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  • Most Users Ever Online Is On June 12, 2008 @ 11:50 pm

There are more than two sides.

I always get pissed off when people feel the need to distill every conflict, disagreement, or nasty look into two sides: Democrats vs. Republicans, 9/11 “sheeple” vs. nutjobs, black vs. white, male vs. female, terrorists vs. Americans. What they’re really distilling everything down to is good vs. evil, with whatever side they’re most like being the good one. Suddenly if I’m against welfare or affirmative action I hate minorities, if I’m against the war in Iraq I support terrorism, if I don’t think Building Seven was imploded, I might as well be fellating George Bush.

People then exacerbate this by deciding that if they are closer to one side or the other, to take part in the debate they have to go all the way, so that people go from “I wonder whether things might not be as they seem” to “DUDE GET AWAY FROM THE CHEMTRAILS OMGWTFHAX.” It’s easier that way, seeing things in a strictly contrasted context, but it also requires blinding yourself to things you don’t want to think about.

What people never want to admit to is that there aren’t good guys and bad guys; there are a lot of people that operate at varying levels of suck. No, Ron Paul isn’t deserving of hero-worship. Does this make him un-Libertarian, or make me a horrible person for supporting him? No, but that also doesn’t mean I think he’s the paragon of libertarian virtue.

It never ceases to astound me how many people think that just because I’m supporting a nominal Republican, I’m a horrible person. They’re falling for the same tricks that their bumper sticks purport to dismantle; they believe that it’s the LP vs. the Republicrats, and that anybody carrying a tagline that doesn’t begin with L is a horrible person.

Not only are there more than two sides, there are more than three or four sides too - there are infinite sides, or at least as many sides as there are people alive in the world. Attempting to categorize people in two will only lead to further discrimination and further idiocy. Please stop doing it.

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63 Responses to “There are more than two sides.”

  1. Thomas L. Knapp Says:

    I don’t think anyone said that Ron Paul is a “horrible person” … or that those supporting him are “horrible people.”

    What some — including myself, Steve Kubby, George Phillies and many others — have said is that if you’re supporting a Republican candidate, you’re supporting the Republican Party, and that doing so is a mistake if liberty is your goal.

    The big mistake here is in thinking that the 120 million or so Americans who will cast presidential votes in 2008 live in the same bubble we do. The fact is that they don’t. They don’t read the political blogosphere for the most part, and most of those who do don’t read the libertarian corner of it. They tend to think in broad-brush strokes at the party level. It’s not that they’re stupid. It’s that they have better things to do.

    Thus, in November 2008, they will regard their presidential vote as useful for one of two things:

    1) Ratifying the past few years of Republican rule by voting Republican; or

    2) Rejecting the past few years of Republican rule by voting non-Republican.

    If you’re supporting a Republican candidate for president, you’re supporting option #1, at least in the real world. And the real world is the one that counts.

  2. Nigel Watt Says:

    The goal here is for it to be a realigning election, at least in my mind. Ron Paul, despite not being perfect, is introducing some ideas of liberty to the greater population, because he’s a credible source. If you look at what his supporters are saying, it’s generally something along the lines of “I wouldn’t think I’d ever support a Republican from Texas, but then this guy came along.” The only people I’ve heard your argument from are other Libertarians, ie people who live outside the bubble of reality you’re talking about.

  3. Jake Porter Says:

    A campaign that spends media time talking about why the civil war should have never been fought and why we must eliminate the CIA is probably not a campaign I would consider supporting as the American people will run away from such a campaign in complete fear.

  4. Nigel Watt Says:

    That’s a completely unfair attack, Jake. He was forced to talk about that because Bill Maher wanted to make him seem like a kook. I thought Paul did pretty well turning those questions into something relevant.

  5. M.H. Wilson Says:

    Jake, is there anyone talking about the Civil War? I haven’t followed all the campaigns and don’t have time to do so, but I have to agree with you on this one item. I can’t imagine someone wasting time on the Civil War, nor can I imagine someone seriously asking about it. That’s just nonsense.
    MHW

  6. Nigel Watt Says:

    Here’s what happened: Ron Paul was invited on Real Time with Bill Maher. Maher decided to ask Paul about pointless stuff like the Civil War instead of about real issues.

  7. Jake Porter Says:

    Here is the video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xo6KIusCBoU

  8. Chris Moore Says:

    A campaign that spends media time talking about why the civil war should have never been fought and why we must eliminate the CIA is probably not a campaign I would consider supporting as the American people will run away from such a campaign in complete fear.

    That really was an unfair attack, Jake. Bill Maher brought up the Civil War, and Ron Paul merely said that there are generally better options for resolving disputes than war. Does George Phillies disagree with that sentiment?

    Bill Maher brought up eliminating the CIA and Ron Paul merely said that there are a lot of government agencies that do poor jobs and/or are unnecessary and need to be looked at. Does George Phillies disagree with that sentiment?

    The complete vitriol coming from the Phillies campaign with respect to Ron Paul’s campaign is very off-putting. So much so, that I’m not sure if I would even vote for the man in the general election if he does win the LP nomination.

  9. Chris Moore Says:

    BTW, Ron Paul just reported raising more money than Jim Gilmore, Mike Huckabee, and Tommy Thompson in the last quarter.

  10. Jake Porter Says:

    That was my opinion. As somewhat free people, we are still able to make our own choice on who to support in elections and we all are free to have our own opinion. Nigel made his choice to support Ron Paul. On the other hand, it is my opinion that Libertarians should only support candidates in the Libertarian Party. I would not call either one of our opinions attacks on anyone. Additionally, I should probably have opinions if I am going to work on a Presidential campaign.

    Does the FEC have the reports listed?

  11. Michelle Shinghal Says:

    I agree that Ron Paul was railroaded on Real Time. As a show’s invited guest, you cannot exactly format content. I think he did remarkably well under the circumstances.

    As far as supporting a RINO, I am happy to support Paul in the TX primary. We have ballot access so I am not worried about petitions this year. The way I see it- and I am sure one of you will tell me if I am wrong- I can try to help Ron Paul become the R candidate and then work for the L candidate that I choose to support. IF Ron Paul wins the primary, I will still vote L in November. It is my way of supporting liberty x 2.

