Category Archives: Libertarians

The Conscience Of A Phony Libertarian: Wayne Allyn Root And The Decline Of The Libertarian Party

If the only book on libertarianism that you ever read was Wayne Allyn Root’s The Conscience of a Libertarian, then you’d be compelled to conclude that the most important liberty issues facing America are internet gambling, tax cuts for small businesses, and home schooling. That’s because Root, a former Republican who became the Libertarian Party’s Vice-Presidential nominee in 2008, seems to devote far more space to those policy areas than to others that most libertarians that I know care about, such as civil liberties, the war on drugs,and the national security state. In fact, I think it’s fair to say that Root spends far more time talking about himself, and why only he is capable of making the Libertarian Party competitive, than he does about these issues, or about what it really means to be a libertarian.

That’s understandable, though, because this is quite obviously a campaign book designed to bolster Root’s bid for the 2012 LP Presidential nomination, and because Root is not much of a libertarian.

Like many Republicans, conservatives, and “Constitutionalists,” Root blindly worships the Constitution to the point where “state’s rights” take on more importance than individual liberty. For example, he suggests early on at page 18 (in my copy at least) that individual states should have the “right” to decide issues like abortion, gay marriage, stem cell research, online gaming, assisted suicide, and drug use. This may be a perfectly correct Constitutional position, it is not, however, a libertarian position. To a libertarian, state interference in an individual’s life is wrong whether it happens at the federal, state, or local level, and a law saying that someone can’t ingest a certain substance is wrong regardless of whether or not the Tenth Amendment authorizes it.

Another example occurs on page 75, where he says that the Supreme Court’s decision in Loving v. Virginia, where the Court struck down state laws barring interracial marriages, was the wrong decision. Instead, he says, the Court “should have declared that government had no right to license marriage at all.” I happen to agree with the idea that marriage and the state should be separated, but this reaction to the Loving decision strikes me as bizarre, not the least because the Court never would have done what Root proposes because none of the litigants in the case were asking it to do that. Loving was decided correctly, why is it so hard to say that ?

On page 222, Root demonstrates yet another deviation from libertarianism when he discusses immigration and says; “We must secure our borders and bring illegal immigration to a screeching halt. How? By protecting our borders with all those troops we will bring home from … around the globe.” Militarizing the border ? Hardly a libertarian position, but definately a Republican one.

On page 257, he endorses the debunked claims of the anti-vaccination crowd: “I believe that our national epidemic of autism and ADHD has a definite connection to the large-scale vaccinations required of our young children.” There is, of course, no evidence to support this claim but I suppose that if Root were the nominee in 2012 the LP would get Jenny McCarthy’s vote. This is a minor issue, and not really “libertarian,” but the last thing the LP needs to do is associate with someone who believes in pseudo-science.

The final strange passage that I’ll reference here is on page 29, where Root discusses his reasons for leaving the Republican Party (mostly because they wanted to ban online poker), and says, “nothing made my decision clearer than the morning of October 19, 2008, when I heard the remarkable announcement that General Colin Powell was endorsing Barack Obama for President of the United States… I was finally completely at peace with my decision to leave the Republican Party…” This was nearly five months after he had been nominated to run on the Libertarian ticket; had not made his mind up about the GOP at that point ?

After reading this book, and based on my previous experiences of watching Root during his various appearances on cable television, I am left with the over all impression of someone who is a cross between a televangelist and a used car salesman. The one thing that he seemed most concerned with is his own self-promotion, and I question his commitment to the ideas of the party that he proposes to represent.  I will give Root credit for being energetic, but libertarian he’s not.

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Rand Paul Wins Kentucky Republican Senate Primary

The votes are still being counted, but so far it looks like Rand Paul’s margin of victory will be huge:

WASHINGTON — Political novice Rand Paul rode support from tea party activists to victory in Kentucky’s Republican Senate primary Tuesday night, delivering a jolt to the GOP establishment and providing fresh evidence of widespread voter discontent in a turbulent midterm election season.

Paul had 59 percent of the vote — with returns counted from 29 percent of the precincts — to 37 percent for Secretary of State Trey Grayson, who had been recruited to run by the state’s dominant Republican, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Congratulations Rand !

Wayne Allyn Root Backtracks On Participating In Birther “Trial” Of President Obama

As I noted on Sunday, Wayne Allyn Root had announced his participation in a “trial” of President Obama led by Rev. James Manning, a noted birther and virulent Obama critic. Late yesterday, Root issued a statement saying that he had decided not to participate in the event:

I had a chance today for the first time to read about the highlights of the first day of the “Obama trial.” I found myself uncomfortable being involved or associated in any way with the wild charges, claims and conspiracy theories that have been publicly aired by this mock trial. I believe these wild charges and claims actually damage any future legitimate opportunity to question President Obama’s background. This forum has an agenda and I have come to the conclusion it is not my agenda. I called Pastor Manning personally this morning to explain why I’ve decided not to participate. He understood completely. We wished each other well.

I believe any association with this trial would discredit the opportunity to have a fair, open and balanced discussion or debate in the future. I want to be part of any such future opportunity. I have much to say about President Obama, and many questions about his past and present actions, but I’m more comfortable airing them in a mainstream media forum. More importantly, I’d rather spend my time discussing, debating and questioning Mr. Obama’s current policies that I believe are toxic to America, the U.S. economy and capitalism, than spending my time debating his past. I’d rather spend my valuable time in the media on educating voters about the dramatic expansion of government under Obama; the nonstop violations of the Constitution; the deadly expansion of deficit and national debt; the political payoffs disguised as stimulus and bailouts; the lack of transparency of this administration; Obama’s pro union agenda at all costs- no matter what damage is done to the economy. All of these are far more important to America’s future than Obama’s past. We cannot change the past, but we can change the future direction of this country away from Obama’s dangerous agenda- if we are not distracted by wild claims and conspiracy theories.

I’ve got to agree with Jason Pye, that this sounds mostly like Root got caught doing something stupid and is now trying to backtrack like a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

Jason also makes another point:

The Libertarian Party at the national level is broken. It has been for some time. Whenever we gain a sliver of success we tend to do something in another area that messes it up.

Jason has a lot more experience with internal LP politics than I do, but he’s absolutely right, and it’s something I’ve seen for years now, and it really started with the internal squabbling that erupted after the 1980 Presidential campaign, which still stands as the high watermark for Libertarian candidates nationally.

It seems pretty clear to me that Root, who seems more interested in self-promotion than much of anything else based on my observations of the man, would represent another one of those mistakes.

