum.Report

  10. Avatar Russell Saunders
    Ignored
    says:

    It is a genuine travesty that Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain have been invited to participate in the GOP debates, but not Johnson.  No more need be said about the GOP’s current intellectual doldrums than that.Report

  11. Avatar dexter
    Ignored
    says:

    I detest both parties..  It’s just that I think of one as a scorpion and the other as a large king cobra so I vote for the scorpion.  As for Governor Johnson, I agree on social issues but worry about the corps if a republican wins.  Also, could somebody explain to me how the comsumption tax would work?Report

  12. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    General chatter seems to be that Johnson will be a shoo-in for the Libertarian Party nomination. You may yet get a chance to vote for him!

     Report

  13. Avatar Tom Van Dyke
    Ignored
    says:

    Jason, of course a Gary Johnson or Ron Paul couldn’t exist in any fashion in the Dem party, even at its edges. Cut spending 43%?  They fought to the death on the last budget showdown over a lousy $61 billion, and that was draconian.

    Neither are there any serious men like Coburn or Ryan in the Dem congress, who are actually willing to put the green eyeshades on.

    This discussion was entirely appropriate for 2006, when the GOP did indeed spend like drunken Kennedys.  But the thesis is out of date: the GOP got rightfully tossed, but were replaced not by Bill Clinton Democrats, but by something far more, um, “communitarian”  not libertarian.

    The only thing that stood in its way the the GOP House after 2010.  This is where we are now, not 2006, in which year I’d have had little disagreement with this entire discussion.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Tom Van Dyke
      Ignored
      says:

      I have no reason to believe that the Republican Party (the machinery part of it, not the folks down here) has changed since 2006. I have no reason to believe that they are opposed to extra spending as much as they are opposed to democrats engaging in extra spending.

      What reason do I have to believe otherwise? The tea parties?Report

      • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        JB, 1) yes, the Tea parties 2) The Dems who came in are clearly more profligate than the GOP of 2006.

        Hey, do what you want.  But ignoring the Dems in all this is a discussion in a vacuum.  The Dems’ battle to the death over $61 billion, which wouldn’t get a fly high in a $1.5 trillion deficit, is all you need to know.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Tom Van Dyke
          Ignored
          says:

          Tom, I don’t think it is. Instead of spending, imagine that the topic were abortion… but I repeat myself. In the “suggested links” stuff at the bottom of the original post, there are links to old posts. Check out the comments to the “Gary Johnson 2012” post and you can enjoy the argument I had with Koz on this very point.

          In a nutshell: I’d rather be able to say “I voted my conscience” than “at least they’re killing *FEWER* fetuses.”Report

          • Avatar Mike in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            Fine and dandy, till you realize:

            #1 – Not everyone is a religious freak who believes that chemical pregnancy prevention and birth control options constitute “abortion” under the “personhood the moment sperm touches egg” rule. Then again, not everyone is a religious freak who believes that masturbation is “spilling the seed” and that every woman should be a barefoot pregnant Duggar-wannabe either. Yet when people like you “vote conscience”, that’s what you wind up voting alongside.

            #2 – Not everyone is ok with laws that force women to carry “to term” even if doing so is going to kill or maim them or if the pregnancy is a result of some crime far, far worse already commited against them.

            There are two practical responses to surplus population. The first is to send it off to die in war or exploration, the second is to stop generating population quite so fast. Given the options? I’ll go with the second.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mike
              Ignored
              says:

              Mike, you have completely and totally missed the point of my analogy.

              I mean, you’ve missed it to the point where it makes me wonder if you even care about stuff like arguments and trying to get people to change their minds or, at least, see a different point of view on things.

              Your comments communicate that your mindset is “I AM WRITING THIS COMMENT IN ORDER TO MAKE MYSELF FEEL BETTER” rather than “I am hoping to have an interactive experience with you”.

              Put another way, we aren’t making love when you write those things. You’re masturbating.

              Again, that’s your right. I’m not going to tell you how to live.

              If, however, you wonder why you haven’t had a partner in a long, long time? That’s why.Report

          • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            JB, “conscience” is often just a way to dodge a moral dilemma.  In this case, enumerating the sins of GOP without considering those of the other guys.

            So too, the nihilism of “there isn’t a dime’s worth of difference between the parties.”  This is patently untrue.  There’s a least a trillion dollars worth of difference between them.

            For the record, I have no “faith” in politicians.  I just try to imagine them at their worst, and so am seldom disappointed.  The correct calculus for the dilemma is to imagine each at their worst, and see who is capable of the most damage.

            [This applies to 2012 and the current crisis.  In 1992, when things were skating along OK, it was not unreasonable to think Bill Clinton was the more imaginative, and could do more “good.”  One of our few elections that wasn’t the dilemma of choosing between the lesser of two evils.]Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Tom Van Dyke
              Ignored
              says:

              So I actually have a Sophie’s Choice before me?

              I don’t have the option of keeping both my children alive but have to pick between one or the other? My conscience or my country?

              Well, we’re back to 2006, Tom. If I believed for a second that the Republicans (the machine, not the folks down here) thought that we had a problem, I’d be willing to entertain your argument.

              I have no reason to believe that they do… even the tea parties have dried up.

              It seems to me that the choice isn’t “do I want to keep my conscience or my country” but “your country is going away… are you willing to abandon your principles as it goes down?”

              For me and my house, we will keep our principles.

              Let me know if the Republicans get serious. I imagine they’ll have to spend a bit more time in the wilderness before we see that… and the pendulum effects that result in bums being thrown out in 2010 are obscuring the lessons that they need to learn.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Hey, JB, until they try to make the case why we should re-elect Obama, I’m pleased many of the people here are gonna throw their votes away.  I’m fine with “conscience.”  I’m all for it.  I have no idea what you mean really; when push comes to shove you refuse to confront either, but rock on.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Tom Van Dyke
                Ignored
                says:

                So I’m being offered Morton’s Fork?

                I’ll instead take Hobson’s Choice.

                Let me know when the Republicans want my vote instead of need it. In the short term, maybe explain to the lefties that Republicans are big fans of bombing Libya, expanding spending, and having a government big enough to steer culture. You’re likely to have more luck.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                It seems to me that the choice isn’t “do I want to keep my conscience or my country” but “your country is going away… are you willing to abandon your principles as it goes down?”

                Really, that’s the choice? And you choose your country is going away… are you willing to abandon your principles as it goes down?

                JB, what the hell is the semantic content of ‘your country is going away?’ What is the evidence for that claim? What standard is it measured by? And what part is going away? The part where blacks get to vote and women get to pursue careers of their own choosing? The part where the middle class is living in relative luxury? The part where wealth keeps accruing – as it always has – to the wealthy? The part where most people get health care as part of their employment compensation? The part where we have an infinite variety of ways to express ourselves and entertain ourselves and we can do that because immediate needs for almost everyone are easily met?

                Or is it that the WOD bums you out? Or indefinite detention bums you out? Or that cronyism and regulatory capture bum you ought? Or that too many stay at home moms want to see better labeling on food products to make informed choices at market? Or that the FFA boycott’s a show you think has propagandistic utility? (TVD was right about that, btw 🙂 ). Or that you have a picture of ‘our country’ which is based on an ideal fantasy which could never be realized in any event? I mean, if you value this conception of ‘our country’ so much, why aren’t you out there fighting for it as much as the people  you’re criticizing for destroying it? Or do you merely feel entitled to your conception of ‘our country’?

                I mean, seriously dude, this is some really shallow pond scum you’re dredging thru here.

                 Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                In defense of Jaybird, who can probably do just as well standing on his own:

                I find neither the Democratic party’s boilerplate dogma nor the GOP’s boilerplate dogma to be a satisfying direction for the country.

                I also find neither party’s actual actions, when taken apart from dogma, to be even marginally enjoyable.

                Finally, I don’t see the world economy working out well for the general populace in the immediate future, nor do I believe there are credible political solutions to this problem (it is, after all, the world economy).Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Patrick Cahalan
                Ignored
                says:

                Patrick,

                You know, that’s fine. You sit on the sidelines criticizing everyone’s efforts to shape policy one way or the other and judge them on their failures and stupidity. Fine, I get that. But it’s an entirely different thing to say that those people’s efforts are causing ‘your country to go away’ and think that the appropriate, rational response is to … what? … continue to sit there criticizing them for ruining something you care about. At least they’re getting off their asses and trying (however unsuccessfully) to make the world more to their liking rather than bitching about how everyone else sucks so much.

                 Report

              • Avatar Murali in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                That’s the thing, too many people who in fact should not do anything (because they dont know what the hell they are doing), are trying to do something. All those people who dont know what they are doing should have just shut up and let the people who would know what to do do their thing.

                Its the doing something is morally better than not doing anything which is the biggest cause of problems in the US. Some Libyan leader is putting down an unlawful rebellion and people start wringing their hands and say: We’ve got to do something!Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Murali, Your complaint is that 1) too many unqualified people engage in the political process so 2) creating a political culture less determined by democratic input is desirable; but 3) creating that political culture requires taking control of political power to implement those changes, so 4) failing to participate in the political process is inconsistent with the goal of changing the political process. In fact, it amounts to empty bitching that things aren’t different.Report

              • Avatar Murali in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Stillwater, the corollary of what I was saying is that those who do in fact know better should in fact step up.Ideally, this will result in political change for the better. (How we are actually going to effect this and get the right people in place I dont know. I am just laying out people’s duties)Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                 ‘your country is going away?’ What is the evidence for that claim? What standard is it measured by? And what part is going away?

                It’s a reference to the “crisis” we are facing.

                For the record, I don’t think that we live in the same country we were living in as recently as 2000. I think that the country has made some horrifically bad choices and has pretty much codified them.

                I mean, if you value this conception of ‘our country’ so much, why aren’t you out there fighting for it as much as the people  you’re criticizing for destroying it?

                I do and I have… but I get told by supporters of both of the “real” parties that I am either part of the problem or a concern troll (I’ll let you guess which side is most likely to make which claim). Given that the conservatives see that the solution is to be more conservative (just authentically!) and the progressives see that the solution is to be more progressive (just authentically!) and I see both of these as inadvertently synergizing to make the extant problems even worse (and pretty much the only thing that is likely to save us is that Europe will go through this first), I am told that I am stuck with choosing one of the two sides that is inadvertently working with its twin to make things worse.

                Nah. I’ll decline, thanks. You guys can make things worse with the only assistance I give being my tax dollars. You don’t also get my blessing.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                JB, as per usual, you’ve skated right by the challenge presented to you and resorted to comfortable (and very attractive!) elocutions devoid of any real meaning. And as per usual, the sum total of your view here is that other people pursuing their interests are just reallyreally fucking things up. For you! If only These Fucking People would just stop using democracy and citizen participation and extra-political tactics to promote their views, we’d all you’d be so much better off!

                How dare they actually try to shape the world into their liking! Don’t they know that Jaybird wants things to go another way! (But really, to give them some credit, how could they!?!)Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                They should be able to do whatever they want, Stillwater. Even run off a cliff.

                This is the wacky thing about Libertarianism that I’ve seen other folks fail to grasp and maybe it’s not being grasped here:

                I don’t have the Right to prevent people from doing many, many, many things. Out of the things that are left (the things that I have the Right to prevent people from doing), I don’t have the power to do many, many, many of those or the costs of trying (and likely failing) are high to the point where they’re not worth attempting.

                The things that are left are the things that are left. I’m pretty much stuck doing them.

                One of those is giving arguments like “we need to disband the TSA, like, entirely… top to bottom.”

                And when the Right asks me if I want terrorists to crash planes and if the Left asks me if I want to put more than 58,000 out of work during a recession, then I am stuck explaining stuff and explaining again and explaining again and, despite that, having my viewpoint restated later as either me not caring about terrorists or me not caring about people who need jobs. (Which is fine, I suppose. I can always explain again.)

                I’m wondering what you think I ought to do? Go to Tea Parties and explain to people that we need a government small enough to fit in the bedroom? Go to Occupy rallies and complain about the homeless stealing “our” food? I go to work, I pay my taxes, I try to change the minds of people who think that things would only be better if we meddled more.

                What more would you have me do?

                Meddle more?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m wondering what you think I ought to do?

                How about engage in the political process that you think is inexorably ruining ‘your country’, the one you think is both the cause of all your woes but which is impotent to change anything? How about grant that other people don’t see the policies they’ve supported as leaving a catastoprohic wake of destruction ruining ‘your country’, and that if you want a better outcome you have to compete with them in the political arena rather than sit on your couch critiquing? How about realizing that other people are just as an entitled to a view of ‘their country’ as you are, but they deserve more credit than you do since they’re actually doing something to realize that vision and not simply lobbing criticisms from the sidelines?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                I vote 3rd Party and I encourage other people to do so. In response to discussions of what it would take me to vote for one of the two “real” parties, I explain what policies they’d need to embrace. When told that I’m being unrealistic, I explain that my principles are more important to me than voting for a party that will damage fairly important things.

                How about grant that other people don’t see the policies they’ve supported as leaving a catastoprohic wake of destruction ruining ‘your country’, and that if you want a better outcome you have to compete with them in the political arena rather than sit on your couch critiquing

                Let me know how that competition works out for you. Hey, maybe Obama will be re-elected! Won’t *THAT* be awesome for your political goals? (Do you think he’ll kill anybody?)

                How about realizing that other people are just as an entitled to a view of ‘their country’ as you are, but they deserve more credit than you do since they’re actually doing something to realize that vision and not simply lobbing criticisms from the sidelines

                Am I denying them “their view”? It doesn’t seem to me that I am. I’m not preventing them from doing much of anything. Strangely enough, I get to have it explained to me that I am somehow failing in my civic duty by *NOT* meddling.

                How much credit are you willing to give, oh, let’s pick somebody risable… Santorum for actually trying to do something about the moral decay of America?

                Personally, I think he’s doing a good job of making things worse… (but, at least, he’s not going to get elected.)

                How much credit do you give Santorum? Should I be more like him, do you think? “At least he’s fighting for what he believes in?”Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                they deserve more credit than you do since they’re actually doing something to realize that vision and not simply lobbing criticisms from the sidelines?

                I disagree, Stillwater.  First, engaging in public debate is part of the political process.  Second, Stillwater’s likely to have more influence on policy outcomes by arguing publicly about them than he is by casting a vote, especially as neither of the parties is offering him a policy package that goes anywhere near the direction he thinks we ought to go.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                How much credit do you give Santorum?

                Let’s go this direction, following the ever bouncing JB ball. I give Santorum lots of credit (apart from the grift angle): he’s promoting views shared by a large constituency of people which are broadly reflective of their interests. He’s up on the public stage promoting those values and policies, and answering questions, and making his case. He has support from people to promote those views who are hopeful that change in their direction can occur. He’s engaging the process. And that’s what this is all about, no?

                What do you do? Well, you vote here and there for a third party candidate. You do this or that. But then, when push comes to shove, you say that the very political process you refuse to engage in in a meaningful way is causing you to ‘lose your country’.

                Here’s the difference between you and Santorum: he has balls enough to put his ass on the line (assuming it’s not all about the grift, which is hard with the GOP), he understands reality enough to know that making the world more like he and his adherents want requires engaging the political process, and he’s not so (incoherently) cynical that he thinks his constituency is better off voting for their dog.

                More importantly, tho, he’s arguing for something rather than bitching about how everyone else is fucking it up.

                 Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                James, fair enough points here. But aren’t we by definition, given the context, talking about people who are actively engaged in the political process? Those people who organize, promote, fund, canvass, protest, boycott, etc, in the hopes of making the world a better place according to their vision of it? That is, people who refuse to let ‘their country go away’ by implementing the policies congruent with their vision? Polcies which JB is fundamentally objecting to?

                As an editorial aside, I’ll concede that I don’t do much to promote my views on the political level. But that’s primarily because I don’t think ‘my country is going away’ due to democracy and citizen participation.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Remember the good old days where recommendations like ‘you should get involved in the political process’ were greeted with “Uh, I think we’ll pass”Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Still,

                By definition, arguing about it is engaging in the political process.  That’s the purpose of the First Amendment, not to protect porn (although it does), but to protect the political process in its public debate stage.  I don’t buy the distinction you’re trying to make.

                Nor, I have to say, do I get that impressed by people who get more actively involved, because some political values I think really ought not be actively pursued, and I can’t respect people with what seem to me to be horrible ideas just because they’re actively pursuing them–I’d be much happier if the bigots and nutjobs vacated the political scene and spent their time masturbating to constitutionally protected internet porn.

                I don’t give Santorum credit for putting real effort into trying to deny my gay friends the rights he himself enjoys. I don’t give him credit for having actively supported the war in Iraq and working diligently to gin up support for a war against Iran.

                Where do you draw the line?  Do you give the Phelps clan credit for promoting their hatred of homosexuality by protesting at military funerals?  Do you give David Duke credit for getting actively involved in politics with the goal of promoting white supremacy?

                This gets right back to the debate about liberty vs. democracy. It’s because of these type of people–who all are pursuing what they earnestly believe is best for the country–that I’m not enchanted with democracy, but would prefer a system where far more policy arenas are taken off the table.

                Maybe I’m just too old and cynical now, but I don’t admire political involvement all that much.  The vast majority of it is geared toward getting your hands on the reigns of power so you can tell others how they must live.  I don’t see what’s to admire about that.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                He understands reality enough to know that making the world more like he and his adherents want requires engaging the political process

                I don’t accept this premise, myself.

                In fact, I’d be godawful happy if people would generally take the approach that making the world more like what you and your adherents want requires working outside of the political process… or, if they choose to work inside the political process, they paid the real price of their policy goals.

                Imagine how much less insane our political debates would be if the hot-button political issues that currently drive much of the public debate were instead outside the political realm.  If anti-abortionists spent their time and donated their money to support groups for single mothers, instead of picketing clinics.  If anti-gun crusaders spent their time volunteering and working in inner-city high schools, putting more eyes in the classroom and out on the schoolyard and more voices in the anti-gang camp.

