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Republican Religiophobia

As long as I'm dredging up golden oldies on space, I might as well do one on politics as well. I've talked to and emailed (and Usenetted) a few "moderate" Republicans who were turned off by McCain's choice of Sarah Palin, because they thought the choice was simply pandering to the religious right, and they bought the caricature of her sold by the MSM. I don't agree with that (I think that there was a confluence of factors, including the desire to pick off some of Hillary! supporters), but I really do think that a) he thought that she would be a reformer like him based on her record and b) he did and does have a high regard for her intelligence and capabilities, because most people who meet her, Democrats and "liberals" included, seem to.

Anyway, I really don't understand this fear of the religious right, though I am neither religious, or "right" (in the social conservative sense). I explained why in a post about six and a half years ago. I think that it's relevant today, and in fact wish that I'd reposted it before the election (not that the fate of the nation hinges in any way on my posts).

Instantman, in reference to an article about women and the sexual revolution, says:
This kind of stuff, by the way, is the reason why a lot of Democrats who are basically in agreement with the Republican party are still afraid to vote for Republicans.

This seems to be a common attitude among many libertarians (and to the degree that labels apply, I think that one fits Glenn about as well as any), particularly the ones who approached that philosophy from the left (i.e., former Democrats). I once had an extended email discussion (back during the election) with another libertarian friend (who's also a blogger, but shall remain nameless) about how as much as he disliked the socialism of the Democrats, he felt more culturally comfortable with them. Again, this is a prevalent attitude of products of the sixties. You know, Republicans were uptight fascists, and Democrats were idealistic, free-living, and hip.

While I'm not a conservative, my own sexual and drug-taking values (and life style) tend to be. I just don't think that the government should be involved in either of these areas. But my voting pattern is that I'll occasionally vote Republican (I voted for Dole over Clinton, the only time I've ever voted for a Republican for President), but I never vote for a Democrat for any office. The last time I did so was in 1976, and I'd like that one back.

There are at least two reasons for this.

First, I've found many Republicans who are sympathetic to libertarian arguments, and in fact are often libertarians at heart, but see the Republican Party as the most practical means of achieving the goals. There may be some Democrats out there like that, but I've never run into them. That's the least important reason (partly because I may be mistaken, and have simply suffered from a limited sample space). But fundamentally, the Democratic Party, at least in its current form, seems to me to be utterly antithetical to free markets.

But the most important reason is this--while I find the anti-freedom strains of both parties equally dismaying, the Democrats are a lot better at implementing their big-government intrusions, and there's good reason to think that this will be the case even if the Republicans get full control of the government.

This is because many of the Democratic Party positions are superficially appealing, if you're ignorant of economics and have never been taught critical thinking.

Who can be against a "living wage"? What's so bad about making sure that everyone, of every skin hue, gets a fair chance at a job? Why shouldn't rich people pay a larger percentage of their income in taxes?--they can afford it. Are you opposed to clean air and water? What's wrong with you? How can you be against social security--do you want old folks to live on Kibbles and Bits?

To fight these kinds of encroachments on liberty requires a lot of effort and argument and, in the end, it often loses anyway. Consider for example, the latest assault on the First Amendment that passed the Senate today, sixty to forty. Many Republicans voted against it. I don't think any Democrats did.

[Thursday morning update: Best of the Web notes that two Democrats did vote against it--John Breaux and Ben Nelson. Good for them. They also have a hall of shame for the Republicans who voted for it.]

On the other hand, the things that libertarians like Glenn and Nameless fear that conservatives will do (e.g., in matters sexual), are so repugnant to most Americans that they'll never get made into law, and if they do, the legislators who do so will quickly get turned out of office. So, you have to ask yourself, even if you dislike the attitude of people who are uncomfortable with the sexual revolution, just what is it, realistically, that you think they'd actually do about it if you voted for them?

The bottom line for me is that Democrats have been slow-boiling the frog for decades now, and they're very good at it. I tend to favor Republicans, not because I necessarily agree with their views on morality, but because I see them as the only force that can turn down the heat on the kettle, and that they're very unlikely to get some of the more extreme policies that they may want, because the public, by and large, views them as extreme.

Nothing has happened in the interim to change my views in this regard. The real disappointment was that the Republicans gave us the worst of all worlds this election--a Democrat (in terms of his populist economic thinking and his own antipathy to the free market, despite his Joe-the-Plumber noises about "spreading the wealth") at the top of their ticket, with a running mate who was perceived (falsely, in my opinion) as being a warrior for the religious right. But that's what happens when you stupidly have open primaries, and allow the media to pick your nominee.

 
 

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93 Comments

Bryan Lovely wrote:

I tend to favor Republicans, not because I necessarily agree with their views on morality, but because I see them as the only force that can turn down the heat on the kettle, and that they're very unlikely to get some of the more extreme policies that they may want, because the public, by and large, views them as extreme.

Exactly. I have no problem with social conservative Christians in the GOP, because I have no fear that they would be able to implement their Calvinist-wannabe dreams on the rest of us.

The GOP doesn't need to expel these people. They vote. A lot. But the GOP should change its emphasis from advocacy of legislating this morality to advocacy of the government getting out of people's lives. This could be "sold" to the social cons on the grounds of "that means the government couldn't officially preach left-wing values to your kids in school". And it would attract more of those socially liberal libertarians who won't vote Republican because the social cons scare them.

MG wrote:

Calvinism is in plentiful supply amongst Democrats. They are the "elect", and are "obliged" to show us the proper way to live.

And they'll happily use the police powers of the state to enforce their obligations on we Lost folks.

Big D wrote:

I've noticed several prominent small-l libertarian bloggers essentially trying to throw "socons" out of the party since the election, on the faith that the American public at large would gladly vote en masse for whoever legalizes drugs and so forth. Overall, it reminds me of the libertarians who voted for Obama to "rub the public's nose in socialism", so to speak, on this wave seems nastier and more personal.

As a social conservative who *is* strongly libertarian (I simply no longer trust any government to be effective, efficient, uncorrupted, or capable of reliable carrying out things I'd like in theory to see it do), this has been a huge turn-off to me, and while I expected better from you than from them anyways based on your past writings, I'm still glad that you reinforced the point. It amazes me how being distrustful of outright legalization of certain things suddenly makes one a fascist.

cthulhu wrote:

The GOP conservative Christians who are willing to live and let live with full-blown atheists like me are not the problem. And it should be noted that "social conservative" and "Christian zealot" are by no means one and the same - e.g., I know some anti-abortion atheists. However, especially at the local and state level, the Republican party has been afflicted in the last 20 years with significant numbers of conservative Christians whose agenda is to turn the US into a theocracy. These are the people who must be appeased by successful Republican presidential candidates, and are why Mitt Romney wasn't nominated - he couldn't really convince them of his sincerity, but his pathetic brownnosing of the Christianoids turned off many of the more libertarian primary voters, especially the crossover voters in open primaries. McCain's brownnosing was just as disgusting, but somehow it took longer to begin to stink, maybe due to the Christian air freshener sprayed his way by Huckabee - and in that window of time, McCain took the nomination. And Romney's magic underwear almost certainly hurt, in the South especially.

I happen to believe that Bryan Lovely is probably correct that the conservative Christian wet dream of a US theocracy is not gonna happen, but when these bozos weigh down the Republican party platform with stuff like "We support the right of students to engage in student-initiated, student-led prayer in public schools, athletic events, and graduation ceremonies, when done in conformity with constitutional standards" (try being the only freethinker in that school - been there, done that, got the scars to prove it), pack local school boards and state educational agencies with "intelligent design" advocates (i.e., creationists in mufti, otherwise known as IDiots), are at the forefront of the "you don't have anything to hide, do you?" school of civil "liberties", bring out the atheists and nonbelievers as whipping boys (see Elizabeth Dole's failed campaign), and in general seem incapable of critical thought...well, my gorge becomes ever-more-buoyant at casting my lot with them unless I'm convinced that the Democrats are the worse evil (e.g., voting for GWB over Gore-Al). I think the Republicans would be better off without the Christian theocrats, and would pick up considerably more libertarians-in-moderates-clothing than the Christian soldiers they would lose.

I think there are quite a few realpolitik libertarians out there - that is, libertarians with a small "l" who are willing to mostly hold their tongues on hot-button issues like drug legalization (demographics will eventually win that one in a Kuhnian paradigm shift) - that would vote for a Republican who walked it like he/she talked it on limited government, civil liberties, a sane tax policy, free markets (not, for example, the highly distorted housing market that Fannie and Freddie and their gov't protectors Dodd and Frank created), a foreign policy based on US interests, etc. But the Republicans have to see that it is in their best interests to cast out the intolerant Christian zealots first.

DaveP. wrote:

Nice strawman, cthulthu.

Religon in public office was the norm, not the exception, prior to 1950. Please show me the theocracy.

Alternatively, there is a political party that agrees with you on the desirability of making the religous community divorce itself from its beliefs and exist as only a vote farm...

...they're called Democrats. Go join.

Steve wrote:

"...Republicans were uptight fascists, and Democrats were idealistic, free-living, and hip."


Yeah, this is why the Democrats want to control everything. Because they believe in Live and let Live. This is why the Democrats created a corral for protesters at their last two national conventions, because they believe in freedom and are idealists. Talk about straw men.


I wish, just once that someone (cthulthu) could show me the proof that ANYONE from mainstream Christianity wants a U.S. theocracy. I am a Christian, I went to Parochial Schools until 8th grade, I attend church regularly, but it's a small congregation, Protestant Church now. In 54 years of learning, reading and contact with several different branches of Christian thought, I have NEVER heard ANYONE say they thought the United States should be a totally Christian, mandatory attendance on Sunday, everybody pray twice a day nation. That's paranoid thinking.

If you want to see a group who thinks that ALL Americans should do as they do, think as they think, live like we say, or else, look at those idealistic, free-living, and hip folks.

Paul Hsieh wrote:

Thanks for writing about this, Rand. I respectfully disagree, as I stated in my recent OpEd in the Denver Post, entitled "Why The GOP Lost My Vote":

http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_10976789

At least here in Colorado, there are many religious conservative Republicans who want to make abortion their top political priority. They've said that abortion is the ONE ISSUE on which there should be no compromise (as opposed to other issues such as immigration where Republicans could agree to disagree).

By implication, that means that other issues such as free market economics, gun rights, etc., would also be areas on which Republicans could compromise (if abortion is the ONE ISSUE on which they should not).

