April 15, 2010

“Hating the government finally goes mainstream”

The Washington Examiner’s Chris Stirewalt:

[...] there’s no doubt that hating the government and the powerful interests that pull Washington’s strings has gone from the radical precincts of the Right and Left to the mainstream.

It turns out that watching Goldman Sachs, the United Auto Workers, public employee unions and a raft of other vampires drain the treasury at America’s weakest moment in a generation will make a person pretty hacked off.

After Barack Obama’s election, Democrats assumed that the American people were battered, bruised and ready for a morphine drip of European-style socialism. Republicans, shocked by their stunning reversals, figured the Democrats were right and started looking for technocrats of their own.

And in a political system fueled by special-interest money, it was hard for the leaders of major parties to imagine anything other than an activist government. After all, if you pay for someone to get elected, you don’t expect him to just sit there.

Just 18 months ago the leaders of both parties were quite sure that Obama would be the popular, transformative president he aspires to be. The Republicans who emerged from the wreckage of November were certain to look a lot more like Charlie Crist and Mitt Romney than Marco Rubio and Ron Paul.

But Crist’s embrace of Obamanomics seems to have utterly destroyed his chances at a Senate seat that was once his for the taking. Romney, considered a near lock for the 2012 Republican nomination, has seen his candidacy badly damaged by a populist revolt against the passage of a national health care plan that looks like the one he designed for Massachusetts.

Obama, who said that passage of his health plan proved that Washington could still do big things, finds himself deeply at odds with an electorate that is not confident of government’s ability to do anything at all.

His election has turned out to be not the result of a national lurch toward government intervention but his own skill at disguising his policies, the failures of the Republican Party and the bursting of the lending bubble.

To take it one step further, it is no surprise to me at all that Obama was elected in large part because of the historical nature of his candidacy, with many Americans viewing his victory as a positive symbol — a repudiation of the entrenched racism they’d been taught to accept was a matter of (always contemporary) fact, with Obama as the figure of that cultural repudiation. Coupled with the long hard slog of war, a growing financial crises, the years of beatings Bush took from the mainstream press, and the remarkably unappealing quality of the candidate Republicans ran against him, Obama’s candidacy was given every opportunity to succeed. But his victory, though very real, has always seemed ethereal: built on “hope” and “change,” it was itself the mark of a growing distrust of government; and progressives seem to have realized this, deciding to go all in while they have the power to do so not because they believe they were given a mandate, but rather because they know they were not — with Obama having acted as their Trojan Horse.

A generous reading of the political opportunism we’re witnessing would be that most progressives seem to believe that what they are doing is both for our own good and some greater good — and that once their agenda has been implemented, the American people will recognize the wisdom of progressivism, even if now they protest. If this is the case, progressives are guilty of but fraud and hubris.

An ungenerous reading? Cloward-Piven. In which case their guilt runs far deeper.

A year ago, the tea parties caught most everyone by surprise.

It was a conservative flash mob and hundreds of thousands of Americans took to the streets.

Republicans scrambled to get to the head of the parade and Democrats claimed that it was all a put-up job by their enemies in the special interest wars. The press tried to treat what had been a spontaneous outburst as if it were a traditional political party and asked all the questions they teach in journalism school: Who’s in charge? Who are they opposed to? Is it racist?

This year, the political parties and the press will not be caught off guard. Republican politicians will address tea party rallies, Democrats will denounce the supposed puppeteers of the movement and the press will look for hate speech.

But few will glean the real meaning of the protests or the booming support for Ron and Rand Paul.

It’s not about the Pauls themselves or the guys with the “Don’t tread on me” flags It’s about the people at home who might not be willing to march in the park or join the next Paul money bomb, but who don’t blame the folks who do.

Libertarian sentiment has finally gone mainstream.

Well, I’d call it classical liberalism, because it seems to me that most Americans are not averse to a small measure of government intrusion as a kind of necessary evil. But that’s really just nitpicking at this point.

A movement that said that people should do whatever they wanted as long as it didn’t hurt anyone else couldn’t compete during the culture wars that began in the 1960s.

But after two wars, a $12 trillion debt, a financial crisis and the most politically tone-deaf president in modern history, Americans may have finally given up on big government.

Perhaps.

Me, I’m of the opinion they were trying to signal just that with the election of Obama. They were just simply misled by a left-leaning press who not only didn’t do its due diligence, but in fact actively campaigned for Obama’s presidency.

And historic it will be. Just not for the reasons they’d hoped.

Posted by Jeff G. @ 8:23am
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Comments (0)

  1. Hopefully, this is the pendulum effect. A swing to one side is followed by an equidistant swing to the other. Obama swung the pendulum farther to the left than it has ever been. Let’s hope we are seeing it begin its reverse path.

  2. Well, I’d call it classical liberalism, because it seems to me that most Americans are not averse to a small measure of government intrusion as a kind of necessary evil.

    Neither are libertarians.

    They’re minarchists, not anarchists.

    I’m beating on that drum again but folks around here keep asserting a difference without distinguishing one.

  3. Hopefully, this is the pendulum effect.

    I’d say hopefully this is not a pendulum effect.

    If the pendulum effect has become this frantic then after the 2012 president abolishes the Dept. of Ed. and privatizes the post office the 2016 POTUS will collectivize the farms.

    The idea of government modeled on a pendulum swinging between Joseph Stalin and Friedrich Von Hayek strikes me as kind of… retarded.

  4. Yeah, I’m going with the willful implemntation of Cloward-Piven in the interest of turning AmeriKKKa into the workers paradise that was the former Soviet Union…At least the Soviet Union that Frank Marshall Davis and much of the faculty at Columbia university romanticized about; as opposed to the failed social and economic system that collapsed in the late 1980′s.

