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Liberalism: Why think when you can “feel”?

Ron Paul endorses Congressman “Bridge to Nowhere”

Here’s something that ought to drive the Paultards nuttier than they already are: Ron Paul (R-TX) is endorsing Congressman Don Young (Porkster-AK) in an Alaskan GOP primary.  For those of you who don’t recall, Don Young is the author of the quarter-billion-dollar “Bridge to Nowhere” pork proposal in Alaska, and is currently under federal investigation.

See, Ron Paul is a former big-L Libertarian but has been in Congress as a small-l libertarian Republican.  One of Paul’s alleged pet peeves is pork.  Supposedly, the libertarian in him despises pork with a bitter passion.  Actually, that’s one of (if not the only) things I’ve liked about Paul.  It’s been a staple of Paul’s public image, since he has voted against numerous bills and budgets that had more pork than a Rosie O’Donnell cookout.

Well, guess what?  Paul’s a fraud!  Though his anti-Semitism and his batshiite crazy ways may not have embarrassed Captain Kook’s supporters, one would think this just might do it.

In addition to his hypocrisy on pork via his support for Young, there’s also this:

By endorsing Congressman Don Young (R-Alaska) for reelection over his principled conservative challenger, Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas) has put “pork ahead of principle,” Richard A. Viguerie said.

Viguerie, Chairman of ConservativeHQ.com, said the endorsement is “completely inconsistent with everything Congressman Paul has said that he stands for. But, unfortunately, it is consistent with his record of pork-barrel spending for the folks back home in his district.”

 

Viguerie noted that, according to a recent article in the Houston Chronicle, Paul “is trying to nab public money for 65 projects, such as marketing wild shrimp and renovating the old movie theater in Edna that closed in 1977 — neither of which is envisioned in the Constitution as an essential government function.

All of Paul’s pork requests are here.

You drank the Kool-Aid, Paulnuts…you were Jim Jones’d real good.

August 26, 2008 Posted by | hypocrisy, libertarian, pork, Ron Paul | 1 Comment

Bob Barr morally superior to Ron Paul

While Capt. Crazy courts the racists, anti-Semites, and other hate groups, Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr tells them to take a long walk off a short pier.  From LGF:

LGF kudos to Libertarian candidate Bob Barr for doing what Ron Paul wouldn’t: telling the neo-Nazis to drop dead.

The Barr campaign is not going to be a vehicle for every fringe and hate group to promote itself. We do not want and will not accept the support of haters. Anyone with love in their heart for our country and for every resident of our country regardless of race, religion, nationality or sexual orientation is welcome with open arms.

Tell the haters I said don’t let the door hit you on the backside on your way out!

Barr doesn’t stand a hubcap’s chance in Detroit of getting elected, but I give props to the guy anyway.

June 3, 2008 Posted by | bigotry, libertarian, Ron Paul | 6 Comments

Thoughts on Spitzer, Vitter, and prostitution

I received an e-mail from a friend who wanted to know how my libertarian views on prostitution square with my belief that Spitzer (who, by his own admission, is guilty) and Vitter (who hasn’t specifically admitted guilt to solicitation, but to being a scumbag…but that’s semantics, I guess) should be prosecuted. That’s a fair question, but it has an easy answer: prostitution is illegal.My friends, many of you will disagree with me on this, and that’s cool, but I think prostitution should be legalized for a couple of reasons.

1. It is not the responsibility of the government to get involved with the voluntary contract between two willing, legally consenting individuals. If a woman wants to charge a fee to provide gratification to a man, and he is willing to pay that fee, than both should be free to do so.

2. There are crimes much more severe than a girl giving a dude an orgasm.

3. If prostitution were legal, it would be subject to health regulations (like restaurant workers, bar owners, etc.) and to federal taxation (income and SS/Medicare).

Many argue that prostitution undermines the family (in the case of married participants). So does adultery of any kind, but that’s not a crime, now is it? Others argue that it leads to the spreading of diseases. That may or may not be true, but that’s where subjecting it to health regulations would be helpful. Besides, unprotected sex of any kind leads to the spreading of diseases, but unprotected sex isn’t a crime, now is it? Adding the element of money somehow makes it less acceptable than giving it away?

Finally, this is about personal responsibility and freedom. If you are free to hook up with a hooker, then you are going to have to be responsible for whatever happens to you: nothing, or divorce, or getting a disease, or getting her pregnant, or whatever else may happen. If you don’t like the risks, don’t get with a hooker. Period. I don’t like the risks, so I’ve never gotten with a hooker. Your risk tolerance may be different than mine.

Anywho, the point is that while I believe that prostitution should be legal, the simple fact is that it is not legal. It is a crime, whether I like it or not, and as such, anyone who violates the law and commits a crime should be punished accordingly: Spitzer, Vitter, or any other hooker or john.

March 13, 2008 Posted by | libertarian, Spitzer | 7 Comments

Recovering Libertarian

This is an awesome column by Stephen Green that I certainly relate to and that really got me thinking.  Please read the column, excerpts of which follow:

… Being a Libertarian was hard work, but I set right at it. I even went so far as to read the entire party platform. Pro-choice? Right on! Free trade? Hell, yes! Privatize all the schools? Start with mine! Abolish that Social Security Ponzi scheme? I was never going to see a dime, anyway! Bring all our troops home from Europe and Japan and South Korea and everywhere else and close half our embassies and cut defense spending at least in half and forget about enforcing freedom of the seas? Whoa, Nelly! “But,” I rationalized, “they don’t really mean all that stuff. A Libertarian president wouldn’t be that naive.”

But come election day, I held my nose, covered my eyes and pulled the lever for George HW Bush — no easy feat with only two hands. There was still a Cold War to be won. I could be a real Libertarian — we all would be! — once the Soviets caved in.

Almost exactly a year later, that’s exactly what happened. On November 9, 1989, the people of East Berlin took hammers and chisels and even their bare hands to that Wall. Soon, the governments of East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Poland, and even Romania had fallen — mostly peacefully. The peoples of Eastern Europe had liberated themselves from Communist oppression, and at long last I was free to throw off the last shackles of my Republican heritage.

I changed my party affiliation to Libertarian, smiling all the way back from the voter registrar’s office.

In 2000, I changed my party registration back to Republican for one reason, and one good Libertarian reason only: To vote against John McCain (and his statist threats of campaign finance reform) in the primary. I fully intended to switch back before the next general election.

Then we all woke up one morning to learn that airliners had crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and into the wooded hills of Pennsylvania. “Well, here’s a war even a good Libertarian like me can support.” We’d been attacked, directly, and we knew who the culprits were and where their protectors and sponsors were. We would go after them with such righteous fury that no one would dare strike New York City ever again.

Boy, was I wrong.

The angry folks at Liberty were mad at most everybody but Islamic terrorists. One even went so far as to denounce the Afghan War as “racist.” It was all imperialism this, and blowback that, and without a care in the world for protecting American lives, commerce, or, well, liberty. Then Postrel turned over Reason to Nick Gillespie, who seemed more interested in presenting libertarianism as something hip, arch, fun — and ultimately unserious. Such should have been no surprise, coming from the former editor of a magazine called Suck.

I felt abandoned, betrayed, by my comrades. By my former comrades.

If Libertarians couldn’t agree about the clear-cut case for war in Afghanistan, you can imagine how Iraq must have divided us. I had to stop reading Liberty months before my subscription finally, mercifully, ran out. Blogger friends of mine stopped emailing me. Ron Paul, whose name once graced the back of my first car, started sounding to me, less like a principled defender of American liberty, and more like a suited-up reject from the Summer of Love. …

When I started this blog in 2004, I idenitified myself as a libertarian.  Since then, I’ve noticed that while I am libertarian on a number of issues that conservatives reject (such as legalization of prostitution and drugs), I am conservative on a number of issues that libertarians reject (I support the war against Islamic terrorism, I’m not reflexively anti-religion, etc.).  I eventually identified myself as neo-libertarian, which may be a more accurate description.  Or perhaps, I can best be identified as either (a) a libertarian with conservative leanings; or (b) a conservative with libertarian leanings.

In other words, I think that we are all entitled to life, liberty, and property that cannot be denied or deprived without due process, and we should be able to exercise those rights in any manner that we see fit so long as the exercise thereof doesn’t infringe on other people’s rights to do the same.  I also think that without a strong national security system (which libertarians tend to trivialize in importance), all of our rights and freedoms mean nothing.

October 25, 2007 Posted by | libertarian | 5 Comments

"Libertarians and the war"

Excellent column by Randy Barnett in Opinion Journal. Please read the whole thing, an excerpt of which is here:

While the number of Americans who self-identify as “libertarian” remains small, a substantial proportion agree with the core stances of limited constitutional government in both the economic and social spheres–what is sometimes called “economic conservatism” and “social liberalism.” But if they watched the Republican presidential debate on May 15, many Americans might resist the libertarian label, because they now identify it with strident opposition to the war in Iraq, and perhaps even to the war against Islamic jihadists.

During that debate, the riveting exchange between Rudy Giuliani and Ron Paul about whether American foreign policy provoked the 9/11 attack raised the visibility of both candidates. When Mr. Paul, a libertarian, said that the 9/11 attack happened “because we’ve been over there. We’ve been bombing Iraq for 10 years,” Mr. Giuliani’s retort–that this was the first time he had heard that “we invited the attack because we were attacking Iraq. . . . and I’ve heard some pretty absurd explanations for September 11”–sparked a spontaneous ovation from the audience. It was an electrifying moment that allowed one to imagine Mr. Giuliani as a forceful, articulate president.

The exchange also drew attention to Mr. Paul, who until then had been a rather marginal member of the 10-man Republican field. One striking feature of Mr. Paul’s debate performance was his insistence on connecting his answer to almost every question put to him–even friendly questions about taxes, spending and personal liberty–to the war.

This raised the question: Does being a libertarian commit one to a particular stance toward the Iraq war? The simple answer is “no.”

First and foremost, libertarians believe in robust rights of private property, freedom of contract, and restitution to victims of crime. They hold that these rights define true “liberty” and provide the boundaries within which individuals may pursue happiness by making their own free choices while living in close proximity to each other. Within these boundaries, individuals can actualize their potential while minimizing their interference with the pursuit of happiness by others.

But here is the rub. While all libertarians accept the principle of self-defense, and most accept the role of the U.S. government in defending U.S. territory, libertarian first principles of individual rights and the rule of law tell us little about what constitutes appropriate and effective self-defense after an attack. Devising a military defense strategy is a matter of judgment or prudence about which reasonable libertarians may differ greatly.

Please, read it. It’s great stuff!

July 19, 2007 Posted by | Iraq, libertarian | Leave a comment

Dr. Williams’ question to criminal alien apologists (particularly libertarians)

A very simple, basic, straightforward question posed by Dr. Walter Williams to people, especially libertarian friends (current and former):

President Bush and his pro-amnesty allies both in and out of Congress suffered a devastating defeat at the hands of the American people. Like any other public controversy, there are vested interests served on both sides of the amnesty issue, but I’d like to raise some ordinary non-rocket-science questions to the pro-amnesty crowd, many of whom are my libertarian friends.

Do people, anywhere in the world, have a right to enter the United States irrespective of our laws pertaining to immigration? Unless one wishes to obfuscate, there’s a simple “yes” or “no” answer to that question. If a “yes” answer is given, then why should there be any immigration requirements, such as visas, passports and green cards, for anyone who wishes to visit or reside in our country? Why not abolish the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services?

If your answer is “no,” one does not have a right to enter the U.S. irrespective of our laws, what does that make a person who does so? Most often we call a person whose behavior violates a law a criminal. If people commit criminal acts, should there be an effort to apprehend and punish them? In general, my answer is yes, with one important exception.

I was summoned for jury duty some years ago, and during voir dire, the attorney asked me whether I could obey the judge’s instructions. I answered, “It all depends upon what those instructions are.” Irritatingly, the judge asked me to explain myself. I explained that if I were on a jury back in the 1850s, and a person was on trial for violating the Fugitive Slave Act by assisting a runaway slave, I would vote for acquittal regardless of the judge’s instructions. The reason is that slavery is unjust and any law supporting it is unjust. Needless to say, I was dismissed from jury duty. While our immigration laws are overly cumbersome and in urgent need of streamlining, they do not violate human rights and should be obeyed.

Many pro-amnesty supporters offer the canard that there are 12 to 20 million illegal immigrants in our country. We cannot keep every illegal immigrant out or expel the ones living here. That might be true, but it is also true that we can’t prevent every rape and murder. Does that mean we shouldn’t attempt to enforce the laws against rape and murder and try to prosecute the perpetrators?

In addition to greater efforts to secure our borders, there are several non-rocket-science steps we can take. People who are here illegally should be denied access to any social service such as Medicaid, public education and food assistance programs. An exception might be made for temporary emergency medical treatment. In some cities, such as Los Angeles, police are prohibited from asking people they stop about their immigration status. While state and local police shouldn’t be turned into federal agents, they shouldn’t knowingly conceal criminal acts.

The United States is a nation of immigrants from all over the world. The resulting ethnic mosaic goes a long way toward explaining our greatness as a nation. Immigration has always been a blessing for us, and it still is. But yesteryear’s immigration and today’s differ in several important respects. For the most part, yesteryear’s immigrants came here legally. Because there was no welfare state, we were guaranteed that they’d work as opposed to living off the rest of us. Furthermore, they sought to assimilate and adopt our culture and become Americans. That’s not so true today, where Hispanic activists seek to impose their language and culture on the rest of us. At some public schools, they’ve raised the Mexico flag atop the U.S. flag. They’ve announced that they seek to take back parts of the U.S. that were formerly Mexico.

It’s a simple “yes” or “no” question: Do people have the right to come into America in violation of our immigration laws? The vast, overwhelming majority of Americans say “No”!

July 11, 2007 Posted by | illegal immigration, libertarian | 1 Comment

Libertarian influence

While I do not share the Libertarian (capital “L”) Party’s views on immigration (they support open borders, which I think is suicidal) or military action in Afghanistan (even most liberals initially supported that), I share their basic philosophical goals. John Fund has a good column on libertarianism (little “l”) in America today:

Scores of books have been written on the role of communists and socialists in the U.S., dour chronicles of welcome failure. But very few writers have devoted much attention to the role of libertarians, a more appealing and optimistic group of thinkers, political activists and ordinary citizens who believe that respect for the individual and the spontaneous order of market forces are the key to progress and social well-being.

The neglect is strange, given how much libertarians and their limited-government logic have shaped the culture and economy of the U.S. The ideas of John Locke and David Hume animated the writings of Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine. Libertarian principles kept what we think of as “big government” in check for much of the 19th century and well into the 20th, despite tariffs and war. The federal income tax officially arrived, in permanent form, as late as 1913. Coolidge and his Treasury secretary, Andrew Mellon, took a famously minimalist approach to governing. Of course, we now live in a post-FDR age, with government programs everywhere. Still, the libertarian impulse is part of our political culture. “I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism,” Ronald Reagan declared. (A great endorsement, in my view. – Ed.)

Today, pollsters find only 2% of people refer to themselves as libertarians, but some 15% of voters hold broadly libertarian views and can be a swing factor. In the photo-finish presidential race of 2000, some 72% of libertarian-minded voters supported George W. Bush. Last November, many of them abandoned the GOP, disillusioned by its profligate ways, and helped hand control of Congress to Democrats.

Libertarian ideas have enjoyed a surge of respect lately, helped by the collapse of Soviet central planning, the success of lower tax rates and the appeals of various figures in popular culture (e.g., Drew Carey, John Stossel and Clint Eastwood) who want government out of both their bedroom and wallet. Even so, libertarianism is often not the people’s choice. Part of the problem is the inertia of the status quo. “In a world where government has its hand in almost everything,” Mr. Doherty writes, “it requires a certain leap of imagination to see how things might work if it didn’t.” Many people couldn’t make that leap when, for example, economists proposed channeling some Social Security payroll taxes into private accounts.

Today the Internet has become, Mr. Doherty notes, an efficient way to transmit libertarian ideas and show their practical application. (With its decentralized, free-wheeling ethos, the Internet is itself libertarian without even trying to be.) Jimmy Wales, the man who started the interactive online encyclopedia Wikipedia, believes that “facts can help set the world free.” The largest retail market in the world is eBay, which allows anyone to buy and sell without a government license.

Louis Rosetto, the “radical capitalist” who founded Wired magazine, notes that, even if libertarian ideas must now push against a statist status quo, “contrarians end up being the drivers of change.” Among the most ornery contrarians, he says, are the libertarians “laboring in obscurity, if not in derision.” They have managed “to keep a pretty pure idea going, adapting it to circumstances and watching it be validated by the march of history.” Mr. Doherty has rescued libertarianism from its own obscurity, eloquently capturing the appeal of the “pure idea,” its origins in great minds and the feistiness of its many current champions.

February 15, 2007 Posted by | libertarian | Leave a comment