Furthermore, the basic logic of Christianity is at its root opposed to capitalism, pursuit of rational self-interest, and basic American values, as discussed by Dr. Leonard Peikoff in his lecture, "Religion Vs. America":

http://www.aynrand.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5360&news_iv_ctrl=1225

For this reason, I believe that the uneasy alliance between religious conservatives and fiscal conservatives within the Republican Party is increasingly unstable and may end soon.

Ryan Sager has written about this in his thought-provoking book, "The Elephant In The Room":

http://www.ryansager.com/thebook/

I think the GOP is at a real cross-roads now. It could follow the "social conservative" agenda (and consign itself to a permanent electoral minority), or it could decide to shed that toxic influence and instead focus on limited government and individual rights (which would be an electoral winner).

If the GOP platform even said, "Abortion is a divisive issue, and we therefore take no position on it", that would be a good step. I know many church-going conservatives who are morally opposed to abortion, but who also would respect the right of me and my wife to choose to have one if we deem necessary. I fully respect that position.

But Republicans who say, "Abortion is the one issue on which Republicans should not compromise; any pro-choice Republicans should leave the party" (such as Rush Limbaugh) are setting themselves up for big problems.

If the GOP follows that advice, then they had better get used to losing a lot more elections.

narciso wrote:

The Religious Right, only really arose out out of Democratic overreaching. Engel v. Vitale, awakened the School Prayer contingent, Roe the pro-life. First Things warned of judicial usurpation of gay marriage and other issues long before Roper v. Simmons came along. It is only to be expected what kind of new outrage the new court andadministration
brings us. Which the likes of Ryan Sager will tell us to accept.

Rand Simberg wrote:

Republicans who say, "Abortion is the one issue on which Republicans should not compromise; any pro-choice Republicans should leave the party" (such as Rush Limbaugh) are setting themselves up for big problems.

When did Rush say that, Paul?

Paul Hsieh wrote:

Here are excerpts from Rush Limbaugh's 10/24/2008 radio show in which he attacks the "big tent" approach:

http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/home/daily/site_102408/content/01125111.guest.html

"Good Riddance, GOP Moderates"

...We flushed 'em out. We found out they're not really Republicans and they're by no means conservatives, and now they're gone. Now the trick is to keep 'em out.

...The minute you say that conservatism includes people who are pro-choice, you've destroyed conservatism because conservatism stands for "life, liberty, pursuit of happiness." Without life, there is nothing else here, and if we're going to sit around indiscriminately deciding who lives and who dies based on our own convenience, that's not conservative. Individual liberty. The essence of innocence is a child in the womb who has no choice over what happens to it. Sorry. If we don't stand up for that person, if the government doesn't, then nobody will. And if we allow ourselves to get watered down by a bunch of people who are embarrassed over that position, they're not conservatives.

cthulhu wrote:

DaveP said: Religon in public office was the norm, not the exception, prior to 1950. Please show me the theocracy.

Did you not read what I wrote? I was very clear to distinguish between religious believers who are compatible with a free society and those who want a theocracy. The latter have been around for quite a while, but have never been more than voices crying in the wilderness until the Republicans allowed them to concentrate in its local and state parties. See, for example, the Texas State Republican platform for some examples of the theocratic goals and beliefs.

DaveP also said: Alternatively, there is a political party that agrees with you on the desirability of making the religous community divorce itself from its beliefs and exist as only a vote farm...they're called Democrats. Go join.

Where did I say or imply this? Your guilt by association argument won't wash. If you'll bother to read what I actually wrote, you'll see that I took pains to make clear I was referring only to the religious nuts who want to turn the US into a theocracy; this is a small minority of the religious community, but unfortunately is one who has become very powerful in the local and state Republican organizations. As a side note, the real "vote farm" nowadays is the black vote for Democrats; for example, blacks supported CA's Prop 8, which banned gay marriage, by a nearly 3-to-1 margin, yet they also voted overwhelmingly Democratic. Can you say cognitive dissonance?

Steve similarly just can't seem to read words on a page: I wish, just once that someone (cthulthu) could show me the proof that ANYONE from mainstream Christianity wants a U.S. theocracy. Where did I say or imply this? It's quite clear that I was referring specifically to the small subset of Christians who want to establish a theocracy, NOT "mainstream Christianity." What about that don't you understand?

And narciso writes: The Religious Right, only really arose out out of Democratic overreaching. Are you making excuses for religious demagoguery by saying "well, the Democrats made them do it!" This is known as the Stan and Ollie fallacy, i.e., "Look what you made me do!" :-)

Finally, to Paul Hsieh: don't make the mistake of lumping anti-abortion into social conservative; the overlap is nowhere as total as "pro-choice" proponents wish to believe.

Jason wrote:

I agree 100%. The Republican party is doomed without religious conservatives. Time to kiss and make up, and find common ground.

Kent G. Budge wrote:

Cthulu,

Enough with the magic underwear already. Besides being deeply, deeply offensive to the majority of citizens of a state that hasn't given its electoral votes to the Democrats since 1964, there's just something creepy about this obsession with other people's underclothing.

Richard wrote:

I see you "moderate republicans" still think that the reason you lost the election is due to the morality you think the religious right wants to impose on the rest of the world.. I've got news for you, all of our laws are based upon someone's morality, generally in our country it's Christian based...but most of us Christians only want a safe and wholesome environment to live and raise our children in...it used to be deviant behavior was practiced behind closed doors, but now it's on display and forced upon anyone who does not have his head in the sand...I think you'll find that if you force the moral majority out of your party (which is now happening) you won't have much of a party left...

Big D wrote:

See, this is the kind of stuff that really turns me off. I don't care how much backtracking you do afterwards to claim that you're "only talking about theocrats" or somesuch... because you seem to keep implying that folks like me--who completely distrust big government--are, indeed, theocrats who want to rule over everybody.

Well, yeah... in a perfect world, I'd *love* for my particular interpretation of what God wants for us to be the complete law of the land. But humanity isn't perfect--and therefore, just like socialism and communism, which also depend on a "perfect" humanity, a pure theocracy can never withstand the test of time without becoming corrupted and (to at least an extent) evil--in the name of good. Therefore, since I want to see a system that will preserve my faith for the generations to come, I favor small, limited government, that can't decide a generation later to turn around and oppress my values.

I like to think that I'm not alone in this; as narciso wrote, a lot of the "right-wing Christian activists" are a result of a backlash against the destruction of the soft power that used to exist outside of government in the form of social norms. Take away the norms, and all that is left to govern behavior is the law--and for many issues, that's a very poor, often dangerous, substitute. The result is a messy fight over who writes the laws, where many folks are deeply unhappy no matter the result.

Peter wrote:

Here is something you anti social conservatives may not have noticed. The socons are the ones that actually work phone banks and walk precincts. In three terms as a Republican Precinct Chairman I never once saw the libertarian wing of the Party actually do anything but complain.
Some elections the socoms stay home. 2008 was one of those elections. Perhaps you didn't notice but the Pubbies lost, big time.
Now, we have a incoming Presidency that will insert their Morals(?) deep into our lives. Unlike that horrid Palin who vetoed the bill that would have barred people in domestic partnerships the right to state benefits.
Great job. I'm so proud of you.

DoctorOfLove wrote:

The modern involvement of hard-core evangelical christianity in national politics comes straight from Roe v. Wade, and to a lesser extent the post 60s cultural war (which, by the way, always existed in US history but in different forms - the anti-slavery movement before the civil war is the paradigm example of limo-libs - and, remember, hardvard and yale started as protestant divinity schools, a pretty cutting edge place to be in the 1700s).

To put it another way, the folks in mississippi don't care what the folks in massachusetts think about abortion, but they know that weirdly, the folks in massachusetts seem to have this restraining-order level fascination with what the folks in mississippi think about abortion.

If the Repubs could state that Roe v. Wade and Lawrence v. Texas should be overturned, and thereafter such social issues will be left strictly to the states, then evangelical involvement in federal politics would dissappear (as, probably, would their allegiance to the Repubs - these are otherwise Huckabee populists more akin to Bob LaFollette than Bob Dole). And the Repubs could get back to small gov individual responsibility, and have a chance at appealing to the 50% voters in the middle of the bell curve.

But the problem is that if Roe is overturned, there will be a massive battle in the federal congress to ban abortion - that is, the pendulum will swing too far. When that happens, the repubs are finished for a generation. They will win the battle against Roe, and then immolate themselves in the war over theocracy.

If I was a dem, I would pray every day that Roe got overturned. If I was obama, I would appoint supremes who would overturn it (wink wink nudge nudge). It would return the issue to national and state electoral politics, where the repubs would promply overreach wildly to the right, and my wife, for example, who has never voted for a dem in her life, would never vote for a repub again, because she believes that by and large abortion is a matter of doctor patient, and not prosecutor-prison guard.

The aftershocks of overturning Roe would give the dems a shot at the populist side of the bible thumpers in federal politics, and it would generationally destroy any libertarian allegiance to the national repub party. The republican party would become the bible thumper party, and a new non-religious centrist party would have to start, giving the dems the same multi-decade advantage that a.jackson created for them in 1828 (which advantage ended, by the way, only in a 4 year shooting war - fortunately for them with no nukes).

but this all too smart by half. So we will have them same dreary bs election after election thanks to the supremes.

EVery time the supremes decide to become congress - Dred Scott, Plessy, Roe, we end with civil war and 500k dead, a hundred years of discrimination ending in national race riots for a decade and the physical destruction of every major inner city, and with Roe.... who knows.

Chris wrote:

My concern with the socon branch of the Republican party is that they've been the quickest to embrace the worst aspects of the Democrats-- i.e., economic populism, looming crisis mentality, "if it saves only one life" arguments (these are frequently recapitulated with the moralist variation-- that central authority is the only way to avert moral catastrophe), and centralized authority in general. While I'm in favor of pragmatic solutions, I think see no evidence (rhetoric yes, evidence no) that this branch of the party has any particular loyalty to small government policies.

Chris wrote:

My concern with the socon branch of the Republican party is that they've been the quickest to embrace the worst aspects of the Democrats-- i.e., economic populism, looming crisis mentality, "if it saves only one life" arguments (these are frequently recapitulated with the moralist variation-- that central authority is the only way to avert moral catastrophe), and centralized authority in general. While I'm in favor of pragmatic solutions, I see no evidence (rhetoric yes, evidence no) that this branch of the party has any particular loyalty to small government policies.

s sommer wrote:

The Republican party has evolved into something I barely recognize any more. Maybe, I am more of a Libertarian, now?

