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TTAG reader TU writes:

When TTAG dropped the housecleaning question asking if it was too rightwing, there was a fury of comments.  Many said that there is no such thing as a pro-gun liberal, while self-proclaimed pro-gun liberals said that the People of the Gun were too paranoid to be allowed to have a gun for being so wary of the Democratic politicians and that they were alienating a segment of the gun community. My question to the pro-gun liberals out there: are you sure you’re not really a libertarian? Allow me to explain . . .

In political science, modern liberalism has nothing to do with classical liberalism. In fact, modern liberalism is in many ways an antithesis to the original views to use that term. For the duration of my article, I will use “liberal” and “liberalism” to refer to the current use of the word, and not the classical liberalism viewpoint that has been abandoned by the political left.

Liberalism is based upon government control and oversight of every activity. You can easily see this by going to the most liberal parts of the nation and seeing the additional restrictions placed upon its citizens. Everything from tighter regulations on businesses and how they conduct theirs, to a ban on “too large a soda” to bans on styrofoam containers for food to, yes, bans on entire types of firearms based solely on an opinion of what might be “scary”.

In other words, to a true liberal government is the force of good, restricting others for the “greater good” of society.  Individuals cannot be trusted to make their own decisions, and neither can businesses or other organizations.

By this logic, if individuals are not to be trusted, then private ownership of a potentially destructive force such as firearms is a horrifying thought.  If we assume this mindset is correct, then by extension the population should be disarmed except for the government.

Let me be clear: You cannot be a liberal and a supporter of gun rights.

Now, before you go foaming at the mouth, there are more political factions in the United States than just two. I am by no means implying that you need to pick between your guns and your gay rights, or any other social issue that has taken the side of the political left.

Enter the Libertarian Party. At its highest levels, the Libertarian Party supports all of the politically left social values such as gay marriage, drug legalization, availability of abortions, and so forth. This position may attract former left-wing voters who dislike the liberal positions of massive government. At the same time, the Libertarian Party attracts people from the right who do not feel that the government has a right to say what you do in your personal life. The Libertarian Party is all about true personal freedom, with less government intrusion into what you can and cannot do with your life.

I challenge all self-proclaimed liberals who believe in firearm rights: ask yourself, am I really a libertarian? If the only reasons you believe you are liberal have to do with certain individual rights and social issues, then you may actually have been a libertarian all along.

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  1. Moderate libertarian here, figured this out during G W Bushs last term. Nearly all elected types are power grubbing, lying lil poop stains. those that are not yet, give em a few more terms, they will get there.

    • it is personal politics, not national politics that matter, Libs/Dems are more f’d up than a football bat. Everything you believe in violates our march into tomorrow, and as soon as we degrade our relationship below “common cause” by the installment plan of “everything goes” then you will be daily compelled after “surviving the natural elements of the night before, and waking to the concern over whether or not armed conflict will be required to maintain the possession of a rudimentary shelter, and the proceeds of the days’ forage and hunt. Not to mention, the prospect of protecting the ‘possession’ of a desired mate, and resultant
      The exact distance, between those two possibilities, is often called “society.” (TERMS, J.M. Thomas R., 2012)

      • Ya, guns – bad, but don’t infringe on someone’s (non-existent) right to flush a .2 yr old.

        If you live in a blue state, you may be part of the problem. If you have a (D) after your name, or are liberal or a rino, the problem is Part-Of-You.

  2. As I said in the last article, you can be a pro gun democrat, but every vote for a democratic politician is indeed a vote for gun control.

    Some people value other things more than guns and would be ok with doing that. That’s how life is, we can’t pick the ultimate politician so we compromise between a bad choice and a worse one. It all depends on what you define as worse.

    • This is true even if said democratic politican happens to be one of the rare ones who is also pro-gun. On being elected, he will vote for a democratic leadership that won’t be pro gun, far from it in fact.

      For example, once the recalls happened last year the Colorado State Senate had a majority in favor of repealing the new mag restrictions (one Democrat was opposed to the restrictions), but no such bill could ever come to the floor, because the leadership would simply kill it.

      This is why, in spite of my pleasure at the way the elections turned out at the national level, I am not happy that the Republicans fell just short of taking the house majority (narrowly losing a couple of races, and having the chamber be 33-32 D as a result), and fell just short of getting Hickeypooper out of office as well. Although we might very well have the votes to pass a repeal even through the house, such a bill will never see daylight over there because that “pro gun” Democrat (if he/she exists) will vote for an anti-gun leadership.

    • There are politicians on both sides that are focused on control and restriction off personal liberties. They just want to control different things. I don’t want the government telling me who I can marry or what I can smoke or whether I can have an abortion any more than I want them telling me what kind of gun I can buy.

      • First, any two dudes (or chicks) can enter into a legal contract, live in the same house, and do whatever it is same-sex people do with each other. Government has nothing to do with it. These folks simply want mass approval of their lifestyle.

        Second, abortion is the murder of another, innocent, defenseless human being. If you’re pro-gun, then presumably you’re in favor of the right to life, i.e., the right to self defense, and thus cannot be in favor of the murder of another, innocent, defenseless human being.

        • Just saying things doesn’t make them true.

          There are over 1,000 benefits both federal and state that being married provides that just “living in the same house and entering into a contract” doesn’t cover, from Tax benefits, to medical power of attorney, to rights regarding children. So, no it’s not a desire for mass approval, it’s equality – pure and simple.

          Second abortion is not murder because abortion doesn’t kill a person. Whether you believe that life begins at conception or not, person-hood definitely does not. Our entire legal system and society is based upon the idea that a person has been born. But let’s say we afford personhood to an embryo.

          Now, you are requiring someone (by force) to allow their body to be used to save someone else’s life, who would otherwise die. We don’t allow that in our society, even for CORPSES. If I die, and I don’t want my liver to be donated, the law cannot force it even though it might save someone else’s life. In other words, bodily autonomy is absolute, even after death.

        • Another good reason why government should not be making a myriad of tax laws to please every special interest group that buys its influence.

        • I always felt that if your pro-gun then you must be pro-choice, after all, you believe that killing to protect your own life is acceptable. Abortion is nothing more than self defense.

        • Interesting analogy bringing up pregnancy and the right to self defense. Do you draw any distinctions between someone who would choose to have an abortion because that’s their choice and someone who would choose an abortion in order to protect their own life, such as the case in an ectopic pregnancy?

        • I’ll answer that self-defense question. I am legally allowed to shoot a man if he tries to molest or rape me. Because I have the right to not have my body integrity violated and am not forced to suffer the pains and humiliations of his unwanted touch. I’ve heard people say that this is justifiable self defense because the guy COULD escalate to violence even possibly death. But it doesn’t matter (to me) if it would escalate to that at all. you have NO right to put any part of your grubby anatomy inside MY body without my consent. Try it on penalty of your life.

          With pregnancy there is literally “no way to know” if that pregnancy will end up causing permanent disfigurement, trauma, or death ahead of time. Things can be going perfectly and then in delivery the woman dies or has a serious complication. The POTENTIAL of any fetus to cause harm should be the same legal justification for self-defense against unwanted occupation as I would have to defend myself against a rapist.

        • Alexander,

          I respectfully disagree. Consent to sex is not consent to pregnancy. Sex is often a recreational activity meant to increase intimacy between partners. Leaving aside any ‘slutty sluts’ and focusing entirely on the “virtuous” married people… (to not cloud the issue), this is basically saying that every married woman should be open to pregnancy and childbirth. She may be open to sex with her husband, but that doesn’t mean she is open to pregnancy, nor is her consenting to sexual relations with her husband some kind of statement that she is.

          While I think if people choose to have penetrative sex (as opposed to activities that bring pleasure but can’t cause pregnancy), they need to use some method of birth control if they are not wanting to conceive, no method is 100% effective and by saying that consenting to sex is ultimately somehow consenting to be pregnant and giving birth, you’re basically saying that women who never want children should NEVER have sex (unless they are lesbians.) But if a woman is heterosexual, you’re basically sentencing her to a life of either extreme risk or extreme loneliness, neither of which is compassionate or ethical IMO.

          IMO abortion should be safe, legal, and rare. (Rare because we educate people on contraception and their options and they are responsible in their sexual activities. But given that nothing is 100%, even “not wanting to be pregnant” IMO is a totally justifiable reason to abort and self-defense would IMO be a legit reason.)

        • Summer, I happen to support abortion as a choice that each person should be able to make, if need be. My comment was to simply point out that the very good case that you made in your previous comment (under that other name we won’t mention…) makes logical sense only in case of unwanted sex (rape). In case of consensual intercourse, both parties share the responsibility for the outcome (in my opinion).
          PS Enjoying the intercourse – will answer other points on the Fair Tax tomorrow.

        • @Alexandar

          Also, wanted to add, another reason I believe my thesis holds even in consensual sex is that… the self defense argument I make with regards to abortion is self defense against: “a fetus taking over my body uninvited”, NOT self defense against a rapist. (I would have already shot him before he accomplished his mission.)

          My other comment is in moderation right now, but the crux was really: Consent to sex is not the same as consent to pregnancy/childbirth/motherhood. They are so completely not in the same zip code. Any man who expected me to “accept” that I could get pregnant and would have to carry the pregnancy and give birth, would never be a man I would ever sleep with voluntarily. i.e. pro-life men need not apply.

        • Alexander,

          I still believe consent to sex is not equal to consent to pregnancy. But I’m happy to agree to disagree. re: choosing sex equals choosing consequences, why does sex have to have “consequences”?

          I know you seem pro-choice at least in some circumstances and you definitely don’t come across like you are a forced birther, but I do think this idea that sex should have ‘consequences’ is based in a “punishment for sex” model of sex. The only problem is that the “punishment” affects the woman WAY more than the man.

          Maybe we should cause him physical pain and discomfort for 9 months then a LOT Of discomfort for however many hours labor lasts. you know… so everybody gets “consequences.”

          To me it’s like saying to a dude who plays football and gets injured… “Well, you chose to play football so the injury is a consequence.” Maybe it’s a “potential” consequence but NO ONE would tell the player that because he voluntarily chose to play football and got injured he should not just not even try to TREAT the injury because… hey… football has consequences.

          If pregnancy might be a consequence of sex, fine. But abortion is a way to deal with that consequence. Just staying pregnant if you don’t want the baby is like “just keeping Chlamydia” because… oh well… sex has consequences. This is not how we react to any other situation in life. So it makes no real sense here. Just wanted to point that out.

        • Summer, I haven’t dropped of the edge of the Earth yet; just had to work today – I will still get back on the very important issue of taxes. Meanwhile, I think that you misunderstood my previous comment somewhat. I am not saying that once pregnant, birth is not the only option; only in that I believe the responsibility for all options should be shared. As to making men suffer equivalent pains – I don’t believe in Handicapper General. Pregnancy is not a punishment for sex – it is a natural consequence, without which none of us would be here. Due to technology advancement, humans have created options for themselves, and I support those options. I also believe that those options should be a choice of an individual (or the couple), not of the State. When the State has the control, today it may restrict abortion, tomorrow it may dictate it (China, for example). I think that both cases are equally unacceptable.

    • Blue Dog Democrat here. Socially liberal, fiscally conservative. NRA member. Gun Owner. CPA. I share a libertarian streak in that I hate the nanny state and believe in individual responsibilities that go with individual rights. I think no one should have to starve to death in America and that people should have basic medical care, but I don’t believe in handing out welfare checks. Make them show up for job training and get vouchers. And limit the time on the dole. I’ve seen plenty take advantage of the welfare system fraudulently. Can’t happen if they make them show up and do something (work). As my dad said, put them shoulder to shoulder with brooms to sweep the streets if need be to give them something to do for what they receive. I would vote for an overhaul of welfare as well as political contribution laws to level the playing field with the well to do well connected.

      • “No one should have to starve…” – have you personally ever met a starving person in America? With a caveat: not on drugs, drunk or just plain lazy and not willing to lift their ass? For 20 years I have asked all kinds of “charity” collectors to show me such a person. The invariable response: “I know someone who knows someone.” This “hunger” BS is Big Business. As a CPA, you should know that. But do you know how much does a sow with 3 piglets, siting on welfare (my neck) actually takes in from all the programs that are available to her curtesy of the taxpayer (me)? I’ve put the numbers together- housing, food, utilities, medical care, education, child care, tv, cell phone, entertainment, gas vouchers, car repairs, clothing- get ready – $70K/yr. Tax free. I would need to earn $100K+ before taxes to equal that. Why the hell should anyone work in your workers paradise?

        • During the Regan administration, a high-up member of an African country was asked if there was anything particularly surprising that he saw in the USA.

          He replied with a look of amazement: “Your poor are fat!”

        • Concede starving to death as hyperbole. That said my mother was a school nurse/teacher & certified nutritionist at 111th street school across from the Watts Projects. She used to buy food with her own money to feed hungry children who were malnourished which lead to learning difficulties. She would buy cloths for them too. I still give money to the food bank, Salvation Army, St. Vincent de Paul & the Rescue Mission. I do think these organizations are better than government handouts. As I said, a Blue Dog Democrat, gun owner, NRA member & CPA.

        • Have you noticed that the people you’re so generously feeding are driving better cars than you and wearing sneakers that I could not afford?

        • Alexander,

          Sorry, I’m changing my name to something normal. I thought I was just making 1 comment, but yeah I don’t want to be known for the rest of all time as “Uterus_haver” 😛 So… Summer now.

          Did you mention already… what do you think about the FairTax? I support it. My husband thinks it will never pass, but I think it will eventually. Not because the people at Washington are so moral and magnanimous but just out of desperate necessity. It’ll come down to something like FairTax or a dismantled rule of law, enraged population, monetary collapse, and almost all big business leaving here. They’ll do it in the end to save their skins.

          Unfortunately, it might not be that quick, because FairTax would wipe Obamacare off the map completely. They can only enforce it with the aid of the IRS which wouldn’t exist with FairTax.


        • Summer (thank you for the new name!) – I know little about the Fair Tax. Yes, I’ve read about it, but without the details, I would sound like Nancy Pelosi with Obamacare… However, the purpose of our current tax abomination (hard to call it a system) is not just to collect the money, but to have control over all aspects of society and to punish and reward as deemed appropriate by the people in power. Can anyone imagine that these same people will ever voluntarily release that control? Only a total collapse and (probably) a civil war can lead to that; it will never be voluntary. The other issue is not just the method of taxation, but what is that money being used for? Under the original Constitution, taxes (tariffs) very used only for Constitutionally limited functions of the federal government. Now they are being used to fund special interests, transfer wealth from one class to another, to fund federal agencies that have no Constitutional right to exist – basically, a government feeding troth for everyone who can shoulder their way in. Not only is this wholesale stealing, but it is unsustainable. This is a big and (used to be) rich country – the effects take a long time to become apparent. But even when you hear the Propaganda Ministry claim that we are coming out of the recession and yet 92 million able bodied citizens don’t work, most of the new jobs are part-time low wage ones, manufacturing is all but gone and even service is decrepit, that is a good time to recall an old Soviet joke – “we see communism on the horizon…”

        • The folks pushing the Fair Tax (Boortz, et. al.) believe like I do that the government has exceeded its legitimate powers, BUT they also don’t want to fight that battle simultaneously with one on the destructiveness of the way taxes are collected, so they are trying to make the Fair Tax proposal “revenue neutral.” (I think, once the transition is over it will actually make revenues increase greatly because the economy will grow rapidly.) Once implemented, they can worry about cutting the role of government in our lives (and being able, thereby, to reduce the tax rate).

        • If you judge by the deeds as opposed to the words, I think that it is reasonable to conclude that the people in power do not want the economy to improve. There are many known and proven methods to improve the economy, but the actions are always the opposite. Perhaps it is because poor people are not independent and are easier to control, as well as being more predictable?

