Liberty Or Justice For All

James Tiberius Stone

James Tiberius Stone

James Tiberius Stone is a former academic and former entrepreneur who now works as a freelance writer. Jim is currently based in the great Pacific Northwest, and is writing a book about the psychology of political discourse. You can follow Jim on Twitter here.

Related Post Roulette

126 Responses

  1. Avatar Aaron David
    Ignored
    says:

    Interesting post with a lot to chew on. I agree with the idea of a realignment being in the works, and you may have provided a good framework to build our understanding of these changes. May being the key word though, as there will likely be many frameworks to build upon, some more useful than others depending on the situation.

    One thing I would posit is that the need for realignment has been apparent (in retrospect) for quite a long time, which is why something such as the JCS looks so fragile, while the other two systems appear so strong. Once a realignment is complete (however that turns out) the JCS would return to the dominant paradigm.Report

    • Avatar James Tiberius Stone in reply to Aaron David
      Ignored
      says:

      Thank you for reading. Right or wrong, I thought it might be time for a new narrative.

      I suspect that if the JCS is ever going to regain substantial influence, we will have to see some norms of reasonable (not necessarily agreeable, civil, or rational, just reasonable) discourse evolve on social media. And I’m somewhat optimistic here.Report

  2. Mark Kruger Mark Kruger
    Ignored
    says:

    Fascinating Post. If I understand it (and I’m not totally confident I do 🙂 you are saying that media once served an actual “bridge-building” function a la JCS. As media is transformed from a nexus of information endpoints into a thousand points of light, it’s JCS function is weakening or disappearing leaving HCS and LCS as dominant forces contending with each other?

    I wonder.. you are extrapolating up – using an individual, psychological construct and anthropomorphizing the “media” – bolting it onto the media as if the media functioned as a person. Individuals within the media certainly functioned as JCS arbiters (perhaps smallish groups as well) but the media writ large? I may need more convincing.

    Still, proliferation of niche voices means a person can pick and choose among voices to heed – so it makes sense that “JCS” voices may wane as HCS folks heed their own tribal (sorry) voices and LCS folks pick out voices that hue closely to personal interest. Maybe… that makes me wonder though – how did JCS voices gain a foothold in media to begin with? How did the narrow media of 20 years ago adopt a de facto JCS voice. Perhaps because they needed to appeal to a wide audience?

    Thanks for one of the most thought provoking pieces I’ve read in quite a while!Report

    • Avatar James Tiberius Stone in reply to Mark Kruger
      Ignored
      says:

      Yes, I’m “extrapolating up” here. And the proposed scaling mechanism is that people coordinate with others who share a strategy for dealing with normative complexity.

      That’s an empirical claim. And it could well be wrong. But at least it’s explicit 😀

      How did JCS gain a foothold in the first place? Good question. In part it was the need to appeal to a broad audience. In part it was the fact that voice was a privilege of elites who went to college and trained in the methods of good journalism. (We still have lots of good journalists today, but their share of attention is a fraction of what it once was). In part the Fairness Doctrine required us to at least make some show of telling our stories and offering opinions in ways that could be justified to a wide audience. (Though that just pushes some of the question back a step: “Why did the US embrace a Fairness Doctrine” in the first place.)Report

  3. Avatar pillsy
    Ignored
    says:

    Um, if Libertarianism is taking over the Right, why has the vast majority of the Right, at both the level of institutions and individual voters, fallen in line behind a guy who has, among other profoundly un-libertarian, kicked off a trade war with a bunch of protectionist tariffs?

    For that matter, if the Right has moved away from a focus on fighting crime, why was that guy so successful at winning power on the Right with pledges to use authoritarian measures to crack down on criminals [1], a general tendency to lash out at people protesting police violence, and for that matter advocating lawless police violence himself?

    This, of course, follows on the heels of the crafting of a generally Rightward identity of “Real Americans”, complete with its own parallel media institutions that, to put it mildly, do not eschew identity politics?

    At the same time, for all the claims of realignment of Left and Right with regards to campus culture warring, the battle lines are more or less exactly the same as they were twenty years ago[2]?

    I certainly understand the appeal of a good model, but it has to be rooted in good data, and the opening paragraphs of your piece don’t really align with anything I’ve seen in US politics in the last 3-5 years.

    [1] The fact that his assertions about the criminality of the undocumented immigrant population are, at best, wildly overrated and racially charged doesn’t

    [2] And, cards on the table, I tend to think the claims are pretty overblown given that I was a college student at a notoriously lefty PC school 20 years ago, and watched a lot of high profile opinionators wring their hands over stuff that didn’t intersect with the lives of most students at all.Report

    • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to pillsy
      Ignored
      says:

      I quite agree.

      If the US political right were “libertarians”, wouldn’t they be the ones leading the charge on drug decriminalization, reducing incarceration, harm reduction, easing access to abortion, better sex ed, LGBTQ equality, cutting back the abuse of civil forfeiture, etc. etc.?

      They’re not doing those things, because libertarians remain a not very influential minority in the US political right, drowned out by the fascists.

      I guess you could squint real hard and say gutting protection for labour, the environment, etc. is “libertarian”. But if so it’s just your basic 19th C industrialist / robber baron “libertarianism”.Report

      • Avatar Barry in reply to dragonfrog
        Ignored
        says:

        Adding on – for many decades, I’ve seen ‘libertarianism’ touted as the wave of the future on the right, and it’s never happened. The right is happy to use the terms for their purposes, but in the end greater freedom is only for the rich, the white and the right.

        Which simply isn’t libertarianism.Report

        • Avatar Mr.JoeM in reply to Barry
          Ignored
          says:

          Many so called libertarians have gotten confused about freedom vs. liberty. To put it simply, a liberty is something you can do and a freedom is something you are allowed to do. To exemplify, I have the liberty but not the freedom to kill my father. I can go kill him, but I am not allowed to. Individuals and social systems will intervene to stop me and seriously deprive me of liberties and freedoms if I do. On the flippty, I have the freedom to purchase a super yacht, but not the liberty to do so.

          We should maximize both freedoms and liberties. It is a significant balancing act though. Removing the freedom to kill another person is pretty obvious since we are denying a small freedom to gain a significant liberty. A dead person can not do anything and therefore has lost significant liberty. It is easy to get too focused on money and property since they are easy to measure, but much the liberties we really want are not measured in money and property.Report

          • Avatar Murali in reply to Mr.JoeM
            Ignored
            says:

            You’re trying to use two synonyms to specify a distinction which we already have other terms for. We call it positive and negative freedom.In the sphere of politics, negative freedom/liberty is basically non-interference. Positive freedom/liberty is about having them as live options.

            There is another positive sense of autonomy which means not acting heteronomously (like being moved by your passions) which is contrasted with acting autonomously i.e. being moved only by reasons. But people don’t use the word freedom for that, they use the word autonomy. And this is primarily used in moral philosophy.Report

            • Avatar Mr.JoeM in reply to Murali
              Ignored
              says:

              I am aware of positive and negative liberty. I generally choose not to use those terms. They are quite confusing to many people and I really do not seem them used outside of academia and certain libertarian circles.

              Positive X and Negative X imply opposites instead of the subtle distinction in play here. Also, it leads to lots of seeming double negatives which are not. eg I have the positive freedom to kill my father but not the negative freedom to. If you swim in the pond, so to speak, it’s easy. If you don’t it’s not.Report

              • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to Mr.JoeM
                Ignored
                says:

                @mr-joem , @murali — I just prefer to avoid the word “freedom” altogether since it seems to mean so many different things to different people, sometimes the exact opposite things in particular contexts. Instead, I distinguish between civil liberties, which is governmental non-interference, and civil rights, which are some combination of fair-dealing by authorities, governmental restraints on non-fair dealings by individuals, and entitlements. In this framework libertarians are strong on liberties and the first sense of civil rights but generally reject the latter two senses. This seems consistent with the (libertarian) definition of the distinction between positive and negative rights where positive rights entail some government imposed obligation on the part of citizens.Report

          • Avatar James Tiberius Stone in reply to Mr.JoeM
            Ignored
            says:

            Yes, this is close to the negative-liberty, positive-liberty distinction Isaiah Berlin mentions in “Two Concepts of Liberty“.

            His distinction is roughly “non-interference” vs “autonomy”.Report

    • Avatar James Tiberius Stone in reply to pillsy
      Ignored
      says:

      You’re not alone in criticizing the first few paragraphs. And I accept most of the criticism.