I am fiscally conservative, pro-national security, pro-balanced budget, pro-small government, for individual freedoms, including the second amendment rights, can see the logic in legalizing some drugs, pro-choice (stay out of other people's business!) pro-death with dignity (stay out of other people's business!) but concerned about preserving the environment, improving education & health.

I try to be sensible, not extreme. I don't fit anywhere.

Yet, I sense there are a lot of people like me. Practical people.

Guess the Republicans can choose who they want in their party, but it won't be me as long as they keep trying to run other people's lives and condemning others' lifestyles, all the while calling themselves "conservatives" and claiming to be for "small government." Right.

All I see is tons of greed and corruption, with lots of hypocrisy and
tedious moralizing going on. Concern for the unborn, but lack of concern for education and health of children. Pushing birth control as hard as they push on abortion would be refreshing & smarter.

Oops. Guess that is unlikely to ever happen. "Abstinence Only."

Despite every study and all common sense on that topic.

As a practical person, I don't see R's having solutions to many of the problems we face. Do the D's? We are about to find out.


rrr wrote:

I use to think that the right had a nominal ally in libertarianism. What this election has taught me, and the comments of Paul Hsieh above reinforce, is that libertarians are completely untrustworthy allies based upon utter irrationalism. Here they are voting for the most statist President at least in my lifetime and possibly ever all because of some fear of what may happen in the Republican party.

Let's sum up a typical libertarian's thinking like this: I believe in free markets but I will vote against free markets because many Republicans are against abortion and, even though they've never managed to implement that as government policy, I fear it to my utter being. So much so that I'll vote for a party PROVEN to enact anti-libertarian views.

The logic of the modern libertarian. Up until one month ago I described my self as a libertarian-leaning conservative. Now, nothing close. People like Hseih have left me with utter contempt for the libertarian movement which, it seems to me, better fits a new version of it's flagship's motto: "Closed minds; state-run markets--all in defense of abortion."

Further, the statement against Christianity is utterly naive and anachronistic. The matrix of Christianity had no knowledge of free markets so how could it be against them? Even today, the spread of Christianity across the political realm shows the naivety of such an argument. Of course, if you want to define Christianity by one of its subgroups, you may be on to something, but to argue from a part to the whole, well, I figure you're at least smart enough to understand the fallacy of that argument. How in the world did such poor thinking merit a column in a major newspaper?

Oh, because it's a newspaper and because the thinking favors the One.

vigilant wrote:

Many people confuse Christianity with morality, religion with denominationalism and don't understand separation of church and state intended by the founders.

The founders strongly avoided one denomination and Christian doctrine be their official stance. However, they NEVER intended our country to be secular and thats the war we need to wage.

The "religious right" emphasis on abortion is, as eloquently stated by DoctorOfLove, not intended to force their view on others but trying to protect thier view from being trampled by others, particularly through the courts.

In this way, abortion is a surrogate for our expectation that moral choices should be given great weight in ALL areas of life and death.

We need to fight back against Christophobia, and prosecute those who wage war on us as purveyors of "hate" crimes, because that's what it is.

It's fueled by political correctness, and efforts of some religions trying to eliminate Christianity from our country. We CAN NOT stand idly by.

Fight for your beliefs, be willing die if you must.

JimmyS wrote:

There is no "conservative Christian wet dream of a US theocracy", and people who say that there is are similar in many respects to the 911 Truthers, who also doubtless believed the crazy suff they said.

DoctorOfLove wrote:

Vigilante wrote: "Fight for your beliefs, be willing die if you must."

If you win, do I have to believe what you believe?

In addition to pointing out that the theocracy accusations are flat out ridiculous (witness the need to redefine it completely out of shape to be able to even use it), I will also point out two other important, often overlooked items.
1. The socons did pipe down this election, as they do most elections. I went to a Sarah Palin rally and heard nothing about socon or religious issues. She talked about energy, reform, economy, and leadership. This was typical of the entire campaign, including our local Senate and House seats. The Religious Right does a lot of emailing to each other and talking among themselves, but they have not pushed for the prime places in the platform and the decision making. The prolife focus has been on fairly popular limits, such as born-alives, partial birth, and parental notification statutes for over a decade. If those Democrats you keep hearing from who claim they would vote with the GOP if it weren't for the scarey RR were telling the truth, they would have announced that in earlier elections, when socons were louder. But we won then, somehow, so I guess the data doesn't add up. I conclude from this that it is the libertarians who have bought the MSM stereotype, but need to blame someone else. The emotional leakage in your comments illustrate nicely how emotive rather than rational your objections are.

2. In this election, it was the libertarians who stayed home. They had been down on McCain from the start. That's your right, and you had good reasons for being less-than-enthused with Republican performance on the budget and CFR, especially. But it's you guys who have already left and cost us the election, and you need very badly to make that someone else's fault. Grab a mirror. Grow up.

Antimedia wrote:

I don't get the "logic". Because some Republicans believe that abortion should be the one and only issue upon which there is no compromise, I will not vote for any Republicans. Rather I will vote for Democrats who, when given the power, will usurp my freedoms, endlessly enlarge the government and increasingly enslave me and those that I love in their version of utopia.

If that makes sense to anyone then it makes sense to me that you would vote for a Democrat, because only an idiot or a socialist would willingly do that.

cthulhu wrote:

Always sad to see the number of people who either can't read what a poster said, refuse to understand it, or misrepresent it to prop up their strawmen...

Paul Hsieh wrote:

As I said, I believe in small government, individual rights, and RKBA. I don't endorse the Democrats' positions on most issues. And I did not vote for Obama. But here's one way I've been explaining it to my friends here in Colorado:

If I had to pick between living in a stereotypical extreme version of Boulder, CO (with goofy leftist politics, high taxes, onerous regulations on businesses, etc.) vs. living in a stereotypical extreme version of Colorado Springs (with a ban on abortion, homophobic attitudes, suspicion of teaching evolution in schools, etc.), I'd rather live in uber-Boulder than uber-Colorado Springs. Both places would have serious problems, but I'd feel much more at home in uber-Boulder than uber-Colorado Springs.

The Republican party has changed considerably since the Goldwater era, and not for the better. I fully agree with "s sommer" on this point. It's not what "might" happen to the GOP; it's what has already happened to the GOP.

Bush2's first Presidential veto was against stem cell research, not against massive enlargements of government (such as new spending on a Medicare drug program to show how "compassionate" he was). The few remaining fiscally conservative congressional Republicans who tried to stop that Medicare drug expansion were told by the White House not to take that position, or else they'd lose funding and support from the Party.

The GOP no longer stands for individual rights and fiscal responsibility but for something quite different.

To paraphrase Ronald Reagan's famous quote, "I didn't leave the Republican Party; the Republican Party left me."

(None of this should be construed as an endorsement of President-elect Obama's policies.)

mike wrote:

Remove G-d from your country, watch it crumble as people battle each other in the name of their multitude of gods - this value, that priority, this vision etc. America was based and built on a broad Biblical concensus of values plus a commmitment to avoid European style inter- demoninational strife. With that gone, the country declines. Athiests, like Roman pagans, have no value system that can stand up against the natural human tendancy towards decadence. "Do it if you feel like it except whatever I say is wrong" is not the basis of a civilization or even a national concensus. Throw out the religous, lose your country quickly to facism and dictatorship. Watch and see, oh "enlightened, reality based" ones. When people feel G-d isn't watching, they do whatever they please and call it good.

The author wrote: The bottom line for me is that Democrats have been slow-boiling the frog for decades now, and they're very good at it. I tend to favor Republicans, not because I necessarily agree with their views on morality, but because I see them as the only force that can turn down the heat on the kettle, and that they're very unlikely to get some of the more extreme policies that they may want, because the public, by and large, views them as extreme.

The problem is, they are also alienating independents and those called "moderates" who believe in everything s sommer talked about below, but will not risk the evangelicals being able to get their platform through.

s sommer wrote: I am fiscally conservative, pro-national security, pro-balanced budget, pro-small government, for individual freedoms, including the second amendment rights, can see the logic in legalizing some drugs, pro-choice (stay out of other people's business!) pro-death with dignity (stay out of other people's business!) but concerned about preserving the environment, improving education & health.

I try to be sensible, not extreme. I don't fit anywhere.

Yet, I sense there are a lot of people like me. Practical people.

Citizens, may I suggest your answer is the American Conservative Party? Because you can't be for small government if you want to use it to dictate people's lives.

Wookiee wrote:

I'm a young voter who has voted Republican since I was able to 5 years ago. I value fiscal responsibility, minimal government intrusion, Post 9/11 American Foreign Policy, and the "pick yourself up from your bootstraps" mentality that the Republican party has been able to claim.

But every election I too have a hard time with the "Christian Conservatives". I'm not afraid that they are going to turn America into a Theocracy. I AM afraid that they are going to pass laws that validate their own personal beliefs while trampling on the beliefs of others. Which runs completely counter to the Republican idea of minimal government intrusion.

I constantly see Social Conservatives fight for things that would only affect others. Abortion, Sexual Education in Schools, Evolution, Stem Cells, Sale of Sex Toys, Resistance to Drug Law reforms, Sale of the Morning After Pill in Drugstores, and Gay Marriage.

These are all things that Social Conservatives can avoid, by either not participating in them, or teaching their children what they consider right and wrong.

Instead they try to take them illegal.

Richard wrote:

Can you pro-abortion libertarians tell me exactly when human life begins? You can call yourself pro-life, but the real term is pro-death...your "choice" was to have protected sex or not! And don't give me that line about incest and rape and health of the mother....only 1/2 of 1% of all abortions are performed for those cases...the rest are strictly birth control or convience and then we wonder why modern society has no regard for life....

mike wrote:

Wookie wrote:
"I AM afraid that they are going to pass laws that validate their own personal beliefs while trampling on the beliefs of others. "

This describes any law that has ever been passed, anywhere and at anytime. Please narrow your concerns down a bit. If you actually believed what you just wrote, you would be an anarchist.
Are you afraid of the religious enacting "Thou shalt not murder" into law? "Thou shalt not steal"? Which religous principles are you afraid of? Are you willing to stop passing any law if someone, somewhere disagrees?

mike wrote:

Wookie wrote,
"I constantly see Social Conservatives fight for things that would only affect others. Abortion, Sexual Education in Schools, Evolution, Stem Cells, Sale of Sex Toys, Resistance to Drug Law reforms, Sale of the Morning After Pill in Drugstores, and Gay Marriage."

We don't live in a vaccum. A society that engages in the above practices and holds them to be legitimate is very different than a society that doesn't. We all impact each other. There is a culture war in this country, that will determine if it will survive as a great nation (or maybe as a free nation at all). Fight it or lose it.