                On the “paying the price” side: Imagine if people who were worried about terrorism so much that they vote for people who support the Patriot Act got off their duffs and volunteered to join the Army.  Some people actually did this after 9/11.  More power to ’em.  Imagine if people who voted based upon their disbelief in global warming had to sign a pact to house a family of Bangladeshis in 2040.  At least I’d be more inclined to take their “the economic cost of changing is too high” argument more seriously.

                In fact, the sorts of changes that I personally would like to see are much more likely to come about from something altogether disjoined from a large chunk of the political process.  I’m active in the community, it’s a start.  I can do more good by doing good than by passing out “Vote 2012” buttons.  If I do any campaigning, it’s much more likely to be for a measure that I think addresses a problem than for a politician who is currently on any docket.

                But it’s an entirely different thing to say that those people’s efforts are causing ‘your country to go away’ and think that the appropriate, rational response is to … what? … continue to sit there criticizing them for ruining something you care about.

                The country isn’t going away, any more that we’re destroying the Earth, Stillwater.  But that doesn’t mean that my community is going to be the same in 2025 as it is today.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, if many libertarians got into power, they’d tell me via Constitutional amendments I wouldn’t be “allowed” to vote representatives into office to create a single-payer health-care plan, raise taxes on the rich, or various other liberal causes many libertarians find unconstitutional.

                So yeah, it is all about power.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                “I wouldn’t be allowed to force other people to live the way I want them to? This is an infringement of my rights!”Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Patrick,

                Amen.  Exceptionally well said.

                 Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Yes, libertarians, if they could elect somebody to national elective office would infringe on my right to elect representatives to create a healthy welfare state through progressive taxation.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Jesse,

                You mean your right to have somebody take someone else’s property and give it to you?

                Some of don’t see that as a right; hence our desire to limit such actions.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Patrick, look, I get the view. And it’s all well and good, and a fine picture of how people ought to act in one conception of a better, purer world. But people don’t act that way. So when you say

                In fact, I’d be godawful happy if people would generally take the approach that making the world more like what you and your adherents want requires working outside of the political process… or, if they choose to work inside the political process, they paid the real price of their policy goals.

                your talking about a world which doesn’t exist right now, a fantasy land, a world with different principles and policies and permissions. And it’s a world you’re trying to achieve insofar as you care about it. You want a world where citizen-voters have less control of government, less access to the levers of policy. And you work to achieve this by writing about it and doing community work and etc. That is, you’re working to make the world more like you want it. Just like conservatives, liberals, progressives.

                And the same goes for all the other conditional sentences in the rest of your comment: they describe a situation that doesn’t exist, but one you would prefer to exist. Now, you can either advocate/support/finance/write about/vote/organize/boycott/demonstrate/etc to promote your preferred view of politics and policy and try to achieve political power through the political system and extra-political processes, or you can refrain from doing so. In short, you can either compete with conservatives and liberals on the public stage for political power, or you can refrain from competing. But refraining from doing so means that other people – the people who promote policies under systems you fundamentally object to! – will continue to control political power and continue to act against your interests.

                So merely sitting on the sidelines bitching about how All These Other People Are Fucking Things Up won’t achieve your goals. And the reason it won’t is because those hated Others will continue to seek political power, and continue gain access to the levers of political power, and continue to enact policies which you don’t like, right under your tilted-up nose as you righteously bitch about how If Only People Didn’t Act Like They Do, The World Would Be A Better Place For Me!Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                When I find somebody who have property due to completely their own actions and without outside forces somehow involving themselves in them acquiring that property, they have full rights to that property. So, until then, they can be taxed to the fullest extent of the law.Report

              • Avatar Mike in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                “Taxes are the price we pay for civilization.”

                Some assholes just don’t want to participate in civilization. My request to you: LEAVE.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                When I find somebody who have property due to completely their own actions and without outside forces somehow involving themselves in them acquiring that property, they have full rights to that property. So, until then, they can be taxed to the fullest extent of the law.

                Questions, Jesse.

                1. Have those outside forces already received value for their role in X’s acquisition of property?

                2. Do you realize that “to the fullest extent of the law” assumes an extant law, that can potentially be changed so that the “fullest extent” is precisely consonant with the very limited amount that libertarians would go for?  E.g., the fullest extent of the law could be just the amount needed to support a legal system that protects property rights and enforces contracts, and nothing more.  That being so, who could argue with you?Report

              • Avatar Mike in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                How much credit are you willing to give, oh, let’s pick somebody risable… Santorum for actually trying to do something about the moral decay of America?

                Bad example. The only thing Santorum is doing is playing hate politics that accelerate and accentuate the moral decay of the right wing.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mike
                Ignored
                says:

                So I ought to actually do something to realize my vision and not simply lob criticism from the sidelines but in such a way that doesn’t play hate politics that accelerate and accentuate moral decay?

                I’ll get right on that.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mike
                Ignored
                says:

                You ought to be honest enough to admit that Santorum has every right to be on the stage making his case, that to deny him that is inconsistent with the principles we’re all trying to promote and defend. Would you silence him because he promotes values which harm gays? Why? Why not have the debate and try to win the war? What are you even bitching about here?

                 Report

              • Avatar Mike in reply to Mike
                Ignored
                says:

                When did I ever say Santorum doesn’t have the right to be on the stage?

                If anything, I want him right next there to Rick Perry, the spotlight shone bright on both of them during their next ant-gay rant to show off precisely how ignorant and uneducated the entirety of the right wing is.

                However, to insist that Santorum is “trying to do something about the moral decay of America” is just foolish. Nothing Santorum says has any basis in morality.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mike
                Ignored
                says:

                You ought to be honest enough to admit that Santorum has every right to be on the stage making his case, that to deny him that is inconsistent with the principles we’re all trying to promote and defend.

                Now I’m certain that you misapprehend the Libertarian position.

                It is possible for me to do two things at once:

                1) Deplore something

                2) Think that I don’t have the right to prevent it

                #2 above is *SO VERY OBVIOUS* to me that I don’t feel that I ought to mention it… and yet, when I say that I deplore Santorum and think that he’s representative of what’s making the country worse, your automatic assumption is that I don’t think that he has the right to do what he’s doing.

                To analogize to gay marriage, it’s not that I support gay marriage, it’s that I don’t think that I have any right whatsoever to tell two people that they cannot live together as partners. So when I shrug at the idea of, say, New York voting in gay marriage through their legislature, people ask me whether I support the right for gays to get married.

                It’s that I think that what two consenting adults do falls outside of my jurisdiction. If a man and a woman want to get married? It’s none of my business. If two men want to get married? It’s none of my business. If two women want to get married? It’s none of my business. It’s not that I don’t think that they have the right to get married: It’s that I don’t think that my opinion, supporting their choice or opposing their choice, is *RELEVANT*. To come out and say “Oh, I totally support this decision!” is to imply that my support or opposition should somehow have an impact on anything.

                So when it comes to Santorum getting on stage and making noises about horse buggery, I hold him in contempt… but, as a Libertarian, it doesn’t occur to me that I need to state “but he has the right to do that!”

                Only people who don’t take it as a fundamental assumption seem to feel the need to say that loudly.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mike
                Ignored
                says:

                Mike, I was talking to Jaybird.

                So, JB, what are you saying then in the above, and the above above? that you deplore Santorum? You deplore his ideas? You deplore Santorum for his ideas? I mean, presumably it can’t be for his ideas, since anyone with any moral sense at all knows that hatin on gays is just plain wrong and so he wouldn’t need to even say at all, let alone say it loudly. I mean, I can only infer that you think ‘hatin on gays is wrong’ isn’t a fundamental assumption here, otherwise, why get all defensive and stuff? JB? Why? Why?

                See how easy it is to have a vacuous conversation, JB? Of course you do. You have them all the time.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mike
                Ignored
                says:

                I deplore that Santorum’s bigotry is being trumpeted from a stage to cheers and that his biggest opposition is from people who agree that the government should have jurisdiction over the things he is for/against but merely have come to different conclusions about whether we should officially shun or celebrate them.

                I see that you may not have been asking that question earnestly, though.

                Which questions of yours have I not answered?

                Which answers require more clarification?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mike
                Ignored
                says:

                I deplore that Santorum’s bigotry is being trumpeted from a stage to cheers

                What’s to deplore about that?  You deplore that people feel that way? That people speak that way? People as a matter of fact feel that way! And from their pov it’s not bigotry! So you’re saying that you deplore that people honestly express their beliefs in a public forum? That’s fucking crazy!

                and his biggest opposition is from people who agree that the government should have jurisdiction over the things he is for/against but merely have come to different conclusions about whether we should officially shun or celebrate them.

                Ahh. So you deplore that politics simply is what it is, that people seek power over policy to shape the world to their own liking. So you’ve essentially conceded my premise in all these discussions. And yet, you refuse to admit that in order for you to shape the world more to your liking, you actually have to attain political power and not just bitch about how everyone else is fucking up your world. It’s all just a bunch of empty bitching.

                 Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Mike
                Ignored
                says:

                “#2 above is *SO VERY OBVIOUS* to me that I don’t feel that I ought to mention it…”

                There’s a lot of value in being able to state the obvious.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mike
                Ignored
                says:

                So you’re saying that you deplore that people honestly express their beliefs in a public forum?

                No. That is not what I am saying. I am saying that the content of his speech is deplorable. The fact that people cheer his deplorable content is deplorable.

                That’s fucking crazy!

                I get that a lot.

                Ahh. So you deplore that politics simply is what it is, that people seek power over policy to shape the world to their own liking. So you’ve essentially conceded my premise in all these discussions. And yet, you refuse to admit that in order for you to shape the world more to your liking, you actually have to attain political power and not just bitch about how everyone else is fucking up your world. It’s all just a bunch of empty bitching.

                Not exactly.

                Let’s say that I’m pro-life. It seems to me that the options that you are giving me are between going pro-choice and shooting abortion doctors.

                It’s one or the other, after all.

                No, I say. I am going to try to get my memes out there without killing anybody and without condoning the killing of anybody.

                It’s all just a bunch of empty bitching.

                Perhaps.

                But it certainly helps with the whole “looking at myself in the mirror” thing.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Mike
                Ignored
                says:

                So you’re saying that you deplore that people honestly express their beliefs in a public forum?

                Oh, for pete’s sake, let’s just go there already….

                “So you’re saying you deplore that Nazis honestly expressed their hatred of Jews in a public forum?”

                Yes, I’m saying that.

                “So you’re saying that you deplore that the Ku Klux Klan honestly expressed their hatred of blacks in a public forum?”

                Yes, I’m saying that.

                “So you’re saying that you deplore that legislators in Michigan honestly expressed their belief that school-children should be allowed to bully other school-children on the basis of their religious beliefs?

                Yes, I’m saying that.

                Somewhere I draw the line between opinions for which I find public expression deplorable and those for which I don’t.  I would wager that you have such a line, too, just that it’s drawn in a different place from where I draw mine.  Which, if I’m right, means the real issue here is not that you admire everyone who publicly expresses their belief, but only that you grant greater leeway before calling it deplorable.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mike
                Ignored
                says:

                Haters gonna hate.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                “I wouldn’t be allowed to force other people to live the way I want them to? This is an infringement of my rights!”

                As a response to that particular comment, this one is, of course, self-defeating.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Chris
                Ignored
                says:

                Chris,

                There is a gulf between forcing people to follow the policies you value and forcing people to not impose such policies.  It’s the important distinction between the rules and the game, or what political scientists distinguish as the policy level vs. the constitutional level.

                If you want to argue that through the First Amendment we’re forcing people not to impose limits on speech, the statement would have grammatical logic, but would really miss that crucial distinction.  Liberals and conservative primarily (although not exclusively) argue over the policy level; what libertarianism tries to bring into the debate is the constitutional level.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
                Ignored
                says:

                James, the difference you raise is a fairly arbitrary one. You’ve limited me from electing representatives that I want, and what’s more, you’ve restricted me from using my speech, my property, and my talents to point society in a certain direction, or to fund that society. You’ve made it impossible, constitutionally, to live in the society I want. You might say that I can leave, but again, that response would be self-defeating.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Chris
                Ignored
                says:

                Chris,

                Respectfully, the distinction is not arbitrary at all. There’s an extensive literature on it, and it’s taken seriously by the discipline (when they bother to think about it–many tend to forget it until reminded).

                As to,  You might say that I can leave, but again, that response would be self-defeating, I can only laugh, given how often that response is in fact thrown at us libertarians.  I specifically didn’t say that for a reason.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
                Ignored
                says:

                James, that response is thrown at the left a lot too, so I feel your pain. Just cutting it off in case.

                As for the arbitrariness, there may be contexts in which it is not arbitrary, but in this context it is. In this context — in the context of Jesse’s initial comment and Bird’s (he said to use that) response, it’s arbitrary: it is imply choosing a level of abstraction and saying, “Here’s where rights start.” At the very least, it would have to be fleshed out more, as I’ve demonstrated that I can just change the level of abstraction of Jesse’s claim and it becomes no different from Jay’s.Report

    • Avatar Mike in reply to Tom Van Dyke
      Ignored
      says:

      Cut spending 43%?  They fought to the death on the last budget showdown over a lousy $61 billion, and that was draconian.

      No, they just disagreed over what to cut. Making American families starve during record Republican-caused unemployment while simultaneously wasting our money shipping military forces round the world isn’t high on my agenda.

      I’d be happy to take the deal the Republicans were offered, which was akin to rolling spending back to 1996 levels as long as we raised taxes back to 1996 levels as well. The Republican response was a big “fuck you” to the country.Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Tom Van Dyke
      Ignored
      says:

      Tom, how about this. Can you explain how you think the O admin has been so far to the left and vastly more left wing then the Clinton admin. I’ll admit i find the idea silly but instead of just mocking it, state your specifics and then maybe we can have a discussion.Report

      • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to greginak
        Ignored
        says:

        Well, Bill Clinton himself criticized Obama for his class warfare shtick.  But I doubt that 20 reasons would make any difference in this discussion, so I’ll get to it all in my own time.

        Bill Clinton’s centrist, pro-business Democratic Leadership Council is out of business.  Literally.

        http://www.dlc.org/ndol_ci.cfm?contentid=255239&kaid=86&subid=84Report

        • Avatar greginak in reply to Tom Van Dyke
          Ignored
          says:

          ahh yeah okay. O has dared to criticize some of rich folks at times. Lord knows R’s have never done that. Well they used to but not in a while. I guess the rich folk will have succor themselves with the mere facts that corporate profits are sky high.

          “It’s the best of times for American big business. Profits were up over 80 percent for America’s 500 largest companies,” said Andy Serwer, Fortune’s managing editor. From
          http://abcnews.go.com/Business/big-profits-jobs-fortune-500-tells-tale-economies/story?id=13528961#.TufblzgzMxA

          O has truly been anti business.Report

          • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to greginak
            Ignored
            says:

            Don’t ya’ know, the tyrannous EPA and NLRB caused the recession.Report

          • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to greginak
            Ignored
            says:

            Greg, by the time you’re done, Obama will be Reagan.  But I’d sure hire you as my lawyer.  Skoal, baby.Report

            • Avatar greginak in reply to Tom Van Dyke
              Ignored
              says:

              cthlulu on crutch..you evade better than that Tom. Go on the offensive instead of a laughable assertion.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to greginak
                Ignored
                says:

                Sorry, Greg, I’m keeping my powder dry.  I only do polemics when it matters and it’s another 11 months til the election.  But yeah, Jesse, we’ll get to the EPA, the XL pipeline, that sort of thing.  Damn straight.

                Right now, I’m just pointing out the deja vu from 2006.  More relevant is 2010, of course, the Obamans under review as well, the whole enchilada.Report

            • Avatar Mike in reply to Tom Van Dyke
              Ignored
              says:

              Comparing Obama to Reagan? Sure, let’s do it.

              Reagan? Inherited one hell of a recession from Carter.
              Obama? Inherited one hell of a recession from Shrub.

              Reagan on Unions: “Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost. ”
              Obama on Unions: Right here.

              Reagan on taxes and the rich: “We are going to close the unproductive tax loopholes that have allowed some of the truly wealthy to avoid paying their fair share. They sometimes made it possible for millionaires to pay nothing when a bus driver was paying 10 per cent of his salary and that’s crazy. Do you think the millionaire ought to pay more taxes than the bus driver?”

              Need I really say more? The problem is, a Reagan today – which is what Obama is! –  would be shot as a “RINO” by you intellectually dishonest, morally bankrupt assholes.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Mike
                Ignored
                says:

                You were making your points so well until that last line.Report

              • Avatar Mike in reply to Jason Kuznicki
                Ignored
                says:

                I call it like I see it. These morally deficient, intellectually dishonest, corrupt, lying losers wouldn’t recognize Reagan today if he walked right up to them and slapped them for what they’ve done to his name and legacy.Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Mike
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the specific word that made the last line so problematic was “you.”

                Also, I find it likely that this page will soon be inundated with limericks.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Mike
                Ignored
                says:

                 Mike, please stop lumping the libertarians in with the GOP. Some of ‘em are but Jason most emphatically isn’t. The debate is hard enough as it is without ceding entire spectrums of political philosophy and groups of people to the other side.Report

              • Avatar Mike in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                They can stop being “lumped in” with the GOP when they stop associating with the GOP. So far, I have yet to see them honestly look at what little in common they have with the GOP – and the few times I’ve seen them do it, it’s on a “sure it doesn’t match Libertarian principles but I’ve been listening to too much of the Big Fat Druggie’s indoctrination to care about libertarian principles, down with the white house n_____” basis.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                 At the very least try and do some reading comprehension and self awareness. For example, you’re lumping Jason in with the GOP in the comments section of a post by him where he rips on the GOP most emphatically. I mean what are you thinking??Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                Oh Jesus.  The big fat druggie is…  hmm, who do I know who’s in drug policy and might be a bit overweight…?   Nah, he’s not really overweight.  Kinda husky, maybe.

                Oh.  That big fat druggie.  Never listen to him.  Not ever.

                As to throwing around the n word, I’ve never done it.  It’s not like I could stop beating my wife when I don’t even have one.  Is it?Report

  14. Avatar Jesse Ewiak
    Ignored
    says:

    Paul Ryan _was_ one of the drunken sailors. In fact, all of the prominent Republican’s, aside from maybe Tom Coburn and Ron Paul were fully supportive of the deficit bloating that went on during the Bush administration.