      The core of the model is the underlying shift, and my mapping onto Left and Right was too quick. Both left and right have been challenged by the underlying shift. The left is being strained by a division between the more traditional “economic justice” and “rights-based activism” wing on the one hand, and the newer “social justice via identity politics” wing.

      The right has a tension between the Libertarians and “Classical” Liberals on the one hand, and the Trump-led identity politics wing and the old religious identity politics wing on the other.

      I’m grateful for the criticism of my opening paragraphs, and will map things a bit more clearly and carefully going forward.Report

      • Avatar Maribou in reply to James Tiberius Stone
        Ignored
        says:

        @james-tiberius-stone FWIW I think the underlying model is really compelling and it was a fun piece to grapple with! Please don’t take our criticism as other than interested 🙂Report

      • Avatar pillsy in reply to James Tiberius Stone
        Ignored
        says:

        Yeah I was trying not to be an ass about it.

        I’m glad I pulled it off, unless I didn’t, in which case I’m more glad that you were willing to overlook it. 🙂

        I’ll go back and give the rest of the piece a more careful read when I get the chance.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to James Tiberius Stone
        Ignored
        says:

        James Tiberius Stone: The right has a tension between the Libertarians and “Classical” Liberals on the one hand, and the Trump-led identity politics wing and the old religious identity politics wing on the other.

        This I agree with, but the main problem is that so many that have identified themselves as libertarians and/or classical liberals in the first years of the 21st century have gone full Trumpaloon. The reason H&R comment section is a cesspool. All of Instapundit, from Reynolds to his co bloggers to his restored comment section, is a toxic waste dump. Stephen Moore is a train wreck. McArdle isn’t a Trumpaloon, but she is mostly useless.

        Eta &don’t get me started on the long term damage the Pauls have done with their self dealing grifting empire.Report

        • Avatar James Tiberius Stone in reply to Kolohe
          Ignored
          says:

          I do see some of this (though I know plenty of Libertarian types who still keep their distance from Trump).

          My best guess is that the two factions have formed an alliance of convenience against their common enemy, the Social Justice Left.Report

          • Avatar Kolohe in reply to James Tiberius Stone
            Ignored
            says:

            Which is an alliance more commonly present that absent. An alliance with Franco that emerged victorious in the Spanish Civil War. An alliance with Pinochet that deposed Allende.

            Less provacatively, it’s the classic ‘fusionist’ alliance of the latter half 20th century Republican party that eventually led to Ronald Reagan and 49 states in the electoral college.

            But the Cold War is over. The Left (TM) does not have the means or the motive that the 20th century USSR empire did. Such an alliance is at best unnecessary, and more likely harmful in the short and medium term.Report

        • Avatar Mr.JoeM in reply to Kolohe
          Ignored
          says:

          When libertarian framework is dumbed down just “don’t touch MY property”, Trump looks pretty great.Report

    • Avatar Catchling in reply to pillsy
      Ignored
      says:

      Mostly because of all the evidence you’re pointing to, I personally read this part:

      Twenty years ago, Libertarianism was a smaller movement that straddled left and right, maybe leaning a bit to the right. Today it is quickly becoming the right.

      to mean the other way around: the right is taking over libertarianism.

      Check out the Reason magazine comments section and you’ll quickly that libertarians have become as thrilled about closed borders and tarriffs as they once were (and still are) about the famouly freedom-loving Confederacy. Gotta make those proggies cry, the real evil is fiat money, etc.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to pillsy
      Ignored
      says:

      Absolutely, while I bridle at the idea that identity politics has even remotely begun to “take over the left” it has some elements of truth and it has made headway whereas the idea that libertarianism has taken over the right is absolutely ludicrous and frankly the opposite of the truth. The high point of libertarianism was arguably the rabid tea party era of the Obama years and those are emphatically over as the current right wing President won specifically by repudiating pretty much every major domestic libertarian policy the right has hung their hat on. Libertarians were the biggest losers in 2016, bar none. They went from being the public policy shop of the Republican Party (even if they were only a fig leaf and a coat of paint) to being entirely discarded.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North
        Ignored
        says:

        I find myself somewhat surprised that there are still so many willing to fight against the dragon of libertarianism even in 2018.

        The dragon appears to have been driven away.

        Come back, dragon! All is forgiven!Report

        • Avatar North in reply to Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          Well it’s still alive for one thing. Never has had a chance to get out there, live a little, kick up its heels, found a sea-stead or a minarchist state, prove unfeasible and die.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North
            Ignored
            says:

            Libertarianism is like health care or socialism.

            Really rich people can afford it. Somewhat rich people (or people up to their neck in cultural capital) can afford it on the weekends.

            Everybody else is left pointing out that if it’s not for everybody, it’s not the *REAL* version.Report

      • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to North
        Ignored
        says:

        Libertarianism is a LOT more attractive and powerful out of power than the in power.

        Out of power that’s “don’t use the gov against me”.
        In power that’s “I shouldn’t use the gov to ‘do what’s right’ which is normally also ‘to my benefit'”.

        Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.
        -Abraham LincolnReport

        • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to Dark Matter
          Ignored
          says:

          @dark-matter , Indeed. Libertarianism strikes me as being most powerful as a kind of critical theory. It’s good at pointing out the foibles of the existing system but since its logical apotheosis is Anarchism it doesn’t have a lot to offer as an actual governing principle.Report

          • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Road Scholar
            Ignored
            says:

            …it doesn’t have a lot to offer as an actual governing principle.

            Oh it does, it’s just politically weak on multiple fronts.

            Politicians can point to crying relatives of someone WITH A PROBLEM and promise to fix that problem. Libertarianism says the costs often aren’t worth the results.

            It’s Free Trade’s political issues writ large. The victims are specific and known but the (larger) benefits are diffuse.Report

  4. Avatar bookdragon
    Ignored
    says:

    The tripartite strategy discussion is quite interesting, bit I admit I nearly stopped reading in the first few paragraphs because the analysis of realignments seemed so far off.

    I literally rolled my eyes at the idea that identity politics has become the Left because for most of my adult life it has been the Right that has been absorbed by identity politics – that identity being White Evangelical Christian. I would contend in fact that the Right has been dominated by the politics of this identity for longer than any other identities have occupied university “studies” departments.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to bookdragon
      Ignored
      says:

      The fact that we only call it “Identity Politics” when people of color do it, is itself instructive.

      The entire history of America is the vehement assertion of white Christian identity as the only legitimate identity.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Chip Daniels
        Ignored
        says:

        In a small defense of why we call it identity politics when minority groups do it but not when majority groups do it, it was the activists of the minority groups that coined the term identity politics and started to use it describe the type of politics they were practicing. It might aptly describe a majority group’s attempt to maintain itself as the sole legitimate identity but that isn’t generally how the term originated or how it is used.Report

      • Avatar James Tiberius Stone in reply to Chip Daniels
        Ignored
        says:

        Some might only call it “Identity Politics” when minorities do it. I guess most people I talk with would include all different kinds of social identities, including white Christian identity.

        From where I sit, it seems like some of the energy behind the identity politics on the Left, especially with respect to gender and sexual orientation, is a backlash against the “Moral Majority”/”Christian Coalition” identity politics that started in the 1970s and really took off about the time the Fairness Doctrine was repealed.Report

      • Avatar Barry in reply to Chip Daniels
        Ignored
        says:

        “The entire history of America is the vehement assertion of white Christian identity as the only legitimate identity.”

        Where ‘Christian’ is restricted to an approved subset of Christianity.Report

    • Avatar James Tiberius Stone in reply to bookdragon
      Ignored
      says:

      Thank you for reading it through.

      That sentence about IP “becoming” the Left could have been clearer. Here’s my position clarified:

      The left is far more concerned with identity politics than it was 20 years ago (so there is a shift afoot). Though there are still many on the Left who do try to balance liberty and justice, and I consider myself among them.

      There are tribalists on the Right, too. And 20 years ago there were arguably more on the Right than on the Left. And I would put them in the new HCS cluster.

      The left/right distinction will become strained as this shift continues.