I will grant you the sale of sex toys in appropriate shops in zoned areas. That's it.

M. Simon wrote:

Whai I like about Palin is that she has a religious personal agenda that does not spill over into politics.

Her political agenda as Rand and other point out is reform.

mike wrote:

Abortion is not something that doesn't affect other people. I was given up for adoption at birth in the 50's when abortion was looked at with horror. Had I been a "post abortion rights" baby, I very likely would have been snuffed out before having a chance to live. Guess what I think of pro-choice, "live and let live" viewpoints? I think they are barbaric. BARBARIC.

M. Simon wrote:

Drug law Reform is coming.

Why? Mexico is becoming a narco State. That will put it on the table.

Did I mention that opium is financing the Taliban?

What will be required to change minds? Broadcasting the current scientific finding that drug addiction is a deficiency disease caused by genetics.

JeanE wrote:

The conventional wisdom seems to be that those who oppose abortion are trying to dictate how others should live, or force others to accept their beliefs, yet we don't seem to have this opinion on other matters of law.
Government exists for the purpose of securing our rights to life, liberty and property. In most cases, securing my right will impose limits on what others can do. Why is it okay to secure your property rights by outlawing trespassing, but even considering protecting the rights of children in the womb is viewed as an attack on personal liberty?

GAW wrote:

When people feel G-d isn't watching, they do whatever they please and call it good.

Mike, you may need that threat hanging over your head, but not all people need the fear of God to keep them from being bad or selfish.

There are a number of religious people that do whatever they please and call it God's will.

BTW, who was in charge of Rome when the "decline" started?

Paul Hsieh wrote:

As I said, I believe in small government, individual rights, and RKBA. I don't endorse the Democrats' positions on most issues. And I did not vote for Obama. But here's one way I've been explaining it to my friends here in Colorado:

If I had to pick between living in a stereotypical extreme version of Boulder, CO (with goofy leftist politics, high taxes, onerous regulations on businesses, etc.) vs. living in a stereotypical extreme version of Colorado Springs (with a ban on abortion, homophobic attitudes, suspicion of teaching evolution in schools, etc.), I'd rather live in uber-Boulder than uber-Colorado Springs. Both places would have serious problems, but I'd feel much more at home in uber-Boulder than uber-Colorado Springs.

The Republican party has changed considerably since the Goldwater era, and not for the better. I fully agree with "s sommer" on this point. It's not what "might" happen to the GOP; it's what has already happened to the GOP.

Bush2's first Presidential veto was against stem cell research, not against massive enlargements of government (such as new spending on a Medicare drug program to show how "compassionate" he was). The few remaining fiscally conservative congressional Republicans who tried to stop that Medicare drug expansion were told by the White House not to take that position, or else they'd lose funding and support from the Party.

The GOP no longer stands for individual rights and fiscal responsibility but for something quite different.

To paraphrase Ronald Reagan's famous quote, "I didn't leave the Republican Party; the Republican Party left me."

(None of this should be construed as an endorsement of President-elect Obama's policies.)

DoctorOfLove wrote:

To Assistant Village Idiot (by the way, love the handle)

I am your classic lower case L libertarian, failed catholic, and I thought Sarah Palin should have been the head of the ticket (as did my lower case l failed episcopalian wife, er, spouse).

The reason was (and I had hoped she would get the vp nod a year before her name was ever mentioned) because her performance as governor is a clear example that a person of sincere (and frankly a little off the bell curve) religious belief could in fact be an effective governor of a state full of people who are nothing like she is (including, at least by background, her husband). The fact that she ripped Exxon and BP's face off in the pipeline deal was just proof of that. I may actually be the first lower case l voter in history who gets involved (as the poster above noted) in get out the vote efforts if she runs again (I think she should not take ted's job - she will stay in the national limelight anyway and Henry "Hanky Panky" Paulson has so screwed up the economy that the next prez will not be anyone currently or soon to be holding a federal job - note to hillary - run as fast as you can for gov of ny, where you should have been from the start).

But here, my evangelical friends is the nub of the problem. Organized religions have both a very real and pronounced carrot, and a very real and pronounced stick. The carrot is the undeniable historical fact that the ordered, disciplined, and self-denial-ed lifestyles that religions encourage are the most reliable way to organize human existence towards some reasonable degree of happiness (leaving out the weirder elements of islam and the whole polygamy thing).

However, the stick seems to be an unavoidable and unwanted side effect, which is, if you don't join us, or even worse, stay with us once you have joined us, we will beat you to death with a stick. The buddhists seem to be the only ones to have avoided the stick, and they are a little too hippie dippie for modern industrial society (and fake japanese buddhism doesn't count).

So you sing the praises of the carrot, and Chris Hitchens screams the terrors of the stick. And you both studiously ignore the valid point the other is making.

So if Huckabee wins in 2012, do I have to go to the newly erected Donnie and Marie Re-education camp in Orem, or can I stay here in Connecticut being a sinner?

How's this for a deal. We overturn every supreme's social policy ruling from the 60s on, griswold straight through lawrence, and we both agree that the feds confine themselves to asphalt and ammo, and the states handle the homos, wacky weed and the evils of drink and all that stuff.

I sit here in connecticut with my full time working wife, working hard, paying taxes, not attending church ever, drinking too much guiness and martoonies at night, with the wife toking the occasional doobie.

You sit in alabama talking in tongues, twirling snakes around your head, and secretly driving your teenage daugters to atlanta occasionally where abortion is still legal. For that, er, bible camp, er, yeah, that�s the ticket.

You on the one hand, correctly point north and say "that is where the sinners live." I, on the other, forget you exist while watching belichek beat the snot out of some team while enthusiastically cheating, because hey, I actually like belichek's style, including the enthusiastic cheating. A clever, thoughtful dude, in a totally souless way. This is his best season yet.

We both agree to drop bombs on weirdo foreigners every so often just to remind them we can.

I don't bother you, and you don't bother me. How about it? I have no problem with carrots, it's that whole beaten-to-death-with-the-theocracy-stick thing that sets me off.

By the way, my youngest sister is a homo. And I, her oldest (of many) brothers am giving her away at her wedding next summer in england to be held, with extreme intentional irony, on July 4. And I voted for Palin (not, I should note, McCain). And I told her. And I'm still in the wedding. And I also told her that civil unions is as far as I am willing to go, because an ordered legal life is fine with me, but the gay marriage thing is just you and your friends flipping the bird at straight society, and remember, we were all going to mind our own business?

Oh, and abortion isn't murder, abortion is securities fraud. One year probation, $10,000 fine, and you lose your medical license for 5 years, mostly for being stupid enough to get caught. Just like a stock broker prosecution. I want to see protestor signs that say "Abortion is Securities Fraud, Abortion is Securities Fraud." None of you actually believe abortion is capital M life-in-prison, lethal injection Murder. At least I hope you don�t.

The debate over abortion is not a debate over morality, when life begins or any other theological or philosophical question. The debate over abortion is a debate over the scope of government power, and weirdly, the left and the right leap over the fence right past each other without even feeling the breeze on the way. It�s a debate over the use of police, prosecutors, judges and prisons. Period. And the folks least helped by secular government, the religious, nevertheless want to blindly invite the government into their business. You know what happens when you do that? Roe v. Wade.

Up to lung viability - no government power. After lung viability - no mommy power. i.e., you snooze, you lose. Although I have no problem with 50 state solutions - probably 10 with total bans, 5 with partial bans, and 35 more or less the way it is now. The only ones who will be inconvenienced by that result will be evangelicals, because it means they will have to drive that much farther to get abortions for their daughters (hope that oil prices stay low, eh?). I, on the other hand, am almost certainly going to live out my life in one of the 35 (although I do have my eye on Tennessee).

You are against abortion? Then like Sarah Palin at age 42, and my sainted mother at age 42, you don�t get one. And the homo I mentioned, the successful london based computer consultant, the one I am standing in for next summer, assuming Obama doesn�t blow up the world before then, is the result of that 42 year old decision. Oh, and mom was basically a commie, but at the same time found it inconceivable that anyone would actually have an abortion, including herself, at 42, with a whole host of kids already in existence.

Damn, the world is a complicated place.

Tennwriter wrote:

The Standard Conservative is good on values, national defense, and fiscal responsibility. He is a social conservative.The fringers amongst the Republican Party such as the Libertarians need to accomodate themselves to that. Other fringers, the Country Clubbers, need to accept that they led this party to a loss.Happily for the Tarians, most socons are 80-90% Libertarian anyways. Unhappily for the socons, a lot of tarians are prejudgiced and bigoted. ("You theocrats should shut up and stay out of the way" is a prejudgiced and bigoted sentiment.)There are other Tarians who are Libertines rather than Libertarians.This discussion really needs to be ended. Accept that the Republicans are a full-bore conservative party, enjoy the electoral victories this brings, rejoice in the expansion of economic and social (no more 'speech codes' for one) liberty, and get on with life.

M. Simon wrote:

Coalitions are ruled by those most ready to bolt at things they don't like.

Socons don't get it. The Leave Us Alone Coalition has left the party.

A look at how Parliamentary Democracies operate is rather instructive. They make up their coalitions post election (I like our way better - you actually know what you are voting for), but the same rules apply.

So Republicans either decide that they can live with "Leave Us Alone" (LUA) - and we will leave you alone or they can say ala Limbaugh - my way or the highway. I guess the LUA voters have decided some travel is in order.

cthuhlu, maybe it wasn't me you were referring to, but I think I understood you pretty clearly. Someone using the terms Christianoid, disgusting, wet dream, and idiots isn't really in a good position to claim that he dispassionately evaluates what his opponents are saying, now, is he? Look to yourself, sir; you are more transparent than you think. It is usually a liberal trick to put more energy into the cleverness of the response than into its accuracy. I would hate to see it begin to infect the libertarians as well.

More general: when you redefine terms like theocracy and stem cell research to make things sound worse than they are, it's a tacit admission that they wouldn't sound so bad if you described them accurately.

M. Simon wrote:

Accept that the Republicans are a full-bore conservative party, enjoy the electoral victories this brings,

Have you been following the election returns from '06 and a week or so ago?

The deal is that Cultural Socialism is no more attractive to me than Economic Socialism. (despite that I voted straight Republican - others may not be so dedicated) The socialist impulse - government can fix your problems - economic for the Democrats, moral for the Republicans - is not viable. One need only look at the failure of drug prohibition. It in fact has prohibited nothing. It has only determined the source of supply. Criminals. And this result has accrued with something like 85% to 95% agreeing with or acquiescing to the law.

