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

November 26, 2007

Are We All Libertarians Now ?

by Doug Mataconis

As I noted yesterday, Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch wrote in yesterday’s Washington Post about the rise of a libertarian voting bloc, most notably found in the movement that has grown around the Ron Paul campaign.

The more interesting question, though, is whether the American public really is becoming more libertarian, and what that means for the country’s political future.

At Liberal Values, Ron Chusid argues that the ideas that are taking hold with the public resemble libertarianism, but aren’t of the doctrinaire variety that seems to motivate those attracted to Ron Paul’s campaign: 

Libertarianism, especially as advocated by Ron Paul, is not the only pro-freedom philosophy and in some cases does not advocate freedom as seen by most Americans. Most see freedom in terms of how government impacts their lives, not whether the Federal Reserve is ended or American returns to the gold standard. Americans who reject the social policies of the religious right will find many of the same faults in Ron Paul, who denies that the founding fathers envisioned a secular society characterized by separation of church and state and who claims that the founding fathers envisioned the United States as a Christian nation. Paul’s support for federal legislation banning so-called partial birth abortions and legislation to eliminate the legal distinction between a zygote and a fully developed human contradict his claims of both supporting freedom and supporting state’s rights.

Chusid also makes point that I’ve made myself several times, that Federalism and individual liberty are not necessarily the same thing:

The stress for state’s rights is also not what most Americans are looking for when seeking freedom. What matters is the relationship between the individual and government, regardless of level of government. Turning duties performed by the federal government over to the states might sometimes be good, but this is not necessarily a matter of greater freedom. Often it is the reverse. Paul’s lack of acceptance of the 14th Amendment, which extended Constitutional liberties from the federal government to the states, could result in less freedom. It is often necessary to protect the rights of the minority from the majority. It is far easier to gain a majority to restrict liberties in a state or local area as opposed to nationally

As I noted in the comments to this post, the post-Reconstruction history of the South, dominated as it was by Jim Crow and the often brutal suppression of the individual liberties of black Americans, was by it’s very nature entirely a creation of state law and the reluctance of the Federal Government to do what needed to be done to enforce the 14th Amendment.

That’s why, for people who want to restrict the role of government in their lives, the idea of simply transferring power from Washington to, say, Trenton, isn’t entirely attractive.  Additionally, with the Civil War now 140 years in the past, most Americans no longer think of themselves primarily as residents of the state in which they happen to reside but as citizens of the United States — the idea that their home state, assuming they even still live in their home state, deserves some special loyalty is alien to most Americans. Therefore, a political movement based primarily on “states rights” is unlikely to have the appeal that it did even back in the 1950s.

Chusid also notes that Americans haven’t fully accepting the libertarian message because they have come to believe that there are some areas where government is necessary. While I don’t agree with him entirely on this point, it’s hard to deny that this is at least partially true.

Chusid’s argument is similar to the one advance by Cato Institute scholar Brink Lindsey, who has argued that America’s creation of a mass affluence society has established trend that, on the whole, will lead to a political environment that is more skeptical of state intervention but accepts the role of government in the economy at some level.

It’s not a libertarian utopia, but it’s also not another Sweden and that, at least, is a start.

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  • Max

    “why are libertarians in general and Ron Paul in particular only supported by a small minority?”

    “who denies that the founding fathers envisioned a secular society characterized by separation of church and state and who claims that the founding fathers envisioned the United States as a Christian nation”

    “The stress for state’s rights is also not what most Americans are looking for when seeking freedom”

    “which is why many white supremacists and neo-Nazis support Paul”

    “Another reason most Americans do not support libertarians”

    “Support for Ron Paul will also be limited by the belief by Paul and many of his supporters in a number of conspiracy theories”

    God doug whats wrong with you?

    Why do you post this drivel on your blog? Why?

  • http://www.belowthebeltway.com Doug Mataconis

    Max,

    Did you notice that 99% of the quotes you put in your comment come from someone else, not me ?

  • Max

    Let me sum up Ron Chusid article

    Ron Paul supporters are a minority

    Ron Paul dosen’t believe in the separation of church and state

    State’s rights are bad

    white supremacists and neo-Nazis support Paul

    most Americans do not support libertarians

    Ron Paul supporters are conspiracy theorists

    Once again doug, whats wrong with you

  • Max

    Ya dough but you post his non sense and bullshit on your blog

  • http://www.belowthebeltway.com Doug Mataconis

    Max,

    1. Paul’s supporters are a minority.

    2. There’s been plenty written by others on the church-state issue.

    3. State’s don’t have rights, people do. The state of Virginia has no more right to govern my life than anyone else does.