        • Alexander,

          bwahahaha you’re welcome! I have lurked for a little while and after a while certain topics push my buttons and in the irritation I made up a “one off” name, which… ironically “depersonalizes me” in a way I would find offensive if a guy did it LOL. So… best to normalize!

          re: FairTax you can check out That’s where I learned about it. I think it’s a really exciting idea.

          And you’re absolutely right that the tax code seeks social engineering. But in the end, they’ll just have to let go of that unless they want to go down with this Titanic, too. I’m betting they’ll want to keep their protected bubble to live in rather than end up with their heads on pikes when the bread and circuses run out. But hey, I’ll sit back and watch whichever door they decide to open.

          Besides, they still have the NSA to screw us over with.

          I agree it probably won’t be voluntary and that civil war/massive unrest or total collapse would do it… but I think we are heading toward those things if they don’t get it together. But I can also see a way it could happen voluntarily. If big money interests realize how beneficial it is to them and how they don’t have to worry about keeping a politician in their pocket and the vagaries of the political tides, it might be a way to keep corporations here. Without money and an economy, the government can’t control us anyway. So they should play this one smart.

          If they choose not to, I have popcorn.

          I think people who think communism is going to be a successful “thing” here, underestimate the free spirit of the American people. We guard our guns like angry pit bulls for a reason. And good luck to them if they decide to wage war on the people. /sarcasm.

          Also… in response to your comment to Steve… certainly poor people are not independent and are easier to control… but via what funding will they control them/us? If everybody is poor and all corporate interests have moved offshore, then THEY suffer as well. They at least lose much of “the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed”. If they are that stupid… well, okay. But I think they want to preserve that lifestyle and in the end will give us the FairTax.

          Another problem with the Welfare state is… they haven’t just created poor dependents, they’ve created ENTITLED dependents. The money dries up for the EBT cards and the carnage will be insane. The issue is that our poor people haven’t been kept in crappy destitution for generations. Our poor people have been kept in Obama phones and nice sneakers and better eating than the poor of most countries ever dreamed about. Rip that away suddenly and… LOLOLOLOLOLOL good luck with that, government.

        • @Alexander, I wasn’t trying to disagree with you, but someone somewhere upthread complained that the FairTax doesn’t do anything about the *amount* of government we have or what it is doing that it shouldn’t be. So I pointed out why those behind the proposal were deliberately avoiding that issue–to avoid fighting two battles at once.

          I do think that some of the marketing of the Fair Tax minimizes the disruption that the transition would cause (they seem to simultaneously assume your gross pay won’t be cut AND the prices of things will stay the same or drop, just for instance) but I also think we’d be better off once on it than we are under the income and payroll taxes.

  3. Well, no, not a Libertarian (party member) here, because the libertarian party has some other odd and empirically false ideas on banking, gold, and insurance. But on social issues, sure. Austrian economists need not reply.

    • Sorry that we want our monetary system based on something that actually exists and not an illusion. Getting off of the gold standard has created tremendous issues concerning inflation and volatility of the stock market (more booms and busts). But don’t take my word for it. Do the research for yourself and see what you think.

      • Do a little research yourself. We were on the Gold Standard from 1787 to 1935 and we had the same problems. The Gold Standard does not bring any more stability. The fractional reserve banking system is what drives booms and busts not whether or not the currency is backed by a physical commodity. The paradox is that without fractional reserve banking you can’t have financial intermediaries and without financial intermediaries you can’t have modern economy.

        • False. You’re confusing a stable purchasing power of the official coin/currency of the realm (at the time silver and/or gold, either directly in the form of Ag/Au coinage or Ag/Au backed certificates) with the banking panics, which were recurring collapse in the value of private bank notes, effectively private currency (which one could opt to refuse if you were a merchant, just like a check). The Federal Reserve was instituted ostensibly to address the latter, and in so doing (eventually) drove out the former. The purchasing power of the first silver dollar minted, buried in a mason jar, would have the same purchasing power if dug out of the ground in 1913. Now, the same cannot be said of any of the numerous private bank notes that came and went in the meantime. BTW, the federal reserve note is a private bank note, with one difference from before: you are forced by law to accept it as payment for debt, something the prior private bank notes didn’t have.

        • Do some better research. The government effectively dropped the gold standard by 1917, with the changes to the Federal Reserve Act. In 1913, the original FRA forbade the Federal Reserve from monetizing federal debt. They revised the law in 1917 to allow the Federal Reserve to extend loans to the federal government.
          Those bills were not on the gold standard. They did not say “Gold Certificate” on the bill, they said “Federal Reserve Note”. They were not redeemable for gold from the Treasury.
          That is when the dollar began its century long collapse.

          Also, the worst panics prior to 1917 all involved bank notes not backed by gold or silver, either private notes, or in the worst case the greenbacks the Union and Confederacy forced on the people during their war.

        • @mikep:

          You clearly do not understand the way the gold standard and fractional reserve banking worked. Banks issued script that was redeemable in gold. Banks figured out rather quickly that they could issue more script than they had gold because hordes of people would not show up at the same time demanding gold unless of course they did in which case you had a panic. One of Jackson’s gripes about the Second Bank of the United States was that they had this thing about showing up at the local bank to redeem the script to keep a check on the issuance of currency.

          We did not have price stability during the era of the Gold Standard. There were periods of inflation and deflation but the principle problem was deflation which was deadly in an agricultural economy. Remember the “Cross of Gold” speech? Events like the discovery of new gold deposits caused rip roaring inflation as the money supply exploded with these new finds. Your claim that we effectively left gold standard in 1917 is absolute nonsense. The pattern of persistent deflation punctuated by shorts periods of inflation continued on until 1930s. The collapse of the banking system in 1931-33 was a direct result of the need to comply with the gold standard. The Federal Reserve significantly tightened the money supply to stem the outflow of gold when other countries left the Gold Standard. That brought the house down. Stop reading Rothbard and Ron Paul. They are full of it.

          Edit: Here is a little historical footnote for you. Spanish Power was not defeated by the loss of the Armada. It was the massive inflow of gold from the new world that cause a hyperinflation that did them in as world power.

        • @ tdiinva

          No, I understand fractional reserve lending quite well. You’re still confusing the coin of the realm at the time with private bank credit/notes. There is no such thing as “fractional reserve” in physical commodities, such as a silver or gold coin (or a barrel of whale oil, or an animal skin). And the physical commodities that are precious metals were the coin of the realm. Physical things need a layer of abstraction, such as a derivative (claim check for a deposit of a real thing, for example), in order to be lent multiple times over. But the actual, physical underlying asset cannot be in more than one place at one time. Which is precisely why we have derivatives of physical things: there’s a lot of money to be made collecting interest by “lending” the abstraction of the real thing into the market several times over. It’s basically the concept of leverage.

        • Exactly. The Austrian economic model is predicated on the idea that value is subjective. Things become valuable when we decide they are. Value, like reality itself, is not intrinsic. We make it up as we go along. Bitcoin, for example.

    • Hahahahahaha Austrian economics is the only logical economic system. But enjoy your modern system that’s riding the success of the free markets in the ground.

      • I know I’m a guilty party (just see above), but who here bet good money that some day a TTAG thread would spin off into a debate about the merits/demerits of Austrian economics and monetary policy?

        • See, this is why I keep comming back to TTAG. The completely off topic arguments that spin way out of control. It’s pure gold and actually pretty interesting, and I’ve actually learned allot about topics far away from guns.

      • Austrian school of economics is the only one that explicitly rejects the scientific method, and uses pseudoscientific methodology such as “praxeology” instead. In effect, that makes it religion, not science.

        • I don’t think that science means what you think it means. There is no such think as social and economic science. Science means it can be rationally explained and reliably applied. Tell me how that works for social and economic phenomenons. Economic and social sciences are merely a set of opinions. Some closer to truth, some less.

        • It works in exactly the same way as it does for, say, thermodynamics or quantum mechanics. You may not be able to precisely predict the behavior of one element (in this case, human) in the system, but system as a whole still has statistically significant behavioral patterns that can be observed, predicted, and have laws derived.

        • HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! HAHAHAHA! HAHA ha ha …. ha… Whew… you had me going there, that was a good one. Economics as an actual science? Using the scientific method? Now THATS some funny shit right there. As an actual scientist who does actual science using the scientific method, you just brightened my day. Imagine the absurdity of the statement… economics as a legit science

        • I will take your comment at face value and ask you to explain why would you consider a discipline, where if one were to carefully take into account all the relevant factors and systematically reproduce the predicted results, not to be science? Don’t highlight a bunch of uneducated activists working for the administration or currently employed in liberal colleges as examples of the opposite. There are quak “scientists” in every profession (global warming?), but how does Milton Friedman not fit a definition of a scientist?

      • Austrian economics…..sure if Peter Schiff says so. Problem is it’s still central bank model, same end result, maybe slightly different path getting there.

    • Yup, pretty much this. I self-identify as “left libertarian”, which basically means that I largely agree with traditional libertarians on social and political issues, but I disagree with them a lot on economic ones.

      If you have seen the 2D “political coordinate grid”, you know that there are four quadrants there, not three.

      • And when you actually realised it’s a 3D “political coordinate grid”, it just makes way more sense to everything.

        The X axis is about Social/Economical Liberty:
        Communism/Globalist to Capitalism/Individualist

        The Y axis is about Personal/Political Liberty:
        Libertarian/Anarchy to Authoritarian/Totalitarian

        And the Z axis is about Ideological/Cultural Liberty:
        Laicism/Progressivism to Religious/Traditionalism

        Just think about it 🙂

        • Proggie-inspired misuse of the word “libertarian” to apply only to social issues.

          A libertarian (properly understood) wants liberty on all three of your axes, as well as any other axis anyone else might suggest. (He will also believe you are responsible for the consequences of your actions.)

        • Furthermore, social liberties cannot exist without economic liberties. If one is to examine the details carefully, it will become obvious that without economic freedom a Police State ensues which may dish out temporary liberites as it sees fit, and take them away at will. Anyone wanting to test this theory, try saying something (openly and loudly) that is not politically correct at your place of employment…

        • Your “ideological/cultural liberty” axis doesn’t really make sense to me.

          Liberty requires tolerance of other beliefs that do not inflict violence (or the threat of violence) upon others. Whether you believe in one god, or many gods, or no gods, is irrelevant as far as liberty is concerned.

          As Jefferson once said, “It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” A belief in a particular god – or a lack of it – does not determine whether one supports liberty or not.

          As far as other beliefs and their relation to liberty, the question is not whether or not one supports a particular idea, but whether or not one supports government involvement with that idea. For example:

          * One can support expanded healthcare options for people without supporting government involvement in healthcare.
          * One can support the right of people to collectively bargain without supporting the government mandating collective bargaining.
          * One can support persons receiving a good education without supporting government involvement in education.
          * One can support standards for products without supporting the idea of mandatory standards imposed by government.

          This is not the approach the “progressives” take – they are perfectly fine with government mandates for all of these things. But one does not have to support government violence in order to support these ideas.

          The basic issue is what a person believes violence should be used for in a society. Libertarians (and other liberty-minded folk) tend to believe that violence should be used as little as possible. Big-government folks (whether they call themselves Democrats, Republicans, or whatever) think it should be used whenever needed and/or as much as possible.

          Supporting government involvement in something = supporting violence (as necessary) in order to make things the way that some people want them to be.

        • I am aware of that scheme, and personally prefer it, but 2D is still a reasonably accurate approximation that much more people are familiar with.

      • So, let’s understand your position clearly – you want to force me (through the State, which does the dirty work for you) to slave labor and have the yield of my labor taken away to pay for your “social justice”? And you call that social justice?

        • I want you to pay taxes. If you have some silly notions, such as “taxation is theft”, that’s your problem. For an example of how it usually goes in practice, go find some video of a “sovereign citizen” or “freeman on the land” trying to argue in court.

        • I believe that you have missed my point. I don’t have an issue with paying taxes. Taxes for something that benefits me, of course I’ll pay. The legal system (courts), police, defense, perhaps a few more items that I can’t think of now, but I object to taxation without representation. I don’t want to pay for someone else not working or for someone else’s education or healthcare or a gender change operation just because you (or someone else) believe that those things are important to them. If you believe that they are important, by all means, please pay for them. And you’re welcome to ask me to pay for them; but don’t force me.

        • That was exactly the point I was making – you do have a list of things that you’re not only okay with paying taxes for, but you’re also okay with forcing others to pay their taxes for – unless you’re saying that I can voluntarily refuse to pay taxes for, say, defense, on the grounds that 90% of the spending doesn’t actually benefit me and possibly even makes me more safe; or maybe the black citizens might want to stop paying taxes to fund police.

          If that’s not the case, then our sole difference is over what things go onto that list.

        • int19h,

          Why is it a problem to think that taking something by force that belongs to someone else is theft?

          Just to be clear, we’re talking about income tax, right?

        • We’re talking about any kind of tax. By definition, taxation of any kind is involuntary, be it income tax, sales tax, property tax or something else. But it is also necessary for a functioning society. Even the Founders understood it, seeing how they didn’t abolish all taxes, and argued only against no taxation without representation, not against taxation in general.

        • No matter how you parse it, income tax is still theft.

          A sales tax is voluntary. Let me be very clear, here. I believe that the FairTax ( would be the single best thing that could happen to this country. It is voluntary. Basics are not taxed (look up the FairTax prebate). I can choose not to buy a new car and other things that are not necessities. I will not be taxed. There are numerous significant problems in this country that the FairTax solves. If you’re interested, you can do the research. Start here:

        • What do you mean by “sales tax is voluntary”? Whenever goods exchange hands between two people, you have to pay a fee to the state under such a scheme, what’s voluntary about that? Or are you saying that you can avoid paying it by not purchasing anything? Well, you can similarly avoid income tax by not earning any income. In practice, of course, neither is viable, so both are involuntary.

        • The method of taxation is one issue, which the entrenched bureaucrats will never yield on (why would they voluntarily give up power and control?). But the biggest issue to me is the forced redistribution (theft) from those that earn to those that don’t. Not only is it legalized theft, but it is unsustainable and it is only a matter of time (short time, I believe) before we take our rightful place in the middle of the Third World and probably end up with a civil war.

        • I see you didn’t doing any reading on the FairTax.

          If you want to eat and not live on the street, you have to work (ignoring our massive welfare system), so that’s a ridiculous analogy. Under the FairTax, there’s a lot that I can buy and not pay any tax.

        • I know what FairTax is, thank you very much.

          It’s still a regulatory scheme. Here’s a list of things that you have to stick to to avoid tax. Go outside of that list, and you have to pay the tax.

          And the same exact thing can be said of income tax. Say, if the lowest tax bracket is 0%, why, then you clearly have a choice: just don’t earn more than that, and you don’t have to pay anything!

          It’s all BS. Taxes are involuntary by definition. Voluntary tax is called charity.

        • @int19h

          No, apparently you DON’T know what the Fair Tax is. There’s NO specification of certain items being tax free. What happens is every household in the US gets a check every month, a rebate on the sales tax for poverty-level spending. Every item has the tax on it, but you got rebated the tax on poverty level spending.

        • So same exact thing then. You can “opt out” from tax by not spending more than X. And you seriously think that this counts as voluntary taxation?

        • Actually @int19h, I was responding solely to your statement that you knew what the tax was, then claimed it exempted certain classes of products.

          I too find it silly to call it voluntary, though you do have *some* control over how much you pay (if you choose to save or invest instead of blowing money on another bigscreen TV, you pay less tax).

          Jay Williams, who just claimed you could spend LOTS of money and pay no Fair Tax, is full of it. The proposal advocated by Boortz et. al., imposes the tax on EVERY good and service, but prebates a fixed amount of tax each month.

        • Not so much that I don’t know anything about the tax more than int19h (I did understand the prebate) but that I had simply forgotten about how used items are treated. (I don’t buy many things used.) My bad.