    ‘Cuz, it’ll work this time-For Reals! But those bitter, clinging, RUBES! can’t see things like the gifted elites of academia and jounalism, so they don’t get it; that’s why they’ll have to do what’s good for all of us…

    Let’s hope the pendulum does swing back soon, like in November.

  5. To me, a key difference between “classical liberal” and “libertarian” is practical rather than philosophic: Classical liberals are satisfied with working within the two-party system, while libertarians seem to demand a third party.

    Please correct any mis-perceptions or wrong ideas I have, but to many a third party is simply a vote-siphoner from the more closely aligned R/D party and thus assuring victory of the other party.

  6. It would indeed be foolish to make this entire movement about Obama. Obama is precisely what the political class in this country desire in a President: he is image and personality, and devotion to progressive principles. He is the Wilsonian ideal.

    And that is slowly becoming the more questionable.

  7. You’re right, Entropy. Mine was a poorly thought-out analogy. I guess it’s more like deciding to swear-off tequila after spending most of the night with your head in the toilet. If you get sick enough, you just might swear it off for good.

  8. Darth Rove, I just don’t see the Rs as any kind of counter to the Ds. And the “third parties always fail” is a bit of a non-starter. The Republicans were themselves a third party to counter the Whigs, and Democrats used to be the rural, conservative, states’ rights party. Things change.

    Just like ObamaCare, Republicans want big government. They just want to be the party running it.

  9. I can think of way more relevant things that distinguish classical liberal and libertarian – open immigration springs to mind.

  10. I think Bill Clinton’s lurch to the center after the midterm elections and subsequent economic stewardship had a lot to do with Obama getting elected as well. He had repaired the Democrat brand in a way that made Obama’s airy rhetoric and flat out dishonesty easier for unserious people to buy into.

  11. Libertarians tend to be more hostile to government-supported social safety nets than classical liberals. Jeff has said in the past that he likes him some 30 year fixed rate mortgages and Social Security, though preferring a version where Ponzi-esque is not quite such an apt modifier.

  12. Flash mob? Conservatives are nowhere near that current. Plus they’d have to learn to use mobile communications technologies, which are way too far advanced for a group of hicktards that, a generation ago, still couldn’t manage to program their own VCRs.

  13. Further to Cloward-Piven, JG, Bloomberg’s suit against big banking carries an interesting turn. With the Fed and US Treasury having gone basically off-radar so as to be in league with Wall Street banksters, would full disclosure indeed bring about a run on banks?

    The biggest U.S. commercial banks will take their fight against disclosure of Federal Reserve lending in 2008 to the Supreme Court if necessary, the top lawyer for an industry-owned group said. [...]

    “Our member banks are very concerned about real-time disclosure of information that could cause a run on the banks,” said Paul Saltzman, the group’s general counsel, in an interview yesterday. “We’re not going to let the Second Circuit opinion stand without seeking a review.”

    This is no inconsequential problem; this may be for all the marbles — strange times when freedom of speech might just hasten the end of a/the system. Is disclosure harmful to corruption or is it harmful to the nation at large?

  14. Classical liberals are satisfied with working within the two-party system, while libertarians seem to demand a third party.

    Darth, I would add that at least the big-”L” Libertarians are decidedly isolationists. They are very hostile to any American foreign policy that would have any American troops overseas (while concurrently advocating an “open border”).

    I was a registered Libertarian for at least a couple election cycles back in the 70′s and left them over that issue.

  15. Let’s hope the pendulum does swing back soon, like in November.

    In the scope of history, systemic reform appears less likely than systemic collapse. That is the pendulum that swings all pendulums, no?

  16. Isolationism is baked into the cake going forward I think. The little president man has made tremendous strides in curbing our little country’s influence overseas, and we have no money.

  17. Isolationism

    Isolationism is the lesser of all evils when one has to replace the roof and every major appliance, replant and restock, and mend all property lines before winter. Bring it on.

  18. We haven’t had a pendulum effect, only a perception of one. There has only been a ratchet to the left with the occasional halt portrayed by [D]-Party and [D]-press as a violent swing to the right.

    The tea parties threaten to break the pawl and allow the ratchet gear to spin free again. That threat is what all [D]-powers wish to smash, crush, snuff out forever.

  19. Mr. Buckley’s break with Team R on the war seems freighted with prescience in retrospect.

  20. Yes, Hadlowe. Libertarians use a version of classical liberalism, often meaning something along the lines of laissez-faire liberalism. We’re not too far apart. The difference is, I don’t as a matter of principle reject the idea of a government safety net, though government should be kept small, and a safety net is of necessity opposed to the Welfare State.

  21. “Libertarian” is ambiguous. The local libertarians here are anarchists in suits; one is former head of the LP. Joe Six Pack might be forgiven for taking “libertarian” to mean “in favor of limited, small government.” Plus “keep the government out of intrusion into social mores” is a view shared by most Republicans under many interpretations of it. Philosophically, libertarianism can mean the view that liberty is a value that trumps all others. I doubt that view is at work in the trend toward libertarianism, which is good because it’s not so that liberty is such a trump.

    I think the “trend toward libertarianism” is just a deepening seriousness about making government small. It’s equally libertarianism, classical liberalism, and conservatism.

  22. I don’t see how libertarianism entails isolationism any more than it entails pro-choice. There are tons of libertarian isolationists. But there’s nothing intrinsically anti-libertarian about going abroad and crushing liberty-destroying tyrants, any more than there is anything anti-libertarian about preventing a woman from killing her babe in the womb.

    Lots of libertarians feel very good about free sex. But libertarianism doesn’t entail that they should feel that way.