    4. Umm, they have.

    5. And they don’t. Again, look at the polls.

    6. Not all of them, but many seem to be.

    Max, some of us actually are thinking about ways that libertarian ideas can become a part of the mainstream. If you don’t want to participate in that discussion, that’s fine.

  • billy budd

    Doug, the article and your additional comments make some valid points but they also serve to state the obvious. Ron Paul’s idealogy isn’t 100% libertarian.

    What I fail to understand is the constant academic exercise in demonstrating that the glass is half empty instead of half full. Presidental elections have always been a matter of choosing the lesser of all evils. Progress in politics is always made in half steps, baby steps or two forward and one back.

    The trouble I sense with a lot of people who consider themselves pure libertarians is their reluctance to compromise in order to make progress. Indeed, they would rather sit on the side lines for fear of promoting someone who (in their minds) may make them appear foolish or of being included in with other undesirable groups.

    IMO it’s an exercise in cowardice. Sitting here engaging in an intellectual circle jerk relieves you of promoting someone who may end up losing, or end up looking foolish. I don’t think the fear is a matter of Paul giving “true” libertarians a black eye, I think it’s personal ego’s at play and an exaggerated sense of one’s own importance.

    I would submit if Paul was miles ahead in the polls that you wouldn’t splitting hairs to find fault with him. But feel free to sit on the sidelines until there’s a sure winner or for someone who passes your intellectual sniff test at 100%. But please quit throwing stones at those that can see progress being made and are taking positive actions to carry it out.

    Finally, I think your comments on Ron Paul vs the 14th amendment are overstated. It’s not the 1860s nor is it 1960s. Time have changed and so has the culture.

  • Max

    “Paul’s supporters are a minority” Because you’ve polled every person in this country and you know right?

    Doug your a wolf in sheeps clothing

    Your not as bad as the Neo Cons/Libs but you are naive

  • http://www.belowthebeltway.com Doug Mataconis

    Billy,

    The point is — if libertarian ideas are becoming more widely accepted then there must be some reason why Ron Paul is still well below double digits in every poll.

    I happen to think it’s worthwhile to discuss why that’s the case — because the goal here is not to elect one man it’s to make America free-er. As one of my co-contributors said, the fate of America does not depend on electing Ron Paul (or any other one person) President.

    I think your comments on Ron Paul vs the 14th amendment are overstated. It’s not the 1860s nor is it 1960s. Time have changed and so has the culture.

    I checked my copy of the Constitution just to be sure, but the 14th Amendment is still there so I don’t quite understand what you mean here.

    I am opposed to government power over the lives of individuals and it doesn’t matter to me whether that power is exercised in Washington, D.C., Richmond, Virginia, or at the local County Government Center. Appeals to Federalism and state’s rights should be meaningless to someone whose primary concern is individual rights.

  • http://www.belowthebeltway.com Doug Mataconis

    Max,

    Either take the time to put forward a coherent argument or don’t waste my time.

  • Max

    you smug asshole, your not worth my time, your more interested in tearing Ron Paul down than building him up, you wouldn’t even be getting traffic and people wouldn’t be reading your blog if it wasn’t for Ron Paul.

    Hillary/Giuliani ’08 Four more years of the Status Quo!!

  • L. A. Dietz
  • http://www.belowthebeltway.com Doug Mataconis

    Max,

    It’s not my job to build anyone up. I’ve already told you who I intend to vote for in February and that should be all you need to know in that regard.

    At the same time, I am not going to sit back and say nothing while events that will have an impact on what happens to ideas that I care deeply about take place.

  • http://aeleope.blogspot.com/ Scott From Oregon

    It is often necessary to protect the rights of the minority from the majority. It is far easier to gain a majority to restrict liberties in a state or local area as opposed to nationally

    I am opposed to government power over the lives of individuals and it doesn’t matter to me whether that power is exercised in Washington, D.C., Richmond, Virginia, or at the local County Government Center. Appeals to Federalism and state’s rights should be meaningless to someone whose primary concern is individual rights.

    Once again, this “Libertarian Notion” as depicted by the two above quotes demonstrates that true Libertarianism is about as useful as true Communism.

    The idea behind “governance by the people” is to project a set of social values out and into a governmental form. Balancing the rights of individuals with the rights of other individuals is the goal.

    For example- I am allergic to cigarette smoke. My sister has bronchial melt down around cigarette smoke. Our individual rights are violated by those who smoke in buildings we frequent. Government debates this issue, and decides that my rights and my sister’s rights, in this case, are more important than the rights of a polluting smoker, and a law is passed. The true Libertarian would argue that government (by the concensus of the governed) has no right to intervene.