      Alliances between Libertarians on the right and tribalists on the right are of temporary convenience and are marked by mutual suspicion.Report

      • Avatar bookdragon in reply to James Tiberius Stone
        Ignored
        says:

        From my pov, as someone who came from a more conservative family and background and moved left quite simply because the GOP moved so far right that it felt like every principle I’d ever been taught we ought to stand for was abandoned, the tribalism on the right is still very much a factor and still stronger than what I have seen on the left. (Granted, my direct experience is mostly with center-left types like myself so maybe I’m missing the parts of the left that are as lockstep fall-in-line as the right seems to be lately?)

        Now, as the main discussion in your piece, I think it is interesting that more people on the left are coming to appreciate the degree to which HCS has value in terms of reinforcing social behavior in a civil society, and for instance discouraging the sort of openly racist incidents we’ve seen since the ascension of the ‘fk your feelings’ faction of the right. It’s also been interesting to see so many on the right realize and react against the fact that HCS can lead to them being shunned and shamed in the same way that it had historically been used to shun and shame those not adhering to, for instance, gender norms.

        There are corollaries for LCS as well, but I’m not sure yet whether than sort of thing will eventually lead to some appreciation of the place for JCS or just more mutual trolling.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to bookdragon
      Ignored
      says:

      It’s okay when you are Republican is always a good explanation for these statementsReport

    • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to bookdragon
      Ignored
      says:

      The difference between identity politics on the left vs the right is that Left IP is inclusive and egalitarian in nature while Right IP is exclusive and hierarchical in nature. The issue on the Right is that they find it impossible to internalize the notion that two things can be different — black/white, straight/gay, male/female, etc. — without that distinction also carrying a connotation of superior/inferior. Then, since they can’t really conceive of two things being different yet equal, they project that assumption on the identity politics of the Left. So when, for example, someone says “Black Lives Matter” they hear “Black Lives Matter More“, or “Only Black Lives Matter” and then the retort is “All Lives Matter”, which is puzzling and frustrating to those on the Left because that’s all they’re trying to say in the first place. The cry is Black Lives Matter precisely because it seems that Black lives are currently treated as if they don’t matter as much as white lives.Report

  5. Avatar Will Truman
    Ignored
    says:

    I think the libertarian-right thing is half-correct in that I think it gets the which-fish-at-which-fish backwards. The rise of Trump kind of obliterated whatever Cruz and Paul has going on, and a lot of self-described libertarians turned out to be fine with that.

    I’m glad Bookdragon kept reading and encourage others to do so.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Will Truman
      Ignored
      says:

      Well, *I* stopped when I saw the word “Libertarian”.

      They’re just Republicans who want to smoke pot.

      One thing I was wondering was whether people mix and match between the three classes of control systems based on what would benefit them and theirs the most.

      When times are rough, you stick to tribalism. When times are smoother, you can get away with more individualist stuff. When times are downright fat? Radical individualism options are on the table.

      But the only way to create positional goods are to create people to stand in front of. So there have to be ways to jockey for position when times are fat that you don’t need when things are rough enough that you fall back into tribalism.

      At that point, you can call for really, really, really esoteric rules that are easy for you to follow (hell, stuff you do by rote anyway!) but difficult for people in other tribes to do. And you can make them stumble while, at the same time, point to how you’re already following these really esoteric rules.

      And if things get rough for whatever reason? Well, just retreat back into a more naked tribalism.Report

    • Avatar James Tiberius Stone in reply to Will Truman
      Ignored
      says:

      Yeah, it’s also hard to tease out the “the enemy of my enemy” effect from true alignment at times. Both the authoritarian Trump crowd and the Libertarians see Social Justice activism as their common enemy right now.

      I do know many Libertarians and “Classical” Liberals who want Trump out of there. I’ll probably dig for some polling data at some point to get a better handle on where Libertarians are with Trump.Report

      • Avatar Murali in reply to James Tiberius Stone
        Ignored
        says:

        There’s no way you could be ideologically libertarian and support trump. He stands for the opposite of everything libertarianism is supposed to be about. You might find that Ron Paul and Lew Rockwell attracted a lot of racists to the Libertarian party, but they were never genuine supporters of individual liberties and free markets.Report

        • Avatar Mr.JoeM in reply to Murali
          Ignored
          says:

          Murali: There’s no way you could be ideologically libertarian and support trump.

          There are libertarian variants that find plenty to love in Trump. Cut Taxes, agencies rolling back regulation when they can, refusing to enforce when they can’t, White House budgets slash and burn spending.Report

          • Avatar Murali in reply to Mr.JoeM
            Ignored
            says:

            IIRC, he’s not slashing spending, just taxes. Which, as a strategy, hasnt really worked.

            I guess cutting taxes and getting rid of regulations is good, but everything else that he has done especially with regards to migration and trade has more than negated any good done by cutting taxes and deregulating.Report

            • Avatar Mr.JoeM in reply to Murali
              Ignored
              says:

              I certainly agree for my flavor of libertarianism, but there are a lot of flavors of libertarian. Some Really Really like him.

              On the slashing spending, the argument is that he would if not for “Congress and that pesky Democrat Party”. The White House proposed budgets slash spending pretty hard.

              There are nativist libertarians. Maximizing liberty for Americans, not those other people. On trade, it is just self defense. On migration, it is “those people” who are not American, so their liberties should be secured in their home countries, not here. Again, doing pretty good.

              There are also those applaud the general upsetting of the government apple cart, since the government is inherently bad if it does anything more than protect property rights.

              There are also those that applaud attacking the spy/intelligence apparatus, because it is inherently bad.

              There are plenty of other examples. I am just saying that there are plenty of ideological libertarians that are generally happy with Trump and support a great percentage of what he is doing.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Mr.JoeM
                Ignored
                says:

                On the slashing spending, the argument is that he would if not for “Congress and that pesky Democrat Party”.

                The pesky Democrat Party, whose votes are not needed for anything?

                This is important. The Republican Party does not want to reduce the size and scale of government. At no time during their times in power have they ever attempted to do such a thing.

                They just want to reallocate the distribution.

                The amount that future Americans will pay in taxes (AKA the deficit) has now ballooned from what it was under Obama. The rich benefit now, the working class will pay later.

                The regulatory state has not been reduced, merely favors shifted and rents allocated from favoring the public to favoring cronies.

                This administration can be called many things, but libertarian isn’t one of them.
                But as has been said elsewhere, people always favor their interests, even if their revealed interest is different than what they claim.Report

              • Avatar Mr.JoeM in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Chip Daniels: The pesky Democrat Party, whose votes are not needed for anything?

                Most stuff still requires 60 votes in the Senate. So some Democrats have to come on board. This has given them some power in negotiating. In some cases they have played it well. In the last round of budget negotiations there was about a 10% increase in domestic spending. I would say with a president Clinton there would be about a 5-10% chance of Republicans actually letting that happen. Of course they cry that they can’t do anything, but it’s not wholly true.Report

            • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Murali
              Ignored
              says:

              IIRC, he’s not slashing spending, just taxes. Which, as a strategy, hasnt really worked.

              He can’t slash spending on his own (nor taxes, of course). The President is required to spend all of the money that Congress appropriates (Impoundment Control Act of 1974). If it turns out some of the money is unneeded to accomplish the task, he can ask Congress to rescind a portion of the appropriation. If Congress fails to act on the request within 45 days, then the money has to be spent.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Murali
          Ignored
          says:

          There’s no way you can be ideologically anti-war and support Obama.

          And yet.
          And yet.Report

        • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to Murali
          Ignored
          says:

          I smell a No True Scotsman thing here.Report

          • Avatar Murali in reply to Road Scholar
            Ignored
            says:

            It’s more of a Confucian Rectification of NamesReport

          • Avatar Murali in reply to Road Scholar
            Ignored
            says:

            There is a significant degree to which No True Scotsman is not a fallacy when it comes to ideological labels.

            Put it this way: If you support private property in the means of production, free markets an income tax rate of 25% for the top income bracket and no capital gains tax, you don’t get to call yourself a socialist.

            Ideological labels are conventionally specified in terms of certain policy positions. You get to legitimately apply the label to yourself if those policy positions conventionally attributed to the label are the nearest to your own. A self-application of a given ideological label is illegitimate if you are willing to support a candidate who stands for pretty much the opposite of the policy positions that are conventionally associated with the label.

            I could let it slide if a self identified libertarian had voted for Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio or even Ted Cruz. But voting for Trump means you have to hand in your libertarian decoder ring. And the fact that the congressional faction that is most supportive of Trump calls itself the freedom caucus is one of the most egregious instances of orwellian doublespeak in our time.Report

            • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Murali
              Ignored
              says:

              But voting for Trump means you have to hand in your libertarian decoder ring.