    But, this is what happens. Republican’s don’t care about the deficit until they’re out of the White House. Of course, you can make the same argument about the DNC, but at least their signature health care achievement was scored as reducing the deficit the long-term.Report

    • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Jesse Ewiak
      Ignored
      says:

      Well, you’re still arguing 2006, Jesse.  I don’t blame you, since you can’t defend 2011.

      Sure, if you’re into Obamacare, re-elect.  But since this discussion is presumably on Jason’s libertarian terms, that’s not really germane.Report

      • Avatar Mike in reply to Tom Van Dyke
        Ignored
        says:

        2006 is still valid. It’s what those idiots did the LAST time we were stupid enough to trust them with power.

        Unless you can prove that your side would behave differently now, then “but it’s 2011” is meaningless, we know what you did last time. We know what you did starting with repealing Glass-Steagall, we know the rest of what you were up to feeding the robber barons.

        Small wonder the portion of the population with functioning brains have given up on the robber baron party and have decided we need a little more robin hood instead.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Tom Van Dyke
        Ignored
        says:

        I think folks are arguing 2006 because that’s the most recent empirical evidence–as opposed to mere hypotheticals–about how Republicans act when in power.  I can’t speak for others, but I place greater reliance on empirical evidence than I do on optimistic but untested hypotheses.Report

        • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley
          Ignored
          says:

          I should add, I’m somewhat touched to see Tom having such faith in a set of politicians.  There’s yet a touch of innocence in his jaded SoCal soul.Report

          • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to James Hanley
            Ignored
            says:

            I don’t think Tommy is delusional.  I think he’s choosing what he sees as the least unlikely path.

            Optimism, but hardly innocence.Report

            • Avatar Koz in reply to Patrick Cahalan
              Ignored
              says:

              I disagree with Tom’s general train of thought here, at least as a point of emphasis.

              That’s to say, it’s perfectly plausible to say that the GOP is at least epsilon better than the Demos to justify voting GOP if that’s an issue. But the differences go way beyond that. Fiscally speaking, we are in a tight spot and the GOP is actually trying to engage the substance of the problem.

              We are caught in a pincer that we’re trying to get out of, and the two arms of the pincer are the ultimate fiscal failure of American public finance, and the expectation among Americans that their entitlements, specifically Social Security and Medicare will continue to function.

              We’d be better off if the stupidity and the intransigence of the libs were all we had to deal with. Unfortunately it’s not. Fair play to the GOP for actually working to solve the problem as a whole instead of getting dragged into the Demo’s Mike mentality.Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                Koz – In the same way I think liberals would be mistaken to take Scott as indicative of most conservatives, I think you’re heading down an unproductive road to assume that Mike is in any way indicative of mainstream liberals.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Tod Kelly
                Ignored
                says:

                Actually, that was only supposed to be an ancillary point. That said, when you see people like Mike, if it’s politics he’s agitated about, it’s a lead-pipe cinch he’s some variant of lib. Not all libs are Mikes, but all Mikes are libs.

                Scott can be a little rough, but he’s still not Mike.Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                I would agree that that is the dynamic here; I would disagree that it is necessarily elsewhere.

                And even then, God knows whenever I wrote about Herman Cain the nutters came briefly to call… and they weren’t left wingers.

                All of which reminds me of something I have been meaning to say to you Koz…  I was thinking about you the other day, and how you (almost?) never, ever agree with me on anything and yet still take the time to engage me with respect and an obvious hope for mutual understanding.  So I’ve been meaning to say…

                Thanks, Koz.  I’m really, really glad you’re here.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Tod Kelly
                Ignored
                says:

                Thanks Tod, I appreciate that very much. I appreciate you corresponding with me as well. And more than that, it brings me to something I thought of and should have mentioned earlier. I appreciate that a lot of what I write is difficult to swallow for the other contributors, and yet to the best of my memory I stand behind all of it.

                Even so, I am grateful to my correspondents whether I agree with them or not. Even those who disagree with me, especially them in fact, have provoked me into writing and advancing my understanding beyond where it might be otherwise. And for that, as corny as might sound, I thank you all very much.Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                “Not all libs are Mikes, but all Mikes are libs.”

                Pam Geller seems to have no shortage of acolytes.Report

              • Avatar Mike in reply to Mark Thompson
                Ignored
                says:

                Pamela Geller has a more pronounced adam’s apple than Coulter, too.

                Makes you wonder what the deal is with antigay bigots fetishizing those two…Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Mark Thompson
                Ignored
                says:

                Skimming this quickly in the Gift of Gab, I mistakenly took it to read:

                “Pam Geller seems to have no shortage of gargoyles.”

                I’m man enough to admit I was a little sad to see that  wasn’t what you said.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Mark Thompson
                Ignored
                says:

                I thought she was more of an anti-jihadist.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Tom Van Dyke
        Ignored
        says:

        As James pointed out, I’m pointing to that time because that was when the _same_ people had power. It’s not as if everyone was sacked from the Republican House Caucus and replaced. Paul Ryan was there, voting for Medicare Part D. So on and so forth.

        I’m sure it’s _possible_ a newly energized House Republican Caucus with the White House could massively cut spending. But guess what, even if random Tea Party congressman doesn’t care about reelection, Mitt Romney sure as hell does. Thus, why conservatives are OK with the socialism of Medicare – as long as you’re above fifty-five.Report

        • Avatar Liberty60 in reply to Jesse Ewiak
          Ignored
          says:

          And suppose the Republicans DO return to power?

          From what I can tell, every man jack of them (EXCEPT Johnson and Paul) want to preserve or increase military spending (about 1Trillion for DoD/ Homeland Security);

          They don’t want to make anything more than modest trims to SS and Medicare (about 1.8Trillion together)

          They can’t reduce the debt service (about 0.6 Trillion) and they can never seem to enumerate the cuts they would make the everything else (about 0.5 Trillion)

          Add that all up and it comes to just about what we are spending now. And they sure as hell don’t want to increase revenue (about 2.4 Trillion).

          So under a 2013 GOP-run government we would have a massive budget deficit. And still no legal weed to soothe ourselves.

          I quit the GOP in the mid 90’s because I figured out then that they weren’t serious, then or now about “limited government” or “fiscal conservatism”. Those are just buzzwords to rope in the rubes.Report

        • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Jesse Ewiak
          Ignored
          says:

          Well, Jesse, the GOP hasn’t even had their primaries for 2012 yet, so this is rehashing the 2006 debate.  See, the thing is, I stipulate most of the charges against the GOP here.  But we must look at the whole continuum, i.e., the other guys too.

          Medicare part D was going to happen regardless: Gore promised it, Bush went me too.  Attacking Ryan for something he voted for in 2003 is just gamesmanship.  Fact is, there isn’t a Paul Ryan in sight in the Dem congress, only people like that Mike guy, with the killing grandma riff.  And hey, it might work yet again.Report

          • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Tom Van Dyke
            Ignored
            says:

            Yes, there is no one in the Democratic Caucus who wants to destroy two of the most successful government programs in the history of this natiion. Thank Jebus for that.Report

            • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Jesse Ewiak
              Ignored
              says:

              I’d expect a lefty like yrself to say nothing but, Jesse.  I’m really OK with it.   My remarks are addressed to those who are open to sussing out the equation.  For you there is no “equation,” only “conscience,” that these programs must take precedence over all other things.

              And, at present growth rates, they will.

              http://cato.ramp.com/m/audio/38602779/entitlements-and-the-federal-budget.htm?seek=251.869

              But you don’t have to confront that dilemma, so you and yer “conscience’ are clear, and that’s all that matters.  If we have to sell the Washington Monument to avoid cutting entitlements, then so be it.

              And sarcasm off, I can respect that sentiment.  I don’t see this as one side being wrong.  That’s how sophomores argue.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Tom Van Dyke
                Ignored
                says:

                Actually, we can avoid cutting ‘entitlements’ by raising taxes so maybe we’re in the middle of the OECD as far as tax rates, cut our insane level of defense and homeland spending, remove many tax expenditures, and reforming Medicare in a lot of ways that don’t involve benefit cuts.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Jesse Ewiak
                Ignored
                says:

                Yes, that’s your argument, Jesse.  It’s 2011, dude: the OECD agenda is going splat as we speak.  Time to update the arguments around here.  I’ve been hearing the same ones for a decade now, and they’ve been exposed by reality.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Tom Van Dyke
                Ignored
                says:

                Yup, massive deregulation and housing bubbles leading to a  financial collapse makes the social democratic argument bunk. That makes perfect sense.

                 Report

              • Avatar Mike in reply to Jesse Ewiak
                Ignored
                says:

                Of course it makes sense.

                In a looney tune crazy world where Ebenezer Scrooge is a hero, a “job creator”, tirelessly “creating wealth” while those evil “lazy” poor people contribute nothing to society that is.

                TVD is just another in a long line of greedy sociopaths that define the “conservative” agenda, trying to avoid the words “fuck the poor.” In other words… this.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Jesse Ewiak
                Ignored
                says:

                Mike,

                What tires me out is that people like TVD don’t understand simple concepts like ROI. Ask me, ask any businessman and they’ll tell you to invest where corporations are growing at a rapid rate. It’s just common sense.

                These “job Creators” are making jobs in CHINA, in Malaysia, in Sulawesi and Flores.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Jesse Ewiak
                Ignored
                says:

                Kim,

                I know you’ve brought this up a few times, and no one’s really engaged it, but you can rest assured that government spending is not leverage, and it does not have ROI. In fact they barely have anything to do with each other except that both involve borrowing.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Tom Van Dyke
                Ignored
                says:

                The menu is not the meal — and your menu appears to be written in Hebrew. When you’re willing to talk a whole “not made up language”, maybe we can start sanding away at each other’s ideas, and come up with something that Occam would like.Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Jesse Ewiak
      Ignored
      says:

      And of course the O admin cut a few hundred billion in medicare waste, which for some reason doesn’t count as cutting spending.Report

  15. Avatar b-psycho
    Ignored
    says:

    Mike:       Perhaps on gay rights you have a point.  But to credit Democrats with respecting civil liberties across the board is to conflate a party that accepts people who’d censor the entire internet, have the military lock up citizens indefinitely without charges, excuse warrantless surveillance, etc…with an idealized Democratic Party In Your Head.

    This isn’t to say Republicans are any better, as they clearly aren’t.  There’s a reason why many vocal libertarians are skeptical of electoral politics at all.Report

    • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to b-psycho
      Ignored
      says:

      If I could vote for the Idealized Democratic Party in My Head, that would be snazzy.

      Come to think of it, if I could vote for the Idealized GOP in My Head, that would probably work out okay, too.

      It’s these real-world people that are the problem.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Patrick Cahalan
        Ignored
        says:

        It’s these Particular People who are the problem.

        I’d vote for Dick Thornburgh, over any pol that PA puts out these days. He may not think the same way as I do, but the man’s honest, and believes in good governance.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to b-psycho
      Ignored
      says:

      Thing is? the Democrats have a place for libertarians. They can sit right at the table — and if you really think that “censor the internet” has much of a place at the table… you’re just plain wrong. It took a hell of a lot of WORK to get them off the table, granted, but they’re off, at least for now.

      You can help set things right in the squabbling communitarian party — or you can plot a coup in the authoritarian party. It’s your choice — but for the love of god, do something! (and if you can’t stand politics anymore, go get banned from Australia).Report

      • Avatar b-psycho in reply to Kim
        Ignored
        says:

        <blockquote>if you really think that “censor the internet” has much of a place at the table… you’re just plain wrong.</blockquote>

        Look up the “Stop online piracy act”.  Last I checked, it had bi-partisan support.Report

        • Avatar Mike in reply to b-psycho
          Ignored
          says:

          Which is a great argument for why the illegal price-fixing collusion groups known as the RIAA and MPAA ought to be brought down, and as to why corporate capture of government has gone way too far. On the other hand, on the left you’ll find groups like Google, Microsoft, and the EFF if you’re a libertarian against SOPA, while the Republicans will just call you a “fucking commie” for even suggesting SOPA is a bad thing.Report

        • Avatar Kim in reply to b-psycho
          Ignored
          says:

          b-psycho. haven’t been on kos in a while. You tell me…

          1) how many pols they got bought?

          2) Exactly how much of the netroots wants them tarred AND feathered.Report

  16. Avatar Mike
    Ignored
    says:

    Republican sentences about “smaller government”, finished off with what they’re really forgetting to add.

    “Smaller government means the federal government gets out of education”… because most of us can afford to send our kids to private schools and don’t give a crap about educating the rest of society.

    “Smaller government means the federal government can’t stop prayer in schools”… because we want to make those muzlims and atheist kids submit to christian indoctrination imposed at the state or municipal level.

    “Smaller government means closing down the EPA”… because we don’t give a shit how many health problems are caused by polluters as long as they only affect the poor.

    “Smaller government means getting government out of health care”… because we don’t care to pay to save the poor, they should just die.

    “Smaller government means getting government out of the welfare safety net”… because we don’t want to invest in making sure people out of work or with kids have a roof over their heads.

    My favorite, via Ron Paul: “Smaller government means we’ll replace the government social welfare services with church-based charity services”… that way, the rich can donate at the pathetically small percentages they always have, the bulk of percentage donation will come from the lower middle class, and it’ll be “legal” to practice the sort of discrimination and religious bigotry/bullying against AIDS patients, the mentally ill, homosexuals, unwed mothers, orphans, and pretty much any other group we Republicans don’t give a fucking damn about.Report

    • Avatar Mike in reply to Mike
      Ignored
      says:

      Oh, and before you claim I’m wrong about the “we don’t care to pay to save the poor, they should just die” thing… actual Tea Party sentiment says that’s exactly what they think.Report

    • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Mike
      Ignored
      says:

      Mike, on some of those you’re right, but on this one you’re just dead wrong:

      Smaller government means the federal government gets out of education”… because most of us can afford to send our kids to private schools and don’t give a crap about educating the rest of society.

      Republicans want the federal government out of education, not state governments.  There’s no grand plan to close down public schools, just to return sole responsibility for it to the states, which was the model from the beginning of public education in the 19th century up through the 1960s.

      I’m not arguing either for or against that policy, and I’m not even hinting that you should favor it.  I’m just pointing out that it’s not about shutting down state-run public schools and forcing kids to go to private school or nothing, as you suggest.Report

      • Avatar Mike in reply to James Hanley
        Ignored
        says:

        Bullshit.

        The stated goal where I live has been to “get the federal government out of education and abolish the dept of education.” The end goal they all come up with afterwards is a variant on cutting spending on public schools or replacing public schools entirely with “charter schools” and “voucher programs”, despite the facts – charter schools never outperform normal public schools past 5 years in, when their population normalizes (in other words, “charter schools” are just a conservatard shell game, wholly nonpermanent “magnet schools” who dishonestly compare their testing scores against the entire school district rather than compare directly to the other magnet schools), and “voucher programs” are an abject way of funneling public funds to religious institutions that can exclude the “undesirables” and discriminate/bully against gay students or students of nonchristian religion.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mike
          Ignored
          says:

          Person A says:

          Republicans want the federal government out of education, not state governments.

          Person B says:

          Bullshit. The stated goal where I live has been to “get the federal government out of education and abolish the dept of education.”

           

          Personally, I blame this on poor education standards and the inability of school districts to fire teachers who impart their students with substandard reading comprehension skills.Report

          • Avatar Mike in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            Dude, fuck you.

            The point is not that they want to get the federal gov’t out of education, but WHY they want to get the federal gov’t out of education. And it has ABSOLUTELY JACK SHIT TO DO with actually “reducing government”, it’s about their desire to funnel state money to their fucking church schools and pet-project private schools.Report

            • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Mike
              Ignored
              says:

              When all else fails, there’s profanity.Report

              • Avatar Mike in reply to Jason Kuznicki
                Ignored
                says:

                [comment removed by Mark Thompson]
                Why must Mike use “you”?
                It ensures his time may soon be through
                If he could only be civil
                and have a temper with less swivel
                There would be so much more he could do

                Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Mike
                Ignored
                says:

                Mike, we use the word ‘fish’ here at the League in lieu of ‘phuque.’ Now, I like you because you represent the typical librul, basement dwelling, commie-Dem parasite. Keep up the good work, dude!Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Robert Cheeks
                Ignored
                says:

                Bob, I wonder whether you worry that someone, or perhaps many, might think you are a typical conservative, or more specifically, a typical paleo-conservative. I suppose that’s the sort of thing everyone who attaches him or herself to a group should worry about, though.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mike
              Ignored
              says:

              Mike: My family? Oh, that’s easy. “Stupid, worthless, no good, goddamned, free loading son-of-a-bitch! Retarded, big mouth, know-it-all *ssh*** jerk!” “You forgot ugly, lazy, and disrespectful!” “Shut up, b*tch! Go fix me a turkey pot pie!” “What about you, Dad?” “Frig you!” “No, Dad, what about you?” “Frig you!” “No, Dad, what about you?!” “Frig you!” [mimes punching]
              James: Is that for real?
              Mike: You wanna come over some time?
              Jaybird: That’s bulls–t. It’s all part of your image, I don’t believe a word of it.
              Mike: You don’t believe me?
              Jaybird: No.
              Mike: No?
              Jaybird: Did I stutter?
              [Mike approaches Jaybird and lifts his sleeve to show a burn on his arm. Jaybird looks away afterwards.]
              Mike: Do you believe this? Huh? It’s about the size of a cigar…Do I stutter? You see this is what you get in my house when you spill paint in the garage. See I don’t think that I need to sit here with you friggin’ jerks anymore!Report

        • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Mike
          Ignored
          says:

          The stated goal where I live has been to “get the federal government out of education and abolish the dept of education.”

          Thank you for making my point for me.  Read what you wrote more carefully–“get the federal government out of education,” not state governments.  “[A]bolish the dept of education,” which is a federal agency, not a state agency.  Getting the federal government out of education will not eliminate public schools–there were public schools long before there was a federal role in K-12 education, and long before there was a federal department of education.

