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So if John McCain gets the nomination…

Now that the rather dismal Romney has bowed out, it looks like absent a brokered deal by genuine conservatives, the truly dismal John McCain will get the Republican nomination.

My hope is that he asks Fred Thompson to run as his veep… and that Thompson tell him to go fuck himself (and if he accepts, then Thompson was not the man some folks thought he was).

Although I am rarely in enthusiastic agreement with Ann Coulter, I agree with her basic premiss regarding John McCain. Better to have the statist poison introduced by the Hildebeeste or Obrama than a Republican, because if McCain gets into the White House, that is the end of the Republican Party as anyone in the Goldwater or Reagan tradition will abandon them, quite possibly forever. The Republicans will be dead and gawd knows it will be a well deserved death.

Of course the upside of a seismic shift style Republican collapse is maybe a new political grouping is indeed what is needed, one that can also appeal to the deeply civil libertarian elements on the so-called left (yes, they really do exist). I have met many Democrats who would never consider supporting Republicans for tribal/cultural reasons and yet quite frankly are deeply uneasy bedfellows with the intolerant authoritarian ‘Daily Kos’ style left that so loves Hillary Clinton. Every cloud has a silver lining.

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56 comments to So if John McCain gets the nomination…

  • My hope is that he asks Fred Thompson to run as his veep… and that Thompson tell him to go fuck himself (and if he accepts, then Thompson was not the man some folks thought he was).

    One interesting suggestion I heard today, unfortunately, was that Romney dropped out because McCain had already offered ROMNEY the nomination. The upside, I guess, being that Thompson will never have the opportunity to disappoint us. But the downside being … well, a McCain-Romney ticket is only a slight shade of better than a McCain-Huckabee ticket. Although I suppose neither is much of an improvement on a Clinton-(insert socialist) ticket.

    Yes, definitely no reason to break my perfect LP voting record this year…

  • Servius

    McCain is far from ideal and he has a long uphill climb to win but Clinton and/or Obama is truly frightening.

  • R C Dean

    My hope is that he asks Fred Thompson to run as his veep… and that Thompson tell him to go fuck himself (and if he accepts, then Thompson was not the man some folks thought he was).

    Lets not forget that Thompson was an early co-sponsor of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance abomination. Not sure why he dropped his name from the bill, but I don’t think he’s ever repudiated his support for it.

    One interesting suggestion I heard today, unfortunately, was that Romney dropped out because McCain had already offered ROMNEY the nomination.

    Nah. Romney would be a liability, not an asset, in the South and with evangelicals, both of which are McCain’s weak spots. Huckabee (spit) would be a better tactical choice.

  • Ian B

    Of course the upside of a seismic shift style Republican collapse is maybe a new political grouping is indeed what is needed, one that can also appeal to the deeply civil libertarian elements on the so-called left (yes, they really do exist). I have met many Democrats who would never consider supporting Republicans for tribal/cultural reasons and yet quite frankly are deeply uneasy bedfellows with the intolerant authoritarian ‘Daily Kos’ style left that so loves Hillary Clinton.

    I can’t agree with that. The Left is a belief system, an ehtical code, it’s beyond reason. A few adherents will lose their faith and leave The Belief, but the overwhelming majority of those of The Left are lost, however “uneasy” they may be with certain manifestations of it.

    The Left is a hydra with a thousand heads. Some of them look quite reasonable. Some of them even think they are not of the left. Some of them seem to think they believe in freedom to some degree, and some are even quite noisy about that. But their belief tenets prevent them ever reaching a point where they can think of an actual specific freedom they can actually support, because in the end they see everything as a commons which freedom spoils.

    So, some of them may not be overtly authoritarian or even think they’re authoritarians, and they may consider themselves moderate and dislike “extremists”. Indeed the left seem to be working an identity between “authoritarian” and “right wing” into their cultural hegemony at the moment. But the things they believe draw them inescapably to authoritarian “solutions” regardless.

    There aren’t any Civil Libertarians on The Left. Not a one, even if some of them like to think they are. Ask a left winger about civil liberties and invariably you’ll find they’re talking about special favours and protections for themselves. They don’t understand what a civil liberty is.

  • There aren’t any Civil Libertarians on The Left. Not a one, even if some of them like to think they are.

    I disagree. Many are what I think of at the ‘decent but incoherent Left’, they are on the left because although their instincts are good, they simply grew up/ended up in the Left Camp for some reason or another largely unrelated to rational thought processes (and much the same applies to many on the ‘Right’, whatever that means). The reasons may be the university they went to/the hot commie babe they were trying to screw/their socialist parents/whatever)… but when you unpick their views, you find their objectives are actually reasonable, but because the available intellectual toolbox is a leftist one, they seek to get to very reasonable places by using all the wrong tools. These are people who can be reached, just not by people from the camp they grew up regarding as The Others.

  • Nick M

    Who keeps adding the piccies after the original post is posted?

    I like ‘em.

    Samizdata needs more piccies.

    The commentariat provides conversation.

    So let’s have piccies!

    Because what is the use of a blog without pictures and conversations.

  • Alice

    Former British Prime Minister Harold McMillan is reputed once to have cautioned against being too confident about predicting what will happen, pointing out there will be unknown unknowns ahead of us — “Events, dear chap. Events!”.

    Let’s hope future “events” surprise us all, and lead to something much brighter than today’s events point us to.

  • Perry,
    Ian B is correct. Why you are fascinated with attracting the left is a mystery to me. Lew-Rockwell-Ron-Paul types can attract lefties with their “no war” dumb slogans, but that doesn’t make sense. You’ll never get a leftie to adopt small government ideas.