    You know what? “Libertarian” is almost uselessly ambiguous.

  23. The Republicans were themselves a third party to counter the Whigs, and Democrats used to be the rural, conservative, states’ rights party.

    The Rupublicans were formed from a faction of the Whigs, the anti-slavery faction. That was the last time that a major Party was created and another died.

    With the Democrats there was a coup in 1968. New Coke was sold in the Old Coke packaging and that there had been any substitution was denied as someones faulty memory of what Old Coke tasted like.

    The way to really do it is to keep the old brand name. Change the product to what the public wants and loudly proclaim precisely what has been done and what is being sold.

  24. Libertarian has absolutely nothing invested in any idea of national greatness I don’t think.

    It’s a big step.

    Classical liberalism has more soul I think to where it can encompass concepts of duty and honor and sacrifice.

  25. what’s clearer and clearer is that it’s going to be the president after this little one that will for reals have to propose the sacrificings…

  26. safety net is of necessity opposed to the Welfare State.

    Would you or one of the other bright lights here mind expanding on this? Because I’m not sure this follows at all. I support (limited) social safety nets as a matter of the lesser evil (government coercion) over the greater evil (dead grannys, orphans, and disabled folks). The line in the sand of where government intrusion becomes more onerous than the other option varies, but I see it as a continuum where minarchists live at one end and welfare statists live at the other end.

    My view of it is that welfare statists want to support an onerous government burden to ostensibly stabilize society. Classical liberals just want a smaller version of the same thing. Different points on the continuum, but not necessarily opposed to each other. Just different values judgments on Liberty (per Jim Ryan’s 23) vs. the stabilizing value of government.

  27. My view of the Libertarian Party is that they, or rather their ideas, were becoming a force in the nation from the 80s on. They had done to them what was done to the Democrats in 68. There was an internal coup. The name stayed the same but the product was now aligned with and closely matched the flavor [D].

    The originals became the small “l” libertarians. Wandering in search of a home as the original liberals were when the Party left them.

  28. It wouldn’t be a “safety net” if it was used more broadly. It would be a cage.

    Is what I meant.

  29. The road back from progressive statism is, at this point, indistinguishable from both libertarianism and classical liberalism. Perhaps in due course we will come to a point where these two streams will diverge and the true differences will be defined – and become relevant. Until then it is best for all who share common ground to stick together.

    Spent the day yesterday with the family at the Yorktown Victory Center. Was able to view and read an original broadside of the Declaration of Independence, one that was actually seen and read by the colonists.

    The signers were encouraged to hang together, everyone today who sees that liberty is at stake should be encouraged to do likewise.

  30. Classical liberalism has more soul I think to where it can encompass concepts of duty and honor and sacrifice.

    Seconded.

  31. Mine was a poorly thought-out analogy.

    But there is such a thing as a ‘Pendulum effect’. I just hope that isn’t all there is to this.

    Or else that the pendulum must surely now become unstable and snap it’s rod and go flying off. The idea it might operate under that kind of G-force does not strike me as a pleasant thought.

    I just find the thought of John Locke and Mao Ze Dong co-existing as factions of a single government to be a goof, a joke. The centre cannot hold.

    PS: That’s not John Locke.

  32. I guess it’s more like deciding to swear-off tequila after spending most of the night with your head in the toilet. If you get sick enough, you just might swear it off for good.

    SSSSssssshhhhh!

    Bill Bennett might hear you say that! You’re not supposed to compare the country’s ills to alcoholism and stuff.

  33. geoff –

    The libertarians who went for Obama — calling themselves the “liberal-atarians” — are the kind of folks who are now holding “serious discussions” about the “epistemic closure” of the “conservative” mind.

    Progressives who like to get their weed on, and who like the cache of libertinism that is often connected to libertarianism. Bill Maher “libertarians.”

    They’re the worst: smug, dishonest, and wannabe hip.

    And they’re out to steal “libertarian” just as surely as they did “liberal.”

  34. To me, a key difference between “classical liberal” and “libertarian” is practical rather than philosophic: Classical liberals are satisfied with working within the two-party system, while libertarians seem to demand a third party.Small-l “libertarian” is contrasted with “liberal” and “conservative”, as a description of an ideology. Big-L Libertarian is a party, contrasted against Democrat and Republican, Green, etc.

    I see no real difference between “libertarian” and “classical liberal” other than that the former has given up trying to reclaim the name from the leftists.

    The very “left—right” spectrum is artificial and one-dimensional, as it groups together into the “liberal” and “conservative” packages disparate ideas. The venerable World’s Smallest Political Quiz illustrates two of the many dimensions of political differentiation by asking five questions each on “personal” and “economic” liberty. It then classifies people according to the quadrants they fall into.

    But foreign policy cuts across those quadrants; there are isolationist libertarians as well as the “anti-idiotarian” sort.

  35. I really want a preview so I can catch a blockquote failure like that

  36. Historic

    Joe Reardon: He walked 18.
    Larry: New league record!
    Joe Reardon: Struck out 18.
    Larry: Another new league record! In addition he hit the sportswriter, the public address announcer, the bull mascot twice…
    [Joe laughs]
    Larry: Also new league records!
    – Bull Durham (1988)

  37. Well, Monster, see, eg., my #35.

  38. Mojo –

    I just watched that again recently and when that scene finished all I could think was, “what the hell kind of pitch count was that guy on?”

  39. Bill Bennett is here to help.

  40. At Jeff G.’s 30:

    Thanks. It would be petulantly lawyery of me to point out that nets can also be used to constrain, wouldn’t it?

  41. Thanks. It would be petulantly lawyery of me to point out that nets can also be used to constrain, wouldn’t it?

    Not really. Because I’d just point out that they aren’t, in that instance, being used therefore as “safety” nets.

