When Politicans Accidentally Tell The Truth

p(quote).. "Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."

p>. "George W. Bush":http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/08/05/bush.ap/

p. Now, don't get me wrong. There is a crowd of people following him around all day, every day, just waiting for him to say something stupid so they can gleefully report it to the nation. This one in particular struck me, though. Could the man's conscience be trying to speak out through Freudian slips?

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"voting is an endorsement"

"voting is an endorsement" absolutly true. Even if the voter doesn't believe it the party in question will use the stats as an example of endorsement. They will claim support for current policy and support for the canidate, not simply a vote against the other guy. It is a shame their isn't a box marked "present" akin to a congressional votes. For me, the LP vote is the next best thing.

What does this post have to

What does this post have to do with the Libertarian Party?

Does dropping out of free trade agreements, raising taxes and nationalizing health care seem to be a move towards freedom or away from it?

Exactly. For a second there, you had me thinking that you supported Bush.

I've recently been wondering

I've recently been wondering if a Libertarian Political Party isn't a contradiction in terms. Does a libertarian really want to gain the State's power for his/her own purposes, or simply reduce the State's power? Is the advantage of holding office really worth the cost in compromised principles in achieving this goal?

Since voting is so cheap, I'll vote Libertarian, but not because I want the Libertarians to win--only in the hope that the major parties start accessorizing with libertarian platform planks.

I'm wondering if a blog that acts as a citizen's watchdog wouldn't be just as effective. On the county level, attend the council meetings and review judicial decisions, and deconstruct the issues on ideological lines. Set up similar blogs for State and Federal review. It would be cheaper than a newspaper, and with none of the qualms about using either tax money or charitable donations to fund it.

One form of civic activity

One form of civic activity is as good as another- if you're going to go through the trouble of being a watchdog and setting up media to watch the govt and influence 'em, you might as well go the whole hog and put some of your own people up for office.

That seems to be the way to go, anyway- you start first with media, writing, and philosophy, then you go to think tanks, then once you've influenced the agenda your way (or shifted a great deal of the metacontext your way), THEN you jump in and say "let me be the one to legislate/execute the laws." At such a point, a liberal 'statesman' would not have nearly the pressure to do bad as before, and would have an easier way in doing as little as possible (the liberal political goal).

The key is to bring about a state of affairs where bad law is a public good, while good law is a private good (as opposed to today, where the situation is reversed). How to jump from now to there, I don't know.

I do know that the current "plan" of the Libertarian Party is useless and, IMO, counterproductive to that goal. The LP is a deeply unserious band of people who would rather sound "correct" than appealing to the "dumb masses." This ensures that they stay in the loony part of the political ghetto. THe folks at CATO and REASON are doing 1000x more for the cause of liberty than the LP.

...a state of affairs where

...a state of affairs where bad law is a public good, while good law is a private good...

Do you mind expanding on this a little? It sounds more profound than I can deal with on a Friday afternoon...

I guess, after all this

I guess, after all this discussion, that means the LP has never had a victory in the cause for liberty.

Unless disproven, we will work from that assumption. Therefore, there are two options, the D and the R parties for your votes and your support. Do you honestly believe that John Forbes Thorne Kerry is more consistent ideologically with the idea of a free market and a free society than Bush?

I guess if you count being pro-abortion as a step in the direction of freedom...otherwise, there is no difference between the two candidates except Bush is in favor of reducing the tax rates.

I don't know where all of

I don't know where all of this stuff about the LP came from. You people are projecting. I am equally contemptuous of all politicians, and I do not participate in electoral politics, nor any other coercive activities.

Clear as mud. Not at all.

Clear as mud.

Not at all. I've got a good idea of the goal, now, if not how to implement it. I'll go to the Friedman book (one day) for more details.

You know I am starting to

You know I am starting to believe there is media bias out there. Kerry misspoke recently and used the word terrorism instead of anti-terrorism. I can't find the quote but it was similar to "... America will do its best to promote terrorism throughout the world". Not a word in the mainstream press. I saw it on one of the blogs but can't find it.