              It depends on whether you consider HRC worse and if so how much worse.

              A vote for Johnson is a protest vote because he has no chance, and that’s fine if both Trump and HRC were pretty close in being unacceptable.

              But if Bernie had been running I’d voted Trump. Not without qualms, not without holding my nose, but it’s not a perfect world and sometimes you need to vote for the lesser evil. A guy who points to Venezuela as they’re burning down their economy and breathlessly claims this is what he wants for the US hits the radar as more dangerous than a clueless reality show host.Report

              • Avatar Murali in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                Bernie would have been resisted by a republican congress, so things would have balanced out. He couldn’t have made the US more like Venezuela even if he tried. I doubt that Bernie would have started a trade war with China. At the very least I don’t think congress would have let him. He wouldn’t have done the Muslim ban. And he wouldn’t have ramped up enforcement of the border and separated so many children from their families.

                Trump has turned out worse from a libertarian standpoint than Bernie would have, even if both are really horrible overall.Report

              • Avatar Roger W in reply to Murali
                Ignored
                says:

                My assessment was:
                Hilary = same old same old
                Bernie = GOP supporters start a civil war
                Trump = civil war + external war

                So far I’m (sadly) not seeing that I’m wrong.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Murali
                Ignored
                says:

                Bernie would have been resisted by a republican congress, so things would have balanced out.

                That almost works IF the GOP controls Congress for the next 8 years (unlikely). Keep in mind Trump himself has been opposed on some things (like ripping families apart).

                From a libertarian standpoint, as bad as Trump has turned out worse from a libertarian standpoint than Bernie would have, even if both are really horrible overall.

                You’re holding up Trade and Immigration as Trump’s big problems, and I agree, they are. However Bernie and Trump have close to the same opinions here it’s just Bernie is less crass. Afaict Bernie is slightly more welcoming to immigrants but even more hostile to trade.

                In 2007 Bernie helped kill immigration reform because it had a guest worker program. … Calling international trade agreements a “disaster for the American worker”, Sanders voted against and has spoken for years against NAFTA, CAFTA, and PNTR with China, saying that they have resulted in American corporations moving abroad. He also strongly opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which he says was “written by corporate America and the pharmaceutical industry and Wall Street.” (wiki)

                However Bernie’s “badness” doesn’t end there. A President Bernie would (or at least claims he would) implement that INSANE transaction tax which would burn down Wall Street. In terms of economic damage that’s worse than everything Trump has attempted combined. We’d see Trillions of dollars flee the country overnight.

                A President Bernie wouldn’t have given us tax reform, regulation reform, etc. Bernie is mostly focused on fixing “Income and Wealth Inequality” via redistribution. He would have attempted to greatly expand the influence and control of the state over the economy, and over social systems.

                After the gov takes over something it’s extremely difficult to remove it.

                Bernie, as a creature of the left, buys into the Left’s social liberalness, pro-Choice, pro-Gay rights, maybe pro-end the drug war… but he’s also got serious “collective (economic) justice” stuff and is opposed to gun rights. I’m not sure he wins even on a social-rights standpoint libertarian-wise if his solution for every problem is government intervention.

                From a libertarian standpoint it’s easy to believe Bernie’s awfulness would be a super-set of Trump’s. He’d be against immigration and trade AND expand the gov AND try to fix all of inequality by burning down the economy. It’s also easy to believe he’d be more successful because Bernie burning down economy would be popular in ways that ripping families apart is not, it’d be enabled by well-meaning people in a way that Trump is not. Undoing it would be a lot harder than undoing Trump will be because gov programs are almost immortal and indestructible.Report

              • Avatar Murali in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                That almost works IF the GOP controls Congress for the next 8 years (unlikely). Keep in mind Trump himself has been opposed on some things (like ripping families apart).

                The republicans would have had a better chance of keeping congress if Bernie had won. At least part of this is due to republican backlash from attempted Bernie overreach. I think centrist democrats may push back against Bernie’s worst excesses (though given how the DNC has reacted to occasia cortez’s primary victory that might just be too hopeful)

                While Bernie is hawkish on immigration, I doubt Bernie would tighten enforcement of existing immigration laws. That is what landed Trump in so much awfulness. I doubt (or I hope) democrats wouldn’t have followed him in tightening immigration controls.

                Both Bernie and Trump ran on renegotiating NAFTA, CAFTA etc. I doubt either will actually happen. What did happen was a unilateral trade war started by the US against Canada, Mexico, UK and the EU among others by imposing tariffs on steel. I don’t think Bernie would have unilaterally imposed tariffs on steel imports. He might have raged and ranted but at the end of the day, he would have stuck to the status quo.

                A President Bernie would (or at least claims he would) implement that INSANE transaction tax which would burn down Wall Street. In terms of economic damage that’s worse than everything Trump has attempted combined. We’d see Trillions of dollars flee the country overnight.

                There are lots of other crazy unlibertarian things that Bernie in his heart of hearts may have wanted, but there is no way any of those would have made it past congress.

                A President Bernie wouldn’t have given us tax reform, regulation reform, etc. Bernie is mostly focused on fixing “Income and Wealth Inequality” via redistribution. He would have attempted to greatly expand the influence and control of the state over the economy, and over social systems.

                IIRC it was congress that introduced and passed those bills. I don’t see why congress wouldnt have done the same under Bernie. Sure, Bernie may have threatened to veto any such bill, but I can’t imagine Bernie actually exercising such a veto.Report

              • Avatar Murali in reply to Murali
                Ignored
                says:

                Also, a lot is going to depend on who Sanders picks for his cabinet. If his picks are largely Obama era staffers or indistinguishable from them, then I doubt you would get much crazy from the administration. Someone would very quietly sit him down and tell him why a transaction tax would be insane and he, unlike trump, would listen.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Murali
                Ignored
                says:

                I think centrist democrats may push back against Bernie’s worst excesses (though given how the DNC has reacted to occasia cortez’s primary victory that might just be too hopeful)

                Amazingly too hopeful. It’s silly hard for a party to stand up to it’s lunatic fringe, and I’m not even sure this is a “fringe” by current Dem standards. It’s close to impossible if that “fringe” counts the President as a member. No matter how many times socialists burn down someone’s economy or murder 8 digits worth of people, the idea remains popular. Bernie wouldn’t be a one man band.

                I doubt Bernie would…

                Hoping Bernie wouldn’t do what he’s said he would does a lot of heavy lifting in your statements. Candidate Bernie staked out positions similar to (but worse) than Trump’s. “He’s not serious” is something WAY more reasonable to say about Candidate Trump because he clearly wasn’t a believer of much beyond greed and narcissism.

                IIRC it was congress that introduced and passed those bills. I don’t see why congress wouldnt have done the same under Bernie.

                The same reason they didn’t under Obama.

                Regulation reform is purely under the control of the executive branch, it wouldn’t happen. Just the “threat” of a veto is a showstopper if we’re asking politicians to make painful votes, and tax reform is a very painful vote. Tax reform could have been done under Obama but wasn’t, the same dynamics would play out.

                Bernie ran on making things work, but his plan for doing that was to explain he’s right to the GOP and expect that they’d listen and follow his lead. This seems unrealistic in the extreme, so NO, the assumption should be we don’t get tax reform, regulation reform, etc.

                Also, a lot is going to depend on who Sanders picks for his cabinet. If his picks are largely Obama era staffers or indistinguishable from them, then I doubt you would get much crazy from the administration.

                We can picture Bernie as a Clinton Pragmatic and Cynic only if we ignore everything he’s done or is running on. WIthout wishful thinking he looks like a true believing idealist and imho we should assume he’s exactly what he claims.

                Someone would very quietly sit him down and tell him why a transaction tax would be insane and he, unlike trump, would listen.

                You’re building assumptions on top of assumptions (i.e. first that his Cabinet picks will be non-socialists, then that they might be able to talk him down). We should be VERY reluctant to think someone will abandon long held, sincere, beliefs they campaign on doing. From his point of view the costs of his ideas are exaggerated and there will be social benefits which make it worthwhile. Socialists don’t think they’re burning down the economy, they think they’re improving it.

                Bernie being a Swedish style Social Democrat flies in the face of his endorsing Venezuelan style “progress” and is happy talk to make his ideas look less scary. He ran on being “real”, i.e. totally unlike Clinton in he actually does believe what he says and the rest of his life, ethics, and behavior supports that.

