Can liberals support Libertarians?

A gentleman by the name of Jake Witmer added a fairly lengthy comment to an abandoned thread on Tom Delay on the Liberal Avenger website:

CLASSICAL LIBERALS AND FELLOW AMERICANS TAKE NOTICE!

Howdy folks. I strongly agree with the comment here that Delay is a “mouth breathing cockroach”. He’s so anti-freedom that he won’t support the Libertarian candidate, “cutting off his nose to spite his face” for a nothing chance write-in campaign. Bob Smither is a Libertarian who is benefitting in this race by having the “Republican” ballot access restrictions finally blow up in their face. (I was roughly ¼ of the effort in 2003 to gather over 80,000 (gross) signatures that were necessary to place the libertarians on the ballot in TX, so I’m very familiar with Republican challenges to free and open elections, in TX.)

If any of you actually want to vote for a voice in favor of limited government and the Bill of Rights, and against “The War on Drugs”, “The War on Terror”, “The War on (poverty, gangs, guns, whatever…)” etc., then you should vote for Bob Smither.

As it happens, the GOP, which had thought that Tom DeLay’s old seat in the 22nd congressional district was simply lost, suddenly sees a bit of light at the end of teh tunnel. Because of the way in which ballot access laws in Texas work, Mr DeLay cannot get off the ballot in the district, even though he requested such many months ago. The Democrats, as interested as they always have been in insuring that the people have a free and clear democratic choice (as in their efforts to replace disgraced Senator Robert Torricelli with Frank Lautenberg less than 51 days before the 2002 election, in clear violation of New Jersey state law; the New Jersey courts simply overrode the law, and put Mr Lautenberg on the ballot¹), filed suit to keep Mr Delay on the ballot and prohibit the GOP from replacing him there. The Lost Kos was ecstatic.

A fine lady named Shelly Sekula-Gibbs became the Republican choice for the seat, but she is being required to run as a write-in candidate. Because of the length and uncommon spelling of her name, the problem becomes even more difficult for the GOP. Even with that, Red State notes that Mrs Sekula-Gibbs all of a sudden seems to have a real chance! The Democratic nominee is Nick Lampson, and he’s still the favorite, since he’s the only major party candidate on the ballot.

I won’t venture into prognostication on this race; I just plain don’t know that much about it. But Mr Witmer’s comment on LA’s site does raise (at least for me) the interesting question: can today’s liberals support libertarians, or more precisely, Libertarians? (The website behind Mr Witmer’s name on LA’s site is that of the Libertarian Party.)

I’m certain that most of my liberal friends who frequent LA wouldn’t have much problem with many Libertarian positions on drugs, constitutional rights (though I’d note here that the emergence of campus speech codes were not the products of conservative thinking), immigration, and abortion. But one wonders how they would see the party’s position on gun rights, on taxes, on welfare, and a host of other issues.

If there is one great value to the Libertarian Party, it is that they understand that freedom and the nanny state are incompatible: if the government is going to take care of you, then the government has to have some say, a lot of say, in how you live your life. The Libertarians wouldn’t care if you smoked or ate a lot of fatty foods or used currently illegal drugs. But they also wouldn’t pay to care for you when you got sick or fat or FUBARed on drugs.

My friend Gordo wrote about Obesity in the US.

Just after I put up tonight’s links, I noticed some obesity-related links over at Pepper’s blog. You really should check out the link to the powerpoint presentation on the spread of obesity across the US since 1985. It’s really shocking.

Pepper’s pal suggests that this may be due to the availability of cheap oils and starches. I’d also include cheap sugar, in the form of corn syrup.

We could probably do wonders for our nation’s health by subsidizing fruit and vegetables, instead of meat, milk, and grain.

He also commented:

This is the problem with making policy based on the notion that people are completely free, independent, and rational agents: they simply aren’t. A good marketing campaign will lead to greater consumption. A tendency to serve and package larger portions leads to overeating. This has been demonstrated again and again, and pretending that there is no cause and effect is not going to lead to sound policy.

