Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The libertarians and the town councillors

The Confrontation

The link above is a very interesting transcript of a meeting that grew out of a series on Reason TV dealing with the problems of one particular city: Cleveland. What's good is that you can actually read about and watch libertarian rubber meeting the political road -- some skidding and sliding, but some traction too.

Here's a video of the session:


  1. The clever libertarians now have rotund has-been comedian Drew Carey pullin' for 'em. Wow. However cleverly libertarians disguise their own self-serving goals, 'Mericans won't buy it. The Right's too paranoid, too puritanical and too scared to approve of Libertarianism, except in a few isolated areas (like Vegass, and/or whereever Rand Paul-land is).

    Liberals and leftists on the other hand--at least the smart ones--should realize the anti-statist, de-reg, laissez-faire libertarian hustle for what it is--basically a few rich rogues insisting that what's good for the wealthy (like tax slashes, ending govt. programs, ending workplace regs, breaking up unions, etc.) should be considered good for all, rich, middle class or poor. The composition fallacy in other words, but prettied up, with an American flag and NRA decals.

    That said, there may be a few, very few libertarian ideas worth saving. But they generally relate to civil liberties, not ...economics or politics broadly squeaking. The Rand Pauls however insist on conflating the two (Rand even sounds a bit quackier and rightist than his pops Ron)--we can support Due Process (in all of its forms) without supporting the libertarian anti-govt. rhetoric--fairly empty rhetoric anyway given that few of them ever mention the massive DoD budget, by far the largest portion of govt. spending.

  2. Actually, tax slashes, ending (a lot of) govt programs, ending ( a lot of) workplace regs, breaking up enforced unionization or paying of union dues, etc. all help the middle class and especially the poor, far more than they help the wealthy, who can much more easily afford the damage these all cause to overall economic welfare. The DoD budget, however, is one of the areas of government spending that none of us can afford to do without, because there is no alternative. And as for who's supporting these sorts of initiatives -- well, we'll see come November, J.

  3. Tell that to all the Californians who were laid off or furloughed by slashed education budgets, or famillies that had programs cut, or people who wanted to visit parks that have been closed. Or students who have seen their tuition doubled, or ordinary citizens paying double or triple for all sorts of state fees (in effect, Ahhhnuld's poor tax).

    Any potential GOP backlash this fall means little or nothing. Anyone who has read the fine print of James Madison would realize that. In big states, the Demos will....I predict --remain in power, even CA. Brown will win.

    That rabid rightist and HP fraudette Fiorina might triumph over Boxer, but only because the GOP has for years demonized her as some radical leftist. They win merely because they scare the honkay-WASP middle class "anyone but the incumbent Democrats". It's mainly the...race card and has nothing to do with reason.

  4. Yes, the D's might hang on a little longer -- and you're right that, in the longer term, that means little or nothing. The fact is that, from Sweden to Cuba, to Cleveland, and yes, even to California, the larger movement is away from the high-tax, high-spend, Big Union, Big Gov Nanny state, and toward more choice, more responsibility, and more freedom. People are slowly but surely coming to realize that what were presented as government freebies are actually just things they've been forced to pay for, and always included huge costs for bureaucrats, corrupt or pork-laden payouts, and a raft of other inefficiencies. I.e., people are catching on to the fact that the D's have no better ideas than to continue to try to bribe them with their own money. Oh, and of course to continue to play that old, worn-out race card to their very last, desperate gasp.

  5. I don't defend the mainstream democrats--it's a lesser of two evils situation, metamorf. The GOP relies on the race card more than the Demos do, however--in more subtle ways now than they did back in Reagan days--and that includes appealing to fears of muslims, or immigrants or gangsters, gays, etc. as well as the anti-tax rants. Framing as they say (see e-Meg Whitman's attack ads on Brown for examples).

    You forget the GOP's role-- and really GOP libertarian economics--in regard to the recent economic crises as well. Of course the typical yahoo don't care that BushCo led America into a costly dangerous war in Iraq, or the mortgage disasters (bipartisan, actually) or any number of other issues. The yahoo just doesn't want the f-ing lib-rawls taking his taxes for welfare, or telling his kids about secular humanist BS, evolution or enforcing gun control of any type.

  6. Well, yeah, partisan politics being what it is, it's usually a matter of trying to find the lesser of two, or the least of many, evils. As it is, though, of the two American parties, it looks to me much more like it was the Democratic Congress that had more to do with recent bad mortgages behind the initial financial mess, and now the Congress plus the Administration that's behind the huge deficits that dwarf any costs of Iraq. Moreover, I really think it's the Democrats that are the ones appealing to irrational fears, guilts, and other motivations. You illustrate an example of those sorts of fears yourself, with your very common invocation of stereotypical right-wing phantoms, which bear little relationship to the vast majority of ordinary conservative, small-government people.

  7. --The Dem congress may not have acted in a timely manner but they didn't start the problem--Gingrich/Gramm did in the 90s (with help from Clinton). Then Freddie Mac was itself a Nixonian scam. And blame the companies' underwriters themselves for making C paper loans--lets not forget that most leading GOPers supported the Bailout too. Some small govt. types there

    --no, the cost of the War, and the DoD in general are by far the biggest chunk of the Fed. budget

    --Are Foxnews, Beck and Palin, Rev Hagee ranting about doomsday or the impending invasion of Iran "ordinary"? So much for those old crackers Madison and Jefferson--who, btw, were not complete libertarians in regard to economic policy. Early on the Founders supported estate taxes and feared the re-creation of aristocratic or pseudo-aristocratic dynasties. Jefferson himself opposed Hamilton's quasi-british gold standard and finance schemes

  8. There's blame to go around for the start of the latest financial mess, but bad regulation (a redundancy) and political interference, from whatever side of the political fence, almost always worsen the situation, and sustain it. For an example of the latter, that puts Iraq costs in perspective, see this link.

    Foxnews, Beck and Palin are media or media figures, and as such are no more and no less "ordinary" than any other such. Hagee is a religious nut; Madison and Jefferson are long dead and weren't particularly "ordinary" even when alive. If these are what you think of as "ordinary", regardless of politics, then you really need to get out more, J.

  9. The New Deal regs specifically prohibited speculation with secured funds. So, they overturn 'em (that is, Gramm-Gingrich, and Clinton signs off on it), and the mortgage crisis happens a few years later. Now logically speaking, perhaps it's not necessary (and really even the Keynesian liberal sorts don't really for New deal regs either) that the de-reg led to crisis. But looks highly probable.

    Oh I get out, and alas am confronted with people who idolize Beck, Palin, Hagee (or, on the other side peeps who listen to Al Sharptons, and athletes and hiphoppers, instead of ML King). Do you get out? You said you were a canadian--I don't think you quite understand the 'Merican heartland, metamorf.

    And the points on Madison and Jefferson had little or nothing to do with their "characters" (assuming that can even be known), but with their principles and ideals, some of which are in writing (the US Constitution, DoI, etc). Quaint--but even a few semi-bright libertarians are wont to quote the US-Con at times.

  10. Yes, I'm a Canadian, but I know a few Americans, of varying political stripes, and they don't seem to fit your caricatures. Now, maybe I'm misunderstanding the 'Merican heartland, J -- and it certainly sounds like you're not happy with it in any case -- but maybe, you know, you're standards are a little high. Not everyone can be a living examplar of Madison and Jefferson after all -- not me and probably not even you.


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