                Unlike Trump, Bernie is sincere, well intentioned, a nice guy, an idealist, and not a greedy narcissistic sociopath. That’s admirable but his ideas are currently creating suffering on a massive scale in Venezuela, and have been used to wreck economies and lives on a global scale.

                Trump has capriciously ripped apart hundreds or thousands of families. Bernie’s ideas have been the backbone of history’s worst atrocities and economic disasters.Report

              • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                Wait a minute – are you hearling “Medicare for all”, leapfrogging literally every first world economy other than the US where something close to that is in place, and going straight to “the only way this could go is gulags for the petit bourgeoisie”?

                Because I assure you, Bernie’s ideas are not creating suffering in Venezuela, not even close. They’re basically the over-60 set’s ever-so-slightly-left-of-centre politics here in Canada.Report

  6. Avatar LeeEsq
    Ignored
    says:

    Libertarians tend to be a lot more sympathetic to the right, but this is changing with younger libertarians, but the Right isn’t libertarian by any stretch of the imagination as Pillsy points out. If anything, they seem to be getting more openly fascist and racist than any time in my life.Report

    • Avatar James Tiberius Stone in reply to LeeEsq
      Ignored
      says:

      That graph I linked to tracked attitudes from 2002 to 2012. Trump has definitely awakened an identitarian element on the right.

      I’m not as committed to the claim that the “right” is becoming “libertarian” as I am to the claim that Identity-based-tribalism and libertarianism have become the main basins of attraction in the age of social media.

      Right vs left is a strained distinction these days.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to James Tiberius Stone
        Ignored
        says:

        The period between 2002 and 2012 was the high and low water mark of conservatism because of Bush II administration. Many conservatives stopped calling themselves as conservatives and started referring to themselves as libertarians without really changing much of what they believed in because conservative became a dirty word. Its like how many Democratic voters stopped referring to themselves as liberals after liberal became a dirty word due to the perceived failures of liberalism at the end of the 1960s.Report

    • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to LeeEsq
      Ignored
      says:

      @leeesq , I blame Ayn Rand. It’s really weird if you look into it; Rand is held up as one of the guiding prophets of libertarianism, yet she personally had very little patience for libertarians, denouncing them as hippie anarchists and plagiarists who stole her ideas and then twisted them around. So, for instance, she was not anti-government; she just saw the wealthy movers-and-shakers as some sort of enlightened beings that had no need to be governed in general, but government was entirely appropriate and necessary to regulate the passions of the rabble.

      There’s a reason why Paul Ryan required his staff to read Atlas Shrugged. Her philosophy is very much adoring of the economic elite.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Road Scholar
        Ignored
        says:

        Murray Rothbard deserves a far amount of blame because he made a decision to ally the emergent libertarians to the American right and had no problem using racism to advance libertarianism. Rothbard and Rand also shared the same tendency of being absolutely passionate about free market capitalism but hating the things that capitalism tended to produce, especially in regard to cultural products. They couldn’t abide by rock music or even jazz. I think you can make an argument that both saw libertarianism as inherently white philosophy and went out to make it so.Report

        • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to LeeEsq
          Ignored
          says:

          I’ll take your word for it re Rothbard. I don’t know how much you can draw from their artistic/cultural tastes. I can’t abide Rap but it’s not a racist or classist thing; I just don’t care for the style. But it’s certainly true that libertarianism was born of elitism.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Road Scholar
            Ignored
            says:

            Rothbard and Rand used some explicitly racist arguments against jazz and rock. Beyond that, Rothbard was the one that believed that libertarians on their own would be an insignificant movement but combined with an outside force could be very powerful. He selected the American far right rather than American liberals as the group libertarians should ally themselves with though. He was of the civil rights are communist variety. A man of some genuinely nutty positions lie children are the property of their parents and parents can do with them what they will including sell them.Report

  7. Avatar Saul Degraw
    Ignored
    says:

    I also think a lot of this is partially correct.

    Libertarians are the right but we have one of the most profoundly non libertarian Presidents in living history. A lot of libertarians simply decided they hated liberals/the left more than they love liberty to quote former OTer and Cato employee Jason K.

    Identity politics has not taken over the left except in the fever dreams of middle-aged white guys.Report

    • Avatar James Tiberius Stone in reply to Saul Degraw
      Ignored
      says:

      I agree with this. And, if you look at my Twitter feed, you’ll see that I actually spend a lot of time arguing that identity politics has not taken over the whole Left.

      Were I to take the piece through one more draft, I would probably just avoid mapping the shift onto the right and left entirely. The main action is the shift away from JCS toward LCS and HCS. And this is causing strain on both the right and the left.

      We have seen a rift between “economic justice” and “social justice” on the left. And we have seen a rift between the identity politics of Trump and the libertarians on the Right.

      I’m grateful for the push-back and the chance to refine my views and move toward a crisper model.Report

      • Avatar Jeroen_D in reply to James Tiberius Stone
        Ignored
        says:

        Hey James, I thought this would be a good entry point to jump in, and revel in the freedom of unlimited characters. (On the other hand, Twitter did force me to be concise, so that may not be to your advantage)

        I think the Lizard, Herd and Justification scheme is interesting, but I am missing some context on what the “Control” part is. With relating it (loosely) to Freudian definitions, I’m assuming you mean something like personality traits, yet I also get the impression it’s about how one ‘controls’ their ability to function in certain societal roles.

        Maybe you could elaborate on that some more?

        (And the rest is based on my incomplete understanding of it)

        I don’t think you’re wrong in principle by mapping it to a Left/Right, in the sense of the tactics generally or (stereo)typically used by self-proclaimed proponents of the two sides. Yet this seems to suggest the left became HCS dominant (authoritarian) and the right LCS dominant (libertarian).

        I may be wrong in my understanding, so please correct me, but it seems you’re equating tactics with Left or Right positions. Which, whether you do so or not, looks like what’s happening these days a lot.

        I realize the US has a Democrat/Republican, Left/Right dichotomy, with some Independents thrown in there for harmless entertainment and distraction, and there’s another axis of ‘authoritarian vs libertarian’ to make further distinctions.

        In Europe we have an increasing amount of political parties, they’re all over the spectrum and even their standpoints can be all over the political map. But even though this system is fundamentally different, we’re having a similar debate in simple Left vs Right terms. The Right is quickly called authoritarian fascist, unless it is willing to comply to Left socialist standards (which, in it’s very definition, authoritarian).

        What I’m getting at is that in your model, both Left and Right have been taken over, are controlled, by the HCS. And so has the media. Who then report back to ‘the people’, who are then required to cast their votes unto politicians or parties who compete for their approval.

        People used to be very loyal to their parties, but many have either lost all interest/confidence and stopped voting, or pick a party they align with most at the time of voting. My assumption is that this is because people have a greater and easier access to information, both on the particular issues they align with and the (in)ability of their chosen politicians to follow up on their campaigned promises.

        It has become a popularity contest, based on social rules that are governed by how much attention it creates. (And outrage gathers a lot of attention.)

        In Europe we have the illusion of choice between many parties, and then get to rationalize that we don’t get what we voted for because of democratic compromise. It seems to me in the US you need an illusion of choice between two candidates or sides, so you get to rationalize you didn’t get what you voted for because the ‘other side’ doesn’t allow it.

        I’ll try to boil it down (and you’re probably whishing I had done this on Twitter, because I do tend to essay a lot 🙂

        It seems to me that the principles of Left and Right haven’t actually changed so much in political standpoints and philosophies, but the Digital Era resulted in a shift in tactics used to gain support for those standpoints. It became an HCS dominated game-show competing for the attention of an LCS population that overwhelmed the JCS people with too many sides to bridge or too much outrage to refute.

        Your model seems to describe how most humans are LCS oriented people with a need for HCS social structures with JCS individuals building bridges that invites levying a toll for their efforts.

        This is not necessarily a critique of your model, (and as I said, I might be wildly misunderstanding it), but it does open up questions how personality characteristics transfer to social institutions that originate from, run by, support but ultimately overtake those same personality characteristics of the individuals.

        In other words, people create control systems that do not necessarily align with their personal control system. And while you can use the same kind of definitions, I find it hard to see this natural progression in your model.

        Well, you asked for push-back 🙂Report

        • Avatar James Tiberius Stone in reply to Jeroen_D
          Ignored
          says:

          Regarding the “Control system” language:

          I did leave quite a bit of detail out of the model of individual psychology.