Gordo’s a good guy, but his point is that people are not “completely free, independent, and rational agents.” If that is his operating assumption, then he cannot (rationally) be a libertarian; he must support some form of the nanny state, some form of government taking care of us. Trouble is, whether we are or are not “completely free, independent, and rational agents,” we do take free and independent choices, and there are, in the nanny state, public consequences of those choices. If we get fat, and it negatively affects our health, if the government is paying for health care, then the government (that means bureaucrats) has the right and the obligation to limit our choices, to prevent us from becoming fat, to keep costs down.

Think that’s far fetched? Have you looked at the action government has taken against smoking? Philadelphia has just joined a list of other cities where the government is taking active steps to criminalize smoking, banning it in almost all public venues. And as I noted in my article on Intellectual Conservative, referenced above, one private company has banned smoking among all of its employees, even at home, on penalty of losing their jobs, because smoking increases health care costs. How soon will various governments, city, state and federal, take the same step, given that they have to pay for their employees’ health care costs, and smokers, as a group, have higher health care costs?

This is the problem our liberal friends face: while they certainly support freedom and liberty as concepts, and as hammers to use against the Bush Administration when it comes to policy disagreements on things such as the Patriot Act and the conduct of the war against the Islamic fascists, were they to regain governing power, the programs that they would favor would be completely at odds with freedom and liberty, because those programs require the coersion of the public by governmental power to achieve what our Democratic friends see as a greater good.

Would universal health care be a good thing? I’d say that’s debatable, though our Democratic friends certainly seem to favor it. But to have universal health care, they must compel people to participate in it, whether a particular individual wishes to or not. (The 1993 Clinton health care abomination actually proposed criminal penalties for anyone trying to get around the system.)

Gordo blamed (at least in part) government subsidies for meat, milk, and grain for our obesity problem, and suggested that if, instead, we subsidized fruits and vegetables we might do wonders for our nation’s health. The Libertarians would agree that we shouldn’t subsidize meat, milk, and grain, but they’d also say we shouldn’t subsidize fruits or vegetables or anything else.

One suspects that Mr Witmer’s appeal to the readers of the Liberal Avenger would never have gained any traction there; they are most concerned with electing Democrats to unseat Republicans, and are highly unlikely to support a Libertarian candidate against a Democrat. But in a very real sense the Democrats can never support a Libertarian candidate; despite some convergence of views when it comes to abortion and the war in Iraq, and at least some sympathy for Libertarian views when it comes to recreational pharmaceuticals, the Libertarian philosophy of maximum freedom for the individual runs completely counter to our liberal friends’ preferences for big government programs to Do Good Things for Americans. In the end, liberalism is fundamentally at odds with liberty and personal freedom.
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¹ – The New Jersey Supreme Court said that the election laws should be “liberally construed” to provide a “full and fair ballot choice for the voters of New Jersey.”
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Cross posted on Red State.

7 Comments

  1. The Libertarian philosophy of maximum freedom for the individual

    I would argue that Libertarians might hold this as an ideal, but that it is unworkable in practice. The reason is that libertarian economics inevitably leads to high rates of poverty and large gaps in income, which in turn leads to social unrest. There are only 2 feasible reactions to the unrest: institute a welfare state and government regulation of business, or take away the political rights of the people.

    In the 1920s, we saw the second reaction: in Colorado, West Virginia, and elsewhere, government troops were sent in to break up strikes, and labor leaders were jailed and even executed without being given fair trials. The unrest continued until the “bust” portion of the business cycle kicked in (another inevitable aspect of Libertarian economics).

    After 3 years of depression, Roosevelt was electedon a platform of introducing regulation and a welfare state. This also happened in France and the UK, but Germany and Italy went a different route. Rather than accepting inevitable elecoral defeat, conservatives in those countries chose political repression in the form of fascism.