    BTW, the TX House just voted to move the primary to February 5.

    http://www.lufkindailynews.com/news/content/gen/ap/TX_XGR_Texas_Primary.html

  12. Michelle Shinghal Says:

    I should mention that we do not register to vote by party in TX.

  13. IanC Says:

    I feel the need to comment on something w/ regards to the Ron Paul appearance on Real Time.

    The man actually raised my opinion of him in that — and furthermore he did the same for my non-libertarian (liberal, self avowed “independent”) girlfriend. It really came across like Bill Maher was doing his best to attack Dr. Paul, and Ron was simply deflecting every bullet with a well-prepared, thoughtful answer.

    It was impressive.

  14. Michelle Shinghal Says:

    Ian,
    My husband said the same thing.

  15. matt Says:

    “If you’re supporting a Republican candidate for president, you’re supporting option #1, at least in the real world. And the real world is the one that counts.”

    But if that support is enough to drive the GOP into a nasty split on the convention floor? Then the “real world” is a chaotic place and libertarians can capitalize on that chaos.

    Is it a long shot? Absolutely. But people who are working for Phillies’ or Kubby’s campaigns are in no position to disparage longshots.

    My plan in here in Ohio is pretty much what Michelle described above. The

    Libertarian party is nice and everything, but they aren’t even holding primaries, so what would be the point of supporting them this early? Kubby or Phillies or Smith or some darkhorse will win the nomination at the convention, and by then, if Ron Paul hasn’t panned out, I will help the winner.

    Kubby should get Phillies to run as vice president or vice versa. Then we wouldn’t even have to piss around about this 6 months before it’s even relevant.

  16. Chris Moore Says:

    That was my opinion.

    Ahhh, but Jake, you are a representative of the Phillies campaign just as much as Ron Paul is a representative of the Republican Party. If you are going to judge Ron Paul on the actions and statements of other Republicans, then I’m going to judge the Phillies campaign on the actions and statements of every one of his staff.

    Besides, what Phillies has said himself about this topic has turned me off.

  17. Thomas L. Knapp Says:

    Matt,

    “Kubby should get Phillies to run as vice president or vice versa. Then we wouldn’t even have to piss around about this 6 months before it’s even relevant.”

    Actually, I invited George to abandon his quixotic campaign and manage Kubby’s campaign some time ago. No dice — he’s absolutely determined to get his 5-10% of the delegate vote before being eliminated. To each his own.

    Interesting that you should mention “six months before it’s even relevant,” though. You may hear something about that in next week’s Kubby podcast.

  18. Old Guard Says:

    Yeah, there are many sides to many debates and one shouldn’t take another’s arguments personally when, say, someone is debating the merits of Monet vs. Manet, or whether or not Grant was a better general than Lee. Some debates, however, are life-threatening and whomever wins the debate may be able to take your liberties, your property and your life.

  19. matt Says:

    To illustrate OG’s point, here’s an article declaring that the NHLP is “split about the war in Iraq”.

    http://www.unionleader.com/article.aspx?articleId=3b50d709-e8a8-4fb0-9777-ca0ed9508dca&headline=NH+Libertarians+are+split+on+war+in+Iraq

    Prowar libertarians blow my mind.

  20. ElfNinosMom Says:

    Tom: Did Kubby initiate or approve of your suggestion that Phillies drop out and act as Kubby’s campaign manager?

    Wow, that took balls. It reminds me of Gene Chapman suggesting Phillies drop out, and promising to find a “nice hand-shaking job” for him. LOL

    Matt: Until I saw that article, I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a pro-war libertarian. So yeah, it blow my mind as well.

  21. IanC Says:

    Speaking of the Iraq War… my own two cents, in linkable & referenced format:

    http://fvci.blogspot.com/2007/04/story-already-told.html

    Feel free, if you like the post, to spread it around. I feel it is a powerful argument against the “If we don’t fight them there, we’ll fight them here” statement; others have concurred.

  22. Thomas L. Knapp Says:

    ElfinosMom,

    You write:

    “Did Kubby initiate or approve of your suggestion that Phillies drop out and act as Kubby’s campaign manager?”

    Kubby didn’t “initiate” it, at least directly, and if he “approved” it it was after the fact. He DID authorize me to try to find him a campaign manager, and George was the first prospective manager I called.

    “Wow, that took balls. It reminds me of Gene Chapman suggesting Phillies drop out, and promising to find a ‘nice hand-shaking job’ for him. LOL”

    I’m not sure I see the similarity. In the case you cite, one non-credible candidate suggested that another non-credible candidate drop out and do God only knows what instead. In the instant case, the de facto manager for a credible candidate asked a non-credible candidate to drop out and put his skills and knowledge to work in areas where he is credible. Two different situations entirely.

    I don’t consider that particularly ballsy. I’ve known George for long enough, and like him well enough, that I consider myself to have a duty of honesty to him. We’ve known each other for long enough not to mistake each others’ candor for ill will. I told him that running was a bad idea before he did it, and since it continues to be a bad idea, I continue to remind him that it’s a bad idea and occasionally to ask him to do something productive instead — like working with a credible candidate. There being only one such available at the moment, that rather narrows it down.

    Regards,
    Tom Knapp

  23. Michelle Shinghal Says:

    Matt,
    I can’t speak for other states, but here in TX we have Rs & Ds in the primary and then third parties have conventions. I already mentioned that we do not register by party. I will vote in the primary and then hold convention as county chairman for the party.

    Seek out your county chair and use the f’d up system to benefit liberty.

  24. groucho Says:

    So, you guys are close knit.

    And you’re going to change what?

    Personally I have no hope and I only indulge in the influxes of my space in history as amusement I watch fools dance to the tune of universal folly.

  25. Robert Mayer Says:

    Never heard of pro-war libertarians? Ever heard of Eric Dondildo, uh, I mean Dondero? Check out www.mainstreamlibertarian.com.

    Sure, it’s easy to dismiss people like him as faux-libertarians, especially anyone so antagonistic to the non-aggression principle. But, unfortunately, he calls himself a “libertarian” and there are many others out there who do likewise, failing to see the blatant contradictions in their stances.

  26. nicrivera Says:

    Are we still talking about this issue?

    Everybody seems to be getting upset over nothing. There’s no conflict between supporting Ron Paul and supporting the Libertarian Party, because Ron Paul isn’t running against the Libertarian Party. He’s running against his fellow Republicans, and everyone on this blog KNOWS that he stands no chance of being nominated.

