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“Most economic fallacies derive from the tendency to assume that there is a fixed pie, that one party can gain only at the expense of another.”     Milton Friedman

May 30, 2008

Random Thought For The Day: When Will They Start Hating Us ?

by Doug Mataconis

I’ve come to the conclusion that the best sign that libertarian ideas have become a real threat to the status quo in the Republican Party will be when the right-wing screed machine starts attacking libertarians.

The minute you hear Limbaugh/Hannity/Levin talking about a Bob Barr or Ron Paul with the same irrational vehemence they usually reserve for anyone who dares to attack the Bush Administration — take a look at what they’re saying about Scott McClellen — we’ll know we’ve arrived.

Personally, I hope it comes sooner rather than later. Because the moment they start attacking individual liberty , they’ll be revealed for what they truly are — statists.

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19 Comments

  1. Doug,

    That’s already been going on…the open attack started in earnest the day Bush shoved the PATRIOT Act through before Congress even had a chance to read it.

    Comment by UCrawford — May 30, 2008 @ 8:08 pm
  2. Does Lou Dobbs count as part of the right-wing screed machine? If so, he’s pretty fond of the phrase “idiot libertarians.”
    I’d say we still have a little while before it’s outright open season on libertarians. The only reason for this, though, is that the reputation of neo-conservatism has gone so far into the crapper that the neo-cons have taken to calling themselves libertarians in order to avoid the stigma. They figure that libertarians are just Republicans who want to legalize pot, so therefore they can call themselves libertarians. Still, at this point, the people who can honestly call themselves libertarian have effectively abandoned the GOP so I’m expecting the Huckabee-style attacks to gradually increase in volume and shrillness.

    Comment by Mark — May 30, 2008 @ 9:26 pm
  3. Dobbs doesn’t actually stand for anything. although maybe his “idiot libertarians” schtick comes from his hardcore anti-illegal stance, given that traditional libertarians are staunchly pro-immigration of any all all types. Dobbs has been on Alex Jones talking about the NWO, while at the same time on his own show wondering why our FDA doesnt get more money or have more power. he’s all over the map and is generally a confused demogogue.

    i label him as “scream-wing.”

    Comment by oilnwater — May 30, 2008 @ 11:35 pm
  4. I saw an article about Dobbs a couple of years ago suggesting that Dobbs’ “conversion” to populism was basically just a ratings scam to differentiate himself from the free market economists in his field. Considering how often he bags on Mexicans, though, I have my doubts about that.

    As for the right-wing screed machine, since “right wing” and “left wing” imply that politics is two dimensional and that you must fall into one or the other (which any libertarian knows isn’t the case) I think it’s kind of a crappy metaphor. Couldn’t you just call them neoconservatives? Or, probably more accurately, “American Taliban conservatives”? That’s what most of the Republicans you’re talking about are, after all…ultra-religious members of conservativism that believe it’s God’s will to use the state to force everyone to adhere to their beliefs (as opposed to sane religious conservatives, like Barr, who recognize that limited government and the separation of church and state were designed to protect them and their beliefs from people like the neoconservatives).

    Comment by UCrawford — May 31, 2008 @ 7:49 am
  5. You’re making the mistake of thinking Bob Barr is a libertarian. There are plenty of reasons to attack him, having nothing to do with the politics of liberty.

    Comment by Chris — May 31, 2008 @ 8:48 am
  6. Chris,

    Were you responding to me? Because I pretty clearly labelled Barr as a religious conservative. You can be that way but still push libertarian ideas. And I wasn’t attacking him or even talking negatively about him.

    Comment by UCrawford — May 31, 2008 @ 4:42 pm
  7. Lou Dobbs bigest screed is that he’s an indepentend, as if that is some kind of virture. His independence is just a way to ride the tide of the “Perfect Storm” and claim isolation/non-participaion in both parties. He wants to be a teflon commentator.

    I think that because he is neither hot nor cold there is a special place in hell for him. I can hope cant I?

    Comment by Norm Nelson — May 31, 2008 @ 5:05 pm
  8. The minute you hear Limbaugh/Hannity/Levin talking about a Bob Barr or Ron Paul with the same irrational vehemence they usually reserve for anyone who dares to attack the Bush Administration

    I rip Ron Paul harshly, am I a part of the GOP status quo?

    Comment by Kevin — May 31, 2008 @ 5:46 pm
  9. no you’re just useless.

    Comment by oilnwater — May 31, 2008 @ 10:40 pm
  10. Kevin,

    Note the “irrational vehemence” caveat…I think Doug’s talking about when the GOP starts directly ripping small government ideas as incompatible with party principle and calling anyone who espouses them traitors to the GOP.

    Of course, that’s been happening for quite awhile now so I think Doug’s a little behind the curve here. Just look at how the GOP treated Jeff Flake for calling out legislators for pork (stripping him of his position on Judiciary). Or how the GOP leadership refuses to bring Don Young or Ted Stevens in line when it’s becoming more and more apparent that their problems go beyond simple pork into out and out graft. The GOP already sees anyone who pushes limited government (conservative or libertarian) as the enemy.