    The point is this: at some point, people will demand regulations like workplace safety laws, minimum wage laws, food safety laws, drug regulations, etc. They will also demand that all but a few citizens be housed and fed, even when unemployed. They will demand free education for their children, and free health care for their parents. The only way to keep them from using unions and elections to gain these benefits is to deny them freedom of assembly and to deny them the vote. So Libertarian economics and Libertarian politics are fundamentally at odds. And that’s why no nation in history has managed to maintain both for very long.

  2. Libertarianism is to politics as the magnetic poles are to navigators, points of reference rather than great places to live.

    The purest of Libertarianism would give us a social Darwinism that would make some practices of ancient Sparta seem wimpy.

    Politics always will be the art of the practical and libertarian principles should be part of a thinking persons armory of ideas. However, not every dispute can be handled contractually. Even those of us who trust the invisible hand of the marketplace to the mailed fist of arbitrary government would admit that there are abuses in the marketplace.

    Consider the bloodsucking rapacity of much of the banking industry. Credit card companies seek any pretext to raise rates and impose fees. A sleazy ‘payday loan’ racket charges interest rates higher than the ‘vigorish’ demanded by mob-connected loansharks and seem to have more than tenuous ties to ‘respectable’ banks.

    In recent elections, votes thrown away on Libertarian ‘fringe’ candidates have helped to elect statist Democrats to Senate seats. Do such protest votes really advance the cause of liberty?

    Call be a libertarian populist but avoid the use of capital letters.

  3. Pingback: Libertarians « Abstract Nonsense

  4. The Libertarians would agree that we shouldn’t subsidize meat, milk, and grain, but they’d also say we shouldn’t subsidize fruits or vegetables or anything else.

  5. Well, here’s something interesting for most Democrats to think about: “Most democrats who usually vote (D) are like most republicans who usually vote (R), they are Americans who don’t concern themselves with politics, until ‘politics’ (meaning, the government) inserts itself into their lives.” They usually vote with a certain party, but don’t really identify with the ‘pragmatist collectivist’ philosophy of that party (ie: with the leaders and organizers of that party).

    Take, for instance, my very good friend Zach Keeton, the current Treasurer of the Alaska Libertarian Party. He was a mild mannered democrat for years, who also happened to be a smoker. and …Gasp! A smoker who takes full responsibility for his habit, and DOESN’T blame the cigarette companies for _his_ smoking habit. Other than that, he likes black people (can’t support the mainstream Republican idea of sending them to jail for drug use, when most whites don’t get sent to jail, and doesn’t really support any kind of prohibition.) Moreover, he only mildly supported environmentalism, but not Nanny-State overreaching environmentalism. When he learned more about what the EPA does to poor farmers, he said: “screw that!”

    Moreover, Zach is a rational guy. A guy who supports a woman’s right to choose, over edicts from a church. He supports scientific research, and modern medicine, including stem-cell research. He thinks that adding years on to the human lifespan is a good thing, and that life is to be enjoyed. He is not a luddite. As such, he was amenable to the realization that government does not need to support research in order for it to happen. Industry supports education and research, and would do so even were it not for the overreaching federal government.

    Well, I tell you what, when Zach saw the outright lies and evil methods that openly socialist “Democrats” with the Alaska Lung association (and “A.C.O.R.N.”) supported to oppose bar-owners’ RIGHT to allow smoking on their own bar, he was very receptive to alternatives to the mainstream “Democrat” Party. He also realized that, when Republicans lean towards their stated philosophy (which opposes big government) they are more libertarian than the Democrats. He also realized that this RARELY happens (Sarah Palin may be an exception to this rule, as she seems pretty good on property rights… so far.).

    When we explained what the Libertarian Party stood for, he became the PRIMARY DOER behind the scenes in the AK LP, that has made the Alaska Libertarian Party into a POLITICAL POWERHOUSE. His efforts to repeal the Anchorage smoking ban have pushed the AK Libertarian Party into the spotlight in Alaska, like they haven’t seen since the days of Dick Randolph!