    That’s no reason not to vote for him. In fact, I’m hoping that he does extremely well campaigning over the next six months so he gains some traction and has a real opportunity to do some major damage in the Republican debates (major damage being defined as exposing the establishment candidates for the hypocrites and panderers that they are).

    I see no reason why libertarians can’t support Ron Paul in the primaries and the Libertarian nominee in the general election. I’m not saying that’s what people should do–only that it’s a viable option and people shouldn’t be getting themselves so worked up over this.

    Also, I spoke with Phillies a few weeks ago when he was in New Hampshire. Several people were comparing his positions to Ron Paul’s position on various issues (i.e. returning to the gold standard). Phillies seemed a little uncomfortable with these, but he responded politely and said nothing ill of Ron Paul whatsoever.

  27. nicrivera Says:

    You know, it’s funny that you guys should mention Bill Maher and Eric Dondero in the same comment thread. Those two are two sides of the same coin. They’re both pseudolibertarians with the difference being that Maher is a Democratic shill who pretends to be a libertarian while Dondero is a Republican shill who pretends to be a libertarian.

    As to Maher, I saw his interview (or interrogation) of Ron Paul on Real Time and was incredibly frustrated that Maher chose to attack Ron Paul on things that had little to do with his campaign platform rather than making the point to his audience that here was a Republican who opposes the Iraq War, opposes the USA PATRIOT Act, opposes the NSA electronic surveillance program, and opposes the War on Drugs. Alas…a blown opportunity by Maher.

    As to Dondero, I don’t care that he has his own “libertarian” website or his own “libertarian” blogtalk radio show. This is a guy who advocated (in response to 9/11) that our government drop a nuclear bomb on Mecca. He’s not a libertarian, and libertarians ought to call him on this every time they come across him (he seems to post incessantly across the blogosphere).

    I don’t like the idea of libertarians purging one another just because they’re not “pure” enough. But there are some positions that are at such odds with libertarianism that they ought to automatically disqualify someone from being identified as a libertarian.

    A former Democrat who unapologetically supported a complete government takeover of the health care system would NEVER be accepted as a libertarian. A similar standard should apply to former Republicans who unapologetically support an elective war shoved down our throats by a bunch of warmongering neoconservatives who are fixated on their utopian fantasy of remaking the world in their image.

  28. Andy Says:

    “nicrivera Says:

    April 16th, 2007 at 10:50 pm
    Are we still talking about this issue?

    Everybody seems to be getting upset over nothing. There’s no conflict between supporting Ron Paul and supporting the Libertarian Party, because Ron Paul isn’t running against the Libertarian Party. He’s running against his fellow Republicans, and everyone on this blog KNOWS that he stands no chance of being nominated.

    That’s no reason not to vote for him. In fact, I’m hoping that he does extremely well campaigning over the next six months so he gains some traction and has a real opportunity to do some major damage in the Republican debates (major damage being defined as exposing the establishment candidates for the hypocrites and panderers that they are).

    I see no reason why libertarians can’t support Ron Paul in the primaries and the Libertarian nominee in the general election. I’m not saying that’s what people should do–only that it’s a viable option and people shouldn’t be getting themselves so worked up over this.”

    I totally agree. I plan to support Ron Paul in the Republican primary and I also plan to support a Libertarian Presidential candidate if Ron Paul does not get the Republican nomination and choses not to go the minor party or independent route. In fact, I would support a Libertarian Presidential candidate right now in addition to supporting Ron Paul but as of now I’m undecided as to who I’d support. I want to give it some more time and see what the candidates do and who else jumps into the race for the LP Presidential nomination.

  29. Jason Gatties Says:

    Although I’m no longer supporting the Phillies campaign, I’m a bit turned off by Knapp’s statements regarding Phillies. As somone who had planned to provide a donation to the Kubby campaign, I’m a bit dissappointed in Knapp’s actions here.

    I feel George is every bit as credible a candidate as Steve Kubby. I tend to agree more with Steve’s platform though. However, Knapp making such statements should be kept in check or you will turn people away quickly.

  30. Michelle Shinghal Says:

    I just found out that it is illegal to participate in the R/D primary and LP convention. Soooo, if you don’t mind letting others in your county, district or state vote for you, you can vote R in Feb and vote L in Nov. If you want to be a part of LP conventions (as a delegate or otherwise), you cannot vote in the primary.

    (I had to make a few calls to learn this.)

  31. Michelle Shinghal Says:

    FWIW, TXLP did not run a candidate in Pauls district last election.

  32. Nigel Watt Says:

    Michelle, does that include going to the national LP convention?

    And, for the record, a candidate (Eugene Flynn) did try for the LP nomination in Paul’s district, but the relevant county LPs nominated NOTA.

  33. Thomas L. Knapp Says:

    Jason,

    I can’t keep anyone from holding Steve Kubby responsible for my statements, but I will point out that my statements are mine, not Kubby’s, and that unless I specifically claim to be speaking “for the Kubby campaign,” I am not.

    When I signed on with Steve’s campaign, I surrendered neither my right nor my obligation to be honest with my fellow Libertarians; nor did I ever have any obligation to humor irrationality and hubris. I acknowledge that there’s plenty of both to go around in the LP, but I don’t intend to accomodate myself to them.

  34. Eric Dondero Says:

    Umm, guys, you all say I ain’t no Libertarian?

    Really.

    Well, I would be willing to bet that my Libertarian Resume far outdistances all the Libertarian activist resumes of all you all here combined.

    Let’s see now. I think Phillies joined the LP in the late 1990s. He’s probably the oldest one here as far as activism goes. I know for a fact that Knapp got involved in the late 1990s.

    Ahem - I first voted Libertarian Party in 1982 out at see absentee aboard my US Navy Ship. I first joined the LP in 1985 fresh out of the Navy. Soon I was Secretary of the Libt. Party of Florida. Soon after that, Libertarian National Committee man. Also an LP candidate for State House. Then I was “drafted” to be Ron Paul’s Personal Aide in his Presidential Campaign on the Libertarian ticket. For nearly two years, Ron and I traveled to over 40 states from Maine to California, even to Alaska, campaining for the LP. Oh, and I was a Delegate to two LP Conventions, 1987 & 89.