Originally posted at Below The Beltway

Wayne Allyn Root Is Poison For The Libertarian Party

Wayne Allyn Root, the businessman and online gambling advocate who served as Bob Barr’s running mate on the Libertarian ticket in 2008, is casting his lot in with the birthers. As Radley Balko reports, Root promotes on his Facebook page his participation in a “trial of Barack Obama” that took place last week in New York:

CM-Capture-23

What’s this trial all about, you might ask. Well, here’s a description:

With thousands of spectators expecting to attend, Dr. James Manning’s ‘trial of the century’ of Barack Obama on charges of treason, fraud, and sedition begins tomorrow morning at 9 AM in New York City. Co-defendants in the trial are Columbia University and the CIA. In the last days of the run-up to the trial, Manning revealed that he has sources in government that will testify against Obama, Columbia, and the CIA. He also reported explosive information that Barack Obama has used upwards of 20 different Social Security numbers during his life. Witnesses are expected to testify at the trial that Barack Obama was never a student at Columbia University, although he received a degree from the school. Dr. Manning claims that Columbia, therefore, is an accomplice to fraud. Other witnesses are expected to testify that Obama fails the Constitutional test for Presidential eligibility due to the fact that his father was a British subject at the time of his birth and his mother was not old enough to confer citizenship when he was born. A dramatic new revelation, however, may serve to re-emphasize the importance of the trial. The state of Hawaii, according to sources, did NOT accept his birth registration that was filed, despite issuing a ‘statement of live birth.’

This is the same James Manning who became famous last year when he started referring to President Obama as a “long legged mack daddy” and who joined Birther Queen Bee Orly Taitz last year at a protest that nobody attended against Fox News for “covering up” the birther story. Root hasn’t said anything one way or the other about the birth certificate issue that I’ve been able to find, but he does seem to buy at least part of the argument:

FireShot Pro capture #267 - 'Facebook I Wayne Allyn Root' - www_facebook_com_profile_php_id=1162754668

Of course, the possibility that Root and Obama may have traveled in different circles at Columbia, a school that had thousands of undergraduates at the time, does not seem to have occurred to Wayne at all, since he’s expressed this belief before. Why is this important ? Well, this year, Root is running for Chairman of the Libertarian National Committee, and he’s made it clear that this is merely a stepping stone to the 2012 nomination for President. Based on stuff like this, and the impression I got from reading Root’s The Conscience of a Libertarian, which I will be posting a review of in the very near future, I’ve got to completely agree with Radley Balko’s take on this:

I’m not a member of the Libertarian Party, though I’ve spoken to several state conventions over the last couple years. I have my problems with the party, but I’d like to see it do well, in part because for better or worse the LP has a significant impact on how people view libertarianism.

So let’s be clear about this: If Wayne Allyn Root becomes the face of the LP, it will be an unmitigated disaster for the party. It will also likely do quite a bit of damage to the public perception of libertarianism as a philosophy.

This is batshit crazy, off-the-charts conspiratorial hogwash. There are plenty of legitimate reasons to criticize Barack Obama. Root has chosen to dip into angry-white-guy, “Obama’s a secret Muslim” absolute and utter lunacy.

Libertarians: The man is a nut. Associate with him at your peril.

Indeed.

Originally posted at Below The Beltway

A New Introduction

I am honored to join The Liberty Papers.

Brad Warbiany and Doug Mataconis have been very welcoming, and my new realm into libertarian thought should be fulfilling and rich.

I’ve been at United Liberty for two years, starting with the 2008 election and running all the way up to coverage of Arizona’s discriminatory immigration law. My work goes back even further, back to the San Francisco Examiner and the neighborhood newspapers North Seattle Herald Outlook and Madison Park Times in Seattle, Washington.

In the times we live in, there seems to be a political shift going on. The United States is becoming more ethnically diverse, the economy continues to stagnate, and government is making short term maneuvers without foreseeing long-term effects. On the other side of the coin, the Right, who talk a lot of jive about freedom, are parading their own twisted form of nationalism. In these times, it’s important to try to solidify and distinguish the libertarian movement as a separate alternative to the forms of authoritarianism so far proposed to us. I hope my work at The Liberty Papers will help to do that.

I am also currently working on a book on the future of race in politics. It should be finished within the year and published subsequently.

LP’s Wes Benedict on ‘Limited Government’ Conservatives

Those of us who truly believe in limited government* tend to be simultaneously amused and irritated hearing the folks at CPAC speak of limited government as though it’s a principle they truly support. Yesterday, the Libertarian Party’s Executive Director Wes Benedict, monitoring the CPAC festivities from afar, said some of the things that many of us have been thinking:

Unlike libertarians, most conservatives simply don’t want small government. They want their own version of big government. Of course, they have done a pretty good job of fooling American voters for decades by repeating the phrases “limited government” and “small government” like a hypnotic chant.

It’s interesting that conservatives only notice “big government” when it’s something their political enemies want. When conservatives want it, apparently it doesn’t count.

– If a conservative wants a trillion-dollar foreign war, that doesn’t count.

– If a conservative wants a 700-billion-dollar bank bailout, that doesn’t count.

– If a conservative wants to spend billions fighting a needless and destructive War on Drugs, that doesn’t count.

– If a conservative wants to spend billions building border fences, that doesn’t count.

– If a conservative wants to “protect” the huge, unjust, and terribly inefficient Social Security and Medicare programs, that doesn’t count.

– If a conservative wants billions in farm subsidies, that doesn’t count.

It’s truly amazing how many things “don’t count.”

Benedict went on to point out the lack of concern these same people had with the government expansion of President Bush and the health care mandates of another CPAC favorite – Mitt Romney.

While I’m by no means a supporter of the Obama Administration, the idea that many Conservatives seem to have that all the problems we are faced with started on January 20, 2009 is completely ludicrous**.

These are the same people who would gladly support Sarah ‘the Quitter’ Palin, ‘Mandate’ Mitt Romney, or ‘Tax Hike Mike’ Huckabee – none are what I would call ‘limited government’ by any stretch of the imagination.

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“Are these Republicans Walter”? “No Donny, these men are just nihilists”

“I mean, say what you like about the tenets of the Republican party, Dude, at least it’s an ethos…”

Apologies to Joel and Ethan Coen…

There has been a recent meme circulated by the leftosphere, that the Republicans… in fact any opponent of the Obama agenda… are nihilists.

Now, I have to say, I don’t think most of the people promoting this idea even know what a nihilist is (and if they did, many of them would realize THEY are the ones that come close to fitting that bill), never mind that current republican ideology is nihilist. Current republican ideology is empty, obstructionist, and reactionary; but that’s not actually nihilism… or even close to it.

A few days ago, a person whose intellect I generally respect, John Scalzi, randomly tossed off a comment calling Republicans (and Obama oppositionists) Nihilists.

Well.. at least John knows what a nihilist is… which is why I was disappointed in his statement… because as far as I’m concerned that analysis is just lazy.

Then a few days later, as part of his commentary on the state of the union speech, he wrote this:

“As for the Republicans, a recent reader was distressed when I said they were “hopped-up ignorant nihilists,” but you know what, when your Senate operating strategy is “filibuster everything and let Fox News do the rest,” and the party as a whole gives it a thumbs up, guess what, you’re goddamned nihilists. There’s no actual political strategy in GOP anymore other than taking joy in defeating the Democrats. I don’t have a problem with them enjoying such a thing, but it’s not a real political philosophy, or at least shouldn’t be.”

Ok… not much of the core of the analysis there I can disagree with… but again, it isn’t nihilism.

Today however he posted a link to further explain the position he was trying to express in shorthand by calling the Republicans nihilist.

