Monday, June 28, 2010

A visit to right-liberal HQ

What exactly is wrong with a libertarian or classical liberal politics? The answer is clear if you visit the Cato Institute.

The Cato Institute's mission is to "advance liberty". That sounds good, in fact in sounds very good. But wait till you find out exactly what "liberty" is thought to mean.

How to label Cato

The Catoists reject the label conservative. They like the term classical liberal but worry that it might be thought backward looking. So they prefer to be labelled as libertarians or market liberals.

In short, they are right-liberals. Like all liberals, they want a society made up of radically autonomous individuals. They reject the left-liberal idea that such a society can be organised by the administration of a central state, so their politics is anti-statist.

They believe instead that the best way to regulate a society made up of millions of abstracted, atomised, autonomous individuals is through the free market. The hidden hand of the market, it is thought, will keep the individual pursuit of profit working for the overall progress and benefit of society.

So they have a vision of Economic Man, in which our core identity and purpose is realised through our unimpeded participation in the market. That is the kind of liberty that matters to the Catoists, but as we shall see it's an understanding of liberty with unfortunate consequences.


Open borders


If you believe that the most important freedom is unrestricted trade, then you won't want limits placed on the movement of labour. And so you'll support open borders and mass immigration.

This is the immigration policy of the Cato Institute:

Immigration should be considered an important source of necessary labor for the American economy. Immigration policies should be revised to allow US based businesses liberal access to both high and low-skilled workers. Immigration control should be focused on securing our borders from terrorists and criminals.

Throughout history, immigration has been an important source of economic and social vitality for the United States, naturally expanding and contracting depending on the available supply of jobs in the US economy. Regulating immigration is the responsibility of the federal government, and we should have a comprehensive federal immigration system that promotes family cohesion, economic innovation, economic growth, the rule of law, and secure borders.

It's all focused on Economic Man. There's nothing about preserving a culture, heritage, identity or tradition. Nor is there even any serious consideration of social cohesion, apart from the one restriction of not allowing entry to terrorists.

Consider also two of the books that are being plugged by the Cato Institute:

Let Them In: The Case for Open Borders

Jason Riley makes the case for welcoming more immigrants to the United States. Drawing on history, scholarly studies and first-hand reporting, Riley argues that today’s newcomers are fueling America’s prosperity and dynamism.

Immigrants: Your Country Needs Them

In a provocative new book, British author Philippe Legrain presents a comprehensive case for expanding the freedom of workers to cross international borders legally, especially from less to more-developed countries. With an American audience in mind, Legrain examines the economic benefits of both high-skilled and low-skilled immigration.

A Cato type liberty means open borders for the sake of free trade. Little else is seriously considered. Isn't this a very limited view of man and society? And doesn't it impede other kinds of liberty, such as the freedom to enjoy and uphold an existing culture and identity? Or to enjoy stable forms of communal life that we can feel secure attachments to?

Even the economic arguments are dubious. There's evidence that lower skilled native workers suffer a fall in their economic condition during times of mass immigration. And yet such workers are supposed to believe that through open borders they are experiencing maximum liberty.

Breaking a pattern

These right-liberal ideas do have an influence. The more intellectual types within the Liberal Party, the Republican Party and the Conservative Party would have been influenced by these right-liberal ideas in their formative years.

It's important that those of us who don't like left-liberal politics don't fall into a right-liberal politics as an available alternative. The Cato slogan of "Individual Liberty, Free Markets, and Peace" might sound appealing, but in its details it's not helpful for conserving the larger Western tradition.

94 comments:

  1. How do you label the Cato institute? Well as you did, "money". Or at least "money and me".

    Cato himself wasn't a money man though, so maybe they should get a new title and stop dressing it up in principle.

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  2. Mark, unfortunaley this liberal philosophy is becoming the norm here in America amongst the right. So much so that Ron Paul's kooky son recently won his republican senate primary in Kenutcky (a heavily republican state). so now we will have to deal with him in the senate. What makes me so angry is how folks at the cato institute and Rand Paul will try to portay our founding fathers as "libertarians". It couldn't be further from the truth. If you look at early American history, much of our goverment was funded by tariff's placed on goods and there was a very strict immigration program. When the Irish Catholics were let in the country in the 1850's most American raised hell about it and it ended up contributing to The War for Southern Independence (civil war). mass immigration only destroys the natural fabric of society. we already have 30 million illegal immigrants from mexico in our country. They our making our cities look like third world countries and because their are so many of them they're forming seperate societies. Most middle class whites have been driven out of their neighborhoods. why don't they see this? don't they see how they're destroying our country?
    Also, look up the immigration act of 1965. Ted Kennedy (surprise, surprise) pushed it through the senate, and it has done as much damage to our cities as the civil rights act did. Don't they see how they've made the average American suffer? Don't they care?

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  3. Basically I agree with JA Morris on Ron and Rand's immigration policies. They need to be much harder. But there is good news! Rand Paul said in the end of May....

    “We’re the only country I know that allows people to come in illegally, have a baby, and then that baby becomes a citizen,” Paul told RT, an English-language station, shortly after his win over GOP establishment candidate Trey Grayson. “And I think that should stop also.”

    So Rand Paul wants to stop birthright citizenship!

    Now if only Rand Paul would come out and say "Let's cut Illegal Immigration especially during a time of economic trouble and high unemployment" Then I'd be very happy!

    I think Ron Paul contributed a great deal to helping people educate themselves on Austrian Economics, Von Mises, and the whole "Audit the Fed" campaign. Encouraging people to become active and cultivate knowledge is awesome.

    He's also the most intelligent person on the Finance Committee. Ron Paul's strength is not immigration but finance. I respect that greatly.
    ------

    Now onto CATO...

    International companies who don't believe in the concept of 'citizenship' or 'national sovereignty' because they simply want tons of cheap labor (and to enslave us all)....CATO is their intellectual front

    Lovely.

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  4. Excellent post Mark! I know people on the right who have just this attitude. A problem with it besides the ones you mentioned is that these immigrants vote for leftist redistribution and socialism for generations. My boss is hispanic, makes a LOT of money, is 3rd generation, and yet still votes Dem.

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  5. This is slightly off-topic, but relating to the argument re skilled immigrant labourers:

    In essence, does this practice not sink third-world countries even further into poverty and ruin? Surely the intelligent, diligent, skilled workers we're letting swarm in here would be better spent staying home and working to improve their own countries, rather than crowding into the West where their talents are not needed- except to stuff the pockets of the rich by providing cheap labour.

    When are the lefties going to learn that their "progressive" ideals do nothing but screw over the working class (whose side they claim to be on) and play right into the hands of the billionaire fat cats (who they supposedly hate?)

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  6. Female uni student,

    An example of the point you make is the emigration of large numbers of African doctors and nurses who are very much needed in their home countries.

    There's some information on this here and here.

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  7. Considering that the Founders fought and died for their own personal liberty, and the right to self-determination and self-rule, I think it is perfectly legitimate to call them "libertarians" or "classical liberals".

    Furthermore, they were mostly republicans, not federalists.

    From the Wikepedia:
    "Jeffersonian purists, or "Old Republican" wing of the party, led by Jefferson, John Randolph of Roanoke, William H. Crawford, and Nathaniel Macon, favored low tariffs, states' rights, strict construction of the Constitution, and reduced spending. It opposed a standing army. The "National Republicans," led by Henry Clay, John Quincy Adams and John C. Calhoun, eventually favored higher tariffs, a stronger national defense, and "internal improvements" (public works projects)."

    This was before there was even an income tax! Income tax was instituted in 1861, to fund the Civil War. They were still debating whether it was a good idea to have a standing, national defense. Before then, defense consisted of state militias.

    You must also remember that our Founders wouldn't have been anti-immigration for the simple reasons that:
    1) They were all immigrants themselves. Most of the people in the country were immigrants at the time.
    2) National borders were much more fluid at the time, with travel allowed generally unrestricted.
    3) They were, themselves, importing thousands of Africans to use as slave labour.

    From here:

    "There is no right to vote in the United States Constitution, so each state's standards have evolved separately unless federal laws were passed that applied to every state. When this country was founded, only white men with property were routinely permitted to vote (although freed African Americans could vote in four states). White working men, almost all women, and all other people of color were denied the franchise.

    By the time of the Civil War, most white men were allowed to vote, whether or not they owned property, thanks to the efforts of those who championed the cause of frontiersmen and white immigrants (who had to wait 14 years for citizenship and the right to vote, in some cases). Literacy tests, poll taxes, and even religious tests were used in various places, and most white women, people of color, and Native Americans still could not vote."

    It wasn't the presence of the immigrants that changed the culture, but their (and, let us not forget, women's) enfranchisement that changed everything. Before that, it was the people who were paying the taxes who decided how the money was spent. Afterward, they were in the minority. It was Representation without Taxation, to turn a phrase. And sooner or later, "you run out of other people's money".

    much of our goverment was funded by tariff's placed on goods
    Which is a system many libertarians wish to return to, as it is completely Constitutional. The Constitution does not grant the Federal Government the right to raise taxes directly from the citizens. It may do so only at the borders (through tarifs) and internally by requesting money from the individual states. Those states are then responsible for designing a system with which to raise those taxes.

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  8. What you are all forgetting is that it is possible to be a social conservative and a libertarian (like Ron Paul), just as it is possible to be a social conservative and a socialist (as my husband, and many Europeans are). The difference is in which economic and legal system one believes is most likely to lead to greater social welfare and cohesion. The debate is about the method, not the goal.