          To be sure some things you just can’t buy used (like food). Unless you find someone who’s unloading a bunch of food they don’t want anymore. And services will always be taxed since there’s really no way to sell a “used” service.

          Don’t get me wrong, I’d a million times rather have the fair tax–or any sales tax for that matter, so long as it doesn’t exempt a bunch of politically favored items–over property or income taxes, because the latter two can pop up and hit you with a tax bill you can’t pay (e.g., you’re retired, and your property now has a huge market value for some reason–maybe the city grew out to where you are–so you lose your house because you can’t afford to pay the property tax on it. Or (another example) you inherit the family farm and have to sell it because you can’t pay the inheritance tax.)

          Of course what I don’t want is the Fair Tax in addition to the income tax we have now. Neither do its proponents; I realize that the people who wrote the legislation made it contingent on repeal of the 16th amendment.

        • @Steve We all have to buy food, but most of us could eat tax free with the pre-bate. and probably pay most absolute necessity bills. I think previous purchases/debt are grandfathered in, so like if you have a mortgage I don’t think a new tax is assessed, so that would be tax free.

          If you bought your car used from a private citizen, that would be tax free. You could utilize a lot of used purchases. I think it would allow an option for some to opt out of taxes (or pay much much less) in an ethical and legal way. It would require some sacrifice but there would be an ‘option’ for those who wished to live according to their conscience.

          These could also be temporary ways to save money to help you move ahead financially which the current income tax system doesn’t really allow. It pretty rigidly enforces a class system that most don’t recognize or want to recognize is there.

          In most cases there would be some sort of “conscious choice” to pay taxes. People will always buy new stuff, and most people if they have the money do NOT have the self control to buy everything used except food which would probably be afforded easily tax-free with the pre-bate. But those who did have that self-control or genuinely desired NOT to enrich their govt slaveholders would have a legal/ethical way to “opt out” for the most part while still surviving.

          Another benefit is… the govt could only increase taxes according to what the market would actually bear. So it would have a naturally limiting effect on govt. which would force them to make choices about what they can and cannot spend money on, just like the rest of us.

        • My views on the Fair Tax – lukewarm. Obvious pro’s – it promises to disband most of the IRS (along with many of the related professions, like CPA). Aside from that, it appears to be business as usual. It does not reduce government spending and does not re-direct the spending (stealing, really). It simplifies accounting (a big plus in itself, of course), thus lessening the burden on the economy, temporarily eliminates or reduces special interests and re-focuses spending from consumer goods to savings or industrial investment. However, there are problems with all of the above. Let’s take re-focusing on savings and away from consumer goods. Sounds good? Or does it? Our economy is mostly consumer and service oriented. Not because there’s nothing to produce (China doesn’t have that problem), but because US regulations, high labor rates and inefficient production due to falling qualification of the workforce make industrial production uneconomical. A change in the tax code will not alter this situation. What it will do is collapse the consumer spending sector, which will be catastrophic for the economy. Do we need more industrial production and investment – of course, but we need to make a profitable environment for the production and the production will come, as opposed to forcing it with tax schemes.
          The fact that welfare remains the same, spending on all government projects and agencies (except for the IRS) remains the same, regulatory asphyxiation of the industries and of individual ingenuity remains the same, means that even the best tax scheme is nothing more than a band aid.
          Finally, the special interests will be back. For example, there will be a 23% tax on a new car, but 0 tax on a used car. How long will it take for used cars to be re-marketed with new engines, new seats, new … etc, etc., and new lobbyists carving out what is taxed and what is not?

        • Sunny,

          I don’t disagree with much of what you’re saying. The two things I’d like to see done with the Fair Tax are to add the tax at the checkout (don’t hide it!) and pick a lower rate and get rid of the prebate. I realize the prebate was put in to attempt to defuse charges the tax would hurt the poor more than the present tax system does. and I’ll certainly accept it if necessary to see it happen. All that having been said, the prebate proposed is probably the best way I could imagine to do it–it doesn’t involve wrangling over what should and should not be tax exempt, and the government doesn’t need to know *a thing* about you other than the size of your household. [For anyone reading this unfamiliar with the prebate, it’s a check for the poverty line income for a household of your size, times the tax rate, so you can spend $(Poverty level) basically tax free.] (I can imagine the IRS continuing to exist if only to make sure people don’t lie about the sizes of their households.)

          PS As a semi-aside your description of how you defend yourself against rapists convinces me that your husband chose well.

    • Two words for the Austrians: Milton Friedman.

      Austrian economics mostly is a tautology wrapped up in hard to pronounce buzzwords. It’s hack pseudoscience. There are libertarian-leaning economists whose work is grounded in solid research. But if you really want to understand the gold standard, the role of the gold standard in the great depression, you start with Friedman.

    • Let’s just ignore the odd/stupid positions taken by the R and D parties –all parties are wrong on some counts, but you prioritize them on how much importance they have to you, and try to change them by contacting reps in the party. Gun control is a hell of a lot more accurate tyranny litmus test than mandated equal pay, tax cuts, or a gold standard. The R’s consistently get the most votes while being the least hostile to my gun rights.

    • dwb… I’m genuinely curious about your comment. Do you have an example or two of what you find to be empirically false about libertarian fiscal or monetary ideas?

        • Mike, thanks for the recommendation. I hadn’t run across that source previously even though I’ve been working rather intensely for a quarter century now to understand this stuff. My question was more about what a specific person finds to be objectionable about the Austrian viewpoint rather than general information.

    • There are lots of libertarians (LP and non-party) who fall more on the monetarist/Chicago school side of things. “Hard currency” is not part of the litmus test, just promotion of free enterprise.

  4. To be clear, not all libertarians are created equal either.

    For example, abortion: Many (maybe most?) libertarians, including Ron Paul would say that an abortion infringes on the rights and autonomy of the unborn child, and as such does not fall in line with the idea of individual freedom.

        • I was told a decade or so back that the New Mexico Libertarian Party (then actually on the ballot at times, as were the Greens) refused to take a stance on the abortion issue, for that very reason: if the unborn child is human, then the government legitimately can protect it from murder; if the foetus is merely tissue inside a female, then the government has no cause to interfere in the female’s decision. (The weakness of libertariansim (and I recognize it, being pretty much a small-L libertarian) is that it has trouble dealing with family issues (marriage, inheritance, etc.), because marriage/family is by definition something voluntarily entered into (for adults) which creates mutual obligations and dependencies: “the two become one” in many ways.)

    • Until you get to the people who don’t believe an unborn ball of cells is an actual person until they are capable of surviving outside the womb.

      • So, you’re saying that a collection of cells isn’t alive unless it can survive completely on it’s own? A 1 year old child can’t survive completely on it’s own either. Does it not have a right to live?

        And yes, that is a fair analogy. In both cases, external forces are needed to live. Whether that external force is a mother providing nourishment outside of her body or inside of her body is a meaningless detail.

        • Adding to what Jake Tallman said, most children under the age of 7 would have little chance of surviving on their own. (that age can vary greatly among the childs maturity). Regardless of the specific age, many young children would have no chance of survival without a guardian but they still have a right to life.

        • Oh don’t worry, if the Socially Progressive tendency to abort “undesirable” children and try again continues, then we’ll have legalized 30th trimester abortions in 50 years. They’ll agree with the concept that a child under 7 can’t survive without the mother, they’ll just consider it ok to kill the ones they don’t want. Down’s, ADHD, any other mental or physical defects, it’s all for the “Greater Good” of society.

        • He said survive outside the womb, not on it’s own. As in able to breathe air and intake sustenance. You know biologically? Not being able to get a job and feed itself. Reading comprehension is fun.

    • No kidding. I still have a hi-def 3D ultrasound of my son Emerson at about 6 months. He was a clearly recognizable little boy, he just wasn’t born yet. Abortionists claim to be all about freedom, but I don’t see the unborn babies having any choice in the matter. Would anyone here have chosen to be aborted? Not me.

      Further, anyone trying to punch my pregnant wife in the stomach would have to deal with dad and a fusillade of .40 cal. That’s to protect an unborn baby, not a fetus or a meaningless clump of tissue.

      Granted, we can’t get rid of abortion by banning it. The market marches on, whether legitimate or not. I’d just like to start off by not having my tax dollars being used to rip out a baby’s brain through a pointed steel vacuum tip, which is exactly what most abortion is.

      • I’ve noticed most women’s views change once they have a child or become pregnant. I’ve known many women who were pro-choice until they became pregnant. I asked them, when they called the baby “their child” after only 6 weeks if they were willing to kill that baby. Obviously they said no. Funny how it’s a child at conception when it’s their kid, but when it’s all theoretical it’s just a “fetus”.

        • I’m going to have to stop you right there. What you are saying is absolute and utter BS. I know a lot of women who have had babies who said being pregnant and giving birth made them MORE pro-choice than they had ever been before because after going through the pain and many health risks and sacrifices that being pregnant and giving birth causes (many of which they didn’t truly understand the depth of until they experienced it for themselves), they would NEVER force another woman to do it against her will.

          But keep believing that lie. It’s a comforting one.

          Pregnancy is not a mere “inconvenience”. It can physically destroy a woman’s health and body (as in its proper functioning, not just aesthetic), up to and including death. And more women even here in the west die from childbirth or pregnancy complications than you might think. No one should be forced to take any of that on against her will. Nine months of potential health problems, immense pain, and possible death and permanent disfigurement of one sort or another is not something a compassionate human being wishes upon another.

          Once a woman has the baby if she gives it up for adoption, she’ll be shamed forever over that choice unless she was a teenager.

          So basically, socially, women NEVER have the right to opt out of becoming mothers unless they remain celibate (or only play with women) their entire lives since no birth control is 100% and once you pass the teen years, giving the baby up for adoption will result in social ostracizing by the vast majority of the same assholes who pressured her into having a baby she didn’t want to begin with.

          And what of married women? I’m sorry, but me being married doesn’t mean I suddenly want to have children. I’m NEVER having children. End of. So tell me whether you think my husband must remain a monk in order to facilitate this clear plan?

          IMAGINE the outrage if I had a baby and… as a married woman, gave it up for adoption. So really, either you can’t think things out logically, or you just think all women who have the audacity to spread their legs ever for any man, even their own husbands, should have to take on the risk of forced motherhood (as well as the risks and pains of pregnancy and childbirth itself). And just let the chips fall where they may, oh well! (And no, even a Tubal is not 100% effective. And most doctors won’t perform them on women of childbearing age who don’t have at least one child anyway, which defeats the entire purpose if you don’t want ANY children. As so many are so fond of saying… abstinence is the only 100% option… Hey husbands of the world… have I ever got an offer for you? I wonder if you’ll all line up for THAT. Abstinence, whee!!!)

          Dudes can’t have it both ways. Seriously. Either you respect a woman’s right to control what goes on inside her own body whether you like it or not… or you forfeit your right to penetration. I’m just saying. It takes some NERVE to both INSIST on sex while also insisting women must pay a “price” for it.

          If a woman does NOT give her baby up for adoption, if she truly didn’t want it, she most likely STILL won’t want it. The lie of “You’ll love it when it gets here” is just that, which is why abuse and neglect of babies and small children is such a large problem. You cannot force motherhood upon a woman who doesn’t want it and expect that to go well. And far more women than you think do not ever want children. And many of them have them after being coerced because they aren’t strong enough to tell other people to mind their own damn business.

          And if you think “Oh, we’ll just force birth on her”, she doesn’t have to stick around and be a mother, that’s really not much better unless you’re okay with being a sociopath.

          But my experience of pro-lifers is that they are mostly sociopaths who truly have no compassion for anybody else’s pain… particularly not “sluts”, amirite dudes? Or… who don’t have the intelligence and logic skills necessary to observe how the real world ACTUALLY works.

      • There are people who see dogs as children as well. Your feelings didn’t actually make it a child. And as for “surviving out side the womb,” an apt definition would be capable of homeostasis without dependence on the placenta.

        Everything else is just personal feelings and woo, and if we relied on personal feelings and woo to determine state policies that affect individuals, the only time you would have a gun is when you pinned on your badge.

        • “And as for ‘surviving out side the womb,’ an apt definition would be capable of homeostasis without dependence on the placenta.”

          Says who? Why is survivability a criteria for defining a person? An injured person on a ventilator cannot sustain homeostasis. Do they have no rights? The brain of a person who is sleeping or in a coma is offline — do they have no rights? An unconscious person feels no pain — do they have no rights? All of the “what is a person” arguments are silly. A person is a person. Location, environment, cognitive abilities, physical abilities, age, autonomy, usefulness to society … none of those define a person. A person is the result of human male and female genes combining to grow into a … person.

          All arguments in favor of abortion have one motivation: avoiding the consequences of one’s actions. And that would be fine if it didn’t require killing someone. All of the tortured verbal gymnastics involved are trying to hide or obscure or soothe the conscience about killing a human being.

        • So to be clear, do you define a fertilized egg as a human being? I understand that a moral definition is often ambiguous, but we live in a “legalistic” society, so a legal definition is important. A legal definition, by precedent if for no other reason, is a binary function – yes or no.

        • LMFAO. If I’d read this comment, I might not have even felt compelled to post that long diatribe I just posted.

          That is 100% truth.

        • Uncommon… I assume you believe in self defense and would shoot an intruder in your house? What if the intruder was in a sense an innocent who just stumbled upon your place but they were mentally unable to care for themselves or make rational choices, but they were still posing a threat to you. Would you still have the right to defend yourself?

          I will always defend my life and bodily autonomy. And frankly I would RATHER a man break into my house and kill me than a fetus to take root in my uterus and take over my body and me be forced to carry it and give birth to it. The former is short and then it’s over. The latter is a 9-month-long violation that I will never submit to no matter how much you and the other dudes who will NEVER have to face it moralize about it.

    • Most libertarians are pro-choice. Ron Paul is not really a libertarian, he’s too conservative on a great many social issues for that. He’s a strict constitutionalist conservative, and he ends up looking rather libertarian when he’s talking about federal politics because his answer to almost everything is “states’ rights”, which is fully consistent with libertarian position. But on state level, I don’t think his alignment with libertarians would be as good.

      • Most libertarians avoid generalizations about the group of people that is comprised in that definition. It’s pretty evenly split, which is why most Libertarian Party politicians have a middle-of-the-road position on abortion.

        • It’s way more accurate than pro-life, given that the latter often means the death of mother, and sometimes the death of both. Which the staunch proponents write down as “God’s will” or some such.

        • No, I didn’t say anything of a kind. I said that the most staunch proponents of “pro-life” insist that abortion should be unavailable even in the case where it threatens the life of the mother, or when the fetus is not going to live anyway, which is obviously contrary to “pro-life”.

        • Well, for example, here’s a quote straight from the Texas GOP platform for 2014:

          “Health Care- Health care decisions should be between a patient and health care professional and
          should be protected from government intrusion. Abortion is not healthcare.”

          Note how it doesn’t list any exceptions. “Abortion is not healthcare”, period.

          Or how about that bill introduced by Cory Gardner, which defines a fertilized egg as a “human being”, and says that all guarantees as pertaining to the right to life apply to said “being”? This effectively makes any abortion to be premeditated murder, at any stage, and regardless of the circumstances.

          Or how about similar bills that are already passed on state level, like e.g. the one in North Dakota?

          And here’s a whole group of people that is pushing for this “ban all abortions, no exceptions whatsoever” position, and has successfully lobbied a bunch of Republican politicians to publicly support that claim:

          And don’t even get me started on Todd Akin.

          So yeah, all those things, just a figment of my imagination.

        • int19h, They can pass whatever dipshit insano laws they want. I would die before I would give birth. period. I will die protecting my freedom. If I cannot be free… if I cannot be a HUMAN BEING with bodily autonomy who gets to choose NOT to undergo the F’d-up-ness that is pregnancy and childbirth, then I would rather be dead. I won’t live in a world where I’m just a “thing” meant to incubate a fetus where the emotional and physical trauma it would cause me would be ignored because “Think of the baybeez!!!”. Fuck that.

