Libertarian

The Real Tragedies of 9/11

As the tenth anniversary of 9/11 approaches this Sunday, I cannot help but feel it will be a commemoration of not one, not two, but at least three different tragedies that have befallen the American people. The first is the obvious tragedy of the attacks themselves, which took thousands of lives in an act of barbarism and insanity. The second tragedy is what happened to the American consciousness afterwards. And the third is what our children understand about it.

I read earlier this week about a poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. The results were disquieting, to say the least. Some of the highlights:

  • 71% of Americans favor surveillance cameras in public
  • 47% support the government reading emails outside the US without a warrant
  • 30% support the government monitoring emails within the country
  • 58% support random searches involving full-body scans or patdowns at airports
  • 35% support racial or ethnic profiling at airports
  • 55% support the government snooping into financial transactions without a warrant
  • 47% support a national ID card to show to authorities on demand (a “Show-Me” Card, if you ever watched Fringe)
  • 64% believe it is “Sometimes necessary to sacrifice some rights and freedoms” in order to fight the war on terror
  • 53% think you can’t be too careful dealing with people (which is a slight improvement from 2002, I suppose, which was 58%, but…)
  • 54% would, between counterterrorism and civil liberties, come down on the side of civil liberties

Like I said, disquieting. All but the last should be far lower; the last should be far higher. Only 54% would go for civil liberties? That means 46% would put counterterrorism operations above what it actually means to be an American?

VIDEO: The Importance of Bars and Taverns in Political Movements

Compare to satirist P.J. O’Rourke’s preface to Republican Party Reptile:

So, what I’d really like is a new label. And I’m sure a lot of people feel the same way. We are the Republican Party Reptiles. We look like Republicans, and think like conservatives, but we drive a lot faster and keep vibrators and baby oil and a video camera behind the stack of sweaters on the bedroom closet shelf. I think our agenda is clear. We are opposed to: government spending, Kennedy kids, seat-belt laws, being a pussy about nuclear power, busing our children anywhere other than Yale, trailer courts near our vacation homes, Gary Hart, tiny Third World countries that don’t have banking secrecy laws, aerobics, the U.N., taxation without tax loopholes, and jewelry on men. We are in favor of: guns, drugs, fast cars, free love (if our wives don’t find out), a sound dollar, a cleaner environment (poor people should cut it out with the graffiti), a strong military with spiffy uniforms, Natassia Kinski, Star Wars (and anything else that scares the Russkis), and a firm stand on the Middle East (raze buildings, burn crops, plow the earth with salt, and sell the population into bondage).

There are thousands of people in America who feel this way, especially after three or four drinks. If all of us would unite and work together, we could give this country… well, a real bad hangover.

The Debt Generation and…Fireworks? Sort of…

Man, I looove me some fireworks. The bright flashes, the intense color, the wave of energy expanding across the room—

Oh, you thought I meant that stuff they light off at the Fourth of July. No, I was referring to the fireworks that occur in a debate. And what a debate we’re going to have!

The sparks started flying when Matt Yglesias, poster boy for the Center for Authoritarian Propaganda American Progress tweeted “David Boaz is dumb.” (Hmm, I wonder what he had to say about naughty rhetoric back in January…) Boaz then retorted that Yglesias had completely missed the point, which I guess is not surprising. Yglesias then decided to tackle Daniel J. Mitchell’s take on Paul Krugman’s…well, I’m not really sure what you could call it. Lunacy? Let’s be nice and just call it “absurdity.” Anyways, Yglesias basically stated that “money doesn’t matter” and that the broken window fallacy itself is broken. A very succint summary of modern progressive thought, I would imagine.

So why do I bring this all up?

Because tomorrow, Cato On Campus is hosting (at the Cato Institute, natch) a debate titled: “US Debt and the Millennials: Is Washington Creating a Lost Generation?” Attending will be Megan McArdle of The Atlantic, Matt Mitchell of Mercatus, and Matt Yglesias of Center for American Progress. Three guesses as to who will be moderating. Yes, Dan Mitchell of Cato.

