August 4, 2016

This CNN column about libertarians is so basic that I'm wondering — one way and then the other — about whether Gary Johnson and William Weld have a chance.

Look at this: "Libertarian ticket could spoil Clinton party," by Matt Zwolinski, who is a philosophy professor.
Most people think of libertarianism as a kind of right-wing ideology...  But Gary Johnson is actually drawing just as much support from self-identified Democrats as he does from Republicans... On the surface, this might seem surprising.... 
But let's go for "a deeper understanding":
First, libertarianism is more than just an economic ideology. It's a social one...

Second, even on strictly economic issues, Libertarians have a lot to say that should appeal to those on the left.... They've fought against subsidies, bailouts, and other forms of "crony capitalism" that benefit the few at the expense of the masses. And...  Libertarians have often argued in favor of a well-designed social safety net to protect those who fail to benefit from the economic dynamism of a free economy....
Does this mean Johnson and Weld could win? I'm thinking...

First, Zwolinski makes it sound as though people know next to nothing about libertarians. So maybe Johnson and Weld could just be 2 normal-seeming former governors who happen to be on the ballot in all 50 states. Who cares what libertarians generally are or have been? This is a completely weird election cycle in which the major parties have failed to give us the usual dismal choice and have, instead, served up 2 very strange characters. The Johnson/Weld ticket is the closest we can get to something ordinary. No need to take a long detour into the outré topic of libertarians. These 2 guys are practical and sensible and properly experienced.

But... if people are so far from noticing and thinking about libertarians, there's just too much ground to cover before the election. There are too many steps to take, and it can't all be accomplished in one election cycle. Americans would need to come around to thinking of this party as capable of producing a President. We've got to work through the weirdness of all that marijuana and prostitution — issues that should be marginal in presidential politics but that jump right into the foreground when people start to toy with the idea of going libertarian. We might feel like crying if we feel the severity and coldness of the party's hard core. If the stress is on inviting Democrats and Republicans to consider how much their sentiments really do overlap with libertarians, we might have some ferment that would enrich American politics in the long run, but it's not going to catapult Johnson and Weld to victory.

Trump took over the Republican Party structure and it's working out well for him. He doesn't slow down what he is doing to promote the Republican Party in general. He's trying to win. (I think! (Maybe he's just enjoying himself, playing havoc with America.)) Gary Johnson and William Weld should do the same thing. They have the nomination. They've captured the party's structure. Go straight for the win. Let the libertarians take care of themselves.

102 comments:

Tom said...

I think they did exactly that - go for the win - last night. The issue is they're fighting with reasonableness and sanity. My wife, who voted for Obama and for Romney, said she could listen to Johnson and Weld for another hour and would finally be voting for someone she agreed with this year. I hope a lot of people feel like my wife.

Brando said...

"We might feel like crying if we feel the severity and coldness of the party's hard core."

I think more people feel like crying when they see what the two major parties decided to put up this year. The only thing propping up the Clinton and Trump numbers are people afraid that the other will get elected, and swallowing their own disgust over the person they reluctantly vote for. The remaining voters who go third party have just reached a point where they can't bear to know their vote would go towards one of the major nominees.

And party ideologies mean nothing in the face of what the candidate can actually get accomplished. All those wish lists at the conventions sounded nice to their supporters, but does anyone think Hillary can pass anything over a Republican Congress, or Trump for that matter? It'll all grind into the mud of Washington politics. So calm your fears of Johnson legalizing pot and prostitution, much as you may be kept up at nights at the thought of some guy paying for sex or smoking weed.

Johnathan Birks said...

Libertarians can't win until the media say they can. Which can't happen so long as they're in the tank for the two-party system. The public seems disgusted with the status quo but powerless to change it. It's sad and pathetic, but the truth.

Bob Ellison said...

I'm still laughing about the Johnson-Weld ticket. That one will last.

Bob Ellison said...

You voted for the Libertarians. Now get the operation!

David Begley said...

Zero chance of winning. A completely wasted vote. That's all anyone needs to know.

Joshua L. Lyle said...

"We might feel like crying if we feel the severity and coldness of the party's hard core."
"We've got to work through the weirdness of all that marijuana and prostitution"

Wait, who are the cold ones? Libertarians show compassion and respect for some of society's most oppressed people - prostitutes and drug users - and then we get called cold for following through on it, unlike the ice-hearted Republican and Democratic candidates that consider such issues to be beneath them?

Libertarians care so much about society's castoffs that we're willing to be seen as weird for it. Cold my ass.

Tank said...

Johnson is totally open borders.

The end of America.

End of story.

Brando said...

"Libertarians can't win until the media say they can. Which can't happen so long as they're in the tank for the two-party system. The public seems disgusted with the status quo but powerless to change it. It's sad and pathetic, but the truth."

It's chicken and egg--no one thinks a third party has a chance, so the media reports it that way, so no one thinks a third party has a chance. Then they poll too low to make it into debates or surveys, which keep their poll numbers low, fewer people willing to endorse or give donations, etc. That's not likely to change until one major party implodes.

Brando said...

"Zero chance of winning. A completely wasted vote. That's all anyone needs to know."