Again, there’s nothing I can really disagree with in this analysis:

[N]othing could be worse for the GOP than the illusion of success under present circumstances. Worse than learning nothing from the last two elections, the GOP has learned the wrong things… Not recognizing their past errors, the GOP will make them again and again in the future, and they will attempt to cover these mistakes with temporary, tactical solutions that simply put off the consequences of their terrible decisions until someone else is in office. They will then exploit the situation as much as they possibly can, pinning the blame for their errors on their hapless inheritors and hoping that the latter are so pitiful that they retreat into yet another defensive crouch.

Is the GOP in a worse position than a year ago? On the surface, no, it isn’t. Once we get past the surface, however, the same stagnant, intellectually bankrupt, unimaginative party that brought our country to its current predicament is still there and has not changed in any meaningful way in the last three years.

The best thing though, is the source of that quote: The American Conservative

Thus showing, once again, for those who don’t already know; that Republican does not necessarily mean conservative or libertarian, nor does conservative necessarily mean Republican.

Oh and continuing in that vein, conservative doesn’t necessarily mean religious either; nor does religious always mean conservative (especially if you’re Catholic).

I am neither a Republican, nor a conservative; but I DO register as a Republican because my state has closed primaries, and I like to vote against John McCain and Joe Arpaio.

I am a minarchist, which is a school of libertarianism that pretty much says “hey, leave me alone as much as is practical, and I’ll do the same for you, thanks”.

I’m well educated (perhaps overeducated), high earning, catholic, married with two kids, and a veteran. I was raised in the northeast but choose to live in the Rocky Mountain west, because I prefer the greater degree of freedom and lower levels of government (and other busybodies) interference.

I don’t care who you have sex with or what you shove up your nose, down your throat, or into your lungs so long as I don’t have to pay for it, or the eventual medical bills you rack up.

I KNOW from direct personal experience we need a strong national defense, but that freedom and liberty (which are two different things) are rather a LOT more important than internal security.

I have no faith in the government not to do with… really anything other than defense… exactly what they did with Social Security, or AFDC, or any number of other programs that they have horribly screwed up, wasting trillions of dollars in the process.

Yes, there is great benefit to some of those programs at some times (and I was on welfare and foodstamps as a child, I know directly this is true); but the government couldn’t make a profit running a whorehouse, how can they be expected to run healthcare, or education, or anything else for that matter.

Oh and for those of you who believe that government really can do good, without a corresponding and greater bad… I’m sorry, you’re wrong.

It’s a sweet ideal, but it just isn’t true. Good intentions don’t mean good results, unless combined with competence, efficiency, passion, compassion… HUMANITY in general; and the government is not a humanitarian organization.

Governments are good at exactly two thing: Stealing and Killing. Yes, they are capable of doing other things, but everything they do proceeds from theft, coercion, force… stealing and killing.

That doesn’t mean that good can’t come out of it; but everything the government does has an associated harm that goes with it. Sometimes that’s worth it, sometimes it isn’t and it’s DAMN hard to figure that out. Who gets to decide? You? Your friends?

Do you have the right to tell me what to do, how to live my life? Do I have the right to tell YOU how to live YOUR life?

So why is it ok if you get a few million of your friends, and I get a few million of my friends, and just because you have more friends than I do you get to tell all of us how to live and what to do?

Sorry but, HELL NO.

I want the same things you want. I want people to be happy, and healthy, and have great opportunities… But the government doesn’t have the right to steal from me to help you do it; anymore than you would have the right to hold a gun to my head and take the money from me personally.

Actually, the government doesn’t have any rights whatsoever. The PEOPLE have rights, the exercise of which we can delegate to the government.

It absolutely amazes me that both liberals and conservatives understand that the government isn’t to be trusted; they just believe it’s not to be trusted over different things:

Liberals trust the government with your money, education, and healthcare; but don’t want them to interfere with your sex life, or chemical recreation.

Conservatives on the other hand are just fine with the government making moral, sexual, ethical, and pharmaceutical choices for you; but don’t trust it with your education, healthcare etc…

Well, I don’t trust them with ANYTHING except defense (which they also screw up mightily, but which is at least appropriate to the coercive and destructive nature of government).

It’s axiomatic that the intelligence of any committee is equal to that of the least intelligent member, divided by the total number of members.

There are 435 members of the house of representatives, 100 senators, 21 members of the cabinet, 9 supreme court justices, a vice president, and a president; for a total committee size of 567.

Now, if we’re charitable and say they’re all geniuses with IQs above 140 (don’t hurt yourself laughing), that’s an overall government IQ of .25

Why on earth would you want THAT spending your money, or making any decisions for you whatsoever?

Now… Given that thumbnail philosophy, who am I supposed to vote for?

I certainly can’t vote Democratic; they want to take all my money and either give it to other people, or use it to force me (and everyone else) to behave as THEY decide.

On the other hand, I can’t much vote for Republicans, because they still want to give my money to other people (just mostly different other people than democrats), and use my money to force me (and everyone else) to behave as they decide…. They just want to take a little less of it.

And I really can’t vote for Libertarians, because they are profoundly unserious and incapable of effecting any real political change. I want to vote for someone who will PREVENT the worst abuses of government, and sadly, voting libertarian has no hope of accomplishing that goal.

I end up voting for whoever, or whatever, I hope or believe will reduce those undesirable characteristics of theft and coercion inherent to government.

Often that means voting Republican, but that shouldn’t be taken as an indication of my support for Republicans.

So tell me, is that nihilism? I don’t think so. I think it’s playing defense, which isn’t a winning strategy; but it’s not nihilism.

Nihilism would be standing by the sidelines say “there’s no point in playing, you’re all going to lose anyway”… which coincidentally is the position of a lot of Libertarians.

I am a cynically romantic optimistic pessimist. I am neither liberal, nor conservative. I am a (somewhat disgruntled) muscular minarchist… something like a constructive anarchist.

Basically what that means, is that I believe, all things being equal, responsible adults should be able to do whatever the hell they want to do, so long as nobody’s getting hurt, who isn’t paying extra

Why Not The Sage From South Central The Senate?

California is a state that is not likely to elect a Republican to the Senate any time soon. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth trying. Babs Boxer is up for re-election next fall, and the field is wide open. Unfortunately, the NRSC is determined to narrow the field, and has scuttled support for one potentially strong challenger in exchange for one whose main political qualification appears to be friendliness with McCain and Palin.

Who is the potentially strong challenger? None other than Larry Elder, Los Angeles talk radio host, accomplished author, and strongly libertarian-leaning Republican (self-described Republitarian). He’s got name recognition, a proper small-government philosophy that will appeal to the Republican base, a compelling life story, and enough media experience to be able to navigate the pitfalls of the California press.

So why did Jon Cornyn shut the door on him?

Elder is a serious name and presence among California Republicans. He just wrapped up his radio show. “Why,” you might ask, “doesn’t Larry Elder run for the Senate?”

There is an answer accorinding to many of Elder’s friends at the Republican Convention — Senator Cornyn and the NRSC told him not to.