What Would USA Today Say about Howard Dean’s Performance in Iowa?

As Jason noted earlier, the results are in — Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) has handily taken top honors in the 2011 Ames Straw Poll, edging out Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) and obliterating former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty. Bachmann became the first woman in history to win the straw poll in the home of America’s first caucus, according to the National Journal.

Aside from the various problems with straw polls in a general sense, and how poorly the Ames Straw Poll serves as an indicator of eventual primary winners (note: the CPAC straw poll has the same problem), what does this really mean? Probably not much at all.

But that hasn’t stopped the editorial board at USA Today from getting their digs in while they can.

They editorialize, opining the attention “fringe candidates” receive in Iowa:

 

Of the candidates actively participating this year, only Pawlenty has any kind of background of centrism, and he has taken a right turn since announcing his candidacy. Much of the attention will be on Bachmann, who has been doing well in recent Iowa polls, and Texas Rep. Ron Paul, the darling of libertarians.

VIDEO: Alfonzo Rachel on Libertarians

I’ve long held that, to be effective politically, conservatives and libertarians (or center-right independents) need to find common ground, and that if libertarians want to see policy and political change, it needs to be an inside job.

While this video isn’t surprising, it’s sad to me to see an outspoken conservative like Alfonzo Rachel divisively deriding libertarians as the 2012 cycle begins to pick up. It’s the kind of stuff that makes me want to stay home on Election Day.

Consider this an open thread.

Chris Christie, NOOOOO!

Fudgeknuckles. You can never be happy with politicians as a libertarian—just when they look like they’re on the path to true limited government, free markets, and individual liberty, they come out with something stupid like this:

“I believe marriage should be between one man and one woman,” Christie said. “I wouldn’t sign a bill like the one that was in New York.”

That sound you are hearing is my head slamming into my desk at Warp Six.

I admit, I was becoming a fan of Chris Christie. The way he was socking it to the parasitical public unions in New Jersey was inspiring. Sure, he was not perfect—he probably could have cut back more in some areas—but considering political inertia, he was doing a tremendous job.

Naturally, while I’m feeling really great about this guy, he throws a social conservative curveball just to keep me a grumbling libertarian.

The article does state that he will push for civil unions in New Jersey, as if, “Well, he’s not so bad.” But it is, in fact, horrific: what Christie is saying is that he supports discrimination based on sexual orientation, a boundary that says “You are not like us, you cannot be like us, you cannot have the same rights and privileges as us.” That’s a very disturbing thought. What I don’t understand is how it meshes with the small government ethos of most conservatives. Let’s end regulation and meddling in the economy, let’s make government smaller, cheaper, and more efficient—but then try and wedge it into the bedroom?

Moderates and Other Creatures

Last week, I wrote a post about libertarian purity and how libertarians would be better served to accept some people as libertarian even if they aren’t “pure” enough.  Many people believe themselves to be libertarian but don’t toe the ideological line.  The purists rail that they’re not “real” libertarians.  I understand the sentiment, but it has marginalized libertarianism for some time.

After the post hit Instapundit, I had a lot of comments come across where many people argued that moderates are bad.  One argued that moderates take up space on a ballot and can actually hurt the cause of liberty.  Still others argued that being libertarian doesn’t mean much if people can just co-opt the term whenever they feel like.

I understand how they feel.  However, there’s a few things they need to understand.

First, the idea that moderates take up ballot space.  Keep in mind I’m talking about moderate libertarians.  These can be Democrats who aren’t fans of welfare or it could be pro-gay marriage Republicans.  I’m not talking about moderate Republicans who support regulations or gun control.  That’s an important difference.

As for co-opting the term, I certainly agree.  However, my point is that arguing someone isn’t a libertarian because of a few differences is silly.  Obviously, at some point the term certainly can be rendered meaningless if everyone can use the term however they want.  No one was saying that was OK in any way.