    For instance, it is not that Mr. Paul wants everyone smoking a joint, but that he doesn't believe that smoking pot is an offense so great that one should be incarcerated for it. I completely agree. Libertarians draw the line at trespasses. That is the one defining rule about libertarians. We don't like locking people up for stupid stuff.

    So a libertarian wouldn't outlaw pot, but they'd probably insist on strict driving-while-intoxicated rules, in order to protect the general public. They'd allow cities to pass ordinances (if they like), banning the use of such substances in public, to protect children from negative influences.

    What I still cannot glean is -- other than immigration -- where you conservatives differ from libertarians. Are you simply more eager to incarcerate people for defying your views on morality?

    There's evidence that lower skilled native workers suffer a fall in their economic condition during times of mass immigration.

    That's because most of those workers are black, and nobody likes them anyway. Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats bother doing anything that benefits black people, because most black people are so blind that they vote for Democrats regardless of policy.

    As for immigrants driving whites out of neighborhoods, that's not generally how it exactly happens. Immigrants drive blacks out of cities, the blacks escape to the suburbs, and the whites flee the blacks into the exurbs. That is why many white people now have extremely long commutes to work.

    A problem with it besides the ones you mentioned is that these immigrants vote for leftist redistribution and socialism for generations.

    That is not an immigrant-specific problem. Even most white Americans vote for those things. Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, food stamps, progressive federal taxes, subsidies and regulation, public education, etc. are favored by the overwhelming majority of Americans. All of those socialist/fascist programs contribute to societal decline and the growth of the national debt, and they are all wildly popular.

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  9. At any rate, Cato's support for poor-country immigration is easily explained by political expediency. The truth is that most of Cato's readership and contributors are wealthy white people. Contrary to popular belief, most illegal immigrants work in domestic areas (as nannies, prostitutes, housekeepers, janitors, gardeners, pool maintenance, chauffer's, etc.) So if Cato spoke out against immigration, they'd be antagonizing their greatest supporters.

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  10. Good post Mark.

    I think you identified a significant schism in American conservatism...that between Economicons and the Socialcons.

    Economicons think as you identified here. Socialcons tend to be more concerned with the socio-cultural sphere.

    Unfortunately neither set appears to be much concerned about the spread and penetration of government in society, and sees no issue with using governmental force to accomplish their own ends.

    Alte, what you just said will probably have Goldwater rolling over in his grave, but you speak more truth than I'd like to admit. The label 'conservative' is defined so broadly these days that it envelops some quite fascist and other socialist notions.

    The real left-right divide is between authoritarianism and anarchism. Radical right-wingers are anarchists, radical left-wingers are absolutists in the style of Hobbes or Plato.

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  11. Unfortunately neither set appears to be much concerned about the spread and penetration of government in society, and sees no issue with using governmental force to accomplish their own ends.

    Precisely. Both systems presume that the government is being used to reduce the negative consequences of immoral actions. The Economicons (like Cato), ignore the fact that the illegal immigrants are only cheaper than the more productive natives because they are governmental free-loaders. The fact that they drive black and other poor citizens out of work is never included in the calculations. Increases in crime and delinquancy, the flight of citizens out of such neighborhoods, higher illegitmate birthrates, etc. are also left out. In other words, the social costs (which can be estimated in dollars) of such policies are ignored.

    The Sociocons ignore the fact that their "let's be nice people and use the government as a gigantic charity" policies create an enormous burden on legal labor and economic markets, as well as destroying institutions that are incredibly valuable to society (such as church, family, communities). This destruction can also be estimated in dollars.

    In other words, both forms of government interference in natural markets and systems (such as the marriage market, the religious market, the employment market, and even the community market -- as we have a very transient society) skew the markets substantially and create perverse incentives.

    Neither such systems are truly conservative (as they both destroy the basis of Western society), nor are the libertarian (as the markets are not truly free, but manipulated by the goverment to hide the true costs).

    Only a person who is truly against all such manipulation can truly describe themselves as a libertarian, as I do. And, it is true, true libertarianism skews in the direction of anarchy. I am not an arachist, but a strict Constitutionalist. However, Constitutionalism appears anarchic to those used to living in our current system.

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  12. Bruce Charlton on Libertarians. He used to be a libertarian, and seems to be reading VFR. Here is a choice paragraph:


    Where are the libertarian saints and martyrs? Libertarians are intrinsically and on principle cowardly and hedonistic loners who will not suffer privation, take risks or undergo personal suffering either for the good of the group or for transcendental goals (unless they subjectively, arbitrarily happen to enjoy doing so!). Instead, libertarians tend to minimize their losses, to cut and run. In sum, libertarian group goals are continually undercut by the selfish-short-termism which is itself the prime directive of libertarianism. Hence libertarianism is unable to generate cohesion beyond the level of a leisure club - not even enough cohesion to run a political party!

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  13. Female uni student,

    Of course letting in large numbers of the best and brightest from the third world doesn't help the third world, unless they return home with extra skills or send a lot of money home, (although, I'm sure there are pros and cons there too).

    But migration isn't about helping the third world, its a selfish philosophy about what's best for us. Letting in all these people helps us economically, or so the argument goes, and brings the brightest to our shores.

    Guilt towards the third world can be paid off by the occasional charity drive and concern over Nike shoe's business practices.

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  14. Jaz,

    Thank you. That article actually supports my hypothesis.

    The re-emergence of devout Christianity from a counter-cultural movement to a national force is dependent upon libertarianism. If all government supports for immoral behavior were removed, people would be pressured by their circumstances and increased vulnerability to join a church.

    As for Ron Paul, he is -- by far -- the most morally-correct politician America has seen in a long while.

    http://catholicsforronpaul.blogspot.com/2008/01/america-ron-paul-and-catholic-social.html

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  15. Alte, you're just playing the "worse is better" card so beloved by revolutionaries. No, worse is just worse.

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  16. Jaz,

    You are assuming that "worse" has to be instigated. Worse will soon be upon us, and we should discuss what comes next. You are too wedded to inertia.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleolibertarianism

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  17. Alte, I agree that things will get worse, but no one who cares for the the good, true, and beautiful of our civilization is going to turn to Libertarianism (even its "paleo" strain) for correction.

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  18. Alte.....

    I think everyone here agrees with you. I think Ron Paul is amazing and a great leader and easily by leaps and bounds the best guys in Congress (except stop legal immigration!)

    The problem is not Ron Paul. The problem is the really really weird libertarians at Reason magazine.

    There's one Ron Paul....but many many libertarians at Reason. (in fact read Steve Chapman's latest)

    Furthermore, using the people at Reason mag as the 'definition' of a libertarian.....our Founding Fathers were not libertarians.

    See....Ron Paul alone does not a libertarian movement make.

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  19. Frankly Alte, I feel like Ron Paul calls himself a libertarian for one and only one reason.

    His goal was to get weird smart white boys who don't consider themselves to be christian (they are too cool for that) away from the 'liberal' fold....and back to the constitutionalism of the Founding Fathers.

    But he couldn't do that by calling himself a 'traditional Christian conservative' cuz weird little premarital sex crazed/drugged out white boys would never go for that.

    So he called himself a libertarian.

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  20. Frankly I think the Ron Paul libertarianism worked really well. My non-Christian white male friends who are 'too cool for Christian school' are all now Paultards and Tea Party supporters :) And as they get older....they start becoming more traditional and more open to Christianity (especially the military ones). Ron Paul's form of libertarianism is a gateway drug to more conservative movements :) :) Ron Paul is to Conservative Christian Traditionalism as Marijuana is to Crack :)

    Mission Accomplished :)

    (although me being the pro-white person I am still frustrated at their refusal to address legal immigration ad the white minority! grrrrr)

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  21. 1. libertarianism is a much easier sell than social conservatism. Any right of centre approach has to combine an appeal to smaller government with social values tying back to the promotion of the family.

    2. If you remove the safety net of the state, people in need of support networks move back to the natural safety net provided for us by biology, the family.

    in short:

    If you remove the state people will fall back on the family, especially if you sell them on the need to do so [just scream "tax cuts for everyone!].

    Not everyone will, and like the break-up of the family it would need to be a gradual process, but it is really the only way to make people into traditionalists, most people are already, you just remove the obstacles for them.

    If your healthcare, education, shelter and food are reliant on your family structure as well as yourself then families [and large families in particular] become economically viable again.

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  22. Hat tip Mark...

    http://www.fathersforlife.org/pizzey/planned_destruction_of_family.htm

    Amazing article, well worth a read.

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  23. Melbourne Boy,

    You wrote:

    Any right of centre approach has to combine an appeal to smaller government with social values tying back to the promotion of the family.

    That's good. It fits in well with a traditionalist conservatism. But in practice it's difficult for classical liberals/libertarians to hold the line on this programme.

    Why? Once you accept the principle that liberty, understood as radical autonomy, is the first principle of politics, it's difficult to support either the traditional family or a smaller state.

    I've debated a lot of classical liberals/libertarians over the years. The logic of their position on the family usually goes like this:

    a) We support radical autonomy as a first principle
    b) Therefore we are committed to accepting a range of family types, up to and including polygamous ones
    c) Therefore we will argue that there won't be any negative outcomes to supporting any kind of family arrangement

    Furthermore, if you believe that the moral thing is to remove impediments to radical autonomy, then it's very difficult to resist using the state for these purposes.