Yeah right. BDS.

Yeah right. BDS.

It fascinates me that there

It fascinates me that there is a willingness to engage in not just a flight of fantasy but to deliberately buck the reality of the world we live in.

American politics is a zero-sum game and the Libertarian Party, to the best of my knowledge [please correct me if there is a major piece of legislation which has limited the power of the State or something to that effect], has never advanced the cause of liberty in the United States. Rather, it has drawn away the minds capable of making a cogent argument for reduced Government from the Republicans...

While posting this is very cute, just which candidate will advance the cause of economic liberty or political liberty? John Forbes Thorne Kerry? Does dropping out of free trade agreements, raising taxes and nationalizing health care seem to be a move *towards* freedom or away from it?

Whose side are you really on - statism's or liberty's?

Looking at the current state

Looking at the current state of the Libertarian Party, I see no evidence that they have drawn off any minds capable of making a cogent argument for reduced government- either Republican or others. Never fear, Mahmoud!

The problem with politics is that it's political. You have to promise X and Y to various constituencies and at the end of the day its easier to obfuscate, lie, cheat, & steal than it is to govern by any semblance of principle.


It is also true that most folk of a liberal/libertarian bent aren't interested in politics; those that are, get thrown into the meatgrinder of bad incentives and few come out with principles intact (if they want to win and keep power).

Having tasted power, the Republican party that controls congress is no better than the Jackass party that preceded them. Ron Paul must be akin to Samwise Gamgee or something, to remain in congress as long as he has and not succumb to the power of the Ring political machine.

Any libertarian-minded folk trying to run a principled campaign under a Phant banner will get tromped in primaries, if they're allowed to run at all by the Bosses. Ditto for the Jackass banner, but I'd say the Jackasses are more honest about it (we're here to run your lives, beotches!).

The tendency to pander to your constituencies is omnipresent, including the LP. This is why you have the embarassment of Badnarik for President (who sucks up to Green party nominees, for heaven's sake, just because they're 'antiwar'; though only in the sense that they want Domestic war instead of Foreign war, but that fundamental distinction is too nuanced for the Badnarik campaign to grasp, it appears). The LP regulars and stalwarts are not even remotely interested in either (a) winning elections or even really (b) influencing the broader debate, but rather want someone to pander to their pose. Its a lifestyle pose, a consumption good, which is fine as long as people understand thats all it is.

But back to the point of your comment, Mahmoud, John Effin' Kerry's platform sucks. So does George "Wha?" Bush's. In fact, if ever it was true, the Naderite criticism holds especially this time around- there is almost literally not a dime's worth of difference between GWB and JF'n'K's policies. GWB, as you may recall, pushed through a $500 billion increase in one of the pillars of the welfare state, has increased non-defense discretionary spending more in 3 years than Clinton did in 8 (or, even comparing the years that Clinton had complete control of the congress). GWB slaps on tariffs, he runs up the deficit, he expands federal meddling in state affairs, etc.

Before you lay a bill of particulars out against Effin' Kerry, you need to deal with the bill of indictment standing against W. This is an election where there IS no libertarian alternative, not even on a 2nd or 3rd best slot. Our only choices are staying home or voting for the dumbass LP candidate as a protest. I'm leaning towards staying home at the moment.

Mark- Its a concept lifted


Its a concept lifted from David Friedman's "The Machinery of Freedom".
I don't know the book as well as Jonathan does, and so what follows is all off the top of my head and probably will confuse a number of economic principles in the process. I recommend going to the source for a less confused explanation.

With that caveat, the public good argument for good and bad law goes like this-

Right now, the mechanism of government/law is such that passing a good law tends to have diffuse benefits and concentrated costs. The benefit of good law in the winner-take all, one-size-fits-all system is diffuse, and not all of it goes to the originator (indeed, often the originator has to take a big hit to make it work). Thus, it is a public good (everyone benefits, but the originator doesnt recieve most or all of the benefits, and so it is "undersupplied").

