Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Libertarians vs. "Libertarian Repulicanism" and "Realistic Libertarians"

Scene 1

Rand Paul is at it again. He has trouble identifying himself as just simply a libertarian. During his aggressive back and forth yesterday on Boston’s NPR station WBUR, he said at one point:
Why don’t we talk about what libertarian Republicanism means and what it would do for the party?
Scene 2

A twitter exchange I recently had with Roger Stone, went like this:

He replied:

Scene 3

Both Rand and Stone sure like to use modifiers when they use the word libertarian and attempt to associate the word with themselves. It's a signal that what they really want to do is distance themselves from  libertarianism, but still snare as many libertarians into their spun webs as possible. BUT when it comes time to stand up for libertarianism on principle, and it is a difficult stand, they will be long gone.

Consider former Rand Paul aide Jack Hunter who recently left Rand's staff as a result of neoconservative attacks on his past writings. I haven't read Hunter's writings in detail but what the neocons pointed to in Hunter's writings, that I read, was nothing more than a spirited defense of liberty, strong support for the right of southern states to secede from the Union and a well deserved slap at the myth of Abraham Lincoln as a great president.

Rand, at first, provided a soft, carefully crafted hedged-defense of Hunter, but when the neocons howled night after night, Hunter found himself on the outside of the Rand camp. Looking at it from Hunter's perspective, the problem wasn't what he wrote pre-Rand, but his being tempted by, and falling  for, the seductive political Jesse Benton life-style that he thought he could have despite his earlier truth telling, his attempts at some "libertarian Republicanism" truth-spinning himself, and, most important, his failure to understand the deeper meaning of "libertarian Republicanism."

Yesterday, during the NPR interview, Rand again gave Hunter a lesson in what it really means. Rand first offered a soft defense of Hunter, but then stomped hard on the beaten-up Hunter. Said Rand:
I think some of the things he wrote or many of the things he wrote were stupid and I don’t agree with. They weren’t things I was aware of, or reasons why I hired him
Scene 4

Yesterday morning,  the libertarian candidate for NYC comptroller, Kristin Davis,was arrested for selling prescription drugs. As can be see in my exchange with Stone, weeks ago, I questioned just how principled a libertarian Davis was given her desire to tax marijuana to balance the NYC budget, rather than shrinking the budget as a means of balancing it. However, as a libertarian, I consider the arrest of Davis an outrage. I don't condone the use of the drugs Davis was selling, when they are dispensed in government authorized fashion or any other way, but I consider it none of the government's business as to what drugs people consume or who dispenses the drugs. Based on this libertarian principle, I stand by Davis and call for the immediate dismissal of all charges against her. Here was "realistic" libertarian Roger Stone's twitter response:
Roger Stone ‏@RogerJStoneJr  Re Kristin Davis. I am stunned and disappointed. I am hopeful the charges are untrue. I would urge her to end her campaign.
The Final Scene

And there you have it, the modifiers are used for one reason and one reason only, as cover to allow escape  from libertarianism when the times get tough. The modifier user his signalling that he is not a complete consistent libertarian---and therefore not a libertarian at all. When a person really needs someone to stand as back up on libertarian principle because he/she is getting tremendous heat for acting in a way that does not conflict with libertarianism, the modifier user will be nowhere to be found.

Beware the modifier users. When you really need libertarian back up, it's not going to come from them.


  1. If you let them distort the meaning of "libertarian" you end up with what happened to the word "liberal." Total statists running around calling themselves "liberal."

  2. How libertarian is: "I want to legalize all drugs. Period. But if the ONLY way I can do it is to pay the government some protection money, then that is still much better than what we have now."


    1. There's no "Jesus" in the libertarian movement.

      All anyone can do is their best and try to be open to their circle of friends when they might have committed a logical error.(assuming you try to keep libertarian thinking friends around)

      I'd imagine we all have some hypocrisy floating around inside of us when looking deep...but it doesn't change what the actual logical deductions should be...even if we choose to ignore such.

      I have a feeling I should know this, but who made the above statement?

  3. “Libertarian Republicanism”

    “Realistic Libertarian”

    Definition: I will support whatever position I want whenever I want.

  4. “Libertarian Republicanism”

    “Realistic Libertarian”

    Goldilocks Libertarians...

    "Don't tread on me too much, don't tread on me too little. Tread on me jusssst right!"

  5. I have to disagree with Robert on a point or two. But first I fully agree that the defense of pure Libertarian beliefs can be tough. Rand has come on strong lately no doubt due to the same political aspirations that caused him to throw his father under the bus in the last election cycle. As for Roger Stone, you must remember that his was a life-long Republican strategist before he rejected what the GOP had turned into. I reject the notion that he is somehow attempting to hi-jack the movement. As Libertarians, we don't believe government should dictate what we can and cannot put in our bodies. Current NYS law however makes Stone's suggestion to Davis the only logical move from a campaign standpoint.