Should Republicans in California or Democrats in Texas not bother voting either, then? By that theory, the vast majority of people in this country shouldn't bother voting.

One reason people vote is expressive--a way of registering their preference, even though they know that mathematically the difference between them voting or not voting is close to zero. But a majority of people usually vote.

PB said...

When people ask who I'm voting for, Trump or Clinton, I always decline to answer, but say, the two major parties have served up a menu for November consisting of two big, steaming, shit-sandwiches. They expect you to choose one, eat it, like it, and ask for more. There are other choices.

Hagar said...

First: Johnson and Weld are as weird as the main party candidates but without their accomplishments.

I got to thinking last night that if the Republicans somehow managed to ditch Trump and substitute Pence - a quite respectable appearing moderate - the Democrats would about have to dump Hillary! or get buried. But whom would they substitute? Kaine is not in Pence's class.

Fernandinande said...

We might feel like crying if we feel the severity and coldness of the party's hard core.

"Severe" and "cold" being dysphemisms for thoughtful and logical.

We might feel like thinking if we consider the emotionality, illogic and shallowness of the other parties' hard core.

Paul Snively said...

I confess: I still wonder how a political party can feel "cold," or, for that matter, why anyone would look to politics for human qualities, like compassion. This is what baffles me about the left, generally and broadly. It seems to come from an elaborate mythology that started with FDR in the Depression—that part of the proper role of government is to provide for you economically—and picked up steam with LBJ's Great Society—that part of the proper role of government is to stop people from being mean to you.

The problem is that government can do neither of those things. It can only provide for you economically by taking from someone else. It can only stop people from being mean to you by dramatically reducing freedom of speech and, especially, association. In both cases, it ignores a range of dramatic unintended consequences, such as stultifying economic growth and maintaining a permanent underclass, with resulting race and class resentment that otherwise would slowly and sometimes painfully work itself out by other social means.

Libertarians seem cold and austere, politically, because we are. We are because that's a proper understanding of the political sphere. What we aren't, necessarily, is cold and austere personally. The challenge we face is that by its nature, libertarianism also naturally attracts people who are very drawn to highly ordered abstract theoretical structures for their own sake, such as people at one point or another on the autism spectrum, e.g. Tyler Cowen. I won't deny that differentiating between cold-because-warmth-doesn't-come-from-politics and cold-because-wired-differently-than-normal can be difficult. But it is important to do.

Phil 3:14 said...

Dammit, I will decide whether your vote is meaningful or wasted. And I say it's

WASTED!

Tank said...

Hagar said...

First: Johnson and Weld are as weird as the main party candidates but without their accomplishments.


Give us a list of The Vagina's accomplishments.

Titus said...

Weld was an excellent Mass Governor.

In the 90's he was totally pro-gay. Probably the only elected republican in the country.

Plus, the economy here was excellent under Weld.

He is also funny as shit.

tits.

Lyssa said...

I only caught about half of the town hall last night, and I"m not sure exactly what I thought. Weld was very charming and articulate; I enjoyed watching him. Johnson's delivery was much less polished. I disagreed with more of their positions than I expected, unfortunately. They'll still get my vote, because, well, look at it, but I'm still feeling more in lesser of two (well, three) evils territory. I did not see either one really articulate a *case* for libertarianism the way that I would like.

My hope in voting L is that the large L turnout encourages more people to look at libertarianism as a philosophy and work it into their own political ideologies, in hopes that one or both parties will move a little bit that way.

Ann Althouse said...

"I think they did exactly that - go for the win - last night."

I haven't watch that yet, but plan to.

Richard Taylor said...

"The Johnson/Weld ticket is the closest we can get to something ordinary."

^ THIS

PB said...

Hagar: Dump Trump for Pence and the Dems will have to dump Hillary? Don't Bogart that joint and share! Are you kidding? The Dems are all in. They are like the Borg.

Titus said...

"Pence - a quite respectable appearing moderate"

lol

Brando said...

"When people ask who I'm voting for, Trump or Clinton, I always decline to answer, but say, the two major parties have served up a menu for November consisting of two big, steaming, shit-sandwiches. They expect you to choose one, eat it, like it, and ask for more. There are other choices."

Agreed. And when they say "but this means electing [Trump][Clinton]!" I respond with "you have the gall to nominate someone who can't win over normal people and it's my fault I don't go along with it?

I don't know exactly how I'll vote this November, but the arguments for the major party candidates are particularly unpersuasive this year.

Ann Althouse said...

"Wait, who are the cold ones? Libertarians show compassion and respect for some of society's most oppressed people - prostitutes and drug users - and then we get called cold for following through on it, unlike the ice-hearted Republican and Democratic candidates that consider such issues to be beneath them?"

I know that an empathy-based argument can be made for many of the policies libertarians support, but the hard-core libertarians have not arrived at these policies by way of any warmth or love. The ones I've encountered — and read the article I linked to — are into abstract ideas about individual autonomy and minimizing government. I like those ideas too, but I've seen off-putting coldness in the attitude libertarians take as the show their commitment to these ideas and take them to the extreme.

Johnson and Weld display compassion and moderation. That's good. They don't need the baggage of the hard-core of their party.

Ann Althouse said...