    So the true Libertarian argument, for me, means having my rights violated, forced out of buildings, off airplanes…

    Not to mention other obvious notions like speed limits and drinking and driving– how my rights get violated when I am killed on a government-free freeway…

    So I accept governence. And I argue, that sane people do too.

    The question is where to focus the point of power, and I say as close to home as possible.

    That way, I can drive down to see the guy who tries to make the rules and have a word or two with him.

    The one-size-fits-all Federal system doesn’t please anybody, but at the state level, there is more personal and regional input, resulting in better governance and representation.

    Ron Paul wants to go in that direction. I say, let us follow him there.

  • Max

    “while events that will have an impact on what happens to ideas that I care deeply about take place.”

    The biggest threat to this country Doug is The Military Industrial Complex that has a stranglehold on this country, but thats just a conspiracy theory right?

  • Tammy

    For example- I am allergic to cigarette smoke. My sister has bronchial melt down around cigarette smoke. Our individual rights are violated by those who smoke in buildings we frequent. Government debates this issue, and decides that my rights and my sister’s rights, in this case, are more important than the rights of a polluting smoker, and a law is passed. The true Libertarian would argue that government (by the concensus of the governed) has no right to intervene.

    So the true Libertarian argument, for me, means having my rights violated, forced out of buildings, off airplanes…

    I so love when people bring up their “rights” in arguments such banning smoking… especially since they tend to totally disregard property rights.

    If a person wants to allow smoking on his property, then they should be allowed to do so (and that goes for all business since they are private property open to the public, not public property).

    Someone allow smoking on their property in no way violates your rights… unless you think you have some right to their property.

  • gmason08

    Max,

    I do not know how long you have been reading Doug/”Liberty Papers” so the quote below from Doug’s Bio may assist your insight into the true reality of Doug re: Ron Paul:

    “But then, September 11th happened. Call me a pro-war libertarian who watched the Twin Towers fall live on television. All I know is that the evidence is clear that Western Civilization is in a fight for its own survival right now. Following the naive foreign policy advocated by the Libertarian Party and its pacifist allies is, quite frankly, a prescription for suicide.”

  • gmason08

    P.S. the above reality goes for others here on the “Liberty Papers”.

  • gmason08

    BTW-The same is true regarding the blog OTB-“Outside the Beltway”. Both “Liberty Papers” and OTB are to Liberty and the Status Quo as is the “Patriot Act” is to the Founder’s idea of patriotism.

  • Max

    How about the Neo Liberty Papers? Rofl Better Name?

    Hey doug, what country attacked us on 9/11 could you refresh my memory?

  • http://thelibertypapers.org/2005/11/22/a-bit-about-kevin/ Kevin

    gmason08,

    I think I can comfortably speak for Doug when I say that there is no disconnect between supporting aggressive actions against Islamic fundamentalists and opposing the War in Iraq.

  • Max

    Kevin maybe you can help out?

    What country attacked us on 9/11?

  • L. A. Dietz

    “But then”, the Maine/Lusitania/Pearl Harbour/Tomkin/Liberty etc “happened”

    Hence Pulitzer/Hearst/Mahan etc vs Thomas B. Reed and so on, and on, and on …

  • Max

    What did I say yesterday doug..

    Ron Paul: the brothel candidate

    http://hotair.com/archives/2007/11/26/ron-paul-the-brothel-candidate/

    “Paul is mainly drawing his support from the left and from libertines like the brothel owner here, as well as fringe miscreants like Stormfront. We don’t need them attached to the GOP”

    Not surprising looking at the scum pushing it, your no better than them doug

  • http://thelibertypapers.org/2005/11/22/a-bit-about-kevin/ Kevin

    Max,

    No country attacked us on 9/11. A stateless entity, Al-Qaeda, attacked the United States on September 11. Al-Qaeda was being harbored by the Taliban government in Afghanistan.

    Happy now.

  • Max

    “A stateless entity” as you describe Al Qaeda, how about an Ideology, ive heard a lot of people call it that to. Is that fair to say?

  • gmason08

    Kevin, true Freedom means allowing all the right to promote narrow interest agendas that are anti-Liberty. It also means such individuals are free to attempt to hide their true agendas. It also means those that are entrusted/obligated to ensure the health of true Liberty must and are free to call anti-Liberty Spades what they are: anti-Liberty Spades. I support your right to use your freedom to pursue any agenda you wish Kevin. However, I (and most regulars here) have no illusions as to your true agenda. I would have some respect for you if you were forthright in declaring where you wish to go and then supporting your view to the best of your ability. As it stands you seek to play your fellow Americans as suckers to be duped into following course that is against their best interests.

