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The VC's 2006 Discussion of Libertarian-Conservative Fusionism:

My recent post on the likely need for a renewed libertarian-conservative political alliance has drawn numerous comments and some commentary on other blogs. Interested readers might want to check out the Volokh Conspiracy's earlier extended discussion of "fusionism" (as the libertarian-conservative coalition was traditionally known) back in 2006. See this post I wrote on "Libertarians and Conservatives" and other posts by Jonathan Adler, Todd Zywicki, and myself chained to it.

I may have more to say on the possibilities of fusionism in the post-Bush/Obama era in later posts. Stay tuned!

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. The VC's 2006 Discussion of Libertarian-Conservative Fusionism:
  2. Return of the Conservative-Libertarian Coalition?
GMUSOL05:
I'm still waiting for posts about Libertarian-Conservative-Asian Fusion.
11.7.2008 2:41pm
Oren:
Sounds delicious. On the other hand, the previous thread was very frustrating because I think the soc-con wing of the GOP uses a completely different language.
11.7.2008 2:47pm
PJG (mail):
The previous posts from 2006 after the mid-term defeat were spot on. I hope that this time around the big government social conservatives get the message and step down from their soap boxes to allow real fusionism to develop. I hope that the GOP leadership is paying attention this time, if not it will be a long time until we are led back out of the wilderness.
11.7.2008 2:52pm
Angus:
If you read right-wing sites like Free Republic or Hot Air, they'd rather die than ally themselves with Libertarians (what they call "liberaltarians"). A pow-wow of conservative leaders today just declared the moderate wing of the GOP "dead." The purges are underway.

Don't worry, though, the Libertarian Dems like those in the Plains and interior West will welcome you to the Democratic party.
11.7.2008 2:55pm
Al Maviva:
I'm with you Angus. The only way the Republican Party can thrive is to purge the social cons and the hawks, especially the neo-cons. The remaining Republicans - the fusion of pro gay marriage, drug legalization, abortion rights one Republicans, who favor fiscal restraint, will definitely be able to find a home in certain western counties' Democratic Party machines.

Thing is, I used to call myself a libertarian. Then I sorta got read out of the movement (defense hawk, Catholic who thinks abortion and gay marriage are at best a question for the states rather than a matter of constitutional rights) so I guess I'm just one of those christofascistic conservatives whose positions are informed by Hayek and the framers, and ultimately inimical to whatever libertarianism is today. Seriously, if the planks worth splitting over are abortion and gay marriage, well, good luck with the Democrats. You'll get plenty of that stuff, I just wouldn't count on getting any individual liberty beside those.
11.7.2008 3:03pm
Thales (mail) (www):
I think libertarian ideas (especially those with a pragmatic rather than dogmatic cast) are more welcome in the Democratic party now than in the GOP, and this reflects the Democrats' drift toward the West and away from their traditional Northeast roots.
11.7.2008 3:05pm
Sexualxe (mail):
Hello you forum best. And Bye. just test. . :) :) :) :) :) :):) :) :) :) :) :)
11.7.2008 3:08pm
Cheaper Trolls, Ltd:
A pow-wow of conservative leaders today just declared the moderate wing of the GOP "dead." The purges are underway.


Give me conservatism or give me death!

 

 

©2008 Cheaper Trolls™
11.7.2008 3:13pm
CLS (mail) (www):
An alliance with conservatives!!!! Why not with Islamists as well? (D'Souza recommended that for conservatives.)

The conservatives have proven themselves to be more vile in their hatred of human liberty than even the progressive Left has in recent years. They embrace a theocratic world-view and seem to live to wage war -- the bigger the better. This libertarian would rather eat glass than be associated with conservatives today. It wasn't that way 20 years ago but conservatives have gone rabid, expanding on the worst of conservative ideology and killing off what good positions they used to hold. That a few conservatives haven't realized that their movement has stabbed them in the back, and yearn for the old days, is their problem, not mine.

Conservatives are socialists of the soul and not friends of liberty. With their abandoning of free markets they surrendered the only position they shared in common with libertarians. So there is no common ground left.
11.7.2008 3:33pm
Calderon:
My bet is the final verdict for Republicans will be to get rid of libertarians and become more populist on economic issues. There's no real evidence that voters were actually interested in libertarian politicians as opposed to other Republicans, and Obama over and over tied McCain to Bush's "deregulatory" policies. Even though Bush himself was big government, voters seemed to buy into the opposite of reality and vote against what they perceived as a free market candidate. I think you'll see some sharp shifts toward populism and against free trade, toward strict regulation of the financial sector, and even more toward small business owners and against large (and especially international) corporations.