    Also, you have adopted the Marxist idea that things have to get worse before they get better, so you root for “a seismic shift style Republican collapse”. There is absolutely no guarantee that after a collapse things will get better. They might get worse too.
    So, it’s unreasonable to support or vote for those hardcore socialist Democrats. If you can’t bring yourself to vote for Mccain, fine – don’t. But voting for a catastrophe is irrational, it’s a sentimental reaction to your frustration.

    McCain isn’t so bad as you describe him. He has got that 82% voting record for conservative issues (compared to zero for Obama, which has the most leftist voting record of all senators). He’s ok on foreign policy, which is about all a president can actually do. Not a good candidate, but par for the course for Republicans.

  • John Thacker

    Her basic premises include that she doesn’t like him because he’s too pro-immigration.

    His greatest faults are philosophically and temperamentally. He really does give in to that excess of politicians who pretend that there is no higher service than government.

    But honestly libertarians could do a lot worse than a guy who refused to campaign for ethanol subsidies or agricultural subsidies in general in Iowa, refused to save automobile jobs in Michigan (and said that government couldn’t, and shouldn’t, make them come back), and refused to back a National Catastrophe Fund boondoggle to bail out in times of hurricanes in Florida. He was one of 8 who voted against the prescription drug entitlement; he has a perfect free trade record in the Senate according to CATO. He’s been great on agricultural subsides and indeed subsidies of all kinds. He helped sustain the filibuster last night that kept the “stimulus” bill get even larger and more wasteful. He’s voted against laws on federal hate crimes but against federal constitutional bans on same-sex marriage but for DOMA (same record as Ron Paul, then). He’s voted against affirmative actions set aside programs, but been loud about criticizing idiotic racists, just as he’s been pro-life but one of the loudest voices against idiots like Falwell and Robertson. He’s voted to limit interstate lawsuits to federal courts. He’s in favor of school choice, and voted against federal standards on education. He’s voted in favor of labeling violent media, but voted against requiring broadcasters to clean up programming during hours when children might watch. He’s consistently opposed gun control in votes (but has occasionally had rhetoric supporting claims about “gun show” loopholes, even while voting to protect gunshows).

    His most anti-libertarian stances are on drugs (but not that different from any politician), free speech (CFR, and has supported flag burning amendment, though I appreciated that in an October 2007 debate he said that he would “absolutely not” police the Internet for pornography in response to a question), being “tough on crime,” and of course depending on what you think about foreign policy. Also has generally favored PATRIOT Act, though vehement in opposition to waterboarding. (Mentioned abortion above, which is something that libertarians can disagree on.)

    This site has a few rankings. I just don’t see him as the end of the world for libertarians, particularly not libertarians who have been open-minded on war.

  • Why you are fascinated with attracting the left is a mystery to me.

    Because I like the idea of working towards political relevance rather than just declaiming about my intellectual superiority.

    Also, you have adopted the Marxist idea that things have to get worse before they get better, so you root for “a seismic shift style Republican collapse”.

    I also like the idea of trains that run on time, does that make me a Mussolini supporter?

    There is absolutely no guarantee that after a collapse things will get better.

    Correct, there never is any guarantee in politics. However more of the same guarantees things will get worse. Always voting the lesser evil just keeps raising the bar on how much evil you will have to swallow next time because the other guy is even worse. Rule 1 when you realise you are in a hole is… stop digging.

    And of course we have the examples of Reagan and Thatcher, both of whom happened and made things a great deal better because before them things did indeed become a great deal worse.

  • Her basic premises include that she doesn’t like him because he’s too pro-immigration.

    Not quite basic enough… I means “the statist Hilldebeeste is preferable to statist McCain”. That basic.

  • I think what a lot of people who aren’t from the US don’t seem to understand is that a large percentage if not a full majority of the population is basically the same- socially liberal and anti-government/fiscally conservative. Unfortunately, this ideal majority is split between the two major parties depending on which aspect of that description is more important to the individual. Most of us see through the faux-populism of the wanna-be socialists from the left, and also through the hypocritical demagoguery from the right.

    The problem is that this majority doesn’t seem to vote too much. The people who vote the most in the US are the elderly (far right) and the activists (far left). The younger generations don’t vote significantly, and for all intensive purposes neither do the minorities.

    To sum up, we get what we deserve. And once again, we get to choose between a Giant Douche or a Turd Sandwich.

    Terrific.

    Of course, at least we get to choose, so there’s that.

  • R. Richard Schweitzer

    A refreshing reference to Midwesterner’s post here of Tuesday last is in order.

    As the U.S. electorate has moved
    from the “representative” to the “plebiscitory” format, both the structure and importance of “Party” have changed, significantly.

    James A. Farley reorganized what has become the Democratic Party as a grouping of coalitions, originally two major sections now evolved into the many “cats” being herded. The broadening of the coalitions in numbers and diversity (and conflicts) of interests is what gives that party its semblance of a “Party” (as well as broad public identification).

    The remaining function for a “Republican Party” that has today evolved from its past as a party (in the representative format) is almost totally as the opposition to the uses to be made of governmental powers to preserve the alliances of coalitions (something for everybody) [sound like Bastiat?].

    That opposition function seems to be effective only when “Independents” determine that their interest within a particular coalition is outweighed by the interests of other coalitions in the use of governmental powers.

    The “new” ideas in that opposition are mostly demonstrations that there is indeed a free lunch for some – they are stealing your lunch from you.

