Are there any liberals in the house?

My stand on the War has probably driven them all away, as I am a libertarian HAWK, but I’m curious as to whether there are any liberal/libertarian positions that still seem compatible between the two philosophies, as Kos and crowd was suggesting late last year and early in 2007.

In addition, what about the change in primary timing?  Is it to Dems’ advantage to have CA, TX, and the other large coastal states have a more important primary role?

Liberals only, pls, at least for a day… I want to see if I’ve scared them all off!

Leave a comment


  1. Mike

     /  March 24, 2007

    I hate to say it, but I think they got scared and left.

  2. Well, “scared” is probably overkill. “Mortally offended,” maybe?

  3. Mike

     /  March 25, 2007

    Then they need to grow a thicker skin and a pair while they are at.

  4. Zathras

     /  March 25, 2007

    What liberals were ever here to begin with?

  5. One or two, here and there.

  6. I’m not a liberal, but I play one on .. er.. no I don’t.

  7. eowyn

     /  March 26, 2007

    Of course they buggered off. You tend to beat the crap out of them and call them names. Unless they’re seriously masochistic, no one is going to come back for much more of that.
    Granted, it is occasionally funny to watch, but after about a dozen posts, the comment stream kind of makes me yawn.

  8. Zathras

     /  March 26, 2007

    Sounds interesting, but I haven’t seen anyone I’d call a liberal here ever, Unless you count the atheist that was here a couple of weeks ago:

    However, he was more of a flake than anything else.

  9. Mike

     /  March 26, 2007

    Speaking of Liberals, we had a Congressional Delegation visit us today. We had Congressman Skelton (head of the House Armed Forces Committee) and 4 others (including the “one screaming Liberal from Kansas” as so described by the guy from Topeka). Typical Canine and Equestrian Theater. We had 2 visits by “special agents” from the Brigade XO to make sure we were all ready to show off. I had been asked for by name to display our shop, but was told to “not be around” when they came by.

    Apparently, the BDE XO overheard my comment last Friday: “This delegation has a majority of Democrats right? So should I take down our Nancy Pelosi Dartboard?”

    Oops, I should watch who is standing behind me when making comments.

    But I got a standing ovation from my Task Force Command Cell and my Command Sergeant Major was laughing so hard he had to sit down.

  10. happycrow

     /  March 26, 2007


    Hell, Eowyn (Hi, stranger!), you should see what I catch on DailyKos…

  11. Tolmar

     /  March 27, 2007

    I’m a liberal and I still read this. Good analysis is good analysis, even if somebody’s political views differ from your own.

    Anyone who doesn’t pay attention to the reasoning behind views contrary to their own doesn’t deserve to have views in the first place.

  12. Great! That is, btw, a very close summary of what I taught last night contrasting two speeches by Hoover and Roosevelt.

    Tolmar, do me a favor… what do you think about those two questions up above? My own political biases make me suspicious of my “gut feel,” and I need a liberal or two’s opinion.

  13. Mike

     /  March 27, 2007

    Good stuff Tolmar. I am a pretty sever libertarian myself, but I do like to hear other opinions. I am tempted to have you talk to my uncle about “reasoning”.

  14. Since I might seem like a liberal to some here (I’m not, just relatively speaking), I thought I’d take a stab at this one. What views might liberals and libertarians have in common.

    1) First, the usual suspects. The nanny state has both liberal and conservative aspects. The liberal side (straw man) gives something for nothing, while the conservative side (straw man) legislates morality. Thus, the issues abortion, euthanasia, and drug legalization might all have common ground for libertarians and liberals.

    2) It takes 2 to rent seek. Both liberals and libertarians complain about how government agencies might be captured by private interests to oppress others, but they differ on the remedy. Liberal talk about cleaning up this interest, while libertarians favor abolishing the whole damn business. Maybe a little of both is called for.

    3) More generally, the issue of freedom from tyranny is (implicitly) central to both the libertarian and liberal rubric. Liberals talk about tyranny from private interests, while libertarians talk about tyranny from public interests. Both have historical precedents, and the difference between the 2 is not clear cut–you can see historical examples of what were “company towns,” which had the company making the laws, and firing was the modern equivalent of exile to the wilderness.