On the flip side, social conservative issues did very well. One of the bluest -- and the largest -- state in the union passed a ban on gay marriage, and other states passed similar prohibitions or even further restrictions on what gay people can do. And opposition to gay marriage always seemed like the most unsupportable part of the conservative culture agenda. If voters are supporting that, then Republicans probably expect they'll continue to score point with more "reasonable" socially conservative positions, like abortion restrictions, anti-pornography, anti-illegal immigration, anti-judicial activism, etc.

In short, I'll make two bets about what will happen in 2012 that we can revisit to either laught or me or see how prescient I can pretend to be. The first is that Mike Huckabee or someone very similar is the 2012 Republican presidential candidate, and the second is that person does extremely well against Obama and may even beat him (specifically, said candidate either wins or loses by no more than 2% of the popular vote).

So in other word, Republicans won't fuse with libertarians, and we'll be left to wander aimlessly for at least several years.
11.7.2008 3:36pm
I Know It All:
The only way the Republican Party can thrive is to purge the social cons and the hawks, especially the neo-cons.


That would be a catastrophe. The base needs to be expanded - not purged.
11.7.2008 3:37pm
Light Hearted (mail):
It depends on whether Democrats are libertarians who simply have limited understanding of economics or whether they are socialists in disguise.

It depends on whether Republicans are libertarians who don't appreciate the harms to limited government represented by desires to police personal moral choices and to police the world, or whether they are Christofascists in disguise.

Libertarians can build coalitions with people who believe, at least on some level, in liberty. Whether enough such people still exist in this country is (depending on one's level of optimism) either an open question or has already been answered in the negative.
11.7.2008 3:44pm
Mt Lassen (mail):
Calderon said~

There's no real evidence that voters were actually interested in libertarian politicians as opposed to other Republicans


Two words from the GOP platform which led them to power: Small Government

The discussion isn't about the Libertarian Party vs. Republican Party. It is about libertarian policy vs. socialist policy.

The GOP didn't get blown out because they weren't pushing social policy hard enough. They got blown out because their undisciplined fiscal policies did exactly the opposite of what they promised since Goldwater.

When you have two sets of liars (Dems and GOP), the best choice is the other guy...

My take on the gay marriage bans is that voters don't want to be forced into radical social policy change from either side of the political spectrum, rather than as a triumph of conservative socialism.
11.7.2008 4:14pm
Oren:


That would be a catastrophe. The base needs to be expanded - not purged.


That depends on whether that part of the base insists on inserting into the platform positions that alienate the vast majority of Americans that would rather not fight a government-control war over every cultural issue.
11.7.2008 4:46pm
LM (mail):
To the social conservatives: It's true, the libertarians share your hostility to all things left, the federal government and the judiciary. But they're also a bunch of foul-mouthed, pot-smoking, poly-amorous Sodomites. Isn't your faith and your doctrine strong enough to defeat your enemies without soiling yourselves with such associations? After all, what profiteth a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?


To the libertarians: Are you going to take that from them?





(heh heh...)
11.7.2008 5:30pm
Loops:
I like to think that fiscal conservative issues are still important, but in this campaign McCain sawed off his own legs on them by supporting the bailout. Left to choose between the big government guy with a consistent position and the big government guy that sort of claims he's not for big government, except that he just was in a major way, it's hard to work up any real enthusiasm.

And the lesson that if a Republican president decides to propose these things then he basically gets a free pass from the Republican senate was also depressing.

I hope the Republican party takes this chance to formulate some coherent long term fiscal policy goals that will ultimately address the entitlement spending issue. (And by coherent I don't mean run the printing presses day and night while borrowing trillions from foreign banks...) Maybe some good influences on the issue can help.

