Sunday, August 30, 2009

And finally one that the Daily Kos gets right: how NOT to define a Libertarian

Sometimes what you're not is more defining that what you are.

Diarist Darksyde does, in my opinion, an excellence job of explaining the top ten reasons you are not a Libertarian (but are a social/cultural/religious conservative) if you believe:

Notice a propensity of newly minted Libertarians showing up lately? Perhaps it's just coincidence their ranks swelled in inverse proportion to George Bush's approval rating, ditto that so many are mouthing traditional conservative talking points. But what about the everyday gun toting townhall screamers and taxcutters and deficit hawks we see on cable news: are they really libertarian as so many claim, or just conservatives in glibertarian clothes? Here's a few warning signs.

10) If you think Ron Paul isn't conservative enough and Fox News is fair and balanced, you might not be a Libertarian.

9) If you believe you have an inalienable right to attend Presidential townhalls brandishing a loaded assault rifle, but that arresting participants inside for wearing a pink shirt is an important public safety precaution, there's a chance you're dangerously unbalanced, but no chance you're a Libertarian.

8) If you think the government should stay the hell out of Medicare, well, you have way, way bigger problems than figuring out if you're really a Libertarian.

7) If you rank Anthonin Scalia and Roy Moore among the greatest Justices of all time, you may be bug fuck crazy, but you're probably not a Libertarian.

6) You might not be a Libertarian if you think recreational drug use, prostitution, and gambling should be illegal because that's what Jesus wants.

5) If you think the separation between church and state applies equally to all faiths except socially conservative Christian fundamentalism, you're probably not a Libertarian.

4) You're probably not a Libertarian if you believe the federal government should remove safety standards and clinical barriers for prescription and OTC medications while banning all embryonic stem cell research, somatic nuclear transfer, RU 486, HPV and cervical cancer vaccination, work on human/non human DNA combos, or Plan B emergency contraception.

3) If you think state execution of mentally retarded convicts is good policy but prosecuting Scott Roeder or disconnecting Terri Schiavo was an unforgivable sin, odds are you're not really a Libertarian.

2) If you argue that cash for clunkers or any form of government healthcare is unconstitutional, but forced prayer or teaching old testament creationism in public schools is fine, you're not even consistent, much less a Libertarian, and you may be Michele Bachmann.

And the number one sign: if you think government should stay the hell out of people's private business -- except when kidnapping citizens and rendering them to secret overseas torture prisons, snooping around the bedrooms of consenting adults, policing a woman's uterus, or conducting warrantless wire taps, you are no Libertarian.

The first clause in number ten is a little confusing, and a lot of Libertarians would argue that Medicare point in number seven, but by and large it is a decent top ten list.

As usual, the comments section can be divided between comments that go rapidly off-topic, superficial derogatory definitions of Libertarians and Libertarianism, and the usual bon mot that all Libertarians have had their DNA surgically modified by Ayn Rand.


Anonymous said...

If you think that hanging "whites only" signs on the doors of private businesses, including hospitals and schools, should remain illegal, you're not a Libertarian.

And if you think that the state shouldn't be used to forcibly evict families from their homes because the landlord doesn't like their skin color, then Libertarianism isn't for you.

If you don't want to join the Klan, the Libertarian Party might be the next best thing if you want anti-discrimination laws repealed.

And there is no middle ground.

The state cannot be neutral when it comes to discrimination laws. It either enforces the "right to discriminate" or in enforces anti-discrimination laws.

Libertarians believe that people and private businesses should have the right to discriminate against anyone for any reason. And the state would need to enforce that "right."

They are wrong.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, forgot to add my name to the post above.


Steve Newton said...

I think everybody knew it was you. :)

Your argument is quite fallacious, and based on the idea of attributing the opinions of some Libertarians to all Libertarians.

It is tantamount to saying that because some progressives favor the forcible redistribution of all private wealth above a threshold of $500K, therefore all do.

I won't argue that the Libertarian Party platform doesn't contain language I don't support on discrimination, which is one of the key reasons that I publicly disowned the LP presidential candidate last year, not to mention Ron Paul.

There is no middle ground.

With you, A1, this means that there is not even room for civil discussion of potential differences on an issue. Anyone who doesn't subscribe to your beliefs, precisely as you have formatted them, is a racist and potential Klan member.