          All three systems operate in any healthy individual. And they help regulate our behavior in a social context.

          We have all the base lizard drives for things such as food, sex, comfort, and safety. And these vie for control of our attention, planning, and action much of the time.

          Being social creatures, we also need to put some brakes on the LCS at times — primarily when LCS-driven actions would bring objections from important members of our groups (and especially those who have some control over our social roles).

          So our HCS makes us aware of prima facie objections, so we can put the brakes on the LCS at times. The HCS doesn’t always win. Nor does the LCS. It will depend on circumstances. I would imagine that herd and pack animals have both a well-developed LCS, and a well-developed HCS.

          What’s mostly new with humans is the JCS. The JCS might pre-date grammatical language some, but it is greatly enhanced by it.

          Here’s the thing. Prima facie objections are only prima facie. If you have the ability to justify doing the action anyway, you can do the action anyway, and then justify yourself later.

          Example. You’re watching an opera and get a text saying your child is in the emergency room. Your LCS says — go tend to your child. Your HCS counters with: “don’t interrupt the opera.”, and your JCS determines that leaving can be justified.

          Like the other systems, the JCS doesn’t always win. But it gives us more flexibility in social life. Prima facie objections don’t have to set up a comply-or-fight ultimatum. Now we can sometimes have our cake and eat it, too.

          What I’m suggesting here is that, even though we all use all three systems, different people are driven more strongly by one than the others. And that will determine which strategy they take when they are in situations of normative complexity.

          Choosing to emphasize the JCS in such circumstances is feasible only if you’re really good with your JCS, and don’t mind the brooding and constant re-jiggering of your beliefs and values.

          Otherwise, you’ll probably fall back to one of the other two strategies.Report

      • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to James Tiberius Stone
        Ignored
        says:

        @james-tiberius-stone ,

        We have seen a rift between “economic justice” and “social justice” on the left. And we have seen a rift between the identity politics of Trump and the libertarians on the Right.

        Those factions have always existed. What’s changed in the era of Trump — and it really started in the Obama years — is that the coalitions on both sides have started coming apart.

        These are natural coalitions with a central theme of egalitarianism on the Left vs. hierarchy on the Right. Sanders isn’t farther to the left than Clinton; he’s differently left than Clinton, economic leftism vs identity leftism. Similarly, Trumpism isn’t farther to the right than mainstream Republicanism; it’s differently right, again identity vs. economics. And the coalitions, reflected in the major parties, are really mirror images of each other. The political class of each side is, at least of late, drawn from the wealthy on each side, Identity leftists and economic rightists, who then throw just enough bones to the populists on their side — economic leftists and identity rightists — to keep them voting the right way.

        Edit to add: The coalitions are fragmenting because the populist wings on both sides are starting to look at their respective political classes and asking themselves, “Just what the hell have you actually done for me lately?”Report

    • Avatar Damon in reply to Saul Degraw
      Ignored
      says:

      “A lot of libertarians simply decided they hated liberals/the left more than they love liberty”

      Or they figured that, if they voted, voted for HRC was an even worse idea.Report

      • Avatar J_A in reply to Damon
        Ignored
        says:

        Or they figured that, if they voted, voted for HRC was an even worse idea.

        But when they vote, they do vote for the HRC party. They vote for the party of authoritarian control. They vote for the party of dumping externalities in the commons (I.e. less Environmental and Safery regulations). They vote for the party of militaristic aggression.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Damon
        Ignored
        says:

        How on earth would HRC be worse than an actively authoritarian President like Trump? How are intense nativist restrictions on immigration, race-baiting based on lies, and utter cruelty to families fleeing harm even remotely libertarian? A lot of libertarians seem to think that only white people can be really truly libertarian.Report

        • Avatar Damon in reply to LeeEsq
          Ignored
          says:

          I can’t say. All I can say is that I’d never have voted for HRC. But I didn’t vote for Trump either. So IF you’re not voting for HRC and voting…I guess that leaves Trump. Trump isn’t no where near a libertarian, but perhaps the dislike of HRC was enough?

          I can’t say.Report

          • Avatar Roger W in reply to Damon
            Ignored
            says:

            Unfortunately, you have a First Past the Post electoral system with two parties.

            If you actively decided not to vote for a specific candidate, that’s exactly equivalent to deciding to vote for the other.Report

            • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Roger W
              Ignored
              says:

              It’s only half a vote for the other.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Roger W
              Ignored
              says:

              Believe it or not, I had people yell at me that my vote for Gary Johnson was a vote for Hillary Clinton.

              Well, not *YELL*, but explain patiently, as though to a slow child, that I, seriously, needed to get over myself and vote for Trump.

              Back in the days of Barack Obama vs. Mittler Romney, I was told by my partisan friends that, seriously, I was voting for the person they didn’t want me to vote for by voting for Gary Johnson.

              While I understand that you feel strongly that my vote for Gary Johnson was really a vote for… whomever, I’d ask you to please look at it from the point of view from someone who was told that his vote was, really, a vote for both candidates at the same time.

              A vote for Gary Johnson is a vote for Gary Johnson. It is not a vote for Schrödinger’s Cat being whatever it ended up being when they opened the box.Report

              • Avatar Roger W in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                That’s not actually the same though.

                He was a candidate in a multi candidate electoral process to get the nomination to become one of the two final candidates.

                And you voted.

                Both those things are different.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Roger W
                Ignored
                says:

                I’ve lost track of whether I’m arguing against the point that I’m in a First Past the Post electoral system with two parties or whether I’m arguing against the point that I’m in a system that has a multi candidate electoral process.Report

              • Avatar Roger W in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                My fault. I hadn’t heard of Gary Johnson, and assumed you were talking about the nominee selection process inside the RNC.

                Which is a FPP multi-candidate election.

                You actually meant as a candidate in the presidential election directly though?

                In which case, you made a “positive action” (you voted), as opposed to a “negative action” (you refused to vote even though you normally would)

                That’s still distinctly different from abstaining.Report

              • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to Roger W
                Ignored
                says:

                There’s no real practical difference between voting for Johnson vs not voting at all assuming Johnson isn’t particularly closer in philosophy/policy to one or the other candidates who could actually win. This should be contrasted to the guff given to the Naderites in Florida in 2000, at least many of whom would likely have held their nose and voted for Gore had Nader not run.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Roger W
                Ignored
                says:

                Can you imagine how “If you actively decided not to vote for a specific candidate, that’s exactly equivalent to deciding to vote for the other” would look to someone who has not only heard of Gary Johnson but went so far as to vote for him?Report

            • Avatar Damon in reply to Roger W
              Ignored
              says:

              I disagree. You have three choices. 1) vote for x, y, or neither (or how ever many actually are on ballot-assuming you can’t write in). Voting for anyone but x is not a vote FOR y. Neither is not voting at all a vote. That’s a rejection of the system.Report

              • Avatar Roger W in reply to Damon
                Ignored
                says:

                Refusing to vote is indistinguishable from apathy.
                It sends no message about “rejecting the system”.

                “rejecting the system” requires you to “take an action” of some sort.Report

              • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to Roger W
                Ignored
                says:

                Right. Even just writing in Mickey Mouse is more of a “rejection of the system” than merely staying home. I didn’t vote in ’16 either, but that was due to logistical issues (getting home for election day or procuring an absentee ballot) and had nothing to do with rejecting the system. It also didn’t matter much living in Kansas.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Roger W
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, I obviously disagree. Since I’ve realized that most candidates for office are in it for themselves and /or would sell out voters when possible–with the only concern about re-election, voting “supports” the system. Take action to reject the system by voting for HRC or Trump or a write in? You’re caught in the delusion that “you can make a difference”.

                Given the turnout stats for pres elections…55% or so..perhaps there are lot of people who think that the system isn’t working for them?Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Damon
        Ignored
        says:

        Well let’s be real. One thing Trump proved was that the actual number of real libertarians eligible to vote in the country aren’t enough to elect a dog catcher, let alone a president.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw
      Ignored
      says:

      A lot of libertarians simply decided they hated liberals/the left more than they love liberty

      You know how sufficiently Progressive people want to make distinctions between “liberals” and “the left”?

      That’d actually be useful here too.Report

    • Avatar atomickristin in reply to Saul Degraw
      Ignored
      says:

      Fever dreams – that’s the 3rd time in 24 hours I read that expression. Did you guys get a new set of talking points or something?