  • uhm

    Paranoia runs high here. This is an entertaining site! There needs to be a conspiracy theory that unites the people hiding under their beds worrying about any and all muslims but the ones who do want to kill them and Alex Jones followers.

    Strange that neolibertarians support open borders yet they are xenophobic concerning muslims. I hope we secure our oil interest at least or the Iraq war would be completely a waste of time.

  • Max

    “I hope we secure our oil interest at least or the Iraq war would be completely a waste of time”

    Are you serious? Our Oil interest? So we should invade Oil rich country’s to secure Oil for ourselves? Im sure the founding fathers would love that idea

  • Luther

    “Appeals to Federalism and state’s rights should be meaningless to someone whose primary concern is individual rights.”

    Ron Paul has stated repeatedly, and his voting record bears out the fact that his primary concern is obeying his oath of office to “…support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that [he] will bear true faith and allegiance to the same…” He and his millions of supporters understand that the founding document contains within it the requisite restraints on government power to ensure the existence of free, peaceful, and prosperous society. Where the original text provides inadequate protection of individual liberty, an amendment process has ingeniously been provided by the Founders so that the people may alter it according to the evolving societal values, such as was done with slavery and women’s suffrage. That is why fidelity to the Constitution is of primary importance. Ron Paul has never said that tyranny by the states is acceptable but by the federal government it is not; he simply believes that a system of federalism (most laws, regulations, taxes, and social programs instituted at state and local levels) is the best way to keep government limited and accountable to the people.

  • gmason08

    The following is very important for all true Ron Paul supporters to bear in mind as they consume media pieces in general and “Liberty Papers” stuff in particular:

    (Kudos to Kevin Houston for providing an excellent summary to the primary tactics used by the anti-RP/Liberty/perpetuate the Status Quo crowd. Please disseminate widely.)

    Please allow me to explain it to you Doug.

    If you look at the anti-Paul blogs with an open mind, they break down into 2 basic kinds:

    1) Honest disagreement with Paul’s positions. these people (usually Left-liberals) like social security, the Federal reserve, medicare, etc. (although, to be fair, there are some neocons who are pro-war, pro-big government as well) The pro-Paul comments are the usual re-hash of Liberal Vs Conservative (or Libertarian Vs Neocon) debate, and for the most part are reasoned, civil, and polite albeit few in number.

    Then there is the other kind….

    2) Smear and/or hit pieces that revolve around:
    a) Who is donating to the Ron Paul campaign or which radio show he is appearing on and what scumbags they are (and therefore so is Dr. Paul)
    b) What Paul did or didn’t write in a newsletter 15 years ago, and is he a closet racist or a closet anti-semite because he wants to stop giving aid to Israel.
    c) Some vote of Rep. Paul’s that seems at odds with his stated philosophy based solely on the title of the bill (but which, upon closer inspection really is a corporate welfare bill or regulates things the feds have no business regulating – Net neutrality bill comes to mind as prime example – but earmark issue falls in here too.)
    d) Are (gross or subtle) distortions of his campaign issues such as calling him an isolationist, saying he blamed America for 9/11, saying he wants to abolish the Federal reserve and put America back on the gold standard, saying he wants to end Social Security and kick the old people into the street, saying he wants to criminalize abortion nationwide, or saying he favors selling meth and crack to five-year old sex-workers.

    It is the second kind of blog article that attracts the nasty responses and I for one don’t blame them.

    Here is what I am talking about:

    from your first example:

    running less of a “libertarian” campaign than a pacifist, … appeal to the old paranoid, and racist pseudo-conservatives.

    ally with 9/11 and various other conspiracy theorists, southern secessionists, Nazis and fascists, anti-Semites and racists

    Second example:

    The Ron Paul campaign has unfortunately become a gathering place for 9/11 “Truther” morons, racists, neo-Nazis, Southern secessionists, fascists, conspiracy theorists, wannabe authoritarians, Birchers, and nativists that I do not want to be associated with. Worst of all, the candidate himself knows about these err….outside of the mainstream supporters and he refuses to publically repudiate them and refund the donations from the most high profile ones.

    (the “wannabe authoritarians” clause is laughable on it’s face. the rest of it makes sound as if ONLY these low-life people hang out with Ron Paul.)

    your third example:

    And that’s why anyone who considers themselves a libertarian or classical liberal should have nothing to do with Stormfront, David Duke, or anyone of their ilk.