Karl Hallowell wrote:

My belief here is that there is no place in government for morality in the absence of evidence of concrete harm to others. This includes recreational drug use, prostitution, gambling, or moral attitudes like a so-called "regard for life" (hint: passing a law won't create a desired attitude).

Richard, you wrote:

Can you pro-abortion libertarians tell me exactly when human life begins? You can call yourself pro-life, but the real term is pro-death...your "choice" was to have protected sex or not! And don't give me that line about incest and rape and health of the mother....only 1/2 of 1% of all abortions are performed for those cases...the rest are strictly birth control or convience and then we wonder why modern society has no regard for life....

So what's the problem with the "pro-death" stance? Here's how I see pro-abortion.

1) With a strong pro-abortion stance, the State loses a major excuse to interfere with the life and decisions of the mother.

2) Just because it is murder, doesn't mean it should be illegal.

3) I see the anti-abortionists as trivializing the burden on the mother. Meanwhile, I don't see the unborn as having strong rights. So yes, abortion for the "convenience" of the mother can in my view outweigh the unborn's right to life.

Having said that, I see no reason not to throw this back to the state level with the overturning of Roe vs Wade. By allowing each state to decide, we can see if there really is a problem with "no regard for human life" by comparing the performance of the various states to see how well they do.

mike, you wrote:

When people feel G-d isn't watching, they do whatever they please and call it good.

I think this is a common cliche of religious propaganda. That people who don't share their beliefs are somehow less righteous and ethical. The dirty secret is that most people who participate in religion don't believe, or at least vary from official dogma in significant ways. Yet they don't do whatever they please. One needs more than beliefs to do what they think is right. A society that supports them in their beliefs and punishes those who do wrong, that's what encourages people.

Further on, you wrote:

This describes any law that has ever been passed, anywhere and at anytime. Please narrow your concerns down a bit. If you actually believed what you just wrote, you would be an anarchist.
Are you afraid of the religious enacting "Thou shalt not murder" into law? "Thou shalt not steal"? Which religous principles are you afraid of? Are you willing to stop passing any law if someone, somewhere disagrees?

There are other reasons to support laws against murder and theft than because of some arbitrary moral code. The prevention of deliberate, obvious harm to others is a significant issue that can be addressed through law.

vigilant, you wrote:

The founders strongly avoided one denomination and Christian doctrine be their official stance. However, they NEVER intended our country to be secular and thats the war we need to wage.

I consider "what the founders thought" to be a disease of thought. It's real easy centuries later to invent a fiction that so happens to support your beliefs. Here's my take. First, there was even then a wide range of religious beliefs. I'm sure a considerable portion of the people of the time as well as the "founders" would consider current society undesirable due to its somewhat more secular nature. Yet others, for example Franklin and Jefferson would probably would approve.

Second, the range of beliefs held by US citizens is far greater now than it was in those days. Why hold the US to a conservative belief set that doesn't reflect the citizens of the country?

Third, there is no war here.

The "religious right" emphasis on abortion is, as eloquently stated by DoctorOfLove, not intended to force their view on others but trying to protect thier view from being trampled by others, particularly through the courts.

Roe vs Wade does not force you to have an abortion.

In this way, abortion is a surrogate for our expectation that moral choices should be given great weight in ALL areas of life and death.

Your expectation is not justified.

cthulhu wrote:

Assistant Village Idiot said (amongst other screed): when you redefine terms like theocracy and stem cell research to make things sound worse than they are, it's a tacit admission that they wouldn't sound so bad if you described them accurately.

Please go back and find where I mentioned stem cell research in any way, shape, or form. (Hint: I didn't.) And I didn't redefine theocracy. From the very fine dictionary on my Mac: theocracy - a system of government in which priests rule in the name of God or a god. Where did I redefine this?

I agree that I was abrasive in the terms I chose to describe the Christian religious zealots. That was a bit of hyperbole - "some of my best friends are Christians" - but was chosen deliberately for my original post. Seems to have touched a nerve...

As for Big D, where did I say or imply that you were a theocrat? I specifically stated that I had no problem with the position you took in your first post.

Back to R'lyeh for a while...

M. Simon wrote:

Abortion has been with us for at least 2,500 years. And despite the moral taint ascribed to it for those 2,500 years it persists.

Might there not be some social utility to the practice? A real conservative approach to the question would have to consider what that utility might be and show how the proposed regime would deal with the loss of that utility.

Anonymous wrote:

cthuluthu,
you said, and I copy,

"...significant numbers of conservative Christians whose agenda is to turn the US into a theocracy."


I asking you where they are. I'm not seeing them in ANY Christian groups I've been around for my entire life. You said it, I simply want to know where they are.

Jim E wrote:

As a "religious conservative" I would like to reassure the libertarians that I don't want to drag you in to church kicking and screaming (it scars the children). I do think that you would be happier in the long (eternal) run if you did but that's up to you and God.

As for "legislating morality" I do believe that abortion is murder but I also know we lost that argument and have a lot of convincing to do before Roe v. Wade can be overturned. I can be patient.

Embryonic stem cell research was never made illegal, it just lost some government funding. NO usable therapies have been developed from embryonic lines. Adult stem cells, on the other hand, have been used successfully.

I do not want a "theocracy." I want to worship in the way I believe to be correct and do not want the government to be part of my church (or yours if you have one).

The "Leave us alones "are going to find that busybody "for your own good" liberals are not going to leave them alone.

Steve wrote:

that last Anon comment was from me.

JimmyS wrote:

Karl Hallowell wrote

My belief here is that there is no place in government for morality in the absence of evidence of concrete harm to others

All government is an exercise in morality. The notion that there such a thing as a "right" to free speech is a moral notion. It's a measure of the foolishness of libertarians that they are oblivious to the reality that they do in fact want to impose their morality on others. "Everyone can decide for themselves whether to have an abortion" is a moral argument.

Maybe you think that your morality is better, but you'd lying to yourself if you claim that you're not making moral judgements.

jjoakl wrote:

Karl Hallowell, you wrote:

2) Just because it is murder, doesn't mean it should be illegal.

Karl,

You are not lending much credence to your claim that secularist individuals are just as moral as their religious counterparts. If one deems something 'murder', then yes, it should be illegal. Let's not lose our bearings.

M. Simon wrote:

Ah,

JimmyS is a Cultural Socialist.

Me? I believe in Cultural Liberty and Economic Liberty.

Anonymous Southern Guy wrote:

Amazingly, we see the point of the post exhibited endlessly in the comments: the social conservatives don't like the libertarians, and vice versa. There is not a home for the fiscally conservative, socially liberal people because there are a lot more socially conservative or fiscally liberal people out there. Life sucks.

Abortion is a useless argument; most states that would ban it de jure have already done it de facto. (I'm from Mississippi, population 2.8 million, total abortion clinics 1, wait period 24 hrs; is Utah any different?). Fighting about it does nobody good.

The really funny part is that all this social conservativism has never gotten blacks to vote Republican after the Southern Strategy. Southern black voters are electoral gold in terms of numbers and consistency; like "ethnic" Rust Belters, they're socially conservative but fiscally redistributionist; unlike their Rust Belt colleagues, they're adamantly anti- the party supported by white southerners, whichever that may be.

TJIT wrote:

Paul Hsieh,

Sorry, I'm not buying your thesis.

Aside from the ban on federal funding for stem cell research and the Terri Schiavo debacle I can't think of any socon issue that has passed without abundant support from the democrats also.

What we have here is a clear example of failing to rationally look at the actions of both parties. This is the most rank type of stereotyping and it has produced a situation where the republican socons get all of the attention while the democrat socons get ignored.

The democrat president bill clinton signed the defense of marriage act, the democrat gores provided us with the music censoring parents music resource center, democrat hillary clintion's has been actively attempting to regulate games, the democrats are primarily responsible for the bans on trans_fats and foi gras, etc, etc.

I'm persuadable but absent a substantial list of socon policies passed by the republicans without considerable democrat support your case is DOA.

M. Simon wrote:

I'm persuadable but absent a substantial list of socon policies passed by the republicans without considerable democrat support your case is DOA.

How true. It would be nice if we had a party dedicated to Liberty - Economic and Cultural - and strong National Defense. Republicans used to be that Party - mostly.

Now the Republicans stand for Cultural and Economic Socialism - if behavior is any judge.

TJIT wrote:

Another problem with the idea that conservative religious politicians are the problem with the republicans is this fact.

Many of the republicans who have been absolute stalwarts on economic, regulatory, and fiscal responsibility issues are highly religious. Tom Coburn is the textbook example of this, Jeff Flake is another.

If the republicans had more politicians like Coburn and Flake our deficit would be much smaller, government would be much better, and the republicans would likely not have gotten blown out in the last two elections.

Purging the socons would get rid of most of the politicians who have actually tried to govern as principled free market advocates..

The massive expansion in government spending and regulation under the bush presidency while the republican controlled congress is what wrecked the republican "brand" not the socons and their policy wishes.

Karl Hallowell wrote:

JimmyS, you wrote:

All government is an exercise in morality.

This first statement is clearly wrong. Sure it can be an exercise in morality (or more accurately applied ethics, where ethics is the philosophy of right conduct and the good life). It is always the application of power imposed on a group of people. In fact, a common aspect of totalitarian governments is that while there are a lot of rules concerning their citizens, these rules are subject to change at a whim. Further, agents of the government often have authority to just do stuff, eg, shoot people without cause or reason.

An extreme case of this, so I understand, was the regime of Pol Pot in Cambodia. A tale I've heard is that at some point a group of white collar professions had been rounded up and put to work in a jungle collective farm (apparently this happened to everyone who lived in the cities, but the educated types were often selected for extermination). Apparently, they were put under the lethal rule of a 15 year old girl. Random killings, torture, and beatings were a common occurance, whatever she (or the guards) felt like at the time.

There was no steadfast rules, much less a moral code, to follow. I gather this was part of the indoctrination process. Kill off the ones deemed overeducated and brainwash the rest (via continual random application of pain, hunger, and terror) into becoming loyal tools of the regime. I imagine the lack of a moral code was considered a feature. It meant there was no limit to the barbarism that the agents of the state could inflict.

The notion that there such a thing as a "right" to free speech is a moral notion. It's a measure of the foolishness of libertarians that they are oblivious to the reality that they do in fact want to impose their morality on others. "Everyone can decide for themselves whether to have an abortion" is a moral argument.