    During this time I worked on over 10 different petition drives for LP ballot access, including: Florida, New Hampshire, Nebraska (3 times!!), Oklahoma, Illinois, and others.

    In 1989 I served as Florida Chairman of the Libertarian Republican Organizing Comm. In 1990, I founded the Republican Liberty Caucus. From 1990 to 93, I served as the RLC’s first National Chairman. From 1991 to 95 I served as 1976 Libertarian Party Presidential Candidate Roger MacBride’s Personal Political Aide.

    In 1996 I served as Campaign Coordinator for Ron Paul for Congress. We won with 51%.

    In 1997 til my departure in 2003 (over Ron’s opposition to the War in Iraq), I served as Ron’s Senior Congressional Aide and District Representative.

    In 2004, I unofficially coordinated the Houston-area petition drive for Libertarian Party ballot access, collecting over 4,000 signatures by myself. We won ballot status. I also served as Political Consultant for Michigan State Rep. and Libertarian Leon Drolet. He won.

    Last year I petititoned for Property Rights in 4 different States, as well as for Marijuana legalization in Colorado, and Spending Limits in Montana.

    Whew!

    Oh, and this is just the tip of the iceburg.

    Incidentally, fyi, current Libertarian Party Vice-Chair Chuck Moulton said back in September, “I’ll take one real Libertarian activist like Eric Dondero, for 100 on-line Computer Pretend activists.”

    My challenge:

    I will put up my Libertarian Political Resume next to anyone’s here, and we’ll see who is and who is not the Real Libertarian.

    Oops, I plum forgot. Over the Winter I was up in Anchorage, working to get the Libertarian Party’s initiative to repeal the Smoking Ban on the ballot. While I was up there I worked for my friend Scott Kohlaas, Libertarian for State House. On Election Day, I stood with Scott for 4 hours out on a busy street corner waving signs, for 4 hours.

    It was 8 degrees out, with a windchill of 10 below.

    Has anyone of you ever proven your dedication to the Libertarian movement like that?

  35. IanC Says:

    It’s hard to take seriously as a libertarian someone who pushes both George Bush Jr. *AND* Rudy Giuliani as “the best libertarian option.”

    It’s also worth noting that the RLC basically kicked you out. We’ll take all the activism we can get — but don’t go thinking that your ideology matches the libertarian ideal. You certainly want to BE a libertarian, and work hard at that…

    But I’ve never seen your thoughts come close to it, let alone your recent track record of overall political agenda.

  36. matt Says:

    Eric,
    You have a lot of things to help the LP. Congratulations. However, you hold a position about foreign intervention that is about as libertarian as endorsing slavery. Also, you slur arab-americans and muslims as though it were an olympic sport and you are in training.

  37. M.H. Wilson Says:

    Sorry Eric. You lose. I voted Libertarian in ‘76 and joined tha party in ‘80 and have been an activist ever since.

  38. Jason Gatties Says:

    Oh my god Eric, who the hell cares how long you’ve been involved with the LP? I’ve been involved since 2002…who gives a fuck?

  39. Eric Dondero Says:

    You do win M.H.

    You lose Jason, Newbie.

  40. Eric Dondero Says:

    Islamo-fascism = Slavery

    Libertarianism = opposing Islamo-fascism

  41. Robert Mayer Says:

    Eric, no one was disputing your “activism”, only your “libertarianism”. Islamo-fascism is an utterly ridiculous, meaningless term invented by some pro-Bush neocon warmonger in a pathetic attempt to justify the unjustifiable destruction being unleashed on a country that never posed any threat to us.

    I’m surprised you haven’t already taken credit for coining this term.

  42. nicrivera Says:

    Eric,

    All I need to know about your brand of “libertarianism” I learned during your conversation (if you can call ranting and raving a conservation) with Harry Browne on 10/25/05:

    mms://www.harrybrowne.org/harrybrowne/05-10-29a.mp3
    mms://www.harrybrowne.org/harrybrowne/05-10-29b.mp3

  43. Andy Says:

    Eric, with all of your activism it is a damn shame that you’ve tainted yourself with two major stains.

    1) Your support for the immoral and unconstitutional “War on Terror.” A war which is based on numerous lies and has caused thousands of deaths and wasted BILLIONS of dollars. In addition to the fact that refuse to examine the mountain of evidence that 9/11 was an inside job, you also refuse to acknowledge that US intervention/imperialism breeds hate. Furthermore, even if you believe the government’s fairy tale about 9/11 there is still no justification for the war in Iraq since Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 and did not attack us, and was in fact in too weakened to do anything to us even if they had wanted to do so.

    2) Your willingness to sell out whatever libertarian principles that you do hold (assuming that you are telling us the truth about your views) in order to support warmonger candidates. In the past you started Libertarians for Bush and Libertarians for Lieberman, and now you are pushing Rudy Giuliani. NONE of these people are even remotely libertarian! Trying to push people who are OBVIOUSLY big government politicians as if they were “libertarians” or even “libertarian leaning” is a really twisted thing to do. This tells me that you value fighting a crusade of aggression in the Middle East more than you value any libertarian principles.

    I’d say that these two things are enough to disqualify you from being a real libertarian.

  44. Andy Says:

    This is probably a better way to describe Eric Dondero.

    Libertine Conservatives
    by Anthony Gregory

    For as long as I’ve been a libertarian, I’ve been hearing a common accusation that libertarians are nothing more than Republicans who want to party and smoke pot. Unfortunately, this perverse categorization not only gets traction among cynical leftists and puritanical rightwingers. No, I have actually heard some self-described libertarians more than willingly adopt this description for themselves. Party-going conservatism is libertarianism, they say with pride.

    The problem is that a Republican who wants to party and smoke pot is simply that – a Republican who wants to party and smoke pot – and nothing more, at least categorically. At UC Berkeley, I saw plenty of young conservatives on campus, and, believe me, most of them struggled through the day to cut loose at night at least as much as the nearest bohemian sporting Che on his t-shirt and carrying Chomsky’s newest at his side.

    In fact, the young conservatives, often with bigger bank accounts and less interest in actually reading anything, often seemed to have more time and money to party than the leftists. Their fiestas were quite a riot, in fact. I went to one, and when I found that no one wanted to talk about political philosophy or economics, but instead just get really stupid drunk so as to forget by morning what he had done that night, I went home disappointed.