    And then off we’d go again.

    But in all seriousness, that’s what I meant. It’s like the idea of an emergency fund. Using it for everyday spending is necessarily opposed to its intended use — or else “emergency” has lost its meaning.

  42. Or like a mattress versus a padded room. You can’t very well jump off the roof onto a padded room.

  43. To me, a key difference between “classical liberal” and “libertarian” is practical rather than philosophic: Classical liberals are satisfied with working within the two-party system, while libertarians seem to demand a third party.

    But are you conflating the libertarian philosophy with the Libertarian party?

    Then certainly, there is a difference – Classical Liberalism is not a party. In that sense, there is no Classical Liberalism.

    And what do you make of a libertarian that suddenly votes Republican? Is Ron Paul then a classical liberal and NOT a libertarian anymore? Has fomer GOP rep Bob Barr ceased to be classically liberal and become libertarian?

    I can think of way more relevant things that distinguish classical liberal and libertarian – open immigration springs to mind.

    Libertarians tend to be

    big-”L” Libertarians are decidedly isolationists

    All classical liberals agree amongst themselves about open immigration? (And all libertarians among themselves?) That’s less a tenant of two disparate ideologies than a personal distinction in application, and it’s applied to the groups only with some correlation (coincidental or causal?) marked with ‘tends to be’ or ‘is often’ or ‘are statistically more likely to’.

    As for Big ‘L’s, ohyes. There is certainly a difference between the Libertarian Party and the Not-Libertarian-Party, but there is no Classical Liberal Party to contrast with.

    Classical liberalism has more soul I think to where it can encompass concepts of duty and honor and sacrifice.

    Libertarians are dishonerable.

    That sounds less like an argument then an ad-hominem.

  44. Perhaps the “Left” is out to destroy every word in the political lexicon that has as it’s root “liberty”, leaving them as the sole “L” word in politics.

  45. Libertarians are dishonerable.

    I don’t think that’s what he was saying. Rather, I think he prefers the gravitas of the name. He’s looking at it from a marketing perspective, is my reading.

  46. Start cutting social security and medicare and you’ll see how much people hate the government.

  47. No. Mr. Jeff, no, not marketing. I just don’t think libertarianism would have stayed the course in Iraq so as not to bring dishonor on our little country. There’s real-world ramifications what are attendant to that sort of thing I think.

  48. There’s that petito principi again. It isn’t surprising to see it though.

  49. As opposed to ‘government’ making those cuts for them? Because there is no money tree. We are broke and not getting any less so in the near term.

  50. Most people prominently calling themselves libertarians nowadays are auditioning for the Mathematical Justification League of the technocracy (or whatever), because they need (psychologically, group-dynamically, etc.) to justify themselves to it. And to its. And it’s pathetic.

    The word is wrecked, and the idea is missing and presumed dead.

    Anyway —

    strange times when freedom of speech might just hasten the end of a/the system.

    That’s always been the deal. There’s a little Thomas Jefferson essay that’s usually cataloged as “On Banking” or “On Public Debt,” and it mostly sounds like Ron Paul, but it’s Jefferson, so it’s about rhetoric, too, not just Ron Paul stuff, and it (too) subtly raises your point, long long ago. Recommended.

    And someone has to put this here:

    It is well that the people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.

    Henry Ford, in these same strange times, not just dog-whistling about The Jews.

  51. Libertarians would have cut the Israeli ones loose many many moons ago.

  52. My apologies, then, happy.

    I did a post a while back over and against the Ron Paul idea of foreign policy interventionism. It pointed out that the so-called libertarian idea of foreign policy was not so different as it thought itself to be.

    Let me see if I can find it.

  53. I will read.

  54. Here it is, from 2007.

  55. Libertarians are dishonerable.

    This is probably me writing myself into feets’, well, feet, but in the context of his entire post, the argument is not that libertarians are dishonorable, but that the philosophy leaves little room for the concept of a “collective good.”

  56. that’s more what I meant Mr. Hadlowe

  57. Sadly, Scoblete’s conclusion — that we, as a country, may be heading down the road to embracing a “non-interventionist” foreign policy, may prove prescient.

    I think it may prove prescient. And I think a big part of it was Clowarded and Pivened.

  58. I had a pitch count in high school, I got pulled after the 3rd hit batter. It was up to me when that happened.

    Medicare! Social Security! Evil wingnuts! Good Allah, it would be nice if they would at least try.

  59. I appreciate the discussions of libertarianism in contrast to classical liberalism.

    Strangely, I find myself internally self identifying as liberal, classical liberal, conservative and libertarian. It’s less cognitive dissonance (I hope!) than that each of these labels seem to refer to the same underlying philosophy at times.

  60. Somebody, next March, please send me a message reminding me that I should never, evar do my own taxes again.

  61. bh:

    I know the feeling. Lots of rough amalgams staking claims on the names. Classical liberal fits the best and most often for me, but It seems like a small circle intersecting a bunch of other larger (and less defined) circles inside the Venn diagram.

  62. Again, the problem is that you are not classical liberals…just as the Nazis were not eugenicists, but religious genocidaires.
    You are social conservatives, federalists, libertarians and free market traders.
    Social conservativism is simply deeply, profoundly, illiberal.