    For instance, if you believe that women should be autonomous of men, then you will prefer them to be supported by the state rather than by a husband. It becomes difficult to resist calls for paid maternity leave, state wages for women at home and so on.

    Even "fusionist" liberals, such as Tony Abbott, tend to think like this. Abbott reads and quotes Edmund Burke a fair bit, but despite this he continues to fuse his Burkeanism with an orthodox liberal belief in "liberty as radical autonomy" as the core principle of politics.

    And so even someone like Abbott parrots the standard line about all family arrangements being as good as each other and that women need to be paid by the state to look after their children etc.

    This will continue as long as young right-wingers are brought up within that core modernist principle, whether it be expressed by a von Mises, a Rand, or a Catoist.

    Think of all those Young Libs faithfully reading their Atlas Shrugged. Do they ever end up, as senior politicians, supporting a smaller state or the traditional family?

    Rarely. If they do act to limit the state, it's nearly always in terms of reducing state influence in the market (privatisation, deregulation), as this is in line with their focus on Economic Man.

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  24. Once you accept the principle that liberty, understood as radical autonomy, is the first principle of politics, it's difficult to support either the traditional family or a smaller state.

    What I can't seem to impress upon you, Mark, is that politics is about government. It is possible to vote according to libertarian principles, but support a strong church and strong families. The two are not only not mutually exclusive, they depend upon each other. Strong states always weaken private institutions. So strong private institutions depend upon a limited government.

    Individualism is essential to Chritianity, because we are each responsible before God for the choices we make in our lives. We cannot answer for our choices and our conduct, if we are not free to make choices. How can morality be forced upon someone? That is a contradiction in itself. It is only a moral choice if the immoral choice was present but rejected. If the immoral choice was excluded, then there can be no talk of morality, only of coercion.

    Traditional conservatives only differentiate themselves from socio-liberals in that they wish to use the law to limit people's freedom in the opposite way. Either way, it is tyranny. And it was precisely this tyranny of the majority (the evil of democracy, rather than the good of republicanism) that the Constitution was written to prevent. That is why any Constitutionalist is -- by very definition -- a libertarian.

    And that is why a Constitutionalist cannot be a traditional conservative. The Constitution is about personal liberty, traditional conservatism is about conformity. Traditional conservatives would deny us our God-given, inalienable rights, and usurp our hard-won freedom of association.

    Let me be provocative. I am often asked, "How can a devout Christian be a libertarian?" But I must ask, "How can a devout Christian be anything other than a libertarian?" How can one possibly reconcile any other philosophy with the political liberty and private communitarianism of the early Church? How can one possibly back conformism while religious liberty is under attack?

    Ayn Rand is not a libertarian, at any rate, she is an objectivist. That is something different, and she despised libertarians (many of whom, even back then, were devout Christians). The policies are similar, but the philosophy is different, which results in different outcomes.

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  25. I’m going to have to disagree with you here, Alte.

    Political liberty wasn't really the condition that prevailed in the early church. Prior to Constantine it was oppression of Christianity by the state, which was not a libertarian one. Then when Constantine converted the Empire to Christianity, Christianity became the state religion, and the state was still not a libertarian one.

    The ideal Christian government would be a Christian King working in synergy with the Christian Church. It's not a "tyranny", from the *Christian* perspective, in theory, because the state is a Christian one. Questions of moral responsibility are always between oneself and God in the context of the Church, and are, in this model, not the purview of the state. Therefore a Christian Kingdom does not impede the kind of personal freedom that is a necessary precondition for moral choices to be possible -- it doesn't force that, nor can it, from a moral perspective, as that remains in the realm of the Christian Church. Having said that, if obedience to Ceasar, a pagan Emperor who persecuted both Jews and Christians, was a moral responsibility for Christians, this is even more the case in the context of one's responsibility to obey a Christian King.

    The larger problem with libertarianism, from the Christian perspective, is that it breeds a worldview of individualism together with a kind of division of the world into two stories -- both of which are inconsistent with a Christian worldview. Christianity is not about individualism, it is about *personhood*. We confess and experience God as Trinity, as a ceaseless "perichoresis" of persons, the meaning of each of which is inherently bound up in its ceaseless communion with the others. Individualism, by contrast, tends to view people as units in and of themselves -- self-determining, autonomous, self-defining and "complete" in and of themselves, whether they choose to enter into communion with others or not. It is a worldview which can never really admit to the uniqueness or universality of Christianity, in total, because this conflicts with the dignity of each individual to self-define his or her own truth -- the essence of free expression of one's individuality. Individualism therefore leads directly to relativism -- because every view that is not relativist *must* infringe on the freedom of individuals to define their own truth in a way that matches the “validity” of the truth claims of others. This is why our individualist-oriented culture is so hell-bent on tolerance as a core virtue --> unless you have tolerance, you have, de facto, the enhancement of certain truth claims above others, which in itself is a substantial limitation on the power of people to be truly "individuals" in the sense of being fully able to define the content of the truth of themselves, others, and the world as a whole in a way that is viewed as having an equal claim to “truthiness” as all other truth claims have. And, as we also see reflected in our current society, this view is very *intolerant* of Christian views about the world and moral behavior and so on, again, precisely because the latter are based on truth claims which are exclusive, and which are therefore fundamentally offensive to an individualist worldview.

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  26. This leads more or less directly to the other problem with political libertarianism: it endorses the separation of the sacred from the secular -- something which more or less destroys Christianity. This is what I mean by distinguishing between the 1-story and 2-story world. In a world divided between sacred and secular, we spend most of our lives on the first floor, the "secular" one, and only certain aspects of our private lives on the second, or "sacred", floor. As a result, the world becomes disconnected from God, religion becomes separated from public life and public morals, and so on, and religion ceases to reveal the world as it truly is -- namely a one-story place where there is, and can be, no separation between sacred and secular, just as there can be no separation between the divinity and humanity of Christ. Libertarianism demands this, because it demands the privatization of religion, and the secularization of the public space, by definition. It mouths tolerance of private religious practice, but this is more or less explicitly conditioned on this precisely remaining “private” – that is, apart from the “secular world”. It must be so, because the presence of religion in the private space, with its exclusivist truth claims, of necessity is offensive to libertarian individualists who specifically claim the right to their own truth and decry the “intolerance” of Christian truth claims. Therefore Christianity is relegated to the second story, while the first story is cleansed of “exclusive” truth claims, freeing it up for maximal personal autonomy and freedom to self-define one’s own truth. In this way, the core idea of libertarianism – individual freedom to the max -- therefore provides the main ideological support for the separation of secular and sacred in the society as a whole -- something which greatly impedes the work of the Church and which therefore can't be seen as any kind of "ideal" from the Christian perspective.

    The idea of a Christian Kingdom may seem unrealistic in this day and age, and perhaps it is. But it's also certain that a libertarian political system is disastrous for the Christian worldview. It’s also high time that we recognize that some of the ideas that were lying behind the U.S. Constitution, whether libertarian or not, do not have their basis in Christianity, but in the anti-Christian Enlightenment movement, and as such are of questionable value to Christians.

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  27. The ideal Christian government would be a Christian King working in synergy with the Christian Church.

    Says who? I would argue that the ideal Christian government was the one we already had, before socialism and multiculturism (read: anti-Christianity) crept in. It was far from perfect, but it was the best form of government that the world had ever seen. The Holy Roman Empire was a government as you would proscribe, and I do not see how that was any better.

    That would work if Jesus were the king. But as a mere plain-old-human would be the king, such a system could only lead to corruption and totalitarianism. It is to protect against such a concentration of powers that the Catholic Church developed the concept of subsidiarity, in the first place. There is no such thing as a human being without sin, so no one is fit to lead in such a monarchical or authoritarian manner. Even the Pope's true powers are quite limited, in acknowledgement of that fact.

    How do you explain that Constitutional America is the country with the highest levels of church attendance and religious faith in the industrialized world? Can it not be true that separating the church from the state is good for the church? Christianity retains it's greatest credibility when it stands apart from the government, rather than when it allies itself with it. Christianity began as a counter-cultural movement, and it thrives as such.

    Furthermore, there was a strict separation in Jesus's own mind between Caesar (the state) and himself (the Church). He wasn't interested in fighting wars, getting caught up in bureaucratic discussions of irrelevant minutiae, debates about the placement of roads, and writing legal proclomations. He didn't just reduce the laws, he scrapped it all down to The Golden Rule.

    What is libertarianism, if not the inverse of the Golden Rule? This gives the government a monopoly on physical force, and it is then the space between the inverse and the original where private institutions (family, church, community) are supposed to rule. It is then the space beyond the Golden Rule (our internal space) where the development of our own person is paramount.

    We need the government to protect our life, liberty, and property. We need our church to guide our morality, and provide us with the sacraments. We need our family and community to learn to love. We do not need the goverment to guide our morality or teach us love. They should stick to killing people and locking them up, which is what governments do best.

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  28. Therefore a Christian Kingdom does not impede the kind of personal freedom that is a necessary precondition for moral choices to be possible -- it doesn't force that, nor can it, from a moral perspective, as that remains in the realm of the Christian Church.

    Please explain this. A monarch has no restraints on his authority, other than his personal views and morality. If he chooses to restrict our freedom, what is to stop him? His conscience? And would such a monarchy be hereditary?

    Individualism, by contrast, tends to view people as units in and of themselves -- self-determining, autonomous, self-defining and "complete" in and of themselves, whether they choose to enter into communion with others or not.