I find Pence much less appealing than Trump.

trumpetdaddy said...

Anybody who thinks Johnson or Weld don't have the "accomplishments" of either Trump or Hillary is branding themselves automatically as ignorant.

Either of these two men have more executive elected experience than Trump and Hillary combined. Both of them have won landslide victories in states where they were representing a party outnumbered at least 2-1. Johnson started from nothing and made himself a millionaire in the construction industry. He didn't have daddy start him out in life with 200 million dollars of real estate.

The Johnson/Weld ticket is the most-qualified non-incumbent presidential ticket from any party since Reagan/Bush ran for election in 1980. This is objectively the case.

Clayton Hennesey said...

One has to wonder why that enormous mass of voters who threw over 16 other candidates for Donald Trump didn't raise Johnson & Weld on their shoulders instead. Because they were so firmly dedicated to the Republican brand itself? Because they had never heard of the Libertarian Party? Because the Libertarian Party works so consistently hard to remain an inchoate and incoherent fringe party?

traditionalguy said...

Hillary can always promise free marijuana for everyone. That would give her 80% of the Libertarian voters.

Sebastian said...

@AA: "We might feel like crying if we feel the severity" "We"?

@Brando: "does anyone think Hillary can pass anything over a Republican Congress, or Trump for that matter?" Hill, yes. First up: immigration reform. Trump less so. First up: restrictions on immigration from majority Muslim countries, Congressional approval not required.

@JB: "Libertarians can't win until the media say they can. Which can't happen so long as they're in the tank for the two-party system" Sure, they like drama that boosts ratings and sells newspapers, but they are "in the tank" for only one party.

@PS: "part of the proper role of government is to provide for you economically . . . that part of the proper role of government is to stop people from being mean to you. The problem is that government can do neither of those things." I know what you mean, but actually it can. "Government" takes care of the 47%, including many now on "disability." Government stops people being "mean" all the time. Policies used to have to pass the laugh test. Now, per AA, they have to pass the cry test. Will a proposal be so "cold" as to make women cry?

Brando said...

"I find Pence much less appealing than Trump."

Is that news? You seem enthralled with Trump as of late. Though I'd still like to think it's a put-on just for the sake of discussion.

Brando said...

"One has to wonder why that enormous mass of voters who threw over 16 other candidates for Donald Trump didn't raise Johnson & Weld on their shoulders instead. Because they were so firmly dedicated to the Republican brand itself? Because they had never heard of the Libertarian Party? Because the Libertarian Party works so consistently hard to remain an inchoate and incoherent fringe party?"

Probably a number of reasons--first, the Trumpites are in many ways the opposite of libertarians. They have no problem with government, if it is in the hands of a strongman who can "fix things"; second, Johnson's executive experience is a negative for them, as they'd prefer Trump's history of ripping off people because that'll go over great in the White House; third, while they were not happy with the GOP they believe it is the only viable party; and fourth, they love the start power of a guy that NBC convinced gullible reality show viewers was a real "leader" for a decade.

The irony of all this is that for once the minor third party is actually putting up experienced conservative former governors, while the two major parties are putting up a conman celebrity and a crook who is most famous for actually failing at being First Lady.

rehajm said...

Titus has Weld correct on all counts though his sense of humor isnt to everyones tastes.

holdfast said...

Weld is just a standard-issue Masshole RINO. He's terrible on the Second Amendment, and neither of these "libertarians" is particularly good on the First.

At best these two could be described as "liberaltarians". Or maybe "glibertarians". They both seem to be too dumb to understand that "open borders" can only work if you first eliminate the entire welfare state (i.e. never, because the welfare state ain't going anywhere).

I like a lot of libertarian ideas, but the actual Libertarian Party seems to always puke up people who are unsuited to actual governance.

Anglelyne said...

holdfast: Weld is just a standard-issue Masshole RINO. He's terrible on the Second Amendment, and neither of these "libertarians" is particularly good on the First.

At best these two could be described as "liberaltarians". Or maybe "glibertarians". They both seem to be too dumb to understand that "open borders" can only work if you first eliminate the entire welfare state (i.e. never, because the welfare state ain't going anywhere).


I believe the term of art is "lolbertarians".

Clayton Hennesey said...

I like a lot of libertarian ideas, but the actual Libertarian Party seems to always puke up people who are unsuited to actual governance.

This is pretty much it. The Libertarian Party always seems to field itself like a math professor with Asperger's trying to design a political party in abstracto.

Sebastian said...

"the minor third party is actually putting up experienced conservative former governors." Johnson is not conservative and Weld not libertarian. Liberaltarian indeed. The flirtation with J/W shows further cracks on the right: actual conservatives vs. liberaltarians vs. Trumpkin populists vs. GOPe Chamber-Of-Commerce types. The J/W factor is the least of it, but helps to drive the wedge. Trump's key failing, not surprising from a self-centered amateur, is that he's not even trying to bridge the gaps. (Well, he tried a little, with his RNC LGBTQ shoutout, and so on, but only a little.)

Laslo Spatula said...

Posted in later thread, but apropos here:

Althouse prepping us for November's "Why I voted Third Party" post.

Her conscience won't let her vote for Hillary.