COnversely, bad law (law that harms the body politic) benefits a few people directly and spreads the pain over everyone else. The people originating bad law can get the full benefit of it themselves (i.e. protectionist tariffs, kickbacks, subsidies) or they can harm a few people directly and derive diffuse benefit from everyone else (ala blue laws, anti-porn regulations, banning sex toys, etc). Economics suggests that private goods will be produced in accordance with supply and demand. If good law is a public good and bad law is a private good, you'll tend to get more bad law, ceteris paribus.

If you reverse it such that people cannot impose their laws on everyone else, that everyone "subscribes" to the laws they want (within the scope of the thought experiment, mind you), then the laws that benefit you you'll 'buy', and the ones that don't, you won't. Good law becomes a private good (the person 'selling' good law will get a normal return). Bad law in this case would be a public good- you'd have to spend a lot to impose your bad law on folk, and get little or nothing in return. If people dont like your law, you dont get paid. You can't command resources for it at the drop of a hat, etc. Since the 'benefits' of bad law would be difficult for the originator to collect, you'd get less bad law proposed. Law would have to benefit most people to be accepted by most people.

Clear as mud. ^_^

Mahmoud, you're really

Mahmoud, you're really missing the point.

If the LP, the party ostensibly most dedicated to liberty, is useless, how does it follow that we must therefore vote for the Jackass or Elephant parties?

Voting is an endorsement. Both parties are far too objectionable to endorse either of them. Case closed. I don't have to vote for either of them, and I will not vote for either of them.

And, to my view, it is only marginally different if one is elected over another, perhaps within the margin of error of badness- I hold it as conceivable that John Effin' Kerry's administration may be less obnoxious than GWB's through some confluence of events; probably from a combination of Republican congressional rallying to defeat his agenda, and from the immediate splintering of his "Anybody but Bush" coalition. The subsequent domestic weakness will require Kerry to act butch on the foreign scene, which will alienate the Eurosocialists and we'll be in a nice position where Effin' Kerry can't get a lick done except in foreign affairs where the Repubs will join with him in giving the finger to our "european allies". In other words, he might do better by me even though he intends to do far worse than W.

I see that as being a plus over the status quo, and probably slightly more likely than W deciding to stop pandering for votes and develop some principles aside from stubborn mulishness.

Bush is exploding federal spending. This will inevitably cause a budget crisis. There are 2 possibilities in a budget crisis- the spending goes down, or taxes go up. What happens in budget crises is almost invariably that taxes go up. Bush is simply postponing taxation with his current fiscal policy. Thus his tax cuts have been rendered mostly moot, as he's created the atmosphere of "fiscal crisis" which is the first step to crafting the tax-raising electorally-safe policy.

So trotting out the tax cuts isn't much of a "plus" for W.

But ultimately, I'm with Qiwi and Jonathan. What did Qiwi's post mocking the eminently mockable GWB prompt a discussion about the eminently mockable LP?

Here's a solution: work to

Here's a solution: work to pass "none of the above" amendments, locally and federally, requiring such an option on the ballot for any elected official. If NOTA wins, the post stays vacant for one electoral term. If NOTA wins ten times in a row, that job is permanently cut and not replaced.

>If NOTA wins, the post

>If NOTA wins, the post stays vacant for one electoral term. If NOTA
>wins ten times in a row, that job is permanently cut and not replaced.

This would be unconstitutional (even as an ammendment); the Constitution forbids ammendments which would elimate the equal representation of states in the senate.

Stormy Dragon: there's a

Stormy Dragon: there's a patch for that minor bug - return the senate to its original appointed form.

Alternatively, just ignore that bit of the constitution, or trick around it with legal doubletalk: "they are represented - by an empty seat".