    No, the point of individualism is that one cannot use the violence of government to force someone into communion with anyone else. That is the basis of free association, and free association is the basis of freedom of religion. If we cannot choose our associates, then we cannot choose our church. I would rather die that live somewhere where I am forced to associate with any church. How do I know that the official church will not change, and my alliegance be expected to change, as well? Remember the Tudors.

    And we mustn't forget that Constitutional libertarianism is founded upon patriarchy. The individuals -- the "people" referenced over and over in the document -- are free men. Neither slaves nor women were free, they were dependents. They therefore did not count as "individuals" in the political sense, which is why they did not receive suffrage.

    The Constitution protects free men's liberties in order to protect the position of family patriarch. That was the goal: that each man be free to rule his own household without gross interference from his neighbors or his government.

    But by freeing men up to be patriarchs, the Constitution also saddled them with a staggering weight of responsibility. It is the attempt by such men, to unload this responsibility (to protect, provide, and lead thier own families), that has lead to the socialism that we now have. Most men no longer own a rifle or other weapon because they have abdicated the responsibility to protect their families to the state. Most men are no longer the sole breadwinners in their household because they have abdicated their responsibility to provide for their household to the state (through welfare and through pretend-jobs for their wives). Most men no longer lead their families because the government educates their children and teaches their family's right from wrong.

    Men have unloaded all of their responsibilities, and their rights have gone with them. As they always do. That is Natural Law.

    It is only now, with the societal decline brought about by the weakening of patriarchy, that people assume anarchy is the result of a limited government. Limited government was instituted in order to protect the patriarchy, at it's lowest but most important level: the family.

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  29. The liberal ideas underlying the constitution come from the Enlightenment, which was itself largely a rebellion, on the philosophical level, against religion in favor of reason. It was only a matter of time until that played itself out to its endgame, just as it was only a matter of time until the rebellion against authority implicit in the Reformation led to the Enlightenment itself.

    The idea of returning to some kind of "pure American libertarianism" pretty much obscures the reality that statism is the ultimate required outcome of the ideas of the Enlightenment, including the exaltation of reason and democracy. The reason for that is that the equality promised by the Constitution, it was eventually (and fairly quickly) realized, *required* the state power to enforce. If left to themselves, people's interest in equality is directly related to their position in the hierarchy. The majority *will* use the force of the state to enforce equality against the minority in a democracy. That's just how it is, and it was an idea that was implicit in the Constitution itself, even if it only manifested itself in an ultraviolent way several decades later.

    Libertarianism is the idea that you can have the majority of the people in a democratic system tolerating inequality of result because they value their freedom more than the other guy's stuff. That doesn't work, long-term. It goes against human nature. Humans *always* want the other guy's stuff. In a democracy, however, they can, through elections, cause the government to *take* the other guy's stuff from him, and this will be done in the name of social justice and equality. Democracy will always devolve, eventually, into some kind of social democracy (even a "social democracy lite" as the US currentlyu is). Socialism and statism are the natural results of liberalism. This is why the libertarian strain of liberalism has always been, and will always remain, a rather small, minority view in a democracy --> most of the proles know well enough that a libertarian system doesn't favor them, whereas a social democracy where the rich guy's stuff gets redistributed, serves the prole majority just fine. It took this longer to settle in here in the US as compared to Europe because of the individualist residue that came from early colonialism and manifest destiny. Those days are long gone, and they won't come back. As a result, the libertarian project is doomed politically, not because it has no supporters, but because in a democracy it will eventually be outvoted by a social democracy (whether of a right or left variety) which redistributes -- gives the majority some of the stuff owned by the minority, which is what it is human nature to want when other folks have stuff you want but do not have.

    A Christian monarchy is not perfect, either. No human system is perfect, which is why Churchill famously said that democracy was the worst form of government, but simply less worse than the other ones that have been tried. But we should entertain no illusions --> liberal democracy will always eventually lead to some form of social democracy, because once people realize they can use the state to get other people to give them their stuff, they will.

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  30. Alte,

    Most people don't think in terms of abstract principles. They're more concerned about concrete realities.

    When social conservatives argue for "freedom of association", most of them are using an abstract principle to justify a concrete reality, i.e., the right to associate exclusively with people of their own ethnic background. The abstract principle is a means to an end.

    When liberals argue against "freedom of association", their minds are similarly focused on the concrete reality, i.e., neighborhoods, schools, and even entire societies divided along ethnic lines. For them, this is unhealthy and they react angrily to attempts to steer the argument toward abstract principles.

    Perhaps you think liberals are wrong to react that way. I personally think they're right, but it doesn't matter. If you set personal freedom as your ideal, most people will interpret that ideal in concrete terms. They will notice that "freedom of association" actually restricts freedom, and they will attack you as a hypocrite.

    Again perhaps they've got it all wrong. So what? That's the political reality you have to deal with.

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  31. Peter, perhaps I was merely born into the wrong century.

    Novaseeker, you say that:
    liberal democracy will always eventually lead to some form of social democracy, and I know that. My point is that going back to a liberal democracy would be like setting a giant reset button. Everything moves in cycles: communism, feminism, racism, classism, etc. They go up, they go down, they go up...

    The cycle is clearly coming when communism again runs out of "other people's money" and bankrupts itself. Doesn't it make sense to think of what comes next? To make plans for the next government, and begin moving in that direction? Are we merely to sit around and wait for the nihilists to finish their work, cry over the ashes, and rebuild from the rubble?

    We risk the country falling into chaos, and then sliding into authoritarianism. Like Weimer, Russia, and now Argentina did. Sort of an orderly draw-down of government.

    There is much talk on here about libertarianism being a bit of a political "side-show", but there is no doubt that we are beginning to affect the public's views on the role of the state. We have math on our side (as we are a bunch of eggheads), and the only policies that could work without having to completely dismantle the state and impose massive segregation.

    Most Americans are self-described conservatives (center-right), but we are pulling them further toward libertarian principles. The extremists determine the center, after all. Traditional conservatives would be wise not to complain too loudly about the "crazy libertarians", as our presence makes them look like perfectly reasonable moderates.

    LOL. Well, it's true.

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  32. I haven't read all the posts...too much...but I have just a quick thing to add..

    Alte said,

    "It is possible to vote according to libertarian principles, but support a strong church and strong families. The two are not only not mutually exclusive, they depend upon each other. Strong states always weaken private institutions. So strong private institutions depend upon a limited government."

    You know the Europeans have small nuclear families. This led us to rely more on the state then in other cultures. Because of our family structure, the state had to provide some social services.

    It's just a consideration. Overall, even a country with a strong state doesn't have to be anti-Christian and like what we have now.

    Truthfully, I think the people just got corrupted and then bad guys took over our institutions. (I won't go into conspiracies!) The old Anglo-Saxon WASPS who dominated the institutions back before 1960 at least CARED about their people and they were open-minded and meritocratic. Our elites now (cough cough) are the exact opposite.

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  33. Alte wrote,

    "You must also remember that our Founders wouldn't have been anti-immigration for the simple reasons that:
    1) They were all immigrants themselves. Most of the people in the country were immigrants at the time.
    2) National borders were much more fluid at the time, with travel allowed generally unrestricted.
    3) They were, themselves, importing thousands of Africans to use as slave labour."


    Well, that's totally false.

    Here's Franklin on your points #1 and #3: http://bc.barnard.columbia.edu/~lgordis/earlyAC/documents/observations.html

    Here's John Jay on #2: nationhood:http://www.constitution.org/fed/federa02.htm

    Here's Jefferson on the feasibility of a white-black co-nation: http://www.monticello.org/reports/quotes/memorial.html

    and I could go on and on. I have no idea where you got the idea that the Founders were all open-borders enthusiasts, but that's just wrong.

    And I don't mean any offense, but your first point is just plain silly. Surely, you understand the difference between an "immigrant" and a "settler" or even "conqueror"?

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  34. Truthfully, I think the people just got corrupted and then bad guys took over our institutions.

    That's inevitable, whatever the system. So we should keep the institutions weak, by design.

    http://townhall.com/columnists/ChuckNorris/2010/05/18/our_founders_solutions_for_illegal_immigration

    Bartholemew, I stand corrected about the borders. You were right to say that they were concerned with limiting immigration.

    Jefferson was living in a time when most black people were slaves. I don't think his opinion on "black culture" is very relevant today. Unless you assume that black American people are still African.

    As for immigrants, settlers, and conquerors... I suppose it depends on who you are. The Indians thought they were conquerors, but they called themselves settlers (in NA). I see them as immigrants fleeing religious persecution.

    Of course, one could have the same discussion about the Mexicans floodng the country. Are they immigrants or conquerors, or merely settling the land that the whites are vacating through their negative birthrate?

    Did Hitler conquer the Sudentenland, or did he merely free it?

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  35. "Are they immigrants or conquerors, or merely settling the land that the whites are vacating through their negative birthrate?"

    That's pretty hot talk. I thought they were "undocumented workers".

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  36. LOL, Jesse. I live dangerously.

    Barthalomew,
    If you point out that something I write is "silly" (as opposed to being merely "false"), does that mean you thought the rest was "not silly"? Or merely that you were so overwhelmed by the blatant and shameless amount of silliness in my comments that you decided to limit yourself to a single bit, for expediency's sake?

    At any rate, my brain is currently degrading in a hormone bath, so I'm afraid I no longer have the intellectual firepower to keep this debate going. It was fun, though, and gave me a lot to think about.