    Each of these is an ad-hominem attack of the guilt-by-association variety (although the third one is more subtle, and is dressed up like a reasonably constructive criticism but the final paragraph makes it clear that the author is trying to put forth the meme that Ron Paul is associating with Nazis instead of the truth – which is that the Nazis are associating with him.)

    The neocon anti-Paul brigade is following the general template of: write something insulting and / or untrue about Ron Paul and then complain that Paul’s supporters descend in droves to call you names and “see how nasty and ill-tempered they are? Why, who could support a man with such people as these supporting him?” when, in fact, the author never really was a supporter of Dr. Paul’s (Redstate for example) and is nothing more than a shill (paid or volunteer – makes no difference) for some other candidate.

    Our goal is not to persuade, but to refute and discourage. These authors would never vote for Ron Paul in the first place, so who cares if we are turning them off.
    Later.
    Comment by Kevin Houston — November 25, 2007 @ 12:26 pm

  • Benjamin

    Gmason08,
    “But then, September 11th happened. Call me a pro-war libertarian who watched the Twin Towers fall live on television. All I know is that the evidence is clear that Western Civilization is in a fight for its own survival right now. Following the naive foreign policy advocated by the Libertarian Party and its pacifist allies is, quite frankly, a prescription for suicide.”

    So accepting the current policy of stay the course Iraq and advance into Iran is not a prescription for suicide…Oh wait i guess its not suicide since its only our troops who are dying is it? I think we’ve forgotten who planned and takes credit for the attack on Sept 11th not the country of Iraq or Iran but the select few that we have seemed to accelerated the ranks of those folks by our invading and imposing way of governing on this country. Dick Cheney said 9/11 changed everything but it didn’t change reality, that’s what we forgotten when we went into Iraq without no real debate about preemptive war on this country. The good evil black white concept doesn’t seem to work with countries when we’re talking about individuals. Even when Ronald Reagan called the Soviets “The Evil Empire”, yet in every single speech he went out of his way to emphasize how urgently he believed it was necessary to avoid military conflict with the Soviets. He was in a way desperate to achieve a negotiated peace with the Soviet Union meeting with Gorbachev many times and made agreements with him. If you look at the people (and I’m not saying Gmason08 is one of them) now defending these Bush policies who claim there are these people that we can’t possibly negotiate with and we need to wage a series of war one after the other calling those who think rational are some how appeasers of the Neo-Nazi Germany such as Iran. That we who are find all the options against war and keep War as a last result are the new Nebel Chamberlain and that we are guilty of indifference of evil. If you go back and look at the debates in the 1980’s these same people now hold up Ronald Reagan as their icon, but thats not what they were saying about Ronald Reagan in the 1980s they were calling him the Nebel Chamberlain of our country and Newt Gingrich the meeting he had with Gorbachev were most dangerous meetings since Nebel Chamberlain went and met with the chancellor of Germany. Ronald Reagan was not a moral absolutist in terms on how he made decisions, while George W. Bush is the opposite he was grounded in moral absolutism “it did not change, it cannot change” because he’s convinced on the rode to righteousness. He feels he’s engaged in a crusade that is moralistic first and foremost. Which i feel distinguish the Bush mindset from every other president we’ve had and accounts for all of these policies.

    This is not directed at just Gmason08 but everyone on both sides of the argument.

    I think everyone should read Glenn Greenwald’s book A Tragic Legacy or here him speak. It can put a lot of the lack of debate on this topic into perspective.

  • http://aeleope.blogspot.com/ Scott From Oregon

    “I so love when people bring up their “rights” in arguments such banning smoking… especially since they tend to totally disregard property rights.

    If a person wants to allow smoking on his property, then they should be allowed to do so (and that goes for all business since they are private property open to the public, not public property).

    Someone allow smoking on their property in no way violates your rights… unless you think you have some right to their property.”

    Actually, No. Any business in the public sphere (such as airlines, restaurants, etc…) are also in the social sphere. They are part of the fabric of society. Society has a right to protect itself from the ugliness of some of its participants. My personal rights trump the rights of the owners of those public places, because I must travel within their venues not always by choice.

    As for truly private venues, puff and hack away, I don’t care, and neither should government.

  • Max

    Well said Ben, but he was quoting Doug, he didn’t say that

  • gmason08

    Ben,

    No offense taken that you missed that I was quoting Doug. I am completely against the US being the “World Police”/”Special/Narrow Interest” Muscle. You may enjoy reading what Maj Gen Smedley D. Butler had to say about “War is a Racket”.