          And vouchers and charter schools are not intended to eliminate public schools, but to provide competition that is intended to force them to improve.  Again, I’m not arguing for the policy or suggesting you should buy into it, just that you not wildly overstate things.  I suspect, though, that’s a futile effort.

           Report

          • Avatar Mike in reply to James Hanley
            Ignored
            says:

            [comment removed by Mark Thompson]

            Mike’s comment was deleted
            It claimed that Hanley cheated
            But it was too quick to accuse
            And threw around the FUs
            So now we cannot read it

            By Mark ThompsonReport

            • Avatar North in reply to Mike
              Ignored
              says:

              It’d really help your arguement and our positions, Mike, if you could lose the profanity, up the content and generally improve your arguement. Beyond the fact that you’re violating the commenting policy you’re also making us liberals look bad. Your comment below this one was a lot better so it’s obvious you’re capable of actually debating and arguing rather than frothing and foaming.

              Seriously though, please improve your game. I prefer my mouthbreathers on the right where they belong.Report

            • Avatar Lady Lurker in reply to Mike
              Ignored
              says:

              I gotta say, these little rhymes beat the heck out of Mikes fist pounding foot stomping attack in this thread. Now I want more naughty comments removed just to get these smile inducing pearls from Mark +2Report

          • Avatar Mike in reply to James Hanley
            Ignored
            says:

            The point is that their stated reasons for wanting to abolish the dept of education or remove the federal government from education standards have NOTHING TO DO with “smaller government.”

            It has always come down to the same bullshit conservatard crap.

            The federal government won’t let them force prayer and religious indoctrination in schools (vis-a-vis the lie they pushed in Rick Perry’s latest “hit of the bullying asshole rightwing gaybasher crows” video). Therefore, “down with the federal government.”

            The federal government won’t let them funnel public tax money to religious schools, which would be exempt from such regulation. Therefore, “down with the federal government.”

            The federal government won’t let them force religious indoctrination in the form of ridiculous creationist bullshit. Therefore, “down with the federal government.”

            It’s the same fucking refrain over and over again, the same level of dishonesty from the right wing again and again and again.Report

          • Avatar Liberty60 in reply to James Hanley
            Ignored
            says:

            James, maybe YOU and your friends don’t want to abolish public schools, but it is true that there is very little love or support for public schools- even as a concept- in conservative circles.

            Its not hard to connect the dots when we constantly see conservatives striving to get vouchers, money directed towards religious schools, combined with foot dragging on funding for public schools and so forth.

            In addition, there are powerful groups like the American Federation for Children, which have as their goal the privatization of K-12 schools. And its hard not to see the outlines of this in the shift in college funding which has starved public universities while allowing private ones to flourish with government backed loans.

            When ordinary people hear talk about “starving the beast of government”, we don’t hear anyone say, “oh but except for the public schools which we totally support!”

            Saying that the conservative movement would privatize schools if they had a chance is  a completely fair statement.

            I tried to fit a few “fuck”s and “cocksucker”s in here but it the words didn’t flow as well. Maybe next time.

             Report

            • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Liberty60
              Ignored
              says:

              Liberty,

              I agree with you as far as their general lack of love for public schools goes, but not beyond that.  The conservative criticism of public schools is not that they’re public, but a) that they’re an uncompetitive monopoly, and even more than that, they hate federal government interference in “their” local public schools.  Most conservatives want their local schools to stand, they just want them to be left alone.  (Again, I’m neither supporting nor opposing their arguments.)

              But I respect your comments a lot more than Mike’s, for obvious reasons.Report

              • Avatar Mike in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                The conservative criticism of public schools is not that they’re public, but a) that they’re an uncompetitive monopoly, and even more than that, they hate federal government interference in “their” local public schools.

                And once again, you dishonestly leave out the WHY. There must not be an honest bone in your body.

                The WHY is simple, as I stated above.

                Federal government won’t allow religious indoctrination in public school (e.g. forced moment of morning prayer, forced observance of religious holidays)? Solution, “get the federal government out of our public school!”

                Federal government won’t allow school administration to set policies of looking the other way when it comes to bullying on the grounds of “he doesn’t look like us” or “she’s not a christian” or “he/she is gay or transgender”? Solution, “get the federal government out of our public school.”

                Federal government won’t allow the blatant anti-science bullshit known as creationism to be forced on kids? Solution, “get the federal government out of our public school.”

                Then again, Republicans are still smarting and whining from when Orval Faubus got his ass smacked down by those “evil stinking federalists” outside of a high school in Little Rock.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Mike
                Ignored
                says:

                Solution, “get the federal government out of our public school.”

                Mike, thank you for once again making my point.Report

              • Avatar Mike in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                Thank you for agreeing to the point that you’re an ignorant bully who thinks racial discrimination, bullying against gays, and religious indoctrination should be A-OK to support with public funds.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Mike
                Ignored
                says:

                Mike,

                I’ll give $100 to your favorite charity if you can point to any place in this thread where I gave any support for such claims.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Mike
                Ignored
                says:

                If you get the ‘federal government’ out of public schools, and I’m assuming as a result, any federal laws that limit what local school boards can do, I have no doubt many local school boards in the more reactionary portions of the country would quickly re-institute school prayer and I’m pretty sure not many Menorah’s or prayer rugs would be involved, eliminate large chunks of rules against bullying gay kids, and re-institute seperate but equal all but in name. Now, you may not support these things, but that’s what would happen if ‘control’ was given back to way too many local school boards.Report

              • Avatar Mike in reply to Mike
                Ignored
                says:

                You thanked me for “making your point.”

                My point was that the reason that the conservatards want to “get the federal government out of education” is so that they can impose on public schools, or do with public funds, those things they are currently prohibited from doing – e.g. creating policies that create government mandated religious indoctrination, making it ok to bully or ostracize or harass students on the basis of religion or gender identity/preference.

                You cannot simply say “the solution is this” without stating the problem. The “problem”, as seen in the conservatard furor supporting Rick Perry’s latest abominable ad, is that people like you are being told they can’t beat up on gays and force kids to pray to a god they don’t believe in during school hours and on school property.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Mike
                Ignored
                says:

                Jesse,

                And I’ll give your favorite charity $100 if you can point to any place on this thread where I argued in favor of getting the federal government out of public schools.

                 Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Mike
                Ignored
                says:

                James has repeatedly made clear that he is taking no position here on whether he agrees with conservative goals on education, only that you are misunderstanding those goals.

                It should also be pointed out that if their goals are as you suggest, then getting rid of the Department of Education and getting rid of federal education money won’t do a thing to advance those goals, as they do nothing to address that little thing called the 14th Amendment and the Bill of Rights.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Mike
                Ignored
                says:

                @Mike,

                You thanked me for “making your point.”

                My point was that the reason that the conservatards want to “get the federal government out of education” is so that they can impose on public schools, or do with public funds, those things they are currently prohibited from doing

                No, your original point was that they wanted to privatize the schools.  My point was that they didn’t want to privatize them, but that they wanted an end to federal control.  And now you are arguing solely about the issue of federal control–so you are making my point that for conservatives federal control, not privatization, is the point.

                You cannot simply say “the solution is this” without stating the problem.

                Well, yes, but I haven’t been talking about solutions.  I’ve just been trying to point out what the real issue is.  I’m not sure why you keep getting confused about that.

                The “problem”, ..is that people like you are being told they can’t beat up on gays and force kids to pray to a god they don’t believe in during school hours and on school property.

                I’m curious, what makes you think that I’m that type of person?  The $100 offer works here, too.  Show any place on this thread where I’ve given any indication that I support this type of outcome, and your charity is $100 better off.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Mike
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m not supporting Mike that you stated this. I’m simply stating he’s correct that reactionaries have glommed on to the libertarian policy of eliminating the federal government oversight of education, they’re not doing it because they want competition or whatever, they’re doing it because the federal government made it much harder to run their ‘vision’ of a public school – one that involves a lot more prayer, a lot fewer brown faces, and much more societal pressure toward the ‘norms’ of 1959.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Mike
                Ignored
                says:

                Mark : The 14th Amendment and Bill of Rights were still there in black ‘n’ white for decades before Brown was decided. I’m assuming in a world where the DOE is eliminated and local and state school boards are given full control that the Supreme Court is mostly made of ardent supporters of state’s rights.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Mike
                Ignored
                says:

                Oh, also, your average Republican voter isn’t for the privatization of public schools. But, your well-heeled Republican (or unfortunately “centrist” Democratic) donor? He’s sure as hell trying to open up the “market” of public schools to corporate control.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Mike
                Ignored
                says:

                OK.  I just want to make it clear that nothing I’ve said can intelligibly be understood as a rebuttal to that point.Report

              • Avatar Mike in reply to Mike
                Ignored
                says:

                My point was that they didn’t want to privatize them, but that they wanted an end to federal control.

                Column A and Column B are not disparate. In some versions of “local control”, it’s about injecting public schools with enforced religion – the latest few rounds of creationism from Louisiana and Texas, with Dickhead Perry’s packing of the Board of Education as a great example. In others, it’s a matter of instituting “voucher programs” designed to steer public funds for those people they prefer (invariably, white+christian) into the private religiously-controlled schools while sucking yet more funding away from the public schools that exist in predominantly hispanic/black neighborhoods and harming the quality of education provided in those schools. Both fall under the “local control” umbrella that the conservative wing has been dishonestly screaming about for the past few decades.

                Again, your refusal to acknowledge this, and your claims that I have “dropped” the point about privatization, are simply dishonest.Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Mike
                Ignored
                says:

                Jesse – perhaps, perhaps not, as that’s a big assumption, and there frankly aren’t even that many conservative justices (or potential justices) that would go so far.  But even if that were to happen, elimination of the Dept of Ed. and of federal funding wouldn’t be the cause – it’s a separate and distinct issue.Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Mike
                Ignored
                says:

                Mike: Has it ever occurred to you that when someone doesn’t seem to understand your point, the problem isn’t that they’re being dishonest so much as it is that you’re manner of communication is not terribly effective?Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Mike
                Ignored
                says:

                @Jesse,

                I’m assuming in a world where the DOE is eliminated and local and state school boards are given full control that the Supreme Court is mostly made of ardent supporters of state’s rights.

                This one puzzled me for a moment, as the DOE plays no role in Supreme Court nominations, but I think I get your point–that if the country’s politics had shifted to the point where the DOE could be eliminated, then politically there’d probably be conservative presidents and Senate majorities, which would nominate and confirm states’ rights Supreme Court nominees (is that right?).

                I get that, and it’s not implausible.  But I do think it’s unlikely.  From a constitutional theory perspective I would argue that the nationalization of the Bill of Rights is so firmly entrenched that it’s hardly thinkable that it would be seriously eroded.  The Bill of Rights themselves may be eroded (are being eroded, I think), but not on a federal vs. state basis.  Of course others can reasonably disagree with that.

                But also I would argue that there’s a lot less at stake in the elimination of the DOE than there is in eroding the nationalization of the  Bill of Rights.  The latter is a fundamental constitutional change (and granted, there are those who want that change), whereas the former is just a policy preference.

                And I would ask this, setting aside such federal statutes such as Title IX (things that really just codify the way the 14th Amendment is enforced), and focusing just on things like the DOE itself and federal educational standards legislation (like NCLB), what is the evidence that the DOE and federal standards have made K-12 education better in the U.S.?

                Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have much of a dog in this fight.  But has K-12 education noticeably improved as a result of these things?  Was education noticeably worse prior to 1980, when the DOE became a cabinet level agency, or before the 1950s (I think) when the Dept. of Health, Education, and Welfare (from whence DOE sprang) was created?  I’m a pragmatist on this–if federal involvement improves education, I’m OK with it; If it doesn’t, I’m not OK with it.  And federal involvement doesn’t automatically mean improved outcomes.

                So what is the evidence in this case?  I ask sincerely, as it’s not an area I’ve closely studied, and I assume others here probably know more than I do about it.  The only thing I can speak to is NCLB, and that only anecdotally, but most college professors I know have a gut feeling that student preparation for college has declined with its passage, and most K-12 teachers I’ve spoken to don’t think it’s done much for education, either.  And I just had a student (an excellent one) do his senior research on Michigan’s standards (which are shaped by NCLB), and from surveying local high school Social Studies  teachers and comparing their teaching coverage to standardized test scores, he found that:

                improvement on the [Michigan standardized test] is actually linked to a brief coverage of a wider variety of topics, instead of being linked to an in-depth understanding of civics.

                As someone who’s more devoted to the quality of education than to favoring any particular level of government, this kind of thing concerns me greatly.  But of course that’s only one data point–are there data points in support of federal standards and demonstrating the successes of DOE involvement in K-12 education?Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Mike
                Ignored
                says:

                @Mike,

                Again, your refusal to acknowledge this, and your claims that I have “dropped” the point about privatization, are simply dishonest.

                Well, you hadn’t defended your privatization claim in a while, so I thought perhaps you had quit defending it.

                But did I mention how ironic it is that you keep calling me dishonest while you have made several false–possibly even slanderous–claims about me?  Seriously, sir, either show me where I advocated elimination of federal involvement and/or bullying of gays and/or coerced prayer in the schools (in which case you win $100 for your charity), or have the decency to apologize.Report

              • Avatar Mike in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                “Get the federal government out of my school” leads to crap like the legal troubles from this article here, when the conservatard religious freak wing decides to start making supposedly “neutral” policies that are nothing but a cover for bullying and harassment.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Mike
                Ignored
                says:

                Mike,

                Who on this thread has argued for getting the federal government out of schools?

                (By the way, you’re consistently focusing on the federal involvement issue now, and seem to have abandoned the privatization issue–that’s what I mean when I say you’re making my point._)Report

              • Avatar Lady Lurker in reply to Mike
                Ignored
                says:

                Mike – The bullying and poor policy changes happened in a public school. The federal government didn’t protect this child in a public school and now the kids are happily attending a new private school.

                If you are trying to make the point that federally run education is safer and more tolerant, you need to actually find an example that actually supports what you are arguing.

                If anything, it has strengthened the call for choice as there are private schools which exist that incorporate your “ideal” learning experience.Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Mike
                Ignored
                says:

                Lady L –

                I hesitate chiming in here, because I really don’t want to be seen as connected to Mike, who I know you were responding to… but you bring up a great point, which I would like to respond to.

                For those of us that worry about changes in the public school structure, I don’t think the concern is that private options would be inferior to the existing model.  In fact, most liberals I know would prefer sending their kids to private schools, all things (all things = $) being equal.

                I think the real concern is going farther toward a system where those that cannot afford private schools are potentially disenfranchised.  At the moment it seems to most libs that there is an inherent class system  in education as is; in order to get more backing I think a compelling case needs to be made that choice would reverse that, not contribute to it.

                Not that it falls upon you to make that case, of course.  Just that I think that is the bigger concern.Report

  17. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    monosyllabic
    pounding hands against keyboard
    spittle-flecked fingersReport

  18. Avatar BlaiseP
    Ignored
    says:

    When Barack Obama was only a political cipher, he came to the Land of Lincoln, to the south side of Chicago, to build political cred.   There he labored in the fields of community organizing for some years, making some rum friends along the way.   Off he went to Harvard Law and returned to Chicago, where he marched in place for a few more years, building up inertial momentum for his eventual entry into elected politics.

    Obama didn’t choose the South Side at random.   It has always been the great bastion of black political power, the organized kind at any rate.  Its politicians have always benefited from a large group of liberal white voters, case in point, Harold Washington, once the mayor of That Toddling Town.   I worked on Harold Washington’s campaign in the 42nd Ward and I met Obama at a few of the meetings.   Oh, I didn’t actually get to know him, but I knew who Obama was.   Even then he was a rising star and many folks were enamored of his style.

    When Obama was elected to the Illinois Senate, he signed up for one of the toughest jobs around:  carrying water to the GOP for Emil Jones, then the President of the Illinois Senate.   Being the New Guy had certain advantages:  a distinct lack of baggage the first and foremost.   Though we think of Illinois as a Blue State, most of Illinois is GOP, if you look at how the counties break down.   Obama deftly managed some of the most contentious state issues of those times, notably racial profiling and allegations of forced confessions.   To everyone’s amazement and delight, he worked out bipartisan deals with the GOP elements and the Chiefs of Police, no friends of Emil Jones,  to everyone’s satisfaction.   Now Illinois videotapes interrogations and keeps statistics on arrests by race.   Obama really did bring a measure of intelligent bipartisanship to the State Senate and was well-liked, even by the GOP, who felt he accorded them some measure of respect.

    There is an apocryphal story told of a conversation between Emil Jones and Obama when Obama decided to run for the US Senate.   When ol’ Emil asked him why he wanted to run, Obama replied “I want the pow-ah.”    Emil Jones grinned fiercely at his protege and set about organizing the support required to get Obama to Washington.

    Jason makes an important point in his last paragraph:

    Because, win or lose, Republicans overwhelmingly don’t want a more libertarian public policy. They want power, exercised by powerful people, who also just happen to be themselves. And that’s not something Gary Johnson promises.

    Herein lies the nub of the problem of Libertarian politics:  attempting to devolve power away from the power-seekers is a self-defeating proposition.   Have you ever interviewed someone for a job?   I like to interview someone with some gumption, who believes he or she can combine their skills and experience with the mandate of a given role to achieve something important.   Unless Libertarians truly “want the pow-ah” and use that power to some good end, say, to pull apart moribund bureaucracy and bring about efficiencies in government and other worthy Libertarian goals of that sort, they’ll never get elected to high office.