    I'm still waiting for a traditional conservative platform. Right now it seems limited to nitpicking the various liberals, and fanciful conjecture, without offering concrete and testable ideas of one's own.

    I'd also be interested in hearing a defense of Novaseekers's romantic ideas for a Christian monarchy, where the glaring and obvious risks such a system poses are cleanly and neatly disposed of. I shan't hold my breath.

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  37. As I said, a Christian monarchy is not a perfect system, either. It is merely a system that runs the highest likelihood of Christian morality being prevalent in the public sphere as well as the private one. Libertarianism, by contrast, abandons the public sphere to secularism, of necessity, because the imposition on the public sphere of any Christian ideas, based as they are on exclusive truth claims, is offensive to libertarian individualism. Don't believe me? Look at how deeply and fundementally hostile our present civil libertarian brigade is about any public displays of Christianity at all. With a libertarian system, you concede the public sphere and perpetuate the heretical worldview which divides sacred and secular -- perhaps the main heresy of the modern world, really, and one which has been fueled by religion permitting itself to be escorted into its own comfortable, protected, yet ultimately socially irrelevant, box.

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  38. The First Amendment reads:
    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

    You do realize that America was founded as a Christian country, right? The freedom of religion was about

    1) Not establishing a national church (although some states had official churches at the time); one was free to choose one's own Christian denomination.

    2) Freedom to express one's own Christian faith; a right to religion, not from religion. There is no right to "keep annoying Christians from praying in public and stuff".

    Everyone else (who was not Christian) was supposed to keep a low profile, and were kicked out -- or even murdered -- if they made a nuisance of themselves. That's why they persecuted the Mormons later.

    After all, our rights are inalienable because they come from God -- the One True God. Without God, our rights are no longer something special that needs to be protected, so libertarianism loses its point without Christian faith. Then it's just a free-for-all. Muslims, pagans, polygamist Mormons, and other people who do not follow our God, will not share our morality, and are therefore unfit to inhabit this country. Atheists should learn to shut it, as well.

    Libertarianism is about how we govern. It says nothing about who is allowed citizenship, or a residency permit.

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  39. Good luck with that Alte.

    Modern libertarianism is anti-Christian. It just *IS*. The founding fathers, most of whom were deists who believed in a democracy of the elite, due to land-ownership requirements for voting that they all took as self-evidently necessary (not in itself a bad thing, but not what contemporary libertarians believe), are inapposite to the contemporary situation.

    Today, libertarianism is the ACLU and Reason magazine: anti-Christian, anti-religion, pro-secularist, and in favor of sanitizing all public life from the "taint" of "private religious belief", which of course they support as a *private* matter -- provided it stays in its own box.

    America's ideology is deeply flawed, sadly. We are now reaping the cultural fruits of these flaws.

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  40. Mark said:

    ""Think of all those Young Libs faithfully reading their Atlas Shrugged. Do they ever end up, as senior politicians, supporting a smaller state or the traditional family?""

    While I loathe the young Libs I find myself forced to speak up here.

    Far more are faithfully reading Rand now than in previous times, a little scary perhaps considering just how far some of Rand's ideas go.

    And Rand considered herself to be in opposition to libertarianism with her "objectivism". She was a little mad though, so who knows what was going on.

    I stand by my statement, the only way to increase the relevance of the family and to return it [and all that comes with it] to prime place in peoples lives is to stop the state from usurping the families' functions.

    This requires a shrinking of the state. Most ideologies that seriously propose shrinking the state are called libertarian.

    If you don't like the ACLU or Reason Magazine version of "Libertarianism" [and I don't] then invent a type of your own "Traditionalist Libertarian" or some such like.

    Why come out as anti-libertarian when Libertarian ideas could be used to draw more people, especially young people, to traditionalist ideas?

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  41. MelbourneBoy said,

    "Why come out as anti-libertarian when Libertarian ideas could be used to draw more people, especially young people, to traditionalist ideas?"

    Because libertarianism leads to excessive individualism, which leads to the problems we have today (although Alte is arguing valiantly that this is not the case). Our societies have had more than a gut full of "liberty", so much so that they can frequently barely function. So rather than Conservatives having to incorporate "Traditional Libertarianism", why don't you drop that that bloody awful line from your slogan.

    I remember a few years ago when John Howard was Prime Minister and the prospect of National Service (compulsory military service for young people) was raised. Now I'm not saying I was personally for or against it. However, who do you think were the first group to come out against it? The Young Liberals, (incidentally one of the strongholds of libertarianism). Why? Because they didn't want their accounting careers delayed for a year. The common interest is apparently something that other people, and not them, should look to.

    This is what libertarianism in practice means, all for me, who are you to tell me what to do? A doctrine that says my interests must dominate and everyone else's must make room, is a doctrine counter to the preservation of society. Which is what conservatism and traditionalism stands for.

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  42. although Alte is arguing valiantly that this is not the case

    No, I am arguing that it doesn't have to be the case.

    I'm against compulsory military service, by the way. It's a way for rich people (who can always find an exemption) to force everyone else to fight for them. So that they can delay their accounting careers for a year. Just look at the Vietnam draft, to see how it works.

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  43. The point was not about military service but about those who were the first to oppose it. The immediate opposition of people who would seek to lead, and who claim nationalism, but who also are unwilling to be personally put out or to recognise that society is about more than just them.

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  44. The immediate opposition of people who would seek to lead, and who claim nationalism, but who also are unwilling to be personally put out or to recognise that society is about more than just them.

    Sounds like most of the politicians over here. They seem to just be out for themselves, whatever the party. Throw the bums out.

    For what it's worth, the libertarians that I personally know are devout Christians and patriots, who donate generously to charity, and are very active in their communities and in their neighborhoods. We have a very tight-knit community, with healthy families. I suspect this actually feeds libertarianism, as we don't feel as dependent upon state largess and "aid", and are more confident that we'd be able to pick up the slack.

    I'm actually quite surprised by the anti-libertarian bias on this blog, because I don't see it in real life. I live in an area of the country where my neighbors fly the Gadsden flag in their front yard, march in Tea Parties downtown, and repeatedly vote to cuts in their own public services in order enforce austerity. Even cuts that are painful for everyone, themselves included. Many retired military or blue-collar workers, as well; hard-working men. When someone at our dioscese has trouble covering their medical bills, or paying the rent, the priests send around for a second collection (and the result is always generous).

    These people are "givers", not "takers", and are arguably among the best that America has to offer. Some of them are racist, that is true, but they help their black neighbors just the same. To be honest, I've been increasingly infected by their libertarian beliefs since living here. I respect and admire these people, that the "city folk" would dismiss as a bunch of ignorant rednecks.

    So the "libertarians" you guys describe are not the kind that I know, or that I consider myself to be. We are very socially conservative. These are the homeschooling-homemaking-farming kind of libertarians, not a bunch of big-city paper-pushers.

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  45. Every political and cultural system -- even a libertarian one -- will have its elites. The elites have a disproportionate cultural and political influence under any system, even a libertarian one. The libertarian elites are Reason and the ACLU. If a libertarian political and cultural system were enacted (and to be honest, we are "partway" there, because we largely have cultural libertarianism already), the elites would be driving where that libertarian culture would go. And that is, most assuredly, not in the direction of Christ.

    Statism is not the issue, per se. Many American conservatives in particular miss this, because the prevailing political ideology in the US has deep anti-statist roots. The issue isn't the state, the issue is what the state is doing, and how the state is constituted. A democratic state in a fully-blown sense will always tend towards social democracy at least, and socialism at worst. A state that is not democratic won't do that, but of course a non-democratic state with secular values is also horrific, as we see in both the Soviet Union and various right-wing dictatorships over the years. A Christian Kingdom is better, however, and different. It's unrealistic in today's age, that is true, but the idea is sound -- namely a state that is interested in public morals and defends the same, not "forcing" religious practice on anyone (many pre-Revolutionary Russians never went to Church, for example, they were not *forced* into religion, although the state endorsed religious values as the basis for public moral expectations), but at the same time not giving in to the tendency of the mob to want to use the government to steal from others.

    A libertarian system, by contrast, sanitizes the public space from religion at the most influential levels. Sure, in a small town you may be able to insulate yourselves from the impacts of a doggedly secularist libertarian central regime (although I doubt it ... most civil libertarians have no problems with the state using its power to keep religion in a box, as we see with the ACLU), but you can't so easily do that when it comes to a culture dominated by culture producers who are also doggedly secularist. Libertarianism may seem like an improvement over the current system, but it is less of one than a Christian monarchy would be, and at the same time a no more realistic one (the legions of browns flooding the borders will not be embracing libertarianism anytime soon, because it doesn't benefit them, and both political parties know this, so they will continue to permit the demographic change to continue).

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  52. Apologies for that series there. Google kept sending me error messages that the post was too long, when in fact it was posting it anyway, so I deleted the extraneous material.

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  53. May I take a moment to gasp in shock at the idea that the esteemed persons of the ACLU and Reason are my "elites"?

    Okay... I've recovered. Sorry for losing my infamous composure.

    But seriously, Novaseeker. You and I both know that the only people that matter are the ones who are alive. Sterile "elites" can only reign as long as they are breathing. They can annoy us all, and torment us with their nonsense and stupidity, but they cannot take their powers with them when they go.

    I belong to an environment where large families are the norm. Where my 2 meagre offspring puts me in the "infertile minority". These people can win the debate in any democracy by merely outbreeding the rest. Even the infamous "Mexican invasion" can't match the pure fecundity of my allies.