  • Ian B

    Perry, I’ve nothing against the idea of trying to cadge people from the Left. My point was that you’ll only get hold of them once they’ve been through the enormous psychological barrier of lapsing from their belief system, the equivalent of a muslim shaving off his beard and buying a Spice Girls CD, or a Mormon throwing his sacred underwear in the dustbin. What I mean is, there’ll be no joy to be had from trying to get support from left wingers, unless you can convince them not to identify with being left wing, and entirely drop the left wing ideological basis. That’s a big thing for them, like lapsing from a religion. Until that point, supporting anything else is at a fundamental level impossible for them, anything but “liberalism” is a heresy, a blasphemy. You may as well ask Christians to consider Satanism. “Y’know, some Christians are quite moderate, maybe we can get ‘em to step into the pentacle with us!”

    Completely different issue, I’m myself kind of midly tempted by the idea that things may have to go to hell in a handbasket before they can get better i.e. we may need to be prepared to walk away from the goal to ultimately get there. I’ve said before, the slow slide down the u-bend seems to me to be unstoppable. Maybe we should stop trying to grab onto the slick enamel, and just let it happen, then hope there are pieces to pick up afterwards. Fecking scary strategy though, especially since Nick M has prophecied I’ll be writing my Prison Diaries in 2015…

    And of course we have the examples of Reagan and Thatcher, both of whom happened and made things a great deal better because before them things did indeed become a great deal worse.

    That seems to me to be much the same as saying that somebody in a falling lift has reversed the trend during a leap.

  • Perry, I’ve nothing against the idea of trying to cadge people from the Left. My point was that you’ll only get hold of them once they’ve been through the enormous psychological barrier of lapsing from their belief system

    That is where I think you are wrong. Many on the left (or right) do not have a ‘belief system’, they just have a meta-context, a series of assumptions, which far less distinct than a ‘belief system. These are often people with good instincts who respond to idea framed in language that makes sense to them. Becoming a ‘conservative’ is indeed like shaving off the beard or throwing out the sacred underpants, but that is why I would never ask a leftist to become a conservative. Why should I? I am not one either.

    I have often found that people on the left are critical of big business for all the wrong reasons whereas people on the right are supportive of big business, often for equally wrong reasons. But if a leftist responds to attacks on Big Biz, well I am more than happy to comply, only it will be for all the right reasons. I think that is how you bring people over.

  • Midwesterner

    A popular argument by ‘you have to support McCain, he’s a Republican’ crowd is the threat of Supreme Court nominees. So, what kind of SCotUS candidate supports both McCain-Feingold and and individual right to keep and bear arms? Which do you think is more important in McCain’s priorities? How many other rights will have to past the McCain-Feingold supporter test in order to be upheld by a McCain appointee?

    That act would be the litmus test for all of McCain’s judicial appointments. I would rather have Hillary doing the nominating. Then at least the Republicans in the Senate will act like Republicans.

  • Midwesterner

    A friend of mine, John Sharpless, ran as a Republican against arch-leftist Tammy Baldwin in 2000. He lost 49% to 51% in a district that contains that citadel of the far left, the UW Madison, with over 40,000 students. Based on my observations of that race and the people involved in it, I think that the margin of loss was probably less than the margin of vote fraud (which is probably higher among students than any other demographic).

    John is a (little ‘L’ libertarian). If anybody self identifies as a Republican on campus, the hostility is palpable. But when people on campus figure out during conversation that I am libertarian, very many of them respond with an intrigued curiosity. The attitude seems to be that Republicans are disgusting and libertarians are dangerous, but in a cool sort of way.

    I think Tman got it pretty good. In America, if you are a libertarian and your social liberties matter more, you hold your nose and vote Democrat. If your financial liberty matters more, you hold your nose and vote Republican. Especially on a campus, by asking questions rather than spouting opinions, it is quite easy to shift very many default leftists to libertarian.

  • Ian B

    Perry, I’m not a conservative either. Conservatives have a belief system, but it’s a weaker one than leftism, which is a full blown belief system IMNVHO. I can’t agree that lefties have good “instincts” since if they had good instincts they’d have an instinct to try to understand how things actually work e.g. economies rather than clinging to their beliefs in the face of all evidence.

    Left wingers are often trying to do good, but then so are conservatives, libertarians, revolutionary communists, muslims, fascists, greenies and every other group. Hitler had good intentions too, as does Osama Bin Laden. Everybody’s trying to make the world a better place in their own way. The evil comes from precisely how they intend to get there.

    My own view is that you should never help a leftie attack business, for much the same reason as you shouldn’t ally yourself with mujahadeen against the USSR. The Left are the biggest threat to the Western way of life, not least because the majority of them are blindly following axioms imbedded into their minds without even understanding what the ultimate goal is. That’s what makes it so powerful and dangerous. It’s also very effective because its followers are led to believe that they are “free thinkers”, even though their thought processes only chase around a small number of tracks in the brain regurgitating the same ideas, fenced off from free thought by fear of heresy; or “Toynbeeism” as I think psychologists call it.

    Ask anyone of the Left to consider a heresy; e.g. reducing taxes very slightly, and you get a rapidly ascending whining noise followed by their head exploding. They aren’t capable of thinking beyond the boundaries they’ve adopted as part of The Belief. Conservatives are similarly constricted, but on a narrower range of issues, largely of the “you’re not going out dressed like that young lady!” type. The Left have their every thought on every issue constrained within a tiny boundary, much like adherents of fundamentalist Islam. They can only think thoughts consequent to that narrow axiomatic basis, as we see for instance with leftie Dr Rowan Moonbat, whose adherence to his leftie axiom set has led him to conclude he must betray the religion of which he is supposed to be head, so as not to break the Left Wing Commandments demanding hatred of one’s own culture.

    The only ones you’ll get on your side are ones who are prepared to leave the cult. That’s a pretty small minority.