    Max, thanks for clearing up the above misunderstanding.

  • http://publiusendures.blogspot.com Mark

    “These authors would never vote for Ron Paul in the first place, so who cares if we are turning them off.”

    Of course, you ignore the fact that you don’t know these people from Adam. These rants are exactly what happened to me every time I said a bad word about Paul…and this is while I was still openly supporting the man! This was a large part of why I stopped publicly backing him.

    I’m sure you’ll respond that I never really wanted to support Ron Paul in the first place, not realizing that I’ve been an admirer of his going back almost 10 years. You probably also wouldn’t realize that I was ecstatic when I first heard he was running. Unfortunately, I had to make a decision at some point if I could go on supporting the campaign the way it was being run, and the way in which its grassroots supporters were acting. While others may not have quite the history I have, I also know that I’m not alone in having been scared away from the campaign as a result of these assaults.

    So I have news for you- harassment like you’ve been engaging in has most definitely hurt the Ron Paul campaign.

  • uhm

    I am serious Max. The founders didn’t have a industrialized society dependent on oil. I wish there was a replacement fuel so we could forget about the Middle East and all it’s problems.

    I have a bad feeling the Battle of Tora Bora is our Stalingrad.

  • Benjamin

    Yea sorry Gmason I just saw the statement and it made me think of all the pundits similar statements lol..But yea at the end of it I thought it was for everyone who believes that way..I’ll try not to direct my comments properly next time around lol…

  • gmason08

    Mark, to quote Doug again: “If you cannot stand the heat stay out of the kitchen” and “it is the rough and tumble of politics”.

    As to your “support” of Ron Paul, we both (and most others) are well aware that you fully intend to provide the type of “support” that scuttles his chances. You arrogantly believe you can manipulate people as fools to achieve your esoteric end, fair enough but faux indignance when you are caught red handed ain’t gonna fly.

    You guys keep working your politics as usual schemes and the good folks wishing only to be free of damaging, despicable politics as usual tactics/scams will keep calling you on it.

  • Max

    uhm if you think its ok to preemptively attack a country because they have Oil that we need, you need some serious help

    And Marc Ive been following Ron Paul for about 4 years now before all this started happening, so a couple questions

    Have you donated to his campaign?

    When did you stop supporting him?

    And if so, who are you throwing your support behind and why?

    And if you undecided then who are you leaning towards and why?

  • Max

    “working your politics as usual schemes” Rofl Ain’t that the truth

  • http://publiusendures.blogspot.com Mark

    1. Have I donated to his campaign? Not your business. I’ll just say that I’ve done quite a bit more than simply plugging him on my blog, though.
    2. I’ve covered many times over the last few days why I withdrew my support for him. I do not wish to restate all of my arguments, but I will sum it up this way: the response to David Bernstein’s perfectly legitimate discussion of who he was supporting scared the hell out of me. This was worsened by the response to my post in defense of Bernstein. The straw that broke the camel’s back was Paul’s continued relationship with Jones, which I had previously raised concerns about.

    3.I have not thrown my support behind anyone else yet.

    4. If I had a gun to my head and was forced to vote in the Republican primary right now, I most likely would still vote for Paul. But if I am going to support a candidate I think has a chance at winning the nomination, I will support Obama. Mostly because I find Obama better than most politicians and because there is little I fear more than Hillary Clinton.

    Doug: If my support was intended to “scuttle” Paul’s chances, how come I managed to make several other bloggers more open to Paul, while you (or people like you) managed to push several bloggers like me off the bandwagon. And that doesn’t count the people you write off as being completely close-minded to Paul who really weren’t, such as David Bernstein. You can pretty much forget about winning their support now.

  • uhm

    Max, I don’t think it is ok. Who knows the trillions spent on war could have been spent on research, finding a new fuel. The electorate didn’t debate on it. We debated on the lies fed to us. We were lied to about the WMDs and they cleverly tied Iraq to 9/11. I’d like to think the war had a purpose.

    On the topic, power needs to be decentralized in the US.

  • http://publiusendures.blogspot.com Mark

    Sorry- for some reason I wrote “Doug” when I meant “gmason08″.

  • gmason08

    “The Liberty Papers”

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

    Which is the schemer way to say-

    “The Anti-Liberty Papers”

    “Thoughts, essays, and writings on Anti-Liberty. Written by schemers hoping to continue scaming the heirs of Patrick Henry out of their birthright.”