    And Zach isn’t the only one. Frank Gonzalez is a former “Democrat” from Chicago who joined the Libertarian Party in ~2001, and later ran for Congress in Florida, garnering over 40% of the vote! http://www.politicalgateway.com/cand.php?id=186 -His political makeup is nearly identical to most “rank and file” Democrats (and to Zach Keeton’s)!

    Zach and Frank are both open-minded and rational people who support open elections, and individual decision-making over group identity. In this they are what the Democratic Party wrongfully claims to be!

    The “Democrats” have fought hard to keep third parties off the ballot in Chicago for the last few years (except Daley, who recognized that more than ONE opposition candidate would split the other opposition’s votes more than they would split his votes. So he graciously allowed them ALL on the zero-sum ballot.) As such, the “Democratic Party” in no way supports democratic choice at the ballot box. Most mainstream democrats (especially rural ones) are not the same -they’d like a choice!!

    Sure, the leadership of the “Democrat” Party are nearly philosophically identical to the fascists who call themselves “Republicans” (which is to say that they have no philosophy except “elect me, so I can live at your expense”).

    But the “Democrats” are often more willing to cross their party line than the Republicans are. Except in places like Chicago where they are “mobbed up” with the Unions, and the unions are “mobbed up” with “the mob”. (The Union bosses literally tell their rank-and-file members who to vote for.)

    In any area where you have a someone who’s a democrat first, and a “Democrat” second, you have a potential libertarian voter.

    Most voters under either major party fit this bill: They are waking up to the fact that politics in America have gone wrong, and that the free (even “freer”) market is a force for equality and justice.

    What do “rank-and-file” (uninvolved) voters respect?

    -Candidates who have an open mind to solving problems, and candidates who have charisma and personality. This is not without reason: People who are passionate are most often the people who get out of bed on time, and honor their contracts. Such “get up and go” is what the voters are looking for. If you’re a candidate, this means that you should: do the homework about whatever issue you talk about, and explain it in a straightforward, honest way.

    Libertarians do that, but they do it TOO MUCH. They tell the whole truth, nothing but the truth, and it takes them several wordy hours to do it. It is a class in logic every time they open their yappers!

    They forget that anything more than a sound bite or a very simple explanation (not an explanation that requires the voter himself to do research, or verify multiple claims) will cause eyes to glaze over.

    In this respect, democrats (small “D”) are often more likely to vote Libertarian than republicans are, because they tend to be more willing to let evidence alter the way they vote. They are pragmatists who fancy themselves closer to scientists (because they support the teaching of evolution in government schools, as opposed to the teaching of religion –libertarians go one step further and question legitmacy of the forum, and this is too complex for many democrats to follow, without personal research). If you can offer more convincing evidence for voting a certain way (in a soundbite!!!!), the typical democrat is more likely to consider the evidence on its merits. It’s part of being “open-minded”.

    Keep in mind I’m talking about narrow tolerances here. Neither the “rank-and-file” nor the leadership of either major party is “very open minded” nor “very math/evidence oriented”. The point I make is that:

    “Democrats are as open to voting Libertarian as Republicans are, but for different, and sometimes conflicting reasons.”

    It works like this: If we use the media to communicate to libertarian-Republicans, then the message that successfully parts them from their Republican vote will be different than the one we could have used to successfully part a liberal from his Democratic vote.

    The answer?: Libertarians should target both groups PRIVATELY, and PERSONALLY, using the better new technology that makes this possible. The libertarians shouldn’t stray from principle when targeting either group, they should merely talk about different parts of their large and logically-consistent platform. Then, when questioned on parts either group disagrees with, they should explain, BRIEFLY and logically, WHY THEY DISAGREE.

    We should also target the largest untapped demographic: NONVOTERS.

