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« New Foxnews Column | Main | Moore Is Less »

More On Evil Republicans

My, I seem to have lit a small conflagration.

Will Wilkinson says (among other things):

For all I know, Rand may have the political calculus right: the net loss to liberty is smaller under Republicans. But this really just misses the point.

Well, no. I think that it's Will who's missing the point. My point was not that this kind of stuff doesn't dissuade freedom-seeking voters--it clearly does. My only point was that, given the available options, it shouldn't. He (and Glenn) are discussing "is." I'm discussing "ought."

If it's the case that the Republicans are on the whole better for liberty, then Rand should be very concerned that Republicans aren't associated in the popular imagination with obnoxious, unappealing, totalitarian lifestyle philosophies.

I never said that I wasn't concerned about it, and I'm certainly not defending Ashcroft--I think that he's an ass. I am concerned about it, but it does no good for me to simply be concerned about it.

I wish that all Republicans, or all Democrats, or all of both parties, would overnight become libertarian. But wishes aren't horses, so I'll have to keep on walking. All that I can try to do is assuage other's (IMHO, mistaken) concerns about the bedroom police if Republicans take over the government.

Most people aren't as bright as Rand, and they aren't very interested in determining what political program is really in their best interests. What people are interested in is a sense of identity. If a party grates against our sense of the kind of person we'd like to be, then we don't want anything to do with it.

Which is why we have a responsibility to continue to propogate anti-idiotarianism (to the best of our limited abilities), so that either the Republican Party will grate less, or people will vote in a more rational manner.

For me, effective socialists grate far more than bumbling moralists. Again, Will purports to speak for all these nameless others, but I sense that he's really speaking for himself as well (since he used the pronoun "our"). He'd apparently really rather vote for (or at least "identify with") people who will rob him blind, as long as they'll get down and party with him (though I understand from other posts on his site that he doesn't vote at all).

It's not just the Taxman, Will. It's the guy who doesn't let you drain a mud puddle because it's a wetland. It's a public-school principal who will let your kid die of asthma rather than let her keep her inhaler. It's the corrupt politician who will consign inner-city kids to an illiterate hell in order to satisfy the teacher's unions.

For all of his idiocy, has Ashcroft been worse for civil rights than Janet Reno? Ask the barbecued kids in Waco. Ask Elian.

What I'm saying is that this is at least partly, if not mostly, a perception problem (and Will and Glenn seem to agree in their commentary). Well, then part of the solution is to change the perception. That was the point of my post.

Posted by Rand Simberg at March 21, 2002 10:38 AM
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Another point-- the social liberals are just as willing as the social conservatives to impose their (anti-)religious beliefs on the rest of us, if not more so. They've also been much more successful. Look at their campaigns in support of government school monopolies, or their efforts to say no one is responsible and we are all victims.

The problem is that the social liberals are allowed to define their opponents and themselves. Look at how one stereotyped image of an evil Babtis' minister in a crummy movie like Footloose is held to be the norm for all Protestent Christians. Or how the killing of one homosexual in a robbery attempt is portrayed as an indictment of all westerners as in need of "education", yet we are told that multiple homosexual pedophilia scandals (like Jesse Durkhising's murder) are just abberations, and any attempt to even point them out is "homophobic."

Posted by raoul ortega at March 21, 2002 12:11 PM

Quote- If it's the case that the Republicans are on the whole better for liberty, then Rand should be very concerned that Republicans aren't associated in the popular imagination with obnoxious, unappealing, totalitarian lifestyle philosophies.

Why? It doesn't bother the Democrats to be seen sucking up to people like Castro or Daniel Ortega (no relation). It doesn't bother Democrats to support things like gun confiscations, "campaign finance reform" (incumbent protection at the expense of the 1st Amendment.) and other assaults on our liberties. It doesn't bother the Democrats to block any and all attempts to get a handle on Social Security by protraying all opponents of change as wanting to take away granny's Alpo. Only recenly has it bothered Democrats to be seen in the company of leftwing extremists like Michael Moore and Noam Chomsky and their kind. It doesn't bother Democrats to be seen as beholden to pornographers (just because you don't find them unappealing doesn't mean that they aren't unappealing to others.) It doesn't bother Democrats to do what's best for their favored constituency groups (like teacher unions) at the expense of the rest of the country. It doesn't bother the Democrats to lie about their opponents if it furthers their own cause.

And associating with Republicans bothers you, because, after you listen to only what the Democrats say about them, you say they look bad?

Posted by raoul ortega at March 21, 2002 12:35 PM

Thanks, Rand :

I feel like I've been magically transported back to medieval times where monks are arguing about how many angels fit on the head of a pin. Here in the blogoverse we have the 1% of the population that is libertarian (all well-to-do, computer wonk, young white men), arguing about why Democrats (50% in the last election) and Republicans (49%) don't appeal to voters. :)

Posted by oj at March 21, 2002 12:49 PM

Let the conflagration continue. I see it has spread to The Corner and who knows where else. I emailed Glenn, attempting to make your points. Its interesting the lack of tolerance for fairly benign coalition partners on the part of the so called libertarian web. Mark Byron has a very good blog covering these same points fm the religious side of the aisle. Its actually pretty funny how obsessed libertarian bloggers are with there sense of self, as opposed to getting some actual results. Time for everybody to grow up!

Posted by Lloyd Albano at March 21, 2002 02:59 PM

Since this conflagration is conflagrating around blogdom today, I have to ask about Wilkinson's sentence:

"If it's the case that the Republicans are on the whole better for liberty, then Rand should be very concerned that Republicans AREN'T associated in the popular imagination with obnoxious, unappealing, totalitarian lifestyle philosophies."

Didn't he mean to say "are"? "Aren't" doesn't mesh with the understood terms of this debate.

Posted by BMc at March 21, 2002 03:34 PM

We're not all male or (currently) well-to-do, Mr. Albano.



Posted by Megan McArdle at March 23, 2002 10:57 AM

Hmmm... I wonder what the three libertarian ladies writing for Samizdata would make of Orrin's remarks.

Of course it is hard to see why any real libertarian would ever actually run for democratic office if he actually believes in the whole 'liberty' thing.

Posted by Perry de Havilland at March 26, 2002 07:01 PM

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