    4) On a side note, does a libertarian believe in a publicly created private entity such as a corporation? The far left talks about abolishing all corporations. Perhaps there is some common ground there?

  15. Mike

     /  March 27, 2007

    Not bad points. I would add some environmental aspects. Lots of Libertarians are conservationalists and support keeping wild areas wild and taking care of our environement. Although we stop well short of what the screwballs of ALF want, I think some common ground is there, although we would clash on hunting and by extension the 2nd Amendment (this is the one issue I actually do agree with my uncle on, we should take care of earth not because its Gaia, or animals are equal, but its where we live so we should at least pick up after ourselves).

  16. Alex

     /  March 27, 2007

    I think you’re agreeing in principle on the environment, which I have found that many conservatives and liberals can do most of the time on most of the other issues (sex, religion, appearance, etc.). The conflict between the two sides occurs at the edges/extremes of one position or another where there can be no other position but for or against it. Or basically a few bad eggs ruin the whole batch for everyone because they claim to “represent the majority position”. So in general I would agree with many others here that in most cases people of supposed polar opposites of the political spectrum can get together and not cancel each other out violently.

    I have some very liberal and some very conservative positions of my own, one of which I’m fairly inflexible on, which is the legalization of recreational/illicit drugs. I fully disagree that legalizing the stuff will make for a better society. Give people more access to stuff to abuse themselves with and they will….and you’ll increase the amount of collateral damage to society at the same time. Why should I have my personal liberty to live free and safe be infringed by someone else’s right to get high and do something stupid? You could argue that I have no faith in humanity to do the right thing and I would agree with you. Unless you instill self discipline and a responsibility into other members of society to take care of themselves and their neighbors, legalizing anything that causes damage to that one member of society or the rest of society is an incredibly stupid thing to do.

  17. happycrow

     /  March 27, 2007

    “Why should I have my personal liberty to live free and safe be infringed by someone else’s right to get high and do something stupid?”

    I would submit that it’s the infringing of your rights that requires punishment, not what happens ahead of time…

  18. Anna

     /  March 27, 2007

    So consequently Alex should be totally free to shoot/beat up/be nasty to the bastard if he’s infringing on him or his family while high. To each his personal reponsibility…Some might call it a bit medieval…

  19. Mike

     /  March 27, 2007

    I’d say that’s a great thing to take from the Medieval times then. Much better than the “if you bathe everyday you are a witch” theory.

  20. Alex

     /  March 27, 2007

    Russ – if something done ahead of time has a high probability of causing damage shouldn’t it be stopped before it causes damage? You don’t put the carbon rods back in the reactor AFTER it melts down and I can’t exactly undo the damage caused by someone who got high and ran over my family in a beat-up Buick at 90+ mph.

    So if I’m forced to react and “be free” to what is done to me because I can’t react to a schmuck who didn’t see all the consequences of his action what the hell good is it having laws to begin with? I might as well go completely medieval, set up my own fiefdom and rule as I damn well please. Might makes right in this case. I’m fully free to live my life and be pre-emptive in stopping others from stopping me from doing whatever I want.
    But then I look like a threat to someone else’s freedom – and so who stops me when I might go to far? After I’ve been a mad tyrant or before?
    In this case I don’t agree with the principles of Libertarianism because it looks good on paper, because I can so no practical way it can be implemented in reality.

  21. Um… moderate libertarianism? In regards to drug policy, a legalized drug can be a regulated and taxed drug, like medicinal morphine and alcohol. Until extensive education makes the demand for illicit drugs go down, there will always be a supply for some illicit drug — one day, it’s heroin and cocaine, the other day it’s model airplane glue and pseudophedrine.

    The real issue is the balance between outright prohibition and outright free-for-all legalization. One has to remember the alcohol and tobacco compromise in the United States — illegal till age 21 for the former, illegal till age 18 for the latter. And then extensive education so that underage usage — via public service announcements and grassroots efforts like Mothers Against Drunk Driving — actually reach those who would break those laws.

    Libertarian principles pop up here and there, mixed in the political rhetoric. It’s anytime the words “individual rights” and “personal freedom” and “free choice” and “private property” enters the political picture. But those rather common-sense, American principles are hidden under political partisanship (RepubliDems) and the Libertarian Party itself (which tends towards the extreme view).

