libertarians

Would any libertarian still support Obama?

That’s the question that entered my head this morning.  Conservatives often accuse libertarians of “supporting” Obama by being critical of Republicans and conservatives.  Obviously, this is nonsense, as no one is obligated to withhold criticism simply because of a person’s party.  Libertarians are by no means required to even support Republicans, much less ignore their glaring deficiencies and attempts to abridge liberty.

What I’m asking is, is there any situation that could arise to cause a libertarian to actually vote for Obama in 2012?  The current crop of GOP hopefuls, with the possible exception of Gary Johnson and perhaps a couple others, looks less than thrilling for libertarians (or really anyone).  It is entirely possible that we will end up with a Huckabee, Romney, or other nominee that one could find impossible, or at least difficult, to support.  Is anyone’s vote then going to Obama?

Personally, I’d argue that any libertarian who would consider this is, well, nuts.  I realize there are some who supported Obama in 2008, most likely because of his supposed anti-war stance.  But as the his actions have shown, especially his amplification of the Afghanistan war and his actions in Libya, Obama is most certainly not anti-war.  Further, his behavior on the domestic front has been, in a word, horrendous.  From ObamaCare to spending levels that would make George Bush blush, he has been anathema to libertarians in nearly every way.

So my question is, are any libertarians even considering voting for him in 2012?  If so, what conditions would need to exist?  And more importantly, why?  I’m honestly curious to see if he retains any support in this segment.  I highly doubt if it is significant after the above-mentioned.  I just want to know if it still exists at all.

CPAC 2011: Podcast with Herman Cain

Herman Cain visited the Bloggers’ Lounge yesterday for a few moments. He gave us a quick introduction and took a few questions, including a couple from me on his support of the bailouts (he gave a woefully inadequate answer).

After making the rounds, Cain came by for a quick chat with me on campaign finance, free trade and spending. You can download the podcast here (3.3MB/3:39).

Stand by, I hope to have a couple more of these tomorrow.

Extremism in American politics is a temporary position

“…some Tea Party-backed candidates and other Republicans have taken positions that many voters consider extreme, like shutting down the government to get their way, privatizing Social Security and Medicare and ending unemployment insurance.” - NY Times

Extremism is probably the buzzword today in politics. By arguing against extremism from your opponent, you paint yourself as the defender of what is just and right. However, the thing to keep in mind is that extremism today is mainstream thought tomorrow.

For example, the idea of “medical marijuana” was extreme for many, many years. Today it’s becoming more and more common. Even more people are coming out in favor of legalization where as a decade ago it was an “extremist” view. The idea of legalizing any drug was a sign of being soft on crime and criminals. Today, it’s soccer moms and even police officers who are taking that stance, not just libertarian whack jobs.

Ideas like privatizing social security sound extreme because the propaganda machine has done a good job of painting it that way. However, as more and more people enter into social security with fewer and fewer people contributing to it, the Ponzi scheme will inevitably fail. What happens then? Well, for one, the system will need serious revision at least. That could mean privatization, or it could mean scrapping the system. Either way, something is going to have to happen and whatever it is will be something that the New York Times says is “extreme”.

Extremism is in the eye of the beholder, at least when it comes to American politics. The idea of government getting out of people’s daily lives doesn’t sound extreme, since that’s kind of what the United States is all about. However, when you argue against seat belt laws, or against the Department of Homeland Security, you get labeled as “extremist”. People forget that we lived just fine without this stuff.

Losing sight of what matters

Over the last few days, many Americans, including myself, have lost sight of what really matters overall.  We have liberal bloggers pounding away at keyboards trying to show the Tea Party as evil.  We have conservative bloggers pounding away at keyboards trying to show the NAACP as racist.  We have libertarian bloggers pounding away at keyboards arguing against bloggers from either of the two primary affiliations.

It gets a little much and like I said, I’ve been as guilty (if not more so) than anyone.  However, there are still real problems in this country that need to be addressed that shouldn’t get lost in the shuffle of who said what when.