Her fears won't let her vote for Trump.

Her sense of responsibility won't let her abstain from voting.

This will be framed in the context of a 'conversation at Meadhouse'.

I could write it for her, if she wants.


I am Laslo.

The Cracker Emcee said...

Successful Libertarianism is premised on a society that has essentially White, middle-class, Western Civ values or it's totally unworkable. They can't say that out loud, though. A Libertarian is either a conservative who works in government or academia, or a liberal who's embarrassed by the lunacy and corruption of the Democrats.

Original Mike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shawn Levasseur said...

"I like a lot of libertarian ideas, but the actual Libertarian Party seems to always puke up people who are unsuited to actual governance."

A stereotype that REALLY doesn't apply to this presidential ticket.

You don't have to buy into the party to vote Johnson/Weld. You just have to buy into THEM. (Which is one of Althouse's points in this post, I think)

Brando said...

"I like a lot of libertarian ideas, but the actual Libertarian Party seems to always puke up people who are unsuited to actual governance."

Unlike the highly qualified Trump and Hillary? Sorry, the Dems and Repubs squandered any claim to care about candidates suited to actual governance this year.

Original Mike said...

"We might feel like crying if we feel the severity and coldness of the party's hard core."

I feel like crying when I think of the profligacy and polarization of the two parties that have taken us to the desparate condition we find ourselves in today.

Brando said...

"the minor third party is actually putting up experienced conservative former governors." Johnson is not conservative and Weld not libertarian. Liberaltarian indeed. The flirtation with J/W shows further cracks on the right: actual conservatives vs. liberaltarians vs. Trumpkin populists vs. GOPe Chamber-Of-Commerce types. The J/W factor is the least of it, but helps to drive the wedge. Trump's key failing, not surprising from a self-centered amateur, is that he's not even trying to bridge the gaps. (Well, he tried a little, with his RNC LGBTQ shoutout, and so on, but only a little.)"

They're by no means perfect, but jeez--the bar has been set so low this year. I'd need to see Johnson go around accusing his rival's dad of being involved in JFK's assassination to make this a fair comparison.

n.n said...

The far left/far right nexus. The Libertarian Party, if not actually libertarians, has emerged as the counterpart of liberals but without "benefits".

John Althouse Cohen said...

Why should the federal laws on marijuana be a "marginal" issue in the presidential race?

Hagar said...

Give us a list of The Vagina's accomplishments.

Hillary! has been Sec./Treas. and Chief Legal Counsel for Clinton, Inc. for 45 years and neither Clinton has served a day in jail yet.

trumpetdaddy said...

"Why should the federal laws on marijuana be a "marginal" issue in the presidential race?"

Excellent question. Drug policy is at the heart of a number of issues that we are always seeing in the news. Organized crime. Immigration. Black citizens' interactions with law enforcement. Militarization of local police forces and the revenues needed to sustain that militarization. Fourth amendment law and "civil forfeitures." Diversion of law enforcement and national security resources away from terrorism and toward drug enforcement. I could go on.

William F. Buckley, Jr. was making these very points 15 and 20 years ago. Libertarians in general have been stereotyped as pot-heads, but these issues are mainstream public policy issues and need to be addressed in a serious manner. They absolutely are issues that should be discussed in a presidential race.

trumpetdaddy said...

Illegal drug trafficking and the profitability thereof is what fuels the border situation with Mexico. The violence, the gun trafficking, the illegal transport of people, including potentially jihadis, all of these things are paid for by American consumption of illegal drugs. We have created our own problem by incentivizing highly lucrative drug trafficking activity.

Prohibition apparently taught us nothing.

Brando said...

"Libertarians in general have been stereotyped as pot-heads, but these issues are mainstream public policy issues and need to be addressed in a serious manner. They absolutely are issues that should be discussed in a presidential race."

A growing percentage of the population is favoring outright marijuana legalization, and at least decriminalization of many other illegal drugs. It's becoming a more mainstream view, but the major parties still labor under the Nixon-era fiction that the Drug War is necessary and good.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

If the Libertarian Party has a core that is both cold and hard, then it's safe to say that it does not generate a magnetic field.

Original Mike said...

"but the major parties still labor under the Nixon-era fiction that the Drug War is necessary and good."

They don't give a crap about "necessary and good". They think it will get them votes.

Original Mike said...

I've never considered voting for a third party because I have always considered it throwing my vote away. But this year there is a very strong chance that I will.

Wilbur said...

" the Trumpites are in many ways the opposite of libertarians. They have no problem with government, if it is in the hands of a strongman who can "fix things"

Trumpites are disaffected GOP-ers or non-voters who are disgusted with the government and the governance of the Obama/Pelosi/Ryan/McConnell crew. Trump is in reality The Tea Party candidate, deservedly or not. I sense no focus on Trump himself as the savior or messiah. He's just the one who shrewdly speaks their language, unlike the other GOP candidates.

Johnson is on record for totally open borders. That alone eliminates him from consideration, no matter what else he says. And they say Trump has a screw loose?

Brando said...

"They don't give a crap about "necessary and good". They think it will get them votes."