      Seriously though, I think writing off people’s legitimate concerns that you happen to disagree with as fever dreams and hallucinations is poor sportsmanship and bad politics.

      “Y u no vote for us?”

      “Reasons”

      “Ur reasons are Fever Dreams!”

      Isn’t that just a huge dodge of having to listen and understand where people are actually coming from?Report

  8. Avatar Maribou
    Ignored
    says:

    I find this piece kind of baffling (though well-argued) because all the libertarians I know and/or know of (which is a decent amount of people, living in Colorado and frequenting this site both have led me to knowing a lot of libertarians as these things go)…. are on average become more left-tolerant, not less, in the face of what’s happening to the GOP for the last 20 years.

    I mean, I guess it’s possible that there is a silent majority of formerly GOP conservatives who are becoming libertarians and the party structures will snap and then there will be this grand realignment that you are talking about.

    But I feel like you’re assuming as a starting premise that we’re somewhere that we very much are not – especially if you talk to people who don’t go on the internet very often. And I’m not really clear on why you’re assuming it.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Maribou
      Ignored
      says:

      Libertarians who aren’t old enough to really remember the Cold War tend to be a lot more friendly to Democratic politicians than libertarians who lived through a significant part of the Cold War from my perspective. Libertarians who were alive for most of the Cold War tend to be a lot more hostile to the Democratic Party because they were more likely to be influenced both Rothbard or Rockwell’s perpetual hostility towards anything slightly resembling socialism.Report

      • Avatar Maribou in reply to LeeEsq
        Ignored
        says:

        @leeesq That may be part of it, most of the libertarians I know are my age or younger. But some of them are 20 years older than I am…

        And it’s not “libertarians are left-leaning” that I’m saying so much as “in my 20 years of knowing American libertarians, many of the *exact same people* have become *more* patient with the left than they are with the (establishment and tea party versions of) the right, and more patient with the left than they were 15-20 years ago.” Which your hypothesis doesn’t really explain?

        Maybe they/we are just mellowing out as we age, and will return to being crankier and more anti-everybody in another 20 years or so 😉Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to LeeEsq
        Ignored
        says:

        because they were more likely to be influenced both Rothbard or Rockwell’s perpetual hostility towards anything slightly resembling socialism.

        Pretty sure this is ahistorical. IIRC, Rothbard tried to form alliances with the left in response to the Vietnam war. See his denunciation of the right here. I clearly remember Rockwell doing this during the Bush administration, when his site routinely linked to far-left writers at antiwar.com and actually hosted articles from straight-up moonbats like Cindy Sheehan.

        AFAICT, they both believed that libertarians are too few in number to make a difference without forming coalitions. They went back and forth, trying to form coalitions with different sides, but they didn’t consistently favor one side or the other.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Brandon Berg
          Ignored
          says:

          Part of the problem is the “that doesn’t count!” phenomenon that happens between the libertarians and the left.

          The left yells something about how libertarians are totally on the right.

          “Well, what about gay marriage?”
          “That doesn’t count!”

          Why? Well, supporting gay marriage is the only moral position. Jeez. So the libertarians happened to haphazardly end up in a moral position. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut from time to time.

          “What about ending the drug war?”
          “That doesn’t count either.”

          I think it’s because libertarians tend to start from a handful of weird premises and go where those weird premises take them and bite the bullet when they get to an argument about “well, whatabout *THIS*?”

          “What about ending our interference in Afghanistan and Iraq (heck, the Middle East in general)?”
          “That doesn’t count!”

          If you start from premises and go to wherever they take you, you’re going to end up in weird places. Republicans tend to give libertarians credit for using their reasons to end up in the “right” place and just yell at them for getting things “wrong” when their premises take them to places like gay marriage or ending the drug war.

          When libertarians just happen to agree with Democrats? Well… that doesn’t count. That’s the only moral position on the topic.

          Have you heard what libertarians think about taxation? Even though they use roads?Report

          • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            Is that like when liberals and libertarians agree but it doesn’t count because liberals didn’t start from the right premises? That’s what i’m getting, if liberals have the “right” view it doesn’t matter because they didn’t make all the right philo moves. This could work in every direction.

            It’s like left libertarians don’t even exist or aren’t real libertarians. Which i’ve heard in the wild fwiw.

            Really this is far more about non-aligned peeps like libertarians thinking they are free from all the same biases partisan people suffer from. Like human biases and flaws only apply to certain types of people.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
              Ignored
              says:

              Have you ever heard the criticism that the left is more concerned with outcomes than with the process that leads to the outcomes?

              It’s one that I’ve heard a number of times.

              Sort of like the argument that libertarians like a lot of the preferred outcomes of liberals but hate the process that gets them there and a lot of libertarians *HATE* the preferred outcomes of conservatives but at least they understand and appreciate the process.

              The problem isn’t the premises. You can *ARGUE* premises. You can argue the nature of the process that leads to your conclusion.

              The problem comes when you can’t argue those things.

              If you are upset that I’m not getting all “both sides do it” when it comes to the right-wingers with whom you cannot argue those things, let me point out that those people exist too! They’re usually the religious nutballs. “God said it, I believe it, that does it!” types.

              They don’t tend to get along with libertarians either.Report

  9. Avatar Kolohe
    Ignored
    says:

    Your xCS model is interesting, and I’m inclined to agree with it. But I think your timeline for certain events is flawed, both short term (last 20 years) and long term (since the enlightment).

    The important you imbue into certain events and mindsets and their influence on the state of current USA politics I completely disagree with.

    To wit, we are still arguing over economics and religious morality.Report

  10. Avatar Catchling
    Ignored
    says:

    I feel like this model could make an interesting game. Either in the sense of human players who are permitted to shift modes (or control various mode-shifting pieces), or as a simulation like Conway’s Game of Life.Report

  11. Avatar Tarmac52
    Ignored
    says:

    There are many things to be admired in your country.
    I have been there a few times.
    I do not admire the political system. Delving into your article, come to the conclusion that nothing changes. We can only hang onto the coat tails of hope that salvation may come before the next election.Report

  12. Avatar DavidTC
    Ignored
    says:

    Society is in the midst of refactoring itself into various HCS-dominant group-justice poles and an LCS-dominant individual-liberty pole, with a bunch of disorganized JCS-types trying to propose solutions that might work for everyone.

    I have to disagree totally with that. There is not some individual-liberty pole. At all. That simply does not exist.

    You identify this hypothetical pole as libertarianism, and you are correct…but have failed to notice that libertarianism, functionally, does not exist either. It has never existed. Don’t misunderstand, I will admit it is a fairly coherent political philosophy. But it’s one with almost no support at all.

    It’s something that the wealthy have _wished_ existed for a very long time, and built entire structures in places to support, and schools to teach it, and pundits to extol the virtues of it, but the amount of actual human beings that believe in the _philosophy_ (As opposed to just calling themselves that because they don’t want to call themselves ‘conservative’.) is within statistical margin of error of not existing.

    Weird fact: There’s actually a much larger group of _anti_-libertarians, the ones who are ‘socially conservative’ but ‘fiscally liberal’. They are generally known as ‘Republican voters’.

    This is because, even weirder fact: Basically no one is ‘fiscally conservative’. Almost no actual human beings outside of internet debaters(1) hold that position, or dislikes the _concept_ of the government paying for useful things, or thinks that, as a matter of principle, the government should spend less.

    This is why the politicians have _always_ had to explain ‘cuts to spending’ support by appealing to various identities, making sure their voters knew ‘the wrong’ people were getting money from the government. (Usually the right does this, but the left has also.) People are completely fine with the government spending money on ‘deserving people like me who need help’, so almost all ‘fiscal conservativism’ is just explaining, over and over, how ‘different’ and ‘undeserving’ those people are.

    Or, let’s pretend I’m a conservative for a moment, and rephrase that: Almost all ‘fiscal conservativism’ is just explaining, over and over, how specific government programs fail, and waste money, and cause people to want handouts instead of actually helping themselves. (I think that’s entirely fair characterization of the conservative POV..)

    The thing is, actual fiscal conservatives would not have to have that repeated over and over. They’d be against government spending in a general sense, people wouldn’t have to explain _why_ something doesn’t work. It’s like, if someone doesn’t like pop music, there’s no point in someone explaining to them why they shouldn’t like a certain piece of pop music.