  • http://www.no-treason.com Joshua Holmes

    As I noted in the comments to this post, the post-Reconstruction history of the South, dominated as it was by Jim Crow and the often brutal suppression of the individual liberties of black Americans, was by it’s very nature entirely a creation of state law and the reluctance of the Federal Government to do what needed to be done to enforce the 14th Amendment.

    I wouldn’t be so sure about that. Segregation didn’t end in DC until 1953. If Congress meant to abolish segregation with the 14th Amendment, how did it take them 85 years to end it in DC?

    Brown is a case where the Court said, “Fuck the law, we’re going to do what’s right.” And good on them.

  • Max

    Alex Jones Rofl

    I think Alex Jones has a fan club here

    If thats your reason for abandoning the most pro liberty presidential candidate in your life time I fell sorry for you

    This race isn’t about Alex Jones, Alex Jones is just a radio talk show host from Austin Texas that Ron Paul appears on, just like the dozens of other radio show he appears on.

  • gmason08

    Mark, fair-weather friends are worse than no friends at all. As such, your now admitting that, at best, you were a tepid supporter(no loss) that is now “off the bandwagon”, thus removing any doubt about where you stand(none existed).

    Like I said, which you have further supported(no further support was necessary) you do not support Ron Paul. People that do not support a candidate are at best neutral and more likely work to scuttle them. It is beyond all doubt that you are working to scuttle Ron Paul Mark. Glad we have both settled that matter. BTW-if you cannot, on your own, see the value of supporting Ron Paul 100% it is not the concern of any RP supporter to try and make you drink.

    Again, I do support your right to attempt your would be black bag job on RP, feel free to continue. I will continue to point out to all what you are attempting to do.

  • Max

    Oh and Marc Ron Paul being accused of racism is a non issue for anyone who know what ron paul is about and it isn’t important its used as ammunition against him by the ilk at hot air,red state, sean hannity, glenn beck etc

    Anyone who genuinely looks into what ron paul stands for and believes and has seen him speak on the floor of the house will know ron paul. Most of the people attacking ron paul, establishment hacks, people who probably never even heard the name ron paul until a couple months ago, hear he’s racist and jump on the bandwagon. Like David Bernstein, if David Bernstein had genuinely gave Ron Paul a chance he would of known Ron Paul being a racist is not an issue but a smear used by his detractors

  • Scott M.

    Doug shits out this little nugget:

    “The point is — if libertarian ideas are becoming more widely accepted then there must be some reason why Ron Paul is still well below double digits in every poll.”

    So remind me how well the Libertarian party candidate did last time around?

    What an idiot.

  • billy budd

    “I checked my copy of the Constitution just to be sure, but the 14th Amendment is still there so I don’t quite understand what you mean here.”

    Centralized government vs decentralized govt is a worthy debate. But if we’re going to debate it, let’s do it in real time (2007) on a per issue basis.

    For example, education. Federal mandates can do things like provide protection for special ed students, the handicapped etc, instead of a state deciding on it’s own not to spend the money accomodating such. But, the down side is mandated curriclia, unfunded mandates, and so on. Looking at the economic flip sides of it is valid debate as well.

    What you’re doing here is rehashing the old states rights = segregation argument .. Ron Paul = Federalism = Jim Crow!!! and let’s see how many times we can get the words nazi, stormfront, racism, fringe, anti-semite etc in an article about Ron Paul.

    From Paul’s spokesperson:

    “Jesse Benton, communications director for Ron Paul for President 2008, said he was unaware of the existence of Stormfront until just a few days ago, though Stormfront radio endorsed Paul in mid-October.”

    “As for what the campaign will do with the supremacist donations, Benton said white supremacists are wasting their money on Paul, a physician and long-time congressman from Texas. “We are not in the business of trying to track who is giving us money,” Benton said. “If they want to waste their money on us we will take it and use it to promote freedom and individual rights, not their agenda.”

    What part of that don’t you understand? Do you really think Ron Paul is giving those folks a wink and a nod that says that their 500 bucks will help get those colored folks in the back of the bus where they belong? Or that moving back towards federalism is going to be at the expense of civil rights? That’s a total canard and an unsupportable one at that.

    The current threat to our civil rights our illegal war mongering, phone tapping, habeus curpus ignoring, deem you an enemy combatant federal gonvernment. Maybe you’ve been hiding under the bed from THE TERRORISTS the last 7 years and haven’t noticed your liberty being pulled out from under you.

    “The point is — if libertarian ideas are becoming more widely accepted then there must be some reason why Ron Paul is still well below double digits in every poll.”