          Think of ME, a real, breathing human being who would literally rather die than give birth. And I am not as much of an anomaly as some might wish to believe.

          And not having any children, and being unwilling (even to the point of my own death) to not bring one here, at least I don’t ever have to worry about giving birth to a daughter who might be treated so callously as if she’s nothing more than a broodmare of the state and not a person at all.

          A non-sentient collection of cells may be “alive” but it’s alive in the same way the skin on my elbow is alive. It is not a person. And if that thing’s rights come into conflict with my own and some forced birth asshat chooses it… a non-sentient life that has no awareness of anything going on… over me… a full adult human being with a will and desires and thoughts and feelings who can feel pain both emotional and physical… then FUCK THEM and the horse they rode in on.

          My husband would fight just as hard to protect my rights and freedom as well. I believe normally, when we have a big political issue that a lot of people bleet over because of their “feelings” over that issue being played upon rather than any actual understanding of how it plays out in the real world… I believe we call those people “useful idiots”. It seems liberals aren’t the only side who has them because I can’t honestly believe any truly intelligent person can “think through all sides of this issue” and then their takeaway be “birth at any cost!”

        • Don’t worry about it overmuch. It’s clear where the wind is blowing on social issues. The recent slew of anti-abortion laws in red states is basically the final last glorious stand in the face of impending defeat. Just like most other individual social issues, it’s going to keep trending towards further liberalization (i.e. pro-choice) as urban population grows.

          The trick that we, as liberals (or liberal-minded libertarians) need to focus on is not losing other rights in that process. We need to make pro-gun a viable platform in left-wing parties, at the very least, proportionate to what the people voting for those parties believe (i.e. given that e.g. 30% of Democrat voters don’t want tighter gun laws, that 30% should have proportionate representation within the party – but in reality it’s much less than that).

          This goes not just for guns, but for many issues associated with social libertarianism. Economics will remain the defining feature of any left party, of course, but on others there should be a convergence with libertarians.

          The other venue is supporting the libertarian-minded politicians within GOP, especially the ones that are ready and willing to openly break with the mainstream party platform (which at the moment includes severe social conservatism), even if they personally hold conservative beliefs – like the Pauls. GOP is heading towards self-destruction, but if that happens and Democrats get a single-party monopoly, it will be bad for everyone; ideally, we need two viable parties to compete (well, ideally, it’s actually more like 5 or 6; but at this point even two would be progress!). This can happen if GOP drops the baggage that keeps making it more and more of a niche party, with a shrinking niche – and the only meaningful way they can do that is to become the “pragmatic libertarian” party, essentially, with a moderately libertarian position on most social issues, and fiscal conservatism. That would actually take a chunk of voters away from Democrats, and serve as a counterbalance for securing some important rights. That, of course, has to be something guided and implemented by libertarians proper, but it’s something where collaboration across party lines between social libertarians from both left and right can aid.

        • Although I (and I’m sure others like-minded) do appreciate your support for the Second Amendment, I don’t think that a union of Liberal and Libertarians is possible. Just as Uterus_Haver is passionate about not being a slave to someone’s religious beliefs (and I do support her stance on this), Libertarians are just as passionate in their (our) disgust (as SteveInCo well said) of socialist enslavers. Libertarians well understand that any temporary intersections with Liberal (socialist) ideas are just temporary, as the State grants and takes away liberties as it wishes. Besides, knowing the bloody history of socialism (in its various facets – communism, fascism and nazism), it is difficult to ignore for any temporary comfort that a State may grant.

        • A union when there’s a principal conflict of interest is impossible, of course. But there can always be an alliance of convenience on interests of importance. In any case, there’s no particular reason why libertarians have to prefer such with conservatives, given that conservatives tend to promote statism just as much as liberals, only for the sake of different goals.

        • The Republican Party today is just as far from promoting or sustaining freedom as the Democratic Party (Bohner is a shining example), except for the convenience that the majority of the Republicans still hold on to the Second Amendment, without which the Constitution will be trashed completely (as opposed to the current process of thrasing it piecemeal).

        • @Alexander, I’m just as against socialism as you are. 🙂 I’m against enslavement in ALL its forms which is why I can’t really support either party as it stands, though I think the GOP may be about to listen to reason and go much more libertarian, which I would support. If I “had” to pick a party (happily I do not), then I would be more republican than democrat by a country mile. But their anti-choice bullshit is exactly why I don’t vote for them and NEVER will until they shut that shit down.

          I do have great hope for the republican party though (as naive as that might be.) I do think maybe there is a new crop of more libertarian-minded people coming in who might revitalize the party. And I definitely think this country in general is way more libertarian than they think they are judging by how they vote on various polls. We’ve basically got two pockets of extremists on either side pitting all the normal people against each other and forcing them to vote the lesser evil, which I refuse to do. But I really think that strategy is going to outlive its usefulness as the insano policies these extremes have pushed on us cause the people to become totally fed up.


          I don’t “worry” about it per se. I will defend myself and my bodily autonomy at all costs no matter what law some asshole who doesn’t live in the real world tries to pass. (Just as everybody on here would defend their life even if self defense became “illegal” like it pretty much is in the UK now.)

          But it just infuriates me that any man really thinks he has the RIGHT to legislate the world in such a way (and most of our legislaters are still men) that so many women would be forced to carry pregnancies they didn’t want and give birth against their will and then either have to give that child up to someone or be saddled with raising it. Just GALLS me.

          I do hope you’re right with regards to the “final last glorious stand in the face of impending defeat” though.

          It will also have to trend toward pro-choice due to human population. This kind of population expansion is not sustainable and at some point you have to stop saving every non-sentient clump of cells at the expense of real living breathing women, particularly when unwanted children usually end up abused and then become contributors to society’s larger problems themselves. For all their pragmatism, the right just can’t seem to be pragmatic about this one issue.

          I honestly think the republican party will turn more libertarian to remain relevant and we will either continue to have repubs vs dems or we’ll have libertarians vs dems. But the RINOS need to be purged.

          Honestly… genuine libertarians who aren’t total anarchists are a much harder fight for dems because they believe in the most freedom for people on all issues. The primary reason republicans don’t have greater support in some areas are social issues like gay rights and abortion, their perceived racism, as well as their perceived hatred of the poor. That’s a lot to fight against.

          Truly libertarian and less authoritarian policies would minimize a lot of that. I think far left dems don’t realize they would have a much harder fight on their hands because those who want everything truly socialized and the govt. running and controlling everything aren’t actually the majority of Americans. Despite how many academics and under-30 urban dwellers “think” everybody wants to be Little Europe, it just isn’t so. Many “progressive” votes come from minorities, gay people, women who have felt treated as subhumans, not necessarily people who trust their govt. and think it would be just dandy to have more of it.

          As for myself, I won’t vote for either party. They both want to control me. I don’t support either.

      • I was using the newer definition of liberal. A hundred years ago communism and liberalism would have been opposites. Not anymore.

        • Only because we have allowed it. If we surrender the idea of what a liberal truly is to communism, it’s antithesis, how will we defend other fundamental concepts, like the bill of rights.

    • Can’t we all just use liberal progressive? There’s no confusion with that term.
      Side note: I hate AM and PM. We should all just use military time.

        • As long as we keep Fahrenheit and stay away from Celsius the metric system is a logical system to use. Military uses it so much for a reason.

        • There’s nothing inherently more logical about Fahrenheit over Celsius.

          (Or vice versa, for that matter. Granted, the selection of defining points for C makes just a little bit more sense, tying them both to natural phenomena, but the choice is still arbitrary.)

        • Communism and socialism have failed miserably, numerous times (every time, actually) to the tune of millions and millions of deaths; yet millions more are willing to go to slaughter for one more try. Anything wrong with trying a true free market system for once, that hasn’t killed anyone?

        • You seem to have a very biased view of the past. Did you expect the past to have the same views as the present, if only the government intervene earlier? Except for a handful of exceptions, humans have always been ruled by totalitarian despots, e.g., maximum power of the State. So why wasn’t life perfect? The dreaded capitalism, which freed billions of people from miserable existence and premature death, didn’t even exist back then. But a power State did. And how perfect was it?

        • I have an objective view of the past. Largely unregulated capitalism of the 19th century, while rapidly advancing science and industry, also took a very significant toll on human lives and their quality, that much is plainly factual.

          I don’t dispute that capitalism was progressive compared to socioeconomic arrangements that preceded it (i.e. feudalism). It was also inevitable – advances in science prompted advances in technology that resulted in new approaches to production of wealth that could not be reasonably tackled by existing arrangements, and capitalism was a response to that. But, just like everything that came before it, it’s not perfect, and is not the final point in our social development.

          We’re at the verge of another technological advance, largely centering around automation, that will make the economic arrangements inherent to capitalism (i.e. private property on the means of production) unworkable. The only way to save capitalism today is to halt scientific and technological progress, but that never works for long (capitalists should know, as that is exactly the kind of measures that their feudal opponents tried to use to maintain status quo: see Luddism etc). So evolution of capitalism into something else is inevitable. The only thing that we have any control over is whether it will be a gradual peaceful transition, or a messy and possibly violent one.

        • Well, you asked for a definition that wasn’t a tautology. I provided it. The fact that it has never happened is irrelevant to your original question.

          You are right, it has never happened. A damned shame. The 19th century, particularly the last half, showed the closest approach to it both in the US and England, and (not coincidentally) it was the age of invention, and life at this time, for people in the areas with that economic liberty, ceased to be a constant struggle just simply to survive for the vast majority of people.

  5. FWIW, one can be a libertarian without necessarily supporting the Libertarian Party (although many of us do support the LP when there is a candidate available to support, and I certainly do).

    Even if some who self-identify as “liberal” aren’t sure of the idea of joining/supporting the Libertarian Party, they should at least consider the possibility that they’re closer to libertarian political ideas than liberal ones. There are some who consider themselves an “independent who leans libertarian” – and that might be a good starting point for someone who is not thrilled with either of the two main political parties (it applies to conservatives who are disgusted with the Republican Party too). No one is obligated to belong to either of the two major parties, and no one is obligated to vote for either of them.

    As sagebrushracer mentioned (very eloquently by the way) most politicians are after power. They’re not interested in what’s good for you – they’re interested in what’s good for them and anyone who is a friend of theirs. There may be a few at the local and even the state levels who take principled stands for a free and just society, but they are relatively rare … and almost nonexistent at the federal level.

    The thing to remember about government is what it is and how it operates. It is a group of folks who claim the authority to determine the rules that others must live by, and enforce these rules with whatever level of violence is required. Government persons may attempt to gain your cooperation and play nice, but much of the time, to whatever extent is necessary, they are willing to use intimidation and/or violence to get what they want.

  6. Yes, there are many more ways to think about politics, but there are only 2 viable political parties in this country; so if you want your vote to count for something, you have to pick. Democrat does not always equal Liberal, Republican does not always equal Conservative, even though they both trend strongly in those directions.

    Personally, I think of myself as a Civil Libertarian, and a fiscal progressive. I do not believe in a hierarchy of rights, nor do I think they should be taxed or otherwise infringed in any way. If I have to pay for an ID to vote, that’s a tax on what should be a right. If I have to pay for a class, pay for fingerprints, and processing fees on a concealed carry permit, that’s a tax on what should be a right. If you have to pay for a permit for a public demonstration, again… taxing a right. And yes, I take serious issue with the Republican party on gay rights, voting rights, women’s right to her own health care decisions. I also believe we have a right to organize, and peaceably assemble, and to bargain collectively for a fair price for our labor. When I cast my ballot I consider all of these things as important. Fortunately, I’ve lived in the South or other rural part of the country my whole voting life, and have never had some California or New England gun grabber on my ballot.

    • Heretical Politik. I agree with you. An excellent discussion of the conflicting priorities we Americans have. I voted for Libertarian Gary Johnson in 2012, an outspoken advocate for efficient government, balanced budgets, rational drug policy reform, protection of civil liberties, comprehensive tax reform, and personal freedom. I have been, self identified as a “gun loving liberal” most of my life, but the last few years that became difficult to sustain.

      I do appreciate what distinction was made at the beginning this thread as to what “Liberal” originally meant, and what it now represents. Almost a mirror image of the original meaning (classical liberalism), in which primary emphasis is placed on securing the freedom of the individual by limiting the power of the government.

    • “and to bargain collectively for a fair price for our labor…” Would you also then accept employers banding (unionizing) and collectively setting a “fair” price on what they are willing to pay for that labor? Let’s be honest – it should work both ways, shouldn’t? Oh, btw, in the case of the auto industry, Big Labor has in fact caused this exact effect, with all three manufacturers paying exactly the same wage, as negotiated by the union-industry monopoly. And then there was competition from across the sea… and there’s only a shell of the American auto industry remaining… Worked well, didn’t it?

      • Management is free to sign or not sign any contract. That’s what I mean by bargain.

        Also, it takes two to tango. Or sink a ship. The captain (management) may not be the cause of running into the rocks, but it’s his fault if he didn’t demand the best from his crew. If American auto industry management signed contracts they couldn’t afford, that’s their fault. American labor produced some damn fine products in it’s time, including my Garand (which still works after over 60 years). When people take pride in their work, and are justly compensated for it, what they produce is excellent. It’s the deference between a burger made by a chef who holds himself to a higher standard, and a Big Mac made by a line cook pulling down $7.25 an hour with no available overtime. Go ahead and eat the Big Mac if you want.

        • I’m mixed on issues of union. On one hand the power to bargain stands in number. On the other hand by paying everybody the same wage is not forcing people to do more. The main issue is that mediocre people hide behind unions to be able to have a job and otherwise will not survive on a free market.
          But the problem is larger. The root cause may be the amount of regulations and the burden placed on starting and running a business. The lack of job that this produce will influence the ability of individuals to negotiate a fair wage and as such are pushed in the arms of unions. Add to that the amnesty and there you have it.
          To give and example. Under socialist regimes everybody is paid the same for the same job. While it may seem fair, the truth is that not all people working in the same job have the same skills and work ethic and as such is averaging everybody thus destroying the incentive to do more and earn more money. That cascade effect eventually will bring a whole society down as it happen in eastern Europe.

        • So, why are you “mixed” on the issue of unions? Didn’t you just answer your own concerns? Unless, of course, if you’re in the union and while understanding that unions are an economic suicide in the long run, that extra pay (perceived extra pay, for if you are a good performer, your pay is limited by the union) is just too tempting. There is actually one more strong incentive that the unions province – the luxury of not having to think about your own future and not having to bear the responsibility for it. That, of course, is the signature achievement and attraction of socialism – not having to think or be responsible for oneself.

        • “That, of course, is the signature achievement and attraction of socialism – not having to think or be responsible for oneself.”

          If you which to be so simpleminded and reductive, then we can say signature achievement of libertarianism is slavery. Slavery is the most efficient and profitable system, which is why all unregulated free market systems drift toward slavery.

        • I am surprised at myself why am I answering such a ridiculous and an uneduated comment. But I’ll try – Libertarians completely prohibid the initiation of physical force or violence against any other human being. Slavery is achieved only through physical force and violence. And slavery is actually a very inefficient form of production, which is the primary reason why all industrialized societies have abandoned it. Please, please, do some reading; even Wikipedia is better than nothing!

        • No need to be mixed on Unionizing. Either we have the right to freely associate with our fellow man, or any groups of 3 or more people congregating together should be arrested. As the commenters and writers on this blog eloquently, and rightfully, say so often about our Second Amendment liberties: It’s not complicated. Rights are either rights or they are not.

        • The issue is not whether or not people have a right to form a union; the issue is whether the government has a right to enforce this issue either way (usually on the side of the union). There’s a fundamental difference here.