    That’s progressive lefties of course. The working class left are a different kettle of fish but, since they’re now entirely excluded from the hegemomic discourse, probably not of much relevance. They’ll all be voting BNP anyway.

  • My own view is that you should never help a leftie attack business

    I think your view is self defeating then. There are MANY excellent reasons to attack business, all of them related to their relationship with the State. I have had a great deal of success using that as a wedge to alter people’s parameters whilst presenting them with an argument in language that does not automatically make me The Enemy. There are a great many ways to attack businesses that are deeply subversive to the leftist world view and which completely avoid the usual defensive intellectual antibodies. That is something libertarians can do that conservatives cannot.

    I am not talking about people who have actually read and believed Das Kapital or the Communist Manifesto or Mao’s Little Read Book or even It Takes a Village. In truth I do not give a flying fuck about the True Believers and if I debate them, it is to try and make them look like cunts in front of people who might actually be ‘salvageable’. On judgement day I will be smoking a (Cuban) cigar whilst watching the genuine Socialists get put up against a wall either metaphorically or even literally. To hell with them. But the majority of people who vote for the left are not true believers and do not have a well developed belief system, they just have a leftist meta-context and so need to be approached from within that leftist meta-context.

    Feel free not to try or care or agree, but I do that all the time and have ‘turned’ enough people to know it is a worthwhile use of my time.

  • But the majority of people who votes for the left are not true believers and do not have a well developed belief system, they just have a leftist meta-context and so need to be approached from within that leftist meta-context.

    Completely agree with this. And in fact, I would go further and say that most people are instinctively libertarian underneath it all. If you don’t believe me ask yourself when the last time was that you defended libertarianism against an attack that wasn’t a straw man. Statist commentators seem almost pathologically incapable of representing our beliefs accurately, something that would hardly be the case if they didn’t sense – even if subconsciously – that we were saying things most people agree with, all other things being equal.

  • kishnevi

    (entering the conversation as a former mainstream Democrat turned libertarian)

    First, you should distinguish between Leftists, for whom collectivism/socialism is a real belief system, and regular people for whom the general framework is “leftist” but who have never thought through the matter. The latter can easily be “cured”, but I doubt the former ever can. However, the hardcore Leftists are useful, because they invariably argue for something that the regular people recognize as wrong or absurd–the issue may vary from person to person, however. In my case, it was Israel, when I recognized the rampant anti-Semitism of the Left. The War on Drugs and the War on Terror are also useful, because they so clearly show how violating personal liberty can lead to a police state.

    So while the Left can’t really be converted, individual leftists are quite easily converted, as long as they don’t turn out to be hard core Leftists.

  • John Thacker

    There are a great many ways to attack businesses that are deeply subversive to the leftist world view and which completely avoid the usual defensive intellectual antibodies.

    For example, attacking government and agribusiness for food tariffs that are both bad for the environment and bad for the world’s poor.

    I’m reminded also of how, famously, Milton Friedman described winning a debate on a college campus because his leftist opponent went down a long list of things that Friedman had said that government shouldn’t be able to do. The student crowd was generally horrified, as the leftist professor desired, … until he got to the draft. Then things suddenly turned around.

    I think what a lot of people who aren’t from the US don’t seem to understand is that a large percentage if not a full majority of the population is basically the same- socially liberal and anti-government/fiscally conservative.

    I have to disagree. A large percentage if not a full majority of the population is anti-government messing with themselves, but generally OK with government messing with those other people, whether socially or fiscally. So many people are “basically libertarian, but…” and vote on the basis of that “but.” Even worse, sure, a large majority is pro-liberty in the abstract, but majorities seem to favor nearly every particular infringement on those liberties, from farm supports to obscenity restrictions. The myth of the silent libertarian majority is, unfortunately, a myth, at least when it comes to particulars. Sadly, Bryan Caplan’s Myth of the Rational Voter has some good evidence to that effect.

  • Ian B

    I am not talking about people who have actually read and believed Das Kapital or the Communist Manifesto or Mao’s Little Read Book or even It Takes a Village.

    Neither am I. Most of the most rabid lefties you’ll meet have never read any of those. They may not even considered themselves particualrly leftie. They’ve read stuff by George Monbiot or Jonathan Porrit, they’ve read a lot of stuff by leftie pressure groups, they read the Grauniad.

    The fundamentals of leftism now permeate our society and infuse themselves into minds osmotically. Lefties have very fixed ideas about what is good and moral, how the economy works and should be “run”. They have a complete internalised belief system picked up from a bewildering array of cultural sources. They’re not radical communists, but they’re absolutely left wing. Much the same, perhaps, as people are often very committed Christians even though they’ve only read a few bits of the bible, and haven’t read Augustine or Tertullian.

    How many of the kids raving about Saving The Planet have read Das Kap? Not many. But their belief system is profoundly imbedded.

    I think of it like Helm’s Deep. It’s this massive, solidly constructed, apparently impregnable ideological stronghold. But the architect was an idiot. Somewhere, there’ll be a drainage culvert right through the main wall, and you have to run in there with a bomb and blow it up. The trick is finding the culvert. It’s something the state has done that’s really pissed them off; maybe the smoking ban or the local Iceland full of burka babes or the local council repeatedly trying to ban the village fair. You then just have to show them that this isn’t a random bad thing, but an inevitable consequence of the application of statism. It’s very effective at setting up a strong cognitive dissonance which often blows the whole wall apart.

    But that’s what I’m trying to argue, and maybe it’s a different way of saing what you’re saying, I’m not sure. I just mean they’re no use while their beliefs are intact. They’re dangerous in that state. Trying to ally with them against, say, corporate patronage, just strengthens their ideology, and that’s no use at all.But once you’ve brought the belief system down, you can lead them into the broad sunlit uplands of free thinking.