Some might be just that delusional. When you point out that they really shouldn't care what another person does for themselves when it does not affect anyone else, they point out "what am I going to tell my kids???" as though it's anyone else's job to raise their damn kids for them.

The drug war reminds me a lot of the anti-gun crusade. They can't accept that with a massive supply already out there and very strong demand, you can trample on responsible people's rights all you want but you're not going to stop lawbreakers from doing whatever the hell they want. And yet, Democrats keep talking about government "staying out of my bedroom" and Republicans keep talking about "individual responsibility" yet both are fine nanny-stating the country over what they choose to get off on.

mockturtle said...

I read Ayn Rand back in the 1960's, as did most of my friends, and was impressed by her logic. However, one feature that struck me was the soullessness of her characters. Having worked with many Libertarians on the Ron Paul campaigns, I have seen a similar kind of well-organized but cold, single-mindedness. They were a little scary.

Brando said...

"Trumpites are disaffected GOP-ers or non-voters who are disgusted with the government and the governance of the Obama/Pelosi/Ryan/McConnell crew. Trump is in reality The Tea Party candidate, deservedly or not. I sense no focus on Trump himself as the savior or messiah."

I guess we have different interpretations of "I alone can fix this" and "I am your voice". That's the sort of nonsense I expect from leftists, not a GOP convention.

"He's just the one who shrewdly speaks their language, unlike the other GOP candidates."

He does do that. His gift is (to cite Scott Adams) he can persuade. It's how he can still get people to invest with him after his history.

Brando said...

"I read Ayn Rand back in the 1960's, as did most of my friends, and was impressed by her logic. However, one feature that struck me was the soullessness of her characters. Having worked with many Libertarians on the Ron Paul campaigns, I have seen a similar kind of well-organized but cold, single-mindedness. They were a little scary."

Keep in mind any minor party now is going to be comprised of the hard core devotees--the sort of people generally found in the extremes. You'd get the same if you stripped the Dems or GOP of its more moderate elements. If the Libertarians were to expand, it would become a far more moderated party.

n.n said...

It's time to admit that the class diversitists, exclusionists, abortionists, cannibals, psychotics, and Twilighters have won, and leave them to wallow in the muck of their Choice. If only they would refrain from influencing, corrupting, and interfering with civilized society.

rhhardin said...

It's not a real libertarian party townhall without Galambosians.

Nonapod said...

John Althouse Cohen said...

Why should the federal laws on marijuana be a "marginal" issue in the presidential race?


Ideally it wouldn't be. But most voters concerns are more immediate, and unless a voter happens to be a marijuana enthusiast they'll probably prioritize other things much higher. The big issues continue to be The Economy, Immigration, and Foreign Policy. Given recent events I suppose Racial Relations loom large in a good chunk of voters minds too.

Most voters probably don't see or think about how the federal legalization of marijuana could potentially help the economy, or how it could lower crime rates, or reduce the prison population.

rhhardin said...

Andrew Galambos and Ayn Rand once met and within five minutes each had declared the other insane.

YoungHegelian said...

I'm sorry, but if I can't depend on libertarians to be staunch defenders of the Constitution, especially the 1st Amendment, what are they good for? Their sophisticated charm?

Read this article from the Cato Institute, in which Johnson refers to religious freedoms as a "black hole" & supports not only using state coercion to force "religious" bakers/caterers to service a gay wedding, but also to force Jewish bakers to bake a cake for Nazis.

Jeez! Are there Democrats who think like this? Yes, lots of them. Is Hillary one of them? I doubt it, but even if she was she wouldn't be stupid enough to use the "black hole" phrase in public.

sunsong said...

I would love to see Johnson do well.

eric said...

If they really are taking more from Hillary (and I'm not yet convinced that they are) then watch out. The media and the Hillary enablers (but I repeat myself) will destroy them.

Paul Snively said...

What YoungHegelian said at 9:57. This is really the first election season I can recall where I actively disagree with not just the Republican and Democratic candidates, but the Libertarians, too.

cubanbob said...

Hillary is the ultimate FU candidate towards the private sector middle-class and the small business class. Trump is the ultimate FU candidate towards the Hillaryites.

As for third party, Johnson and Weld as noted by others here are a joke. Open borders or the welfare state you can have one or the other but not both, these two think we can have it all. Just goes to show you what smoking too much dope does to cognitive functioning. A third party vote in Ca or TX means nothing. 100% of the CA vote could go to the Democrat and 100 of the TX vote could go to the Republican and it won't increase the respective electoral vote of either state. However for those who live in a swing state your vote does count so it comes down who represents a lesser danger to the country? The carnival barker or the champagne fascist grifter criminal and traitor?

Nonapod said...

As someone who is perhaps 90% Libertarian (I'm a bit skeptical on certain foreign policy things most Libertarians espouse) I don't like to think of myself as some sort of cold, unempathetic weirdling. I just believe that everyone would live longer, happier, healthier, wealthier, more fulfulling lives under smaller less interventionist governance. Wanting everyone to have better lives is not cold. I think most decent people want that. It's just people disagree on how to achieve that goal.

n.n said...

stupid enough to use the "black hole" phrase in public

Black hole, black heart, dark soul... The NAACP cares, sort of, kind of, they must be outside of their revenue cycle or confined to the plantation.