        • @Alexander – I’m mixed in the sense that I see no good use of unions in truly free market society but in the same time given current state I understand why someone will want to favor unions. Also, I don’t want to totally dismiss the role that they had in improving the working conditions (or so I learned 🙂 ).
          You are right, I answered my own dilemmas. I guess deep down I’m more concerned about the huge regulatory state than unions. In a real free market unions will tend to disappear.
          And to clarify: I don’t want the gov to either mandate or forbid them – freedom to assembly and all. I was just expressing my attitude towards unions.

        • There is misconception that’s been floating around for years, that unions, in their early days, improved the lives of workers by standing up to the evil capitalists. That is not true. They stood up to crony capitalists that were backed by corrupt government in creating their corrupt monopolies. Thus, instead of getting rid of the true evil, that is government involvement in the economy, the government instead multiplied the evil by forcing the economy to use the unions. The result – the government grew, became more powerful, the people at the helm of the government became more powerful, the economy went into a long sliding decline and the American people lost. But, for the most part, we’ll never admit that.

        • “Libertarians completely prohibid the initiation of physical force or violence against any other human being. Slavery is achieved only through physical force and violence.”

          You can believe whatever you want, but in the real world where real people live slavery can be easily achieved through contracts and debt service. If it wasn’t for laws limiting the scope of contracts, slavery would be a common occurrence everywhere.

        • “The issue is not whether or not people have a right to form a union; the issue is whether the government has a right to enforce this issue either way (usually on the side of the union). There’s a fundamental difference here.”

          The government enforces corporate rights and perrogatives all the time. There only fundamental difference is in your mind.

        • @whatever

          Libertarianism also forbids those corporate favors that you (rightly) decry, so I don’t quite understand where your critical tone is coming from. You are criticizing libertarianism for something it *isn’t*.

        • Steve, @whatever is obviously incapable of having a discussion at any more complex level than a half-sentence. Best to leave him alone.

      • But that competition is from countries with *more* unionized workforces (in Europe at least), so I’m not sure what unions or not is supposed to prove.

        • Read up on the history of US automakers in the 1970’s and 80’s – the industry, which was the leader in the world, stagnated due to labor (union) issues and never recovered. Likewise, the British auto industry is a total failure for the same reasons. The Germans are producing well in a union environment, but that is, I believe, because of the traditional German culture of being workaholics. That will change, especially with Arab immigration there.

        • @Alexander. I’ve read the same histories–both left and right–and your interpretation is more product of your personal prejudices and political indoctrination than established fact.

          All the major auto producing countries are heavily unionized. In fact, the only significant non-union automating capacity is in the southern US and China–which has yet to make any headway in the global market.

    • “…but there are only 2 viable political parties in this country; so if you want your vote to count for something, you have to pick.”

      Sounds great in theory. In reality, in 21st-century American elections, any individual’s vote almost never counts, no matter who they vote for. In the vast majority of elections, the outcome is predetermined before a single vote is cast. Aggressively gerrymandered districts and the massive advantages conferred to incumbency ensure that it’s rare that any elections are even competitive, much less decided by a small number of votes.

  7. The author of this article is small minded. This is like saying there are no republicans who are pro-environment. Silly labels serve no purpose. Open eyes lead to open minds which lead to open societies. We the people can have our guns and still be interested in the greater good.

    • You’re an idiot. A vote for D is a vote for fun control, no matter the individual’s stance on the matter. Just like a Conservative who supports gay rights. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter, because the representatives will vote along party lines.

      More importantly though, I would ask how a liberal who supports gun rights manages to reconcile that. As the author accurately stated, modern liberalism is all about subservience to the state, and gun ownership is the opposite of that. So, to a true pro gun liberal, I would ask what kind of twisted mental exercises use it takes to reconcile that.

      • Ummm, Reagan banned new machine guns and GHW Bush banned imported AKs. Voting for either the Rs or the Ds is a vote for gun control. Vote only for those who demonstrate support for our rights…all of them.

        • Sorry to disagree on that – even if congress passes a bill, it dosn’t become law until the president signs it. If the president disagrees with it, he should’t sign it, even if congress can override the veto.

        • It was an R in office that allowed the Clinton AWB to sunset.

          If Gore won, I guarantee he would have extended it.

        • And if Romney won we would have universal background checks right now…and to think there’s been rumor of that ticket again.

        • This is really in reply to skeptcial_realist and Geoff PR since TTAG won’t let me respond to them individually.

          Bush banned imported “assault weapons” by executive order, not Congress. Clinton and Obama are the worst two offenders of gun control executive orders. It was under the D’s that some of the worst one’s were made and the reason why our import laws concerning guns are so bad that Canada’s are better!!!!

          The only reason Bush didn’t sign the AWB is because it never reached his desk. He even said he would renew if it got there but the D’s remembered the last time they did and the power they lost so it wasn’t even brought up for a vote so it just expired from inactivity.

        • Re: AWB renewal. At the time it was the Rs who were in control of congress (at the very least, they controlled the house), so they get the credit for not putting the thing on GW “RINO” Bush’s desk.

          The day it expired I called my most “hard core” gun friend and quoted “Free at last… Free at last…”

    • You may be interested in common good but you are misguided. Common good can be achieved by private parties that band together and provide for the causes that they are passionate about. If you take a look at a lot of museums, universities and such, they were created by private parties with no gov intervention.
      You don’t need the government to achieve common good. At most what you achieve is to violently force other people to care about issues that you do. And if that is not wrong, not sure how rational you are.
      you can not create good by violence. Stalin and Mao tried it and failed.
      I strongly suggest for you to read F. Hayek – The road to serfdom.

    • Hi,

      If it was only about guns, I could see that point. But it’s control over everything else too. Liberalism is about deciding what “the greater good” is for everyone and forcibly enacting it by law. Conservatism is about holding on to whatever the old status quo was. And Libertarianism is about actually trusting people to take care of their own lives and not interfere.

      When it comes to the big two parties, expect the politicians to vote party lines. In the case of guns, that means democrats will ban them and republicans may or may not depending on how badly they want the nra backing. Not once do I make the case that the GOP is “safe” for guns or anything else.

      Yes, things are a spectrum so even libertarians may not agree on every issue, but they agree on a goal of more freedom for all. No, I don’t agree with every Libertarian platform position. But I’ll take them over the big two.

  8. Pro-gun liberals,

    Don’t let RF, or anyone else on this blog, force you to call yourself a Libertarian. It’s their way of fitting you into a box of their making that they’re comfortable seeing you in. So they’re uncomfortable being around you. Oh, well. It’s not your job to make them feel comfortable around you, it’s their job. And if they can’t, or won’t do their job, F— ‘Em. Be who you are.

    • Yeah, I don’t think RF is trying to put folks in a box, I think he knows these posts generate a ton of comments which is good for his ad revenue. No hate, I just think that’s what’s going on here.

    • I agree. And many people do not have a massive, all-encompassing ‘liberal’ or ‘conservative’ political philosophy. Someone might be in favor of a single-payer healthcare system, higher progressive tax system and social programs while still affirming a right to self defense and, therefore, gun rights.

      • I suggest you re-examine your premises. If you are a progressive/liberal/democrat, you, by the definition of your party and by its deeds, believe in government control and responsibility of everything and not in individual rights and responsibilities. You may like to play with your guns, but you will do that only as long as Big Joe or Big O allow you. Then you will surrender them, but for the common good, so you’ll feel good about it. Individual gun ownership is against everything that the State stands for; it empowers people, which is a threat to the community and the State. Name a single socialist country that allows individuals to have unrestricted access to guns.

        • Only by your antagonistic definition of “liberal”. I’m sure I could come up with a definition of “conservative” that you wouldn’t abide by.

        • You’re making an assumption that I am a conservative, which I am not. I believe in personal freedom, personal responsibility and minimal government. That includes minimal government involvement (if any) in social issues as well as economic issues. That actually makes me believe in the US Constitution (the original one) and the Bill of Rights (that piece of paper in a museum). I believe in unalienable personal freedoms, not just those temporarily on loan from the State and I don’t beleive in forced payment for “social justice.” Anything wrong with those positions?

        • Democratic Party does not hold a trademark on the word “liberal”, nor does it hold a patent on its definition. Just because one is a liberal doesn’t mean that one has to agree with the Democrats on everything, or even vote for them in all elections.

        • I agree that the terms are confusing, and purposefully so. I was using the current and common definition of “Liberal,” as in Progressive / Liberal / US Democratic party member / adherent. The classical definition of “liberal” is more akin to a Libertarian. The term “liberal” was hijacked by the progressives / socialists to abfuscate their true meaning and intent. Socialists do that all the time – as in the Democratic Republic of North Korea, the German Democratic Republic, Union of Soviet Socialist States…

        • “Gun owning liberal promoting gun rights”, and “Silver unicorn f@rting rainbows” –

          Neither one exists nor makes sense, but some prefer to believe that they do. Now, “gun owning liberal who wants guns heavily restricted for the greater good” (Diane Feinstein, Jay Rockefeller et. al.) ; these exist & there is a savage logic to their beliefs as well as their hypocrisy.

          Vote Democrat, vote for gun control. Simple.

        • “personal freedom, personal responsibility and minimal government”

          Now clearly define those terms in a way that doesn’t come across as the kind of self-serving drivel worthy of a political slogan.

        • These definitions are simple. Social freedom – as long as what I do does not physically affect others, then others have no say in what I do. As for economic freedom – market forces creating a market economy. I have the right to produce or to not produce any widget that I desire, using any means available (not stealing, counterfeiting, etc.) and using any labor that is willing to work for me for the amount of money (or other means) that the person is willing to accept. The underlying premise is voluntary participation of everyone involved. I have no right to force someone to do anything that they don’t want to do, nor does anyone have a right to force me to do what I don’t voluntarily wish to do. It is amazing how well a society can self regulate (and, by default, be honest) when people are free to do what they want, without strongarm coersion by the government mafia. The role of the government (domestic policy), is to run the legal/court system, enforce law against the criminals (those that use force against others) and oversee a very limited amount of national-size issues (atomic energy, for example, although the power stations should be privitized). Who I sleep with, where I sleep and how I interract with my doctor are absolutely no business of the government.

        • Yes, they are. And thus become easy prey to manipulation by the politicians who promise them what they want to hear. Unfortunately, these good people don’t have the foresight to analyze the promises and throw away the BS and the ones that cannot ever be fulfilled.

      • If you believe in the right of self-defense should I be able to defend myself from people that try to separate me from the fruits of my work to pay for your enlightened programs?

  9. The original Liberterian was co-opted by the right wing of the Republican Party. Your description of Liberterian seems to fit the original definition. Their problem is that they can’t see any govt. agencies helping us at all. 🙂

    You know if you search in your heart of hearts and mind you’d see a blend of the stereotypes of the two parties would work. The reality show stars masquerading as politicians wouldn’t like it because they’d actually have to work to present and consider our needs. 😉

  10. Why do we have to lump our beliefs into political movements like this. Can’t we just formulate our own ideas on what is right and wrong and express them as such. What is the point of creating party lines if they’re going to force people into a camp where they only believe most of what is being said. I say down with political parties at all. Everyone just think and create a personal philosophy that can be subject to change.

    • Naive. Parties control committees, speakerships, and ultimately what comes to the floor for a vote (remember how Harry Reid has locked down the senate?). That is why you must vote for the party, not the candidate, that most closely identifies with your values. Even if you must hold your nose when you vote. A vote for a third party is a vote for Democrat.

      • And so long as you keep following that strategy, “your” party can keep distancing itself from your views further and further away, so long as they can still give you what you want on some heavily polarized wedge issue. Which is precisely why both parties try to create as many of those wedge issues as possible, and to polarize the electorate as much as they can over them.

    • I used to believe that my views were some special brand of left libertarian snowflake, but I discovered through historical research that I’m an old-fashioned centrist pragmatist the likes of which has been driven out of the body politic.

      Libertarians tend to harbor narrowly self-promoting, ahistorical views inconsistent with living in a complex industrialized society, and they’re as insufferably smug and self-righteous as communists. No thanks.

  11. I am not a libertarian I am a progressive in the style of teddy Roosevelt who likes guns. Contrary to popular belief not all progressives want to ban large size sodas either. Because I believe in the importance of environmental and labor protection laws does not mean I do not support civil rights.

    • I wouldn’t do that. The progressive era that include TR Roosevelt is one of the darkest periods in this country’s history. Progressives brought us the Fed, income taxes, prohibition and such.
      That was the moment that the concept of “living constitution” began and majorly transformed America.

  12. What’s up with all the f@#kin labels?? Try thinking outside of the box that has been manufactured to keep you a mental prisoner.

  13. “Liberals” tend to march in lockstep, as do self-identifying GOP members. There’s no room for thinking on your own in either party, IMHO. Libertarian and proud of it. I don’t find anything particularly “funny” about Libertarian positions, by and large. Certainly nothing odd about wanting our currency to be backed by more than thin air.

  14. Here’s something I learned that completely changed how I view political affiliations. As a senior in high school, I had the good fortune of taking a mandatory government class taught by quite possibly the best teacher in the school. One of the biggest things I learned was about just how inadequate it is to refer to political affiliations as right or left.

    There are two different axes (as in plural of axis) that need to be individually accounted for to determine ones political views. Social issues (libertarian vs authoritarian) and economic issues (conservative vs liberal). The Democrats are theoretically liberal libertarians (as far as their stance on the issues is concerned [with the exception of guns], rather than the driving ideology), while Republicans are theoretically conservative authoritarians (also with the one major exception of guns, obviously). This description made it IMMENSELY easier for me to classify political ideologies, as well as highlighting – in a very concise way – the problem with our two party system: there’s no real representation for liberal authoritarians or for conservative libertarians (which I am, and most TTaG readers seem to be as well).

    • Sorry to disappoint you – your teacher was seriously biased (surprise?). Liberal/progressive is a modern, politically correct term for a socialist. A socialist believes in government control of most aspects of life, through the control of production, consumption and distribution. A classical republican (as opposed to today’s RINO’s) believes in the rule of law as laid down by the Constitution, in individual responsibility and in minimal government involvement. So, Democrats are certainly not libertarians, since government control is completely against the libertarians’ philosophy, while republicans, in believing in individual responsibility and authority, while minimizing the size of the State, cannot be authoritarians. Of course, we can through RINO’s into the mix, who are basically socialists with religion.

    • Your teacher abused the word “libertarian,” using it to apply specifically to positions on social issues alone. (From what I’ve seen, I am realizing he’s probably not alone in this by any means. The term is successfully being hijacked by those who don’t want you to believe in free markets.) The word actually means those who want freedom on the social issues as well as the economic ones; the usual bumper sticker description is “conservative on economic issues, liberal on social issues.”

      I don’t disagree with your teacher’s notion of labeling political positions on two axes based on how much freedom the person believes is appropriate in the social and economic realms, but his actual labels stink.

    • More of a Franklinite myself… 😉
      I’m not sure if I’m prepared for full-blown anarcho-capitalism, but I vote Libertarian as I figured out years ago that voting is violence. I figure the Libertarian party is our last, best hope for sanity and morality in politics.

    • Too little, too late. All the money and power is in the hands of the few, due to government monopolization. Any attempt by government action to “free” the market just ends with more monopolization because big corporations=government.

  15. “At the same time, the Libertarian Party attracts people from the right who do not feel that the government has a right to say what you do in your personal life.” except for who you can marry, what substances you are allowed to ingest, or what medical procedures you can have. Yeah, no government meddling in your personal life here (sarc).

  16. 3rd parties – because coalition politics work so well in Urrup.

    Grandaddy fell in lust with good old FDR, tsar of the Americans, and decreed that all his descendants.must forevermore mindlessly continue to vote for all future Marxists.

  17. Most people in general are Libertarian. They just vote for one of the two major parties because “The Libertarians never win,” rinse, repeat. Full disclosure: Card carrying member of the Libertarian Party, the Libertarian Party of Texas, and former Executive Committee member of the Libertarian Party of Florida.