On Drugs And Immigrants, We Either Believe In Freedom Or We Don’t

Those who affiliate themselves, either casually or intensely, with the right wing of the political spectrum need to seriously look themselves in the mirror as regards our policies toward our southern neighbors.

On immigration and the War on Drugs, nativism and paternalism seem to be the dominant fundamentalisms of those who most frequently espouse a fondness for freedom and liberty. On immigration especially, nativism goes directly against not only what America is, a nation of immigrants, but against the beacon of liberty that conservative icon Ronald Reagan characterized America as:

Robinson correctly observes that Reagan would have had nothing to do with the anger and inflamed rhetoric that so often marks the immigration debate today. “Ronald Reagan was no kind of nativist,” he concludes, noting that Reagan was always reaching out to voters beyond the traditional Republican base, including the fast-growing Hispanic population.

It’s worth remembering that Reagan signed the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), which opened the door to citizenship for nearly 3 million people who had been living in the country illegally. Robinson is confident Reagan would have supported the kind of comprehensive immigration reform championed by President George W. Bush and approved by the Senate in 2006.

This will seem quite harsh, but I will say it frankly and succinctly: If you think that a child born in this country but the parents of illegal immigrants should be deported, you don’t believe in freedom. You believe in something else; something antithetical to the beautiful message which adorns the Statue of Liberty:

Tea Party Movement ‘Too Libertarian’ for Social Conservative Leaders

Social conservative leaders are worried that the Tea Party movement doesn’t care enough about abortion and gay marriage, Politico reports.

This appears to be a growing theme, ever since Mike Huckabee said that he skipped  CPAC this year because it was “too libertarian” for him. In his most recent book, Huckabee wrote of a growing movement of what he called “faux-cons;” people who hold free market views on the economy, but don’t think the government should use its coercive powers to promote a “family values” social agenda.

Now, more prominent social conservatives are repeating a similar line.  Here’s what some of them told Politico:

- “There’s a libertarian streak in the tea party movement that concerns me as a cultural conservative,” said Bryan Fischer, director of Issue Analysis for Government and Public Policy at the American Family Association. “The tea party movement needs to insist that candidates believe in the sanctity of life and the sanctity of marriage.”

- “As far as I can tell [the tea party movement] has a politics that’s irreligious. I can’t see how some of my fellow conservatives identify with it,” said Richard Cizik, vice president for governmental affairs of the National Association of Evangelicals.

There are probably good reasons why they’re so worried. The Tea Party movement has not based its activism on their top priorities, (do you see anything about gay marriage or abortion in their Contract From America?) and the social conservatives fear they are losing their grip on the center-right.

Sarah Palin And The Obsession With Minutia, Or Something

I must admit that this is a subject I wanted to stay away from but the continuing “uproar” saddens me. I want to like Sarah Palin but she makes it hard sometimes . At some point she is going to have to stop playing the victim card and act like a big girl.

I heard the Rahm Emanuel “retard” comment before Palin responded to it (I actually agreed with him). But something told me somebody would say something. Somebody would be offended. Somebody would act like a speech Nazi. Somebody would express an opinion that would attack the natural right of free speech.

As a former member of the GOP I can remember getting into debate after debate with “lefty” Statists on the subject of language. I guess because of who I am and how I was brought up I feel like I have a right to speak my mind and if you’re the “political correct” type you can get over it (Being raised in NYC probably contributed a ‘lil as well). I am not offended by anything that comes out of somebody’s pie- hole. Many people say things that alarm me, but being offended is somehow being “hurt” by what is said. Ms. Palin kept referring to her “thick skin” on the campaign trail. Did it somehow disappear?

I’ve already heard other people make the point that Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck use the word “retard” on their shows and Sarah hasn’t criticized them. Blah, blah, that isn’t nearly the issue here. The fact that the “Right” is now acting like the language police leads me to believe I left the GOP at the right time.

Let me create a scenario for dear Sarah and see how she would handle it.


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