    What is happening in this country is that the tyranny of the center right nation is ending.
    Recently conservatives have maintained an electoral majority through race-baiting and IQ-baiting.
    IQ-baiting worked well because there are far fewer upper right tailers than voters within 1std of the mean of IQ.
    But a demographic majority of non-hispanic caucs is now ending.
    So race-baiting doesn’t work on black and brown so much.
    Can you accept that?
    And minority voters within 1std of mean will not respond well to race-baiting, even though they are predisposed to be socially conservative (see prop 8 exit polls).
    Also the proportion of people with college-educations is rising.
    Those people are simply bright and educated enough to employ empirical data in analysis….they wont vote for failed policies cloaked in cream of eagle word soup (patriotic buzzwords).
    The 2012 election is the last time there will be a majority of non-hispanic caucs, it is the last chance for conservative leadership to race-bait and IQ-bait the 40-60 percenters.
    It is all bout race in the end….and the South won’t rise again.
    The pendulum can’t swing back, because demographic evolution is not going to run backwards.
    Evolution goes in the direction of increasing complexity.

    The constitution is WAI.
    Citizens vote and get a voice in selfgovernment.
    Jefferson would be pleased.

  63. For the sake of the progg-minded visitors, I’d suggest a similar discussion compare/contrasting classical liberalism with Team R and Team D, but I think it would fall on blind eyes/deaf ears. The cartoons, they are overpowering at times.

  64. Libertarians would have cut the Israeli ones loose many many moons ago

    but that the philosophy leaves little room for the concept of a “collective good.”

    OK, that is an assertion (again) of a difference between the two ideologies, liberalism and libertarianism.

    It does strike me as something like a petitio principi.

    What is that difference? What distiction in the ideologies of libertarianism and liberalism makes libertarians ‘less accepting of the concept of public good’ then liberals?

    Is there one? Or is it again that a group of selective people who self-identify as “libertarian” statistically tend to more often hold a certain view on foreign intervention then another group of people, practicing the same ideology, who self-select a different name (of cultural sub-group or perhaps active political faction)?

    And that is the fun of statistics. How does an ideology espouse “15% more isolationism”. Schroedinger’s Doctrine on Foreign Policy?

    And there is something to that about the meaning being defined by a concensus. If all the people who wanted 15% more interventionism up and called themselves “libertarian” then that dinstinction would be shattered and the meaning would de-facto change. That there are social and political cliques in this country I do not doubt. Is there a difference in these two ideologies?

    It seems to me people are evaluating whether or not they are libertarian not with any critique of the ideology, but as a question of whether or not they want to party with Nick Gellespy at a Reason book-publishing banquet.

    If Lefty’s are all about stealing names, their job seems easy because this is like some kind of ‘white flight’ thing wherein as soon as a Pinko moves in down the block, all the libertarians up and flee to Conneticut to avoid the inevitable (Oedipal) property value plunge on the brand ID.

  65. Yes, Hadlowe. Well put.

  66. Print this and Fed Ex it to that former professor.

  67. Oooh, now we can tell other people what they are? The possibilities are endless.

    Does this mean that I can call a certain griefer Gary Busey.

  68. OK, here we go…..

    NISHI! SWEETHEART!

    Thank you for your insights. We agree with everything you say, including “and” and “the.”

  69. Your little pet non-caucs would probably not like you assuming that muggers are minorities. The rest was just your normal copy and paste gibberish, repeated for the 639,562nd time. Simply repeating something over and over does not make it less of a lie, you fucking liar.

    Refute meh!

  70. Because I electronically submitted a 1040 in which I owed four figures to the gubmint, and I included my routing and account numbers and stuff. For withdrawal today.

    And then I realized that I had double-counted some income and utterly neglected my charitable contributions; making that adjustment, I ended up with a three-figure refund.

    I did the same thing last year, too: paying four figures when in fact they owed me three. It got corrected and all, but geez.

    I would have got help, but I procrastinated and held off just in case we all decided to do a tax revolt or summat.

  71. Di – we broke down and had to use an accountant this year. We still had to write a 5 figure check.

  72. Me too, JD. All told being responsible enough not to collect 99 weeks of consecutive state-mandated “employment insurance” runs a starving small biz owner a quarter of their rent and gas money.

  73. I don’t know that having neat buckets matters inasmuch as there’s a continuum. You can’t have a neat bucket but that is doesn’t get mavericked up by morning.

    I blame tv.

  74. JHo – it is tough on the psyche to write that check, no?

    Nishit the codswallop appears to be in one of its hyper-manic states. Sad.

  75. Having to write a 5-figure check is one of those good news/bad news things, I reckon. My refund means I prolly shouldn’t be voting.

  76. Please ignore “Cliff Clavin unless you enjoy drowning in the droning.

  77. the checkbook is still sitting here in front of me

    this was the first time I ever had an accountant do it so it’s very easy, just

    oh crap I’m glad I looked apparently I have to take them this thingy so they can e-file it

    I are oppressed.

  78. If we combine federal, state, and property taxes, we will pay over $40,000 this year. Phhhhhht. Gone.

  79. I’ve used the same accountant for awhile now off a referral from my CFP. Last couple of times he’s slid the papers across the table while making the Jaws theme song sounds.

    That’s his gimmick I think. Handing people a Scotch would make a better one.

  80. It’s worse than tough, JD. It’s like being robbed by some strangers I’ve never met who are doing things I’d never approve of.

  81. oh I can use facsimile machine technology it says to complete the taxing process

  82. The distinction so far I’ve seen drawn between these two does remind me immediately of the Democratic Republican Party of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

    They were mostly all called ‘Republicans’.

    But sometimes they were alternately referred to as the ‘Democrats’.

    What was the difference? Was their one? Well yes. Sometimes. Or not.

    It came to be when people had two words for the same thing and aimed to use them, some (but not all) usually (but not always) called the northerners like Madison one, and the Southerners like Jefferson another, arbitrarily.

    Was their any difference besides the arbitrary delination on geographic origin? Well no. But that doesn’t mean there didn’t try to be.