    Sorry if we dissapoint you, but our libertarianism swamps their libertarianism. We have the babies, we have the votes, we have the power. It's just a matter of "sit back and wait" now. They'll regret their stupid democracy when they realize that they are no longer in the majority. The mathematical possibilities of the exponential growth of populations are breathtaking.

    Unless everything crashes down in ruins first, of course.

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  54. When the first libertarian jumps on a hand grenade to save his fellows, or braves a hail of rifle fire for the sake of his nation, I'll sit up and take notice.

    Until then, "libertarianism" (an artificial name for an artificial philosophy) will remain mostly hollow, the last bastion of libertines.

    As far as the libertarians trying to co-opt the Founding Fathers, the Declaration of Independence makes reference to one people, not a loose group of radically liberated individuals.

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  55. Jefferson was living in a time when most black people were slaves. I don't think his opinion on "black culture" is very relevant today. Unless you assume that black American people are still African.

    You know what they say: You can take the African out of Africa...

    I think Jefferson understood blacks quite well, far better than all liberals and most conservatives today.

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  56. Tell that to my neighbor, a proud libertarian, born and bred. A disabled vet with 8 grandkids and a Purple Heart.

    Gosh no! You mean there are libertarians in the US military? Run and tell the authorities, or we are all doomed!

    Yeah, I guess you can say Jefferson knew blacks from the "inside out". It's always best to examine your subjects intimately. Good to breed extra specimens for experimental purposes, as well.

    Give me a break. That was one tortured soul, and his writings on blacks and slavery merely document that.

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  57. "For what it's worth, the libertarians that I personally know are devout Christians and patriots, who donate generously to charity, and are very active in their communities and in their neighborhoods. We have a very tight-knit community, with healthy families. "

    That may be true in the U.S. but it certainly isn't in this part of the world. Most libertarians in New Zealand for example (where libertarianism is more popular than in Australia) are secular social liberals, who live in the main centres and are strongly opposed to protectionism and immigration restrictionism and rarely stand up for freedom of association or freedom of speech on the right.

    The stereotypical example of a libertarian, would be a white collar professional with maybe one kid and an Asian wife. The most disliked politician among libertarians in NZ is the social conservative populist Winston Peters, the closest we would have to a Patrick Buchanan.

    Whether paleolibertarianism is viable in the U.S. is debatable but it just doesn't have much appeal in this part of the world, as most people don't see the state per se as a manifestation of left-wing ideology. Conversely, to many libertarians the Monarchy would be seen as left wing since it's a non-essential state institution, but in this part of the world its regarded as a conservative institution, which most people on the right want to keep.

    Admittedly though, the traditionalist right doesn't have much appeal with the young, while libertarianism does have some appeal, so conservatives are tending to adopt libertarian ideas to attract younger voters.

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  58. I think "libertarian" in America centers on small government, as most "conservatives" here aren't for small government. They just want to change how the money is spent, not reduce the amount spent.

    The hard-core secular libertarianism you guys talk about isn't very widespread here. It seems like they're more than they are because they're influental and wealthy (what Novaseeker meant with "elites"), while the majority of libertarians here are of the populist kind.

    I suppose libertarianism and traditional conservatism in America overlap a lot.

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  59. Tell that to my neighbor, a proud libertarian, born and bred. A disabled vet with 8 grandkids and a Purple Heart.

    And naturally you've interviewed the subject at length to establish his bona fides, and whether or not he was a libertarian while the fighting was taking place, yes?

    An interesting sidenote: before one joins the Libertarian Party USA, one must first sign a statement swearing that the potential party member rejects the initiation of war under any circumstances.

    Anyway, since anecdotal examples are acceptable in this discussion, I know 20 libertarians who would no sooner take up the rifle than sever their own toes on a bet.

    Give me a break. That was one tortured soul, and his writings on blacks and slavery merely document that.

    "Nothing is more certainly written in the book of fate than that these people are to be free. Nor is it less certain that the two races, equally free, cannot live in the same government. Nature, habit, opinion has drawn indelible lines of distinction between them."

    That is wisdom, regardless of the state of the soul of the man who spoke it. Unless, of course, one of your other neighbors is a black man who is the salt of the earth, in which case I concede the entire argument and will set about restructuring my philosophy around the example of your neighborhood. "Give me a break" indeed.

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  60. Ok lets talk libertarianism.

    I just heard on the radio ad by the Aus Government, "The line".

    The text is spoken by teenagers:

    "If you've just been dumped by your boyfriend, by text (emphasis), and you really want to get back at him. Where do you draw the line? Do you bag him out to your friends? Criticise him on Facebook? Or show those embarrassing photos (emphasis again) to the whole school? ..."

    So the ad is raising awareness of appropriate behavior. You might say, "Oh that's not government's role". Indeed preferably it wouldn't be. We should all know how to conduct ourselves appropriately and expect the same behavior from others. Appropriate behavior awareness and education should be coming from many different social sources, and obviously especially the family.

    Unfortunately that's not how society rolls at the moment. People don't get this message and so the government has to step in and try to encourage appropriate behavior.

    This to me is not a big problem. If appropriate behavior is encouraged, by any source, I'm happy (and conservatism I believe wins). A fostered interest in this encourages people to place it as a higher priority in their lives, which in turn means they'll likely take more interest in traditional mediums that communicate and encourage this message.

    The modern, all too familiar alternatives, where conservatism most surely doesn't win, include "girl power", (an encouragement of an overarching sense of injustice, so get back at them) and "economic/individual man" (don't put yourself in that position, trust noone, even perhaps do it to them first etc). Both of these are socially ruinous.

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  61. I think "libertarian" in America centers on small government, as most "conservatives" here aren't for small government. They just want to change how the money is spent, not reduce the amount spent.

    Well, the conservative movement in the U.S. was generally a coalition between (1) "small-government conservatives" (both economic libertarians and fiscal conservatives), (2) social conservatives and (3) foreign policy hawks. The "big business" interests were typically represented by the small government wing, because this is the wing that emphasized lower taxes and de-regulation. From the late 70s until the second term of GWB, the social conservatives basically "ran" the coalition. They had the most energy, the most voters, and the biggest influence on what the conservative movement was doing.

    During this period, the small government wing took a back seat, because social conservatives and small government conservatives are often at odds, as a practical matter. The point of the "compassionate conservatism" mantra that Bush used in 2000 was precisely emphasizing this: that many social conservatives were not interested in shrinking the state, per se, but in using its power and money differently. Of course, the rest of the Bush presidency wasn't really indicative of that because of 9/11 and the two wars and so on which dominated his tenure. But the rise of social conservatives, which kind of peaked in 2000 and 2004, was based on this "compassionate conservatism" idea, which was at odds with the small state/let them fend for themselves group. Social conservatives want the state to be involved in things like promoting public health and morality, limiting who can marry whom, limiting abortion, regulating pornography and so on. This puts them at odds with the small state crowd. The small statists mostly came along for the ride in 2000 and 2004 (because most of them think that even a neo-conservative/social conservative administration will have more restraint than a liberal/social-democrat one will), but the resentment grew over the period. That resentment became more or less open warfare during the 2008 primary campaign, and quite a few of the small statists stayed home.

    The future path of the U.S. conservative movement is unclear at the moment. Clearly the small statists are in an ascending phase, but it's not clear whether they will be able to deliver votes the way the social conservatives did -- for example the way Rove's church-based strategy unfolded in 2004. And the way that some of the small statists are expressing themselves is not helping their image in the rest of the conservative movement, let alone the country at large.

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  62. Alte said,

    "The hard-core secular libertarianism you guys talk about isn't very widespread here"

    Its the underlying philosophy for quick divorce, stuff you authority, and I demand more of everything. Not very popular? Its the base of your society Alte.

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  63. You were cleverly snarky, but inconsistent. My comment was a response to your call for anecdotal evidence:

    When the first libertarian jumps on a hand grenade to save his fellows, or braves a hail of rifle fire for the sake of his nation, I'll sit up and take notice.

    You were clearly assuming that we libertarians are all (each and every one of us) lilly-livered wimps who are incapable of and/or unwilling to defend the very freedoms we so cherish. I was pointing out that being brave and loving your country is not the sole territory of conservatives. There are brave liberals on both ends of the political spectrum.

    And I certainly do think that black Americans are quite capable of living in peace with white Americans. We have moved on considerably since Jefferson's time. Or do you think that Indians should still be herded onto reservations because they are incapable of joining common society? Some things do change.

    And to address the final point, I -- like most of America's libertarians -- am a registered Republican.

    Its the underlying philosophy for quick divorce, stuff you authority, and I demand more of everything. Not very popular? Its the base of your society Alte.

    That is not libertarianism. I really don't know where you guys get this stuff. We do not have a libertarian government, or a libertarian society. We have a social democracy, which breeds a sense of entitlement, breakdown of the family, and a lack of respect for the law. People act like that because the government protects them from the negative consequences of their actions.

    There are only three ways to end social democracy:

    1. The bankruptcy of the state
    2. War
    3. Repealing female suffrage

    I am obviously inclined to favor #3. I'm quite willing to give up the vote if it meant that all of the other women had to give up theirs, as well. Women use their political powers for nothing except to grant themselves independence from their own men, and dependence upon everyone else's.

    The "big business" interests were typically represented by the small government wing, because this is the wing that emphasized lower taxes and de-regulation.