Wall Street is showing us daily what it's like when the music stops on a perpetual debt game. I really hope a majority of the country doesn't want to find out what it will be like if that happens to the federal government.
11.7.2008 5:43pm
Al Maviva:
I think libertarian ideas (especially those with a pragmatic rather than dogmatic cast) are more welcome in the Democratic party now than in the GOP

Absolutely. Libertarianism as its web adherents appear to practice it is completely compatible with confiscatory tax rates, nationalized health care, the squelching of free trade, and stomping out of political speech that the DNC disagrees with, and things like forcing private pharmacists to sell abortifacients. Plus there's the whole running away from American commitments abroad, which will definitely obviate the need to maintain a standing military force. Um, y'know, except for saving various genocidally-minded African and Balkan populations from each other from time to time. But that's a quibble. I'm sure the D's are all about individual liberty - just ask Doug Kmiec. He'll tell ya.
11.7.2008 6:08pm
Oren:
Al Maviva, if i have to chose between confiscatory tax rates, nationalized health care, protectionism (if you listen to the radio you will find plenty of speech the DNC disagrees with, so I'm excising that complain) and being governed by soc-cons that want to regulate dirty words, private sexual conduct and generally impose traditional religious morality, I will bite my tongue and vote for the Democrat. That's just a personal judgment of which of two competing values is more important to me. I won't like it, but it's the lesser of two evils IMHO.
11.7.2008 7:54pm
David Warner:
LM,

That's Establishment Left PsyOp plan numero uno. Seems to have worked pretty well so far.
11.7.2008 11:29pm
David Warner:
"They want to impose their religion on us" is the new "They're eyeing our womenfolk".

Tribalism and outgroup hate with no guilt! How can something that feels so good be wrong?
11.7.2008 11:31pm
John Moore (www):
Oren
That "traditional religious morality" used to be normal American morality.

But just exactly which morality so upsets you? Relegating offensive content to pay services so that children are less likely to be exposed? Maintaining the meaning of marriage that it has held for several thousand years? Recognizing that the unborn have civil rights?

There is nothing radical about the above. Furthermore, unless you define freedom in a pretty radical fashion, those positions are not particularly anti-freedom.

If you think those are whacko religious values, well, go ahead and vote with the libertines.
11.8.2008 12:12am
Libertarian (mail):
John Moore asks: "But just exactly which morality so upsets you? Relegating offensive content to pay services so that children are less likely to be exposed? Maintaining the meaning of marriage that it has held for several thousand years? Recognizing that the unborn have civil rights?

Mostly, John, it is the filling of prisons and the destroying of lives done so blithely by the state with the full consent and encouragement of our "moralists". It is one thing to morally condemn capitalist acts between consenting adults when they involve sex or drugs. It is another thing to destroy the lives of peaceful people, numbering now in the HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS. Would, 300 years ago, you defend witch burning in Salem, which I understand was also done to protect morality?
11.8.2008 1:17am
David Warner:
Libertarian,

"Would, 300 years ago, you defend witch burning in Salem, which I understand was also done to protect morality?"

Would, 200 years ago (by your math), you defend the Terror in Paris, which I understand was also done to advance liberty?

You're being silly.
11.8.2008 1:41am
David M. Nieporent (www):
Al Maviva, if i have to chose between confiscatory tax rates, nationalized health care, protectionism (if you listen to the radio you will find plenty of speech the DNC disagrees with, so I'm excising that complain) and being governed by soc-cons that want to regulate dirty words, private sexual conduct and generally impose traditional religious morality, I will bite my tongue and vote for the Democrat. That's just a personal judgment of which of two competing values is more important to me. I won't like it, but it's the lesser of two evils IMHO.
Oren, if that were actually the tradeoff, that might be reasonable. But even if there were an actual attempt to regulate "private sexual conduct," the courts don't let them do so. So the threat is almost entirely from the left.
11.8.2008 3:55am
Eli Rabett (www):
David, you mean that the courts as presently constituted don't let them do that. Be patient.
11.8.2008 5:09am
Oren:

Oren, if that were actually the tradeoff, that might be reasonable. But even if there were an actual attempt to regulate "private sexual conduct," the courts don't let them do so. So the threat is almost entirely from the left.

Do you really think McCain would appoint SCOTUS judges that would uphold Lawrence? Hint: McCain said he would have never nominated Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, David Souter and John Paul Stevens.

That "traditional religious morality" used to be normal American morality.
Given the abject treatment of the majority of American citizens up until the middle of the century, that's not a convincing argument.

Relegating offensive content to pay services so that children are less likely to be exposed?
Because "offensive" is such a malleable word that ultimately the power to regulate offensive content cannot be limited in any meaningful way. Sometimes the ox is gored from the left, sometimes the ox is gored from the right.