Besides, the black hole has been reclassified as a gray hole.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ann Althouse said...I know that an empathy-based argument can be made for many of the policies libertarians support, but the hard-core libertarians have not arrived at these policies by way of any warmth or love. The ones I've encountered — and read the article I linked to — are into abstract ideas about individual autonomy and minimizing government. I like those ideas too, but I've seen off-putting coldness in the attitude libertarians take as the show their commitment to these ideas and take them to the extreme.

One thing that irks me, Professor, is the fact that the Left "gets away with" being extreme and cold and dogmatic in a way you don't tolerate from the non-Left.

Take "hard core" pro-abortion Democrats. Some people in that group have said things as extreme as "there should be no time limit on permissible abortion" or "we shouldn't consider a baby a person until the parent decide it's one (and bring it home from the hospital)", etc. Those are extreme positions and I don't think you can reasonably argue that they were arrived at with love & warmth. I'm pretty sure you don't personally agree with those hard core positions, but it's been my experience that nice people like you typically don't find those particular extreme positions upsetting--if articulated they wouldn't make you cry--and that's a distinct difference with the emotional reaction people like you tend to have when hearing "extreme" positions from non-Left believers. Even worse, the taint of those extreme positions doesn't affect the mainstream Left (Democrat party, whatever) in a way that it does affect your views and emotional reaction to the Right. I put a lot of that down to the influence of a biased Media (always showing bad behavior or extreme positions by non-Lefties but never showing the same, even when more prevalent, by the Left), but I don't think that's entirely it.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

John Althouse Cohen said...
Why should the federal laws on marijuana be a "marginal" issue in the presidential race?


I've said it before: if Trump were actually interested in winning this election he'd make national decriminalization of marijuana a central issue of his campaign. It'd fit nicely with a campaign that presented him as an outsider willing to take on established/entrenched political interests, it might give him half a chance with younger Bernie-type voters, and it could if deftly used be part of sales pitch for fiscal conservatism ("the savings from this will be yuuuuge; we can use that money for infrastructure and actually build this country again" etc).

EMD said...

Not particularly enthused about either Johnson or Weld, but anyone who is more pro-freedom and liberty that Hillary and Trump will get my vote. Johnson's blind spot is the religious vs. LGBTQ rights issue, but I can understand where he's coming from. Weld doesn't strike me as having any true particular libertarian bonafides, but letting perfect be the enemy of okay this election isn't something I can do.

Always vote for liberty and freedom. Anything less ultimately leads to totalitarianism.

EMD said...

I've said it before: if Trump were actually interested in winning this election he'd make national decriminalization of marijuana a central issue of his campaign.


To Trump's credit, he at least said it's state's rights issue, which is better than a lot of Rs.

Unknown said...

"I find Pence much less appealing than Trump."

Trump, such an appealing guy.

A rant from Erick Erickson, former darling on the conservative world:

You should be ashamed of yourselves. You should be ashamed of the fact that your cult leader who claims to have been personally affected by 9/11 does not even know our NATO allies protected his ass that day. You should be ashamed that he wants to turn one of the strongest military alliances in the history of the world into a racket where protection is bought. You should be ashamed that you are not ashamed…

You people reflect the evil character of your god. You should be ashamed, but you have no shame left. You all deserve to be defeated and annihilated. You disgust me in cheering him on. He disgusts me.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

This year's Libertarian ticket has problems with immigration (pretty much for fully open borders as far as I can tell) and with the 1st Amend. as applied to religious freedom/with the traditional American tolerance/acceptance of religion in the public sphere. They're pretty damn solid on everything else, though, and will probably get my vote.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

EMD said...To Trump's credit, he at least said it's state's rights issue, which is better than a lot of Rs.

Sure, but remember you're dealing with the Media here, and states rights = support for slavery. So, you know...
Plus Trump doesn't strike me as a small government, federalism-supporting kinda guy, so it'd be weird for him to pass up an opportunity to apply his "giving me power will solve national problems" concept to this particular problem.

EMD said...

"one of the strongest military alliances in the history of the world into a racket where protection is bought. You should be ashamed that you are not ashamed…"

Please tell me why again we are paying to protect a Europe Angela Merkel has no intent on preserving?

HoodlumDoodlum said...

A smart Trump campaign (I know, stop laughing) could use marijuana decriminalization as outreach to young minority voters, too, and maybe hurt Clinton with that demographic a bit.