    As for “getting medieval” — I like the police force and the criminal justice system. After all, my taxes pay for them. But just in case it takes too long for the police to arrive (after 911 is called) when a crazed person breaks into my house, I’m glad my semi-auto (which I’m licensed to carry) is next to my bed.

    It’s a compromise, between conservative, liberal, and libertarian principles. Order, equality, and liberty. Unfortunately, my husband — who’s been researching these three trends in American political discourse — hasn’t had a chance to publish any of his work. It would clear up all sorts of things, including the mistaken assumption that libertarianism (personal freedom) is anarchism (all government is bad).

    Just my two cents’ worth.

  22. happycrow

     /  March 27, 2007

    I agree. I’m willing to temporarily relinquish my right to commit violence, and provide the cops and military with the priveledge of committing violence on my behalf. That’s an equitable arrangement that’s a lot better, imho, than having private wars and blood feuds.


    Problem is, you’re dealing in absolutes in a greyish world. If there’s a high chance that folks who are drinking will crash a car, is a “no open container law” justified in the car? What if it’s the guys in the back seat having a beer, and I haven’t touched one all week before I get behind the wheel? What if I want to take an open bottle of fine brandy to my friend’s house?

    There’s a LOT of grey area, and quite a bit in favor of your arguments… what I would like to see is my one or two actual liberal readers piping up with how this lies from their more egalitarian perspectives…

  23. Alex

     /  March 27, 2007

    Russ I fully agree that we live in a grayish world – but I’m using this one example that I’m rather inflexible on to make a point as well, something that LizardQueen makes very clear.

    Compromise and a blend of common sense positions from both sides of the political spectrum.

    I do not equate libertarianism with anarchy – nor do I equate conservatism with tyranny, but at their extremes they certainly are equal to those terms. I am very liberal on tolerance of other religions and creeds, but intolerant and conservative about the whole drug use issue, and yet I realize that there are gray areas. Maybe drug use is okay, IF it’s done in a safe controlled environment where the user CANNOT leave until they’ve sobered up or run out of money. So go ahead and regulate it to death and use education to to deter people from that form of self-abuse. However, are you really doing them a favor, and yourself later on, by letting them do something that is self destructive? When does one step in to stop a behavior and when does one just let it go? When is it being tolerant and embracing libertarian principles and when is it setting yourself up for future problems? On the point of drug use I get very conservative to an extreme because I believe in being proactive about this to prevent damage to the person and to society. I may be acting like a “nanny state” by saying I know better than the drug-user does, but I have a lot in my favor saying I’m right on this. I’ll also cover myself by saying I know that a lot of things which are normal if abused present a problem – so how do I decide when something is abuse and when something is just stupidity. I admit to being fallible here, and so only make a stance on this where I know that the drug and the dose it is taken at have no redeeming value besides neurological damage and temporary escape from being in control of one’s actions.

    So back to compromise and the middle ground and accepting that there are gray areas. Since the extremes are more loud and vocal than the majority middle ground – this is why you have the perception that liberals and libertarians cannot get along. At heart both have the same goal – liberty and freedom, but they are defined by the extremes, not their reality. Both can and do get along on many points, but as long as the perception is that both terms are described by the extremes, never the two shall meet.

  24. True freedom is truly dangerous.

    I am disillusioned about blogging politics anymore. It seems to me that most people in this country are perfectly willing to give up their liberties if it gives them the illusion of safety. The Republicans are arguing that we should be great with wire-tapping and having web-sites surrender their records and all the while have our borders as porous as swiss cheese. The Dems seem to want to argue that we should surrender our incomes for things like guaranteed medical insurance and “balancing the budget” while it is perfectly ok for the Bureau of Tobacco and Firearms to burn down religious centers in the name of saving children.

    Anna, I can be stone cold sober and be a mean bastard that beats my wife and children. The laws for that are already on the books. Maybe those people NEED a little pot in their lives so they would mellow the hell out and watch some MTV and become friendly. The Medieval world, as you know, was all about making more and more laws to alter people’s behaviors because the rule of law was usually distant and enforcement relied on people telling on each other. Look at the laws from the Popes about wearing underwear.

    When it comes to pot, I always think about God looking down on the planet on the 7th day. “Damn ME! Look! I left pot growing ALL OVER THE PLACE! What are people going to THINK?”