    See main stream media. See 7 years of terror! terror! terror! Besides, I personally think the land line polls by their nature may be under representing his numbers. We’ll see soon enough.

    Appeals to Federalism and state’s rights should be meaningless to someone whose primary concern is individual rights.

    I disagree. I don’t know who you work for but the Feds confiscate a 1/3rd or better of my income. They control the value of our dollar to a large degree. The patriot act? No child left behind? Gay Marriage? Gun laws? National debt? Social security? Social welfare? Wealth redistribution? Death penalty? Minimum wage? And so on.

  • Dodsworth

    Mark:

    David Bernstein has been genrally supportive of the Iraq War and a very, very zealous supporter of U.S aid to Israel (do a simple google search for zilliions of examples). If you ever thought that there was the slightest chance that he would support an antiwar candidate, you were fooling yourself.

    Obama? Do you really intend to vote for him? He supports socialized medicine, tax increases, permanent bases in the Middle East, and intervention of Darfur yet you support him and you oppose Paul. This makes no sense.

  • Scott M.

    That’s the part I don’t get about the whole stormfront thing.

    If Ron Paul was promising to give anything to them, wouldn’t he have had to meet with them or made some type of comment to them that would cause them to think that?

    And if Ron Paul was promising to help them advance their racist agenda, don’t you think that woulda been worth more than just $100?

    I wonder who these people voted for in previous years. Hmm?

    This nonsense is also gaining traction in the circles that already smear Ron Paul. And that’s it, it just goes in circles where they keep talking about it even though they have no audience.

    I wonder who the black supremicist groups are donating and supporting? What about the child molestors and homosexuals? I wonder who the gay bashers are supporting?

    Maybe we should collect a list of all the evil, terrible people in this country and mark who they vote for or give money to. I bet the list would be pretty small for Ron Paul compared to any other.

    These same attacks were used on Perot, Buchanan, Goldwater and even Reagan. And strangely, they always seem to come from the supposed ‘right.’

    Nobody wants to point out where Don Black was in Florida of late 2000.

    Wishful thinking.

  • uhm

    Scott M, go research who supports other candidates! People need to be aware!

  • http://www.orderhotlunch.com Jeff Molby

    Doug

    it doesn’t matter to me whether that power is exercised in Washington, D.C., Richmond, Virginia, or at the local County Government Center.

    Really? You don’t think you’d have an easier time lobbying your neighbors that make up the county government?

    I view Federalism as a detox method. Get people to revoke the Fed’s power. Let them use the State as a crutch. Then revoke the State’s power and let them use the local government as a crutch.

    Inevitably, some of the local governments will be relatively libertarian. We can then point to those pockets of freedom as examples of how libertarianism works in practice. If the rest fail to appreciate their beauty, we can just migrate to the free areas and let them have their local authoritarianism.

    People have been very receptive to this approach. They realize that they have no control over Washington and they could have control over their local gov’t, if only the local gov’t had any power worth controlling.

  • uhm

    I agree Jeff! This is my line of thinking as well.

  • Klutometis

    [T]he idea of simply transferring power from Washington to, say, Trenton, isn’t entirely attractive.

    Really? Move to Georgia, then! That’s the beauty of local government.

  • Pliny

    The states were meant to have rights; the entire purpose of the Senate was to safeguard the rights that the states retained from the national government. The reason that states were meant to have powers that the national government does not is that the Founders realized a diverse people like Americans need different solutions for different areas and because they did not want places with large populations to rule over distant areas with small populations. Thus in today’s America with its ever increasing diversity, especially ideological diversity, the need for specifically tailored local government and little national government is more important than ever.

  • http://www.belowthebeltway.com Doug Mataconis

    Pliny,

    How may times do I have to say it:

    States don’t have rights, people have rights.

  • Pliny

    Doug, you can say it as many times as you want, but it won’t make it true.

    Article IV Section I gives the states the right to have their laws given full faith and credit in other states.
    Article IV Section II gives the states the right to have individuals charged with crimes under their laws delivered into their authority.
    Article IV Section III gives states the right to have sovereign territory from which no new state may be created without the consent of that state.
    Article IV Section IV gives the states the right to a republican form of government and to protection against domestic violence.

    The 10th Amendment, feeling that the enumerated powers doctrine insufficient to spell out that the states do indeed have rights, states that powers not delegated to the national government nor prohibited to the states is reserved to the states and the people.

    Perhaps you merely meant to quibble over what constitutes a “right” rather than a “power” but the distinction is meaningless. Call it whatever you want, but the state has certain “rights” or “powers” that the national government was never meant to intrude upon.

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