"Republican and Democratic presidents for the last 4 decades have all pushed the War on Drugs, and partially as a result of that the minority incarceration rate has skyrocketed. I'm running as the law and order candidate in this election, but I want to makes sure that the laws we're enforcing are good ones. I think we're locking up too many good people and spending way too much money prosecuting crimes related to personal marijuana use--that's a waste of people, a waste of money, and a waste our nation can't afford. While he was President Bill Clinton signed bills X, Y, and Z that punished low level drug crimes and his policies (A, B, and C) resulted in more young people of color being locked up (or "entering the school-to-prison pipleline" or whatever other Lefty phrase you want to steal). The Democrats say they're proud of that legacy, but I say they shouldn't be.
I'm for respect for our laws and the American people are sick of Democrats excusing lawbreaking--like when my opponent says illegal immigrants should be given priority over people who've worked hard and followed the law. Part of upholding respect for the law is making sure the laws we have reflect what the people really want. Poll after poll (cite polls) show that a majority of people want marijuana to be decriminalized. Places like Colorado that have decriminalized marijuana have seen large benefits (cite benefits, money saved/tax money raised, etc).
I'm not a career politician and I'm not beholden to the kinds of special interests that my opponent and so many past candidates have been. I want what's best for America and I'm not afraid to take bold positions that reflect our modern times. For those reasons, once elected I will support nationwide decriminalization of marijuana in a smart, safe, sensible way.
If you care about our budget, about preventing so many young black and brown men from going to jail, and about really investing in this nation's future, you'll vote for me."

mockturtle said...

Always vote for liberty and freedom. Anything less ultimately leads to totalitarianism.

Liberty for whom? And freedom for what? If a preacher, from his pulpit, is not allowed to call homosexuality a sin, is that free exercise of religion? Is ending the life of the unborn child for the convenience of the mother liberty for that child? If Libertarians would, as Ron Paul did, uphold the Constitution in its entirety and with its full intent, I would join them.

Unknown said...

Hey HooDoo,

Should Trump

a) use paragraphs,
b) use far fewer words,
c) hold a gun to the network's head so that they sit there and let him say all of that John Galt length speech uninterrupted,
d) hold guns to the heads of all the blacks and browns and kids so that they will watch the whole thing?

He said he supports it at the state level. Crystalline perfection. What else do you want? (Yes, now it could be disseminated somehow. Just not in a diatribe maybe)

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Well Unknown, how long was Trump's convention speech, again? I'm pretty sure the networks carried all of it, so I don't think length is the problem. I'd be surprised if that block of text took more than 8 minutes to say straight through, even doing a politician-speech-voice.

He said he supports it at the state level. Crystalline perfection. What else do you want?

No. No! Hillary Clinton can say she supports it at a state level. He has to have it as an ISSUE. Look, I'm a pro-federalism fella, I'm a state's rights kinda guy, I "support it at a state level." Hillary Clinton can say to me "hey, I do, too!" on this issue. Using that framing doesn't help Trump. Trump needs to show that he's for it in a way that Clinton isn't--that's the only way it's a helpful tool for him.

Anyway as I said Trump's whole image is "big man, fix problem, always winning" so if he takes this issue and says "it's not something I'm going to use my yuuuge influence to fix, leave it to the states" he's effectively saying it's not something he cares about and it's not an issue. So "leave it to the states" does nothing for him. It's not helping him now!

mockturtle said...

Please tell me why again we are paying to protect a Europe Angela Merkel has no intent on preserving?

Good point!

Brando said...

"As someone who is perhaps 90% Libertarian (I'm a bit skeptical on certain foreign policy things most Libertarians espouse) I don't like to think of myself as some sort of cold, unempathetic weirdling. I just believe that everyone would live longer, happier, healthier, wealthier, more fulfulling lives under smaller less interventionist governance. Wanting everyone to have better lives is not cold. I think most decent people want that. It's just people disagree on how to achieve that goal."

I feel the same way, and suspect Althouse gets it too, but she seems to be referring to the modern tendency of wanting our politicians to seem to "care" about us--one of the bits of BS that led to Romney's loss, as we're told (that voters figured Obama "cared more about people like me"). Libertarians apparently aren't good enough at showing that their policies will improve everyone's lives and that they care about our problems.

Of course, there's nothing particularly compassionate about taking away individual rights and putting distant government rules and bureaucrats in charge of our decisions. It's just harder to sell that.

Brando said...

"A smart Trump campaign (I know, stop laughing) could use marijuana decriminalization as outreach to young minority voters, too, and maybe hurt Clinton with that demographic a bit."

The Republicans long ago should have pushed to end drug prohibition simply to get it in line with their "individual freedom" rhetoric. I don't think it would have done much for the youth or black vote (as an issue, it wouldn't push them over the top) but it wouldn't hurt, either. Mainly though it'd be better policy.

holdfast said...

You don't have to buy into the party to vote Johnson/Weld. You just have to buy into THEM. (Which is one of Althouse's points in this post, I think)

I like the ideas that the party is supposed to stand for. I am "meh" on Johnson, and repelled by Weld.

Sigivald said...

First, Zwolinski makes it sound as though people know next to nothing about libertarians

Sounds about right.

I mean, I've seen everything from "lol, Somalia!" to "Republicans with weed" to "Anarchists".

(The latter two are at least roughly tenable as describing subgroups of libertarians, but the first is BS from the hard left that drives me to incendiary rage.)

Sigivald said...

Liberty for whom? And freedom for what? If a preacher, from his pulpit, is not allowed to call homosexuality a sin, is that free exercise of religion? Is ending the life of the unborn child for the convenience of the mother liberty for that child? If Libertarians would, as Ron Paul did, uphold the Constitution in its entirety and with its full intent, I would join them.

Everyone, and compulsion against the former.

In order: No, undefined*.