    The most striking thing about libertine conservatives is their hypocrisy. It would be hard to imagine how many Republican leaders in this country have snorted lines, found comfort with hired escorts, or at least hit the bong a few times. But to be a libertine with one’s own body does not necessarily imply being libertarian on the relevant issues. If this weren’t the case, the drug war probably wouldn’t last, since it continues thanks to the tacit support and active agitation of millions of hypocrites – people who, when they were young, probably experimented with certain peaceful avenues of decadence and chemical mind alteration over which they today have little compunction about jailing people.

    Most libertine conservatives do not believe in personal freedom, except perhaps their own, and so their countercultural actions do not even make them more libertarian by circumstance. Indeed, their hypocrisy and rightwing guilt often render them some of the most outwardly puritanical and fascistic people out there. Afraid to be too far to the “left” in principles as well as actions, these people will call for longer prison sentences for drug users even as they feed their own gambling addiction or even, to be more directly hypocritical, drug addiction. Rush Limbaugh comes to mind.

    But aside from the secretive hypocritical types, there is the open hypocrisy. We heard conservatives defending Limbaugh when news of his Oxycontin addiction broke. After all, this was just a personal slip up, he was doing his job fine, he in fact should be admired for his struggles with addiction, and what business is it anyone’s, anyway? I even heard conservatives saying that since Limbaugh did so much to promote the drug war, his own indiscretion should be excused.

    Clearly, conservatives can personally defend libertine values for themselves, or for their own, while still being bad on all the issues of freedom related to such libertinism. Just like the limousine liberal politicians who complain that the rich are squashing the poor, only to raise taxes on the little people and funnel more money to themselves and their well-to-do cronies, libertine conservatives generally do not apply their demonstrated values consistently as it concerns political philosophy. They persist in defending a system that cages hundreds of thousands of people for the same activity they themselves have engaged in, sometimes shamelessly, usually with no visible regret.

    Unfortunately for those of us wishing to have honest and useful political discourse, many so-called libertarians are just libertine conservatives of one type or another. They believe that American red, white and blue should rule the world by force, but might add in a few colors in accord with the gay-pride rainbow. They have little regard for the radical philosophy of liberty, the heritage of classical liberalism going back hundreds of years, the rich tradition of libertarianism as a principled rebellion against and rejection of corporatism, imperialism, state socialism, privilege, war, and the modern state. They don’t care about economics other than that they have a general belief in smaller, “leaner” and more smoothly running government and would like more of their tax dollars spared so they could spend them on their wild parties with other conservative libertines. They think the US government is always right in an international conflict, or don’t care about the topic at all.

    Murray Rothbard used to call people like this modals, and I have heard many use the term “lifestyle libertarianism,” but I think these labels can be misleading. First of all, many of these people are not libertarians, except in a sense so broad so as to be nearly meaningless. Some so-called “lifestyle libertarians,” on the other hand, really are principled and radical, but also happen to like to have a good time. The distinction is important, for it is a mistake to say a libertine cannot be a libertarian just as it is wrong to say a libertine is necessarily a libertarian or a libertarian is necessarily a libertine.

    Shortly after 9/11, Matt Welch at Reason Magazine asked if perhaps the terror attacks and the war on terror made rightwingers more libertine, more willing to defend values of Western decadence against Islamic reactionaries who by comparison make the American left and right appear not to be so culturally divided as was before thought. Since then, we have seen conservatives increasingly willing to embrace socially liberal culture and claim the mantle of defending the freedom of homosexuals, women, racial minorities and so on against the religious fanaticism of the “Islamo-fascists.” Thus is the war on terror a supposed war of liberation and for toleration. Thus did the idea of “South Park Republicans” make its way among a new conservative movement more dedicated to being hip and with it, more willing to say bad words and back a “socially liberal” man like Giuliani, than the supposedly curmudgeonly churchgoers who used to dominate the American right.

    The war on foreign fundamentalists really has been at the center of this superficial move leftward. But putting aside the consequences of this war so far being the boosting of Islamic extremism in the Middle East and the replacement of Saddam’s secular regime with an Iranian-influenced Sharia-law state – accompanied by less toleration for women and religious minorities in Iraq – the conservatives never really retreated from their fundamental principles when this shift of rhetorical emphasis took place.

    The US empire is, and always has been, the main unifying interest of the modern conservative movement, from the beginning of the Cold War on. To the extent conservatives critique one war or another as unwise, it is almost always because they fear it will jeopardize American national greatness and compromise the stability of the empire.

    Since 9/11, Republicans and conservatives may have seemed more open to watching Borat and listening to Howard Stern, but they have not abandoned their conservatism at all on the issue of militarism and the imperial nation-state. They might be waxing eloquent on behalf of the poor and oppressed in other countries, but they have done so mainly out of loyalty to the U.S. government’s mass killing abroad – in principle if not always in practice, such as now when many worry the Iraq war might have overextended the war machine, making it harder to wage more war tomorrow.

    So-called libertarians who agree with conservatives on the war hate being called conservatives themselves, but that’s what they are. They might try to score points by saying they don’t go to church and instead spend their Sunday mornings hung over – as if that makes someone more libertarian – but there’s not really much substantive difference between their effective position toward the state, which they naïvely think keeps them safe and secure and indeed is the source of their freedom, and the position of other libertine conservatives. Maybe the pill-popping Republican is more of a hypocrite in principle on whether drugs should be legal, but unlike real radical libertarians, none of the libertine conservative warmongers seem to grasp the real issues here: A state that would dare wage something like a drug war against its own subjects is evil and cannot be trusted to defend you against foreigners; a state of perpetual war guarantees that such programs as the legalization of drugs are unlikely for the duration, anyway.

    For years I was confused by this misconception that libertarians were just libertine conservatives, but I understand it now. It is because of all the conservatives who have come to call themselves libertarians just because they want to be free to smoke a joint and have unprotected sex knowing that abortion is always a legal option. And there’s the irony that so many fail to see. Smoking marijuana might be illegal, but most of these conservatives will probably get away with it, anyway. If all they seek in libertarian theory is a cover for their current lifestyles, they might as well just call themselves conservatives, for the status quo allows them most of the freedom they seem to want for their own lives. They might think they’re so radical because they got really wasted last night. But their ability to get intoxicated is obviously something they can conserve without changing much about the current law. Their lifestyle, such as it is, is not in jeopardy the way our more fundamental freedoms are, and it is freedom, not lifestyle, that is after all the real issue at stake in such issues like drug policy in the first place.