    Some people having a nature to want to compartmentalize everything neatly thought it was a terrible waste to have a perfectly good distinction not have any difference to use it on, so they shoe-horned one in.

    They found that northern democrats “tended” to be more in favor of government funded industrialization and ‘public works’ and the southern republicans “tended” to be less in favor.

    But the distinction was entirely personal, and varied wildly from case to case, from individual to individual.

    But if you go fishing long enough you can find something that holds say, 60% or 70% true most of the time at least, and if being a 60% or 70% valid distinction is good enough for you, then I guess that’s good enough for government work.

    And on any given day being a part of the Southern Jefferson “republican” contigent meant that you were part of a group that on average was 10% more likely to vote against the upcoming road expansion project. But you might also be one of those republicans 100% in favor of it, and every other public works project for that matter.

  83. JD, you’ll look back at that number fondly.

    Change!

  84. the problem is that you are not classical liberals

    The problem is that you are a repetitive, prolix, pseudo-intellectual talking telephone pole.

  85. Although the cool thing is that to mail it you can go stand in line for 80 minutes at another of their failed institutions. It reinforces the point. I begin to see now that the word Soviet existed for a reason.

  86. pro·lix
    ? ?/pro??l?ks, ?pro?l?ks/ Show Spelled[proh-liks, proh-liks]
    –adjective
    1. extended to great, unnecessary, or tedious length; long and wordy.
    2. (of a person) given to speaking or writing at great or tedious length.
    3. without paragraphs
    4. cudlips

  87. plus the Senate is gay Mr. Entropy to where it has an ideology unto itself I think… sometimes it’s an ideology of comity and sometimes it’s an ideology of my election is six years away and sometimes it’s an ideology of damn I would make a good-lookin’ president

  88. Just so we are clear, we are not rich, not by any rational definition of the word. We do well. And we pay a crapload of taxes.

  89. JD, I’m right there with you.

    The quickest path to fiscal revolution in this country is this: Pass a law banning paycheck withholding, and require quarterly estimated payments. Nothing taken out of the check for local/state/federal taxes. The self-employed types do this already, let’s be progressive and redistribute the misery.

    If everybody who’s getting a company paycheck had to write a 4-figure check to the IRS/state/city every three months, we’d have a hundred million new SquidCo customers.

  90. And FTR, I had to draw against my 401(k) to write the check to the Fed this year. THAT burns me. I had to borrow money to pay my fuckin’ taxes. And people in my life wonder why I’m pissed off a lot of the time…

  91. Darth – it is like buying a new car for the federal government, but you have to pay cash, no financing available.

  92. JD: You better have boughten them a green car with flexfuel, ultra-low emissions, and a pre-placed Obama sticker. Or you’re part of the problem, not the solution. Hater.

  93. I bought them a Toyota Prius, and told them I had the brakes fixed already.

  94. quarterly estimated payments are of the devil I think

  95. If everybody who’s getting a company paycheck had to write a 4-figure check to the IRS/state/city every three months, we’d have a hundred million new SquidCo customers.

    I remember astounding my colleagues in ’96 when I came out for Forbes, based entirely on his promise to re-do the tax system.

    I didn’t even know then that doing so was “conservative.” I just thought it made sense, and that it was right. And I wasn’t making dick at the time.

  96. That is because you were a racist before you knew you were a racist, Jeff.

    Gibson’s steaks, Sunday night.

  97. Still have the jodhpurs.

    Just sayin’….

  98. Quarterly estimated payments would really bite. Particularly if the family goes all spendy thinking I got a raise…

    However, my son just got his first job and after looking at the taxes that were withheld he said “I want that back!!” I said “Welcome to the TEA Party, son.”

  99. Jeff, let’s try the crapology model.
    Say it with me.
    Social conservatism is DEEPLY, PROFOUNDLY ILLIBERAL.
    Social conservatives CANNOT BE classic liberals in America.
    interection == null set

  100. You could be the “classic liberal” party…..kick the WECs and the socons out.
    :)

  101. Say it with me

    90% of people agree that if one’s neighbor is out of food and cannot feed their family they have a moral obligation to help

    58% of people disagree that the government has a duty to enforce that moral obligation.

    Those 42% of people in the latter question? THOSE are the illiberals.

  102. “Social Cons” who don’t want the GOVERNMENT to enforce moral obligations are Classical Liberals.

  103. “Social Libs” who want the Government to enforce moral obligations (ie using CFLs for Gaia!) are Illiberals.

  104. nishi is illiberal

  105. nishi is illiberal

    FTFY

  106. You’re right, nishi. You rule, we drool.

    Thank you so much for putting us straight!

  107. Entropy:

    You’ve reminded me tangentially of a lecture I attended by Walter Block where he was arguing for his personal bailiwick of privatization of everything. While his argument for privatization was kindof out there, I was more struck by his calling various Chicago School economists communists. I think he even included Milton Friedman in the group. The implication being, anyone more statist than Herbert Block is automatically a communist.

    I’m fairly sure that he meant the appellation tongue-in-cheek, more as a humorous self-deprecation to his own admitted economic extremism, but the memory stuck.

    How it applies to your comments…

    I realize I’ve been applying the term “libertarian” as “this indistinct group of people to whom I’ve ascribed a belief set that is close to, but doesn’t exactly match, my own on the question of individual primacy vs. legitimate function of government.” IOW, a libertarian is anyone who is more individualist than me, because I’ve always wanted to be a lodestar.

    How valid is that application? I would say it is conditionally valid. If we’re talking about a libertarian voting bloc, I think it is entirely valid. If we’re talking about individual libertarians, it has no merit whatsoever.