    NONVOTERS, as a demographic, have the most in common with the Libertarian Party. They also have a lot in common with the mainstream voters of either party: they are anti-tax (roughly, and not in principal) they are pro-gun (roughly, and only sometimes on principle) they are pro-environmentalism (roughly, and only because they don’t want to seem ‘uncultured’, and not on principle, except in areas where the EPA is very restrictive, in which case they are usually very Republican, and hate the EPA). They are anti-prohibition, (roughly, and usually). In short: they don’t know what to think about most political ideas, because they “never really thought about it”. These are the Ronald Reagan voters who “voted for individual freedom”, as long as Reagan only spoke about it in GENERAL terms. Whenever he got specific (virtually never) HE LOST VOTES.

    This is the demographic of MOST Americans, in most of America, since most Americans don’t work for any political party, or have only done so fleetingly and/or on a single-issue basis.

    The Libertarian Party can pull from any demographic that is not actively Anti-Liberty.

    The only thing that told me to ignore someone when they walked up to me (when I was a ballot access petitioner) was if they said “I’m a staunch __________ ” and they filled in a word for a group that is totally anti freedom, or a major party name. That would mean that they were leaders / organizers, and thusly, totally brainwashed.

    This is very few voters overall.

    It’s mostly people like the open socialists in A.C.O.R.N., people who work for large government bureaucracies, people currenly on welfare, and most radical environmentalists. There is a tendency within the LP to become “brainwashed” as well – to lose outside perspective, and tow the Party line. But this tendency is minimized by the importance of reason within the freedom movement, and the learned ability to follow government actions to their coercive implementation. That’s why a lot of libertarians are economists (and not “libertarian economists”, they are “serious and studious economists”).

    Most voters don’t even know who the Libertarian Party is, or they view the election as a horse race: they want to pick the winner, or one that they view as marginally less evil. There is little AGREEMENT with any major party candidate. Most people’s political views are contradictory, and thus are NOT libertarian (although they contain libertarian views on certain issues). Most people don’t vote because of their political philosophies. They vote for personalities, and the “Can he get anything done?” factor.

    As such, Bush marginally wins over Kerry. He was seen as the guy who made a million dollars (even if it was off a baseball team that he acquired with his political connections). Kerry was seen to run off his wife’s “Heinz Ketchup” money. Plus, he lost 5 million PRO-GUN “single-issue” voters for NO REASON AT ALL. (What an idiot!)

    Small “L” libertarians largely stayed at home, or failed to hear anything about a libertarian who would have gotten their asses off the couch and into a pollng booth.

    Putting this all together:

    America’s potential Libertarian vote total is mostly untapped. However, in order to fully tap this vote total (not possibly by 2008), those “libertarians” who are at home on the couches watching TV on election day will need to have heard about the Libertarian Party before 2012. The only way that this can happen is if a POPULIST Libertarian Party candidate gets MAJOR MAJOR media attention.

    Such a Libertarian candidate could do these things:

    1) Take NEARLY every BLACK vote from the Democrats, and and even higher percentage of “Black Republican” votes (minimal as they are). How? By opposing Prohibition (the “war on (some) drugs” which is largely “prohibition for blacks”), and supporting everyone’s (especially small business owners’) property rights.

    Here’s a quote from NYC Pastor Floyd Flake:
    “The right [to vote] has been fought for; blood has been shed, tears have been shed. It would be a terrible thing, regardless of what party they vote for, if African Americans said it does not matter. It does matter. It makes all the difference in the world. One of the tragedies of the black vote is it does not keep the parties honest; therefore, the Republican Party essentially ignores the black vote and the Democratic Party takes it for granted, so that at the end of the day, in many instances, it doesn’t matter who wins because the African-American vote was either taken for granted or overlooked. Therefore, they get nothing either way but promises from one, and totally ignored by the other.”

    When the black vote finally figures out that black people would stop going to jail in disproportionate numbers for minor drug and gun offenses under a Libertarian President, then sparks are going to really fly. But that depends on a succinct and brave speaker getting on Nationwide media and saying what REALLY needs to be said! Will it happen?