  18. I just don’t believe voices coming out of a talking box at face value… you can call it democrat, republican, libertarian… doesn’t matter. Libertarians seem to make the most sense at the moment.

  19. I was raised in rural California by conservative parents and lived for hunting season(s), and had guns from age 9. Now, 60+ years later, I cannot agree with the policies and goals of either major party. I am socially liberal, fiscally conservative, pro immigration, pro choice, anti (excessive) regulation, pro military, pro environment, pro universal health care, and want a fair shake for the middle class. I hate elitism (right and left), discrimination, racism, religious fanatics and hypocrisy (closely related), and the current political climate that rewards sucking up to moneyed interests through lobbyists.

    I now live in the Bible Belt in Tennessee, surrounded by wonderful people, who do not share all of my priorities. But life is good, and I am back into guns. If I had to put me into a box, it would be a gun loving liberal libertarian.

    • Gary, sorry to say, but if I were to label you, based on your description, I would say that you are confused. Not to get into the nitty-gritty details of your issues, just look at the two that you’ve mentioned – “liberal libertarian.” Those, by definition, are total anathema to each other.

      • Alexander. Confused? Not at all. Look up “classical liberalism”. I have a reason for every one of my moral and political positions based on decades of living in the USA. But perhaps you prefer to place people into BIG boxes of “purity”, you know, black or white, instead of recognizing there are many different points of view on every subject, and if there are “boxes” to put people in, there are far more than you can imagine.

      • It’s also possible Gary is using “libertarian” in the more recent sense where it applies only to social issues. I have come to the realization that the word is being redefined under our very eyes by the leftists to exclude the free markets aspect of libertarianism. (“libertarian” must have become a cool word recently, for them to want to do this.)

        • Yes, you are probably correct. And yes, I agree that the word is being hijacked. Socialists are very good at it – when they say something, they always mean something else – like “for your safety,” “for the children,” “the Democratic Republic of North Korea”…

    • You’re what I refer to as “pragmatic” or “utilitarian” libertarian – meaning that you still want to keep government’s role to a reasonable minimum, but that minimum you define as something considerably more extensive than the traditional libertarians (judging by your mentions of universal healthcare and environment).

      In reality, of course, there is a spectrum. For me, said reasonable minimum includes universal basic income, for example (combined with a repeal in minimum wage laws, and a flat taxation scheme with only two brackets, lower one for personal income, and higher one for capital gains – but that’s another story). That puts me well into the socialist camp. On the other hand, I still stick to the notion that I don’t want the government to be bigger and more centralized than necessary, unlike modern mainstream liberals that want to use it as a social engineering machine to fullest extent possible. So I still self-identify as a libertarian, but clarify that I’m a left-wing one at that. The spectrum goes all the way – on one extreme you have anarcho-capitalism, on the other one you have anarcho-syndicalism.

      • You are as confused as the poster above.
        Let’s take “universal basic income”. How that can be achieved? By taking money from someone else.
        In order to do that you need to have a big government that need to track what anyone earns, track that people pay up, incarcerate the people that don’t do it, redistribute the income and so on.
        If the universal basic income will become reality tomorrow, why do you think that the vast majority of people will choose to work? And as the tax base is reduced, more and more is asked from fewer until there is no more and society collapses.
        So, with all due respect, what I see expressed by some people is just childish dreams that have no practical solution. It shows a lot of laziness of thinking through what the hell it means that we want, what are the consequences and so on.
        And that shows in the voting booth too.

        • Good point on the universal income, this would be used to impoverish everyone, while pretending to lift the tide of the poor. So yes, everyone would be equally poor.

        • []

          Huh. The embed doesn’t work. Try:

        • You do need a government for such a scheme, yes, but libertarianism does not mean “no government” (that’d be anarchism), and most libertarians accept that government has to be there, and has to collect taxes in some form to fund legitimate government expenses such as defense. The quibble, then, is solely about the definition of “legitimate government expenses”.

      • So, what you’re saying, is that you are a kinder, gentler slave owner. You want me to slave away for your environment beliefs and for your healthcare, but you would allow me to keep some of my wages and not have to pay some of your other bills? Did I get that right?

  20. Authentic liberalism is dead. JFK has been gone for over 50 years and he isn’t coming back. What’s left is Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and the rest of that Democrat scum. It’s kinda sad, but there it is.

    • Not dead Ralph, but woefully under-represented in the political parties. The leadership of the Democratic Party is primarily progressives and socialists right now. Classic liberalism in the people is still very much alive from what I’ve gathered in conversation. Most don’t realize their party has changed so much though. Most folks aren’t politically and socially minded enough to have paid that much attention.

  21. I grew up with guns and had god fearing Republican parents. I always had fun with weapons and do not understand why people are so emotional about them. I think that there are control freaks on both sides of the spectrum. I will always fight for gun rights but still I can not abide never ending war neo cons who want to run the fricking planet while kissing wall street ass. Throw some corrupt thieving wall street bankers in jail and then I will vote for your party. So far none of them including the liberals are willing to do that.

    • So Terrance, who do you vote for then? The Democrats? Because ultimately, they are not the party for gun rights and a vote for the DP is a vote for gun control By your reasoning, you believe a vote for Republican is worse, correct? So no vote there. Who do you vote for then? A vote for a Libertarian candidate (or any other third party) is essentially a non-vote only made worse by if you previously voted Dem or Rep. Essentially its a half-vote for either party depending on your preference.

      This is the conundrum. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

  22. Personally I’m a socially conservative libertarian. I don’t believe the proper role of government is to dictate to it’s citizens (subjects) how to live their lives, be it how big of a soda they can drink or who they can get nasty with in their bedrooms. That however, doesn’t mean that I don’t have my opinions. If your pathetic existence needs validation from me you may be sadly disappointed. You’re a sick and twisted weirdo, and you should really keep your sexual perversions to yourself.

    I do believe it’s the proper role of government to protect those who can’t protect themselves, and this is where, politically, I break from a lot of libertarians. 50,000,000+ children slaughtered is nothing less than state sponsored genocide. I cannot and will not ever vote for anyone who’s pro-abortion.

  23. After reading your article, I find myself angry at what you are saying.

    The democrats of today, like I told my father years ago, are not the Democrats from WWII. They have traded places with the the bad (then) republicans. Their point of view is abysmal. From ignoring the Constitution to killing by proxy, by disarming victims.

    There is a bit of Libertarian in all of us, but the real theme is reducing the size and involvement of government. That is regardless of what politicians want. Maybe libertarians will get the next election, that depends on what the Republicans do this coming session. Or maybe another group will listen to the voters and take the Washington gravy train away from the whole bunch of professional politicians.

    It will take a long time for Obama’s party to overcome the damage they have done.

    • What was so good about the Democrats of WW2? It was very much the party of racism and segregation back then, and if they traded places with Republicans (which they did), then what you’re saying is that Republicans are a party of racism and segregation…

      • I will give the Democrats credit where due. It was the Democrats who were in power who had the guts to bomb major cities in Europe, intern Japanese Americans (despite being unconstitutional it was likely a prudent move), and drop nukes on Japan when they refused unconditional surrender. The Democrats of WWII had absolutely no compunction about committing to all-out war, and to do whatever was necessary to win.

        Granted, that was all of America back when. We were united and committed to beating the shit out of fascism worldwide.

        Absolutely not the Democrats of today.

        • intern Japanese Americans (despite being unconstitutional it was likely a prudent move),
          Dream on…I don’t think there ever was a case of a Japanese American proven to be disloyal to the USA.


          Granted, this is just one data point, and how representative it is is subject to much debate. But back in the day, it gave them all the ammunition they needed to push for internment.

          FWIW, I don’t think it matters. Even if every single Japanese American was a potential traitor, it still wouldn’t justify internment. Constitution either applies or it does not, it can’t be circumstantial.

        • and drop nukes on Japan when they refused unconditional surrender. Under the policy research and recommendation of Herbert Hoover.

        • Please put aside your public school revisionist history and you will learn that the atomic bombs have not only saved tens of thousands of American lives, but even tremendously more Japanese lives, including a million babies a year that were dying in Japan due to abominable sanitation conditions that MacArthur remedied.

        • It was the Democrats who were in power who had the guts to bomb major cities in Europe,
          Actually, the USA treaded lightly as compared to Britain and Germany. Rome, Paris, and Kyoto was very politically sensitive.

  24. “Liberalism is based upon government control and oversight of every activity”

    Let’s be clear then… Liberalism… The quest for liberty, has been coopted by Communists. Relabeling real liberals as libertarians only moves the goal post. Instead, let’s take back the field by reminding those who would tread on our liberty what real liberalism is about.

  25. If the last 30 years of electoral history haven’t convinced everyone that the Libertarian Party is a total waste of time, what would? Seriously, what has the LP accomplished in that time that would make anyone want to go vote for an (L) instead of, say, going for a walk or hugging your children?

    All Western societies have organized into a left/right spectrum for at least 300 years. The Left always and everywhere opposes property, family and tradition, or in other words, authority. If you’re feeling a bit libertarianish, pick one of those two teams and set about making it less overweening.

    (And if you’re feeling libertarianish and haven’t figured out that the family is the greatest bulwark against the state, well, I hope the next Reign of Terror or Gulag Archipelago works out well for you and yours.)

    • This past election, the Republican candidate (Gillespie) in VA lost by less than 1%. Most of the votes that he would have had went to the Libertarian candidate. Why? Because Gillespie is a RINO, anti-gun and is a socialist, much like his Democrat “opponent.” Perhaps next time the Republican Party in VA will get the point?

      • So you are one election for thirty years? Congratulations. Any evidence that the GOP thinks the LP cost them that one victory and is inclined to do anything useful about it?

        But don’t worry, I’m sure hordes and hordes of people will start voting Libertarian next year. Or one of these years.

        • Well, in the past, I have taken the pragmatic approach, voting for Republicans because that was way better than the Democrats. But in reality, and Gillespie is a good example, the RINO’s helped the Democrats get us where we are. So, continuing on the same path will simply land us in the abyss a little later than the Democrats would like.

        • All too often the only difference between the two major parties has been that the Republicans offer better gas mileage on the road to statism.

    • I would suggest that you actually read up on the electoral process in those other countries, and in particular on how they manage to elect more than two parties to represent them, thereby having more than just two extreme points from the left/right spectrum.

      Some other things worth reading up are things like “Mixed-member proportional representation” and “Preferential voting”.

      The abstract left opposing “authority” is hilarious, especially when you take such shining examples of left-wing anti-authoritarianism as Stalin or Mao.

      • Based on what authority did Stalin and Mao rule? They ruled in the name of The People, which is exactly the name all rulers of the Left rule, everywhere, including our own Dear Leader. (Ever wonder why he ignores the Constitution as much as he can? It’s because the Constitution is an authority, and he’s not interested in any authority higher than The People.)

        On what authority do right-wing rulers rule? Sometimes it’s a constitution. Sometimes it’s God (or a god). Sometimes it’s order. Sometimes it’s just naked power: I rule you because I have the power to rule you.

        Note the true monstrous rulers of history and in whose name they ruled: Robespierre, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Hitler. The difference between those who rule in the name of authority and those who rule in the name of The People is a stark as night and day.

        The law of nature is rule or be ruled. I don’t think I’m too far on a limb to say that everyone who reads these words will not rule but be ruled. The question is: whom will you be ruled by and will he rule well?

        • All authority ultimately comes out of the barrel of the gun, Mao was 100% right on that. Regardless of anything else (“consent of the governed” etc), if you cannot enforce your power in the face of resistance from even one person, you do not rule, but merely advise at most.

  26. Alot of good comments here, but I’m tired of the amount of people who say the GOP puts you in a box and restricts free thinking.

    Frankly, it’s BS.

    I align myself with nearly all aspects of the Republican Party, and I didn’t need any outside conving to get me here.

  27. Trying to classify individual political philosophies into a party definition is just asinine. The truth is, we have one of the shittiest forms of democracy out there. That’s why other country don’t model theirs after ours.

    • I disagree. The U.S. has the best of all the crappy options and offers the path of most resistance towards inevitable slide towards socialism / totalitarianism. This is because of:

      A: The structure of the country as a constitutional republic and not a democracy, and

      B: The inherent time and difficulty required to gain control over enough of the divisions of government at any given time to override enough of the fundamental tenants of the constitution.

      It’s far from perfect, but it protects against the fast degrade of freedoms that we see more frequently in other governments worldwide.

      Other countries don’t emulate us because there are so few leaders in existence willing to sign away so much power over the populace.

  28. Well, I’m still an Independent Constitutional Conservative. There’s a whole lot more to this government thing than which party to vote for. One major focus is to repeal thousands of laws. Nearly 40,000 laws went into effect nationwide in Jan 1 of 2014. We need less laws, less government, and lower taxes if we are to have any hope of future freedom. We also need a secure border, deportation, and a vast increase in government accountability. Annihilate Obamacare, welfare reform, tort reform, voter ID, a balanced budget, and national carry reciprocity would all be part of an excellent start.

    • A balanced budget, thank you for the morning humor. People speaking of balanced budgets show their illiteracy in our monetary system. There will never be a balanced budget, there was never meant to be a balanced budget.

      • See: Wisconsin. A balanced budget is possible, but there are very few with the political will and competence to achieve it. I know that the federal government is far more complicated than a state budget, but there are also far more unnecessary and costly things in it. I have a problem paying people who don’t work, for example.

        • It’s got nothing to with how complicated a budget is. The truth is simple. As usual. Since 1913 the government had to borrow with interest every penny it spends. It no longer had control of issuing money as required by the Consitution. That interest can never be paid, nor was it meant to be.

  29. The one important item that wasn’t mentioned is that people that believe in liberty and individual freedom demand (and value) their rights, which they consider unalienable. Socialists, while proclaiming various liberties and advantages for every fringe group imaginable, are granting them State-enabled liberties, not unalienable rights. When the socialists solidify their control, they will no longer need the support of the fringe groups and those liberties will disappear quick, just like they did in all other socialist countries upon a complete takeover.

    • Yes. In eastern Europe under communists you will go to jail for being gay. Abortions were forbidden as they wanted more children for the State.

  30. I realized I was a libertarian a long, long time ago. The Democratic and Republican party have equally burned me.

    Fool me once…

  31. small l libertarian

    I agree with most if not all of the LP domestic agenda but just can’t vote for them with their with their foreign policy agenda. I own guns because I know evil people exist and leaving the evil people alone doesn’t keep you safe from them because they’re evil people who will do evil because evil. I can’t square that with the idea that terrorist hate us because we’re over there and they’ll leave us alone if we don’t bother them. I just can’t pretend they’re rational like us when they strap bombs to their chests and blow themselves up shouting god is great. Hell even the fort hood guy didn’t do that (I mean the blowing himself up part not the god is great part.) So even though I live in KS and could vote L without handing the election to a D I usually still end up settling for a R.

    • They are not rational like us, no. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t rules to their behavior that you cannot use to goad them into doing what you want (i.e. leave you alone).

      And what’s so special about Republican foreign policy? Did it really make you safer over the past decade?

      • republican foreign policy during the last decade, are you serious? ’04-’08 there was republican in office and democrats controlled both houses. Since ’09 there’s been a democrat in office. I wouldn’t call the past decade an era of republican foreign policy anymore than a republican decade of healthcare reform. If anything it was mostly a decade of democrat foreign policy. The problem is LP foreign policy to closely resembles democrat foreign policy, only the LP might actually execute it with a bit more competency then the current bungler.

        • No, the Libertarians would not be giving away billions to our dear “friends” in Pakistan and other important places in the world. Perhaps the Libertarians would not even support ISIL? One can only hope…

        • Pakistan politics is BS for both parties. They don’t realize that it is already a failed state, a slow motion wreck, and it’s only a matter of time before there’s a Salafist coup d’etat. If we’re lucky, it will be al-Qaeda aligned; if not, it will be Daesh. Either way, they’ll have nukes, and delivery systems for them. If it’s Daesh, they’ll launch right away.