    How else do you define a political movement? You can’t cite to their philosophical underpinnings, because who says that any particular member of the group has philosophical underpinnings? (I’m lookin’ at you, Bart Stupak.) What you end up doing is exactly the “10% more likely to vote on a government project” calculus that you mentioned.

    And for those purposes, it’s not just beneficial, but it’s the only method of predicting the actions of political animals.

    But I will definitely agree that broad categorical labels are useless for describing the beliefs of individuals. Individuals are not broad categories.

    Except maybe for people with multiple personalities.

  108. I’ve been lurking for days on end, and was enjoying the discussion and thought I was learning something here. Then, suddenly…LOUD NOISES!!!

  109. How else do you define a political movement? You can’t cite to their philosophical underpinnings, because who says that any particular member of the group has philosophical underpinnings? (I’m lookin’ at you, Bart Stupak.) What you end up doing is exactly the “10% more likely to vote on a government project” calculus that you mentioned.

    Well, I’ve admitted as much about parties. “Classical liberal” has the benefit of being a relatively empty vessel in that regard. I am not trying to define a group of people.

    I’m trying to define (or at least discuss) a governing philosophy.

  110. If we define the philosophy’s in reverse by whatever their self-described followers happen to do, we’re going to have to redefine a lot of what we’ve been espousing. Capitalism, conservatism, liberalism…

  111. I’m not defining the philosophy of libertarianism here. I was, but no more. I don’t think I have enough information to do that, except in the negative, as I mentioned above. If I had to articulate the outer boundaries of what constitutes libertarianism as contrasted with classical liberalism, I would fail. I was agreeing with you that I had been erroneously conflating the Libertarian Party with libertarianism.

    I’m also asserting that defining political parties by their actions is a more useful practice than defining them by philosophy. I think we’re in agreement on both of those points, unless I’m reading you wrong.

  112. I regret your recent experiences in sound pressure at the level of pain, Frontman. Consider it part of the new frontier in transhuminalneoleninianphysiolingology where QED^QED = 1400dB @ 17M. You know it’s true because it’s metric. See?

  113. I’m also asserting that defining political parties by their actions is a more useful practice than defining them by philosophy.

    Hmm.

    Well it sounds sensible enough. I think so. Define parties by the parties, by their actions and specific policies instead of their rhetoric or general principles.

    For the record, I do not think the Libertarian Party on the whole is a particularly awesome libertarian party or liberal party. I’m not arguing to boost big L’s fortunes here.

    It is still very useful, and I think very important, to define the philosophies and ideologies as well though, as well as identify which ones supposedly inform them, and which ones apparently do.

    I have been very much not focused on the idea of ‘in practice’, in parties, because I think it is an unfair comparison. While libertarian can refer to the philosophy or the party, there isn’t a Liberal (in a classical sense) party to compare it to – unless you’d care to claim the GOP, and I don’t think you would.

    And what I mean by that is, if you DID have an official Classically Liberal Liberal Party that was worth any mention, you’d find a bunch of goobers who you would not consider to be liberal at all would have jumped in it anyway. And unreconstructed Libertarians too. Especially if you neglect to define it’s underpining principles.

    Which I think is important to note, for while many have offered pracitical differences in response, I think is just unfair because there IS NO practical liberalism provided, just a hypothetical Rorschach.

    But to philosophical differences, that I see, not one person has even taken a shot at it, yet alone hit something.

  114. Also I will say that I think, Bart Stupak included, every political movement is driven along at least one governing philosophy.

    Not every member may, but the movement does. Stupak may only care about his political fortunes, but if all anyone cared about was political fortunes abortion wouldn’t be an issue in the first place, since no one would care about it, it not being a political fortune.

    Somewhere someone cares about something on the principle of it.

    Even if it’s simply hedonistic, or nihilistic will to power. If that thing someone cares about turns out to be just increasing their power and wealth for it’s own sake, then that is a governing philosophy of totalitarianism.

  115. 80.Comment by happyfeet on 4/15 @ 10:49 am #

    the checkbook is still sitting here in front of me

    this was the first time I ever had an accountant do it so it’s very easy, just

    oh crap I’m glad I looked apparently I have to take them this thingy so they can e-file it

    I are oppressed.

    Relax, turtleman. My defense in case my contribution arrives late is that the presidents cabinet doesn’t think paying taxes is important. So aleast they got their money and quit bitching.

  116. Allrighty then. Feel free to disagree with any of the data I list as applied to either philosophy.

    Libertarians are committed to the belief that individuals, and not states or groups of any other kind, are both ontologically and normatively primary; that individuals have rights against certain kinds of forcible interference on the part of others; that liberty, understood as non-interference, is the only thing that can be legitimately demanded of others as a matter of legal or political right; that robust property rights and the economic liberty that follows from their consistent recognition are of central importance in respecting individual liberty; that social order is not at odds with but develops out of individual liberty; that the only proper use of coercion is defensive or to rectify an error; that governments are bound by essentially the same moral principles as individuals; and that most existing and historical governments have acted improperly insofar as they have utilized coercion for plunder, aggression, redistribution, and other purposes beyond the protection of individual liberty.

    Source

    Granted, this list is by no means exhaustive and the source isn’t any sort of authoritative, unless you’re a college freshman.

    1. Primacy of the individual
    2. Individual rights against forcible interference from others
    3. Property rights are a subset of individual liberty through non-interference
    4. Social order develops from individual liberty
    5. Only proper use of coercion is defense or justice
    6. Governments don’t get special moral rules

    Is this a fair starting point?