    Then get eaten by orcs, or something.

  • Ian B

    John Thacker: your last paragraph (1:34am posting) is, IMV, extremely wise and gets to the very centre of the problem.

  • Thanks for cheering me up John.

  • ArtD0dger

    The winner of this election is going to inherit a robust 14 $trillion economy (really), and all the progress and innovations that are in the pipeline. No sharp turn to the left or to the state is going to derail the inertial march of progress in just a few years. There’s even a pretty fair chance that problems with the environment and the Middle East will naturally abate over the next few years — even if dem policies would be ineffectual on the former and exacerbate the latter. By the time the media and commentariat are done talking up the mediocre achievements of the new savior, the “statist poison” will seem like sweet, sweet soma, and the bad ‘ol “gilded age” of the repubs will be ancient history.

    McCain is bad, but a dem would be worse. We’d get new taxes, socialized medicine, energy rationing, and surrender to Jihad. I don’t buy this Coulter-esque “give the voters the worst candidate good and hard, ’cause that’ll learn ‘em” bullshit.

  • Eric

    A large percentage if not a full majority of the population is anti-government messing with themselves, but generally OK with government messing with those other people, whether socially or fiscally.

    Yep. That’s it in a nutshell. Nothing brings this home to me more than the fight over evolution/creation. Personally, I don’t care what they teach on this in the schools. Most kids don’t remember any of it in a week anyway, and the education majors teaching grade-school science class were the ones who couldn’t hack science or math when they themselves were students.

    The vast majority of communities in the US have no interest in teaching creationism to their kids, which seems sensible enough to me. But then some small evangelical community in Kansas wants the local school to teach creationism alongside evolution, and lawyers pour in from all over the country to stop it. Apparently, it’s pressing business for people in New York that other people’s children in Kansas are educated a certain way.

    Why? Why is it people can’t be satisfied with setting up their own community a certain way, but they have to tell everyone else how to live as well? It’s not enough that abortion is freely available where I live in California. No, we need to make sure the courts decree our decision on abortion applies across the country. Same with booze, social services, titty bars, and tax rates.

    Bah. Now I’m irritated.

  • sabrina

    I’m actually on the left, but its more because I’m an atheist and a woman. I don’t like government telling me what to do with my body, and I don’t like the Republicans always cramming their God down my throat. Also, I really don’t understand the “we hate gay people” stance. If they’re paying taxes and not on welfare, I figure they’re good people and if they want to marry, what do I care? Also, Republicans spend ALOT of money..they may promise less government spending but end up spending the same if not more than democrats. I’m a Democrat because I fondly remember the Clinton years(I don’t really care about the fooling around…I care about my paycheck), but the Bush years have been horrible.
    I don’t mind helping people if they’re having a hard time but the welfare state is out of hand. We’re not helping, we’re enabling. So, on the one hand, I hate the social politics of the Republicans, the tax breaks for the wealthy that are supposed to mysteriously trickle down to us middle class folks, and the out of control spending. On the other, I don’t want to make this even more of a welfare country, I would like to keep some of my paycheck.
    The way I figure, we need universal healthcare because by the time we’re through paying for the old people on medicare, the poor people on medicaid, the illegals and the uninsured, we still have to somehow buy insurance for ourselves. Sorry for the long post, but I think I may be the non-radical leftie you’re talking about. So, any plans for health insurance? I thought the healthcare markets proposed by Edwards and Clinton seemed to promote the free market?

  • chuck

    and that Thompson tell him to go fuck himself

    Why would he? Thompson may have other things to do, but I don’t see why he should hate McCain. I think Thompson is far closer to McCain than to the “conservative assembled from a kit” Romney. Really, I don’t think you have the slightest understanding of the people you are judging, where they fit into American culture, or of what their appeal is. Of course, the NE “conservative” pundits were equally clueless.

  • Ivan

    Joshua:

    And in fact, I would go further and say that most people are instinctively libertarian underneath it all.

    Based on my personal experience, I strongly disagree. Most people will pay some lip service to libertarian principles when they’re formulated in the abstract, but they will become openly hostile as soon as you try taking those principles to their logical conclusion beyond what they are personally comfortable with, which usually means beyond what are roughly the limits of discourse acceptable in mainstream politics.

    I’m afraid you’re falling into a severe case of wishful thinking here. I’d say that most people are instinctively collectivist, prone to fall for any scaremongering or moral panic that is trumpeted forcefully enough, and have no qualms about calling for the government to regulate and tax others in the name of whatever moralistic feel-good causes they fancy. Sad, but that’s the way things are.

    If you don’t believe me ask yourself when the last time was that you defended libertarianism against an attack that wasn’t a straw man.

    Well, if you’re a libertarian, then by definition, you find the standard arguments against libertarianism to be factually wrong or logically invalid. But are they all specifically straw men arguments? I certainly wouldn’t say so.

    But what is more important, if you try arguing libertarianism in front of typical people, your positions will, one way or another, run counter to their most fundamental beliefs, feelings, and principles. Their first (and usually permanent) reaction will be to either dismiss you as nuts or get into righteous indignation over your (as they see it) monstrous extremist views. Not that I’m happy about that, of course, but it has to be admitted unless you want to deny reality.

    Statist commentators seem almost pathologically incapable of representing our beliefs accurately, something that would hardly be the case if they didn’t sense – even if subconsciously – that we were saying things most people agree with, all other things being equal.

    If you’re a libertarian, a statist commentator need not go any further than accurately list some of the more controversial practical implications of your libertarianism — from ending the drug prohibition to doing away with antitrust legislation. However much we might hate to admit it, this will firmly place you in the loony bin in the eyes of an average person.

  • Otto

    Ian B’s Helms Deep simile is spot on. One culvert for the British left at least, and it is not the only one, is the fundamental contradiction between women’s rights and islam.

    The practices of many in Britain’s muslim minorities: forced marriages, honour killings, burkas, etc and what the koran and the sharia proscribe, such as:a woman’s evidence being of half the value of a man, and stonings for adultery is simply incompatible with equality for women.

    I think that in the long run most people with a left wing meta-context will choose equal rights for women and sexual minorities over multi-culturalism, when that means islamic enclaves running medieval value systems in Britain coupled with demands for ever more islamicisation of our society.

    What in Britain is at present inhibiting them is that it is dangerous in our public sector and media to be seen to make any negative comment about islam. Just like tories they wouldn’t want anyone to think of them as racist.

    As the divorce between our rulers and what they tell us and ordinary people and what they experience grows ever greater, cynicism and contempt will remove the inhibition.

    A possible long term political solution is to build a rainbow coalition of different groups who feel left out by the present establishment including both those who the left hates and those who will become disillusioned from it.

    Such a coalition needn’t last terribly long provided it obtained power, as to legislatively destroy the present order and its agencies wouldn’t take terribly long. And of course, as it will have been idealogically discredited already the PC left won’t be able to rise from the dead.

    Turning to yesterday’s threads on sharia in Britain, the one thing I do feel very strongly is that while it is going to get a lot worse in many respects, there is no inevitablity of the triumph of islam in Britain and Europe and in fact the likelihood is rather low, as if all else fails,
    our establishment will drive us to a crisis that discredits them and their worldview long before that.

  • The big trouble, for many former Paul supporters in my experience, is the fact that the Paulians seemed to actively court “truthers” out there.

    McCain and Thompson are known to be friends; however I don’t think Thompson would be added to the ticket as he does not bring enough to the table electorally. My prediction is that McCain might go for a hispanic woman from a big state like Florida.

    There are some conservatives still rallying round Huckabee. They still don’t get that he was the one that sunk Romney. The “conservative” base was split between the two that was their problem.

  • I agree with Perry that most self-identifying lefties are “turnable”- especially the young. I am a living, breathing example of the type of beast he described above, realising the folly of leftism in my late teens (thanks to a group of persistent Objectivists), yet not fully knowing where to turn to. It was probably another year or two before I had fully eliminated the lingering leftist beliefs that precluded me from accurately describing myself as a liberal, using the literal meaning of the word.

    I disagree with Perry (and others) when they claim that it’s better to have a Democrat in the WH in 2008, considering the GOP alternative, because at least the Democrats will cop the blame for the fruits of their policies. I don’t see any evidence that McCain would introduce universal healthcare, but if Hillary or Obama get in, they almost certainly will. And when it cripples the American economy and/or provides a poorer standard of healthcare to US citizens, the blame will not be laid at Hillary’s or Obama’s feet for introducing such a system. No, it will take several years for the inadequacies of universal healthcare to become apparent and (more importantly) popularly accepted – long after the 2008 winner has departed the WH. A Republican will be – or will have been – President by the time universal healthcare’s slip really starts showing. And there will have been several reform attempts by that time, too. No, the poor state of the system will be blamed on Republican meddling, not on the fact that universal healthcare as a model is fatally flawed. The liberal media will help spread this belief effectively. Any which way, a Republican (or Republicans) will be blamed if universal healthcare doesn’t live up to its billing, that much we can all depend on.

    Also, once instituted, universal healthcare will instantly become a holy cow to Democrats and lefties everywhere, much like Roe vs Wade, and thus almost impossible to roll back – and that’s before we even start to comprehend how difficult it would be to “de-universalise” the system again.

    It’s essential that the US does not get saddled with this system, because once it’s up, it’s up for good. Regardless of his somewhat scanty conservative credentials, McCain is the best bet to ensure America’s children don’t receive even more future burdens. Now is not the time for tactical voting.

  • John Thacker

    This site has a few rankings(Link). I just don’t see him as the end of the world for libertarians, particularly not libertarians who have been open-minded on war.

    Very well put. Go to the linked site, inform yourselves. On many issues McCain consistently voted libertarianly correct, while Obama and Hillary probably never did.

    Perry, your provocative post and graphic ignited an interesting debate, though it was based on the manifestly false premise that Mccain is worse than Hillary.

  • On many issues McCain consistently voted libertarianly correct

    Such as the grotesquely illiberal Incumbency Protection Act? Opposition to tax cuts?

    Perry, your provocative post and graphic ignited an interesting debate, though it was based on the manifestly false premise that Mccain is worse than Hillary.

    Then perhaps you need to re-read my article and in particular the graphic. I do not think McCain would worse that Hillary as President (Hillary is the ‘greater evil’), what I think is that Hillary would be four years of nightmare whereas McCain will be slightly less evil (the state will not shrink in any meaningful way and canards like ‘School Choice’ will be offered up as signs of his ‘conservatism’) but do more long term damage.

    What makes McCain a disaster is he will mean the end of Goldwater/Reagan wing of the party, which in the long term will have more effect that 4 years of the Hilldebeeste, locking in the Republicans as a party of Big Bloated State. Just to make it even more fun, his stance on immigration pisses off the paleo-conservatives, which makes me wonder if he is electable anyway.
    Damn I hate talking about party politics.

  • Perry what do you think of Obama?

  • Ian B

    sabrina-

    So, on the one hand, I hate the social politics of the Republicans, the tax breaks for the wealthy that are supposed to mysteriously trickle down to us middle class folks, and the out of control spending

    Worth a watch here on youtube, Ron Paul answering a question at a talk he gave, discussing why the middle class and poor get squeezed under the current financial system. Whether you like Paul or not, it’s a good explanation of why the rich get richer and the poor don’t.

  • The way I figure, we need universal healthcare because by the time we’re through paying for the old people on medicare, the poor people on medicaid, the illegals and the uninsured, we still have to somehow buy insurance for ourselves.

    That’s strange logic. Okay, I agree with you about Medicare, Medicaid etc – and I think the USA (and all Western countries) would be enormously better off if these type of programmes were phased out – but your answer to these looming money black holes is another, even more colossal black hole? How do you think universal healthcare will be paid for? It’ll be paid for by higher taxes on people such as yourself. If you want to keep more of your pay packet, then you should vote for the candidate least likely to introduce universal healthcare.

    By much of what you say, you sound like you could be sympathetic to the libertarian cause if you discovered a little bit more about the philosophy behind it. To that end, I highly recommend this book.

  • Sabrina,

    I think you’ll find that most Libertarians aren’t terribly keen on governments telling us what to do with our bodies, anyone cramming their God down our throats, or using state discrimination against gays.

    And as for Republicans who promise less government spending but end up spending the same if not more than Democrats…

    The problem with the state helping people if they’re having a hard time is that the welfare state inevitably gets out of hand. Either you provide universal benefits, which go to those who aren’t in real need as well as those who are; or else you include some sort of means test, which clobbers anyone who tries to get out of welfare dependancy. Catch 22, sub-clause (c).

    The trouble (or one of them) with “universal” (ie. state-provided) health care is that you can’t get anything from it you wouldn’t get from the free market anyway – but you have to pay the state a large chunk of cash extra on top of what the private sector charges. As one of my favourite writers put it, there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch. Somebody always has to pay.

  • Jacob

    Sabrina,
    The solution to the health-care problem (short version):
    Deregulate health care providers.
    Deregulate health care insurers.

    Then anyone could buy affordable, private health insurance, if he wishes.

    No chance to find such plan on any Democrat platform. Or Republican platform.

  • Jacob

    Perry,
    You’re unfair, and uncorrect on McCain.

    “He was one of 8 who voted against the prescription drug entitlement; he has a perfect free trade record in the Senate according to CATO. He’s been great on agricultural subsides and indeed subsidies of all kinds.”

    So, nobody’s perfect, but McCain is no socialist, and no monster.

    Of course, if you seek maximum destruction – vote for Hillary.

  • No he is not a socialist, he is a Big Government Republican like GWB. With Hillary in the White House, the Republicans will fight her tooth and claw. With McCain in the White House, the Republicans will just go to sleep and whatever regulation (McCain-Feingold anyone?) suits McCain and the political class will walk through with a nod.

    The state will not grow as quickly under McCain, but so what? I am not interested in a slower progression of cancer if that slower progression is at the cost of creating an environment in which someone will dare to start actually cutting it out. A vote for McCain is like a vote for a ‘pro-slow-cancer’ Republican party that regards surgeons as dangerous radicals.

    And of course he is a monster. He is a professional politician and 99% of all professional politicians are monsters. He in not monster in the Hitler/Saddam/Mao sense, sure… morally he is more akin to a predatory Mafia don who runs a really big protection racket.

  • sabrina

    Thanks for the Ron Paul link. I actually supported his campaign at first (even tho I hated his social policies) but he seemed to be the only one who understood the economy and the free market. But, there is no way Ron is getting elected..so moving to greener pastures.

    The Clinton health care plan suggests setting up regional markets where private citizens can get group rates…which seems perfect. This is what large corporations do, and they are able to pass along the savings. Why not set up a large city like one big corporation, where everyone is eligible for discounted rates?

    I would love to do away with government handouts, trust me. I remember working full time while going to college, trying to keep my grades up for my scholarship, going without health insurance, and being extremely serious about birth control…all so I could get a good job and a bright future. Having my tax money go to people who messed around, have three different babies with twenty dads, and who couldn’t bother with finishing high school is really infuriating. And then when I get angry, I get castigated for being a selfish evil person. Sad fact is, gov’t welfare is not going anywhere. And like Ron Paul said, the system can’t support socialized healthcare for half the country, and then the other half that actually pays taxes has to pay outrageous rates for our own care.

    At least with Bill Clinton we got welfare reform and immigration reform. The Clintons seem to be pretty conservative Dems, alot less progressive than Obama. All McCain will do is expand our “empire” overseas to building a base in Iraq. That will be a lot more expensive than universal healthcare, which probably won’t get passed anyway.

  • Actually, the Iraq adventure – pretty much regardless of what the Americans do there, short of writing million dollar cheques to every Iraqi – will be chickenfeed compared to the cost of universal healthcare in the USA.

  • With Hillary in the White House, the Republicans will fight her tooth and claw. With McCain in the White House, the Republicans will just go to sleep and whatever regulation (McCain-Feingold anyone?) suits McCain and the political class will walk through with a nod.

    Wrong. With McCain in the White House, the democrats will fight him. There is a majority of democrats in Congress. We’ll get the famous gridlock…

    I prefer to slow down the advance of Big government as much as possible, not accelerate it, hoping for a final crisis and then redemption, which might or might not happen.

  • nxc

    “Not quite basic enough… I means “the statist Hilldebeeste is preferable to statist McCain”. That basic.”

    Did someone say, “Hildebeeste?”

    http://i126.photobucket.com/albums/p84/federalduck21/Hildebeest.jpg

  • Brad

    Having skimmed through the comments thus far, it seems we’re caught in old semantics and paradigms.