          Pakistan is the country that needs direct US intervention much more than any other in the region. They simply cannot be allowed to have nukes, or they have to be under direct control of someone who can be trusted to manage them – someone who is at least remotely sane (and compared to Salafists, Iranian leadership is sane! I’d rather have Iran have nukes, at least it’d be a deterrent…).

        • I do agree with you on this issue, int19h. American foreign policy (if it can be called a “policy”) over the last several decades has been idiotic beyond belief and suicidal at that.

        • 2000-2004 was 100% Republican, and it laid the foundation for all that happened after. And if you look at what Obama did rather than said, he’s largely following the same course – e.g. he was quick to take credit for withdrawing the troops, but in practice he just executed the plans prepared by the Bush administration.

          The blunders that are 100% Obama are Libya and Syria. But they wouldn’t even happen if not for the “War of Terror”.

          As it is, all that US got after spending hundreds of billions of dollars, is a bunch of countries that are even more destabilized and spewing out extremists and potential terrorists like hot cakes, and every one of them knows that US is “enemy #1” (which BTW is not something that e.g. Taliban subscribed to pre-invasion). Worse yet, we actually have a state now that is explicitly founded on extremist Islamic notions, including obligatory jihad of the sword for all its members until complete and total victory worldwide.

          Simply put, the chances of being targeted by a massive terrorist act today are significantly higher for an average American than they were in 2000.

        • @ alexander your right about the foreign aid, but what I was referring to was non internationalism

          @int19h first you agree that they aren’t rational then explain what they have done or would do on a rational basis. I don’t see how that works. By the way, an Iran with nukes is a horrible idea. Deterrence won’t work when you use nuclear annihilation to deter people who actually want nuclear annihilation to cleanse the world of infidels. I know it’s not rational to actually want nuclear annihilation instead of just threatening nuclear annihilation to get what you want, but we have already established that they are’t rational. Remember the bit about them blowing themselves up along with the infidels imagine that on a worldwide scale.

          Oh, and in your list of obama blunders, you forgot about the Iranian Arab spring.

        • There’s nothing wrong with implying rational basis to other people’s irrationality. When I say that they’re irrational, it just means that the rules that govern their behavior are not rational – but they still exist, and can be determined, and used to predict their behavior.

          Unlike Daesh, Iran is not a state that is religiously crazy. They have that facade, yes, but at heart they’re still an Iranian nation-state, not a religious theocratic state; and their citizens are Iranians first, and Muslims second. They are not hell bent on world domination, and do not want to establish a global Caliphate. With time (less of it with some gentle guidance) the ayatollahs will go away, and the Iranian nation will remain. So they may threaten with nukes – just like Putin threatens the West with them – but they won’t launch them, because it would be the end of their nation, and they don’t want that.

          Iran is actually less religiously crazy than Saudi Arabia. They can be reasoned with, same as any other normal state. Diplomacy works there.

          OTOH, Daesh is a crazy religious state. They don’t have any foundation as a nation other than adherence to an extreme crazy form of Islam, and worldwide conquest. They cannot be reasoned with, and there’s no form of diplomacy that can be useful there. They will not have qualms about launching the nukes, because they literally believe that everything is as Allah wills it, and their sole duty is to follow the religious commandments to the letter… and the way they interpret them is that jihad of the sword is obligatory by any means at their disposal. So if they have nukes they will use nukes.

  32. If you ask any high schooler in AP government/civics/whatever what “liberty” means, none can offer you a definition. We say the pledge every day in K-12 “with liberty and justice for all” but neither value is really explained, only “social justice”.

  33. Coming from Sweden, my perspective is quite different. Most gun people here are conservatives and liberals, but liberals here are used as market liberals, as in right wing by our standards. I’m a socialist and very pro gun, as is many socialists I know. We don’t trust a right wing government and we don’t trust Russia to not act up. Also, we enjoy guns, hunting and target shooting. 🙂

    • But if (or when) your government tells you to surrender your guns, you will joyfully do so, because it is for the common good and because you have no unalienable rights, only temporary liberties granted by the government.

  34. To find out who liberals and progressives really are, read Jonah Goldberg’s great history, “Liberal Fascism”.
    THEN maybe you ” I’m a pro-gun Democrat”(s) will figure out who you are really supporting.

  35. You can pontificate and debate endlessly over the alleged differences we are given to accept as our viable choices, liberal, conservative, democrat, republican, libertarian, ect…..but it is all meaningless unless you consider the impact of the Federal Rsserve Act of 1913.

  36. “In other words, to a true liberal government is the force of good, restricting others for the “greater good” of society. Individuals cannot be trusted to make their own decisions, and neither can businesses or other organizations.”

    Interesting. So do you mean like restricting recreational drug use? As I recall the most vocal champions of the ridiculous “War on Drugs” would never have called themselves “liberals”

    Or do you mean the creation of The Dept of Homeland Security or the railroading of the Patriot Act? Those both justify their invasive policies by the “greater good” and neither were touted as being “liberal” initiatives either.

    • Prohibition of drugs, like prohibition of alcohol, was another Progressive nanny-state scheme at the beginning. Now, the Progressives have forgotten that they were on the wrong side of history on that one–it’s convenient when you get to write history–and are now letting conservatives carry the water on their failed drug policies.

    • Patriot Act? Which Patriot is that? Do you mean the one Bush signed, which the Senate Democrats not only failed to filibuster, but voted for? Or do you mean the with s sunset provision which Obama has reauthorized…..twice? Oh, those are the same one? Huh.

      As for drugs, both parties have been a party to that for generations, and neither has lifted a finger to slow it down, let alone shut it down.

      So let’s quit regurgitating the old “Democrats are for freedom, Republicans are fascists” trope. It’s a false dichotomy obvious to all but pure partisans.

      • Clinton pushed for everything in the Patriot Act. Because terrorism. That’s why there was a Patriot act to introduce, pass and sign within 35 minutes of the second tower coming down.

  37. Here’s the problem I have with labels: none of them are good enough to properly identify me. The best I can come up with is that I actually am a “liberal and a supporter of gun rights”. I wanted to call myself a liberatarian, until my Wife pointed out that Ron Paul is a libertarian and wants to abolish welfare. None of these labels are perfect fits. I will support gay rights, access to abortions, etc. along with gun rights. What I’ve experienced is just because I choose to support gun rights, some of my (former) friends now associate me with the Tea Party.

    • Let’s try to define where you are. You support welfare? Right? That means that you support the State forcibly making me pay for someone else’s food, housing, education, entertainment, healthcare, etc. I don’t know that person, I don’t care about that person (yes, I know, I am horrible) and I don’t want to support that person. But you are giving power to the State to take my earnings (and if I don’t give them up “voluntarily” – well, remember Ruby Ridge?), steal my earnings, really, and give them to someone that you care about. Wouldn’t it be more approriate that if you care about that person(s), than you labor for their benefit, as opposed to forcing me to do that? But, of course, you get the same satisfaction of supporting your cause with me working for it. So, yes, I see your rationale…

      • As I read through all these comments, Alexander, I keep seeing you replying to people with inconsistent viewpoints. That cracks me up. You’re wasting your time, man. Still, I like reading the good stuff you’re saying. I just doubt that it will mean much to the targets. One can always dream.

  38. A few cents, worth every penny:
    1. The labels “liberal” and “conservative” are anachronisms. They mean nothing in this day and age. It is possible to be “liberal” on some issues and “conservative” on others.
    2. I believe that if most Americans were just shown party platforms without knowing what party each was from, most would choose Libertarian.
    3. However, the Libertarian Party has shown itself to be about the most incompetent political party ever assembled. Not only do they rarely win elections, most people can’t even say who the Libertarian candidate was for any major election.
    4. As much as I am pissed at the Republicans, I heard the late, great William F. Buckley Jr. say this live, “The only intelligent vote is for the most conservative candidate WHO HAS A CHANCE OF WINNING.”

  39. “Let me be clear: You cannot be a liberal and a supporter of gun rights.”

    Not true in practice. At the core of many Liberals I know is a cognitive dissonance that allows for holding conflicting and incompatible views. In fact, I know several liberals who believe in the right to self defense (and who tolerate reasonable restrictions), but also believe in socialized medicine. regulation and welfare. I have tried to make the case to them that the government’s monopoly of force, required to enforce the welfare state, is ultimately incompatible with freedom generally, and gun-rights specifically….to no avail.

    So your statement should be: “You shouldn’t be a liberal and a supporter of gun rights.”

    • A government monopoly on force is required for any state activity. That’s what state is, at its core – organized violence directed towards a goal. It’s exactly why there’s always a slippery slope in any kind of state power expansion. It doesn’t mean that state is not valuable – sometimes organized violence is preferable to all alternatives (which include unorganized violence of more severity, or violence organized by someone else). But it always has to be viewed with suspicion.

  40. If every single signer of the Declaration of Independence was alive and a politician today what political party would they be?

  41. “Let me be clear: You cannot be a liberal and a supporter of gun rights.”

    Many are not doctrinaire in their beliefs. Many adopt “buffet line politics,” that is, they pick and choose. For example one may say “oh, I like all of the social programs that the government has in place, but they really need to be fiscally retrained.” Taking the position of this example, one either doesn’t see or doesn’t take seriously the inherent tension between the two stated policy preferences. That is, one would be described by Orwell as exhibiting doublethink.

    Some of us are more doctrinaire. We have read and really appreciate Beran’s essay on the descent of liberalism.(1) And, we hold more consistent positions than the doublethinkers who may want social spending and fiscal constraint or a more powerful, unrestricted state and the individual liberty of firearms ownership.

    The real question for the gun owning liberals or doublethinkers is how do they expect government to be limited (gun ownership to be respected) once they have voided large sections of the founding contracts? Why should Feinstein, et al obey a contract that has so many sections wantonly crossed out?


    • Seems that you’ve just made a case why much of the population should not be allowed to vote. If they are so uneducated, inconsistent and frivolous, what right do they have in setting the policy of the government and affecting the lives of others? Would you let a surgeon with those attributes operate on you? Why should they be allowed to operate on millions? And, actually, that would be entirely consistent with the original Constitution, when voters were expected to be educated and have a stake in the society instead of frivolously casting their vote for whomever offer a better lunch buffet.

  42. The problem with the Libertarian Party is that they tend to be fruitcakes, claiming to be Libertarian while in reality being anarchists. What *I* consider libertarian includes your description but also states that your neighbors are not going to be required to pay for your abortions, nor your sex-change operations, nor any other actions you claim the right to engage in, nor for the results you may suffer from those actions.

    In my lifetime I have seen repeatedly the government get all in an uproar about supporting the poor babies who couldn’t afford this or that, followed INSTANTLY by laws restricting everybody’s rights because otherwise that support would be too expensive. Free medical care for the poor, then controls on smoking, or drinking, or seat belts, motorcycle helmets, drugs, whatever, with the excuse that, for example, a head injury in a motorcycle accident would cost the public too much because we have free medical care for the poor.

    Give me the freedom. If I am injured in a motorcycle accident and don’t have either insurance or funds to pay for care, let me die. The world is overpopulated. The libertarian Party should advocate any person being able to legally do anything he wishes if it hurts no one else. And simultaneously advocating a roll back to eventual zero of all welfare giveaways from Medicaid to food stamps to whatever. I have not seen Rand (or Ron) Paul expressing the responsibilities which have to go along with that freedom they suggest.

  43. I’m Liberal but definitely not a Libertarian, so I guess I’m a gun hater by this logic. I guess I have to go melt down my 10+ firearms now.

  44. I’m a socialist democrat and currently no political party represents my views. I believe in a strong social safety net, personal liberty, and a government that limits corporations or anyone/anything that would violate personal freedoms. That means I’m a strong supporter of the constitution but believe that medicine and education should be socialized. I also strongly support social security, food stamps, medicare/medicaid, taxing religious organizations, raising taxes on the wealthy back to pre-Reaganomics levels, and free hugs.

    A well armed society is a polite society. Being well fed and not having to worry about dying from a sinus infection also helps.

    If we got rid of political parties and labels then we’d have to think for ourselves instead of following all or nothing herds.

    • Just based on the answers to this post, I’m actually surprised how many people have articulated something like this. It’s a shame that, for apparently being somewhat popular, this viewpoint gets no attention whatsoever (less even then libertarians).

      • This viewpoint obviously exists, so on that basis it needs to be acknowledged. But it is a completely illogical viewpoint. The physical state envisioned cannot exist except as transitory, eventually resulting in a dictatorship.

        • Having been an extreme anarcho-capitalist myself in the past, I know that the libertarians think that their ideology is the only logical and rational one. It doesn’t make it so, of course, and strict libertarianism itself is very much an oversimplification that ignores the complexities of human interaction rather than come up with solutions (basically, anything that disrupts the nice, clean and simple design of the libertarian society is deemed a lie… e.g instead of trying to figure out how unregulated markets would handle AGW, most libertarians simply deny it exists and dismiss the associated science as fraud). In that sense, anarcho-capitalism is fundamentally a religious ideology with its own dogma, a lot like various socialist anarchist strains, or communism.

        • Well, I actually subscribe to Objectivism, so I can’t defend some of the points that you’ve brought up regarding Libertarian philosophy, although there are many similarities.
          Btw, Free Markets have nothing to do with anarchy.

    • Oh boy, another undecided, confused person! Seems to be incapable of thinking through any of his premises beyond the first asertion. Everyone should be free, but the education and helathcare workers need to be enslaved to provide free services. No, wait a minute, some other people need to be enslaved (the working ones?) to provide free education and healthcare to those that don’t want to sudy or pay for their heathcare!

      • So true, we shouldn’t pay healthcare workers or educators fair and livable wages if it’s socialized because that would make too much sense. I’m sorry but you just hit the ground trolling.

        • I think he’s trying to say it shouldn’t be socialized in the first damn place. You should not be required (at gunpoint) to pay for someone else’s healthcare.

    • That means I’m a strong supporter of the constitution but believe that medicine and education should be socialized. I also strongly support social security, food stamps, medicare/medicaid, taxing religious organizations, raising taxes on the wealthy back to pre-Reaganomics levels,
      Which means that you do not support the constitution and liberty. What you support is serfdom to the state.

    • No, most people are not Libertarian; most people don’t even want liberty, Liberty requires responsibility and thinking, two of the most difficult areas for most people. Even the hard working type prefer to labor with their muscles instead of their brains. That is why most of the world is ruled by dictators and America is quickly sliding down the same slope. Take an average American middle class person – where do they typically buy their house? In an HOA. Why – someone else is setting the rules and doing the thinking. They want that freedom from thinking and responsibility. Very few are enlightened enough to understand, appreciate and be willing to sacrifice for freedom.

      • I may have an unusual circle of acquaintances, but both for myself and for most people that I know, “no HOA bullshit” was/is pretty high on the list of requirements for buying a house. Most also identify as liberal.

        • Of course we surround ourselves with like-minded people. Instead, judge by the statistics – most of the new neighborhoods (a vast majority) have active HOA’s. The developers would not be setting them up if the customers didn’t want them.

  45. That’s funny, you tell me I don’t exist, yet I do. I’m a liberal gun owner that supports 2A rights.

    First off, it’s not like I have much choice. It’s right there in plain text in the Bill of Rights. Second, guns do have many legitimate uses. Laws aren’t there to keep evil people from doing bad things, but to guide behavior of generally good people and provide punishment for people that transgress. Third, they’re fun as hell.