    If you are concerned about the economic fascism of the current American system, the military-industrial-complex, the perpetual war and ubiquitous American empire, the secret spying, the torture, the fraud of central banking, the massive theft known as taxation, the war on drugs as a threat to everyone’s liberty, the welfare state’s destruction of our economy and social fabric – if you consider public schools institutions of wickedness and tyranny and believe freedom is the only answer to any of these problems – if you think every individual has a right not to be aggressed against, not to be forced to pay for war and not to be killed by US bombs – if you believe that private property, freedom of association, peace, free trade and individual liberty are the recipe for a just world – then, by all means, call yourself a libertarian. I couldn’t care less what you do after work or who you want to sleep with.

    But those who think libertarianism is just a libertine brand of Republicanism, please just admit you’re conservatives so we can all move on. Libertarianism is neither libertine nor un-libertine in itself. But in terms of policy and political philosophy, it is not conservative, it is not warmongering, and it is definitely not just a social club for party animals with money. There’s already a group for that kind of animal, a group that is not as sectarian on religion or lifestyle as you might think, a group that will welcome with open arms anyone who will capitulate to the imperial executive and military state, regardless of where he went to bed last night. And, if Rush Limbaugh was any indication, someone at any of their shindigs is bound to have whatever recreational pills you might need to help you get through the day thinking you actually stand for something other than a slightly more decadent version of American imperialism, a groovier variety of the total state.

  45. nicrivera Says:

    blockquote?

  46. nicrivera Says:

    Why does Eric spend so much time promoting Republicans like Rudy Giuliani and Wayne Allyn Root in the guise of “libertarianism”?

    It’s because he’s hoping that he can convince enough pro-war Republicans to join the Libertarian Party and drive party in a pro-war direction. From his website:

    My life’s Mission is to ensure that more Military guys are recruited into the libertarian movement. Additionally, my secondary mission is to change the image of the libertarian movement, from Anti-Military to Pro-Military.

    And the great thing is, such an effort is compounding.

    The more Military guys that are recruited into the libertarian movement, the more Pro-Military the libertarian movement will become. And just as importantly, the more the America-hating Leftist Libertarians like Justin Raimondo of Anti-War.com, LewRockwell.com, Anthony Gregory, Thomas Knapp, Jacob Hornberger, Carol Moore, Gene Berkman, George Phillies, Todd Andrew Barnette and others will be put on the defensive.

    A warning to the Libertarian Left: Your days are numbered. Military guys don’t take no shit.

  47. M.H. Wilson Says:

    Eric as the winner here as you noticed, at least until someone else comes along, I have to admit to being a navy brat and having spent four years in the service I am a self proclaimed antiwar activist. So you can put me on your shit list.
    MHW

  48. Jason Gatties Says:

    Yeah I’m a “newbie” Eric, which probably also means I’m alot younger than you. I’ll take my youth, thank you.

  49. Andy Says:

    “My life’s Mission is to ensure that more Military guys are recruited into the libertarian movement. Additionally, my secondary mission is to change the image of the libertarian movement, from Anti-Military to Pro-Military.”

    While I don’t necessarily have a problem with “recruiting” anybody into the LP - including people who were in the military - the people in question should actually be libertarians. Unfortunately, a lot of military people are NOT libertarians and probably never will be (notice I said a lot, thus indicating that there are exceptions). I’ve done outreach to NUMEROUS groups of people, every type of person you can imagine, and I’d say that as a group, military people are generally one of the worst. Many of them have what I would call a “robot” mentality, as in they just follow orders and do not question authority. Again, I’m generalizing here because I know that there are some decent liberty minded people who’ve been or who are in the military (although I’d say that they were duped into joining because given what I know about our government there’s NO WAY that I’d serve) but I think that they are the exception rather than the rule.

    “And the great thing is, such an effort is compounding.

    The more Military guys that are recruited into the libertarian movement, the more Pro-Military the libertarian movement will become. And just as importantly, the more the America-hating Leftist Libertarians like Justin Raimondo of Anti-War.com, LewRockwell.com, Anthony Gregory, Thomas Knapp, Jacob Hornberger, Carol Moore, Gene Berkman, George Phillies, Todd Andrew Barnette and others will be put on the defensive.

    A warning to the Libertarian Left: Your days are numbered. Military guys don’t take no shit.”

    So in other words, Eric Dondero wants to drive some of the best people that we’ve got out of the party/movement and replace them with a bunch of never-question-authority-and-alway-obey-orders warmongers.

  50. Eric Dondero Says:

    You know what’s funny here. All you guys seem to completely ignore the civil liberties side of the Libertarian equation. It’s almost like civil liberties don’t even exist for you all any more. You’ve thrown it out with the bath water.

    But you’re in a bind. And I’ve got y’all’s number. I know how you all think. Remember, you’re talking to the very guy who fought Raimondo for a whole year to put his LROC out of business and replace it with my own RLC.

    I know that it’s very uncomfortable for you all to now emphasize civil liberties issues like marijuana legalization, opposition to alcohol prohibition, ending the drug war, and most especially sexual liberties like Swinger’s rights, tolerance for Gays, and legalized prositution, PRECISELY because if you do, you are automatically put on the opposite side of the Islamo-Fascists.

    Let me ask you all something. And I don’t mean this in a nasty way. I’m going to be extra polite here.

    Do you honestly think most folks are that stupid?

    Do you honestly believe that most political types can’t see through that glaring contradiction?

    That’s y’all’s achilles heel. That’s where you all fall down. And people have noticed. What’s worse for your side, is people are now increasingly noticing.

    I know that deep down each one of you is well aware of your utter hypocrisy on this. I bet even some of you are somewhat libertinish yourselves. Maybe there’s a couple Gay guys here? Maybe a couple marijuana smokers?

    And I know you all hate the fact deep down, that you’re are defacto aligned with Radical Muslims who want to outlaw all of your vices.

    So, you’re in a bind. What to do?

    Nothing you can do, except to ignore the issues. You skirt any discussions of civil liberties these days, and denigrate the use of the term “Islamo-Fascism.”