Maintaining the meaning of marriage that it has held for several thousand years?
Even regular hetero marriage does not mean the same thing that it meant at the founding. If you went back to the founding and explained the concept of marriage for love (as opposed to loving the one that you are chosen to marry), they would be bewildered. IMHO, that counts as a larger revision to marriage than homosexual marriage. Jeez, if we want to go back to the meaning of marriage that is held for several thousand years, you have marriages arranged by parents without the consent of the couples -- that was the norm for longer than this silly modern notion of actually choosing a spouse.

There is nothing radical about the above. Furthermore, unless you define freedom in a pretty radical fashion, those positions are not particularly anti-freedom.
On that, I can agree. The notion of individual liberty to the maximal extent possible is in fact a radical idea -- one that I think has blessed this nation beyond measure.
11.8.2008 10:53am
Oren:
I should add the distinguishing remark that policies regarding recognition of gays are not connected to individual liberty, but are just a personal political preference of mine (one that I would vote for but find imposing through the courts to be abhorrent). On the other hand, criminalization of homosexual conduct of the kind contemplated by Lawrence is undoubtedly the most grave and vile sort of government interference in the private lives of citizens.
11.8.2008 10:57am
Libertarian (mail):
Mr. Warner thinks I'm being "silly". I'm sure his opinion would change if he or a loved one were not politically influential, and were found, after his house was raided by police who shot his dogs, to have a gram or two of marijuana, leading to tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees (perhaps this is viewed as a good thing on this blog). Or if his college-going son helped a friend by selling his a joint or two, and ended up doing several years in prison. Mr. Warner is being morally obtuse, and willfully so.
11.8.2008 11:42am
Oren:
Libertarian, don't underestimate support for the War on Drugs.
11.8.2008 12:11pm
David Warner:
Libertarian,

Nope. You'd still be silly if you thought the Salem Witch trials had anything to do with it, or even political affiliation for that matter.
11.8.2008 1:26pm
American Psikhushka (mail):
David Warner-

Nope. You'd still be silly if you thought the Salem Witch trials had anything to do with it, or even political affiliation for that matter.

I don't know about that. They both involve a group trying to force its opinions (of varying degrees of silliness) on others.
11.8.2008 2:26pm
Happycrow (mail) (www):
It's already been called: the Reagan coalition is dead, b/c the Republicans have actually lived up to the Libertarian *party's* rhetoric: the only difference was where they wanted to point the Leviathan.

It's really quite simple. If Republicans want to be simply a different sort of socialist scold... I'll be going out to a movie intead of voting that night.

The proper response to Republicans' "where ya gonna go" argument, is "out to dinner, chump."
11.8.2008 3:09pm
David Warner:
"I don't know about that. They both involve a group trying to force its opinions (of varying degrees of silliness) on others."

As does the whole of human history. The War on Drugs is glorified mob violence. So was Luddism. Luddism starts with an "L". What does this say about "L"ibertarian? Hmmm?

Look, I hate the lockdown society as much as anyone. I just don't see how furthering the demonization of those institutions which have historically served as a counterbalance to the overweening power of the state is productive.
11.8.2008 9:06pm
wyswyg:
"the Libertarian Dems like those in the Plains and interior West will welcome you to the Democratic party."

There are no libertarian Dems in the Plains and West. Check out their CATO ratings sometiome: D's and F's.
11.9.2008 11:39am
wyswyg:
Oren

"On the other hand, the previous thread was very frustrating because I think the soc-con wing of the GOP uses a completely different language."


Given that you're a liberal Democrat - why are you involved in this discussion again?
11.9.2008 11:40am
wyswyg:
A pow-wow of conservative leaders today just declared the moderate wing of the GOP "dead."

Since when did libertarians consider themselves to be the "moderate" wing of the GOP?

Those moderates are the same people libertarians hate - the big government liberal wing of the party.


"Given the abject treatment of the majority of American citizens up until the middle of the century, that's not a convincing argument."


The majority of American citizens were never treated "abjectly", let alone in 1950.

Could you liberals please do your hysterical emoting someplace else, and let the rational people have a discussion?
11.9.2008 11:47am
wyswyg:
It depends on whether Democrats are libertarians who simply have limited understanding of economics or whether they are socialists in disguise.

In disguise? When have they bothered to disguise it?
11.9.2008 11:52am
wyswyg:

Al Maviva, if i have to chose between confiscatory tax rates, nationalized health care, protectionism (if you listen to the radio you will find plenty of speech the DNC disagrees with, so I'm excising that complain) and being governed by soc-cons that want to regulate dirty words, private sexual conduct and generally impose traditional religious morality, I will bite my tongue and vote for the Democrat.