    Prohibition has never been a good solution, and thanks to the puritans on the 19th and 20th centuries, we have the mob and the drug trade. Great.

    To those that think we need a “Nanny” to watch over our private lives, and have the feds not “let ourselves have destructive habits,” well, you just about have it. Hope you like it. I don’t, and every single time the federal government grows yet again, I am going to fight it. It sickens me to watch other nations to strive for what we ‘had’ while we continually cut off our own balls because we are afraid of what true freedom means. I do not need anybody to limit what I may or may not do because it is destructive TO MY OWN SELF.

    We want to be like the French. We want to be like the UK. We want to be like China. I say screw all of that. I want the federal government to
    1. leave my ass alone
    2. let me keep as much of my own money as I can have
    3. let me make my own rules for me and mine
    4. let me keep my property
    5. deliver the mail
    6. secure the damn borders
    7. let me worship as I please, unless I violate the rights of my neighbors
    8. and – for the love of God- please read the Constitution and allow me to live within those guidelines.

  25. Mike

     /  March 27, 2007

    I have no grief with any of the above. But the part that is the trip up is the “being destructive to my own self” and “in the process also being destructive to others” is often a very fine line. People who end up being self-destructive in my experience can never keep it that way. They always seem to take someone along for the final ride, be it family, friends or some total unlucky stranger. Therein is the great grey area for destructive behavior.

  26. Well, there ya go. Life is dangerous. I can be destructive with a car, even with all the laws out there. I can be destructive with alcohol, a hammer or a blog site. I can ruin the lives of my children, my relatives or my dog. Destruction is the curse of Adam. So, we have to ask ourselves, do we really need anything beyond the Constitution to ensure that we can individually pursue happiness, liberty and life.

    How can any institution ensure that one’s neighbor is not going to infringe on your personal pursuits of the above? The only true methodology is to make laws that adequately punish those that violate them. If men were angels there would be no need for law. Demand personal responsibility for our own actions. Do not associate or marry or befriend those that are self-destructive, and tell them why you do not.

    The other answer is we continue to develop the Orwellian nightmare and have a group or groups constantly monitor your every single action. Tell our restaurants and bars who can run a business with smokers and who cannot. Tell us what cars we can run and what fuel we must use. Tell us how we must discipline our children and what we must teach them. Tell us what we may ingest into our own bodies and what we may not.

    In every turn I will argue that those that demand a personal responsibility be denied and that a collective wisdom can best tell us how to be happy are those that must be distrusted to the most extreme. When choosing a religion, be most choosy. When electing officials, damn the rhetoric and elect people that will allow you to live your life without infringement as far as possible. Politics is the art of control, and if it presumes to tell you that the wisdom of your ‘betters’ should prevail over your better senses, beware. If it starts taking away your fundamental rights, be prepared to fight them for what is rightfully yours.

    For me there is not much gray. I know far too many people that live honorable and worthy lives and are free to do as they choose. They do not murder, cheat or lie, and if confronted with those things they are the ones to bring hurt to those that have wronged them or others. What has happened to individualism? That thing that my ancestors lived by and made this country what it is?

  27. Getting editorial time over at the LA Times. Otherwise, it’s not really in style…

  28. My thoughts – people are ruled by fear. Fear of the all sorts of bad things. And just like personal fears – our social fears manifest in many forms – especially in our government.

    The founding fathers sought to break this fear – it’s quite likely that few of us would get along with any of the founders. They were odd ducks who wrote about subjects that few citizens would even care to comprehend.

    They didn’t address personal injustice because they knew that there is no “societal” cure – only justice. They cared about freedom and liberty for all, above all else.

    It’s the lack of this human ingredient which is the cause of your ailment, no laws will be prevented without this human ingredient. The only way to foster and grow this ingredient is through freedon and liberty.

    Accordingly, I’m unconvinced that laws can stop people from stealing bubble gum from the brachs stand. This is simply morality.