    And one subject you all stay far, far away from is the Arabization of Europe. Getting a Leftwing Libertarian to comment about the rising tide of Islam in Europe and the outlawing of topless beaches, more restrictive marijuana laws to appease Dutch Muslims, curbing of free speech rights that portrays Muslims in a negative light, ect… is like pulling teeth.

    I’ve never ONCE had a Leftwing Libertarian respond to me on the subject of the murders of Theo van Gogh and Pim Fortuyn, or the Paris Riots, or Bruce Bawer’s book, or any other topic related to “Eurabia.”

    But you all grossly underestimate me. You’re dealing with the Country’s Greatest Libertarian Political Activist. You’re looking at the guy that virtually got Ron Paul elected to Congress. You’re looking at the very Founder of the Republican Liberty Caucus.

    You can’t beat me. You can only kill me. And I dare say, outside of the lone Vet here M.H., none of you all have the balls to do that.

    So, for the next 50 years, I’ll be fighting you all with every ounce of energy I have. I will go to my grave at age 87 or so, fighting Leftist America-hating Libertarians.

    Or maybe I’ll defeat you all much earlier, and I’ll be able to retire with my beautiful Chinese wife in a BeiJing suburb sipping on some cool Saki.

    My guess, China here I come.

  51. Nigel Watt Says:

    Why do Muslims rail against American freedoms? Because America’s been dicking around over there too long! Now you want to dick around over there some more. See the contradiction? Nothing causes more damage to our civil liberties from Islamists than pissing them off some more, causing the government to take our liberties away.

  52. IanC Says:

    … Is it just me, or is Eric Dondero’s last comment here certifiably delusional?

  53. IanC Says:

    And you know, Eric — it’s kinda funny that you call everyone here but yourself “Anti-American”.

    The way I see it, you’re the only one here actively working to destroy everything America stands for. After all — you are working with Al-Qaeda to destroy the USA. You do this through the support of military US presence in Iraq.
    http://fvci.blogspot.com/2007/04/story-already-told.html

    When you’re ready to stop committing treason, we can talk about whether you love America more than anyone on this forum. But I suspect you’d rather just play the Commie ideologue.

  54. matt Says:

    Eric,
    I probably don’t have the balls to kill you, and I certainly don’t have any desire to do so, but let me lay out another possible way of looking at “left libertarians”, as you’ve defined us.

    We are people who believe in the marketplace of ideas, We think that westren civilization is made of better stuff than radical islam. We think that, however crazy and hateful radical islam is, it will and must succumb to the ideas of the west. Simply put, it’s human nature to prefer pot-smoking and moneymaking to jihad, and muslims are, just like us, human.This is happening in europe. Islam’s less radical groups are waxing stronger, while the extremists are growing far weaker. Withn a generation, they will be as innefectual and irrelevant as our Ku Klux Klan.

    The only way to stop this process, according to us “left libertarians” is to go around killing muslims and talking about “culture wars” from morning to night. War and propaganda will stregnthen something that otherwise would not be able to stand unsupported, because they (the islamo-fscists, as you call them), will be drawn together by the perception of danger.

    Sharia law will never take over the West. I only hope that we don’t permanently ruin the West by creating a martial posture that chokes out freedom.

  55. Andy Says:

    “Eric Dondero Says:

    April 18th, 2007 at 9:21 am
    You know what’s funny here. All you guys seem to completely ignore the civil liberties side of the Libertarian equation. It’s almost like civil liberties don’t even exist for you all any more. You’ve thrown it out with the bath water.”

    This is NOT true at all. I think everyone here will agree with me when I say that we are all concerned about civil liberties.

    “I know that it’s very uncomfortable for you all to now emphasize civil liberties issues like marijuana legalization, opposition to alcohol prohibition, ending the drug war, and most especially sexual liberties like Swinger’s rights, tolerance for Gays, and legalized prositution, PRECISELY because if you do, you are automatically put on the opposite side of the Islamo-Fascists.”

    I’m concerned about all of that stuff and I’m also concerned about how the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, the Real ID Act, the Department of Homeland Security, and the possible return of the military draft all threaten civil liberties.

    You certainly come off as a hypocrite here by saying that you are concerned about how Muslims are a threat to the freedoms that you mentioned above, but then you align yourself with the Republican Party, a party that has a long history of supporting drug prohibition and opposing “Swinger’s rights,” tolerance for gays, and prostitution, and not to mention suppressing free speech and free expression. So to fight Muslim theocrats/authoritarians you align yourself with Republican theocrats/authoritarians. This makes a lot of sense….NOT!

    As I’ve stated on numerous occassions, I do NOT support Islamic extremist just as I do NOT support any religious extremist who want to use initiate force to achieve their goals.

    Why is it that you seem to think that people who don’t support going over to other countries to attack Muslims must support Muslim religious extremism? I do not advocate initiating an attack against North Korea or China either, does this mean that I support communism? OF COURSE NOT!

    “Do you honestly think most folks are that stupid?

    Do you honestly believe that most political types can’t see through that glaring contradiction?

    That’s y’all’s achilles heel. That’s where you all fall down. And people have noticed. What’s worse for your side, is people are now increasingly noticing.”

    The only glaring contradictions and “achilles heels” are coming from you. You the one who claims to be a libertarian but then advocates initiating force against people in other countries. You are the one who sucks up to big government politicians like Bush, Lieberman, Giuliani, etc… Politicians like Bush, Lieberman, and Giuliani are a FAR GREATER THREAT to my freedom than any Muslim is.

    “And I know you all hate the fact deep down, that you’re are defacto aligned with Radical Muslims who want to outlaw all of your vices.”

    Oh come on, do you really believe this? If so I’d say that you need to seek help.

    “Nothing you can do, except to ignore the issues. You skirt any discussions of civil liberties these days, and denigrate the use of the term ‘Islamo-Fascism.’”

    This is not true at all. Everyone here discusses civil liberties.

    The reason that people denigrate the term Islamo-fascism is because the definition of fascism also includes beligerent nationalism and a war like foreign policy combined with an economic system that has a partnership between big government and big corporations. This more accurately describes the the US government and in particular the Republican Party than it describes the Muslims.

    If you wanted to call the Muslims Islamo-theocrats or Islamo-authoritarians or just Islamo-extremist those would be more accurate terms.