Here’s the story that is circulating at the convention: Back in the spring, Elder went to Washington to sit down with John Cornyn and the NRSC, and ask for their support for a bid for U.S. Senate against Barbara Boxer. Cornyn and the NRSC told him the following:

  • If Elder chose to run, they would not support him.
  • The NRSC was already committed to supporting Carly Fiorina
  • The NRSC expected Fiorina to lose against Boxer, but expected her to tie up Democrat resources in the meantime.

How incompetent is this? The NRSC actually told a popular African-American with statewide name recognition to NOT run? Last I checked, our party isn’t overflowing with those.

Larry Elder was one of the formative voices in my post-collegiate political path. I think that over time, cutting my philisophical teeth in the blogosphere, I’ve taken the libertarian train a few stops farther than he has, so there are certainly areas where we disagree. Philosophically, though, he’d be a very strong advocate for small government coming from a state not known for its fiscal responsibility. He’s the type of candidate that California Republicans and libertarians could be energized by.

Carly Fiorina, on the other hand, is certainly an accomplished businesswoman, but little is known about her political acumen or philosophy. Her website, though, is not exactly encouraging. Her record as CEO of Hewlett Packard is a mixed bag, and about the only thing she has over other California Republicans is name recognition and two X chromosomes, but a new poll is showing that this might not be enough.

If California Republicans want to be a true thorn in the side of Barbara Boxer, Carly Fiorina appears to be nothing more than a demographic play. Larry Elder, on the other hand, has spent a decade and a half sparring with listeners on talk radio and has followed California and National politics over that time. He’ll know where Boxer is vulnerable and will know how to exploit the weakness. What was John Cornyn thinking?

Hat Tip: Co-contributor Jason Pye

Don’t Blame Me Just Because I Voted For Bob Barr

Over the weekend, Melissa Clouthier took the time to take to task those of us who refused to compromise our principles last November and voted for Bob Barr over the atrocious McCain/Palin ticket:

DontBlameBobTShirt[P]eople are coming out of the woodwork saying, “Don’t blame me! I voted for Bob Barr!” I ask you, Is that something to be proud of?

John McCain was a terrible candidate for a myriad of reasons I won’t list here. Rather than blogging anything negative, many times, I just held my tongue. (Other times, not so much.) Why? Do I and all conservatives who voted for John McCain lack a spine and principles? Some would say so. Did I hold my nose and vote for John McCain because I’m a conservative sellout?

I voted for John McCain for precisely the reasons we’re seeing right now. President Barack Obama is a statist. He’s a socialist. He wants to remake America into some liberal delusional utopian fantasy and he’s damn near succeeded at every single thing he’s wanted to do.

My brother was in Venezuela last week and talked to a local businessman who marveled of Chavez,”It’s amazing how much has changed in four years. How quickly it happened.” And it wasn’t good change. And he wasn’t hopeful. Do those who voted for Obama honestly think a slide of Venezuela-like proportions is impossible?

President Obama is a disaster for America and I hold those who voted for Bob Barr every bit as accountable as if the so-called principled person voted for Barack Obama himself. It was a vote that aided and abetted an enemy of freedom. How can a freedom-loving person be proud of this?

First of all, it’s worth noting, as Bruce McQuain does, that those of us who voted for Bob Barr can hardly be blamed for the outcome of the election:

Bob Barr pulled all of 511,324 votes. Statistically that’s 0% of the electorate. Had every Bob Barr voter voted for John McCain, he’d have ended up with 58,854,995 votes instead of 58,343,671 to Obama’s 66,882,230.

So, even if Robert Stacey McCain, Jason Pye, and myself — along with 511,321 other people (or those 181,818 people, like Leslie Carbone, who voted for Chuck Baldwin) — voted for McCain/Palin rather than Barr/Root last November, it would have had absolutely no impact on the election. It wouldn’t have changed the outcome. Heck it wouldn’t have even shifted a single Electoral Vote. Therefore, the good Doctor’s assertion that Barr voters are in any way responsible either for the election of Barack Obama, or any of the policies he’s implemented is simply wrong.

Clouthier acknowledges this simple fact in an update to her post but goes on to insist that McCain would have been better as President, from a libertarian perspective I assume, than Obama has been to date, but that statement belies that fact that John McCain was never the conservative that his supporters claimed he was:

On the issues, John McCain isn’t much better. The difference is that McCain campaigns on rhetoric that makes you think that he believes in individual liberty, self-reliance, and small government. The reality of a hypothetical McCain Administration, though, is demonstrated quite clearly in his response to the financial crisis, his support of the bailout, and his insane idea to have the government buy-up and renegotiate distressed mortgages. These are not the policy proposals of a man who believes in the free market.

Moreover, McCain has run his campaign in a manner that is at the very least offensive and borders on an insult to the intelligence of the American voter. He selected as his Vice-Presidential running mate a woman manifestly unqualified for the job. He engaged in the pointless, some might even say reckless, stunt of pretending to suspend his in response to an economic crisis that he obviously had no real understand as to either the causes or the remedies. And, most recently, he engaged in nearly two weeks of relentlessly negative campaigning that concentrated not on the issues facing the country, but on his opponents alleged associations with someone even he admitted was a “washed up terrorist” and, in the process, brought out some of the worst in his supporters.

I said a long time ago that I would never vote for John McCain based solely on his manifest disdain for one of the fundamental freedoms in the Constitution. Now I can say that, even if he had never sponsored McCain-Feingold, his conduct during the course of this election has demonstrated to me that he is unfit to be President of the United States

The prospect of as President John McCain serving, as he would have, with a Democratic-controlled Congress should not be one that anyone who calls themselves a limited-government free-market fiscal conservative would look forward to, and it was in that spirit that Leslie Carbone made the conservative case against John McCain back in October:

If McCain is president, thanks to conservative votes, it will be McCain, and his fellow anti-conservatives–both those philosophically opposed to small government and those so philosophically unmoored that they have no convictions at all except power–who continue to shape the right-of-center side of America’s political conversation. And that will mean continuing to fight destructive Democrat policies with destructive Democrat-lite policies.

Rejecting McCain, on the other hand, gives us time and space and, most of all, integrity, to recover the principles that made Ronald Reagan the most successful president in modern times, and, in so doing, repair the conservative cause.

Clouthier, on the other hand, took the opposite approach:

John McCain was a terrible candidate for a myriad of reasons I won’t list here. Rather than blogging anything negative, many times, I just held my tongue. (Other times, not so much.) Why? Do I and all conservatives who voted for John McCain lack a spine and principles? Some would say so. Did I hold my nose and vote for John McCain because I’m a conservative sellout?

Which is worse ? Supporting a candidate you know is “terrible” and staying silent about his many, known and obvious, failings ? Or supporting a candidate that clearly stands up for the principles you believe in even though you know he is going to lose ?

Quite honestly, I can’t fathom a scenario where Clouther’s support makes more sense than Carbone’s.

Finally, Clouther seems to think that libertarians are little more than impatient Republicans and that we all just need to sit down, shut up, and take our medicine:

Libertarians don’t help anything by flopping around at the edges and indulging in third party fantasies. Libertarians needs to put their formidable energy into the Republican party at the bottom and take the party back to constitutional greatness.