    Ultimately, Libertarian is an adjective and not a noun.   It could be mere ignorance on my part but I do not get the feeling Libertarians are team players.   Their pronouncements are all theory and laissez-faire and blind faith in systems which must be regulated if they’re to work to anyone’s benefit and maledictions upon anyone who says the situation is just a little more complex than all that.    Have I got the wrong impression of Libertarians in general?   Very likely.   Communications theory says it doesn’t matter what they say.  What matters is what I the voter hear, and while this sort of misperception continues to manifest in the body politic,  don’t expect Libertarians to be taken seriously.   They don’t “want the pow-ah”Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to BlaiseP
      Ignored
      says:

      To some extent I’m less concerned about people having power than I am about people having power and not being accountable.  Congress can pass laws, and if we don’t like the laws we can vote for other Congress members.  What do we do if a mid-level bureaucrat at the FDA decides that a particular method of treating cancer isn’t worth studying?  Who do we complain to?  How can we, the voters, express our opinion that this person’s governance is undesirable?Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to DensityDuck
        Ignored
        says:

        If Ron Paul’s solution is to be taken as a Libertarian position, this wouldn’t be a problem.   There simply wouldn’t be an FDA and any old quack nostrum could be billed as a cancer cure.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to DensityDuck
        Ignored
        says:

        Here’s more, from the Wunderkinder over at Libertarian Party:

        We should replace harmful government agencies like the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) with more agile, free-market alternatives. The mission of the FDA is to protect us from unsafe medicines. In fact, the FDA has driven up healthcare costs and deprived millions of Americans of much-needed treatments. For example, during a 10-year delay in approving Propanolol Propranolol (a heart medication for treating angina and hypertension), approximately 100,000 people died who could have been treated with this lifesaving drug. Bureaucratic roadblocks kill sick Americans.

        That, my friend, is blithering nonsense, exactly what I have come to expect from the Libertarians.   Market-oriented, eet eez to larf.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to DensityDuck
        Ignored
        says:

        The FDA is accountable. Congress can at any time pass a law that says, “drug x is now legal.” Or, in the next budget, “the FDA is directed to use $x millions of dollars to study drug x.” Now, the truth is, we’re too big of a society for Congress to deal with every small decision of what drugs to study or not to study so we let it run like any other agency until it completely screws up in the eyes of the majority of the populace, or at least enough of the populace Congress begins to care.

        That’s how governance works. At least, in theory, you can get your Congressman to care about that mid-level bureaucrat at the FDA. Good luck getting any top-level executive at a pharmaceutical company to care about that same mid-level bureaucrat deciding to cut funding on the study of drug x.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jesse Ewiak
          Ignored
          says:

          Who is in charge of deciding which drugs end up on which schedules?

          No looking it up first! No cheating!Report

          • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            The FDA is allowed to use what’s called an “emergency scheduling power” to schedule new drugs in whatever way it sees fit.  Congress routinely blesses these determinations after the fact.

            Not looking it up, but my recollection is that it’s been this way since the mid-1980s.  If you want to look it up, Erowid.org could most likely tell you, in great detail and with lots of authority.Report

    • Avatar Liberty60 in reply to BlaiseP
      Ignored
      says:

      Excellent post.

      I know this strikes some as inflammatory, but Libertarians are very much like the late-stage Socialists I used to argue with in the 70’s; they love abstract theory and are contantly attempting to find a Grand Unified Theory of Everything that informs decisions ranging from how to pick up the trash to how to handle cable tv service.

      Politics is messy and filled with conflicts and compromises- there really isn’t any political theory that can withstand the twists and turns of bizarre logic that real governance demands.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Liberty60
        Ignored
        says:

        Libertarians …love abstract theory and are contantly attempting to find a Grand Unified Theory of Everything

        Well, yeah, lots do.  But whenever I try to get into the nitty gritty details of policies, liberals start screaming about grand theory, how there’s is right and mine is wrong.  Look at the taxicab discussion Stillwater and I had recently–the more I tried to focus on the details of the situation, the more he claimed I was retreating to grand theory.  So there’s a bit of a game being played; no matter what we say, no matter how detailed and specific, we get accused of ignoring the “real” details just to support our grand theory.

        So even though lots of libertarians do in fact find it hard to move off grand theory, I’m not really that impressed by your claim because I know it will be applied even when we do move off of grand theory.  It’s a nasty game you’re playing, in my opinion.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to James Hanley
          Ignored
          says:

          Look at the taxicab discussion Stillwater and I had recently–the more I tried to focus on the details of the situation, the more he claimed I was retreating to grand theory.

          Ahhh, no. I didn’t retreat to grand theory. I said that the ultimate justification of any theory of political economy is social utility. Presumably, libertarianism is justified if it maximizes social utility (ie., actionable liberties, the greatest good for the greatest number, etc), relative to competing theories of political economy. That’s not an appeal to grand theory. Just an appeal to a fully general constraint on justification. So if social utility is the broad justification, then it’s the justification fror libertarian policy preferences as well.

          Likewise, when you wanted to push on the details of a specific policy, I declined to argue it because the specifics of the policy were irrelevant to me. I was making an argument for sufficient conditions justifying government intervention based on social utility. And those included a spectrum of values: congestion, price gouging, worker exploitation, quality of the vehicles, etc (I mean, read the statement of purpose of the legislation, it includes all those things). So the dispute was that you thought the NYC taxi situation in 1933 didn’t require government intervention (above say congestion pricing). My argument was that it did.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
            Ignored
            says:

            Whoops! I think I misinterpreted your comment. I thought you were saying I retreated to grand theory.

            Actually, I did accuse you of retreating to grand theory. But I don’t want to go back over that ground again. I made my case in that thread. You were either persuaded my arguments had content or you weren’t, and nothing I can say now will change your views.Report

            • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Stillwater
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              says:

              That’s correct.  I probably could have written that more clearly.

              And, no, I don’t want to re-tread it either, and I feel kind of bad about bringing it up.  It was just the example that most readily came to me because it was recent.  I had no intent to offend, and I hope I didn’t.  But I apologize if I did.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
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              says:

              No offense taken. We got a little bit heated up in that discussion, and I think it was partly due to arguing past each other, but also partly due to a fundamental difference in how we approach these issues. So it helped me better understand my own views of things.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Liberty60
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        says:

        Thank you for your kind words.   Isaiah Berlin’s old metaphor of the Fox and the Hedgehog comes to mind:   the fox knows many things, the hedgehog one great thing.   The Libertarians understand One Great Thing, that government’s power must be checked.   The greatest evils are often done with the best of intentions:  government cannot legislate away all our problems.

        The devil isn’t in the details:  that’s a myth.   The devil resides in the abstractions.   From them, the fiend can lead men down the primrose path to every sort of madness and tyranny.   It’s at that level, at the abstractions, where the Libertarians would preach to us of the manifest evils of Big Gummint.   Most regulatory laws are written in blood:   there sits old Greenspan, upon whose pronouncements the world once waited, grimly admitting to serious flaws in his market-oriented maxims.   “Shocked disbelief” were the words he used to describe his reaction to the fallout from the laissez-faire policies he’d backed.

        No, when it comes to checking the power of government, we must rely upon Madison and Jefferson and the long track record of malfeasance in the market to obtain a correct view of governments and regulation.

        Anton LaVey, founder of the Church of Satan once said “Blessed are the destroyers of False Hope, for they are the true Messiahs.”    Those who believe the markets will regulate themselves if only we would abolish regulation are beyond any hope of reconciliation into the real world.   Free Markets have become a religion for them:  though every day shows mankind will act in his own short-term self-interest, these folks still preach their gospel of False Hope.   The more the evidence is pressed upon them, the more-fervent becomes their faith.   If the Libertarians won’t see reason and participate in the real world, they deserve to be left in their ivory towers.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to BlaiseP
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      says:

      Herein lies the nub of the problem of Libertarian politics: attempting to devolve power away from the power-seekers is a self-defeating proposition.

      Indeedy. I’ve been arguing the same. I’d like to hear some libertarian responses to this before I shut the door on the issue, tho. But also, given their reluctance to actually try to hold the reins of power, all the libertarian bitching about others who aspire to power seems like pissing in the wind. As if their preferred view ought to just materialize by the power of First Principles. Or privilege. Or just cuz, dammit!Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Stillwater
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        says:

        Herein lies the nub of the problem of Libertarian politics: attempting to devolve power away from the power-seekers is a self-defeating proposition.

        Well, duh.  Do you think we don’t know that?  But if power-seekers are in fact the the problem, as we believe they are, what do you propose we do?  We know we’re fighting an uphill battle, probably an impossible one.  But what the fish do you suggest we do in that case, join in the game that we see as the very problem?  That makes no fishing sense, so this “critique” is an observation, nothing more, and one that’s better understood by us libertarians than by you liberals because we’re living it.  In this recent Economist article, for example, Patri Friedman says that democracy is “rigged against libertarians.” I don’t like his word choice there, but the point is clear–libertarians understand that in a democratic system they will generally lose. That’s why he’s proposing non-democratically run communities where instead of voting on policy positions within the community, residents vote with their feet between communities. Setting aside what anyone thinks of that idea, it is an alternative proposal, and it does demonstrate that libertarians are aware, thank you very much, of the problem.

        It’s just a bit astonishing to find a liberal belatedly coming to this realization and then smugly assuming he’s struck upon a great insight that has eluded us libertarians all along.

        But to further answer Stillwater’s question, there’s a reason why libertarians like Jason and I argue for specific policies–if we can’t win the big picture, we can at least improve things in the little picture. And one of the ways you move that process forward is by standing on the sidelines bitching, hoping that you can persuade non-libertarians to go along on at least this one issue. If nobody’s publicly bitching, then exactly who is going to take any notice and start thinking about a particular idea?

        Really, folks, the fact that we don’t have ideal paths to our preferred goal and that we’re operating within a system that isn’t particularly conducive to the achievement of our goals is not a blow against libertarianism as a value position, any more than than Belgium’s lack of any path to stopping the German blitzkrieg was a blow to the value of Belgian independence. Anyone who suggests otherwise is confusing two very separate issue–the validity of an idea and the potential success of that idea.

        I apologize for getting my dander up so much, but I think you guys really have no idea how condescending and smug you sound while you excitedly grasp onto really old insights.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to James Hanley
          Ignored
          says:

          No, not ‘excitedly grasp really old details’. More like ‘express frustration that libertarians continually criticize liberals and conservatives for acting according to easily grasped old details’: that attaining political power is central to shaping policy as you want it. So the criticism isn’t that libertarians don’t have any way to get from here to there, but that they refuse to concede that attaining political power is necessary for them to limit the scope of political power. They have to play the game they appear to fundamentally reject.

          Now, I’ll grant you that shaping policy in a more libertarian direction sometimes has merits, and is actually a legitimate point of entry into politics, independently of who holds power. And coalition building is also a legitimate option, if libertarians could populate a party to the degree that they’d have leverage over policy decision-making. But short of efforts to actually influence the political power grab on the front end, I don’t see libertarian complaints against those who do try to grab that power as anything other than hypocritical bitching about other people not being different than they in fact are.Report

        • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to James Hanley
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          says:

          Since I’m the one you’re quoting, you might spare others the duh-ing.   I set forth an Obama-based long-winded proposition on how Libertarians might successfully fight that uphill battle.   It may well be you understand the problem from within the camp but Libertarians have done a horrible job of promulgating their positions outside the comfy confines of their own safe zones.  Belay all this cheap talk about how you well you grasp your own concepts:  others find them bizarre and however unfair that conclusion might be, that’s the Libertarian’s problem, not ours.

          Mankind wants effective government, less of it would be nice but no less than necessary.   I am a Liberal because I measure an arbitrary society from the bottom up, starting with how that society treats its criminals, its insane, its women and children, the destitute and the strangers.   It’s an arbitrary measure, I’ll grant you, but I see no equivalent Libertarian yardsticks.

          For all this bellyaching about Big Government and the stultifying effect of regulation, let anyone rise up to point out the efficacy of some specific regulation than the Libertarian turns the Stipulatron up to 11.   It’s concession after concession after concession.  Fools like Greenspan deregulated seventeen trillion dollars into the void, Thalidomide transmogrified ten thousand fetal arms and legs into grotesque flippers, yet still the Libertarians insist deregulation of markets and drugs will not lead to harm, in the abstract only, for reality and facts are not on their side.   It is a pack of lies, plain and simple, larded throughout with specific stipulations to obvious facts when they’re rammed into the debate.Report

    • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to BlaiseP
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      says:

      Herein lies the nub of the problem of Libertarian politics:  attempting to devolve power away from the power-seekers is a self-defeating proposition.  

      Mostly true, but not entirely.  I’m sure you would agree that there are times when the government backs off somewhat.  If there weren’t such times, we’d still have Jim Crow, Prohibition, and the Soviet Union.

      Libertarians of previous generations (sc. Rand and Rothbard, mostly) were interested in building grand theories of what life would be like in utopia.  Yes, they commented a lot on the political issues of their day, too — but what’s endured from them has been the castle-building.  This should serve as a lesson to us all — don’t fishing do it.  You just look silly, and utopias age badly.

      I am much more interested, not in utopias, but in thinking clearly about the public and private spheres of life, in defining things for what they are, and in the historically, empirically observed instances where power gave way.  Anyone who values liberty can learn a lot from them.

      Theory’s place in all this?  It’s free to follow along afterward, and it certainly should.  But I’m a Hayekian, not a Rothbardian, and I daresay recognize a much deeper role for my own ignorance than Rothbard ever did.Report

      • Avatar Mike in reply to Jason Kuznicki
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        says:

        I’m sure you would agree that there are times when the government backs off somewhat.  If there weren’t such times, we’d still have Jim Crow, Prohibition, and the Soviet Union.

        Wait – so the ending of Jim Crow, and the policies that led to the containment and downfall of the Soviet Union, were the result of LESS government????

        As for Prohibition – if anyone ever offered up a stronger reason from US history for telling religion to get its hands the fuck off of government, I’m hard-pressed to find one.

        But I’m a Hayekian, not a Rothbardian

        Ah yes, Hayek… that stupid twat who re-treads the Invisible Hand of Smith as if it were something new instead of something wholly discredited and has been steadily feeding it to a new generation of low-IQ twits too stupid to understand the basic premise of the phrase “in the long run, we’re all dead.”Report

        • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Mike
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          says:

          Wait – so the ending of Jim Crow, and the policies that led to the containment and downfall of the Soviet Union, were the result of LESS government????

          Removing Jim Crow and the Soviet Union meant a less invasive and more restrained government.  No question about it.

          The same is also true of Prohibition, and you are absolutely right.  Prohibition is a perfect example of how religion needs to be kept out of government.  My gravatar depicts H. L. Mencken, a proto-libertarian and — like me — an atheist.  He’s drinking to the end of that era.  Mencken is one of my two favorite Baltimoreans.  I’ll let you guess who the other one is, because I’m sure it will make me laugh.

          As to Hayek, I doubt you’ve read a word of him.Report

          • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Jason Kuznicki
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            says:

            Mencken is one of my two favorite Baltimoreans.  I’ll let you guess who the other one is.

            Please let it be John Waters!Report

          • Avatar Mike in reply to Jason Kuznicki
            Ignored
            says:

            Well, there’s proof that what goes on in your head has no relation to the real world.

            Removing Jim Crow and the Soviet Union meant a less invasive and more restrained government.  No question about it.

            Removing Jim Crow required serious, sustained, and yes “invasive” intervention from the federal government that continues even today in such laws as the Voting Rights Act, most recently responsible for striking down (yet again!) an obviously racist set of redistricting attempts and voter-suppression attempts by the Republicans in “former Jim Crow” states.

            The end of the Soviet Union required quite a lot of governmental activity, among it restrictions of trade to nations that supported Soviet-style government. Hardly “more restrained government.”

            As to Hayek, I doubt you’ve read a word of him.

            Oh no, I’ve read quite a bit of his so-called “work.” It’s what enables me to identify it as barely-disguised plagiarism of one of the most discredited economic theories ever to exist.Report

            • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Mike
              Ignored
              says:

              Removing Jim Crow required serious, sustained, and yes “invasive” intervention from the federal government that continues even today in such laws as the Voting Rights Act, most recently responsible for striking down (yet again!) an obviously racist set of redistricting attempts and voter-suppression attempts by the Republicans in “former Jim Crow” states.

              You probably imagine I disagree with this, but I don’t.  I’ve said repeatedly, including in work published by the Cato Institute, that this was true, and that the end result was greater liberty for more people.

              The end of the Soviet Union is a nearly exact parallel, although basically no libertarians needed to be convinced that this was an unmitigated good.  (Sadly, on Jim Crow, some did, and do.

              On Hayek, the charge of plagiarism is a serious one.  I’d consider it, if I thought you read both Hayek and Smith.  Or just either of them, because I’m feeling generous.  I don’t think you have.

               Report

              • Avatar Mike in reply to Jason Kuznicki
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                says:

                Hayek’s theories are lifted whole-hog from the earlier Adam Smith works – his “economic signaling” is barely paraphrased from Smith’s “self interest” pricing models, for a start. But it’s not really surprising, because the whole Austrian School is a bare-faced lie predicated on the idea that Adam Smith’s “invisible hand”, and laissez-faire policies that flowed from it, was worth anything at all.

                The classical problem, and the reason these imbecilic plagiarists are so discredited, is as simple as it was in Smith’s day. They insist that markets come up with “spontaneous order” and always self-correct “over time”, being very careful never to pay any attention to the timeframe of any scale or the damage that can be done in the “self-corrections.” And the Austrian School, whether you’re following Hayek or Smith or one of the other various plagiarists of that ill-educated crew, is completely worthless for analyzing economic data on anything less than a scale of decades.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Mike
                Ignored
                says:

                Hayek did not write about signaling, as economists use that term.

                He did believe that prices convey information about consumer demand, and no economist of any stripe (except perhaps the Marxists) would attempt to deny it.  Even they would have to do so with considerable hedging along the way.

                Hayek added that price signals were the results of local or dispersed knowledges, and that prices tended to aggregate local knowledge. This was both quite different from Smith and very original.

                Further, Smith wasn’t a part of the Austrian School, which would not exist for another roughly hundred years or so.  Murray Rothbard, who was an Austrian, thought that Smith was one of the most overrated economists of all time; he held that Smith’s theories of value were a step away from the right path.  Frankly, Rothbard was completely right about that.Report

              • Avatar Mike in reply to Jason Kuznicki
                Ignored
                says:

                Oh for FSM’s sake. You have obviously not read any Hayek, especially not The Road to Serfdom.

                “Further, Smith wasn’t a part of the Austrian School, which would not exist for another roughly hundred years or so.”