Or it's an opinion on the intellectual capabilities of pregnant women. Context is everything. The statement need not make a claim on whether an activity ought to occur or not, be allowed or not. If it doesn't make such claims, then it is not a moral claim. For example, I see no reason that pregnant women aren't capable of deciding whether to have an abortion any more than I am capable of deciding whether to steal my neighbor's hubcaps.

Further, you seem to hint that allowing an activity in itself (in addition to the issue of whether harm happens to others or not) somehow imposes on your morality. I see that as a problem in your moral code, not in the activity. Sure I have no problem with the idea that I may commit acts you think are immoral. But I think your moral code is too intrusive, if being allowed to commit these immoral acts is a violation of your moral code.

Maybe you think that your morality is better, but you'd lying to yourself if you claim that you're not making moral judgements.

Hmmm, do I make such a claim? Doesn't look like it to me. For the record, I do think that a moral code that has been carefully reasoned out is far superior to one that is established by fiat, emotion, or chance. Assuming the two codes are otherwise similar. And a code that can be questioned and corrected is superior to one which cannot be. Finally, a code that is clearer and more consistent is superior to one with greater ambiguities and contradictions.

jjoakl, you wrote:

You are not lending much credence to your claim that secularist individuals are just as moral as their religious counterparts. If one deems something 'murder', then yes, it should be illegal. Let's not lose our bearings.

Actually that's a logical not moral error. Murder by definition (at least in the States) is illegal. Thus, legal murder is an oxymoron. I meant rather "killing with the intent to kill".

Just to restate the point:

2) Just because someone is killing with the intent to kill doesn't mean it should be illegal.

ArtD0dger wrote:

Media bias is not simply about a few reporters shilling for Democrats, it includes widespread cultural shibboleths and narratives. The great "fundamentalist theocracy" bogeyman is one such shibboleth perpetuated, for example, by the famous map of "Jesusland," and the jokes about Sarah Palin and biblical dinosaurs.

As I am not religious, I would find the prospect of Republican theocracy alarming were the evidence for it not so scant. The cliche shapes the cartoon-ish mis-underestimation of conservatives by leftists, which I think strongly contributed to their losses in 2004. However, it seems like a lot of people who should know better are being influenced by it.

Paul Hsieh, I generally agree with your criticism of the GOP in your Denver Post column, but I think you have been manipulated into choosing a greater evil over a lesser one.

JimmyS wrote:

Karl Hallowell wrote

Context is everything. ..For example, I see no reason that pregnant women aren't capable of deciding whether to have an abortion any more than I am capable of deciding whether to steal my neighbor's hubcaps.

I'm sure that you don't, Karl. But (1) that is a moral argument you are making. And (2) we have laws against your stealing your neighbors hubcaps. We don't leave it up to you to make your own personal choice as to whether to steal them or not.

The statement need not make a claim on whether an activity ought to occur or not, be allowed or not. If it doesn't make such claims, then it is not a moral claim.

Nonsense. You are most certainly saying that the activity should be allowed. That is a moral assertion you are making.


for the record, I do think that a moral code that has been carefully reasoned out is far superior to one that is established by fiat, emotion, or chance.

Your moral code is not based on reason. It is in fact largely based on "fiat, emotion, and chance". The fiat part comes from the courts. Your beliefs have never has any popular support and can only be imposed by ignoring the will of the people. If you are at all familiar with libertarian theory, beyond "pop libertarianism", then you know that libertarian theorists are firmly opposed to any sort of democratic or representative government, and favor rule by "judges". Except that the judges are actually what the Greeks called tyrants.


Further, you seem to hint that allowing an activity in itself (in addition to the issue of whether harm happens to others or not) somehow imposes on your morality. I see that as a problem in your moral code, not in the activity.

You seem to think that not allowing an activity somehow imposes on your morality. I see that as a problem with your moral code, not in my activity.

JmmyS wrote:

It would be nice if we had a party dedicated to Liberty - Economic and Cultural - and strong National Defense. Republicans used to be that Party - mostly.

When was this?

And it's amusing to see how many former communists are now calling themselves libertarians. It allows them to keep a considerable amount of their old thinking intact.

JimmyS wrote:

Just because it is murder, doesn't mean it should be illegal.

Thanks so much for sharing your "moral code that has been carefully reasoned out", Karl.

After all, murder is just another choice. We should not rule it out based on "fiat, emotion, or chance".

I'm done talking to anyone who thinks like this.

Big D wrote:

I guess all that stuff about "Laws of Nature and Nature's God" was just meaningless fluff, then.

I respect your rights to believe in nothing, although many of you I personally wish I could convince otherwise. But when some of you start talking about how mankind can organize itself along completely secular moral lines... guys, that's the kind of governmental justification that led to all those regimes in the previous century that killed millions of people. When you make the claim that morality can exist naturally on its own without a basis in any form of religion at all... well, in theory, yes, you're absolutely right... but in theory, all utopian governments work, as well. We've got something that works, overall, here and now, and if it happens to be based on a few layers of Judeo-Christian morality topped by a few centuries of English common law, Rennaissance moral thinking, and settler pragmatism, then for the most part I'd recommend that you just leave it be. Point out the places where it needs fixing, rather than trying to junk the whole lot.

At any rate, I'm pretty disgusted with this whole thing. A far smarter man than I once said, "We must all hang together, or we shall surely hang separately." I'm, according to some of you guys, both a "socon" and a libertarian, and if you decide to walk off in a huff and leave the country to those who would dominate both our personal and our economic lives, I would kindly ask you to get a clue.

Now, I'm not going to preach about the Republican party per se; I don't consider myself one, for many of the same reasons as Rand has often stated. But I will say that for all the groaning about the "socon" conspiracy, you're more likely to get a hearing for libertarian issues in the next Republican primary than in the next Democratic primary. So, your best bet until then is to work the *real* base... talk to the American people as a whole. Do your own Long March through the hearts and minds of the public. Convince them, one at a time or in groups, that libertarian principles are worth voting for. I haven't seen half as much of that effort as I'd like, and in the long run, you end up eating your seed corn if you don't keep re-planting it.

If you manage to instill your values in enough voters, the politicians will be forced to follow. I know that's overly simplistic in this day of nigh-invincible incumbents and 2-party choices between bad and worse, but in the long run, over a course of years, I believe that it is still possible, just harder.

Tennwriter wrote:

M. Simon,

This is beneath you. It is quite clear that John McCain never was a social conservative, and not even a conservative except in personal heroism. The Country Clubbers got one of their own in as the nominee, and as they usually do, they lost (GW, Sr., Robert Dole, and John McCain.)

This needs to be accepted.

And then we need to move on from there.

The first obvious point is: No more RINO candidates for President. They lose.

The Standard Conservative cannot offer much to a Moderate because the Party will lose. The Moderates can hurt the Party it is true, but to give in to their demands (past a certain mild bit) is the kiss of death. So, the Standard Conservative, if he wants to win, has no choice.

peter jackson wrote:


Here's the short version: there are essentially only three political urges found in democracies: the desire for a virtuous society, the desire for a socially just society and the desire for a free society. Here's the catch: as a nation, we only get to choose one. By pursuing any policy designed to satisfy any one of these urges, we must necessarily discriminate against the other two, because at some point the policies will conflict requiring us to choose.

The Democrats are obviously the party of social justice. When it comes to pursuing the goal of making everyone's social outcomes more equal, they will compromise individual rights and moral codes. At the same time the Republicans are biased toward public morality, and their bias leads them to compromise away large chunks of the small government agenda of freedom as well as policies designed to promote social equality whenever necessary.

Now the two parties alternately gain power and lose power as time passes, and each party uses it's newly acquired power to tear down the political edifices previously built by the other party while promoting and enacting policies designed to fulfill their own goals. Each party also uses the time they are kicked out of power to figure out a way to get back into power.

Now with all this in mind, does anyone see the problem? The problem is that freedom loses with every turn of the wheel. Freedom loses because neither of the two parties puts freedom first. Now as far as the Republicans go, there are two undeniable facts: 1. the social cons are in charge of the party and have been in charge since at least 1988 (although the classical liberals in the freedom wing of the Republican party haven't really been in charge since Reconstruction), and 2. The Republican Party in 2006 and 2008 have been handed their political asses and are now almost completely out of power. Given these two facts it is simply impossible to conclude that the social-cons aren't responsible. The time has come for the Republicans to make plan B plan A, and this will require the social-cons to compromise their moralism when deference to individual freedom and small government make it necessary. Otherwise the freedom wing of the party should refuse to consign liberty to the Republican electoral wilderness and walk. And keep on walking.

cthulhu wrote:

Big D sez: But when some of you start talking about how mankind can organize itself along completely secular moral lines... guys, that's the kind of governmental justification that led to all those regimes in the previous century that killed millions of people.

Actually, totalitarian regimes such as Stalin, Hitler (sorry for bringing Godwin's Law down on this thread), Mao, Pol Pot, etc., were not totalitarian because of their stand on religion. They were totalitarian because they denied fundamental tenets of human nature. See Steven Pinker's excellent book The Blank Slate for all the details...

BTW, just to rain on the "Judeo-Christian heritage" folks, according to Willard Sterne Randall's well-received TJ bio Thomas Jefferson: A Life, TJ was an atheist who refused to capitalize the word "god" in his notebooks...maybe that's why he was undoubtedly the most complex of the founding fathers :-/

M. Simon wrote:

Tennwriter,

How true. I don't dispute your point. The Republicans have nothing to offer the Leave Us Alone crowd except a strong National Defense.

Which is why I like Palin. She governs as an economic conservative and at least in Alaska made no mention of any cultural agenda.

Still one must look not just at the reality of the candidate but also the party brand. And the Republican Party is branded as being the party of the Cultural Socialists. The Democrats are of course the party of the Economic Socialists.

I'd like a party of Liberty. Cultural and Economic. Palin seems to offer the best hope of that. And she is strong on National Defense. Making her my ideal candidate, providing she sticks to what made her the most popular Governor in America.

Anonymous wrote:

TJIT wrote:

"Another problem with the idea that conservative religious politicians are the problem with the republicans is this fact.

Many of the republicans who have been absolute stalwarts on economic, regulatory, and fiscal responsibility issues are highly religious. Tom Coburn is the textbook example of this, Jeff Flake is another.

If the republicans had more politicians like Coburn and Flake our deficit would be much smaller, government would be much better, and the republicans would likely not have gotten blown out in the last two elections.

Purging the socons would get rid of most of the politicians who have actually tried to govern as principled free market advocates..

The massive expansion in government spending and regulation under the bush presidency while the republican controlled congress is what wrecked the republican "brand" not the socons and their policy wishes."