  29. Mike

     /  March 28, 2007

    Good point on #26. I am a big believer in personal freedom and I think that if we had everyone really into the personal responsibility then we would definately be much better off. But I wasn’t talking about an institution stopping people, that doesn’t work so well as you said. I was going more with Alex about how to protect yours. My grey area is how to balance that idea (protecting yours) with beginning to infringe on someone else’s area of responsibility (denying someone the right to be responsible or not, particularly after they have demonstrated that they can’t or probably can’t be). I know we have laws that are supposed to dicate what is and isn’t “right”, but they have gotten away from us. Rather than reinforcing the idea of “we all got together and decided as a community this how we want to live together, so now its on you to abide by it”, its now “we will make you live this way, and we have a bunch of people who will make you conform” (totally removing the personal respsonsibility aspect of it, in case my example wasn’t clear).

    Ethically speaking, we have let the “situational” mode of ethics take over, and that is bad.

  30. Alex

     /  March 28, 2007

    I also strongly believe in personal responsibility…I just wish the rest of humanity did as well. Since it doesn’t seem to, here we are with the mess we have.

    I am also at my core an idealist and believe in the ideals of the US constitution and democracy. But I’m a realist with a good knowledge of history and begin to sometimes think that our species is not yet ready (or may be incapable of) to handle freedom of action and thought in everyday life.

    We as a species have a very long track record of surviving and thriving under dictatorships and monarchies, and have a reasonably good track record in the past 300-400 years of handling democracy and governments with more freedom to live as we please. However our current systems have their flaws and so we continue to struggle with them. Along the way we’ve tried new systems to address the fundamental problems of the humanity and while they look good on paper, many of them have failed (communism, fascism). So I wonder out loud – if liberalism is accepted by most of humanity because it wants it, it must be a useful and practical solution to life’s problems even if it isn’t perfect. So the ideal form of libertarianism…maybe we haven’t really practiced it yet so we don’t know, or, humanity is incapable of using these principles because the majority can’t practice it correctly. Without self control and personal responsibility, maybe one should not be allowed to have freedom of choice to do what they want.

    Ultimately the majority rules. If the majority of humans insist on giving up their freedoms for perceived freedoms then yes, they probably don’t deserve them to begin with. Maybe most of us really don’t deserve them, but if one person’s “pursuit of happiness” is to have that warm and fuzzy feeling of safety, maybe what works for them is acceptable even if it doesn’t work for us. I think it is very important to make clear that our current US system of government has gotten away from the principles that created it, but even some of those original principles weren’t fully perfect. Also, the concepts of conservatism and liberalism have been twisted and redefined by the extremes in both parties, and so the middle ground where compromise is obtained for the majority continues to be the only area where we make progress. I truly do not want a tyranny of the minority at the fringes dictating something that only works for the very few, and so I’ll accept something in the middle, even if it isn’t perfect.

  31. We take for granted a level of social harmony that would be nigh unthinkable in Revolutionary America. Different religious denominations were effectively at each others’ throats, and explicitly hostile (though only rarely violent, try insuring a wood-frame Catholic church against fire in the 19th century, for example).

    In the end, though, different states have different laws. That mortally offends folks who think that (their) laws are absolute. The idea that there could be 13, or 50, different sets of laws with different standards bothers the hell out of people. And yet, it’s a basis for our freedoms, that not everything HAS to be smashed flat, homogenous, and rectangular.

  32. Mike

     /  March 28, 2007

    Yeah. The last time that was really tried overtly in the US was right before the Civil War. That didn’t turn out to well.

    The problem now is the “nibble-effect”. A bit here and there, you don’t know they are going until they are gone.

    When you have things like teachers banning Legos in class becuase it “teaches capitalism”, you really have to wonder about how all this is going. I agree that lots of our rights are under attack. I used to think that it was the lefties, but now its getting to where its both sides attacking different rights for an overall net loss for me.

    Which sucks.

  33. Alex has a good point. Maybe the majority here no longer deserves the freedoms they inherited.

    Makes me mad as hell, though.

  34. happycrow

     /  March 28, 2007

    Politically speaking, we’re all “cadre.” One of the great benefits of the American system is that the average Joe doesn’t HAVE to care about politics…

    I think those of us who look too closely at the sausage are making a mistake. When push comes to shove, Americans really pull well together. Better than we generally give ourselves credit for…

  35. I refer you to the article you just posted about, and the idiocy that we call our ‘legislature’ now.

    Mark Twain once said that there is only one criminal class in America, and it is in Congress.

  36. Mike

     /  March 28, 2007

    I thought that was idiots. Oh well, it works either way.


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