                When did I ever say Smith was part of the Austrian School? I said that group of incompetent plagiarists largely make their living by plagiarizing Smith and re-treading his discredited theories in new language to sell them again to people too dumb to recognize them for what they are.Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Mike
                Ignored
                says:

                You have obviously not read any Hayek, especially not The Road to Serfdom.

                You do realize who Jason is, right?  I guess not, because if you did, you would realize just how wrong this allegation is.

                When did I ever say Smith was part of the Austrian School?

                I believe it was here:

                And the Austrian School, whether you’re following Hayek or Smith or one of the other various plagiarists of that ill-educated crew,

                I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: you should probably rethink whether your manner of communication is effective.Report

            • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Mike
              Ignored
              says:

              Keep in mind, Mike, that Jim Crow was itself… ah, invasive government.

              And the Soviet Union wasn’t exactly anarchical.

              So the question of what it took to get rid of those two things is “less invasive government on the part of the invasive government in question” and “more concerted efforts by outside entities specifically to force those invasive governmental entities to stop being invasive.”

              Sometimes, those outside forces are themselves government entities (the feds, in both cases), and sometimes those outside forces are using invasive tactics, certainly.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jason Kuznicki
        Ignored
        says:

        Jason, I’ve read this three times and I agree. Completely. This is the type of libertarianism I can – or at least could – get on board with.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Jason Kuznicki
        Ignored
        says:

        May I offer some heartfelt advice? Ditch the Libertarian brand entirely. Call yourself the Reform Party. The utopias of Ayn Rand and Rothbard have continued to encumber your message for far too long. The prophets of Deregulation are still among you and it will make you no friends among the public, dimly but increasingly aware of just how they were fished-over by the disciples of those prophets.

        Now here’s how to rebrand yourselves. Insofar as regulation is reasonable, it is congruent with the will of the people. Though I cannot agree the verb “backed off” in reference to the end of Jim Crow, ( it took the presence of the 101st Airborne to desegregate Little Rock High) I can somehow see the gist of your argument.

        Jim Crow and Prohibition were based on moral principles of a bygone era and embodied in evil laws. Times changed: those laws had to be repealed. But when the southern states were given the opportunity to desegregate themselves and hire black people, they did not. To this day, people resent what the federal government was obliged to do to solve that problem. A good court decision leaves none of the parties feeling satisfied: the Law of Unintended Consequences came into force and people such as Clarence Thomas were left with a permanent inferiority complex: would his fellow students perceive him as their equal or as a factotum of the quota system?

        Now if the Libertarians are to make headway, they will start with an appeal to reason such as I have laid out in the previous paragraph. If we are to be truly free, we must see the power of Jim Crow and other injustices arising from bad law. Put aside all this crap about Big Government: unenforced laws are moot and bureaucracies are how laws and regulations are enforced.

        Back in the heady days of early Marxist thought, Rosa Luxemburg observed, contra Lenin and the Bolsheviks and pro-Trotsky, the only successful revolutions arise from enlisting the people themselves into that process. Where the Bolsheviks had advocated what for all practical purposes could be called Professional Revolutionaries, Rosa Luxemburg said the people would sort things out for themselves if they were made part of the process. If this path isn’t followed, she said, the revolution devolves into just another self-reinforcing bureaucracy. Though I am no fan of Marxism, I do agree with Rosa Luxemburg when she observes all bureaucracies look alike once they’re established. That’s the point you should be making. Though laws require enforcement, the bureaucracies have a limited span of effectiveness, beyond which the legislators ought to reform those bureaucracies, bringing them into line, periodically refocussing their mandate upon the ever-changing world, addressing their deficiencies through legislation. Even the bureaucrats will tell you as much.

        My cruel boss, Kohata-san, had a little slogan pasted just inside the doorway to his cubicle. On it, in Japanese, it read “Return to First Principles.” Insofar as this inchoate Reform Party could harness the misery of millions of ordinary Americans, armed with the rhetoric of First Principles, chief among those Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, you Libertarians might yet field some viable candidates, but not before discarding the dizzying towers of Illyrium erected by your discredited prophets. Abandon them entirely. There are enough good thinkers among you, capable of elucidating these principles.Report

        • Avatar James Hanley in reply to BlaiseP
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          says:

          May I offer some heartfelt advice? Ditch the Libertarian brand entirely.

          More “new” insights. Want to guess how many times I’ve heard that “heartfelt” advice before?

          Let me see, what did you liberals do when conservatives were turning liberal into a dirty word?  Oh, yeah, you abandoned it without a fight.  Wait, that was just your politicians, not you real liberals–to your credit you had the balls to hang onto the term even though your opponents read it as a dirty word.

          And your sincere advice to us libertarians is, “don’t fight like we did, just give up.”  Yeah, real heartfelt.

          The smug is getting pretty doggone thick.Report

  19. Avatar James Hanley
    Ignored
    says:

    Can I just say that once more on this thread we see League liberals considering themselves well-qualified to pronounce upon what libertarianism really is, without bothering to sincerely ask any libertarians?  And yet I have yet to see any League libertarians loftily pronouncing upon what liberalism is.

    Does that distinction actually mean anything to anyone, or is there really that much smug arrogance here?Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to James Hanley
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      says:

      Welcome to the world that religious people have been in forever.  “Oh, you’re a Christian?  I guess you think women should be barefoot, pregnant, and illiterate, then!  And of course you don’t believe in birth control and think that Muslims all go to hell when they die!”Report

    • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to James Hanley
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      says:

      I’ve seen plenty of self-described libertarians on the Internet saying many of the things Mike and other liberals on this site have claimed. I realize you and other libertarians on this site don’t agree with those libertarians, but it’s almost become a self-fulfilling prophecy that ever ytime a liberal on this site says, “libertarians support this”, you or another libertarian on this site come in to say, “hey, I don’t support this so why do you liberal continue to be meanies and say all libertarians support this.”

      The truth is, most libertarian’s main goal is low taxes and eliminating the welfare state, not open borders and lessening corporate control.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Jesse Ewiak
        Ignored
        says:

        How many libertarians have to say “(thing) is not a libertarian position” before people stop making ad hominem arguments based on (thing)?Report

        • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to DensityDuck
          Ignored
          says:

          To be completely blunt, give me enough free time, I’m sure I could plenty of self-described libertarians that outnumber everyone on this site that supports many of the things that the libertarians on this site claim not to support. It’s sad, but libertarians on this site are not indicative of the median libertarian opinion out there on the Internet (since libertarians don’t actually exist in the  real world :))Report

          • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Jesse Ewiak
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            says:

            libertarians on this site are not indicative of the median libertarian opinion out there on the Internet

            I think you’re probably right, but I’ll repeat two things:

            1. Show your evidence or admit you don’t know it for sure.

            2. Do you really not find it significant that you’re again telling us libertarians what libertarians really are, even though we aren’t telling you what liberals really are?   Just assume two randomly drawn groups, the Hoots and the Mupps–the Hoots never miss an opportunity to say, “the Mupps are all X,” while the Mupps rarely or never say “the Hoots are all Y.”  Would you not think the Hoots were maybe just a little bit more discreditable on that basis (even if in all other ways you liked them better)?Report

            • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to James Hanley
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              says:

              1. I value my free time more than making myself one hundred percent sure instead of ninety nine percent sure.

              2. Sure, because for the most part, outside of the occasional drive-by from some of the more right-wingy commentators on this site, commentors on this site put forth a reasonable description of the median liberal policy preferences. Many of the liberals on this site disagree that the “libertarians” on this site actually put forth the median libertarian policy preferences so we like to point out that many libertarians actually do act like the strawman libertarians you hate so much.

              So, to make your argument, if the Hoots continually said, “the most well-known Mupp supports these things and he has lots of followers”, the Mupps would have to admit that most Mupps probably are like x, right?Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Jesse Ewiak
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                says:

                “the most well-known Mupp supports these things and he has lots of followers”, the Mupps would have to admit that most Mupps probably are like x, right?

                No.  “most well known’s lots of followers” != “most.”  It might, but logically it does not follow necessarily.  Simple math there.

                Second, that’s not what y’all do.  You don’t say “Ron Paul says X, and he has lots of supporters, so lots of libertarians say X.”  That would be fine, but it’s not what you guys do.  Instead, you say “libertarians say X.”  In the absence of any qualifier, “libertarians” standing all alone is exclusive; it implies that anyone who doesn’t say X is not a libertarian.

                The difference between the specific claim and the more general claim seems very clear to me.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to James Hanley
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                says:

                Fine, from now on, I’ll make sure to say “most, the average, etc.” libertarian when I’m making claims about the views of libertarians. I thought I was doing that previously, but I may have missed a few times.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Jesse Ewiak
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                says:

                I, speaking for myself only, would be fine with “some” or even in many cases “lots of.”  What really grates on me is the blanket “libertarians,” which inevitably implies all.  Look at Blaise P above:

                Their pronouncements are all theory and laissez-faire and blind faith

                That’s a totalistic statement.  It allows for nothing else, despite the tacked on “maybe I’m wrong,” at the end.

                And the comment that started my rant, Liberty60 saying, “Libertarians are,” which is also a totalistic claim.

                Compare that to b-psycho, who wrote:

                many vocal libertarians are

                That’s a much more narrow and defensible claim.  It’s fair (unless what follows is absolutely empirically false, of course).

                But beyond just the totalizing terminology, there’s the didactic nature of proclaiming what another group really is. (I should note, I see conservatives doing that about liberals on this blog, and it’s just as wrong there; I just don’t have as much of a dog in that fight.)  The problem is that you’re not part of that group, you’re interpreting them from outside, and so you don’t really know that group as well as you think you do.  So as often as not what’s grasped is one straw in a big bundle of ideas, and it’s made out to be a defining feature of libertarianism, even when it’s not.

                That’s really the part that gets me riled up–the arrogance of assuming that an outsider can really speak for what some (any) other group “really” is.  That reflects a classic political argumentation ploy, to define one’s opponent for one’s own convenience, without bothering to really get to know them.  But the League is at its best when people are shunning cheap political rhetoric and engaging in sincere debate, which requires not assuming that you can speak for your opponent/discussion partner.Report

              • Avatar Liberty60 in reply to James Hanley
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                says:

                I guess that’s the trouble with giving yourself a label; calling myself a liberal lumps me in with people I sometimes get embarrassed by, but there you have it.

                Sorry if it seems like we are being unfair by pinning you between the rock of Grand Theory and the hard place of nitty gritty details.

                Actually, it was your NYC taxi discussion that I had in mind as well as our debate about Standard Oil; in both, you were extremely emphatic about proving a point about relatively obscure historical items, and devolved into the weeds of nitty gritty details, even going so far as to look up and reprint the price of oil in 1894 or something.

                But thats my point- when libertarians (you, the guys at Reason, Cato etc) get all worked up over a lemonade stand or nail salon or funeral parlor, you use the nitty gritty details to demonstrate Grand Theory. You weren’t really just trying to correct the historical record of New york City  transportation in 1932 were you?

                While on another thread you agreed that you and I pretty much agree on the broad strokes of society- that we need government, that we need regulations and licensing and laws and whatnot; we only disagree on the fine points of where the lines should be drawn.

                If thats so, you and I can probably have some pretty good discussions.

                But then like some/ most/ all libertarians, you take a reasonable sounding position, then veer off into defending something that most of us consider, well, scary and sociopathic. Like casually mentioning that we should abolish the FDA, or that monopolies are not something to worry about or woudn’t it be great if we had a floating city where brothels and child labor were legal?

                I mean, when Rand Paul was asked about that house that burned down in Tennessee he basically said  “Hey, a family is burned out of their house while people stand around and watch? These things are gonna happen, y’know.”

                Again- I heard this same song and dance from Socialists- “I’m a Socialist, but please, don’t confuse me with those guys in the Soviet Union; and not those other guys over there in the Socialist Workers party. And probably not with the other guys in Cuba, China, or Mozambique also. But I’m a Socialist.”Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley
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                says:

                But thats my point- when libertarians (you, the guys at Reason, Cato etc) get all worked up over a lemonade stand or nail salon or funeral parlor, you use the nitty gritty details to demonstrate Grand Theory. You weren’t really just trying to correct the historical record of New york City  transportation in 1932 were you?

                Um, yes, I was trying to explain why the medallion system or any other proposal to limit the number of taxicabs was wrong.  Any such policy explanation relies both on theory and the facts on the ground.  Here you are basically admitting that whether I talk explicitly about theory or talk explicitly about facts, you’re going to interpret it as being all about theory.  That leaves me no ground to avoid your assumption that it’s all about theory.  The problem is in fact in your pre-assumptions that “it’s a libertarian, it must be talking grand theory,” so that you can’t take me at the level I’m actually talking at.

                or woudn’t it be great if we had a floating city where brothels and child labor were legal?

                One, you’ve never heard me argue in favor of child labor.  Two, why shouldn’t brothels be legal?  Three, what skin off either your nose or mine is it if someone wants to set up a floating libertarian city, where anyone who decides it’s not for them can, literally, jump ship?

                when Rand Paul was asked about

                Rand Paul has repeatedly denied being a libertarian.  Lousy example.Report

              • Avatar Mike in reply to James Hanley
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                says:

                Rand Paul has repeatedly denied being a libertarian.  Lousy example.

                Ron Paul can put an (R) next to his name all day long too, it doesn’t make him a Republican either. Both of them are glibertarians-in-republican-skins.

                Or to steal a line from Takei, “Dear Rick Perry: You’re right, sitting in the pews every Sunday doesn’t make you a Christian, any more than sitting in your garage blowing noxious fumes makes you a car.”Report

            • Avatar Jeff in reply to James Hanley
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              says:

              we aren’t telling you what liberals really are? 

              LOL!  ORLY?  Then I guess I imagined all those responces about “commie-Dems” and “looney left”.

              This site, to its immense discredit, allows such comments to fly without rebuke — but ascribe ONE attribute to libertarians, no matter how prevalent in the Real World or on the Internets and it’s like the sky is falling.

              I have more comments for the thread as a whole — mostly along these lines.

               

               Report

        • Avatar James Hanley in reply to DensityDuck
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          says:

          I  believe an infinite number would not be sufficient.  You see, liberals actually know us better than we know ourselves, so nothing we can say about ourselves actually has any influence on their understanding of us.  At least that’s how it feels around here.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Jesse Ewiak
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        says:

        Jesse,

        If you’re confident enough to say that’s the truth, then you shouldn’t have any trouble finding sources that actually show that’s what most libertarians’ main goal is, right?  And in the absence of such a source, maybe you should try a little intellectual humility.

        But even if the evidence showed that’s what most libertarians’ goals are, there are arguments in favor of lowering taxes and eliminating (or at least limiting) the welfare state that are not simply “grand theory” as one liberal here phrased it.  It’s a bit late in the game, for example, to argue that the 1996 Welfare Reform act wasn’t at least mostly an improvement over the status quo, even if it’s not perfect.  And it’s well-established that sufficiently high tax rates discourage productivity.

        So your argument really amounts to nothing more than, “But there are lots of libertarians who like stuff I don’t like.”  That’s not insightful.

        I realize you and other libertarians on this site don’t agree with those libertarians, but it’s almost become a self-fulfilling prophecy that ever ytime a liberal on this site says, “libertarians support this”, you or another libertarian on this site come in to say, “hey, I don’t support this so why do you liberal continue to be meanies and say all libertarians support this.”

        Um, if you realize we don’t agree with your alleged “most” libertarians, then why shouldn’t we point that out, and why shouldn’t we point out when you’re committing the fallacy of claiming libertarians necessarily support something?  You sound pissed off that we call you on overbroad claims, and you’d rather we stop calling you on it than to discipline yourself not to make overbroad claims.Report

        • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to James Hanley
          Ignored
          says:

          But, at the end of the day, the argument usually boils down to, “if libertarians were put in charge, things would be better because I believe x.” Just as liberal arguments boil down to, “if liberals were put in charge, things would be better because I believe x.”

          Now, I’d agree that probably we’d probably be in better shape under the benevolent dictatorship of Jaybird, Hanley, and Kuznicki. Even if I think things would be even better under the benevolent dictatorship of Stillwater, Ewiak, and Elias. 🙂

          However, the median libertarian, even the median libertarian who currently has any pull among the larger populace? He’d be a disaster in my humble opinion. So, when I say things like, if libertarians were put in charge, corporate power would increase, air and water quality would go to crap, and so on, I’m not saying that “if the libertarians on this site were put in charge.”Report

          • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Jesse Ewiak
            Ignored
            says:

            But, at the end of the day, the argument usually boils down to, “if libertarians were put in charge, things would be better because I believe x.” Just as liberal arguments boil down to, “if liberals were put in charge, things would be better because I believe x.”

            Uh, so?   I’d try to make an intelligent response if I could figure out what this has to do with my complaint.  As it is, the only thing I can say is that for liberals that should be “y,” rather than “x.”Report

            • Avatar Will Truman in reply to James Hanley
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              says:

              His point, I think, is that the moral authority of the people espousing the positions is important. Perhaps more important than the issues themselves (or at least the positions espoused). So you can trust liberals with government because they are, as a group, more noble and reliable than libertarians, even if there are good libertarians on LoOG.Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Will Truman
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                says:

                I took it quite differently.  I took it to mean that the visible folks who espouse Libertarian mantras aren’t people who Jason would recognize as libertarian at all –  (think: Limbagh, Beck, DeMint, Palin, etc.)  – and that putting them in power would have effects that Jason would consider disastrous.  (Either equally or more disastrous than he finds the current situation.)

                I might just be projecting, but this is what I thought he was saying… not all liberals are more moral than all libertarians.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Tod Kelly
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                says:

                I might just be projecting, but this is what I thought he was saying… not all liberals are more moral than all libertarians.

                I don’t think he was saying that. I think he was saying that, on average, liberals are more trustworthy with power than libertarians. And by a significant enough margin to trust the former with power and not the latter.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Will Truman
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                says:

                Heh, the libertarian position, most likely, is that neither liberals nor libertarians are to be trusted with power.  That’s one of the key differences–we wonder why anyone would think that anybody could or should be trusted with power.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to James Hanley
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                says:

                obviously some people deserve more power than others, as is their right through inheritance, and sheer bastardry. Unless you’re for redistribution? (insert laughter here. not actually assuming you hold any of the above positions)Report

          • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Jesse Ewiak
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            says:

            “[T]he median libertarian, even the median libertarian who currently has any pull among the larger populace? He’d be a disaster in my humble opinion.”