I agree wholeheartedly with you. The cultural socialists you mention have been absolutely such stalwarts. I trust, if they ever gain control of the fed gov and enact such small government, fiscally responsible policies, that they will then stop right there, ride off into the sunset on a train of federalist horses, and not into my bedroom and my weed stash. Right? Why do I have this feeling that's not what's going to happen?

The problem is the right-left political spectrum is fundamentally wrong. The real spectrum is true believers on one end, however self-styled, and extreme skeptical doubters on the other. If you are a true believer, a person who knows they have the secret, they have the knowledge, whether it's a personal relationship with Allah, or a personal relationship with Marx, you make me really nervous.

Right now the true believer economic materialists have the upper hand in Washington. I'm not happy. So I voted against them. But if another group of true believers of another stripe later get as much of an upper hand as the current ones have, I'll still be unhappy. And probably not voting for them either.

I worry more about the true believer lefties, I'll grant you, because they truly believe in government as their god's temple. So when they get actual control of a government, bad things always happen.

But with the collapse of the Soviets, we now get the true believers of the other type to crawl out of the Soviet shadow, the Taliban, Bin Laden, the twelvers in Iran. They too have a real bead on things, and a cross hair on me.

People who just know they have the answer, just know it I tell you, make me really nervous.

So I'll vote with the Cultural Socialists for a while, but I'm not going to church and I'm not turning my neighbor over to the police because their kid got an abortion.

Karl Hallowell wrote:

JimmyS, you wrote:

I'm done talking to anyone who thinks like this.

Maybe that is still so. I corrected that statement at the end of my post.

2) Just because someone is killing with the intent to kill doesn't mean it should be illegal.

Murder is by definition an illegal act of killing. The original statement was a non sequitur.

Karl Hallowell wrote

Context is everything. ..For example, I see no reason that pregnant women aren't capable of deciding whether to have an abortion any more than I am capable of deciding whether to steal my neighbor's hubcaps.

I'm sure that you don't, Karl. But (1) that is a moral argument you are making. And (2) we have laws against your stealing your neighbors hubcaps. We don't leave it up to you to make your own personal choice as to whether to steal them or not.

My point here is that I'm making a statement about capability. It may qualify as a moral argument, but that context wasn't given. You appear to have an overambitious definition of what is a moral argument. I just gave an example where it need not be.

The thing is I am capable of deciding to steal my neighbor's hubcaps and any number of other nefarious activities. As is almost everyone else. Law and punishment doesn't stop me from doing this. It provides consequences for doing the crime and getting caught which in turn may influence my decisions. So someone might say of me, "Karl could steal those hubcaps, but he wouldn't steal them." They are simultaneous voicing an opinion on my physical capabilities, and making a moral claim.

Nonsense. You are most certainly saying that the activity should be allowed. That is a moral assertion you are making.

Er, I assume you are still speaking of the hubcab thing. I'm not. Just because I'm capable of getting out a screwdriver, sneaking over to the neighbor's carport and prying a hubcap off, doesn't mean I should do it or should be allowed to do it. The laws exist in the first place because I can do such crimes not because I will.

If you mean actual moral statements I made, and I agree I made a number of them, then yes, things that I said should be allowed are moral statements.

for the record, I do think that a moral code that has been carefully reasoned out is far superior to one that is established by fiat, emotion, or chance.

Your moral code is not based on reason. It is in fact largely based on "fiat, emotion, and chance". The fiat part comes from the courts. Your beliefs have never has any popular support and can only be imposed by ignoring the will of the people. If you are at all familiar with libertarian theory, beyond "pop libertarianism", then you know that libertarian theorists are firmly opposed to any sort of democratic or representative government, and favor rule by "judges". Except that the judges are actually what the Greeks called tyrants.

If you were at all familiar with libertarian theory, you would know that there are a ridiculous number of flavors of libertarianism. I'm sure that there are indeed libertarian theoretics/ideologues who have the opinions you note, but the subject is a morass and considering it doesn't really help in our argument.

Moving on, I'm not a strong proponent of libertarianism. Democratic government does seem a convenient way to handle certain issues fairly, and I do see a role for government as the insurer of last resort, what I see as a more or less pure economic role.

I however strongly disagree with the role of government as enforcer of a moral code. Such things as theft and murder have strong economic repercussions where one party is obviously harmed by another. Drug use or sodomy doesn't in itself harm another party, though those who engage in such activity may practice related activities that do harm others, like operating heavy machinery while intoxicated or spreading sexually transmitted disease.

So as I see it, a key driver for what laws should exist is merely that there is a directly harmed party who can show evidence of the harm. I also happen to think there are other things that are right or wrong, but I do not think those moral choices should be encoded into law.

Further, you seem to hint that allowing an activity in itself (in addition to the issue of whether harm happens to others or not) somehow imposes on your morality. I see that as a problem in your moral code, not in the activity.

You seem to think that not allowing an activity somehow imposes on your morality. I see that as a problem with your moral code, not in my activity.

Your activity is not the problem. The "not allowing" part is the problem. Every time you use law to penalize or prohibit an activity, you take a bit of freedom. There are two things that must happen for a law to be considered legitimately enforced. First, it must have a credible penalty. Second, the enforcement mechanism must be able to trigger often enough that "getting caught" is possible. So for example, a law making possession of drugs doesn't work either if there's no penalty or no chance of getting caught.

Both aspects hinder a person's freedoms. If the activity being penalized has no significant consequence (like gay marriage, for example), then the penalty and the enforcement surveillance impose on a group's freedoms without providing a corresponding benefit.

Even if an activity, such as drug use, does cause some degree of harm, the prohibition effort can outweigh it in harm. For example, a significant fraction of people in jail, are there solely for drug related offenses. Some of the worst abuses of the Constitution (particularly, the asset seizure laws) have been commited in support of the "War on Drugs".

There is the cost and risk of buying a substance that would be vastly cheaper and safer, if it were legal. This alone probably explains most of the drug related crime, namely, one needs a lot of money to pay for an expensive drug habit and one is already breaking the law so there's not so much penalty in breaking the law some more. Finally, drug criminalization coupled with high demand for the product has resulted in a deep corruption of US society.

Anonymous wrote:

Peter wrote:

Here is something you anti social conservatives may not have noticed. The socons are the ones that actually work phone banks and walk precincts. In three terms as a Republican Precinct Chairman I never once saw the libertarian wing of the Party actually do anything but complain.
Some elections the socoms stay home. 2008 was one of those elections. Perhaps you didn't notice but the Pubbies lost, big time.
Now, we have a incoming Presidency that will insert their Morals(?) deep into our lives. Unlike that horrid Palin who vetoed the bill that would have barred people in domestic partnerships the right to state benefits.
Great job. I'm so proud of you.

So how's the "let's turn the repubs into a single issue party" thing working out for you, and how's the trend look? To win you need 50% or so, and the Cultural Socialists account for may 25%-30%. So we can't win without you, right? How do you win without us?

Miklos Hollender wrote:

A very interesting article, but would you please attempt to apply that critical thinking of yours to morals/sex/etc. too and see what you get, if you look at stuff like demographics? For examlple, what happens when sexuality will really be seen only as a pleasure and not as a duty to make childrend and therefore intelligent, well-off people start to have less children while poorer and less smart people still have a lot because of welfare and Catholicism? How will the inheritances look like in 2-3 generations, for example?

M. Simon wrote:

Miklos,

Rich families are starting to have more children. It is an element of conspicuous consumption.

M. Simon wrote:

I'm not talking about purging socons. I'm suggesting they lead by example (Palin) rather than enforcing their positions with government guns.

You know - make the tent bigger in order to win elections. Wouldn't that be a good idea?

Anonymous wrote:

So let me see, If get this straight; you didn'y like Sarah and what she represented; that she is personally prolife, has a religious orientation, You ignored the fact that among other things,she exhibited a atrong skepticism on the bailout and a desire for free market policies, was thepostergirl for the NRA, promoted domestic energy development
would never have supported an atrocity like Kelo.
However, you either supported or abstained in favor of the most anti-gun, pro-tax, anti defense,
anti oil, coal, nuclear, space travel, pro Arabist
candidate duo in all of creation. You think you're going to get a Kozinski, an Epstein out of this; you're lucky if you get a Tribe and a Catherine Mackinnon out of this in perpetuity. An apologia for the worst tactical thinking since Custer's last Stand should be in order. No Mr. Simon, I exclude you, the Doc and a select few, who really did think things through.

mph wrote:

Sarah Palin lost me in the debate -- when some of the first words out of her mouth was to attack the greed on wall street. It was a major letdown and the rhetoric ever since has not given me any reason to get behind her.

I do not dislike Sarah Palin on a personal level -- but she lacks the fundamental understanding of free markets needed to educate and guide the American public out of the trappings of socialism. It may be unfair to compare her to Ronald Reagan or Margaret Thatcher -- but go back and listen to the clarity and simple brilliance of their rhetoric. Sarah Palin often sounds like a elementary school teacher by comparison.

I believe the next great champion of American freedom will be a secular individual who is unashamed to name names and laugh both the socialists and religious authoritarians (and that classification certainly does not include every Christian, Muslim or Jew) out of the room. Who that may be -- I wish I knew.

medaura wrote:

Social Conservatives seeking to use government to legislate morality to the masses have been poisoning the well for too long by destroying the practical and ideological consistency of negative rights, thus opening the door to government cooptation by demagogues with various agendas and malignant vested interests from all sides of the political spectrum. Their religiously inspired diatribes against full American freedoms continue to alienate people in droves, particularly because most Americans today are rightfully oversensitive regarding matters of conscience, religion, social institutions, and private behavior.

Until it extirpates this reactionary faction, the Conservative movements defense of free markets is hopelessly doomed to intellectual impotence. Economic self-reliance through free proud enterprise on the one hand, but moral paternalism in matters confined to the bedroom or uterus on the other hand, are ideologically irreconcilable positions both of which sound hypocritical when preached by the same political voice.

Judeo-Christian values are neither sufficient nor even necessary components of Americanism. Conservatives with a mental blind spot to this reality often try to justify the institutionalization of Judeo-Christianity by deeming it to be the only absolute ideological shelter for freedom. Plato alone has spoken with more clarity and conviction about absolute transcendental values such as Justice and Goodness, than there can be found throughout the entire Bible. Natural Law has enjoyed a fertile tradition in Western Philosophy, originated by Protagoras, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, carried out by the Stoics, and augmented by many great thinkers up to the present day.

