More about libertarianism, fusionism, and the Romney campaign
Jason Pye has written a great blog post about libertarians and the Romney campaign already. He asked me my opinion about it, perhaps even with the possibility of a “point-counterpoint” sort of thing. I pretty much agree with what he’s saying, particularly about Ron Paul and the Libertarian Party. We are not a monolithic group; we are a very wide and very diverse range of individuals who just want to increase individual liberty.
What I want to add is that, while Republicans and conservatives complain about us, and want us to support them in elections, they have done nothing to earn such support. Let me show you a few examples:
A Romney administration would listen much more closely to a libertarian movement that supported him.
— Brandon Kiser (@Kiser) September 24, 2012
To which I responded with:
@BrandonKiser Then maybe he should do more to support the libertarian movement.
— Jeremy Kolassa (@jdkolassa) September 24, 2012
And to which I got this response:
@jdkolassa I didn’t say it wasn’t a two way street. But I’m pretty sure I know which side burned their bridge first.
— Brandon Kiser (@Kiser) September 24, 2012
Now, while the Ron Paul fans have engaged in their fair share of shenanigans, can we really say that libertarians set fire to the bridge of fusionism first? When George W. Bush and Congressional Republicans ballooned the federal government with their big-government “compassionate conservatism?” When they turned a roughly $237 billion surplus at the start of his administration into a $1.8 trillion deficit? When they started two pointless wars overseas? When they wrote the PATRIOT Act and formed the Department of Homeland Security and started dramatically invading our privacy and stripping us of our civil liberties?
After all that, you have the gall to say that libertarians burned their bridges first?
Kurt Schlichter wrote a long article over at Big Government begging libertarians to join conservatives in voting for Romney, but at Mediaite, Andrew Kirell blew him away in writing much the same as I did.
In summary, there is absolutely no reason for libertarians to support conservative (or quasi-conservative) Republicans, because they haven’t done anything to earn our support. It’s just like with Democrats and their battered voters; every four years, Republicans beg and cajole libertarians into voting for them, because wouldn’t it just be terrible if the Democrats win, and hey, we agree on economics! But once the election is over, conservatives and Republicans go back to their anti-market policies and continue to screw libertarians over.
If Republicans and conservatives wanted libertarians onboard, they would actually take steps to genuinely include us. So far, they haven’t. Choosing Paul Ryan as their VP candidate was something of a sop, but it ended up rather weak. First of all, while Paul Ryan has been bolder than his House compatriots in putting forward a concrete plan to cut the budget, he is no Rand Paul. That is, he isn’t actually interested in reducing government, he just wants to streamline what we have today and make it more efficient. He’s a conservative technocrat, and we’re not particularly interested in conservative technocrats; they’re kinda like compassionate conservatives. Second, what good was there was mostly washed away when Romney decided to put a tight leash on his running mate, and effectively subdue Ryan’s decisive cost-cutting message with more of his own muddied rhetoric. That’s not going to inspire confidence in thrice-burned libertarians that somehow, Romney will finally be that Republican who really cuts the government down to size.
We all know the old saying, “Fool me once, shame on me; fool me twice, shame on you; fool me thrice, I’ll choke you until your lips turn blue.” (Okay, so I made up the last part.) We’ve been sold bills of false goods so many times that we’re pretty pissed. Begging and cajoling from conservatives will not change that; in fact, it will make us only more pissed.
So if the Republican Party really wants to get us onboard, it should throw us a couple of bones as it has thrown dozens to more “traditional” conservatives. It should seriously start cutting back on military spending and ending wars around the globe. It should actively start abolishing the stupider parts of our national security apparatus (especially the TSA.) It should stop the bailouts and subsidies for big businesses. It should drop opposition to marijuana legalization and stop the excesses of the anti-gay crap. But it won’t even attempt to do any of those things. Not one.
If conservative Republicans aren’t going to come even a step towards us, then why the hell should we go all in for them?
PS: Perhaps my “favorite” tweet recently:
A second observation about Libertarians: they are almost as obsessed with social issues as leftists are. Or the dreaded NDAA. #boring
— Ken Gardner (@kesgardner) September 23, 2012
Right. Because throwing people in jail without jury trial or any review—just purely on the whim on one man—is “boring.”
And conservatives think they’ll get our support with this claptrap?