    “And one subject you all stay far, far away from is the Arabization of Europe. Getting a Leftwing Libertarian to comment about the rising tide of Islam in Europe and the outlawing of topless beaches, more restrictive marijuana laws to appease Dutch Muslims, curbing of free speech rights that portrays Muslims in a negative light, ect… is like pulling teeth.”

    I’m actually somewhat in agreement with you here. The reason that I say this is because if a person enters another country or territory and implements force against those that are already there (as in infringing upon their freedoms), at that point you can say that they are not really immigrants (an immigrant implies a peaceful person) and are actually invaders.

    I obviously don’t live in any of these European countries that you are talking about but if I did I would not have wanted these people to enter the country in the first place. Once they were there and were initiating force I’d want to fight back and would say that they should be deported.

    I get into debates with fellow libertarians all the time over the issue of immigration. I’m not opposed to immigration, but I am opposed to so called “immigrants” who should be regaurded as invaders.

    I define an immigrant in the following manner…

    1) Has a real passion for freedom.

    2) Does not committ crimes (as in acts of theft, coercive violence, or destuction of property).

    3) Does not “ride” the welfare system.

    I define an invader with the following characteristics…

    1) Does not have a real passion for freedom. Either actively tries to subvert freedom or is a mindless sheep or “useful idiot” for those who actively try to subvert freedom.

    2) Committs crimes (as in acts of theft, coercive violence, or destruction of property). May be a random lone criminal, but often times are a part of ethnic based street gangs/mobs.

    3) “Rides” the welfare system. Some come to a country with the intention of doing this, others may not have originally intended to do this but end up doing it anyway.

    “But you all grossly underestimate me. You’re dealing with the Country’s Greatest Libertarian Political Activist.”

    Wow, this is an arogant statement. You are a legend in you own mind. Who died and made you the Grand PooBah of Libertarian Activism?

    “So, for the next 50 years, I’ll be fighting you all with every ounce of energy I have. I will go to my grave at age 87 or so, fighting Leftist America-hating Libertarians.”

    I didn’t know that there were any “America-hating” Libertarians. All the Libertarians I know love America, they just hate the corrupt government that occupies it.

    “Or maybe I’ll defeat you all much earlier, and I’ll be able to retire with my beautiful Chinese wife in a BeiJing suburb sipping on some cool Saki.”

    Communist China sounds like a good place for you. Lots of authoritarian police & military worship there.

  56. Eric Dondero Says:

    Okay Andy, maybe we’re making some progress here.

    The guy in Salt Lake City was an Immigrant, who spoke broken English. He gunned down 10 people. 5 of them died. He killed 4 Execution style. By all accountes he rejected American culture.

    Given your comments above, would you at least agree with me, that individuals like the SLC gunman should have not been allowed into the country, or at the very least, should’ve had more scrutiny while he was here?

    Also, the Seattle Shooter was an immigrant too.

    And John Muhammed’s sidekick in the Beltway Sniper shootings.

    Can we at the very least agree that we have a serious, serious immigration problem with allowing Radical Islamists into our country?

    Perhaps that might be one area, where we could work together?

  57. Eric Dondero Says:

    Andy, you’ve obviously never been to China. It is no longer Communist as you describe. It’s more like a Euro-Socialist country these days, with raging consumerism.

  58. matt Says:

    Eric,
    You are too far too full of fear to ever be free yourself, much less steer anyone else towards freedom. Freedom is about much more than merely weed and orgies and chinese wives. Freedom is about believing that all human beings are endowed with inalienable rights and that truth and liberty succeed when they are honestly represented.

    Easier just to trot out anecdotes of ’scary immigrants’, though, I suppose.

  59. MRJarrell Says:

    I guess with Gene now gone the libertarian sphere needs a new loon. Looks like Dondero stepped up to fill the niche.

  60. ElfNinosMom Says:

    # IanC Says:
    April 18th, 2007 at 10:37 am

    … Is it just me, or is Eric Dondero’s last comment here certifiably delusional?

    No, it’s not just you. I still have no idea what he’s blathering on about.

  61. Thomas L. Knapp Says:

    Quoth Eric Dondero:

    “I know that it’s very uncomfortable for you all to now emphasize civil liberties issues like marijuana legalization, opposition to alcohol prohibition, ending the drug war, and most especially sexual liberties like Swinger’s rights, tolerance for Gays, and legalized prositution, PRECISELY because if you do, you are automatically put on the opposite side of the Islamo-Fascists.”

    Which, of course, is why you’re supporting this candidate:

    I believe in prayer in our schools. I believe in strict limits for abortion including parental notification, banning of late term abortion, and banning of partial birth abortion. I am against gay marriage- believing that marriage is between a man and woman only.

    Right?

  62. George Phillies Says:

    For more of Tom Knapp’s thoughts on Ron Paul’s actual stands, in particular Paul’s stand against women’s rights

    http://knappster.blogspot.com/

    and read “Straight from the Horse’s Mouth”

  63. Thomas L. Knapp Says:

    George,

    Actually, the piece you link to isn’t about Ron Paul’s stands per se, it’s about his marketing approach: His positions now are no different than they were when he was the LP’s presidential candidate … the “big deal” is that he’s marketing himself as a “conservative,” not a “libertarian.”

    There may be merits to that marketing approach, but those who have stated that they’re supporting him because he can run a high-profile campaign “as a libertarian” should take note … he isn’t doing so. For whatever reason, he seems to have decided that promoting “conservatism” rather than “libertarianism” works better.

    Whether or not Paul’s position on abortion is “against women’s rights” is debatable, including within a libertarian perspective. What I found interesting about Paul’s fundraising letter is that was very non-specific on that issue, merely bringing up other GOP candidates’ Johnny-come-lateliness on “overturning Roe v. Wade” as a way of positioning Paul as having been more reliably conservative than those other candidates.

    In the letter, Paul refers to himself and his supporters as “conservative” many times, while critiquing his opponents’ claims to “conservatism.” He plays up his “conservative” credentials, and his policy positions that are likely to appeal to “conservatives.” He refers in non-specific non-interventionist terms to foreign policy issues, carefully omitting any specific mention of Iraq.

    None of this should be taken as criticism of Ron Paul per se. If he wants to run as a “conservative” rather than as a “libertarian,” that’s his call to make. But, to the extent that some libertarians are supporting him on the premise that he will make his campaign a marquee campaign for libertarianism, they so far seem to be mistaken.

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