    Not quite. Lower taxes is good for all business, not just the big ones. But deregulation favors small businesses over big ones. The big ones actually prefer more, rather than less, regulation (and are often actively involved in crafting it). It creates a barrier to entry for nimbler competitors, and bankrupts those smaller competitors that already exist.

    As for the public guffaws of the small-government types, their lack of polish is due to their refreshing honesty and lack of political calculation. Americans are going to be looking for more of that as they watch their economy slide and the politicians agitate for "more of the same".

    About that Christian monarchy:

    As someone who understands basic Game principles, it surprises me that you would be for a centralized political power, even of that kind. Statism supports alpha polygamy, while decentralization supports beta patriarchy. I would think that alone would cause you to lend your support to a more diffuse form of government.

    The Bavarians who settled Texas, for instance, emigrated to America in order to marry. In their homeland they were mere serfs, were refused the right to marry, and had to observe the wealthy abusing their women as if the entire lower class were a brothel.

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  64. Alte said,

    "People act like that because the government protects them from the negative consequences of their actions."

    No they act like that because they feel society should be all about them. Preferably just them. Social democracy then runs to satisfy their desires as best it can.

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  65. Say you look on youtube (obviously it will depend on the subject matter) and you read people's comments. They are usually amazingly arrogant, (usually misinformed) and aggressive. Almost everyone in that medium is a tinpot Napoleon. Where did this attitude come from? It comes from them thinking the world not only revolves around them, but is them.

    These jerkoff's need more liberty?

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  66. Ok so you say remove the state and they'll have to fend for themselves and "grow up". Ok fair point. Obviously the US has its own brands of libertarianism, and Texan libertarianism differs from New York libertarianism.

    The point was made though that the LIBERTARIAN PARTY the party that carries the name, is a haven for non-conformists, tax cheats, and let me do whatever I want types. This is just the party, libertarian ideas are popular everywhere.

    We can't let people learn from the consequences of every single error, and thereby do untold damage, before they wake up. We need collective wisdom and restraint.

    One of the factors of modern life is that there is almost no shame now for disgraceful conduct. The left have done their best to maintain it in the form of political correctness, but shame, collective internalised restraint, is now seen as a limiting (demoralising to the individual) fact, ie a bad emotion, that must be done away with. Without shame we stand in awe of what atrocity can take place next.

    This is a collective immaturity bought on by feelings of too much self importance. This is not just caused by too much "clearing up after" by government. Concepts of liberty, and rejection of restraint, if you ask me, feed and cause this.

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  67. Mike Courtman said,

    "The stereotypical example of a libertarian, would be a white collar professional with maybe one kid and an Asian wife."

    This is accurate, although it could be said that the Shooters party, and possibly also One Nation, would be more right wing or blue collar libertarian parties. These parties have not gotten off the ground politically in Australia, and I guess from what was said, in NZ. They also, predicticably, prefer to openly attack right wing, rather than left wing, governments. Why not, there's safety in joining the chorus.

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  68. The Shooters party may have representatives at the State level, I'm not sure.

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  69. Ok at the risk of straining everyone's patience I'll post again. The Tea Party movement in the US I believe is essentially a libertarian movement. We don't want to pay, hands off government etc.

    Firstly I think this shows that arguments based on liberty, have become the default arguing position in the West. Glenn Beck is even modeling himself on Dr King now for crying out loud. Secondly I think these are "tinny" movements. Opposition to something on the grounds that, "it puts me out personally" must be fragile as its based on immediate self interest rather than principle, which I think can be manipulated and bought off. Although I'm not American and I understand its quite different to Aus and there's a substantially stronger desire for smaller government.

    I'll be glad to say I'm wrong if someone has a better argument.

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  70. As someone who understands basic Game principles, it surprises me that you would be for a centralized political power, even of that kind. Statism supports alpha polygamy, while decentralization supports beta patriarchy. I would think that alone would cause you to lend your support to a more diffuse form of government.

    The Bavarians who settled Texas, for instance, emigrated to America in order to marry. In their homeland they were mere serfs, were refused the right to marry, and had to observe the wealthy abusing their women as if the entire lower class were a brothel.


    Alpha males win under any condition.

    A libertarian situation -- which is what we have currently "socially" -- benefits alpha males, too. A free for all sexually and socially, which we have today, is as much of a feast sexually for alpha males as a feudal system is.

    The reality is this: alpha males *always* win, because they are the most desirable male mates for women, and under any system women *will* find a way to mate with them. The only difference is how restricted that is, or not.

    The assumption that more libertarianism would lead to more stable marriages due to fewer state subsidies for women is false. In a free for all system without state support, real polygamy would come back -- not "soft", but "hard" polygamy. No social rules and no government rules and you get hard polygamy.

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  71. I disagree, Novaseeker. (surprise, surprise)

    In a truly libertarian world, men would have a significant natural advantage in all political and economic matters. They'd have the power, they'd have the money. Alpha-types win now because they don't need money to raise their attractiveness, so mate selection is now based solely on "hotness". But if economics once again came into play (by removing the state as providor), male-providers would have a significant advantage.

    It would turn from alpha-chasing to "cheat on me and I'll throw your adulteress ass out in the snow to starve to death". That would provide a substantial break on even the more rapacious female labidos, I think.

    Women sleep around and cuckold because they can do so with impunity. The ones who don't, restrain themselves because of their training and personal/religious beliefs. But in a beta-provider world, they'd have to restrain themselves in order to eat, and keep their face in one piece. That would be a pretty convincing argument, I think.

    This same effect was available under monarchies before, because the government wasn't as intrusive (as you mention the old Russians). But governments of all kinds are so far-reaching nowadays, I don't see how you could pull off governmental centralization while leaving the household sphere completely in the hands of individual men.

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  72. Jesse,

    Most Tea Partiers are just Big Government conservatives. They're fighting for more of the money to be spent on themselves, not for less money to be spent.

    If they were serious about shrinking government, then Medicare, Social Security, agricultural subsidies, everything would have to be up for the chop. That's when they cry "Chicken! We didn't really mean it, after all." the debt is simply too high, the economy too weak, and the demographics too pathetic for Big Government of any kind to be sustainable. But they aren't willing to admit that. Most of them, anyway.

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  73. Ok at the risk of straining everyone's patience I'll post again.

    Same here.

    As to marriage and divorce. In a libertarian governmental system, contract law would be strictly enforced. Marriage would again become a contract, rather than a public good. (Side note: conservatives made it a public good so that they could restrict access to it.) The contract would contain lots of legal mumbo-jumbo, but the core would be:

    Man agrees to protect and provide for the woman, in return for assured paternity and exclusive sexual access. Adultery, gross neglect, or physical abuse can be used as a basis for legal divorce.

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  74. They'd be like Jane Eyre, sleeping in the rain, begging for food, dependent upon the charity of others. Fearing being reduced to the short and hard life of a prostitute or thief. Throwing themselves in grateful desperation at whatever guy gives them a second look.

    No kids, no home, no protection or provision. That's natural law folks.

    You know, that was back when white guys were scary-hot. Before they got collectively neutered by the state. Before crude thuggishness was the main hotness-factor.

    I've had women tell me, "Oh, I could never cheat on my husband. He would kill me!" You should see the look they get on their faces. It's not fear, it's lust. They're bragging, you see. They're turned on by the thought.

    You can always tell which women are the most attracted to their husbands. They're the ones that complain about how stern and unrelenting he is, how strict and patriarchal he is, how he never lets them get away with anything. They're truly suffering. Translation: my husband is hotter than your husband.

    Just saying... A white male hotness increase would do wonders for the Western birth rate.

    Although I suppose that would be possible under any form of government, as long as the government was -- and stayed -- small.

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  75. If you want to know about the libertarians out here, you need to read this book: Quiverfull. Libertarianism here is closely linked with the Christian Patriarchy Movement. We have a lot of Mennonites and Amish out this way, as well. It's a very rural area.

    I've never lived in a city.

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  76. Alte, I think I've figured out where you're coming from with your "libertarianism".

    There are communities here in Australia based on an ethos of self-sustaining families, church centred community life, helping each other out in a crisis, and not wanting inteference from the state.

    There is a considerable appeal in this way of life - I understand the attraction.

    But there are two problems. First, mainstream libertarianism is not a good vehicle for the defence of such communities.

    Most mainstream libertarians are inner urban types who don't want impediments to their lifestyle choices. They usually go on about legalising drugs, making any conceivable type of family arrangement legal, having no restrictions on porn and so on.

    The little communities, on the other other, depend on a self-disciplined commitment to traditional family life, a strong work ethic, and a high level of moral self-restraint.

    If you were to introduce mainstream libertarianism into these communities they would disintegrate.

    And there's a second problem. These communities don't quite have the formula right.

    It's possible that they could do OK in a homesteading frontier society when they were protected from outside interference by distance and lack of infrastructure.

    But the world inevitably catches up and wants to make claims over what has been created.

    It's not enough then to remain at the "individualistic" level of being proud to get by as self-sufficient families not in need of government.

    Instead, you need to foster in men a sense of responsibility to govern for the larger benefit of the community.

    If there is no culture of this, then you are made exceptionally vulnerable to exploitation by others.

    In practice, these small town/outer suburban communities have been left behind politically. If they have had any influence it's been indirect and as a result they have lost control over their own futures.

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  77. Jesse, you made a good point when you wrote:

    We can't let people learn from the consequences of every single error, and thereby do untold damage, before they wake up. We need collective wisdom and restraint.