    Comment by UCrawford — May 31, 2008 @ 11:32 pm
  11. even though pork/earmark spending accounts for what, like %2, of the national budget? staring at pork spending is watching a birdie while the freight train rolls past you.

    Comment by oilnwater — June 1, 2008 @ 12:48 am
  12. to put into further perspective, you the John Taxpayer cannot even pay the interest towards the ongoing national deficit. imagine what that means. imagine also what that means regarding the maturation of elderly entitlements, less ongoing entitlements that are in progress minus the entitlements that are about to be created. add to that the foreign military entitlements.

    that’s why the United States will, by my estimation, default its national debt in the near future. China defaulted its nat’l debt 3 time in the 1900s alone, and supposedly it was okay. i don’t have a PhD in economics, but i bet we’ll bet we’ll have to default, and given that we do have a shitload of resources in our soil, as well as plenty of land area to farm, we’ll do the same.

    we’ll either:
    1) default and continue like nothing happened.

    2) not. and be literally sold to foreign interests. not proper nations, but foreign interests. there will be painful serfdom to pay for that. but i doubt we’ll actually be able to tell the difference. you’ll still be mesmerized by a backwoods newsletter.

    god it really astounds me how stupid you people are.

    Comment by oilnwater — June 1, 2008 @ 12:56 am
  13. i should be POTUS.

    Comment by oilnwater — June 1, 2008 @ 12:57 am
  14. “Lou Dobbs bigest screed is that he’s an indepentend, as if that is some kind of virture. His independence is just a way to ride the tide of the “Perfect Storm” and claim isolation/non-participaion in both parties. He wants to be a teflon commentator.”

    Actually, I recall Bill O’Reilly pulling this exact same line of argument a few years back. I don’t know if he still does it since I long ago stopped paying attention to his drivel. In any event, I think you’re right- it’s just his way of insulating himself. But the fact is that he is a right wing authoritarian in every sense of the word.

    Comment by Mark — June 1, 2008 @ 9:44 am
  15. even though pork/earmark spending accounts for what, like %2, of the national budget? staring at pork spending is watching a birdie while the freight train rolls past you.

    1) You have to start somewhere.

    2) Earmarks are the currency of corruption as they are often used to benefit campaign contributors, staffers, family members, and themselves.

    3) Really, what is the justification for spending money on shrimp research, teapot museums, and bridges to nowhere?

    4) Often, these earmarked projects are not wanted by the state and local governments.

    Comment by Kevin — June 1, 2008 @ 1:12 pm
  16. To add to what Kevin wrote:

    5. Pork (though not specifically earmarks) like agriculture subsidies has effects far and beyond being a huge waste of taxpayer money. It also is responsible for starving millions of people by driving food costs through the roof.

    Comment by Mark — June 1, 2008 @ 2:28 pm
  17. Oilnwater,

    You forgot an option:

    3) Inflate the money supply so severely, that the interest on the debt is barely a rounding error of the Federal budget. I’m talking about a world where gas is $20.00/gal. and the minimum wage is $30.00/hr. This has many advantages to the statists:

    a) The change is gradual, and eventually everyone just gets used to it and it becomes the new baseline. Consider how you would have reacted in 1992 to $3.00/gal. gasoline versus how you would react today.

    b) Since the debt is not indexed to inflation, even a “moderate” (real) inflation rate of fifteen to twenty percent per annum can quickly outstrip the interest on said debt.

    c) The actual inflation rate can be deliberately miscalculated to hide what is going on.

    d) Blame can be shifted to “Greedy ” while the real culprit is the Fed reserve trying to limit the damage from Congressional overspending.

    e) This “inflation tax” can not be avoided through clever high-priced accountants, special rules in the tax code, bald-faced lying about your expenses, or even working in the truly free market (i.e underground economy.) The only defense is to hold most of your investments in some real commodity (wheat, oil, gold, silver, pork bellies … take your pick) and this only helps with part of it, as you have to convert to Dollars at some point to buy things you need.

    f) The worse it gets, the more big government politicians can sell the idea that they are going to “save” us from the ill effects of the policy that they have created. Big-government liberals will promise to tax the “greedy businessmen”, and oconfiscate their wealth, while big-government conservatives will promise to confiscate the resource wealth of some foreign country.

    g) The minimum wage and price-inflation tend to cancel each other out and the average citizen isn’t affected too severely. The person who is taking it in the shorts is anyone holding US treasury debt or who has to buy something imported.

    Comment by Kevin Houston — June 1, 2008 @ 6:22 pm
  18. “Greedy ” = “Greedy [insert business name here]”

    Only I used angle brackets instead of square brackets

    Comment by Kevin Houston — June 1, 2008 @ 6:24 pm
  19. “inflation and incrementalism… it’s fantastic!” -tooth gleam

    Comment by oilnwater — June 1, 2008 @ 10:47 pm

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