Libertarians threw the election to the Dems?

Gee, you think?

But, contrary to the Economist, it’s not the Libertarian Party that’s going to emerge as a mover-and-shaker.  It’s the small-l libertarians who usually pull a Republican lever, and a lot of them pulled Dem because they couldn’t stand KELO, McCain-Feingold, the Medicare bill, Bush’s blatantly partisan steel tariffs, Tom DeLay and the K Street Connection, and the Trent Lott/ Denny Hastert anti-transparency campaign to protect earmark spending and congressmen with unmarked bills in their freezers.

Social issues?  Social conservatives lost with Santorum, but it was the President and his party officials who supported Link Chafee against a conservative with fairly solid support in the primaries.  And conservative-leaning Dems won across the board.
Oh, sure, they’ll be called “conservatives” in either party… but social liberal, or social conservative, the Dems have figured out that there’s election blood in the water for credible fiscal conservatives to run.  For the first time in my adult life, the Blue Dog Democrats may actually be turning into power-brokers as the late-80s-through-late-90s “Dem=liberal Rep=conservative/libertarian” party ideological identification breaks down.

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  1. Man… first you want to use the term “small – l libertarian” as opposed to being those who actually support the party (Big – L Libertarian), and then in the next breath say that the LParty has nothing to do with the election rsults?

    What the party has been saying for years about social issues has always had them condemned as being too far left, and on economic issues what they have been saying brands them as too far right.

    Now that we (as LP members) seem to be getting a voice that the other two parties are starting to hear, you want to take it away from the party and say that it is an accident that more and more people are sounding like Libertarians? If it had not been for the LP out there shouting from the political balcony there would be no such thing as a small -l libertarian in the first place.

    Heh….not that I have any opinions about that or anything……

  2. No, James… by definition, folks who regularly vote LP do not influence GOP faithfuls’ turnout.

    In the “marketplace of ideas,” no question, the LP deserves a lot of credit. But it is the ideas, not the Party, that is getting traction elsewhere and will influence GOP/DEM turnout.

  3. That’s needlessly splitting hairs. The differentiation between little-l and LP has been radically eroded now that the LP has largely gotten rid of jackasses like Harry Browne and replaced them with Constitutionalists like Badnarik.

    And I agree with one of the commenters from that link, I believe that the old axiom that libertarians largely break to the right is WRONG WRONG WRONG. Libertarians go with the Democrats just as much as the GOP, depending on what the focal issues are at the time. Given the Kelo crap (which happened on Bush’s watch even though it had naught to do with him), the big ban-gay-marriage push and the bloated spending, a lot of libertarians voted D this time just to throw the GOP out of office and teach them a lesson.

    That being said, this was an off-term election where giving Congress to the DNC likely ensures gridlock, not success for our pathetic little socialist/communist friends on the left. In 2008, you can be pretty damn sure those little-l’s are going to be back to voting R if there’s an actual fiscal conservative WITHOUT the religious bent, or voting L if the party can stand up a decent candidate who can shut up about marijuana legalization for 5 minutes.

  4. I do agree in a HUGE way that having Browne out of the picture and having folks like Badnarik will really help the LP sound a lot better to Average Joe Voter.

    There is one thing I will be very interested in seeing, and that is the perception of the LP now that the tide has turned in Congress towards the Dems again. I have another close friend that strongly favors the Dems, and his perception has been that the LP is just a bunch of Republicans without the religious right window-dressing. It is hard to get people to think in terms of government non-interference in both the economic AND social spheres.

  5. I agree with that completely.. I am SO sick of having to try to convince people that there is such a thing as a Libertarian. My conservative friends think its ‘the drug party’ and my liberal friends (yeah there’s a couple) think its a myth and is just being a Republican.

  6. I’ll handily pull their lever if I see that the tendency to Mao-like purity rituals has faded (James and I have gone ’round the bush on this one a LOT). The LP could make a lot of headway if it brought in 70-90% libertarians, since unlike the major parties, its platform is actually meaningful.

  7. Yeah, but the LP is too full of closet-anarchists who want NO governance — ain’t gonna happen.

  8. As long as they stay in the closet, who cares.. The DNC is full of communists and the GOP is full of ‘Pick up the Sword of Jesus’ religious freaks. As long as they are marginalized and their vote is useful in getting the right people into the echelons of power, they can be anarchist all they want; they’re not going to get any power within the party.

    I think those people are fading from the LP too and becoming more Greens.. The LP has really changed dramatically in the past 2-3 years.

  9. That’s what I’m starting to understand: back in ’04 the rhetoric vis-a-vis Libertarian hawks was pretty insane.

  10. Mike

     /  November 9, 2006

    Anarchists, god what a waste of flesh. Any chance we can send them to Somolia so they can see what “no governance” is really like?

    I have to agree on the thread of “many people don’t get what libertarians are”. I took Jonathon’s tests and tested LIbertarian. No surprise there, and my dad agreed and said he was pretty much the same bent. I mentioned it to my liberal uncle and he asked me when I had started supporting drug legalization and how I had mellowed out so much. Sigh.

  11. Mike,
    The comment from your uncle sounds like a case of ideological myopia. The only libertarians he sees are left-libertarians and Anarcho-communists. A pity that the complexities of ideological space are so scarcely appreciated…

  12. Mike

     /  November 9, 2006

    Oh yeah, I agree wholeheartedly. Sometimes you can shoehorn things and sometimes not, most people always try and just seem unable to wrap their brains around a more complex picture.