    Harry Browne said it the exactly the way it needed to be said, but he said it at public rallies (not on mainstream TV), and not very many people listened. Moreover, everyone KNEW he couldn’t be elected, because he had very little media presence, and spoke precisely using highly logical comments. Nonetheless, he was a better messenger than many people, and brought a lot of people into the party. If he had had the media connections of Wayne Allyn Root, and the willingness to use them, he might have drawn _millions_ more votes.

    2) Take nearly all the gunowner’s votes. D.C. has ‘rolled back’ gun control, but it’s still OK to harass people like Tank Johnson (Chicago Bears’ defense) and steal their guns if they’re the wrong size, color, shape, etc… (Guns or person!!!!!) Moreover, all gun control still directly opposes the “US v. Miller” decision regarding the “military utility” of guns. Under the “Miller” decision, ALL machine guns carried by the general infantry MUST be legal for private citizens to own. The sole purpose of the ATF is to harass these predominantly law-abiding citizens.

    3) Support major Tax Cuts, for everyone, and tell the truth about where taxes REALLY go. Can the president find any “fat” to trim away? I bet he can! Let’s start with the DEA, FDA, and ATF! Just by pointing out how a consistent voice for freedom has to eliminate government waste and abuse of power would be a giant step in the right direction. It’s kind of difficult to explain, but if someone like Wayne Root got on TV, and explained how the FDA had killed over 100,000 diabetics this year alone, by DENYING the first amendment rights of food producers like Lipton Tea, he’d reap thousands of votes for doing so. More votes than that, if he pointed out that it was the extremist philosophy of “big government socialism” that was responsible for that destruction.

    Many democrats would be receptive to that message. (But very few ‘big D’ “Democrats” would!!)

    4) Support school choice as a means towards property tax reduction. This has cross-party appeal from Floyd Flake to Ayn Rand Institute employees, if it is phrased the right way. Baby steps. A tax credit would be the appropriate way to incrementally deal with the issue. (For _everyone_ who pays a local property tax, not just parents! Then, homeschoolers who opt out of the “government youth propaganda camps” could also keep their own money for their own kids’ education, and could be payed to educate other kids as well, if they could afford the time. Ultimately, the domain of education would be reverted to the parents who had the kids.)

    These are just a few ideas.

    The main point: If a Libertarian stays libertarian, he can reach a huge number of receptive voters from both parties. He must be unconventional in his approach, and tell the truth. However, he must only be “totally radical sounding” on ideas that already have huge libertarian sympathy. (And of course, “totally radical” is a relative term. He can’t favor violent retaliatory strikes against drug warrior cops, or anything that –though theoretically consistent– lacks basic common sense in electoral politics. He must oppose putting innocent people in prison, but must not advocate them defending themselves and their currently illegal property with violence.)

    Moreover, if a Libertarian were to simply publicize the detrimental effects of the “war on (some) drugs” in the inner city, he could carry nearly every minority area in the USA. And he would be taking _Democrat_ votes. (And thus pushing the two “major party” talking sock-puppets in the 2012 presidential “debates” into clumsily addressing REAL ISSUES, instead of both claiming the same half-support of incremental socialism.)

    Of course, the simpering cowards and limousine liberals who LEAD the “Democratic” Party (against democratic elections) would never vote for setting the poor black folks free, because that might mean that the DEA and other drug warrior types that they’ve been voting for might target their own milquetoast drug-using college kids, in their very own cozy suburban homes and college dormitories.

    Who here would love to see a presidential debate that included a Libertarian? I know I would! You’d get to watch the Ds and Rs stumble and trip over every word that came out of their mouths!

    Of course, the first time a Libertarian Candidate is allowed into the Presidential debates, that will be the year that the two-headed “Single-Party system” we have (by default, not law) ….collapses.

    Nearly immediately afterward, IRV would be adopted as a way to try to save one head from the two-headed monster, but it would be too late for them at that point. (The public having witnessed how the moral high ground was won from them in bitter contest, having never been adopted by them without being absolutely forced to).

    Such is the very nature of democratic elections. They avoid violence by forcing ideas into conflict.

    Let’s hope we still have democratic choice in 2012!

    The alternative is worse. And that basic knowledge is what sets the rank-and-file democrat apart from the rank-and-file republican. Keep in mind that the further any American gets from a major party, the more similar they are, and the more likely they eventually are, to vote Libertarian.

    For evidence that open elections are better than their absence, go here:

    http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills

    The rank-and-file democrats are closer to understanding “V for Vendetta” and “1984″ than most “republicans” are. However, that’s not saying much. They still don’t understand. Moreover, the Democratic leadership is closer to bringing the nation to Soviet-style communism than the Republican leadership is, just because the stated Republican views occasionally allow libertarians to infiltrate their party (like congressman Ron Paul TX-14).

    The official structure of the “Republican” Party (that stands against a constitutional republic) is has a more loyal and “unthinking” voting base, but more libertarian infiltrators, and a basic philosophy that is closer to Libertarianism (government power should be limited by the Constitution). The Democrat Party (that stands against a democratic election) has a more perverse base philosophy (whatever the majority decides must be correct, and implemented), but a weaker overall structure, and less Party loyalty.

    As the two major parties get further from any kind of decency or base philosophy, American voters get more and more disillusioned with them, even if they don’t have a coherent idea about what would replace them.

    I could see a Wayne Root presidential race taking nearly equal numbers of votes from both disillusioned open-minded Democrats, and Republicans who are more loyal to the idea of Republicanism than they are to the official “Republican” Party.

    Moreover, there is a hidden agenda in place for Democrats: The Democrat Party is dying, as it is now, (nobody really bought into their Party leaders’ “vision” of abject marxist socialism and radical “environmentalism” in 2000 and 2004). They can’t take enough votes away from the Republicans to force the Republicans to pay for the Republican puritans’ crime of prohibition, by themselves. …But with a _strong_ Libertarian in the race in 2008 and 2012, against a “drug warrior” Republican, the strong Libertarian would pull enough votes away from the Republican to elect a “libertarian Democrat” to President -if the Democrats learn from their many mistakes. Strongly pushing the Republicans to move towards their libertarian roots, or be as “vanquished” as the Dems were in 2004.

    That’s if the “Democratic” Candidate supports gun rights, school choice, lower taxes, and isn’t a raving “Ted Kacynski-style” anti-property rights loon.

    Big “If”.

    -Jake Witmer

    PS as far as this board goes: Gordo’s revisionist history is deplorably incorrect. He should read “The Ominous Parallels” by Leonard Peikoff and “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” by William Shirer if he wants to understand the Rise of the Third Reich -as he currently does not. It would also benefit him to read “Why Government Doesn’t Work” by Harry Browne. Socialism and marxist altruism in a culture of pure collectivism preceded Hitler’s rise. Gordo’s understanding of economics is even more flawed. “Economics in One Lesson” by Henry Hazlitt would be a good place for him to start if he’d like to educate himself… I also recommend these fine books: “The Road to serfdom” by Freidrich Hayek, “Free to Choose” by Milton Friedman, “You Can Profit from a Monetary Crisis” by Harry Browne, “Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal” by Ayn Rand, The Wealth of Nations” by Adam Smith, and “The Capitalist Manifesto” by Andrew Bernstein. First of all, there is no such thing as “libertarian economics”. There is simply more or less coercion from any government that exists in opposition to free trade. Market forces can be perverted by the introduction of coercive controls, as ours has been. This is not “Libertarian economics”, it is “basic economics”.

    “The only way to keep them from using unions and elections to gain these benefits is to deny them freedom of assembly and to deny them the vote.”

    The “benefits” of mass theft are short-term “benefits”. When they finally produce the collapse of entire economies, they can no longer be called “benefits”, even by the most delusional (ie: the Gordos among us).