    And, yes, somehow, that has to be constantly explained. No one ever says ‘Look, this government program seems to work well, and has some success, but we really shouldn’t be spending this money just on political principle, it’s not worth taking the money in taxes.’. It’s always some specific failure of a specific program…because the amount of people who actually dislike pop music in general is like 2% of the population. (At least in this analogy, no idea in real life.)

    So, anyway, right now, the actual dominant poles in American politics are a ‘HCS’ one that looks increasingly like white Christianist nationalism, and a different ‘HCS’ one that looking increasingly like a bunch of people just completely horrified at the other pole.

    1) See, the problem is, when you go online to a place to discuss politics, and say ‘Libertarians, as in actual libertarians, people who know the political philosophy, and aren’t just ‘Republicans plus pot’, barely exist’, like three people will chime in explaining they are, indeed, real libertarians. Well, yes, because this is a place on the internet where we talk about politics and people with offbeat political philosophies are a dime a dozen. But it is perhaps worth nothing we probably have more outright Marxists and anarchists than libertarians, and we don’t think of _those_ as serious players in the political arena. The only reason we think of libertarians that way is that billions of dollars have been spent on making them look like it.Report

    • Avatar James Tiberius Stone in reply to DavidTC
      Ignored
      says:

      We’re agreed about the HCS end of the spectrum.

      Our difference is on the other end.

      I suspect that can be explained by the fact that I am trying to explain a shift in the normative positions people publicly express since the rise of social media. This is a very recent shift, which really only started showing itself strongly in about 2014.

      Voting behavior is a different issue, and is constrained to some degree by the existing party structures.

      One of the hottest fronts in the culture wars right now is between the Social Justice Left and the “Classical” liberal and/or Libertarian Right.

      The main issues are about the justice of various disproportionate group outcomes, and a bunch of honor culture stuff. The Individual Autonomy crowd cries “equality of opportunity not equality of outcome”, and the Social Justice crowd cries “disproportionate group outcomes are unjust (and are a sign that opportunities aren’t really equal)”. The Individual Autonomy crowd cries “radical free speech” and the Social Justice left cries “Stop using your free speech to disrespect us”.

      These are not the only games in town by a long shot. But these two groups are among the most vocal, and the fight between them has considerable heat. And their share of public attention has probably risen fastest in the age of social media.

      I speculate here that these two factions have risen fastest (particularly ON social media), because the bridge-building influence of the JCS has been severely weakened in the age of social media.

      It was a mistake for me to identify the “individual autonomy” pole so strongly with Libertarians. Classical Liberals, and even some progressive liberals, fall into this camp. It’s not an economic pole as much as a pole that values individual autonomy over collective justice.Report

  13. Avatar Roger W
    Ignored
    says:

    Hmm.
    This might explain Trump’s trade wars.

    Assume he / GOP are primarily LCS functioning.

    “What do I get”

    HCS people would likely be the instigators of “in group” trust and altruism.

    JCS people would likely be the instigators of “out group” trust and altruism.

    Trust and altruism are critical components of the ability to make trade function.

    They are possibly literally incapable of understanding it.Report

    • Avatar James Tiberius Stone in reply to Roger W
      Ignored
      says:

      I would read this differently.

      I’d say Trump and most of his strongest supporters are HCS dominant.

      What you call “outgroup” trust and altruism can come from the HCS crowd on the Left (who consider Trump’s outgroup to be part of their ingroup.), as well as the JCS crowd that wants to build bridges.

      LCS types tend to prefer trade systems that don’t require a whole lot of person-person or group-group trust and loyalty. They’d rather trust a good system than have to deal with maintaining messy group/group relationships. A functioning system of legal individualism with certain private property rights can provide this. (Though many are confused about how much governance it takes to maintain a strong system of legal individualism).Report

  14. Avatar bookdragon
    Ignored
    says:

    DavidTC: So, anyway, right now, the actual dominant poles in American politics are a ‘HCS’ one that looks increasingly like white Christianist nationalism, and a different ‘HCS’ one that looking increasingly like a bunch of people just completely horrified at the other pole.

    This strikes me as one of the most spot on things about American culture/politics that I’ve seen lately. But I think there is a strong tribalist element keeping some people aligned with the first pole who are nevertheless appalled by the more overt advocates of it.Report

  15. Avatar atomickristin
    Ignored
    says:

    Fun piece, I really enjoyed it! Nice to see another libertarian on here. 🙂Report

    • Avatar James Tiberius Stone in reply to atomickristin
      Ignored
      says:

      I’m not a big-L Libertarian. I do value individual autonomy greatly, though not exclusively.

      And Mark Weiner’s work on clan justice systems has helped me understand better where the Social Justice Left is coming from. I’m not a fan of collective justice, but I do see that it will naturally arise anytime the perception exists that the system of legal-individualism isn’t doing its job and is treating some groups better/worse than others.

      That said, I do have some libertarian leanings and at times can be easy to confuse with a “left-libertarian” or a “bleeding heart libertarian” or even a “geolibertarian”.Report

  16. Avatar pillsy
    Ignored
    says:

    So, getting past the first paragraph, I think the division of LCS, HCS, and JCS is plausible enough, but I don’t know if I see it aligning with politics the way you do. I guess I’ll break this down into a list of potential issues.

    First, I think the LCS is basically apolitical. It’s just a matter of people attending to their own needs, and usually their own most immediate and short-term needs. They’re just going to follow those needs, not form a movement.[1] A movement to promote autonomy is pretty much a JCS project, and that aligns pretty well with my experiences with, say, libertarian activists (who tend to get really wrapped up in following small sets or rules to their natural conclusions) or for that matter many socialists (who get very focused on distributing resources fairly).

    It’s an appeal to justifications.

    As for the herds we find ourselves in, I’d say that eclipsing the various identity affiliations you see among social justice activists or for that matter movement conservatives are the evolution of the Left and Right themselves towards being the primary tribal identifications that a lot of people adhere to. You see this in, for instance, polling that shows people becoming more tolerant of interracial or interfaith relationships and marriages while getting increasingly appalled by the idea of dating someone from outside their political party.

    Some of that probably is due to the rise of partisan media and then Internet-mediated communities, but some of it is also the increasingly geographically sorted nature of the parties, and the way they’re coming more into alignment with existing class and racial divisions and thus subsuming them.

    Also, as a bit of an aside, a lot of the stuff you see on the social justice oriented Left may look like the elevation of various identities, but the fact that we talk about them collectively as “various identities’ and people immediately know what we mean seems to suggest something else is going on. It sometimes borders on self-parody [2], but there’s almost a litany of different identities or characteristics that one tends to acknowledge as marginailzed, and even the crude caricatures of intersectionality you sometimes see on the Right can’t avoid the fact that it’s a matter of race and sexuality and gender identity and disability and national origin and quiet a few other things.

    [1] And indeed, if you look at people who engage in impulsive and even destructive self-gratification, they don’t seem to have any political or tribal alignment, being scattered throughout humanity. And as for “normative complexity”, it doesn’t seem to preclude them from having among the most normatively complex roles. Indeed, it’s almost eerie how many of them are able to convince a wide variety of stakeholders that they are suitable leaders, employees, parents, romantic partners, et c..

    [2] And is, of course, routinely mocked by people who are hostile to social justice actviism.Report

    • Avatar James Tiberius Stone in reply to pillsy
      Ignored
      says:

      Yes. The LCS-dominants would like to be more a-political. But they must also fight to maintain a system that allows them to pursue self-interest relatively unimpeded. Legal individualism and individual-rights-based governance is relatively new, and potentially fragile.

      I’d say that eclipsing the various identity affiliations you see among social justice activists or for that matter movement conservatives are the evolution of the Left and Right themselves towards being the primary tribal identifications that a lot of people adhere to. You see this in, for instance, polling that shows people becoming more tolerant of interracial or interfaith relationships and marriages while getting increasingly appalled by the idea of dating someone from outside their political party.

      That’s a good point that I should give some more thought to.

      The uniting factor on the social justice left is their opposition to the “White Patriarchy”.

      And intersectionality is made necessary by the fact that they are being moved by social justice instincts that arose to manage conflict in a modular hierarchy (lineage-based clan systems), but which are now being applied to categories that are neither modular nor hierarchical.

      In some ways geography, in the form of localism/nationalism was a more natural fit for our collective justice instincts than current social justice is. Social Justice is as coherent as it is mostly because they all share a common outgroup.Report

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *