Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“An avidity to punish is always dangerous to liberty. It leads men to stretch, to misinterpret, and to misapply even the best of laws. He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.”     Thomas Paine,    Dissertation on First Principles of Government

March 28, 2007

Giuliani Is Not A Libertarian

by Brad Warbiany

On this blog, a lot of typing has gone on attacking Rudy Giuliani, and some (but a lot less) has been spent defending him. Some, such as commentor Eric Dondero, suggest that Rudy Giuliani is a Libertarian Republican. As evidence of this, he refers to OnTheIssues.org, who rates Rudy as a “moderate libertarian”.

The question, then, falls down to whether Rudy is a candidate that libertarians should support. On the surface, one might think so. He’s appears to be a fan of fiscal liberty, with his constant attempts to cut taxes and balance spending in New York. As for social liberty, he’s a long way ahead of his rivals on the conservative wing of the Republican party.

But all of these platforms are balanced by a twinge of authoritarianism. If you read through his quotes that are the basis for the ontheissues.org characterization, you start to see an underlying problem: Rudy Giuliani does not believe in a libertarian relationship between individual and state.

From an external examination, libertarians look like pot-smoking Republicans. After all, the mainstream characterization of us is as a group of people who want low taxes, small-government, but without some of the social restrictions the Republicans would enact. Watching as folks like Eric Dondero (and another acquaintance) support Rudy while claiming to be Libertarians, I believe that those folks are nothing more than the caricature of libertarian.

But there’s a much deeper basis for libertarianism. I’ve pointed out before that libertarianism, at its core, is a moral system, not just a political party. Doctrinaire libertarians believe in a very limited relationship between the individual and his government, and that relationship does not find individual liberty subservient to collective security.

So when you look at Rudy “on the issues”, you see that he supports some libertarian policies, but his overall attitude is one that suggests the state should “maintain” our economic growth, that the government should use the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as a method to smooth gasoline prices, and– while he claims to support school vouchers– pumped city dollars even further into government education. On the social side, he appears to be a serious drug warrior, a staunch supporter of the Patriot Act, has no compunction about government DNA databases, and supports forcing people to take written tests before allowing gun ownership (and presumably supports registration).

Rudy Giuliani appears to hold some libertarian stances on issues, but at the same time, I don’t see how he can be called a libertarian. Rudy’s libertarian stances on certain issues may give him allure to some libertarians, but he is reflexively pro-government on other issues. If he were elected to the highest office in the land, I’m simply not sure that he would advance individual liberty.

It’s still early in the campaign, and if Rudy holds his lead, I think we might get to find out quite a bit more how much of his ontheissues.org profile was a relic of his tenure as the Mayor of New York, and how much coincides with his core beliefs. But at the moment, I don’t see Rudy as having the same understanding of the relationship between an individual and the state as I do.

Until I see some major changes in his rhetoric and stated positions, I am not ready to support his candidacy. Although his general libertarian stances make me somewhat willing to keep an open mind, he’s got a long way to go before I’d actually consider voting for him.

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46 Comments

  1. If you’re talking about non-coercive, laissez-faire libertarian, then Ron Paul is the only candidate that comes close. If you’re talking about govt-should-get-out-of-MY-life-but-into-everybody-else-I-don’t-agree-with libertarian, then that would be all other Republicans.

    Comment by js290 — March 29, 2007 @ 10:14 am
  2. But Brad, 60/60 or some arbitrary number means that Rudy is in fact the most libertarian of all candidates. Don’t you understand? The number says so. He’s a real man, who believes in libertarianism, but also knows that we need a father figure to tell us what is right and wrong, and make sure we are tucked in at night, and safe from the evil in the closet. And besides, my candidate can kick your candidates butt.

    Eric Dondero
    blah, blah, blah
    check out my true libertarian website
    blah, blah, blah
    worked for Ron Paul

    Comment by Eric Dondero(played by Nick M.) — March 29, 2007 @ 11:11 am
  3. Hilarious that you would post this idiotic article Mr. Brad, the day after the big news in the political land is that Libertarian Conservative stalwart Steve Forbes endorsed Rudy’s campaign and agreed to take over as Campaign Policy Chairman.

    You may remember Forbes. He’s the guy that came down to Ron Paul’s Congressional District when Ron was behind in the race, and campaigned his ass off for him at three different district events.

    Oh, and you may have missed the news now up at http://www.mainstreamlibertarian.com that key Libertarian Republican State Legislator Jack Brandenburg of Michigan swithced from Romney to endorsing Giuliani. Jack is a close friend of fmr. Libertarian State Rep. Leon Drolet.

    Oh, and you may have also missed this news. Congressman Ed Royce, a staunch Libertarian Conservative, just endorsed Rudy and hosted an event for him in Orange County, CA. You may know that Royce is a longtime friend of Southern Cal Libertarians, and his longtime Chief Aide Jon Fleischman is an RLC member and “libertarian.”

    Oh, and how ’bout this one. Also, now up at http://www.mainstreamlibertarian.com, Economist Lary Kudlow just said of Giuliani, “he’s practically a Ludvig von Mises or Frederich Hayek on economics.”

    And then there’s this one. Cato’s former Policy Director Stephen Moore said of Giuliani, just yesterday, “I’m going to have to start calling him Milton Friedman,” for his record on tax cuts and spending restraints.

    Now, given all that, you want to run that by me again, that Rudy is “no libertarian.”

    What makes you think that you Mr. Brad – someone I’ve never heard of before, think that you are smarter than Libertarian stalwarts like Forbes, Royce, Stephem Moore and Larry Kudlow?

    Comment by Eric Dondero — March 29, 2007 @ 11:40 am
  4. Yoh Brad, libertarianism is not some sort of “moral system.” Bullshit!! Libertarianism simply means “fiscally conservative/socially tolerant.” No more, no less.

    There isn’t some sort of “moral code,” or readings of boring-ass dead Austrian economists required.

    If you’re fiscally conservative, yet socially tolerant, guess what? YOU’RE A LIBERTARIAN!!!

    In other words, Libertarian DOES MEAN “Republicans who smoke pot.” It most certainly means Pro-Choice Republicans.

    We Libertarians are Republicans who like sex. We are hip Republicans. We are Republicans who know how to have a good time. That is the PRECISE DEFINITION OF LIBERTARIAN!!!

    I myself was recruited into the Libertarian Party in 1985 fresh out of the Navy by Nick Dunbar and Dianne Pilcher. At the time I was an activist with the National Abortion Rights League and a Punk Rocker free speech advocate.

    Nick and Dianne told me that Libertarians were essentially “Pro-Choicers who hated the Religious Right, but were like Conservatives on economics.”

    I gladly handed them my $25.00 dues.

    That’s what we Libertarians are. We’re Conservatives who are cool on abortion, sex issues, listen to hard rock music and are cool about our buddies smoking pot.

    Policy Wanker libertarians like you just ROYALLY PISSE ME OFF. Stop with all the G-damned philosphical bullshit. Stop trying to make libertarianism exclusionist. Stop trying to make libertarianism all complicated.

    It’s not. It’s simply:

    FISCALLY CONSERVATIVE/SOCIALLY TOLERANT!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by Eric Dondero — March 29, 2007 @ 11:48 am
  5. But Brad, 60/60 or some arbitrary number means that Rudy is in fact the most libertarian of all candidates. Don’t you understand? The number says so. He’s a real man, who believes in libertarianism, but also knows that we need a father figure to tell us what is right and wrong, and make sure we are tucked in at night, and safe from the evil in the closet. And besides, my candidate can kick your candidates butt.

    Eric Dondero
    blah, blah, blah
    check out my true libertarian website
    blah, blah, blah
    worked for Ron Paul

    Nick,

    That was great. Simon Jester would be proud.

    Comment by Kevin — March 29, 2007 @ 11:58 am
  6. Is Libertarianism a government that refuses to follow its own laws?

    What’s Giuliani’s position on the PATRIOT act? Oh, that’s right, he’s a STAUNCH supporter of it.

    What’s his position on the FBI’s use of National Security letters? Warrantless wiretapping? The use of paramilitary SWAT tactics in fighting crime?

    How socially tolerant is he? Does he support ending the drug war? Nope.

    As you’ve pointed out, he definitely wants to keep prostitution illegal.

    What about Amadou Diallo?

    Sure, Rudy is for low taxes, is pro-choice, and doesn’t hate gay people. That already makes him a lot better than most current Republicans. But I haven’t seen proof yet that he’s a libertarian.

    And don’t get me wrong, Libertarianism is about IDEAS. It always has been. Rudy may hold a few libertarian positions on policy, but what does he BELIEVE about the balance between government and individual rights? Does he believe we should cede “a great deal of discretion about what you do” to government?

    Ideas matter. What are his?

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — March 29, 2007 @ 12:12 pm
  7. How about this, Eric? Rudy Giuliani, once you take out abortion and gays, is no different than Sam Brownback. In fact, Giuliani is less of a fiscal conservative!

    Ontheissues.org:

    Rudy:
    Fiscal: 58%
    Social: 55%

    Brownback:
    Fiscal: 75%
    Social: 38%

    Now, when you look at it, Rudy’s 17 percentage points ahead of Brownback on social freedom, right? Well, if you look at the numbers at Ontheissues.org, Rudy gets 10 points on abortion, Brownback gets 0. Rudy gets 10 points on gay rights, Brownback gets 0.

    So if you take those two issues out of the equation, what’s to separate Brownback from Giuliani?

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — March 29, 2007 @ 12:27 pm
  8. Yoh Brad, libertarianism is not some sort of “moral system.”

    The two most important figures in the libertarian movement are Murray Rothbard and Ayn Rand, both of whom grounded libertarian politics on moral principle. In point of fact, libertarianism is nothing but moral principles.

    - Josh

    Comment by Wild Pegasus — March 29, 2007 @ 2:05 pm
  9. Rudy Giuliani has suckered Steve Forbes into supporting him. Rudy Giuliani appears to have persuaded Republican Ed Royce into supporting him. As soon as Rudy Giuliani buys a lifetime membership in the Marijuana Policy Project like the REAL Milton Friedman then I won’t mentally scream when I hear Rudy “Guns are Bad” Giuliani compared to Milton Friedman as Stephen Moore apparently believes is warranted. And as for Larry Kudlow’s claim of Rudy Giuliani being practically Ludwig von Mises on economics.. keep on keeping on finding claims that Rudy Giuliani is the best thing since Microsoft Windows and eventually you will find someone who will say Mr. Giuliani “practically walks on water” but you aren’t convincing me.

    How many people went to jail under Mayor Giuliani’s watch for marijuana possession or were arrested for “illegal” firearm possession? How many families were destroyed because of his knowing endorsement and support of enforcement of laws against bad tools (guns) or bad plants (marijuana)? Why you feel Rudy Giuliani deserves to be called any sort of libertarian I don’t understand yet.

    I do believe L. Neil Smith said it best: “A libertarian is a person who believes that no one has the right, under any circumstances, to initiate force against another human being, or to advocate or delegate its initiation. Those who act consistently with this principle are libertarians, whether they realize it or not. Those who fail to act consistently with it are not libertarians, regardless of what they may claim.”
    http://www.ncc-1776.org/whoislib.html

    By this criteria I believe that Rudy Giuliani still falls quite a bit short of qualifying as a libertarian.

    And shoot Mr. Dondero–what’s with your aversion to calling a Republican a Republican? Rudy Giuliani is a Republican and has been one for a long time. Candidate Giuliani doesn’t call himself a Libertarian (or even a small l libertarian). Why should I? Why should anybody?

    I don’t want any Giuliani Republican stink to attach to the group of people who choose to call themselves Libertarians (and deserve the label). People who have sent checks into the Libertarian Party and people who have advocated support of their state and federal Liberarian Party and Libertarian Party candidates deserve to be labelled as Libertarian. People who have proudly voted for Libertarian candidates are more deserving of being recognized as a Libertarian for their support of the ideas and efforts of libertarianism than Rudy Giuliani. Show me some proof that Mr. Giuliani has sent a check to a Libertarian Party organization or voted for a Libertarian candidate and you might actually manage to persuade some folks that Rudy Giuliani deserves a mention as a Libertarian supporter but until then, he doesn’t deserve the label Libertarian, not yet and I would imagine, not ever.

    Comment by Thane Eichenauer — March 29, 2007 @ 10:32 pm
  10. Bullshit Josh!!!

    BULL-FUCKING-SHIT!!!!

    THE TWO MOST IMPORTANT FIGURES IN THE LIBERTARIAN MOVEMENT ARE ED CLARK AND DANA ROHRABACHER!!!

    And maybe a third Milton Friedman.

    Ed Clark got nearly 1 million votes for President as a Libertarian in 1980.

    Rohrabacher is the Founder of the Modern Libertarian Movement, and now a United States Congressman.

    A 4th might be PJ O’Rourke.

    Rand was great. Yeah. But that was what? 50 fucking years ago???

    Rothbard? Are you fucking kidding me? He wasn’t even really a Libertarian. I knew Murray well. He was very funny loveable guy. But he’d be the first to tell anyone who asked that he was not a Libertarian, but rather an Anarchist.

    Comment by Eric Dondero — March 30, 2007 @ 8:53 pm
  11. Ahh, well there you go Thane. You’re quoting an Asshole-tarian like L. Neil Smith. You lost me as soon as I saw that jerkoffs name pop up. He ain’t no goddamned Libertarian. He’s some Pot-bellied Anarchist Mountain Man Sci Fi freakoid living in Colorado.

    And while we’re on the subject WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU ANYWAY??

    I’ve never run into your ugly ass on the petitioning trail for the Libertarian Party or libertarian efforts like property rights and marijuana legalization.

    Who died and left you boss? Who appointed you “King of the Libertarians” able to decide who is and who is not “really a Libertarian.”

    If that distinction belongs to anybody, it belongs to the workhorses of the Libertarian movement like me, Scott Kohlaas, Bill Redpath, Jake Witmer, Aaron Starr, Bruce Cohen, Aaron Bitterman, Phil Blumel, Tom Walls, and other Libertarian Stars.

    Not to dumbfuck lazy-asses like you who wouldn’t know a clipboard if it hit you upside your ugly-ass head.

    Comment by Eric Dondero — March 30, 2007 @ 8:58 pm
  12. Dondero Gone Wild

    Comment by Jason Pye — March 30, 2007 @ 10:21 pm
  13. Yeah, so what Jason. Yeah, I admit it. I’ve got a 6 of Miller Lite by my side. But I’m still making sense with a beer buzz, than your ugly ass on your best day sober.

    Comment by Eric Dondero — March 30, 2007 @ 10:36 pm
  14. There you go, Dondero. Show your anger!!!

    Comment by Jason Pye — March 30, 2007 @ 10:50 pm
  15. Eric,

    You need to mellow out, man… You should smoke some reefer instead of drinking. Just don’t let Rudy catch you, he’ll throw your ass in jail for it!

    Because he’s such a libertarian that he wants to ruthlessly prosecute the drug war, like in NY, where marijuana prosecution skyrocketed while he was mayor.

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — March 30, 2007 @ 10:56 pm
  16. Mr. Dondero, should the day come where Rudy Giuliani be elected and he reduces the amount of federal government to some substantial amount less than it is now, I would be pleased, if very much surprised.

    If you have managed to throw some chock blocks under the wheels of those governments who presume to rob me, you and the guy down the street in order to arrest and incarcerate various and sundry people who have decided for themselves what medicines and plants they wish to partake of even if said medicines or plants are not recommended by the government then great, please accept my commendations of your pro-freedom efforts.

    If you have managed to inhibit the oppressive powers of government to rob people of their land by the thuggish methodologies of eminent domain and excessive taxation, again please accept my commendations for your pro-freedom efforts.

    I don’t claim that my efforts are greater than yours and if somehow your insight into Rudy Giuliani’s character and committment to reduced government is greater than mine, I could manage to live with that defect and maybe, in time correct it.

    As for being “King of the Libertarians”, part of the marketplace of ideas means that I don’t have to accept anybodys royal assertion that Rudy Giuliani is a libertarian. Continue to make assertions about Mr. Giuliani, but come now, part of believing in the marketplace means that you permit those people who don’t agree with you to make their point and if you are right and I am wrong then all thinking individuals will be laughing at me as they read the debate (again, IF I am wrong).

    Frankly if Mr. Giuliani does believe in limited government it doesn’t matter if anybody but you and the parties you have mentined choose to call Mr. Giuliani a libertarian or not. Actions speak louder than words. The US voting public seems to have recognized that many current Republicans have a pretty lousy committment to walking the walk when it comes to limiting government and choose to replace many of them in the 2006 elections with Democrats. I am unconvinced that Mr. Giuliani, a Republican, deserves to be labelled a libertarian.

    If Mr. Giuliani is a libertarian he shouldn’t have much of a hard time proving it but I have yet to hear him claim to be a libertarian. Why you feel he needs to be labeled as a libertarian when he doesn’t use the label to describe himself is beyond me.

    Mr. Giuliani’s official site makes no mention of the word marijuana (according to a google search). Perhaps you can bring to our attention what his thoughts are on the topic of the drug war. Please Mr. Dondero, enlighten us on the topic. His “on the issues” page seems to be missing a section on that topic.

    Mr. Giuliani’s official site makes no mention of the term “limited government” (according to a google search). I am skeptical of Mr. Giuliani’s being worthy of being called a libertarian. I have every reason to be concerned about his previous actions as head chearleader in favor of suing gun manufacturers in 2000 as Mayor of New York City, don’t you? I have deep reservations with using the term libertarian to describe someone who has so far failed to proclaim his opposition to the war on drug users, don’t you?

    There are 21 months left until election day and I welcome Mr. Giuliani’s future declaration that he endorses the idea that peaceful drug users and plant growers should be left alone. But just because I would welcome such a declaration doesn’t mean that I am going to believe it is going to happen, not that such a turnabout can’t occur, after all look at former congressman and drug war advocate Bob Barr, now a REAL and enthusiastic Libertarian supporter.

    If the term Republican or conservative still held any amount of widespread recognition as meaning that one is committed to limited government then you would not need or want to try to paste a figurative libertarian bumper sticker on Mr. Giuliani’s polical car, it would already be there.

    Lastly, you mention and label L. Neil Smith as an anarchist. Is that a bad thing?

    As for L. Neil Smith being pot-bellied mountain man, is that a bad thing?

    As for L. Neil Smith being a resident of Colorado who writes science fiction books, is that a bad thing?

    I am not sure by what definition L. Neil Smith qualifies as being a freakoid, but is that a bad thing? Please Mr. Dondero, enlighten us.

    Comment by Thane Eichenauer — March 31, 2007 @ 1:11 am
  17. Firstly, L. Neil Smith:

    Being an Anarchist? Yes, a bad thing since he poses as a Libertaian, and misrepresents our movement. Pot-bellied? Semi-bad. From Colorado? You’re right here, definitely not a bad thing. Probably his only redeeming quality.

    Giuliani? I’ll say this again for the millionth time. Rudy Giuliani is a MODERATE LIBERTARIAN!!! That means he straddles the line between the Centrist and Libertarian Quadrants on the New Political Spectrum. In that, he’s like Jack Kemp, Jeb Bush, David Dreier, Arnold, and other Centrist Libertarians or Libertarian Centrists.

    I would argue, that that’s the VERY BEST WE COULD EVER HOPE FOR IN OUR LIFETIMES!!

    We will NEVER get anyone elected President who is more than a 60/60 Libertarian-leaner, and it’s completely our faults.

    We SUCK in marketing. 90% of all Libertarians are Computer Geeks completely and totally out of touch with Middle America.

    What’s the percentage of Libertarian Blacks? .5%, maybe?

    What’s the percentage of Libertarian Hispanics? .2%, I’d guess.

    What’s the perecentage of cops or firemen who are Libertarians? .3%, maybe?

    What’s the percentage of Libertarian Nurses? Libertarian Bus Drivers? Libertarians who work in Auto Plants?

    You get my point.

    We offer NOTHING to Middle America. And as a result, Middle America disdains us, and rightfully so.

    Until we learn how to Mainstream our movement, we have NO RIGHT WHATSOEVER, to bitch and complain about how “so and so is not libertarian enough.”

    Of course they are not. It would be political suicide for them to be more libertarian.

    What in the bloody hell do we libertarians have to offer a guy like Giuliani? Where’s our voting constituency?

    Badnarik, Browne and even Ron Paul have proved over the last two decades that our constituency counts for a grand total of about 400,000 votes. That’s about .3% of the Electorate.

    Again, why in the hell would a guy like Giuliani want to spend his time and effort busting his ass to get that .3%? He doesn’t need to cater to us. And until we show him our voting strength, and show him why it would be to his advantage, I don’t blame him or any other politician for ignoring us.

    What’s amazing at all is that the Giuliani campaign is paying any attention to us, at all.

    (Listen to the interview I did with one of his top spokesmans the other night at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/libertarian.)

    Comment by Eric Dondero — March 31, 2007 @ 10:39 am
  18. Eric,

    He’s not even 60/60. Ontheissues.org puts him at 58% fiscal, 55% social.

    This from an organization that lists Sam Brownback as a libertarian-leaning conservative, and who blows the doors off Rudy on fiscal conservatism (75% to Rudy’s 58%). Yet a REAL libertarian like Ron Paul only scores 58% social, 65% fiscal.

    To put it bluntly, I don’t believe ontheissues.org is a fair representation of any of these candidates. If I were choosing a candidate based on what ontheissues.org tells me, I’d be voting Brownback in 2008.

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — March 31, 2007 @ 10:59 am
  19. Most of this, my fellow contributors and I have already been over most of your ramblings Eric but you’ve added some new rambling this morning:

    We offer NOTHING to Middle America. And as a result, Middle America disdains us, and rightfully so.

    Middle America believes in fiscal responsibility and they tend to be federalist on social issues. They don’t want to go as far as say we do on this blog on cutting spending, but they don’t want their money pissed away on wasteful social programs and handouts to special interests. Middle America, while they tend to be live and let live types, don’t want their sons and daughters smoking crack, getting pregnant and having abortions, and watching porn at 7PM at night. Neither Big L Losertarianism nor Eric Dondero’s sex and dopetarianism will connect with Middle America.

    Until we learn how to Mainstream our movement, we have NO RIGHT WHATSOEVER, to bitch and complain about how “so and so is not libertarian enough.”

    That’s what Jon Henke, Dale Franks, Bruce McQuain, Glenn Reynolds, Dave Kopel, Neal Boortz, Larry Elder, the RLC, the Cato Institute, the Institue for Justice, Americans for Limited Government, Reason magazine, the Neolibertarian Network, the Life, Liberty, and Property blog community, and many others have been doing. They do it by showing that libertarians, classical liberals, and limited-government conservatives do have real solutions to today’s problems while preserving (and even expanding) liberty. We do it without compromising principles or bringing up the stereotypes of libertarians being basically Republicans who love drugs.

    What in the bloody hell do we libertarians have to offer a guy like Giuliani?

    Wrong question to ask, the right question is: What in the bloody hell does Giuliani offer to libertarians?

    Where’s our voting constituency?

    About 15% according to the Cato Institute. Enough to swing an election, just ask the Republicans in 2006.

    Comment by Kevin — March 31, 2007 @ 11:09 am
  20. Oh, Eric, while you’re at it, you might want to understand what an appeal to authority is, and why it’s called a logical fallacy.

    I think I’ve poked enough holes in ontheissues.org to deflate your claim that they’re a reasonable test of whether Giuliani is a libertarian. Beyond that, you’ve got endorsements from other politicians.

    How about you actually tell us *WHY* Rudy is a libertarian, based on his, you know, ACTUAL STATED POLICIES. He’s a moderate fiscal conservative, yes. What else ya got?

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — March 31, 2007 @ 11:11 am
  21. Pro-Choice.

    Nuff said.

    Comment by Eric Dondero — March 31, 2007 @ 4:14 pm
  22. Right question Kevin:

    Again, what in the hell do we Libertarians have to offer a guy like Rudy Giuliani, or any other Presidential candidate for that matter?

    Your deflection, shows you don’t have an answer.

    Comment by Eric Dondero — March 31, 2007 @ 4:16 pm
  23. You say my views “won’t connect with American voters.”

    What’s the last thing a blue collar guy needs after 8 hours working at the plant, driving home from work?

    A friggin’ ticket from some asshole cop for not wearing his seat belt.

    There’s other hassles like drinking age laws, laws against smoking at bars, illegal private use of marijuana, and missing paperwork for a deduction on taxes and such.

    These are “nuiscance laws.” If we libertarians focused more on such items, and less on boring-ass arcane issues like FBI spying or lawerly garbara like Habeus Corpus, perhaps we could make a genuine connection with that hardworking blue collar guy.

    My “Blue Collar Libertarianism” makes the connection.

    Your “Ivory Tower Libertarianism” clearly does not.

    Comment by Eric Dondero — March 31, 2007 @ 4:22 pm
  24. Eric,

    What do we have to offer Giuliani? Our vote, if he’s worthy of it.

    As to your other points, what does Rudy think of seat belt laws, drinking age laws, laws about the private usage of marijuana, laws against smoking in bars, etc?

    Does he take the libertarian POV on ANY of these issues?

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — March 31, 2007 @ 4:43 pm
  25. It seems pretty evident that there is nothing particularly interesting to be found in Rudy Guiliani’s position on the war on drugs (I’ve asked Eric Dondero to enlighten us on the topic but apparently there isn’t anybody who believes Mr. Giuliani is anything but a orthodox Republican on that topic), the war on guns (and I haven’t seen any references on that topic that leads me to believe that Mr. Giuliani scores anything but *several* strokes below par on that topic) or the war on Iraq (no mention of “Iraq war” by google was found on his official site). The US Constitution gets 1 reference on Rudy Giuliani’s web site which is about what I expect from an average orthodox Republican.

    If one less intrusive seat belt law is what Eric Dondero thinks is the tipping point for the average voter, blue collar or otherwise, then great. If Eric Dondero thinks that Rudy Giuliani is the best that can be hoped for that is up to him to decide. It isn’t enough for me and when the day Rudy Giuliani comes to my town and offers me the same Republican kool aid that Eric Dondero apparently has been drinking, I’m going to say “Heck no!”

    If Rudy Giuiliani is, according to Eric Dondero, properly quadranted near Arnold Schwarzenegger as an example of what people should expect of a Centrist Libertarian or a Libertarian Centrist then my concern about Republican faux Libertarian stink is further justified. Let Rudy Giuliani and others of his ilk stick to calling themselves fiscally conservative pro-choice Republicans. Being pro-choice and supply side on taxes doesn’t add anywhere near enough points in my book to qualify Mr. Giuliani as any kind of libertarian unless a given person feels that just being pro-life and in favor of lower taxes is all there is to being labeled a libertarian.

    Today I went to see a Republican Presidential candidate speak in person who is willing to state that he is a libertarian, that he opposes laws prohibiting people from ingesting what they will, states that our government is not and should not be relied upon for pretty near anything save those responsibilities listed in the US Constitution (and even then should be graded poorly as 9/11 evidences), asserts that the federal government needs to get out of people’s business, believes that the IRS should be abolished, is willing to critique the US Federal Reserve System and explicitly states his opposition to the occupation of Iraq. That libertarian Republican candidate for President is called Congressman Ron Paul.
    http://www.ronpaul2008.com/

    Comment by Thane Eichenauer — March 31, 2007 @ 9:41 pm
  26. What’s the last thing a blue collar guy needs after 8 hours working at the plant, driving home from work?

    A friggin’ ticket from some asshole cop for not wearing his seat belt.

    How about not having his e-mail read by government agents, his entertainment choices censored by government, and having his phone conversations snooped on by government agents. Libertarianism is more than about just fighting nuisance laws.

    There’s other hassles like drinking age laws, laws against smoking at bars, illegal private use of marijuana, and missing paperwork for a deduction on taxes and such.

    Actually, most blue collar Americans and Americans of all collars are more concerned about making sure their children are not drinking, toking, smoking, and fucking than ensuring it is easier to do all of the above. The key is making sure we can expand the ability for adults to engage in these consensual activities without state interference while making sure their children do not have access to these items.

    My “ivory tower” libertarianism (I don’t even consider myself a libertarian by the way) better connects with the average American than your sex and dopetarianism that only cares about well sex and drugs at the expense of checking government power.

    Comment by Kevin — March 31, 2007 @ 10:20 pm
  27. is willing to critique the US Federal Reserve System

    Thane, with all due respect, Milton Friedman would strongly disagree with you and Ron Paul about the Fed.

    Comment by Kevin — March 31, 2007 @ 10:22 pm
  28. I am aware that Milton Friedman’s belief was that the US Federal Reserve was OK and compared to many government central banks the world has seen plenty worse run systems. Ron Paul is a gold standard fan and given a choice I would favor that over the status quo we have now. I want a world where the concept of a black box money system is discussed and critiqued for its flaws. I want full disclosure for the Federal Reserve. At most I think 2 of the 10 person federal legislative contingent from Arizona is aware of why I and others object to the Federal Reserve (and I am not terribly sure of 1 of the 2/10th’s (Shadegg)).

    So the day I see Rudy Giuliani actually bring up and substantively address the topic of the US Federal Reserve that will be another surprising day.

    Comment by Thane Eichenauer — April 1, 2007 @ 3:04 am
  29. Instead of
    “given person feels that just being pro-life and in favor of lower taxes is all there is to being labeled a libertarian.”
    I had intended to say
    “given person feels that just being pro-choice and in favor of lower taxes is all there is to being labeled a libertarian.”

    Comment by Thane Eichenauer — April 1, 2007 @ 3:15 am
  30. Hah. Government power my ass.

    Let me ask you something Kevin. Do you personally know anybody who even knows anybody who has ever been snooped on by the Feds?

    I don’t.

    It’s a totally arcane, fringe issue that effects virtually Nobody.

    The only people is does effect is that asshole College Professor from the Univ. of Tampa who was caught spying for Al Quada, under the guise of “Charitable donations to good, upstanding Palestinian Relief Organizations” and others like him.

    I say good! We need to be spying on asshole American-hating Immigrants like that.

    Come to think of it, we don’t even need a trial for them. Deport their ugly asses IMMEDIATELY.

    You seem to be totally unconcerned with the threats this Nation faces from Islamo-Fascism.

    It’s one thing to be concerned about civil liberties. Quite another to be willing to let your fellow citizens die at the hands of people who want to convert us or kill us, just so some schuck Islamo-Fascist spy posing as a mild mannered college professor “keeps all his rights.”

    Comment by Eric Dondero — April 1, 2007 @ 8:39 am
  31. Fine Thane. Tell you what. Cast your vote for the Libertarian Presidential candidate in 2008.

    Hey, I’d much prefer to vote Libertarian. But the LP keeps nominating No Name, No Celebrity, No Resume schmucks like Harry Browne, and Michael Badnarik.

    Wayne Allyn Root may be running for the LP Nomiantion. Doug Stanhope may, as well. But neither one has formally declared yet. Both seem tepid cause of the extremism and “out of the mainstream-ism” of the Libertarian Party.

    I’d support either one of them if they were to run.

    But it’s getting late. I’m baffled as to why Wayne or Doug has not jumped in?

    So, what we’re left with is the likelyhood of Losertarians like George Phillies, Steve Kubby or Christine Smith.

    Not a single one of them has ever held elective office. Not one of the three has even been elected dog catcher. They have no money behind them. They have ZERO celebrity.

    Well, Kubby has may .0001% celebrity having gotten a few articles written about him in the 1990s for the Marijuana deal. But did you know that Kubby is unable to campaign cause of his parole status in 28 states? And his campaign manager Tom Knapp was begging for $10.00 contributions the other day on a on-line Libertarian Board, so that they could afford gas money for Kubby to get to the Oregon LP Convention. Is that pathetic or what?

    And Phillies? Oh my God! Nice guy. But he’s about the most ultimate Geek you’d ever meet in your life. The guy is a horrible public speaker. He takes forever to make a point. Talks as slow as an injured Toirtose on Galagapos.

    You go right ahead and vote for a Losertarian in 2008.

    Hey, at least you’ll have your principles, right?

    Never mind the vote total of 276,143 votes. You can just ignore that. You’ll be a “winner” cause you’ll still have your principles.

    Comment by Eric Dondero — April 1, 2007 @ 8:49 am
  32. Brad,

    That’s the whole damn point. This is sooooo frustrating. You almost got it. But you missed it at the end.

    YES, what we have to offer Giuliani and other Presidential candidates is OUR VOTES.

    But that’s the whole point. OUR VOTES AREN’T WORTH SHIT!!!

    The Cato Institute can come out with all the policy studies they want trying to prove that — ahem, ahem — “Fully 14% of the American Electorate could be categorized as fiscally conservative/socially tolerant, so they are essentially libertarian.” Nobody buys that. I’d love to buy into that. But even I’m skeptical.

    What political professionals do buy into is hard statistics.

    And the cold hard fact is that the Libertarian Presidential Vote for 2004 was a grand total of:

    390,000

    I may be wrong here, but that’s about .25% of the entire American electorate.

    Do you honestly think that Giuliani or any other Presidential candidate should concern themselves with jumping through hoops to reach .25% of the American electorate?

    Okay, maybe it’s worth their time to make a phone call or two to the Libertarian Party National Chairman, or to a Libertarian Radio Talk Show Host or two. But to attend an LP Convention? To spend precious campaign funds on a mass mailer to all the 20,000 Libertarian Party members in the Nation asking them for their support?

    Gimmee a break.

    Essentially, because of jerkoff Presidential candidates like Badnarik and Browne, we have screamed to all the Political Professionals in the country; WE CAN’T DELIEVER ANY VOTES SO YOU SHOULD JUST IGNORE US.

    Now, if we were in the Ed Clark range, it might be different. Clark got about 1 million votes in 1980, 1.1% of the entire American Electorate at the time. That’s not something to be ignored.

    But we’ve reached that level a grand total of ONE TIME!!

    Unfortunately, nobody remembers Clark. When people think of the Libertarian Party today, they think of Harry Browne and that “Badnarik fellow.” And this is inevitably followed by the remark, “they didn’t do so well now did they?”

    Until the Libertarian Party gets serious and runs a Celebrity candidate or a well-known Politician like Wayne Root, Doug Stanhope or even Bob Barr, Nobody is going to care about reaching out to get the Libertarian vote.

    Comment by Eric Dondero — April 1, 2007 @ 9:01 am
  33. Eric,

    Are you even reading what you’re posting?

    Republicans won’t pay attention to Libertarians until they have a concrete reason to. Thus, we should vote for Giuliani who doesn’t care about us, instead of voting Libertarian to make the Republicans start paying attention to us?

    Seriously. If your point is that Republicans don’t take Libertarians seriously, that’s an argument that we SHOULD vote for Libertarians, not vote for an authoritarian Republican like Rudy who isn’t even close to being a libertarian.

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — April 1, 2007 @ 9:40 am
  34. When it came time to count the Florida votes for President in 2000 (according to Wikipedia) the difference in Florida was 0.01% and that made the difference in that election and so any particular fraction of 0.25% seems like a worthwhile hunk of people to appeal to (or at least consider).

    Libertarian votes, moreso than any other votes, are not *delivered* they are earned. Those votes may go to Ron Paul or the Libertarian Party nominee, whosoever has shown themselves to be the most committed to increasing personal freedom.

    On Steve Kubby, I am aware of his parole status and I hope he uses my recent $20 contribution to educate my fellow Americans on why the marijuana prohibition issue is important. I am proud of my contribution to the Steve Kubby campaign and I have nothing by admiration for Mr. Knapp’s begging for $10 contributions if it keeps one person from being arrested for marijuana possession.
    http://www.kubby2008.com/

    On George Phillies, I have heard the critiques you mention before and I believe he will use my recent $20 contribution to educate my fellow Americans on why Liberarian ideals are deserving of their support.
    http://phillies2008.org/

    Ron Paul, more than ever, deserves my recent $20 contribution as well as my father’s $4 contribution.

    Every contribution I have made has been made to a candidate whose committment to the idea of personal freedom is unmistakeable and who has shown through their words and actions that he supports less government.

    I would welcome a candidate with celebrity power but candidates for President choose themselves. The current list of Presidential candidates with a bona fide committment to personal freedoms beyond seat belt laws, the now obligatory and perfunctory Republican statement that he “supports the second amendment” and a belief in supply side economics doesn’t include Rudy Giuliani. (Is there even a reference that Rudy Giuliani opposes seat belt laws Mr. Dondero?)

    Mr. Dondero, go ahead and continue working on Mr. Giuliani. He may yet undergo a Bob Barr type turnaround in time for the 2012 election cycle as a result of your effort. For now though Rudy Giuliani’s support of personal freedom and limited government is far too tepid to inspire my support.

    Mr. Dondero, I know (as should you) plenty of average Joe “blue collar” reasons why a candidate should support an end to the war on drugs. Let me encourage you to get ahold of one of Rudy Giuliani’s people so you can report back to the world what his current beliefs are on the topic of drug prohibition (and suggest that he get that belief put on his web site in black and white).

    Keep on in your efforts to reduce government oppression Mr. Dondero, there is plenty of it ongoing that needs to be rebuffed so that blue collar Americans as well as Ivory Tower Libertarians can keep our hard earned money instead of having tax money go to drug war incarceration camps and so that people’s lives aren’t disrupted by the ATF because it needs one more arrest of a peaceable American on the say-so of a “confidential informant” to make their quarterly arrest stats so that the Bureau can claim a customary budget increase next year justified by their “productivity”.

    Comment by Thane Eichenauer — April 1, 2007 @ 12:46 pm
  35. For all you “Giuliani is a libertarian skeptics” out there. This from today’s Boston Herald:

    ”There is a genuineness to Giuliani that is missing in every other candidate except for perhaps McCain,” said Bob Chaffee of Portsmouth.

    Chaffee said he already had a good opinion of Giuliani from his conduct on Sept. 11, 2001, and afterward. He said seeing Giuliani live cemented that.

    Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is ”not libertarian enough for me,” Chaffee said. ”Giuliani brings a combination of positions that appeal to moderate Republicans, independents, moderate Democrats, where Romney is a little too focused on appealing to the conservative wing of the Republican Party.”

    Comment by Eric Dondero — April 4, 2007 @ 2:20 pm
  36. Rudy Giuliani: Public Funding For Abortion Is A Constitutional Right…

    In an interview with CNN political reporter Dana Bush, Republican Presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani said that he still supports public funding for abortions for poor women:
    TALLAHASSEE, Florida (CNN) — Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani …

    Trackback by The Liberty Papers — April 4, 2007 @ 3:31 pm
  37. Eric,

    Your entire argument seems to boil down to this one fact:

    People (who may or may not have a real understanding of what libertarianism actually is) are calling Rudy Giuliani a libertarian, therefore he’s a libertarian.

    Rather than arguing against you, I’ve decided to adopt your logic.

    Henceforth, I would like to be referred to as “incredibly wealthy”

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — April 4, 2007 @ 3:32 pm
  38. “Scoop and Dump” for President.

    What a sham, just another establishment cheerleader. Another wolf wearing sheep clothing.

    Comment by Chris — April 4, 2007 @ 4:49 pm
  39. Rudy “Eric Dondero” Giuliani is not a Libertarian. I’m sorry guys, that would be like calling Milton Friedman a Libertarian. Besides, Ron Paul is already running for president so we already have a Libertarian Republican candidate.

    Comment by blardy — April 5, 2007 @ 1:46 pm
  40. I’m sorry guys, that would be like calling Milton Friedman a Libertarian.

    Blardy, he was one so what was your point?

    Comment by Kevin — April 5, 2007 @ 5:29 pm
  41. Kevin, he wasn’t one, so what was your point?

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/rothbard/rothbard43.html

    Comment by blardy — April 5, 2007 @ 7:54 pm
  42. Ah, so Murray Rothbard read Friedman out of the libertarian movement as well. That doesn’t weaken the case that Friedman was a libertarian.

    http://www.reason.com/news/show/118494.html

    Comment by Kevin — April 5, 2007 @ 10:55 pm
  43. Did you read the article? Here is one gem:

    “One of Friedman’s most disastrous deeds was the important role he proudly played, during World War II in the Treasury Department, in foisting upon the suffering American public the system of the withholding tax.”

    Is that enough? Okay you want more:

    “Yet, Milton Friedman is a radical advocate of cutting all current ties, however weak, with gold, and going onto a total and absolute fiat dollar standard, with all control vested in the Federal Reserve System.* Of course, Friedman would then advise the Fed to use that absolute power wisely, but no libertarian worth the name can have anything but contempt for the very idea of vesting coercive power in any group and then hoping that such group will not use its power to the utmost.”

    And here he sums up Friedman nicely:

    “And wherever we turn, we find Milton Friedman, proposing not measures on behalf of liberty, not programs to whittle away the Leviathan State, but measures to make the power of that State more efficient, and hence, at bottom, more terrible.”

    So he was just a statist that wanted to make the state more efficient. Friedman was not a libertarian.

    Comment by blardy — April 6, 2007 @ 12:19 pm
  44. No wonder people don’t take libertarians seriously. I only hope they don’t stumble across websites as ridiculous as this one. It is an embarrassment to serious libertarians. Good luck to you all.

    Comment by stockwell — April 6, 2007 @ 1:15 pm
  45. Hello. Ron Paul is so not a libertarian. Guiliani isn’t either, that’s clear. Nor is Romney, whom I’m supporting. Among the three names listed, only one of them really calls himself a libertarian. That’s the one I’d never support. Ron Paul gives libertarians a bad name.

    Comment by Sameer Parekh — April 9, 2007 @ 8:16 pm
  46. Fuck Republican, fuck Democrat, fuck Liberatarian! Why can’t people decide for themselves without having to always depend on political parties to tell them who to vote for?!?! It’s pricks like Dondero who are using a completely false association to a fucking PARTY NAME to scam uninformed voters into voting for someone they would probably disagree with given the chance to hear all of his stances on political issues. Let me guess, he has a tie to the Guiliani campaign.

    You know what, fuck it. Unless things change, this country deserves the garbage it votes for.

    Comment by BillHicksGhost — April 11, 2007 @ 3:41 am

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