    Yes, many people will vote to steal, unless that is forbidden by elected libertarians who obey the Constitution (the rule of law). That is “libertarian politics”. “Libertarian economics” AKA “Laissez-faire capitalism” AKA “econ. 101″ is not at odds with that view. The politics of people being convinced to vote Libertarian, because they want the mass murder and social strife that results from mass theft less than they want the short term “loot” provided by mass theft, is not likely when people are doing well, but becomes more likely as they begin to bear the consequences of their theft. (This is, of course, depending on how well-educated they are, and how much current information –like this blog– they have access to). Mass theft sounds good to most people, especially if you’ve never been exposed to the truth, and think that “Roosevelt stopped the great depression” (which is simply untrue). Roosevelt’s policies prolonged the natural duration of a short-term market correction. His election was the result of the worst possible reaction from people to what could have been a short-term market fluctuation.

    I’d rather have a short term market fluctuation, than government stealing every third cent from everyone (stealing their ability to survive the next mrket fluctuation, then coming to the “rescue” like they did after hurricane Katrina, in N.O. ). This mass theft dramatically reduces medical options, the free exchange of information, and the ability to provide for one’s own retirement –all of which result in mass suffering and death. I blame “Gordo the voter” (and his millions of cookie-cutter clones)! (As noted above, the FDA’s ruling on Stevia rebaudiana alone has caused the needless early deaths of hundreds of thousands of diabetics alone, within the USA. The fact that they also hold up every single medical discoveries access to the market also kills thousands and thousands, every year. They even pushed the laboratory of the man with a cure for blindness –William Dobelle– into Portugal –a land freer for medical research than America currently is! How sick is that? In no way are we still “the land of the free”.)

    Also, Arthur Downs says: “In recent elections, votes thrown away on Libertarian ‘fringe’ candidates have helped to elect statist Democrats to Senate seats. Do such protest votes really advance the cause of liberty?”

    Yep, they do. Because they make it known that Republicans who stray from their stated principles of limited government CAN BE MADE TO LOSE. Maybe next time, they’ll run a Ron Paul type Republican, and WIN. In the short term, we get the same creeping incrementalism that we would have had if the Republican had won anyway. This makes the Libertarian candidate well, well worth fighting for.

    Besides: give me a Democrat (socialist) over a Prohibitionist “Republican” anyday. Why? because the damage the socialist does will be closely scrutinized and subject to mass civil disobediance, and the next election, they’ll be gone, and the public more educated. Unless the people want tyranny, in which case, they should get it, and people who love freedom should move to Alaska and vote libertarian, since it’s still possible there (this is a good strategy in hopelessly socialist states like IL, and CA). I do note that is is unfortunate that the masses of woefully misled “Gordos” have ruined it for the rest of us, across the rest of what used to be America.

    If libertarians do not win power soon (so that it can be mostly eliminated by peaceful internal means, and by pressuring the Ds and Rs to act as if they were libertarians), then his socialist government will eventually succumb under its own weight, as did the Soviet Union. The latter option is worse than electing libertarians, because long, drawn out bloodshed and violent conflict are the hallmarks of most collapsing statist regimes (ie: Russia in the early 1950s, Germany in 1941).

    See: http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills

    Please, for the rest of us, read Professor R. J. Rummel’s website, and THEN vote.

    Arthur also wrote: “The purest of Libertarianism would give us a social Darwinism that would make some practices of ancient Sparta seem wimpy.” – I disagree. Your comparison of economic freedom to ancient Sparta (a partially democratic totalitarian slave-State) leads me to abandon this exercise of written diamastigosis.

  6. Mr Witmer wrote:

    Besides: give me a Democrat (socialist) over a Prohibitionist “Republican” anyday. Why? because the damage the socialist does will be closely scrutinized and subject to mass civil disobediance, and the next election, they’ll be gone, and the public more educated.

    This hardly seems likely. The damage that emocrats do is to society as a whole, and they do it in ways that receive teh approval of some. Democrats like to create whole programs, which develop their own constituencies, and become practically impossible to terminate; when was the last time you heard of Democrats ending a social engineering or benefit program?

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