Support Denmark, Defend Freedom

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Back in the hot tub with Ryan Sager

Ryan Sager interprets my main argument here as:
We don't have enough clout within the GOP, so let's not invest any energy in the GOP. The problem, though, is that this logic is circular. The GOP ignores libertarians because they're unengaged in politics, and they're unengaged in politics because the GOP ignores them.
I don't think that's what my argument was. What I said was that as long as roughly 60% of libertarianish voters support the GOP seemingly regardless of that party's numerous big government positions, the GOP can afford to mostly ignore the other 40%. As I wrote, it's a simple numbers game:
To do what it would have to do to get these Democratic libertarians to come its way, the GOP would more than likely lose much of its vaunted "base," a loss that would hurt it far more than losing those libertarians does.
Nowhere do I say that libertarians being "unengaged in politics" has anything to do with anything.

That said, I agree with Sager's contentions that the Libertarian party is a waste, and that as tempting as it is, libertarians can't afford to stay above the political fray. I also agree that the GOP, though never a "libertarian paradise," should be the natural home for all but the most radical libertarians, but the simple fact is that it no longer is.

The bottom line is that the Republican party is, at its core, no longer the party of limited government. A party that runs massive budget deficits, pushes for a Constitutional amendment against gay marriage, believes wholeheartedly in the "war on drugs," rekindles a "war on pornography" and in general has a record on civil liberties that is, to put it kindly, spotty at best, is not a party I want to be on the guest list for. It's the kind of party I'll sometimes feel like crashing, mainly because it's the only fiesta in town that has shown me that it understands we're at war (open bar), but I always end up leaving early when I realize that there's some sorta prayer circle going on in one of the upstairs rooms (no drugs) and some of the guests seem a little too interested in what web sites I like (no hot chicks).

To recap: Republican party equals open bar, but no drugs and - more importantly - no hot chicks. Not great. Don't get me wrong: the Democratic party is even worse: sure, the drugs are pretty good, but the drinks are expensive and there're still no hot chicks. I know there are a bunch of other parties going on, but they're all really just little get togethers that sound pretty lame.

(Funeral services for the use of an actual party as a metaphor for a political party will be held Friday, as I have now officially beaten it to death.)

In the end, I think the only difference between Sager's position and mine is that he's optimistic that libertarians can reclaim their historic role in the GOP, and I'm not. Other than that, I think we actually agree.

Blogger MarchDancer said...

I have to agree with this post to the point of "wholeheartedly agree". I have been unable to find, probably classified as Top Secret about 2002, the Republican Creed. It states what Republicans are all about, what I believe in and why I was so active in party politics. Such beliefs as: helping those who cannot help themselves (giving them a boost up so they can help themselves); small governmental bodies from townships right on up through federal entities; and so on.

I refuse to say today that I am a Republican; I am now a Libertarian, meaning more than anything what I am Not rather than what I Am.

Also an insomniac for the very same reasons and one of those, as are you, who share no complaints but share activity in the wee hours.

Blogger mw said...

There is a way for libertarians to be a political force in this election and beyond, but it is certainly not by being buried in the GOP.

William Nisknanen of Reagan's economic advisors showed that government growth can be restrained if the legislative and executive branches are split between the parties. Single party control always results in runaway spending, which has been proven again by this administration.

Whatever the percentage of the electorate that libertarians represent, whether it is 9% or 20%, if they vote as a block for Divided Government, they immediately become the brokers of an evenly split partisan electorate. They arguably become the single most most potent voting block in the country, specifically because they are willing to vote either Democratic or Republican as a block.

They may not have the stomach for this voting strategy, as it means voting straight Democratic in 2006, and (if successful in establishing Divided Government) voting Republican for President in 2008. But if they did, it means the difference between libertarians being a completely impotent political force, and libertarians having the biggest swinging political "hammer" in town.

And it can be done from the hot tub.


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