    I share some of the libertarian values, but only the social ones. Unlike libertarians, however, I believe that our government is vital and plays an important role in our society beyond military defense and contract disputes. I support socialized medicine, as I don’t think there should be a profit motive that is realized by denying necessary care to sick people. If the government doesn’t run health care, then it should at least be done by non-profits, as in the European countries with some of the world’s best health care. I believe that government should prevent monopolies (except, you know, actually do it) and regulate potential environmental damage. Basically anything that advances my interests but doesn’t offer a profit motive I feel should be run by the government. Sure, our government could be a lot more efficient. I mostly blame Congress. Do we really need to patrol the northern border? Do we need MORE defense spending? Do we need to subsidize corporations?

    Of course, if I had my way, service in the House of Representatives would be via conscription to a 4 year term. That would require a new Constitution, which we’re probably due anyway. Which founding father said a Constitution is good for 19 years? Oh yeah, it was Thomas Jefferson.

    • I support socialized medicine, as I don’t think there should be a profit motive that is realized by denying necessary care to sick people. Yeah, I know a lot of doctors from socialized countries coming to the USA, who refused to work for nothing. You have to wonder why we have foreigners coming to the USA for medical treatment? Why the Swiss rejected socialized medicine?

      • Socialized medicine doesn’t mean doctors working for nothing. It means that their salaries are paid from taxes that are spread evenly across the entire populace. In effect, it’s a society-wide health insurance scheme, which keeps the costs as low as they can be (which is why US, which does not have it, also has the highest healthcare costs of all developed nations by a long margin).

        The reason why people from other countries come to US is that those are well-off people who can afford the treatment. US, by virtue of having a mostly free market healthcare system, has the best doctors and the best clinics for expensive stuff, the kind that few can actually afford. So if you can afford it, you’re better off in US, and if you live in another country, it might make sense to come to US to get somewhat better treatment by spending a lot more $$$. But for routine healthcare, in terms of quality per dollar spent (if you count premiums here vs taxes elsewhere), US is at the bottom of the barrel, and this is felt disproportionately by the working and middle classes.

    • Basically anything that advances my interests but doesn’t offer a profit motive I feel should be run by the government.
      Sounds like government pork which has no real demand and market value.

  46. I have to concede that libertarianism does hold much appeal to me. At the same time I’m a big proponent of universal healthcare and taxing the hell out of capital gains, estates, and the top 5%. I don’t think that capitalists are interested in a well functioning capitalist economy. That large corporations and the financial services industry need to be restrained to prevent wide spread suffering and disaster. I concede that a massive federal government is a threat to its own people and the world. Perpetual war, torture, global surveillance, so on so forth. At the same time large monied interests are also a massive threat to the American people. Millions of lives ruined so that a few may profit.
    I’m fairly certain I am a liberal, one that does in fact whole heartedly support the second amendment. I have no great love for either the Democrats or the Republicans but I don’t think I am ready to embrace the Libertarian party just yet.

    • If you believe in all that stuff, you are nowhere near being ready to embrace libertarianism. Libertarians find socialism disgusting, whereas you seem to revel in it.

      I don’t think that capitalists are interested in a well functioning capitalist economy

      Now this IS true. Most people actually running businesses won’t hesitate to get a favor or sixteen from the government, which is not laissez faire in the least. To be fair some of them probably engage in this sort of thing because their competitors do and they don’t want to be eaten alive by their competitors’ use of an unfair advantage. Good ol’ government, corrupting everything it touches whether it wants to be corrupted or not.

        • This is some kind of fvcking joke, right?

          During my time in the Libertarian party these people would have been laughed out of the room.

        • The American Libertarian Party represents a subset (right-wing) of libertarianism. It does not represent the entire ideology – it’s way too broad to be represented by a single party.

          And, by the way, left-wing libertarians (such as anarcho-socialists) were organized long before there even was such a thing as a Libertarian Party.

        • They’d have been laughed out of the room because they’re basically socialists who want to pretend they are for freedom. But there’s no property right here, no right to the fruits of your own labors, society can simply take away everything you’ve worked for if you do too good a job creating value. What the hell resemblance does that have to freedom?

        • To answer your other question. Anarcho-socialists vary in their attitude to private property. Most draw the line between “personal” and “private” – “personal” is something that you directly use, “private” is where your ownership is strictly abstract. E.g. your shirt, your car or your house are personal property (so long as you actually use them), but a parcel of land several thousand miles away to which you hold a title is not. Some, more extreme ones, go even further and deny any sort of property ownership outright.

          It doesn’t mean that society would take things away from you. For that to happen, the society needs to have an organized enforcement/violence apparatus, which is otherwise known as a “state”. All anarchists are against the state, and left-wing minarchists are for small state, which is obviously incompatible with taking things away. What it means, though, is that such a society would not protect your property rights, and because private property is a social construct that does not exist as such without societal enforcement, it just collapses.

          Think about the example with the land and the title. If you’re not physically on that land, how are you going to protect it from trespassers? It only works because you can rely on someone else to enforce it for you, and they do it because they recognize your claim – i.e. they recognize the abstract notion of property represented by the title (or a record in the registry etc). If they don’t, then your only recourse is to do it yourself – but you can only protect a plot of land or a building that you physically occupy, and you can only do it one at a time. You can, of course, organize into a community, where people enter into the mutual agreement to protect each other’s property. If most people in the society do that, then that contract becomes a social contract, and what you have then is anarcho-capitalism. But if most people refuse to enter such a contract, then you have anarcho-socialism.

          I have mentioned these two sci-fi books before, but I’ll do that again just because they’re both really good illustrations: “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress” by Robert Heinlein, and “The Dispossessed” by Ursula Le Guin. One describes an anarcho-capitalist society taken to the extreme, the other does the same for anarcho-socialism. Both are well worth the read, just to get a more tangible image of either arrangement in your head instead of an abstract representation.

        • I see many flavors and varieties of people responding here and, of course, each variety is convinced that their version is the best (including myself, of course). The problem that I see with al of the versions that try to attain a balance between the extremes is that they are not sustainable. All systems, physical as well as sociological, gravitate toward their base state. Unbalanced systems, like absolute state control and individual freedoms, nationalized healthcare and individual medical choices, abolute state authority and individuals having guns cannot coexist. Eventually, one or the other gains more power and takes over. These temporary states have elements that are polar opposites. Unfortunately, history has proven that in most cases the despot will be the winner and with the sheeple mentality which seems to be programmed into the human DNA, most will follow the despot. Look at history – every political system, no matter its origins, has always deteriorated into despotism. It takes intentional expenditure of effort and energy to keep a human society free. And the restrictions on freedom have always come from the State. It should follow then, that the more power the society gives to the State, the faster it will devolve into despotism. There have not been any exceptions to this in the human history. The American Constitution recognized this fact and attempted to prevent it, but left too many loopholes, which are being constantly exploited. Please re-examine your positions, not on the basis of how they feel to you at the moment, but follow the logical continuation of your philosophy and see in which direction does it lead.

        • Multiple things to respond to here, but I’ll do just one for the nonce.

          I’m not an anarcho-capitalist. A large portion of what you wrote basically describes the necessity of having a government to bolster/enforce one’s property rights, and that’s absolutely true. Hell, that’s true even if you remain physically present on your real estate (or even if you are talking about the shirt on your back) as any larger/stronger gang can otherwise take your stuff and you have no recourse, unless you have a lot of friends willing to fight for you. (If you don’t, you’re SOL.)

          Where we part company is in your description of rights as a “social construct” (proper government is instituted to secure rights, not define them) and (apparently) in the more prescriptive aspects of this so-called liberal or left libertarian perspective, where it’s claimed that it’s actually desirable to infringe on property rights under some arbitrarily defined circumstances.

        • I’m not asking you to agree with anarcho-socialist point of view (FWIW, I don’t endorse that myself; I’m left wing but not socialist, and I think that private property is an important concept), just describing it for what it is – because many people are unaware of the fact that left-wing economics do not necessarily imply statism.

          Regarding private property as a social construct, I think it’s fairly evident: if it can’t exist or doesn’t hold any meaning in the absence of society, then it’s a social construct. I have to note that I’m in a good company asserting that, e.g. here’s Thomas Jefferson (a guy who, I think you’ll agree, is not exactly renowned for his socialist views):

          “It is a moot question whether the origin of any kind of property is derived from nature at all… It is agreed by those who have seriously considered the subject that no individual has, of natural right, a separate property in an acre of land, for instance. By an universal law, indeed, whatever, whether fixed or movable, belongs to all men equally and in common is the property for the moment of him who occupies it; but when he relinquishes the occupation, the property goes with it. Stable ownership is the gift of social law, and is given late in the progress of society.”

          “A right of property in moveable things is admitted before the establishment of government. A separate property in lands, not till after that establishment. The right to moveables is acknowledged by all the hordes of Indians surrounding us. Yet by no one of them has a separate property in lands been yielded to individuals. He who plants a field keeps possession till he has gathered the produce, after which one has as good a right as another to occupy it. Government must be established and laws provided, before lands can be separately appropriated, and their owner protected in his possession. Till then, the property is in the body of the nation, and they, or their chief as trustee, must grant them to individuals, and determine the conditions of the grant.”

          But then again, the guy was not averse to acknowledging the things that are considered non-problems by many on the economic right today, even those same people who consider Jefferson as one of the first champions of their cause. He also wrote things like:

          “Whenever there is in any country uncultivated lands and unemployed poor, it is clear that the laws of property have been so far extended as to violate natural right.”

          “The unequal division of property… occasions the numberless instances of wretchedness which… is to be observed all over Europe.”

          “I am conscious that an equal division of property is impracticable. But the consequences of this enormous inequality producing so much misery to the bulk of mankind, legislators cannot invent too many devices for subdividing property, only taking care to let their subdivisions go hand in hand with the natural affections of the human mind.”

  47. Let’s see… rant incoming:

    Love guns. Love’em. Want them to be freely available to all those who can afford it and have no criminal/insane backgrounds, and even extend to those who are released from prison and go through parole with no infractions, because freedom is an illusion without the ability to protect one’s self. Same with drugs (Cocaine, Heroin, Meth, LSD, everything), prostitution, gambling, gay marriage, and just about everything else that is a “victimless crime”. If I cannot freely express, intoxicate, and enjoy myself and those around me consensually, I am not free.

    I also believe the government should have strict emissions standards, socialize medical care, socialize higher education, move to a conscript military with withdraw all foreign military bases, and invest heavily in green energy, invest in drug rehabilitation programs, completely fund elections and require fractional representation, ban lobbying, push for more benefits/higher wages for blue collar workers, invest in youth development programs, (helping directionless try to find direction in something like the CCC, job corps, etc) and ban any and all instances of torture regardless of circumstance, period.

    They have no business checking me for guns, sex toys, same sex partners, drugs, or anything else without probable cause, they damn sure don’t have a right to enter my house without a permit, nor should they have the ability to tap my phone, bug my car, trace my computer, or anything else that invades my personal privacy in the name of “homeland security”.

    The Military-Prison-Industrial Complex is beyond troubling, the drug war is unsustainably expensive and bloody, and no Middle-Eastern country, including Israel, is worth one American life or dollar.

    So I’m whatever the hell that is.

  48. Nope, not a libertarian. I do not trust government, but I see that there can be ways of changing it–though it takes huge effort, money, organization, and a vision. What I do see is that a government, at its best, is the people banding together to create a force for growth, a force that counters the strength of corporations who owe no loyalties to anyone except to profit. I see government as the only way to keep pollution from choking the skies and poisoning the waters. No offense to libertarians, but the market will not make those things happen. I know that the single most important causes of increasing life expectancies come from sewers and from clean water. Doctors save individuals; infrastructure save people. I am a liberal because I see injustice and I think the only way to fight it is through unified action, action in the name of the people and for the people..

  49. Hey, RF. I thought about it and I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m a liberal gun owner. I think I have a decidedly libertarian streak. It’s your opinion, not a fact or definition, that modern liberalism is about state control over everything. If that were true, there would never be a self-identifying liberal who was actually a libertarian, because everything your “liberals” did would be abhorrent to them. I believe the government should do very little, except where it has a unique power or moral obligation to do something. The question is where people draw the line. I think it’s objectively immoral for an entity with a profit motive to stand between people and medical care. An acceptable minimum level of care should be guaranteed by an advanced society with pay for service for elective care. This would be very expensive and require ‘big government’, which I don’t see as an inherently dirty phrase. At the same time, I don’t want my city (or yours) telling me what size drinks I can buy. I don’t want my university telling me I can’t use smokeless tobacco products that harm literally nobody but me. I don’t want my university telling me I can’t carry to protect myself on campus because students with guns just ‘feels’ like a bad idea. I want data-driven laws and smart government. To be sure, that’s not what the majority of Democrats are really offering, but it’s certainly not a conservative view and it doesn’t sound very libertarian to me simply based on where I draw the line. I am a firearms enthusiast. I simultaneously decry the NRA and feckless, ill-informed campaigns to limit magazine capacity and ban scary ‘assault’ weapons. I shouldn’t have to justify what guns I should be able to own–to a point. I remember an article on here asking opinions on private ownership of a soviet mobile anti-aircraft gun. It was one of the most ridiculous things I’ve read on this site. The potential harm that an individual could do with a device like that far outweighs the tiny loss in personal liberty from prohibition of ownership. If you’re compelled to yell “slippery slope,” I’d urge you to consider that that isn’t actually a legitimate argument–here or anywhere. I want government where it makes sense. That doesn’t mean everywhere and state control and oversight of everything, but it means more than what most readers of this site would agree with. I am not a libertarian. I am a liberal–not a classical liberal, to be sure, but also not your caricature of liberals. I also happen to like guns. Kudos for at least trying to throw us a bone with the reclassification.

    • So, Pseudo, you seem to have an animosity to the “profit motive”? Not surprising, of course, given that you are a Liberal (socialist, to keep our terminalogy clear). May I ask, do you go to work everyday (assuming you are working) for the benefit of the society in general, your town, maybe the orgaination’s clients, or the starving children in Africa? Of course you must be. You get no pay for your work, or you donate all of it to some cause! Well, OK, you do keep some to pay the mortgage to those evil bankers that would not forgive your loan. And then, of course, you have to keep some of the profits from your work to pay the taxes because, unfortunately, our socialist society still collects those pesky taxes and just can’t seem to reach the ideals of communism where no money needs to be exchanged. But, no doubt, you do donate the rest of the profits to others that need them more than you do, don’t you? And I’m sure you do, but, my advise, don’t tell that to your wife! On a side note, the society has every right to stop you from using any tobacco products, smokeless or not, since the society is paying for your healthcare, and tobacco rings up the bill pretty fast.

      • On a side note, the society has every right to stop you from using any tobacco products, smokeless or not, since the society is paying for your healthcare, and tobacco rings up the bill pretty fast.

        This isn’t a side note, it’s the entire frigging issue with people like this. They want the freedom to do their own thing but not have to pay for the consequences. There’s this thing out there called “reality” and you may be able to ignore it, but you can’t avoid the consequences of ignoring it.

        One is going to end up in one of two states: Not having to pay the costs of their own bad habits, but being forcibly prevented (by those who DO pay, when they tire of paying the extra costs your irresponsibility imposes on them) from indulging them, or being allowed to do so, and expected to pay for the consequences.

        • Or another way to make the same point, authority and responsibility must balance, and if they aren’t balanced they will eventually become so. If you are responsible for some outcome occuring, you must be given the authority to get it to happen; if you are given authority, you must take responsibility for the outcome. This point was made (among many other places I am sure) in Robert A. Heinlein’s Starship Troopers (not to be confused with the gawdawful movie(s) of the same name) where he applied it in a military and social context, but applies to one’s own personal life as well.

          Pseudo wants the authority to destroy his own health (because it doesn’t harm anyone else), which is fine as far as that goes; I’d be sympathetic to that. But he then wants to make me responsible for the result, expecting me to pay for his healthcare. Sorry, no go. I won’t be held responsible for the consequences of his actions. If he wants the authority to use chewing tobacco, he has to deal with the consequences, everything from the actual cost of the item to the cost of what it does to him.


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