Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Libertarian, Schmibertarian: The "Libertarian Moment" That Never Was

The last man who liked marijuana and hated war was a hippie in
San Francisco, not a GOP senator from Kentucky. Of course, Rand
Paul hates immigrants and poor people. When he opens his trap about
women, though, his goose is cooked. But he's a libertarian! It's all good.

Libertarianism, which is actually a real thing, was proposed in an article in the NYTimes by Robert Draper as finally having arrived. Read the article here at your peril. It's long and compares Rand Paul to Pearl Jam and his father, Ron Paul, to Nirvana. Obviously, Pearl Jam can never be Nirvana, but some of us already knew that. Ted Cruz, if you have to know, is Stone Temple Pilots.

The theory -- Libertarianism, This Is Your Hour -- has many immediate detractors, reality apparently being one of them. Thanks, Paper of Record!

Jennifer Rubin -- god, I'm never linked to her before -- says that it isn't a libertarian moment in the GOP (of course, Draper didn't say that) because the GOP loves poverty, I mean the poor, because, you know, Paul Ryan. Again, read Rubin at your peril, but it is interesting and a bit shocking in the I-suppose-I-already-knew-that category when she reports that the vast majority of Republicans support the police actions in Ferguson. Holy crap.

For shits and giggles, read's post contra the Libertarian Moment. Sample madness:
For instance, a disapproval of morality has been a staple of the Progressive Movement since its inception. The libertarian fetish of personal licence has long had a home within the Democrat party. It is Democrats, not libertarians who have waged the war on marriage as it has been recognized since the dawn of human history. It is Democrats that led the charge for legalization of marijuana (though many of we conservatives have become so jaded by the evils wrought under the guise of the War on Drugs that we were willing to go along with it.)
There's some wisdom for the ages. What's funny is that, though there are libertarians on both sides of the political divide, the GOP tends these days to claim libertarianism as their own -- the Kochs founded and continue to underwrite the libertarian Cato Institute in DC -- though they're shocked to find that civil libertarians, the ones who are concerned with civil rights, favor gay marriage, legalized pot, and reining in the police. Oops.

We return to Earth with a poll by Pew that catches the libertarian moment as a misunderstanding of what libertarianism is by those who think they are it. Sez Pew, via TPM's Dylan Scott:
But Pew's research showed striking departures from the expected party line. Libertarians were more likely than the general U.S. population to say that it is better for the United States to have an active role in world affairs, according to the Center.
They even favored stop-and-frisk -- the controversial policing tactic -- a touch more than the average American, despite civil rights supposedly being one of the cornerstones of the libertarian movement.
Pew dug further into the numbers by looking back at its political typology report from June. Tellingly, out of the seven typologies that Pew identified within U.S. politics, "none closely resembled libertarians, and, in fact, self-described libertarians can be found in all seven," Kiley wrote. In some of the early versions of the report, there was a group that looked like libertarians. They made up about 5 percent of the U.S. population.
That group was later discarded under Pew's methodology, in part because the sample size was too small. But even that group was not a perfect manifestation of libertarians, Kiley noted.
"Many members of this group diverge from libertarian thinking on key issues," she wrote, "including about half who say affirmative action is a good thing and that stricter environmental laws are worth the cost."
That's rich. Those who self-identify as libertarians love stop-and-frisk and affirmative action. Somebody somewhere has to rethink this whole thing. Maybe Rand Paul can do it.

After all, he's presidential. Timber!

Shit, if I run for president, I need a coherent message. This libertarian thing is hard.

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