Well, yes, you would. But that's because you are a liberal. I'm still undecided whether you are under the mistaken impression that you are a libertarian, or whether you know you're not and are simply a moby.


The Soviet Union had "confiscatory tax rates, nationalized health care, protectionism", and also free abortion for anyone who wanted it. Under your bizarre view of the world, that made them libertarians.

But you helpfully brought up the real divide here. Can you support a huge, expensive, and ever growing state and still call yourself a "libertarian" because you want to have gay marriage and smoke dope? Amazingly enough, there are people who think that the answer is "yes".

And that is a very real divide, because we now have about a century of evidence from all around the world that "social liberalism" and "fiscal conservatism" cannot be combined, and that "social liberalism" leads inevitably and necessarily to Levithan.


So I'd like to see all the people who call themselves libertarians address the point you raised, and state for the record which side they are on - social liberalism or minimal government. You can't be on both.
11.9.2008 12:05pm
wyswyg:

I just don't see how furthering the demonization of those institutions which have historically served as a counterbalance to the overweening power of the state is productive."


David, a lot of people calling themselves libertarians don't see the state as the enemy. They see it as a counterbalance to what they really fear and hate - other people, and those institutions you mentioned.
11.9.2008 12:10pm
Oren:

Given that you're a liberal Democrat - why are you involved in this discussion again?

I'm not. I explained that I bit my tongue and voted for Obama as the lesser of evils when compared with a candidate that would eviscerate the most important guarantees of personal liberty that we enjoy -- to wit: the dual doctrines of incorporation and substantive due process of the 14A. I don't relish the fact that I must compromise my views on economics, RKBA and the scope of government, but I think I've consistently explained the manner in which I reached that compromise.

Of course, you can continue to ignore that fact or you can forthrightly acknowledge that you prefer to compromise personal liberty for economic liberty. You can even explain that you don't really approve of the personal liberty to purchase contraceptives or have consensual homosexual relations between adults. What is obnoxious is refusing to address these issues at all and just pretend like there aren't social conservatives intent on imposing a particular idiosyncratic view of morality by force of law (to wit: Griswold and Lawrence).
11.9.2008 2:16pm
Oren:
But you helpfully brought up the real divide here. Can you support a huge, expensive, and ever growing state and still call yourself a "libertarian" because you want to have gay marriage and smoke dope? Amazingly enough, there are people who think that the answer is "yes".


Well, that's a compromise now isn't it. True libertarianism requires rejecting both a huge expansive government AND allowing citizens the freedom to smoke dope and have sex with each other (consensual, private, adult). Given that, in the last election, I did not have the opportunity to vote for any candidates that supported 100% of my position, I had to make a tough choice.

The Soviet Union had "confiscatory tax rates, nationalized health care, protectionism", and also free abortion for anyone who wanted it. Under your bizarre view of the world, that made them libertarians.
It also didn't have powerful restrictions against prior restraint of free expression and press, police power to arbitrarily search and seize the citizenry and judicial power to imprison without due process of law. To the extent that Dems seem to nominate SCOTUS judges that enforce these guarantees more stringently (aside from the RKBA, which is a continued disgusting blot on the party), I think the conclusion is pretty clear.


And that is a very real divide, because we now have about a century of evidence from all around the world that "social liberalism" and "fiscal conservatism" cannot be combined, and that "social liberalism" leads inevitably and necessarily to Levithan.

You can read whatever conclusions you want out of history. My general take is that Eurpoean countries with long histories of cultural values that promote collective, as opposed to individual, actions tend to lead to more government. Your attempt to pin the entire culture of Europe onto fiscal policy is rather trite. Moreover, your conclusion of cause and effect seems unsupported. You assert that one causes the other when it is at least pluasible that they are both effects of a third cause -- namely, cultural norms.


The majority of American citizens were never treated "abjectly", let alone in 1950.

So in an age where blacks were routinely denied the right to vote, run or hold public office, attend the same schools as whites and generally have their rights held as equal to those of their countrymen, you are going a reasonable polity? I suggest you read DB's and Ilya's posts a bit to get some historical perspective on the treatment of American citizens in the first half of this century. (Of course, you will no doubt accuse them both of being liberal democrats as well, which will be pretty hilarious for those that actually read this blog).