    I agree too with Novaseeker on this point:

    In a free for all system without state support, real polygamy would come back -- not "soft", but "hard" polygamy. No social rules and no government rules and you get hard polygamy.

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  78. If you were to introduce mainstream libertarianism into these communities they would disintegrate.

    That is not the goal, rather the opposite. The goal is to spread paleolibertarianism to the rest of the country.

    But the world inevitably catches up and wants to make claims over what has been created.

    Which is why there is a necessary libertarian underpining to the movement. Without subsidiarity, freedom of religion and association, and so on, other people could just come here and suck up everything we've scrimped and saved and built.

    They could kidnap our children and indoctrinate them in their crappy schools, tax our husbands into an early grave, and usurp our sons to fight in their pointless wars of aggression. We have to be free, otherwise we would end up wards of the corrupt state. Homeschooling, homesteading, strict patriarchal marriages, traditional Christianity, self-government... these are all aspects of our libertarianism.

    Instead, you need to foster in men a sense of responsibility to govern for the larger benefit of the community.

    They run the local and county government here, and carry a disproportionately heavy weight in the state parliament. Our area is one of the wealthiest, because we have the strongest marriages. Everyone else is groaning under the weight of feeding all of those bastard children and illegal aliens.

    But we are merely going in circles with all of this. I suppose we'll just have to agree to disagree, and see what happens next.

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  79. In a free for all system without state support

    May I note that I never meant a "free for all system". That is anarchy, and I believe firmly in the rule of law. But I believe the law should be there to protect patriarchy.

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  80. You were clearly assuming that we libertarians are all (each and every one of us) lilly-livered wimps who are incapable of and/or unwilling to defend the very freedoms we so cherish.

    My point was that in order to be willing to sacrifice himself for the greater collective good, a self-described libertarian would have to have several non-libertarian traits, and these would be the prime mover in taking up the rifle (sort of like an unprincipled exception). You are mistaken if you think such a willingness is part and parcel of libertarianism. While such a man might think himself a libertarian, in truth his choices have brought him closer to conservatism.

    There also seems to be an unwillingness to draw the line between neo-conservatism (or neoconnery as I call it) and traditionalist conservatism. I know of no tradcons who are for bigger encroaching government, regardless of what good it might be used for.

    And I certainly do think that black Americans are quite capable of living in peace with white Americans. We have moved on considerably since Jefferson's time.

    Indeed we have. We've moved on to an ever-growing pile of Caucasian corpses. We've moved on to the willful denial of our ancestors' wisdom regarding blacks, and blood flows as a result. But I don't imagine you live around too many. If you did it would be time to move.

    This is yet another strike against libertarianism: its fanatical colorblindness.

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  81. Alte at 6:07 said,

    "Most Tea Partiers are just Big Government conservatives. They're fighting for more of the money to be spent on themselves, not for less money to be spent."

    I agree that a lot of this "libertarianism" is for presentation, although not all of it is. However, it does show how strong the language of libertarianism is in society, and that it is the most popularly accepted form in which to make a political protest.

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  82. Alte said,

    "I've never lived in a city."

    Its not a coincidence that conservatism, or traditional libertarianism, is stronger in the country.

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  83. Alte at 6:04 said,

    "But in a beta-provider world, they'd have to restrain themselves in order to eat, and keep their face in one piece."

    But the state isn't provider its only defacto provider, ie fall back provider. If a woman works isn't she also immune?

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  84. That is anarchy, and I believe firmly in the rule of law. But I believe the law should be there to protect patriarchy.

    But the libertarians in places of influence (i.e., the people living in places where laws are made) would never agree to that. Most the urban libertarians are dead-set against social rules as well as legal ones -- they no more support patriarchy than they do traditional marriage, as a social norm. If you want to choose that yourself, they are fine with that, but they wouldn't support creating the legal system around that -- not in the least.

    Which leads to the next issue, as touched upon by Mark, and in a way restating something I said a few days ago upthread in a different way. In a sense it doesn't matter much what the people in the small towns are doing. Why? There aren't enough of them, as compared to the people living in major metros, and they aren't nearly as influential culturally or politically as the people who live in major metros are. That cultural influence of the centers of cultural production is growing by leaps and bounds today due to the internet and social media and so blending and mashing the culture together into a more uniform kind of culture that is based on the values of the major metros, not the conservative small towns. This culture is *largely* what can be described as "social lbertarian" -- all about individual autonomy, personal expression, sexual freedom and so on. It is not at all friendly to paleo- anything, not least of all patriarchy. A politicaly libertarian regime would simply make the world an even safer place for that kind of living.

    As for predictions, from where I'm sitting the years ahead look like they are going to slowly yet inexorably lead us to a kind of socially libertarian statism. if you look at the young folks of today, I think this is the prevailing ideology -- maximum personal freedom, expression, communication and sexuality coupled with state programs to help the poor, fix the environment and regulate capitalism. I think that's where the 8-ball is headed, at least for the time being. I think you'll see older generations (which the Tea-P mostly is) rebelling against the rise of this new left coalition, but the energy will be on the other side, beyond the small number of activists.

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  85. Its interesting Novaseeker because this young, free living, left group don't rate the traditional left wing parties all that highly. Hence Obama and "change" which tapped into that sentiment. Your average political and trendy young person today will probably rate the sentiment rich Greens higher than the Labor party.

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  86. But I don't imagine you live around too many. If you did it would be time to move.

    I don't live around any black men, but there are many black, Asian, and Hispanic women who have married white men in our community. There is a lot of interracial marriage, but 97% of the population is white. That is true.

    I am black, of course. I can hardly move away from myself.

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  87. If a woman works isn't she also immune?

    Yes, just as in the past. There were unmarried, independent women even in the Victorian age. But fewer women would be employed and earning enough money to support a family.

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  88. Its interesting Novaseeker because this young, free living, left group don't rate the traditional left wing parties all that highly. Hence Obama and "change" which tapped into that sentiment. Your average political and trendy young person today will probably rate the sentiment rich Greens higher than the Labor party.

    Yes, they don't like the "traditional left" very much, either. It's a new mix -- social libertarianism coupled with new-left/light-left statism focused on issues they care about like the environment. And overall a huge distaste, and I mean a *huge* one, for older generations -- basically anyone north of 35 or 40. They don't see people like me as being different because we're older, but they see us as living in a different world, really. This rising generation of young was convinced that it would change the world -- sort of the attitude the boomers had, too -- but they are getting tripped up by the economy right now.

    All of that played into the enthusiasm they *had* for Obama. Some of that is wearing off, as was predicted. It's also unclear to me whether the younger set will remain social libertarian/light-left as they age ... historically in the US at least generations tend to move to the right as they age, at least a bit, and this is particularly pronounced among women, where there has for quite some time been a substantial gap, politically, between slightly older married women and young single women. It will be interesting to see if that switch replicates itself in the current young -- millenials, generation Z and so on.

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  89. Novaseeker,

    Game explains that gap very nicely. Married women transfer their urge for "safety" from the state-provider to the husband-provider. They are also prone to change back again (and change their voting patterns) if their marriage is on the rocks, or if they divorce.

    Marriage rates are declining precipitiously, so I don't know if that pattern will sustain itself with the next generation. Women don't change their voting patterns for boyfriends or baby-daddies, only for husbands.

    Your average political and trendy young person today will probably rate the sentiment rich Greens higher than the Labor party.

    That's because they're worried about the debt. We also don't buy into sweet-talk about retirement, or female oppression/pedestalization nonsense.

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  90. While such a man might think himself a libertarian, in truth his choices have brought him closer to conservatism.

    There is a lot of overlap between traditional libertarians and traditional conservatives, I think. I've met people who use both terms interchangeably, and we end up agreeing on most things. However, we like to fight over the few that we don't agree on, because traditionalists are all conformists at heart, and struggle to deal with any dissent.

    The disagreement is about whether government is for the people's individual benefit, or for the people's collective benefit. That difference determines whether a strictly-limited constitutional republic (lib) or a more authoritarian government (soc) is preferred. We do usually agree on the size of government being small, that it should be designed to reflect and favor Western culture, and that the government should protect the public practice of Christianity. But we do agree not on the scope of the government's powers and influence.

    The problem I have with authoritarian governments is that they, by their very nature, create an aristocracy. In a social democracy, the aristocrats are the beaurocrats and politicians. In a monarchy, the aristocracy is determined by birth or appointment. And in a totalitarian state, the aristocracy is usually determined by military might.

    That was what our Founding Fathers were trying to get away from. They wanted to rule themselves, not take orders from their "betters". They wanted to be free to elect their own leaders, and remove them at will.

    We currently have a social democratic aristocracy, and that is something that traditional conservatives don't really mind, but traditional libertarians truly chafe under.

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  91. Okay... I'm thinking about how y'all's "traditional conservatism" would play out.

    By outlawing interracial marriage and creating a sexual monopoly (inevitable), it can only lead to white female supremicism. Either in the form of increased socialism (as in Europe/Japan), or Jim-Crow style pedestalization.

    *shudder*
    Libertarianism, for the win.

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  92. Just saw that the decision has already been made. Pedestalization it is. At what point will my marriage be declared "invalid", so that a white woman can move into my house and hand me off to her brother for sport? But really, we should begin discussing the hard questions: One Drop Rule, or not?

    Umm... no thanks.

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  93. I am black, of course. I can hardly move away from myself.

    Ah, that explains much. I apologize for wasting your time.

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