            It’s sort of a No True Scot in reverse.Report

      • Avatar Renee in reply to Jesse Ewiak
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        says:

        The truth is, most libertarian’s main goal is low taxes and eliminating the welfare state, not open borders and lessening corporate control.”

        Here is an interesting intersection between James’ complaints about liberals critiquing libertarians as grand theorists (even when discussing specific issues) and liberals telling libertarians what they believe that represents the double bind.  And it demonstrates the complexity and intertwine-edness (I can’t believe that’s not a word) of theory and practice. An example dialogue looks like this:

        Liberal:  You libertarians just want lower taxes – even if it hurts the poorest among us.

        Libertarian:  That’s not true – let me explain why I think lowering taxes is good for society.  [libertarian reasons are given.  Note – there are a wide variety of libertarian schools of thought and so this part can take many forms].

        Liberal:  Libertopia!!!  We can’t get there from here so your efforts are wasted and you are selfish for wanting lower taxes.  See that’s what characterizes libertarians.

        I recommend criticizing outcomes as opposed to intentions.  Then you don’t need to worry about characterizing the beliefs of anybody.  Although, admittedly, it is far less fun.

         

         Report

        • Avatar Liberty60 in reply to Renee
          Ignored
          says:

          Or another dialogue:

          Liberal: You libertarians are scary radicals who want utopian schemes.

          Libertarian: Not at all! We only want modest tinkering of tax rates, limited government,  and reasonable regulations.

          Conservative: Welcome, my brother!

          Libertarian: Excuse me, but when I say modest tinkering, I mean taxes themselves are a form of theft; and by limited government I mean wholesale reconstruction, and by reasonable regulations I mean legal brothels and heroin.Report

          • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Liberty60
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            says:

            Yep, there you go Liberty, yet again insisting that we will always take it to the extreme as rapidly as possible.  It’s pretty clear that you have your mind made up and won’t engage us where we really are.

            See, some of us are capable of distinguishing between our ideals, and what we think we might actually be able to accomplish in practice.  If you ask about our ideals, then we tell you our ideals, and you scream “scary radical!”  If you ask us about particular policy issues, we tell you, and then you say, “well that sounds good, but isn’t your ideal X?”  And we say, “well, yes, that’s the ideal, but right now I’m just talking about…..” as you interrupt yelling “scary radical!!!!!”  It’s really a  no-win, but as long as you think you’re being perfectly fair, then all’s right with the world.

            By the way, you still haven’t told me what’s wrong with legalized brothels.  Here’s my take on it.

            1) You can’t eliminate prostitution, no way, no how, t’ain’t never been done.

            2) If prostitution is banned, then given 1, prostitution will necessarily occur only in the black market.

            3) Applying a variant of the Iron Law of Prohibition, we predict that prostitution in a black market will be, in general, nastier than in a legal market. That is, disease will be more common, violence by johns will be more common, pimps will be more ruthless, etc.

            4) Legalizing prostitution relieves the problems of the black market. Government can regulate it, requiring medical checkups (legitimate because in so many cases there is a one-time only exchange between customer and service provider), which encourages johns to visit legal brothels instead of frequenting streetwalkers, driving the traditional pimps (at least some of them) out of business.

            That is, we would expect that the frequency of prostitution would not vary too much, although it might go up some, and that the safety of the whole enterprise would improve substantially.

            Now, you might disagree with any of the points there (I’d be curious to know just where and just why), but if you follow that line of thinking and come up with “scary radical,” then I have to wonder if you actually comprehended the logic.Report

            • Avatar Liberty60 in reply to James Hanley
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              says:

              See, there you go being all reasonable sounding. You sure you are not just a garden variety Republican?

              As for prostitution, I am not a proponent, but I will cheerfully admit that Nevada and Amsterdam have them, and the world hasn’t collapsed; so a reasonable person can disagree.(see this works neatly against my challenge of where in the world has libertarianism been shown to work)

              But “taxes are theft” isn’t something i just made up. Those are real words from real libertarians. If you don’t like it, take it up with them, not me.

              I know, there isn’t a license exam you need to take to become a board certified Libertarian, and there isnt a state body that prosecutes people for using the name foolishly. (much amusement at THAT notion!)

              But the fact is, there is a long catalogue of really radical notions that float around the libertarian universe; privatized roads, schools, police,  floating cities and child labor among them. Maybe YOU don’t hold to them, but other libertarians do.

              Maybe you should distinguish yourself with a new moniker- Purple Dog Libertarians, or Crunchy Cons (oops!) or something.

              But if you wave the Libertarian banner, expect people like me to shoot at it.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Liberty60
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                says:

                “Purple dog libertarians,” now that just might be quirky enough to work, although in fact it’s not quite accurate since I never vote Libertarian Party (well, once, but that was before I was a libertarian).

                You sure you are not just a garden variety Republican?

                Umm, how many of those want to legalize prostitution?  I know one who does, but only one.  I’m also pro-choice, not very pro-military, and definitely pro-market rather than pro-business.  So, no, I tend to piss off Republicans, too.  I drive the young conservatives at my college nuts–they hear me talk about markets and get all excited, then I criticize businesses and they get confused, then I criticize religion in politics, argue for legalization of drugs, advocate for same-sex marriage, and bash American militarism, and they’re completely baffled by me.  I’ve voted Republican only once or twice in my life, and have never yet voted for a Republican for president.

                As for prostitution, I am not a proponent

                Well, I wouldn’t exactly call myself a proponent of prostitution itself… 😉

                But “taxes are theft” isn’t something i just made up.

                We should discuss that sometime, somewhere.  It’s not something I walk around saying myself, but I don’t think the argument deserves more serious attention than liberals give it.  That is, I think the argument can be rejected, but I think liberals reject it without understanding what libertarians are saying.

                really radical notions that float around the libertarian universe; privatized roads, schools, police,  floating cities and child labor among them.

                Privatized roads?  Like the Chicago Skyway and the Indiana Toll Road?  So radical they’re actually functioning quite well!  It’s not an appropriate solution for all places, and in fact they’re really a sort of public-private partnership, but they’re working.  And of course there are subdivisions that have private roads, and that seems to work well.

                Private schools? That’s another one we should talk about sometime.  There’s a pretty non-radical approach to that.

                Private police?  Yeah, some things don’t seem to work well.  I’m not a fan of private prisons, either, based on what I’ve been hearing, and I’m not a fan of Bush’s use of private military forces, either.

                Floating cities?  Again, if it’s voluntary and people can exit whenever they want, how is that a problem?  Sure it’s a radical experiment, but it will either prove itself or fail, and either way why should you or I get worked up about it?

                Child labor?  You can find somebody to advocate just about anything, but honestly I haven’t seen this being bandied about the libertarian circles I move in.  On this one I demand cites.  I expect this is about as normal for libertarianism as state-ownership of the means of production is for liberals, not unknown but not standard enough to be defining.Report

            • Avatar Renee in reply to James Hanley
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              says:

              I am not adamant about legalization of prostitution, but I find it funny when liberals support the status quo.  James rightly points out the negatives of a black market.  Additionally,in the current system, we aggressively police and prosecute the women, rarely the johns.  So it is the poorest, least educated, most downtrodden people in the system who bear the brunt of the prohibition.  This is morally repugnant.

              Now, it doesn’t mean that legalization is the way to go . . . but let’s at least start to have conversations about how unfair and unjust our current system is.

               Report

          • Avatar Renee in reply to Liberty60
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            says:

            Meta-dialogue:

            Libertarian:  Let me offer a dialogue showing how some liberals unfairly characterize libertarians as extreme and radical so they may be dismissed.

            Liberal:  Here’s an alternate dialogue indicating I think libertarians are extreme and radical and they should be dismissed.

            Libertarian:  Umm, yes.

             Report

    • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to James Hanley
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      says:

      It certainly looks smug from where I sit, and it’s downright funny when a commenter tells me I believe things that I explicitly rejected, in the body of the post he’s commenting on.

      “Oh yeah?  Well I think you really do believe it, in the depths of your cold, money-grubbing heart.”

      But then again, modern liberals are just like everyone else; they too need reasons for not believing the things they don’t currently believe. At the very least, they need to be able to make up those reasons on the fly, to ward off the cognitive dissonance.

      It’s probably natural that we invest less time and energy in our negative reasons than in our positive ones, and so such reasons may always look smug and dismissive to people who actually subscribe to whatever belief is nominally in question.  Of course it’ll end up looking like a cheap caricature of the belief itself.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jason Kuznicki
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        says:

        Jason, I think the issue your getting at there – or one I heard, anyway – is to what degree one side will attribute good faith to the other when it comes to arguments and positions. Lots of liberals (for whatever reason!) think that ‘libertarian’ is just code for state-capitalist-free-market-swindle-shit-on-the-little-guy economics. You know that’s not true. I know that’s not true. But here’s the thing about it: liberals have a legitimate worry when people say ‘deregulate market M and let the invisible hand sort out winners and losers!’. There might not be a lot of nuance in the view, but it’s a legitimate worry nonetheless. So they want to hear how safeguards against exploitation, or waste dumping, or worker safety, etc, are maintained. Because those are important issues to liberals.

        And maybe people don’t have a lot of patience to hear the answer.Report

        • Avatar Renee in reply to Stillwater
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          says:

          I feel like I had this conversation with E.D once.  Your worry regarding letting the invisible hand sort stuff out is completely legitimate.  Similarly, libertarians worries that government interference via regulation and taxation will come at the expense of civil liberties and rife with unintended consequences (that are sometimes worse than the original problem) are also legitimate.

          So let’s discuss the unintended consequences of government.  And lets discuss the negative externalities of the free market.  Unfortunately, in doing so we will need to abstract and go to theory.  And then things get heated and complicated . . .  c’est la vieReport

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Renee
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            says:

            For my part, I switch to the “see Libertarianism as a vector” argument and talk about stuff like the TSA or SOPA or Immigration or whatever (depending on the other person) and talk about moving in a direction. It’s not a 1 or 0, but a grade… and we should move more toward *THATAWAY*.

            That argument tends to do somewhat well.Report

            • Avatar Renee in reply to Jaybird
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              says:

              Absolutely.  And it makes the conversation so much nicer if critics then attribute things like:  libertarians would tend in X direction as opposed to Libertarians hate puppies.  Or whatever.

               Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Renee
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            says:

            Renee,

            So let’s discuss the unintended consequences of government.  And lets discuss the negative externalities of the free market.  Unfortunately, in doing so we will need to abstract and go to theory.  And then things get heated and complicated . . .  c’est la vie

            It does get complicated. But that’s what I particularly like about Jason’s approach as I’ve come to understand it better: it’s about specific cases, and uniquely relevant empirical evidence, and less about theory. If there’s on aspect of libertarianism I’m completely on board with is getting people to think about policy mechanisms, policy fallout, unintended consequences, etc., and revisiting the conventional wisdom that strict regulation is better in all cases than market oriented mechanisms that are less corruptible and create less disturbance in the broader market. I think there’s a lot of merit to this view. And part of the problem we all have is the resistance many people have to hearing the word ‘market mechanism’ and reflexively thinking ‘free rein for private power to get away with murder’. Not too long ago, I was one of those very people.

             Report

            • Avatar Renee in reply to Stillwater
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              says:

              Stillwater,

              Right!  I think avoiding knee jerk reactions is half the battle.  (Go Joe!).  It is complicated.  There has to be some theory or the practical arguments make no sense.  But, as you say, when we can focus on concrete things (I somehow missed James and your taxi brouhaha – I’d be interested in following it) then the conversation is much less school yard like.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to James Hanley
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      says:

      I think that’s mostly true James. But one reason is that only one side (or members of one side) actually embrace an a priori theory of political economy devolving from first principles. We’ve all heard and read libertarians arguing from first principles (whatever they might be) as being sufficient for x, y and z. So it’s easy to mischaracterize and straw-man-ify libertarian views.

      Liberals, on the other hand, don’t have First Principles leading to Universal Harmony. In fact, part of being a liberal it seems to me is accepting that disharmony and power struggles are inevitable and persistent, and can’t be rectified by implementing a simple four principle theory, or any single theory.  So caricature isn’t as prevalent. But it is there. (I won’t name names.)Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Stillwater
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        says:

        Stillwater,

        I’m still not persuaded that liberals don’t have an a prior set of principles, and I’m eagerly awaiting the input of other liberals on this matter.  At the very least, “lack of central ordering leads to a deficient equilibrium” seems to me to be a first principle of liberalism (and conservatism), as does “everyone deserves political equality.”  Particularly that last one, I’m just not sure how it could not be a first principal–what would it be derived from?  But as I’ve noted, that kind of thought isn’t my strong suit, so that’s all presented tentatively.

        But that said, you have not–to my satisfaction, anyway–explained what’s wrong with having an a prior set of principles, so long as those principles are tested against reality.  As a first principle, “thou shalt not coerce others” seems to be a pretty darn good one most of the time.  As a first principle, “people who each believe they will gain from an exchange should be allowed to engage in that exchange” really does seem to work well a lot more often than not.  And “government lacks the capacity to accurately weigh citizens’ preference intensities,” and “single cost/quantity options are less likely to satisfy diverse preferences than multiple cost/quantity” options hasn’t, to the best of my knowledge, been refuted.

        Now if your criticism is that those can’t be absolute principles, I’ll agree.  I’ll also agree that there are libertarians who foolishly think of them as absolute principles.  But for myself, I think Plato was wrong, and that truths can be incommensurable, so we have to make compromises.  But I just don’t get where there’s any real punch in your critique of first principles in general.Report

        • Avatar Kim in reply to James Hanley
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          says:

          not critiquing first principles. I like empiricism as one, personally.

          Edit: “lack of central ordering CAN lead to an UNSTABLE equilibrium” — not an absolute. a principle that gov’t intervention can stabilize these unstable equilibria, yeah, I could buy that.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to James Hanley
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          says:

          Yeah, now we’re back the same argument that we both wanted to avoid 🙂

          First, to take your examples: “lack of central ordering leads to a deficient equilibrium” seems to me to be a first principle of liberalism (and conservatism),

          If anything would be an a posteriori principle, it would be that one. And also, it’s not held by liberals or conservatives as universally applicable, unless we reduce it to ‘complete adsence of central ordering leads to a deficient equilibrium’, in which case the libertarian agrees.)

          “everyone deserves political equality.” 

          This can be justified by pre-theoretic conceptions of fairness as they apply to restrictions oppotunity, or as an extension of an existing but otherwise arbitrariy restricted right or liberty. Again, pre-theoretic morality may be a priori in some sense of the word – like apprehensions are apriori – but those types of a priori principles are just part of the basic moral and intellectual fremawork all moral agents possess. (That doesn’t mean everyone agrees about the scope of fairness.)

          So, to flesh out the distinction, let’s take a libertarian first principle an an example of the difference here. The libertarian holds (let’s just agree about this) that limiting coercion will yeild the greatest good for the greatest number (or whatever the justification is). The liberal holds the same basic pre-theoretic principle – that one ought not use force or threat of violence to compel another into action A – but the difference is this (to just take just one other relevant value here): the liberal will include in his policy prescriptions fairness (understood as absence of exploitation, say) as a necessary consideration. But unlike the liberal, the libertarian rejects the role of fairness in determining policy prescriptions or moral judgments in all (relevant) situational contexts. (I hope I’m correctly attributing this view to both you and Roger and some others here). So limiting coercion is the first principle of libertarians, but it’s not for the liberal.

          The other reason this is a first principle for libertarians is because they’ve generalized from specific cases re:  the anti-coercion principle, and developed a theory devolving from its centrality in which all the other relevant values (in their calculus) are maximized by adopting this principle as THE normative guide for policy prescriptions. But liberals don’t do this. They accept that fairness is a legitimate normative principle, and a necessary one, which carries equal weight with anti-coercion principles (in relevant contexts) and neither necessarily takes precedence over the other.

          How’s that?

           Report

          • Avatar Meister Eckhart in reply to Stillwater
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            says:

            Stillwater, what cannon have you been sho0t out of?  
            Shrapnel is flying everywhere and in all directions. I love it.! I shall resist the temptation to let the Administrators know that a coup d’état is immanent, though, because you and Mike are still miffed about the Tet outcome, Walter Cronkite be damned, and your military strategies are just too damned much fun to watch.

            Have fun. We are. Never forget, Hitler was the ultimate culmination of Left wing ideology, philosophy and mythology–the King of all Utopians, the Thousand Year Reich., the purge, extermination of an entire race based on Left Wing eugenics and genetics. The goal of the Left has remained unchanged: complete, total control over the Untermenschen because they simply know what’s best for all humanity and if it takes a 100,000,000 lives, then so be it. They never seem to understand that they’ll forever be in love with the unattainable and their attempt to realize their Utopia always, without exception, leaves a trail of misery, and death in the millions.Report

          • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Stillwater
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            says:

            “deserves political equality.” 

            This can be justified by pre-theoretic conceptions of fairness as they apply to restrictions oppotunity, or as an extension of an existing but otherwise arbitrariy restricted right or liberty.

            OK, I’ve been pondering this while running errands, and I just don’t get it.  That’s not a criticism of you; the emphasis here is on I.

            I’m confused right out of the gate about what a “pre-theoretic conception” is.  I simply don’t know that language.  It rings to me as something that’s a natural instinct, something we feel emotionally before we start start thinking analytically.  And it seems to me that the history of humanity suggests that the equality of all absolutely was not a conception of that type, but something that came about via theory.  But I could be totally misinterpreting the meaning of the phrase.

            Sorry to be so slow–I quit political philosophy in grad school because o the philosophy aspect of it.  Actually walked out in the middle of a theories of justice class meeting and never went back.  So you’re working with a bit of a sluggard here.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to James Hanley
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              says:

              Pre-theoretic as in basic intuitions. If I say “Peter is permitted to do X, and Paul is permitted to do X, but Mary is not permitted to do X even tho there isn’t anything different about them that matters wrt to doing X” and I ask ‘Is that fair?’, a pre-theoretic (intuitive) answer is ‘yes, if they’re the same, then Mary ought to be permitted to do X too”. If you deny this, you have to provide a reason for preventing Mary from doing X (which may or may not be justified).