  13. That is a common place of misunderstanding where the LP is concerned. I have to “yes” ot the argument that getting real Libertarians to agree on the color of shit is nearly zero. However, I am proud that the party is starting to get people ( the little – l types) to think along lines that are not the traditional and accepted lines or “right” or “left.”

    What Libertarians are not are anarchists. There is a firm understanding that without the rule of law there is no comfortable place called “society.” The misunderstanding about the “purity test” that Happycrow insists must be, is not really there. The anarchist does not have a place where an insistence upon Constitutional grounds exist. The real Libertarian does not want a place where the Constitution has to be radiacally modified. We are happy with it, and will talk about making changes, rarey, rather than eliminating the document.

    What changes? Well, most of them are about the tax laws. No LIbertarian that I know wants to bring back slavery, end sufferage or open the borders with no controls. We do think that taxes should be re-thought. We do think that laws about what people marry what people should be left up to the states. We think that abortion laws should be left up to the indivdual states. In short, those laws that were not enumerated to the Federal Government in the Constitution should not be aquired by the Federal Government. Reagan had a start there but failed. There should be no Dept. of Education. Prohibition needs to go the way of the dinosaur. The income tax laws are a miasma of contradiction. The Republicans lie when they say they want smaller government, and the Dems are at least honest about making the Federal Government grow, but they are right when they say at the feds should stay the hell out of our houses. Where the Dems are wrong is saying that the feds should micromanage our economy.

    The thing I would bring out, Hapycrow, is that no real LP member is EVER going to vote a straight ticket. You cannot herd cats. But, by the same token, if people begin to hear the LP message and start to think along those lines, you cannot take away from the LP their continual harping that there is _another_ way of thinking about national politics.

  14. And the LP needs to figure out a way of organizing itself in such a way that a straight-ticket LP punch is a possibility. Even minarchists shouldn’t be opaque to the science of horse-trading.

  15. Mike

     /  November 9, 2006

    Ah, both of you need give up on the anarchist part of libertianism and try to split it off as a separate group. Anyone who even uses that title needs to be beaten up side the head because they don’t understand 2 very basic points. One, the true anarchist movement is founded on the idea (I am quoting the Spanish Anarchists who argueably were the most successful group until they quite literally followed their own beliefs to death) that leadership comes from a spontainous need from the mass and that once said need/leader has accomplished the goal he/she will give up power. Two, that anarchy is actually a perferable way to live, no law, no rules, no one harshing each others mellow. Of course they continually miss the point of that if you have no law or rules then rape, pillage and someone capping you for your boots is also fair game and is the most likely course of action given the human animal mentality. Someone who says they follow a different form of anarchy is then no longer an true anarchist. I like law and order, and I like the US balance of law and order vs. personal rights (although that could change if someone goes too overboard one way or the other). People who talk about anarchy as a way of mimimalizing government interference don’t understand the meaning of the word or movement to start with.

  16. I’m fine with the ‘Anarchists’ staying in the party as long as they are marginalized so as to have no power. Let’s face it, right now we need all the votes we can get :).

  17. Mike

     /  November 10, 2006

    Well, true. But still I worry about the devil they made their deal with. If you had to do it alone vs. working with the anarchists, history shows you are better off going it alone.

  18. Indeed, libertarians are not anarchists, just as moderate egalitarians (we call them liberals in the US, the Autralians call them Labor) are not communists and moderate establishmentarians (generally called conservatives in the US and Tories in Australia) are not fascists. That’s a part of the point I’ve been trying to make with the test Mike took a few weeks ago.

    Here’s part of what I’ve been thinking about. I hope the language isn’t too…umm…strange.

    A crucial characteristic of ideological myopia is the difficulty one has seeing someone else’s ideological preference for what it truly is. Two operators are involved: a subject’s position in leo space, and the same subject’s perception of center in that space, distinct from the point of origin where measurements of l, e, and o preferences or oppositions are equally zero. As the subject’s distance from leo center (0,0,0) increases (|l|>0 or |e|>0 or |o|>0) and his perception of center proportionally increases on the same vector in three dimensions l, e, and o, the greater his ideological myopia.
    I am convinced the phenomenon is measurable, but I have yet to develop this particular yardstick.

  19. Chris - Wichita

     /  November 10, 2006


    So…where do I fit into that again? I’m sure you’ve got my text around there somewhere right?

  20. Hi Chris,
    I can’t seem to find the file that had your score on it. I’ll have to look for the hard copy of the inventory. I’m not on campus at the moment, so I don’t have access to some of my newer files, especially one with a sample of two different classrooms (the names were stripped to comply with privacy regs.) This was so I could gather data to posit the comparative hypothesis. I think the one with your numbers is there.

    One thing the instrument you took doesn’t measure is individual perception of center. That everyone has a perception of center that deviates from absolute center in leo space has face validity, but as stated above, I have yet to develop a tool to test that hypothesis. Its operationalization is yet in its infancy.

  21. If memory serves me correctly, though, I think your scores had high L and O, but I actually don’t remember which one was higher. E was low, though, but the exact proportion escapes me.


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