We still have an oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico to clean up, and there is need for a valid debate on whether more regulation would prevent another disaster like that one, or whether there were already plenty of regulations on the books that just weren’t enforced.  There’s still room for a valid debate on how hard BP should get hit financially on this.

We still have sky high unemployment, and there is still a need for valid debate on how best to combat that.  Folks like me see the best way is for government to get out of the way and let the private sector do it’s thing.  There are others who think that government is the solution.  Let’s have that debate in the blogs and the newspaper columns.

We have new financial regulations coming down the pipe.  Let’s debate the merits and flaws of those, rather than what someone said in a speech.  Let’s talk about whether the government had a hand in creating this mess or not.  Let’s discuss the idea of “to big to fail” for a little while.

Republicans Have A More Negative View Of Libertarians Than Democrats Or Independents

Interesting results from a Pew Research survey:

More than four-in-ten independents (44%) react positively to the word “libertarian,” while 32% have a negative reaction. Democrats are nearly evenly divided (39% positive, 37% negative). However, Republicans on balance have a negative impression of this term (44% negative, 31% positive).

Bruce McQuain doesn’t find the apparent Republican disdain for libertarians surprising:

In many ways we’re actually competition for Republicans and try to hold them to their principles and slam them when they don’t live up to them. But Republicans don’t like us on the social side of things

Commentators, from the left, of course, draw other conclusions:

The notion that Republicans are libertarian is ludicrous. They stick their noses into our bedrooms, into our doctors’ offices, into churches. They demand the roundup of people who don’t look like them. They whine about Miranda rights and due process. They are more concerned about the rights of big energy conglomerates, than they are about the rights of people to enjoy long walks on pristine beaches. They whine about true independent and free media that doesn’t validate their ideology. They freak out about anyone who doesn’t believe in their god, or worse, in any god at all.

For the American Taliban, “liberty” means their ability to impose their beliefs and lifestyle on the rest of society.

Libertarians Waiting for an Invitation to the Tea Party Will Be Left Out

Mike Hassinger is a political consultant with Landmark Communications in Atlanta, Georgia. These views are his own.

The Tea Party movement has been ignored, mocked, dismissed, and cast as a collection of conspiracy kooks and racists. To become a genuine political force, this fledgling movement must face internal challenges of direction and leadership while under full assault from the statists on the left and their enabling lapdogs in the mainstream media. In one sense the Tea Party’s journey has been a compressed version of libertarianism -it took libertarians decades to become misunderstood and marginalized, whereas the Tea Partiers have done so in less than a year.

The Tea Party, as force in American electoral politics, stands at a crossroads –several crossroads, actually. Do they form their own political party, or back candidates from existing parties who support their views? Will they start small, with state and local races, or swing for the fences and jump into contested races in the house and Senate? The biggest question is going unasked: Will they co-opt, or be co-opted, and if they’re co-opted, who’s going to get them?

Why Libertarianism Must Change or Die

When I was sixteen years old — only one year after my conversion to Catholicism — I began looking into religion more seriously as a result of a persistent twinge of reason which plagues me to this day. Determined to avoid Atheists and Theists on principle, I instead looked to Thomas Henry Huxley and John Shelby Spong, an Agnostic biologist and a dissenting Episcopalian Bishop respectively.  In conference with these two minds, I discovered myself for an Atheist, but also stumbled upon the first truly intellectual concept of my life: it is possible that each and everyone one of us is “right” in every way, shape and form.

From those early days of intellectual curiosity, thumbing through Spong’s “Why Christianity Must Change Or Die” and growing my understanding of the individual, I’ve sought autonomy in all aspects of my life. In short, it was no surprise to the few people who know me that I was attracted to the Libertarian Party. I’m a spiritual Atheist. I’m an intelligent idiot. I’m an optimistic cynic. Where else could I go?

I’ve loved the Party. It was a tent big enough to house possibilities, a place that wasn’t crowded with rhetoric and closed-mindedness and half-truths.

And then it happened: my partner informed me that Bill Maher is not — no way, no how — a libertarian.

Imagine my surprise. After all, Maher’s been something of a personal hero to me since my relative youth. If I knew and loved anyone, it was Lewis Black.. But Bill Maher … he was, like, second runner-up. To George Carlin. But I digress.

A third way on foreign policy: U.S. needs to be cautious about the prospects of military intervention

Libertarians, generally by definition non-interventionists, have found themselves in a bit of a quandary of late as the debate about ISIS — and how much of a REAL threat it poses to the United States — ramps up and gets the national security wonk tongues wagging. For many libertarians, the debate hinges less on protecting U.S. interests abroad, but in protecting hearth and home. In other words, non-interventionism ends the minute the enemy is at the gate. And since no one seems to know exactly how powerful ISIS is in their ability to cross the ocean, it’s been a fascinating debate to watch.

It’s a mistake to assume libertarians are anti-interventionist because they are afraid of a fight. Many, in fact, are by nature brave enough to stand outside current accepted thoughts and practices — often alone and screaming into the wind. Their preference for staying out of world conflict is born of economic pragmatism and a belief in individual and national self-determinism more than anything else.

So what do they do with an increasingly belligerent world and an enemy that threatened (even though that threat turned out to be hollow. This time.) to raise a flag over the seat of governing power in this country?

In other words, is there, as T. Becket Adams proposes in a recent piece for the Washington Examiner, a “third way”?:

Foreign policy realism: Some Interventions are Just

military intervention

I recently got into a heated discussion with a fervent Ron Paul supporter about foreign policy. I’ve had similar arguments with many other libertarians many times. Those like my friend hold that military intervention in foreign countries is inherently immoral and un-libertarian. For many Ron Paul supporters*, a purely non-interventionist foreign policy is a true libertarian litmus test.

In 1964, Kitty Genovese was murdered in broad daylight in the presence of numerous onlookers who did nothing to assist her. She was stabbed repeatedly, attempted to escape her attacker, and then stabbed and raped until her life was gone. One person shouted, “leave her alone!” but no one helped Kitty. As onlookers watched her get murdered and raped, no one came to her aid or called the police.

The gruesome, heartbreaking attack and the horrifying apathy of onlookers outrage and sicken us today. No libertarian would have objected to someone — anyone — saving Kitty.

Lovers of liberty rightly proclaim the heroism and virtue of people like Tuvia Bielski, George Washington, Raoul Wallenberg, Francis Marion, and other heroes and heroines who fought against tyranny in their own countries and elsewhere.

Julie Borowski: The Six Rules for Liberty

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The latest Real Talk with Julie Borowski from FreedomWorks outlines the “six rules for liberty” as laid out in Matt Kibbe’s latest book, Don’t Hurt People and Don’t Take Their Stuff: A Libertarian Manifesto. She says that with the growing influence of libertarianism, it’s important to clear up some misconceptions about the movement.

There are six basic tenants of libertarianism, according to Borowski:

  1. Don’t hurt people: Pretty simple, right? Don’t hurt people, and don’t allow the government to do so either.
  2. Don’t take people’s stuff: The basic principle that “stealing is bad” applies to the government, too. Having the government steal from your neighbor to benefit you is just as bad as stealing from your neighbor yourself.
  3. Take responsibility: Help people yourself, don’t just wait for some government program to swoop in and “save the day.”
  4. Work for it: Step up and work hard instead of, again, relying on the government to do everything for you.
  5. Mind your own business: It’s not your business, and it’s definitely not the government’s business, how the people around you live their personal lives. If they’re not hurting anyone, let them be.
  6. Fight the power: As Julie says, “Anything worth having is worth fighting for.”

Do you see a theme here? Borowski gets down to the point: get the government out of the business of running our daily lives, and liberty will prosper.

 


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