So I'd like to see all the people who call themselves libertarians address the point you raised, and state for the record which side they are on - social liberalism or minimal government. You can't be on both.

From obnoxious to downright silly. One what possible grounds can you claim that anyone can't be in favor of any combination of political preferences that suit their fancy. Look at Judge Bork -- he is a libertarian on economic issues but advocates massive government regulation of the culture. Or Cass Sunstein, Randy Barnett and Ilya Somin. You better tell those people to modify their long-held (and always reasonably debated) views because some blogger on the internet has decided that they are incapable of being simultaneously held.
11.9.2008 2:38pm
Oren:
Moreover, the idea that social liberalism (as defined by government non-interference in the private decisions of the populace) is somehow incompatible with minimal government makes less and less sense the more I think about. Are you arguing that if the government stops legislating on economic issues they will be forced to start legislating private morality because of ___________? Is there a law of conservation of liberty-restriction that says that for each law you repeal you must pass a new law?
11.9.2008 2:42pm
American Psikhushka (mail):
David Warner-

Look, I hate the lockdown society as much as anyone. I just don't see how furthering the demonization of those institutions which have historically served as a counterbalance to the overweening power of the state is productive.

The problem is that sometimes those institutions are used to exercise despotic power on their own - the Inquisition, witch burnings, etc. Libertarians for the most part don't object to those institutions when they are performing the functions you mentioned. Or any other functions that don't involve force or fraud or violating anyone's rights, for that matter. Libertarians generally only have a problem with them when they are forcing their opnions on others, or using the state to force their opinions on others.
11.9.2008 5:06pm
American Psikhushka (mail):
wyswyg-

Well, yes, you would. But that's because you are a liberal. I'm still undecided whether you are under the mistaken impression that you are a libertarian, or whether you know you're not and are simply a moby.

What's a "moby"? What's the word's origin?

So I'd like to see all the people who call themselves libertarians address the point you raised, and state for the record which side they are on - social liberalism or minimal government. You can't be on both.

As Oren mentioned, one can certainly be "socially liberal" and a libertarian. One could hold socially liberal views and as long as you didn't impose those views on others through force or fraud either privately or through the state you could be considered a libertarian. But forcing those views on others would tend to disavow the notion that you were a libertarian. (And depending on how it is structured, some of the "libertarian paternalism" would wind up being anti-libertarian, in addition to being creepy and disingenuous.)
11.9.2008 5:24pm
American Psikhushka (mail):
One could hold socially liberal views and as long as you didn't impose those views on others through force or fraud either privately or through the state you could be considered a libertarian.

To clarify, this would include advocating that these views be financed with government funds.
11.9.2008 5:30pm
Oren:
AP, I'd only like to add that when talking to a lot of libertarians that have allied themselves with soc-cons (and wyswyg in this thread), I cannot tell if they either:
(a) really support government restrictions* on adults smoking dope, buying contraceptives and having consensual gay sex
(b) would rather those restrictions go away but compromises to form a coalition with social and paleoconservatives
(c) other position?


* Usual caveat -- not supporting government restrictions is not an endorsement of dope or gay sex. *
11.9.2008 6:54pm
David Warner:
American Psikhushka,

"The problem is that sometimes those institutions are used to exercise despotic power on their own - the Inquisition, witch burnings, etc."

Got any examples that actually happened in the United States hotshot? You're being played.
11.9.2008 7:53pm
David Warner:
Oren and AP,

When wyswyg says "social liberal" he's using "liberal" in the same context that Goldberg does in (mis)titling his book "Liberal Fascism". When Progressivism went out of fashion post-Wilson, the Progressives took the label "liberal" for themselves, causing much confusion. In that sense, it means, roughly, social engineering. Now that the Progressives are dropping the liberal label, there's some hope it can be reclaimed by those, like yourselves, who would historically be correctly labeled liberals. I count myself in that category.

I still think the Established Progressive Church of school/media/law is a much more serious threat to liberty than the old-time churches most liberals are presently all worked up over. To the extent they actually do want to do what you claim they do, they're powerless to do it.
11.9.2008 7:59pm
John D (mail):

If you went back to the founding and explained the concept of marriage for love (as opposed to loving the one that you are chosen to marry), they would be bewildered. IMHO, that counts as a larger revision to marriage than homosexual marriage. Jeez, if we want to go back to the meaning of marriage that is held for several thousand years, you have marriages arranged by parents without the consent of the couples -- that was the norm for longer than this silly modern notion of actually choosing a spouse



Oren, I must respectfully disagree. Marriage for love seems to been established by the time of the Revolution. For example, John Adams courted Abigail Smith.