That's constructive.

But then, I should also recall that you have compared anybody who is a registered Republican to a member of the Nazi Party.

Therefore, in the A1 universe all Republicans are Nazis and all Libertarians are KKKers.

You do need to get out more.

Anonymous said...


I can always tell when you don't have the facts on your side of the argument because you try to change the subject and offer fallacious and irrelevant attacks.

Let me be perfectly clear: The Daily Kos writer wasn't discussing Steve Newton's brand of libertarianism and neither was I. The fact is that the official position of the Libertarian party (as best I can tell) is that anti-discrimination laws should be repealed and that private businesses should have the "right" to discriminate against anyone for any reason.

That would include going back to hanging "whites-only" signs on businesses.

When I wrote that "there is no middle ground," I was referring to the law and government enforcement of the law. Under a libertarian form of government, the state would enforce the "right to discriminate" by physical force, fines, and imprisonment against those who would challenge it. A right that is not encoded into law and enforced by the state is not a right at all.

I think that this "right to discriminate" is morally repugnant, wrong and indefensible. It is one of the ugly sides of your party, and I understand why you would want to change the subject.

I am certainly not surprised that you disagree with this particular aspect of your party's platform. (I'd be curious to know exactly how you disagree.) However, anybody becoming involved in the Libertarian party should certainly be questioned as to whether or not they support repeal of antidiscrimination laws.

The rest of your response is either irrelevant to the topic or ridiculous on its face. But you knew that.


Steve Newton said...

Facts from my previous answer

1) The LP has platform goes way beyond what I consider appropriate with respect to discrimination and I don't agree with it; in fact that was one of the reasons I did not support the LP Presidential candidate.

2) You repeatedly make sweeping generalizations (Libertarian = KKK; GOP = Nazis) based on nothing more than assertions and use those assertions to stifle debate. That's how I can tell that you'd rather not engage in fact-based discussion of an issue: you deny your own behavior as irrelevant.

New fact (or old one for anybody who has been reading this blog):

I am a Constitutionalist first and foremost. I believe in the Bill of Rights, the 14th Amendment and the various protections against discrimination. As a Libertarian I view that sort of "discrimination" as a type of force (eviction) or fraud (non-service).

I would like to live in a society wherein such violations were so rare they could be handled within a court system. I have hopes that if we don't all choke to death we may get there: today it is not the laws against lynching that primarily prevent it from happening but how the way that we think about ethnicity and skin that has changed the country. Not finished, but progress made.

That said, I support a much broader right of people to discriminate in business or personal relations than you do. Given a choice between three candidates of equal qualification I think it is ridiculous for the government to mandate that I choose a particular one of them to remedy past injustices that were supported by the government.

Anonymous said...


1) If you'd like to hijack your own thread to discuss so-called "sweeping generalizations" made by me in the past, that is your prerogative, but it has nothing to do with the topic of the thread. Nothing.

I haven't made any "sweeping generalizations" in this thread and so I don't have plans to engage in that off-topic discussion now.

For the record I have never said "all Republicans are Nazis and all Libertarians are KKKers" or "Libertarian = KKK; GOP = Nazis." Never. The only time I ever mentioned the Klan and Libertarians together was in this thread, and anybody that can read can see how you misquoted and manipulated what I wrote for your own rhetorical purposes.

2) Thanks for clarifying your position. It is noted that it is opposite to the Libertarian party platform.

3) You can't say that you "support a much broader right of people to discriminate in business or personal relations" than I do because you don't know what I support. I certainly don't support any laws regulating or interfering in purely personal relationships.

4) Please don't be shocked or surprised when people like me continuously point out this repellent side of the Libertarian Party platform. Don't take it personally as it is not about your particular nuanced view.


Anonymous said...

Something anonymous said above:
"I was referring to the law and government enforcement of the law. Under a libertarian form of government, the state would enforce the "right to discriminate" by physical force, fines, and imprisonment against those who would challenge it."

No. You have it wrong. Under a purely Libertarian system there is no government law enforcement, or a very bare minumum. If you want your establishment to remain "Whites Only" it is YOUR responsibility to keep non-whites out, not the state's.