The biggest mistake that Clouthier makes is assuming that libertarians are, or at least ought to be, naturally Republican. While the Republican platform does lean libertarian when it comes to economic issues, and Republican politicians and pundits tend to use limited government rhetoric that clearly appeals to libertarian ears, the reality of Republican governance over the past decade leaves much to be desired. It was a Republican President and Congress that gave us Medicare Part D, No Child Left Behind, and an unprecedented increase in the surveillance of our daily lives. It was a Republican President and a Republican Congress that allowed government to grow at a rate unseen since the days of LBJ. It was a Republican President, and the Republican leadership in Congress, that gave us the TARP bailout. It was a Republican President who bailed out the auto industry even after Congress had voted against it. It was a Republican President who doubled the national debt over the course of eight years. And, it was a Republican President and Congress that single handed-ly destroyed the credibility of the Republican Party on economic issues.

Given the way that it’s performed over the past decade, there’s no reason to believe that the Republican Party will govern any differently than it has in the past, and no reason for libertarians such as myself to sign on to the Republican agenda.

It’s a story we’ve seen play out before. Obama will, most likely, fall victim to the economic realities that make much of what he wishes to accomplish impossible. Republicans will come back to power. Government will continue to grow. Deficits will rise. Freedom will erode. And, then, when it all goes to pot again, there will be those like Dr. Clouthier telling libertarians that they just need to buck up and be good little Republicans.

Sorry, but I’ve already been burned once and it’s not going to happen again. That’s why, when November 2008 rolled around, I voted for Bob Barr for President. When it comes to lesser offices and future elections, I’ll vote for candidates who actually believe in limited government and free markets regardless of which party they belong to. If neither of the major party candidates fit that bill, I’ll vote for the Libertarian Party candidate, or I won’t vote at all.

The Republicans can have my vote back when, and if, they earn it.

Originally Posted at Below The Beltway

A few thoughts about last weekend’s Tea Parties

While I’ve not had enough time to take a comprehensive look at Tea Parties held around the nation on or around Independence Day, here are some quick observations from this full-time Tea Party enthusiast and part-time skeptic.

First of all, Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) was booed when he spoke in Austin, Texas.  The key reason reason seems to be that he voted for the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac bailout in order to protect “free market capitalism, with our civil liberties, [which are] are the foundation of American exceptionalism.”  In the hyperlinked explanation for his vote, he quoted Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich in order to help spread the blame.  “This bill does not represent a new and sudden departure from free market principles…” explained Cornyn, who was quoting Coburn.

Coburn has also infuriated fiscal conservatives because, in his role as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, he sided with “establishment candidate, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, in a Senate primary against young conservative leader, former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio” in the Florida Senate race.

Coburn probably wasn’t the only Republican Party leader booed in Texas.  I’ve seen some video of Texas Governor Rick Perry speaking in San Antonio, but I’ve not seen any video with jeers from the audience from anywhere in Texas (he wasn’t allowed to speak at the major Dallas event).  However, there are multiple reports that he was booed for “his advocacy of toll roads to relieve traffic congestion.” I tried to obtain additional information on Twitter and it seems my suspicions were correct: He received some sporadic booing, not specifically because of toll roads, but that the road in question is the “NAFTA Superhighway” or “Trans-Texas Corridor”.  Based upon observations during my campaign work in east Texas in 2006, there are probably quite a few Birchers who still vehemently oppose this effort.

The least biased view of the Austin event which I’ve read comes from Robbie Cooper: » Read more

Liberty + Libations = ???

tuntavern

The Tun Tavern hosted George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and the Continental Congress

What do you get when you mix alcohol with the politics of freedom? An argument can be made that we owe our Republic not only to a lot of bright and brave people, but also to a lot of booze.

In order to bring out freedom fighter in all of us, as well as to provide some networking opportunities and just plain fun, Liberty on the Rocks provides an opportunity for libertarians to plan alcohol-related events in their own communities.  I’ve just placed the first Birmingham event on the calendar, so we’ll see how it works.

We’ll have a special treat at our first event, as Jason Talley, Pete Eyre and Adam Mueller of the Motorhome Diaries will be there.  For those not following the story, here’s an overview of their recent encounter with the police in Mississippi.  I’m sure that hearing Jason and Pete describe their experiences will prove quite interesting.

We’re also meeting at the the J.Clyde, which has been very supportive of the Free the Hops legislation we’ve been working so hard on in Alabama.

America is in trouble, so perhaps it’s time to invoke the spirit of the Green Dragon.  Perhaps it’s time for you to start planning a libertarian social event in your area.

John Monds: A credible Libertarian candidate

Website bio:

John Monds is a 1983 graduate of J.M. Tate High School in Gonzalez, Florida and a 1987 graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia where he received his Bachelors degree in Banking and Finance. John married his wife, Dr. Kathaleena Edward Monds, in 1998 and has four children: Akintunde, Cazembe, Halima and Malik.

Monds earned the 2002 Superior Service Award and the 2003 Omega Man of the Year Award – both from the Mu Beta Beta Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. In 2003 he earned the Superior Service Award from the aforementioned fraternity’s state organization. In 2005 he was named Man of the Year by the Grady County NAACP.

In his capacity as a member and currently President of the Grady County NAACP, Monds has held financial literacy classes for the Holder Park Summer Program, helped implement the Freedom Day Health Fair and advocated for citizens who believed they had been treated unjustly. He is a twenty year member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and has held various leadership positions on the local and state level including President of the Mu Beta Beta chapter. Monds also serves on the Grady County Planning Commission, Grady County Habitat for Humanity board, the Libertarian Party of Georgia Executive Committee and the Grady County Fine Arts Project.

Last year, Monds received 1,076,726 votes for 33.4% of the vote for the Georgia Public Service Commission District 1 seat.

Keep up with the Monds campaign on Twitter here.  Keep up with all sorts of libertarian goodness on Twitter here.

Except for a few crapweasel holdouts, Arlen Specter unites the left and the right

crapweaselWhen Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Greens, progressives, conservatives, liberals, libertarians, and socialists can all agree on something political in nature, it’s a monumental occasion.  There seems to be a near consensus: Arlen Specter is a spineless crapweasel who now prefers to bottom-feed from a blue pond, as opposed to the red one he’s been polluting for quite some time. Here’s what they’re saying from the right, left and points in-between:

  • Specter: RINO no more by Robert Stacy McCain: ” Specter reminds me of the high-school slut trying to sleep her way to popularity — a weak reed, blown by the shifting winds.”
  • The RNC responds by Markos Moulitsas: “But as we’ve seen, Specter has no convictions he won’t betray in his naked efforts to remain in power.”
  • What did Specter represent besides himself? by Ed Morrissey: “But what core values does Specter represent? “
  • Arlen Specter, Democrat by Matt Welch: “Throat-clearing aside, this strikes me as no favor at all to the Democrats.”
  • Goodnight, Arlen by Scott Boykin: “We do not want Republican leaders like Specter who find their ‘political philosophy more in line with Democrats,’ and we will be happy to show them the way to the door.”
  • What Specter’s switch says about him, the Democrats and our political spectrum by Glenn Greenwald: “Arlen Specter is one of the worst, most soul-less, most belief-free individuals in politics.”
  • Arlen Specter makes it official; Flashback: Specter’s denial by Michelle Malkin: “Arlen Specter, we have just 10 words for you: Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”
  • What will Democrats do about Arlen Specter? by Jon Henke: “So, by promising to give Specter the institutional support of the Democratic Party, it looks like the Democratic establishment has engineered a switch that advances their political control at the expense of the ideological agenda and ideals of the progressive movement.”
  • Arlen Specter’s Leapfrog Across the Aisle by watertiger: “Well played, suckers. Let me know when those wire transfers from that Nigerian bank finally come through.”
  • Specter of Absurdity by James Ostrowski: “Yet, today the MSM is obsessed with it and saying the GOP is dead now. That’s true, but the GOP was dead last week too.”
  • D., Himself by NRO‘s editorial staff: “But here’s hoping that Pennsylvania Democrats become the second party to turn down Specter’s dubious services.”
  • Arlen Specter switches parties by Megan McArdle: “I hope that Specter has better sense than Jeffords in titling his next self-serving autobiography. “
  • Unprincipled hack (D-PA) by Jonathan Chait: “When a politician switches parties, it’s customary for the party he’s abandoned to denounce him as an unprincipled hack, and the party he’s joined to praise him as a brave convert who’s genuinely seen the light. But I think it’s pretty clear that Specter is an unprincipled hack.”
  • Arlen Specter: The Democrat Most Deserving of a Primary Challenge by Chris Bowers: “He is joining our party purely for personal political survival. “
  • Did you give money to Arlen Specter? by Erick Erickson: “If so, and you want a refund, call him at (202) 224-4254 and demand your money back.”
  • Club for Growth press release: “Senator Specter has confirmed what we already knew – he’s a liberal devoted to more spending, more bailouts, and less economic freedom. Thanks to him, Democrats will now be able to steamroll their big government agenda through the Senate.”
  • Glenn Reynolds scribes: “TRUTH IN LABELING”
  • Rush Limbaugh via Hot Air: “Well, Specter, take [Sen. John] McCain with you. And his daughter [Meghan]. Take McCain and his daughter with you if you’re gonna…”
  • Al Franken‘s comedy routine: “Forget that he’s humorless and pasty-looking. He’s Jewish! See, I’ve been following the whole Colin Powell phenomenon, and it’s led me to an indisputable conclusion: The first Jew to be elected President of the United States will be a four-star general.”
  • Michael Steele‘s statement: “Republicans look forward to beating Sen. Specter in 2010, assuming the Democrats don’t do it first.”
  • Suzanna Logan hasn’t written anything about Specter and we certainly aren’t in agreement with every item of the conservative social agenda.  Sometimes I like linking her because she’s hot.

For the most part, Specter seems to be about as highly regarded as Bob Dole after he runs out of Viagra.  However, I’d be remiss not to mention this little crapweasel lovefest:

  • Ezra Klein gets a woodie because he thinks Specter may end up playing bottom for the Dem’s when they nationalize another industry.
  • Olympia Snowe gets her panties in a wad over losing one of her best socialist buds to the even darker side.
  • David Frum likes pitching tents.  Really big tents.  However, it seems that he’s poorly equipped ideologically for the job.


I’m not quite sure how to categorize this response:

  • A Children’s Treasury of Wingnut Responses To Arlen Specter Becoming Gay at Wonkette: “The 14 remaining wingnut Republicans are, of course, furious about Muslin-Communist and Pennsylvania shit monster Arlen Specter doing what they always knew he would do, with the becoming a DemonCRAP, because of course his whole plan all along from the day he was hatched, from a turd, was to stick an Arab Dagger in the backs of the Real Americans, right at the moment when there are basically no Real Americans left, which means … ?! … which means PURGE THE GOP OF OTHER NOT-WINGNUTTY-ENOUGH SENATORS, so that they have maybe 30 seats, maybe 25? Hoor — HUH?!”

Today’s Winners and Losers

With the exception of “pure” libertarians, everyone gets it right sometimes and everyone gets it wrong sometimes.

Lately, I’ve been praising Robert Stacy McCain while being a mildly critical of Andrew Sullivan regarding Tea Parties.  Today, Sullivan makes up for it by bringing our attention to a post made by McCain regarding waterboarding.  McCain writes:

Who could possibly give a crap about the “rights” of terrorist scumbags like Abu Zubahdah and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed? Their “rights” would not have been infringed if they had gotten a 9mm slug through their skulls the day they were captured…

…Everybody would get their turn, one whack at a time, until there was nothing left of Abu and Khalid except a bloody stain. The $20 per ticket is a nominal fee. The real money would be in the pay-per-view royalties.

Hell, I hate the 9/11 hijackers as much as any red-blooded American can.  However, I’m a member of something which someone as bright as McCain must have heard: Western civilization. We’ve hundreds of years of tradition in providing legal rights to those accused of even the most heinous crimes.  I hate to go Godwin here, but we even tried folks like Hermann Göring, Rudolf Hess and Albert Speer in Nürnberg.  Serial killers generally receive fair trails before they are executed.

McCain may be wrong on torture, but he’s smart enough to realize the blowback resulting from the creation of new and powerful government institutions with the power to disregard other civil liberties. “Don’t Like Being Labeled a ‘Rightwing Extremist’? Blame Bush!” is how McCain just entitled a Hot Air piece covering this statement made by Alabama Republican Liberty Caucus Chairman Scott Boykin. “Keep this in mind next time someone tries to tell you that all Republicans are brainwashed Bushbot lapdogs,” notes McCain.

On the winners side today is the ACLU.  While the right hates and loathes the organization, the ACLU has been bold enough to defend the rights of even the right.  Now if the ACLU would only spend a bit more time protecting our Second Amendment rights…

Over at the Atlanta Journal Constitution, former prominent Republican Congressman Bob Barr aimed his arrows at the current House GOP leadership, stating that the Republicans are still leaderless in Congress.

“On issue after issue, [House Minority Leader John] Boehner’s responses to Stephanopoulos’ jabs were disjointed, vague and rambling,” wrote Barr. “There were virtually no specifics put forward by Boehner, despite numerous openings provided by Stephanopoulos for the Republican leader to provide a counterpoint to the Obama Administration’s liberal agendas on matters such as healthcare, climate change, and energy policy.”

Speaking of McCain and torture, Robert Stacy’s “crazy Uncle John” McCain stepped on it today on the only key issue where he’s been right.  Think Progress reports that the enemy of both waterboarding and the First Amendment is also a partisan hack who wants to protect GOP interests by calling it “a ‘serious mistake’ for the Obama administration to release the torture memos. The release of these memos helps no one, doesn’t help America’s image, does not help us address the issue.”  Au contraire, mon frère.

I should add as a disclaimer that (R. S.) McCain and I had drinks and cigars with Barr in Atlanta over the weekend.  However, this won’t stop me for praising my friends when they are right — or keep me from calling them out when they are wrong.

Trying to teach newbie fiscally conservative Republicans a few speaking points

The Hill reports:

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) blasted “tea party” protests yesterday, labeling the activities “despicable” and shameful.”

“The ‘tea parties’ being held today by groups of right-wing activists, and fueled by FOX News Channel, are an effort to mislead the public about the Obama economic plan that cuts taxes for 95 percent of Americans and creates 3.5 million jobs,” Schakowsky said in a statement.

“It’s despicable that right-wing Republicans would attempt to cheapen a significant, honorable moment of American history with a shameful political stunt,” she added. “Not a single American household or business will be taxed at a higher rate this year. Made to look like a grassroots uprising, this is an Obama bashing party promoted by corporate interests, as well as Republican lobbyists and politicians.”

Here’s a response from the guy who alerted a significant amount of Americans that they are considered right-wing extremists:  I’ll be happy to trade my miniscule tax decrease for repayment of my share, as well as that of my children and their children, of all deficit spending which has occurred since President Obama took office.

I’m sure a lot of you can think of additional appropriate responses.

I’ve a more than a handful of libertarian friends who used to work for Ronald Reagan.  The GOP might wish to think about hiring some of us again.

Andrew Sullivan, astroturfing Republicans and GOP hypocrisy

Andrew Sullivan gets it right, and wrong, at the very same time.  He scribed:

The remarkable thing about today’s partisan Republicans is their capacity to forget instantly and entirely anything that went on for the past eight years. And so suddenly we are rushing toward socialism, even though by far the biggest jumps in state power and debt occurred under a president they worshiped and worked hard to re-elect. There were no tea-parties to protest the $32 trillion Medicare prescription drug benefit. There was no Randian rumbling as Bush took over local schools. There was no defense of the Constitution as Bush and Cheney secretly suspended the fourth and first amendments. But put a moderate Democrat in office tackling a historic collapse in demand – and spending must be frozen! Reading the partisan right blogs, this ability to disappear the past is striking, and it helps explain base GOP loathing of Obama (even if the base is much smaller than it was).

Sullivan has noted what many of us have been complaining about since the Tea Party craze started. At this site (even as late as last night), and many others, we’ve been screaming about hypocritical, astroturfing, big-government Republicans.  So much so that it may be time to coin a new term: RINOturfing.

However, some of us have always been vocally and actively opposed to the very issues Sullivan raises. Ron Paul supporters, Libertarians, libertarians, paleoconservatives and even some (primarily) fiscal conservatives have been hitting the streets as well as the blogs for years.  That we are frequently ignored by publications like The Atlantic (Sullivan did cover Ron Paul fairly well) may have something to do with Sullivan’s apparent forgetfulness on the issue.

Essentially, Sullivan is disregarding publications like Reason and American Spectator, organizations like Cato (and Heritage on some days), candidates like Ron Paul and Bob Barr, personalities like John Stossel and Andrew Napolitano, parties like the Libertarian Party, elected officials like Ron Paul and Jeff Flake, conservative icons like Bruce Fein and Richard Viguerie, pretty much any self-described libertarian, ad infinitum.

A good definition of partisan is “a fervent, sometimes militant supporter or proponent of a party, cause, faction, person, or idea.”  It’s my opinion that all of the individuals and groups listed above indeed qualify.

There was plenty of  “Randian rumbling” and “defense of the Constitution” during the Bush years.  Perhaps Sullivan chose to ignore most of it.

In March, I wrote:

To be clear, I think it is cool that it appears that libertarians have some newfound friends on the small-government team.  However, it’s fair to color us a bit skeptical, as we are still licking our Republican-inflicted wounds.  It may take a bit of time for us to recover from the political PTSD we are suffering after fighting Republicans for the last eight years over government spending issues.

I still stand by these words.  It’s possible that April 15th may be the day that begins the healing process.  It could also be the day that the more cynical of us are proven correct.

UPDATE: I’d like to welcome our The Other McCain and The League of Ordinary Gentlemen readers.  I’d like to send a special medical marijuana smoking and lesbian loving shoutout to Moe Lane and our good friends at RedState.  I’m sort of curious about why the folks at RedState don’t approve of two women getting married to each other.  This sort of stuff is fantasy material for most red-blooded males that I know.

The Liberty Papers Welcomes Fellow “Militia Members” and Enemies of the State

Are you an enemy of the state? Chances are if you are reading The Liberty Papers, you are! According to a new report from the Missouri Information Analysis Center, “The Modern Militia Movement” authored by Governor Nixon and Attorney General Koster, signs that you may be a domestic terrorist or militia member include:

– You supported Ron Paul or 3rd party candidates such as Chuck Baldwin or Bob Barr in the 2008 election (Guilty!)

– You have “anti-government,” Campaign for Liberty, Gadsden Flag, and “libertarian” bumper stickers on his or her vehicle or possess other related literature (Guilty!)

-Anyone involved in The Campaign for Liberty (I’m sure that anyone associated with the Tea Parties or those in the “Going Galt” movement should also be considered a threat)

-People who frequently visit or participate in libertarian related blogs, discussion boards, or websites (Guilty!)

-Those who write about or talk about the coming economic collapse of the U.S. (Guilty!)

Basically, anyone who distrusts the state on any level could be profiled as a potential militia member, domestic terrorist, or enemy of the state.

I first learned of this report from the video clip below (Glenn Beck with Penn Jillete as his guest).

So what does Chuck Baldwin, Bob Barr, and Ron Paul think about being associated with domestic terrorism?

Chuck Baldwin’s response:

Can you imagine the fallout of this preposterous report had the names Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and Maxine Waters been used instead of the names Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin, and Bob Barr?

Accordingly, Ron Paul, Bob Barr, and I wrote a formal letter to the above-named Missouri officials demanding “that the following-described document be immediately removed from any and all websites associated with or maintained by the state of Missouri or any agency thereof, including the MIAC; that the said document no longer be circulated by the state of Missouri or any agency thereof or associated therewith; and that the state of Missouri repudiate its references to the three of us contained therein.”

Bob Barr seems to be content with the response he co-wrote with Baldwin and Paul, at least for now (I haven’t found any response so far from Barr other than the aforementioned letter)

Ron Paul’s Campaign for Liberty, however; is not taking this laying down and is circulating a Citizen’s Petition for Redress of Grievance

Both Ron Paul and Campaign for Liberty champion principles of freedom, peace, and prosperity. We believe that the Founder’s vision for America can be reclaimed through education and peaceful activism.

Simply supporting the Constitution does not make you worthy of a watch list; it makes you a Patriot.

I find it interesting that some (mostly Democrats) who when Bush was president said that dissent was patriotic now get nervous when anyone dares to question the policies of “The Messiah” a.k.a. “The Chosen One” a.k.a. President Obama. To be against this enlightened being is to commit heresy and obviously should be considered a wild-eyed, dangerous enemy of the state.

Well, believe it or not, not everyone believes that the direction Obama and the Democrat controlled federal government are in the best interest of those who value the rights of life, liberty, and property. The State has become an enemy to these very basic human rights.

Does this make me an enemy of the state? Well, I certainly wouldn’t describe myself as a “friend of the state.”

To those of you who have my name on a watch list and reading this, you can take that statement however you like.

Don’t Tread on Me!

A Proposed Constitutional Amendment

Believe me, I’m not advocating the following proposed constitutional amendment.  To be sure, I oppose pretty much everything it represents.  However, if we are to follow the rule of law in this country, we should at least go through the effort of ensuring that contemporary political activities and the law are in sync.

“Any political party which clearly dominates the legislative branch of Congress is authorized to tax any political target to the degree it desires and in a retroactive manner.”

Let’s see how this could be applied:

  • It could be used to tax contracted bonus payments to employees of corporations which aren’t politically correct at the moment.
  • It could be used to tax, retroactively even, all income of politicians from the opposing political party.
  • It could next be used to tax, retroactively even, all income of family members of politicians from an opposing political party.
  • It could be used to tax all campaign contributions provided to any member of an opposing political party.
  • It could be used to levy a specific targeted tax aimed at people who are registered members of opposing political parties.

Remember, these taxes can be as high as 100 percent (on second thought, why stop at 100 percent?).  They can be levied on earnings or other resources from anytime in history.

With this amendment in place, the Democrats can tax AIG executives (and executives from any other corporation) as much as they desire.  Why stop there, though?  They can also maintain political power by taxing non-Democrats in Congress at a rate of 150 percent, going back 25 years.  For those congressmen with spouses or children enjoying income, tax them retroactively, too.

Need to pay off the national debt? Levy an emergency 90 percent payroll tax on registered Republicans, Libertarians and Greens.

Need to ensure that you stay in political power?  Tax the donations made to competitive political campaigns.

Of course, the Republicans could take over Congress again.  This proposed amendment would be to their advantage, too.  It’s not to difficult to see folks like Tom DeLay or Karl Rove using such law to their advantage.  I’m sure the first applications would be aimed at trade unions, to be followed by the political targeting of Democrats everywhere.  If people stop registering as Democrats, simply target them based on other demographics, such as gender, race, age and income level.

If politics are to be tyrannical in nature, why not at least have a constitutional amendment to authorize the actions of the folks standing at the top of the trash heap?

Defining Both Major Parties in Twenty Words or Less

Over at AmSpecBlog, Robert Stacy McCain has launched a contest to see who can best describe the Democratic Party in 20 words or less.  Considering that I’m a libertarian, I’m sure my entry won’t win — but here goes anyway: Of the big-government political parties, the Democrats are the ones who favor donkeys over elephants.

I’m wondering how other libertarians might describe the Republican Party, too.  My entry for the latter contest is pretty much the same: Of the big-government political parties, the Republicans are the ones who favor elephants over donkeys.

So who has some better definitions of both major parties?

Picking at Festering Libertarian Scabs

I honestly believe that Ron Paul is a decent guy and one of the most unique spokesmen for the libertarian movement out there.  However, I’m going to write something that one year ago would have filled the comment section below with hate messages from Dr. Paul’s supporters: Ron Paul does not walk on water and he puts his pants on one leg at a time, just like the rest of us.  Additionally, many of his supporters were among the rudest of people I’ve run into in my lifetime. I’ve also made some close and probably lifelong friends because of Paul’s presidential bid.

Countless times, I’ve been accused of attempting to destroy Ron Paul for pointing out some minor area where I disagree with him or his campaign.   When doing so, I was generally accused by his supporters either of being a neocon or of trying to sabotage his campaign.  Nothing could be further from the truth on either account.  It got so bad that I nearly quit supporting Paul — and I know quite a few other people who did drop out of the Ron Paul movement because of the crude behavior of some of his fans.

As a matter of fact, I was even heavily criticized by Paul’s supporters for paying, out of my own pocket, for a limousine to take Paul to the memorial service of Hollywood-producer-turned-politican Aaron Russo.  They thought it looked bad for a presidential candidate to appear to be living a jet-setting life of luxury.  I didn’t want a presidential candidate to show up at a Hollywood gig with both reporters and movie stars looking like a homeless man.  It was a plain, black limo.

There are differences between each of us in the freedom movement.  Some are pro-life, others are pro-choice.  Some are open borders and some are closed borders.  Some think talk of dismantling the Federal Reserve sounds bat-shit crazy.  Some think we should focus on the War on Drugs, others feel it is a losing issue. Some are 9/11 Truthers, or Obama Birthers, McCain Birthers, UFO Truthers, etc. — while others try to avoid these topics.  We have differences on both issues and approaches.

Like the rest of us, Ron Paul has some political warts.  He ran a campaign which many felt was poorly managed.  He didn’t handle the newsletter issue well.  Many people felt defrauded because they thought he was running to win and later found out it was an “educational” campaign.  Others feel that while Paul is an excellent congressman, he doesn’t have the executive skills to be commander-and-chief.  Paul has also managed to put a general libertarian message on national television like nothing I’ve seen in my lifetime.

He’s not the only libertarian-leaning Republican to have some political warts, though.  Barry Goldwater lost the 1964 presidential election because of them — and the Daisy ad.  I could run through a long list of faults of libertarian-leaning Congressmen, but won’t for the sake of brevity.  And political warts aren’t reserved solely for GOP candidates, either.

When Aaron Russo attempted to win the Libertarian Party presidential nomination, he said he didn’t wish to push for a radical drug legalization platform, preferring to focus on medical marijuana.   Then he went just as radical as Paul with respect to the Federal Reserve during his campaign and followed this up with America: Freedom to Fascism.

Bob Barr certainly didn’t appeal to the more radical elements of the libertarian movement and the cynical among them still thinks he’s a “neocon” who favors the Iraq War and Patriot Act, despite all that he’s done since leaving Congress to oppose these issues. However, Barr did handle racial allegations much more quickly and thoroughly than Paul did. Michael Badnarik was actually good on most of the issues from a constitutional perspective, but he seemed a bit kooky with respect to his refusal to obtain a driver’s license and for a few things he wrote in an pre-campaign publication.

The definition of neoconservative, for some libertarians, seems to be “anyone with whom I disagree.”

I’ve worked plenty of campaigns and disagreed with aspects of all of them.  Even the ones which won.  Especially the ones I managed.  Reasonable disagreement does not equate with being some sort of traitor.

Face it, folks, we are a bunch of individualists who are going to disagree — and disagree a lot. We will disagree on the issues and we will disagree on the candidates. However, the 2008 campaigns are over and perhaps it’s time to point our guns outwards, as opposed to aiming them at our closest allies.  By working together where we can and working apart where we must, we will accomplish a whole lot more than if we waste our time beating each other over the head about minor nuances.

It’s one thing to respectfully disagree or provide advice.  It’s another thing to reserve our most powerful weapons for our allies.  So long as we continue to fight each other, the oppressive power of the state will continue to increase.

UPDATE: By e-mail request, I’m linking to something I wrote some time ago dealing with the same general topic.

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