On the other hand, the idea that Miss Smith was a legal person beyond the sphere her husband after marrying the same Mr. Adams would not have made sense to many of the Adams's contemporaries. (I haven't read much of the Adams correspondence, but I'd like to think that John Adams felt this was wrong. I think Abigail did.) In the early Republic, female American citizens who married non-Americans, automatically lost their American citizenship. This was, of course, in that long era when women couldn't own property. They really were property, weren't they.

Women couldn't secure credit in their own names until 1970.

Your main point holds: marriage has changed much since the days of the founding of the United States. Anyone who argues otherwise is either ignorant of history or guilty of distorting it.
11.9.2008 10:21pm
Robert Farrell (mail):
So I'd like to see all the people who call themselves libertarians address the point you raised, and state for the record which side they are on - social liberalism or minimal government. You can't be on both.

Of course you can. That would make you . . . a libertarian.

And that is a very real divide, because we now have about a century of evidence from all around the world that "social liberalism" and "fiscal conservatism" cannot be combined, and that "social liberalism" leads inevitably and necessarily to Levithan.

The evidence in fact shows the opposite. Leaving aside states which restricted social and economic liberty simultaneously (Russia, China, etc.) states that have restricted economic liberty have mostly retained political freedom (Sweden, Britain, France, Finland, etc.) In contrast, thousands of years of history attest that when a state restricts social liberty -- especially in the name of "security" -- political freedom is often lost to the state's tyranny. Regimes from ancient Rome to Nazi Germany to Putin's Russia illustrate this point.

For libertarians, then, whose primary concern is freedom, threats to civil liberties are likely to take priority over threats to lassie-faire capitialism. One is a direct threat to democracy, while the other, though it may be undesirable for other reasons (lack of social mobility, poor growth, inefficiency) is compatible with democracy.
11.10.2008 12:21am
American Psikhushka (mail):
David Warner-

Got any examples that actually happened in the United States hotshot?

Sure. A lot of the attacks on abortion clinics, doctors who perform abortions, and gay bars were centered around religious and church groups. A lot of other racial attacks have centered around church and religious groups as well.

I'm not sure if there have been any "honor killings" in the US, but if there have been those would qualify as well.

You're being played.

How?
11.10.2008 1:19am
American Psikhushka (mail):
Robert Farrell-

For libertarians, then, whose primary concern is freedom, threats to civil liberties are likely to take priority over threats to lassie-faire capitialism. One is a direct threat to democracy, while the other, though it may be undesirable for other reasons (lack of social mobility, poor growth, inefficiency) is compatible with democracy.

Sort of. But on the other hand really screwing up the economy can cause very dangerous conditions - increased chance of civil unrest and violence, increased chances of attacks on market dominant minorities, increased chances of wars starting, increased chances of violent political changes, mass starvation, etc. Think Weimar Germany, the French Revolution, etc. That may sound a little alarmist, but the risk of hyperinflation is one of the reasons having an unbacked fiat currency like ours is dangerous.
11.10.2008 1:33am
David Warner:
American Psikhushka,

"Sure. A lot of the attacks on abortion clinics, doctors who perform abortions, and gay bars were centered around religious and church groups. A lot of other racial attacks have centered around church and religious groups as well.

I'm not sure if there have been any "honor killings" in the US, but if there have been those would qualify as well."

I'm not sure either. I am sure that what you've got, in the grand scheme of things, is pretty thin gruel next to the links I provided above.

"'You're being played.'

How?"

If you're concerned with freedom. Note: this is about Ayers and his widespread influence in education circles, not Obama. And the election is over - no smear intended, just trying to get the facts on the ground established.
11.10.2008 2:08am
American Psikhushka (mail):
David Warner-

I'm not sure either. I am sure that what you've got, in the grand scheme of things, is pretty thin gruel next to the links I provided above.

Those were just some off-hand references. Granted the US doesn't have as extensive a history of religious violence and persecution as Europe does. That doesn't mean it's not possible.

If you're concerned with freedom. Note: this is about Ayers and his widespread influence in education circles, not Obama. And the election is over - no smear intended, just trying to get the facts on the ground established.

Well I didn't exactly say that wasn't a concern. There are already some investigations going, maybe those and possibly some new ones will turn something up.
11.10.2008 1:08pm