Not only is the firm binding of natural law with religion not dictated by any philosophical necessity, it is also a strategically self-defeating position for Conservatives to take in the ongoing battle for hearts and minds. I cannot think of a more dangerous proposition for the future of American cultural institutions than the prospect that their desirability and justification depend on the dubious existence of Abrahams God.

DensityDuck wrote:

This post sounds a lot like P.J. O'Rourke's "We Blew It". Basically, he has the same point: That the Republicans refused to mellow out on social issues, but they always had national defense and economics as fall-back positions. This year they didn't have those fall-backs, and it bit 'em on the ass.

JimmyS wrote:

You know - make the tent bigger in order to win elections. Wouldn't that be a good idea?

Making the tent bigger is what has reduced the GOP to a minority role, while shrinking their tent has given the Democrats the majority.

The problem with a "big tent" is that the only thing it can stand for is "we're not the Democrats". If the GOP tries to take any stand on any issue then some members of the big tent object.

cthuhlu, sorry to take so long to get back to you. For the record, I know you did not mention stem cell research, which is why that comment was put under the category "More General." Relatedly, you did redefine theocracy by greatly expanding its meaning, but you were not the only one, which is why that was in the "More General" category as well.

To the discussion. The accusation is that socons scare people, especially independent voters, and so the GOP should deemphasize their issues. But libertarians also scare people, especially independent voters. I don't see any offers from them to deemphasize their issues. Granted that libertarians come in several flavors and do not agree on all issues themselves, it remains true that many folks were scared by the isolationism of Ron Paul and others, by drug legalization advocacy, support for gay marriage, and for a general absolutist approach to issues. Candidates that come from the libertarian side of the party will face just as much questioning, accusation, and rumor on those accounts (and others) as the socons get now. Burying our issues will not give the GOP a magical clean slate with the MSM.

Instead, the libertarians here seem to have hit upon the solution of "Hey, let's drop all your issues and bring in a couple of ours, so that people won't be scared." It's hard to see that as a kindly, cooperative, good-faith offer.

Whatever else we might do to improve our brand, it is important to remember that McCain was ahead in September, made mistakes on the bailout and was unfairly blamed for the crisis, was brutally outspent, and swam against an historic swooning by the media over the last 6 weeks. It would indeed be nice to have a coalition that could whether even those disadvantages, but let's not overinterpret events.

JimmyS wrote:

Here's the short version: there are essentially only three political urges found in democracies: the desire for a virtuous society, the desire for a socially just society and the desire for a free society. Here's the catch: as a nation, we only get to choose one.


The Founders believed that freedom and virtue were inseparable. They went on at some length on this point, even the "secular" ones. In fact they also believed that justice was inseparable from freedom and virtue, although they would not have recognized "social justice" as having anything to do with real justice.

JimmyS wrote:

Just because someone is killing with the intent to kill doesn't mean it should be illegal.

I'm sure that Hitler, Stalin, and Charles Manson would have agreed with you completely.

JimmyS wrote:

Such things as theft and murder have strong economic repercussions where one party is obviously harmed by another.


As I say, I don't see why I should buy into your moral belief system. That remains true even if your moral belief revolves around the notion that economics is the true end of man. In fact, especially then.

M. Simon wrote:

mph,

I agree about Palin's greed statement. However, that may have been forced on her by McCain.

In any case, if you want to help Palin get better educated on economics may I suggest a visit to here:

http://powerandcontrol.blogspot.com/2008/11/articulating-economics.html

I have a couple of books I think she needs to read to get her better grounded in economics so that she does not make that mistake again.

I give her address (a government office) so you can send her the books.

M. Simon wrote:

Once we get into a big shooting war with the narco government of Mexico the folly of drug prohibition will become more apparent. There are already regular border skirmishes.

And if drugs are so scary, I need only point out that Michigan voted to decrim pot in the last election.

The idea is not so scary any more.

I think losing Afghanistan due to opium will also wake people up.

http://powerandcontrol.blogspot.com/2008/11/from-drug-war-to-real-war.html

*

M. Simon wrote:

I think we can make the tent bigger without losing our principles.

Say no to Economic Socialism
Say no to Cultural Socialism
Say no to Socialism

Remember Joe the Plumber was a big hit. Republicans have to stop being so scary about cultural issues. Lead by example is fine. Using the force of law (government guns) should be off the table and Republicans need to say so.

JimmyS wrote:

Say no to Economic Socialism
Say no to Cultural Socialism
Say no to Socialism

You don't know what socialism is. Which is odd, since you are a former socialist.

Think back to those days - remember that you had exactly the same cultural views as you do today? You were a cultural socialist then and you're still one now.

Bryan Lovely wrote:

But libertarians also scare people, especially independent voters. I don't see any offers from them to deemphasize their issues. Granted that libertarians come in several flavors and do not agree on all issues themselves, it remains true that many folks were scared by the isolationism of Ron Paul and others, by drug legalization advocacy, support for gay marriage, and for a general absolutist approach to issues.

Erm, so don't nominate scary absolutist libertarians. Duh.

To abuse a metaphor, there's been much made of how the left has been slowly turning up the heat on the frog for the past several decades (through the tool of the Democratic Party). Someone who wants to yank the knob back down to "off" all at once isn't going to get elected, because the yanking the controls around scares the voters. We need to start slowly turning the heat down.

Moderate well-mannered libertarian-ish candidates are the way to go. Leave the hardliners and their dogeared copies of Atlas Shrugged for the actual Libertarian Party.

M. Simon wrote:

JimmyS,

OK you are right. I should have called it by its real name. Fascism. Which is Cultural Socialism and Economic Socialism combined. However, I thought that was a little to incendiary. Any way that is what Jonah Goldberg calls it in his book "Liberal Fascism"

You might find this video with Jonah discussing Cultural Fascism instructive:

http://powerandcontrol.blogspot.com/2008/11/why-is-mike-huckabee-republican.html

The deal is: government can no more solve cultural problems than it can solve economic problems.

But I could be wrong. How is the drug war working? A bag of 80% pure heroin can be bought for $4. When the Drug War started a bag of 5% pure heroin cost $30. Now there is one outstanding culture war success. Plus the Drug War finances criminals and terrorists. Price supports for criminals and terrorists. Now there is a socialist program every Right thinking Republican can get behind, eh?

Oh yeah. How did that Alcohol Prohibition thing work out for you? Another Cultural Socialist program. Championed by Billy Sunday - the socon leader of his day.

Or for that matter public schools also championed by socons of the day as indoctrination centers to make Catholics and Jews into Real Americans. Now there is one bit of Cultural Socialism we can all get behind, eh? I guess that one got away from you. But the intentions were good. Which is what really counts with Socialists eh?

M. Simon wrote:

Cultural Socialists are as impervious to actual evidence as Economic Socialists. It is like a Religion.

Tennwriter wrote:

If you want drug legalization, vote for socon aka Standard Conservative candidates. Counterintuitive, I know. Part of the problem is that a lot of libertarians have a bogeyman in their mind that bears very little resemblance to reality. The other part is that human wave attacks into machine gun nests are not good strategy.

1.The Conservatives might be bargainned with (you support me on abortion, and I'll support you on drug legalization).

2. Whoever pushes for DL is going to have to be fairly secure in power. I think Conservatives can win without Libertarians, but...it'd sure be a lot easier with a horde of screaming, blue-painted Picts at my side.

3. Once the Conservatives 'own' this issue like the D's own the current gov't, you can put the question to them...is this really the best way to do things? You're not going to get complete DL this way, but amelioration is likely. Once someone owns an issue, they have to face all the consequences of their choices, and I'm sure that SWAT team raids on marijuana smokers based on secret informants would not pass muster in a Socon ran environment.

Consider this...in pre-Victorian England, you had 256 capital crimes including hanging 13 year old boys for stealing bread and still the society was completely out of control with rampant violence. The Victorian moralists come in, and society calms down, and the number of capital crimes is reduced to below twenty. Morality and public order and justice are reestablished. Freedom is advanced. Libertarians should be happy at this result. But it required letting moralists win in order to get what Tarians want. Its a rum world.

If you want to get to a point where Tarians are anything more than mere gadflies, if you want to get to a point where the Libertarian Party is a national party, you're going to have to help Standard Conservatives.

I have a dream, a dream of a future in which the Democrat Party is dead. Freedom, prosperity, morality is soundly established (and morality includes property rights and gun rights). And the nation will have two parties. Its simply the way the system is set up. Once the Dems are destroyed, a vacuum will be created, and something will fill it.

And so about 2034, the first Libertarian Party President takes the office of the Presidency from the former Republican holder of the office.

It could happen, but if the Libertarians keep on their frenzied ferret attacks on Socons, it likely won't. We might just decide to ignore you lot if you keep up this 'banzai!', and go our merry way. Or you could engage us, help us be better, learn that Socons are mostly Libertarian already, and eventually emerge from our shadow to fly on your own.

Anyways, best of luck, and see you around the intartubes.

peter jakson wrote:

The Founders believed that freedom and virtue were inseparable. They went on at some length on this point, even the "secular" ones. In fact they also believed that justice was inseparable from freedom and virtue, although they would not have recognized "social justice" as having anything to do with real justice.

Freedom has it's own ethics system based on it's own premises. So does social justice. When I speak of "virtue" (or "morality") as a political urge, I'm speaking of a very particular idea of virtue that is desired as an end in itself, and most often a religious end. As religious as the post-revolutionary era was, the Constitution is remarkable for not having any religious content. It is written to secure the blessings of liberty, not the Blessings of God.

yours/
peter.

Bryan Lovely wrote:

I'm sure that SWAT team raids on marijuana smokers based on secret informants would not pass muster in a Socon ran environment.

You're kidding, right? The socons who have been consistently prohibitionist since, well, since John Calvin? Don't you understand that toking up leads to dancing, and dancing leads STRAIGHT TO HELL?! Machine-gunnings too good for such degenerates -- bring out the stocks and thumbscrews!

</exaggeration for effect>

The Victorian moralists come in, and society calms down, and the number of capital crimes is reduced to below twenty. Morality and public order and justice are reestablished.

Sure. And Jack the Ripper's victims were all "seamstresses."

The Victorian Era was the ultimate in public morality and private sin. (And all the "morality" really came from the middle class -- the lower class couldn't afford to be "moral" and the upper class could afford not to.)

Yes, there was plenty of freedom. As long as you didn't do it in the streets and frighten the horses whatever you were doing could be pretty much ignored.

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This page contains a single entry by Rand Simberg published on November 15, 2008 2:30 PM.

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