              Now, certainly no liberal I know thinks that uniform equality full stop is a basic moral principle, which is what I think you’re implying above (“equality of all absolutely”). That would be a theoretical principle devolving from basic pre-theoretic morality. Like some Marxists apparently have done, and what Koz thinks liberals are trying to do.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                Heh. I undermined my own argument by writing ‘yes’ when I meant to write ‘no’.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                Heh, the beauty of the human mind when it takes in sentences as whole chunks rather than individual words–in this case I read what you meant, not what you wrote.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Hmm, then I think I’m reasonably on track on what pre-theoretic means.

                But I’m dubious that equality is a basic intuition.  It certainly doesn’t seem to have been a very powerful intuition throughout human history, across time and space, does it?  I mean it doesn’t seem to have really taken hold until it became theoretical, does it?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to James Hanley
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                says:

                Yeah, I might be willing to concede that (not sure, since I haven’t thought about from that angle). But I think the general discontent over fairness is what drove people to elevate that principle into something actionable. If so, then we’re back to it being pre-theoretical.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                “That would be a theoretical principle devolving from basic pre-theoretic morality. Like some Marxists apparently have done, and what Koz thinks liberals are trying to do.”

                I’m also kinda shaky on the difference between what’s theoretic and what’s pre-theoretic.

                But whether it’s explicitly Marxist or not, it should be pretty clear that there’s near-unanimous consensus among libs that the public sphere has the legitimacy to command arbitrary amounts of public resources to in the supposed interest of fairness, need, or political favor.

                And there’s also a fair number of them who have given themselves arbitrary license to act in the name of the public sphere to take those actions, which is much worse.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to James Hanley
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      says:

      James, I’ve seen libertarians do it here, though not on this thread. Conservatives also do it to liberals (there are two occasional front pagers who do this almost exclusively), liberals to conservatives, and so on. I think it’s just part of what happens when people have different world views. However, I think libertarians and other less well represented groups get the worst of it, because they’re the least well  understood.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Chris
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        says:

        I think libertarians and other less well represented groups get the worst of it, because they’re the least well  understood.

        I agree.  A few weeks back I suggested that it was evidence of “liberal privilege” here at the League.  I still think that’s true.  Not everyone agreed, but one or two liberals did, which I thought was pretty fair and generous.  Really, the League’s liberals are, in general, among the best you’ll find anywhere.  There’s just that particular issue where I ask them to be even better.Report

        • Avatar Chris in reply to James Hanley
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          says:

          I definitely think there’s a sort of “liberal privelege,” and a corresponding (though not identical) “conservative privelege,” both of which come from being aligned with the two dominant political parties, and therefore being the two dominant political ideologies. At least you libertarians are on their radar, though. Even liberals, at most make fun of those of us to their left as hippies or worse, if they notice us, while conservatives just lump us together with liberals (in order to smear liberals, usually, which is nice). They’ve probably heard of Reason or Cato institute, but how many have heard of ZMag or any other left wing publication? Consider yourself lucky: at least they care enough to get your views wrong.Report

      • Avatar Meister Eckhart in reply to Chris
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        says:

        As well as Herr Gottlob Frege.   Semantics was a bitch until this fine gentleman came along, shouting from the German rooftops his Principle of Compositionality which, like oil being made accessible to the poorest (thank you very much Mr. Rockefeller) made highly complex mathematical concepts accessible to even high school level students.Report

  20. Avatar Tom Van Dyke
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    says:

    This discussion is a new milestone for the LoOG.  Congratulations.Report

    • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Tom Van Dyke
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      says:

      It’s certainly up there in the, “Going all over the place” category.Report

      • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Patrick Cahalan
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        says:

        Going no place, Pat.  Free therapy, is all. Same ol’.Report

        • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Tom Van Dyke
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          says:

          But think of the tread count, Tom!  Think of the thread count!Report

          • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Tod Kelly
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            says:

            Tod, it’s the irony of Jason’s attack on Republicans turning into an attack on libertarians.

            You can’t put a snack out for the locusts, man.  They stay and eat the whole farm.

            Hey, you want Balloon Juice, you got it, although I don’t see dozens of comments from the same handful of demented Energizer Bunnies as much of a thread count accomplishment.Report

            • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Tom Van Dyke
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              says:

              I’m sorry we ruined your garden party, Tom.Report

            • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Tom Van Dyke
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              says:

              TVD: That had been my lame attempt at a joke, actually.  FWIW, I have decided that there’s some kind of bell curve with thread counts.

              Too few is kind of like, “Really?  Why did I even bother writing this then?”

              But eventually you push through to “too much,” because at the end of the day posts with massive thread counts often end up being so due to overlong bickering/pissing contests.

              Speaking personally, the post I did with the longest thread count wasn’t long because it was a good post (in fact, it was one of my poorer posts) – it was long because nobody realized that no one was listening to one another anymore.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Tod Kelly
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                says:

                As one of the problems on this thread, let me just say, this is what happens when Jason doesn’t post often enough!Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to James Hanley
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                says:

                This thread has made me consider giving up on posting, period.  It’s just the same rehashed scenario, again and again.

                1.  I point out that some aspect of our political system doesn’t further the cause of individual liberty.  (Here, it’s the Republican Party; in my latest, it’s Obama.  But it could be anything.)

                2.  I’m accused of believing a lot of strange things that I do not believe.

                3.  I’m dismissed because libertarians are bad people, have funny ideas, or are too utopian.

                4.  No one gives a good goddamn about (1).

                And the cycle repeats.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Jason Kuznicki
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                says:

                The problem, I think, is that with a few exceptions (Scott, possibly Koz, maybe Bob), everyone here agrees with you on this one, so what you get is a bunch of side discussions. That doesn’t explain the “pick on the libertarians” bullshit, but I don’t think anything other than some dude having a bone to pick explains that.Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Chris
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                says:

                Said dude is now on the verge of being purged.

                [Voices in Mark’s head – Stop rhyming, I mean it! Anyone want a peanut?]Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Jason Kuznicki
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                says:

                I actually don’t see where you ding Obama in particular in the post.  Clearly, the impetus for the bill comes from Congress, and all you say is that it is bad that Obama has withdrawn his veto threat – basically, that it’s bad that the thing is going to become law.  And that always involves two branches.  If your point was that Obama deserves the lion’s share of the condemnation, I don’t think you managed to put that across.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Michael Drew
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                says:

                Obama is the one who will shortly be exercising the power that I condemn.

                And yes, I do find caving on this issue more blameworthy than never being good on it in the first place.  The latter might be explained by failing to grasp the importance of separation of powers and habeas corpus.  The former is inexplicable to me.

                Certainly though this was less than clear in the post.Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew
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                says:

                If the point is that the law is going to change to give all future Executives this power (and that should be the point, since in fact Bush and Obama have, according to Glenn Greenwald, claimed this power all along under the 2001 AUMF, if not exercised the portion related to the indefinite detention without review of American citizens captured in the U.S. – something, btw, that is asserted to be, but is not clearly, an implication of the language in question), then why is your concern simply that Obama will be the one who may exercise this power in the short run?

                The second preference is not relevant.  Obama’s veto threat had nothing to do with the issue you are concerned about here.  To me, the salient questions are what prompted this undertaking in Congress to make these changes, and whether Obama would have preferred for them never to be made.  Everyone (meaning Obama and the Congressional sponsors of this legislation) is “not good” on these issues, since Obama was never threatening veto over them.  Given that, I would find it remarkable if you held those who actually moved to make the changes less blameworthy than someone who acquiesced to them.  It seems obvious that the blame is roughly 50-50 here.  They all swear an oath to the Constitution, not just the president.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Jason Kuznicki
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                says:

                This thread has made me consider giving up on posting, period.

                Please don’t.  And if it will help stop derailing threads so badly, I’ll stop bitching about 2 all the time.Report

              • Avatar Lady Lurker in reply to James Hanley
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                says:

                I agree with James: Jason – Won’t you please think of the children! Don’t make me come out of lurking again – your contributions to this site far outweigh those threads such as this and a couple of others which have just gone too far into mouth-foaming ridiculousness. I appreciate your commentary here and accept that you and other self-proclaimed Libertarians on this site are for the most part patient with those who can’t get past their us vs them attitudes when it comes to party affiliation. SighReport

            • Avatar Chris in reply to Tom Van Dyke
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              says:

              Silly Tom, you say you’re not a troll, but you play one so well.

              Seriously, Mike aside (and I admit that makes him a pretty big aside), what’s your problem with this thread? My suspicion is that any thread that doesn’t revolve around a viewpoint at least vaguely compatible with yours is a wasted thread to you.

              To me, it looks like this thread has turned into several smaller discussions not necessarily related to each other. I see absolutely nothing wrong with that, as long as the Mikes of the world realize how stupid they look.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Chris
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                says:

                Seriously, Mike aside (and I admit that makes him a pretty big aside),

                I would go further than that. Mike has written one of every 10 comments on this thread. And a whole lot more are responses to Mike. He’s driven this discussion, which is the primary reason I have chosen not to really participate in it. It has very little to do with the content and a lot to do with the tone. Both by Mike and what he has inspired by others and drawn others into.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Will Truman
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                says:

                Except that, if you look at the responses to Mike, they don’t share his tone, and they actually say something (well, Jabyird’s got that Zen thing going, but otherwise…). Furthermore, there are several other side conversations that either have nothing to do with Mike or grew out of responses to Mike but have little or nothing to do with him. I think it’s pretty easy to put Mike aside and read this thread. The discussions Jason and James H. are having in particular seem interesting, even if they’re both frustrated at having to say the same things they’ve said elsewhere a bunch of times.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Chris
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                says:

                I appreciate the irony that libertarians came to feed but ended up being lunch, Chris.

                I comment on this thread as a contributor @ LoOG.  And of course you think this thread passes for adult discussion.  That’s the point.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Tom Van Dyke
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                says:

                Tom, coming from the dude who either quotes someone else or avoids saying anything entirely, then yells “WINNING,” your determing what is and what isn’t “adult” is a joke.

                You don’t like this thread. Skip it. Other people are clearly having conversations that they find worth their time.Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Chris
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                says:

                “You don’t like this thread. Skip it.”

                Chris –  similarly, if you have no wish to engage Tom…  maybe don’t?Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Tod Kelly
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                says:

                Tod, oh, I get a lot of enjoyment out of Tom, as he knows (we’ve had the conversion before). I just like calling him on his rampant b.s. too.Report

  21. Avatar Patrick Cahalan
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    says:

    Stillwater (from up here)… down here!

    But people don’t act that way.

    Of this, I am heartily aware. That’s why I don’t generally describe myself as libertarian.  I grant that people in today’s society don’t act in a way that I think is generally constructive, and I try to work around that by gauging things as they come.

    You’re talking about a world which doesn’t exist right now, a fantasy land, a world with different principles and policies and permissions.

    Also granted. Although, a side note: this is not an impossible world, now, is it? It’s existed before, right?

    You want a world where citizen-voters have less control of government, less access to the levers of policy.

    No, not at all. I want a world where citizen-voters are less likely to jump directly onto “let’s get the government to solve this problem” for most problems that both partisan groups actually turn to the government to solve. Granted, there’s lots of problems that we *need* the government for. Some of those problems are big enough that there are principled arguments to be made about the overall size of government; that’s not my point.

    My point is that those problems are largely not addressed at all, because people are freaking out about things that serve to signal that they’re on Team (Blue/Red).

    That is, you’re working to make the world more like you want it. Just like conservatives, liberals, progressives.

    No, not at all like conservatives, liberals, or progressives. The end goal is obviously the same; make the world a better place according to my idea of what constitutes “a better place”. The tactics are so different that they don’t even register on the same field.

    Now, you can either advocate/support/finance/write about/vote/organize/boycott/demonstrate/etc to promote your preferred view of politics and policy and try to achieve political power through the political system and extra-political processes, or you can refrain from doing so. In short, you can either compete with conservatives and liberals on the public stage for political power, or you can refrain from competing.

    Isn’t that what I’m doing? Advocating, writing about my preferred policy approach? Voting for measures that I believe will work? Attempting to signal to “the parties that be” my huge dissatisfaction with their approach and their methods of selecting leaders… by not voting or contributing directly to their candidates? Writing letters to my congresscritters explaining what my problems are with their voting records, and stating what they need to do to regain my vote?

    Does that not count unless it is assigned directly to one of the two major parties?

    So merely sitting on the sidelines bitching about how All These Other People Are Fucking Things Up won’t achieve your goals. And the reason it won’t is because those hated Others will continue to seek political power, and continue gain access to the levers of political power, and continue to enact policies which you don’t like, right under your tilted-up nose as you righteously bitch about how If Only People Didn’t Act Like They Do, The World Would Be A Better Place For Me!

    This entire paragraph is well beneath you, Stillwater. And really, accusing me of intellectual snobbery and bitchiness is out of line.

    Let me ask you this, sir. In the last 12 months, have you…

    * Volunteered for any sort of public service?
    * Acted directly (or supported a spouse’s/friends direct action) in support of a political measure with which you agreed… such as running an informational booth, or getting signatures, or calling city councilpersons?  My wife ran a booth in support of Measure CC here in Pasadena, a parcel tax that would help fund public schools.  She managed to do this without punching any of the walk-by critics in the face, in spite of the fact that some of them probably could have used a lesson in direct courtesy.
    * Written a letter (not an email, an actual letter) to anyone who holds any public office concerning any of the issues that currently concern you?
    * Attended a town hall, city council meeting, or other public forum with an elected official?
    * Adopted, at your own cost, a significant change in your lifestyle that reflects your preferred policy outcomes?
    * Researched and/or performed political activity for political candidates for positions below the level of Congressperson (e.g., school board member, judge, city council representative) beyond, “Is this person a registered member of (Team)?”

    I’ll accept other examples of actual action that you may come up with, feel free to add others.

    Or… has your “not sitting on the sidelines” activity consisted of writing on this blog, sharing facebook posts about how dickish Those Other Guys are, and entering the polling booth to check the box next to your party’s candidate in all open positions?

    I submit that it is more than least passing likely that I do more actual stuff to further my preferred view of politics than 95% of the U.S. general population, and it’s at least possible that I kick your hind end in just about every category other than perhaps “direct amount donated to (D/R)NC.”

    Does none of that count unless I also readily identify myself with Team Red or Team Blue?Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Patrick Cahalan
      Ignored
      says:

      Patrick, I wasn’t attributing that view to you. I was attributing it to Jaybird. That’s where the whole discussion started, and it was all revolving around his claim that the ‘the world is going away’ or whatever it was. So when write

      This entire paragraph is well beneath you, Stillwater. And really, accusing me of intellectual snobbery and bitchiness is out of line.

      you’re mistaken! I wasn’t criticizing you. You jumped into a thread to defend JB! And insofar as you think it’s beneath me in any event, let me just say this: it was a paraphrase of what JB said upthread!

      As for all the other stuff, I certainly don’t think (maybe incorrectly) that I have any impact on the ‘levers of power’ in policy in this country whatsoever. But I also don’t think that those who are currently exercising the levers of power, and more importantly to the point at hand, those who are striving for control of the levers of power!,  are ruining something of value to me (what JB claimed to be the case for him). Hence my general complaint: if he’s not going to try to attain the levers power to shape the world to his liking, but instead merely bemoan a state of affairs in which people can access the levers of power and subsequently ruin his world, then he’s just bitching about people not being more like he wants them to be.Report

      • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Stillwater
        Ignored
        says:

        Patrick, I wasn’t attributing that view to you. I was attributing it to Jaybird.

        Oh, sorry, drawback of threaded comment systems.  Still, I imagine that Jaybird might be able to write something pretty close to what I wrote (he’s made similar comments elsewhere), so just pretend that he wrote it 🙂

        But I also don’t think that those who are currently exercising the levers of power, and more importantly to the point at hand, those who are striving for control of the levers of power!,  are ruining something of value to me.

        You don’t?  Well, maybe not right now today.

        How about in 2002?

        I know lots of people on the Left who spent from 2000 to 2006 talking about GWB and the GOP ruining the country.  Granted, I ought not to assume you’re one of ’em 🙂Report

  22. Avatar Stillwater
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    says:

    In 1999, I told my friends that Bush would roll back constitutional amendments and deregulate in the bad way and introduce religion into government (faith based!) and all that stuff. In 2001 I was certain we’d invade multiple countries over 9/11 (Rummy’s famous quote on 9/12). I was opposed to those things. I did not think my country was ‘going away’. If anything, it was our country quintessentially being itself.

    In fact, in 2003, when I read more about the neocon arguments supporting the Irag war, I felt that there was an empirical case to be made for the invasion – to get the oil and preserve American hegemony. I didn’t agree with that goal, and I didn’t agree with the methods, but I understood the motivation. And again, none of that made me feel like my country was ‘going away’, but rather, that it was simply more of the same.

    To change those things requires – on my view – taking power away from private power centers and privileged elites and doing that necessarily means putting it in the hands of the people. Along those lines, I fundamentally reject that Iraq was the result of too much democracy: it was the result of private power acting thru government. That it was justified as trying to achieve Democratization (I think that was justification number 4) or whatever other Noble Causes were thrown out, and that Republicans supported it more than liberals did, is just an artifact of democratic politics. An epiphenomenon, so to speak. (Eg.,  in Libya the partisan roles were reversed even tho private power drove the whole adventure there as well.)Report

  23. Avatar b-psycho
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    says:

    Personally I think it’s more useful to describe taxes as fraud, since that emphasizes the basis of them as going to huge promises by the political part of the ruling class that are never met.

    That said, if I may put on a reformist hat for a moment, there are things within the political-economic system as it exists that it would make sense to tax, though less for actual funding reasons than to seek just compensation for the inherent state-derived privilege embedded in the system: financial transactions, land value & profit from natural resource extraction. I’d prefer simple root-and-branch removal of the privilege itself, but failing that it only makes sense to require compensation for it.Report

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