  117. Stealing again from the ever reliable wikipedia.

    Libertarianism’s resemblance to liberalism is superficial; in the end, libertarians reject essential liberal institutions. Correctly understood, libertarianism resembles a view that liberalism historically defined itself against, the doctrine of private political power that underlies feudalism. Like feudalism, libertarianism conceives of justified political power as based in a network of private contracts. It rejects the idea, essential to liberalism, that political power is a public power to be impartially exercised for the common good.

    Samuel Freeman, “Illiberal Libertarians: Why Libertarianism Is Not a Liberal View”, Philosophy & Public Affairs 30, no. 2 (2001): 107

    I’m not sure that’s a valid criticism of libertarianism. Liberals defend contract rights as a necessary component of individual liberty.

  118. Rusty I haven’t the slightest idea what happens if you get an April 16 postmark but it’s a terrifying thought for some reason.

  119. like your whole life would immediately bifurcate into before the postmark and after the postmark

  120. The Libertarian position on education.

    Education, like any other service, is best provided by the free market, achieving greater quality and efficiency with more diversity of choice. Schools should be managed locally to achieve greater accountability and parental involvement. Recognizing that the education of children is inextricably linked to moral values, we would return authority to parents to determine the education of their children, without interference from government. In particular, parents should have control of and responsibility for all funds expended for their children’s education.

    You can eke the beginnings of very good ideas and concepts from this, but at the end of the day, how is it not a big middle finger both to poor kids and to the future of the country? This is why they can’t be taken seriously as a party. IMO.

  121. Hadlowe – as for the first post, yes that seems great.

    As for the second… I’m not sure I understand it, honestly.

    ‘libertarianism conceives of justified political power as based in a network of private contracts.’ – Yes, so far so good.

    ‘It rejects the idea, essential to liberalism, that political power is a public power to be impartially exercised for the common good.’ – homosaywhat?

    In liberalism, who ‘impartially excercises’ political power of the sort made in contract law? Judges? Libertarians are opposed to judges? Huh?

    Libertarians are for impartial contract enforcement. And liberals are for people making private contracts. I am missing something here. Who shall make these networks of contracts, if not ‘the public’ for their own good?

  122. Makewi –

    I just googled “libertarian education”. The first link is this:

    http://ontheissues.org/Celeb/Libertarian_Party_Education.htm

    The text is, at a glance, exactly the same as what you posted, except for this: The words “and responsibility for” are missing.

    It just says “have control of all funds expended”.

    I don’t see how that bones poor kids or our future. It may bone kids of stupid or inattentive parents, but our current system does that too.

    Now saying that the poor should pay for their own kid’s education, would bone the kids. But I do not know where you got that text from.

    I don’t doubt you’d find some goobers within the Lib party who’d split over those 3 words, it is a damn huge Filioque Clause of a difference with 3 words.

    Here’s what the libertarian party webpage, http://www.lp.org has to say about education:

    There can be no serious attempt to solve the problem of poverty in America without addressing our failed government-run school system. Nearly forty years after Brown vs. Board of Education, America’s schools are becoming increasingly segregated, not on the basis of race, but on income. Wealthy and middle class parents are able to send their children to private schools, or at least move to a district with better public schools. Poor families are trapped — forced to send their children to a public school system that fails to educate.

    But again, for whatever it is worth, I’m not here advocating big L Libertarianism. Screw the Libertarian party I don’t care. Have whatever opinion you like of it. Frankly, I don’t vote for them, or even consider it, because they can’t win anyway.

  123. OK, apparently the one you quoted was the accurate one. It should say “and responsibility for”…

    Other then that, I don’t have a problem with it or see why it would bone anyone.

    Although I’m not entirely sure how they mean that to be interpreted. They don’t seem to be going around telling people to pay for their own kids in other places.

  124. 121 & 122
    I been audited before, but now with cabinet level employess being income tax optional I can go,”see they don’t have to file at all at least with me you eventually get your money.” Sometimes bad examples work to our advantage.

  125. Yeah, I really don’t see how feudalism tracks with libertarianism. I mean, I know that at least in England, the feudal lords were under obligations to the sovereign that passed from generation to generation with the lands. But those weren’t contracts as we presently conceive of the term, which is how libertarianism conceives of the term (I think.) The sovereign could revoke for most any reason, the sovereign set all the terms of the grant of property, and the sovereign could change the terms of the grant at any time. Granted, this was limited by his ability to maintain enough power to crush dissent if the terms became too onerous, but it doesn’t exactly track with the modern concept of contract. Nor does the feudal grant of property (land rights and all other rights proceed from the sovereign) relate to libertarianism social cohesion which is moored to the Lockean notion of social compact (all rights are natural, but can be electively limited by (plurality/majority/unanimous) agreement for the common weal.)

    I’d have to get at more of his essay to figure out where he was going with the political power as the public power thing. Hazarding a guess, the American republic retains a notion of sovereignty, although much more limited than prior western thought. Perhaps he was referring to the remnants of sovereignty in a classical liberal state? But that would place liberalism (in practice) more close to feudalism and be contrary to his thesis. Hrmm.

    Mostly unrelated. I’m forming a rough concept here, if you can help me determine how valid it is.

    Libertarianism – Primacy of the individual. Finis.
    Liberalism – Primacy of the individual, but in extreme circumstances, the collective trumps the individual. Any such trump should be viewed with the highest level of suspicion.

  126. meism – Get off my lawn you dirty hippie.

  127. Entropy

    In particular, parents should have control of and responsibility for all funds expended for their children’s education.

    To me this is a boning of the poor. It also is incredibly short sighted, a let’s all live only in the right here and now, sort of thinking. Education is bad now, but remove even the possibility of education from the poor or from those whose parents are less than attentive and how many generations will it be before the country is totally screwed?

  128. Apropos of this column, Cato Institute posting via Instapundit defining libertarians as minarchists.

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