(*Undefined because "is that e.g. three month old fetus A Person Or Not" is a question libertarian theory is necessarily entirely silent on (as none of its foundational beliefs or propositions speak to the question), thus making it unable to provide a single, coherent answer to the question.

The answer depends entirely on what one thinks about the personhood issue, and basically only belief, be it traditional religion or secular-intuition/philosophy, can provide an answer.

Science sure can't, since its factual determinations can't tell us "should or should not be considered a person", just give us data to feed into ... the heuristic we get from "belief".

Too many people on the "rationalist" side - of which I am a part - fail to grasp the distinction between science as the source of data to feed into judgment, and their ideas about what is right magically deriving from "science", forgetting that the value judgments they're ignoring in there are not, themselves, scientific.

Scientific knowledge is perfect for telling us how to maximize the Good in our actions around it. It is utterly incapable of telling us what the Good is.

Forgetting that leads to all kinds of trouble.)

Joe said...

The problem with Johnson as a libertarian is that he sure likes to spend other people's money.

Martin said...

Johnson/Weld has a chance at what? Pulling more than 2%, sure. Winning, no.

mockturtle said...

Scientific knowledge is perfect for telling us how to maximize the Good in our actions around it. It is utterly incapable of telling us what the Good is.

Forgetting that leads to all kinds of trouble.


Years ago I took a course in Medical Ethics. Although the issue above [fetal personhood] was never addressed [!], other ethical issues were. Science, as you point out, does not exist--or should not exist--in a moral vacuum. When it threatens to, we have the atrocities of the Third Reich.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Joe said...
The problem with Johnson as a libertarian is that he sure likes to spend other people's money.


To be fair, Joe, almost everybody likes spending other people's money! The good ones promote systems that will reduce the opportunity and ability of people to spend other people's money, since the temptation to do so is darn near insuperable for most of us.

I agree Johnson's record on that score (eschewing doing it himself and promoting systems and norms that will prevent others from doing it) isn't perfect. It's better than the other main candidates' by quite a lot, though.

EMD said...

Second, even on strictly economic issues, Libertarians have a lot to say that should appeal to those on the left.... They've fought against subsidies, bailouts, and other forms of "crony capitalism" that benefit the few at the expense of the masses.

The Sanders left would no doubt be more interested in an anti-crony-capitalism party than the modern Democrats, who are basically the epitome of crony capitalism.

Larvell said...

They just have to win enough states to keep Hillary from an electoral college majority, and send it to the House -- then ask the Republican delegations if they really want to deal with Trump for four years. Of course, the Senate would select either Pence or Kean as V.P., so Weld's out.

Lydia said...

Johnson is a doofus who thinks the threat from radical Islam is, in his words, "overblown".

Jeff said...

But as Johnson says, laws concerning drugs and prostitution are properly matters of state, not federal law. Nevada has partially legalized prostitution and few people outside of Nevada are upset by that. Colorado has legalized marijuana even though federal law, which is supposed to supersede state law, still says it's illegal. But notice that federal prosecutors are not exactly busting down the courthouse doors trying to get federal marijuana convictions from Colorado juries.

So aside from dropping the Schedule I designation for marijuana, the Libertarian Party's positions on drugs and prostitution are pretty much irrelevant in the Presidential race.

mockturtle said...

Washington State also has legalized marijuana. I think we were first.

Bobby said...

Jeff,

"So aside from dropping the Schedule I designation for marijuana, the Libertarian Party's positions on drugs and prostitution are pretty much irrelevant in the Presidential race."

If it's so irrelevant, then- as Hoodlum Doodlum points out above- there should be little difficulty with Trump endorsing the same policy and co-opting the Johnson voters. I mean, if it's really so irrelevant.

rcocean said...

Libertarianism is a political philosophy for children and clowns.

Original Mike said...

"Libertarianism is a political philosophy for children and clowns."

Can't imagine the attraction. Big, intrusive government is working out so well.

JamesB.BKK said...

Gotta say what's "cold" is the federal superstate's relentless skimming of large shares of my income and deprivations of a decent increase in my wealth, always among constant threats of violence, and always using my money against me - basically to buy votes of what amount to my statist political enemies. Not much compassionate about it, actually, Matt. Even before one counts all of the mischief and outright damage to the society that organization does.

rcocean said...

Yeah, clowns, kids, and snarky teenagers.

JamesB.BKK said...

Gary Johnson is libertarian in much the same way George W. Bush is conservative.

rc: Nice to see some cogent arguments there.

damikesc said...

Second, even on strictly economic issues, Libertarians have a lot to say that should appeal to those on the left.... They've fought against subsidies, bailouts, and other forms of "crony capitalism" that benefit the few at the expense of the masses.

That is part and parcel of the Dem strategy. They are huge on bailouts.

Libertarians can't win until the media say they can. Which can't happen so long as they're in the tank for the two-party system.

The media is in the tank for one party less than you're claiming here.

Probably a number of reasons--first, the Trumpites are in many ways the opposite of libertarians. They have no problem with government, if it is in the hands of a strongman who can "fix things";

Libertarians are far less opposed to that then they wish to put on. Reason has been defending using public accomodations law --- which, mind you, they used to despise --- to get what they want done.