    To the general population (and, again, I can only speak for the US) Left and Right apply to the Statists. It exists in a Statist framework because generally the rank and file cannot think outside of the Statist paradigm. Libertarians do (and if not, should) think outside the paradigm. The contrast shouldn’t be between left and right but libertarian and statist. Does it really matter for what reason someone jabs a gun in your ribs for your property or to force a new behavior on you?

    Now both the left and the right’s adherents believe that THEY have the magic quotient for liberty, but when you examine their definition of liberty you find it’s an axiomatic definition whereby their specific peccadilloes are free from intervention but everyone else better adhere to the Doctrine (essentially it is very easy to have a double standard for behavior). It’s simply basic irrational human behavior. Innate fear that comes with life and the human mind formulates itself into all sorts of demons. And those demons out there need to be controlled and dominated, and the best way to do that is put an iron collar on them, and the best way to do that is by a large group of thugs to do it. And, of course, it is for their own good, as they are misguided from the true path. A nice self fulfilling, circular mechanism constantly reinforced, just like any good religion.

    Again, the contrast should be between libertarian and statist, and the most basic lesson that needs to be taught is how to be DISINTERESTED. We have three generations now that haven’t the basic understanding of how to be disinterested. Our socialist education system has crapped out a bevy of philosopher kings with head filled with cobwebs woven of feel good platitudes. Everyone’s business is everyone else’s. The concept of the collective permeates every aspect of our lives, and the ability to let people do as they will and live with the consequences doesn’t compute. At best people are allowed latitude on the “small stuff” but the really important stuff, like entitlements, and the Leviathan is fueled.

    But of course those who “care” about people throw back in your face that “you are cold and uncaring and beastly when you talk of such things”, and the answer should quickly be “I care about SOME people plenty” those I can directly effect. If you need to create a 3 Trillion a year Beast to affect getting your Good Works done then maybe you’re the one with the screwed up and beastly mentality. Until people are convinced that the State is not their friend, and is the exact opposite way to impact the world, we will have our Obama’s and McCain’s and Clinton’s.

    Much more practically speaking, and to assuage Mr. de Havilland’s fears is that the malignancy of the cancer under either party is now so quick that I see very little difference. We are on a crash course with destiny. The defusing of our unfunded entitlement time bomb will not happen. Whether it is a Republican or Democrat or electable Statist in general it matters little. The warnings of Comptroller General Walker have gone unheeded, as does any rational mode of thinking, and in about a decade, if not sooner, the US economy will go comatose from the cancerous tumors. I used to worry about the slower death via the lesser of two evils, and that the collapse would occur a few decades off when I am least able to reconstruct a life for myself. But given the slate of candidates for this Presidential Election I have become much more optimistic that the collapse will happen much sooner and I’ll have some hale and hardy years left to make at least a little something for myself.

  • boqueronman

    I assume that this reason-free post is a rather poor attempt at satire. Or is it just another case of a Brit wishing a whole heaping helping of misery those upstart Yanks?

  • McCain’s health care plans revealed.

    Well, mostly just blah… blah… Still:
    1. No new NHS scheme for the US – like Obama or Hillary want.
    2. Individuals get tax credits for buying insurance, not only employers.
    3. You can buy insurance across state lines.

    Not so bad….

  • Richard Thomas

    but when you unpick their views, you find their objectives are actually reasonable, but because the available intellectual toolbox is a leftist one, they seek to get to very reasonable places by using all the wrong tools.

    Perry, spot on. This describes my circumstances almost to a tee. Though I also swung to the right about as much as to the left. It was my own unpicking when I tried to reconcile these positions that uncovered the individualistic principles I was groping for which led to Libertarianism

  • I assume that this reason-free post is a rather poor attempt at satire.

    you don’t have to agree with the reasoning but there’s a great deal of reason on display in this post.

  • Ivan:

    Most people will pay some lip service to libertarian principles when they’re formulated in the abstract, but they will become openly hostile as soon as you try taking those principles to their logical conclusion beyond what they are personally comfortable with, which usually means beyond what are roughly the limits of discourse acceptable in mainstream politics.

    Yes, of course. I think you might have misunderstood a bit what I meant by “instinctive libertarian.” I think Perry is right that most people simply don’t spend much time thinking about politics – with the inevitable result that ape, to some degree or another, opinions they’ve heard from other people. The left realized this a long time ago and has put a great deal of effort into telling people what to think without really explaining to them why they should think that way. Hence the current “meta-context” we operate in, in which most of the tacit assumptions about government are socialist. If you scrape all that away, underneath it all most people are libertarians. They believe in ownership, they want their privacy respected, they are uncomfortable with unearned rewards, etc. If you look at the history of leftist rhetoric, it’s all designed to tiptoe around such values. Leftists generally don’t say things like “we want it, and they’ve got it, so let’s go take it,” because your average Joe would recoil at the brazen theft. Instead, they have to portray the wealthy as involved in sinister plots to stack the deck against ordinary people. Leftists save all the stuff about scientific allocation of wealth and engineering society for the back pages of their obscure journals, where only the faithful are ever going to read it. On the ground it’s all vilification and cries for restoring justice.

    I’d say that most people are instinctively collectivist, prone to fall for any scaremongering or moral panic that is trumpeted forcefully enough, and have no qualms about calling for the government to regulate and tax others in the name of whatever moralistic feel-good causes they fancy.

    But that is precisely the point. Let’s be clear about this – it is never “the people” clamoring for government to do anything. These are words that pundits put in their mouths. And pundits can only get them to mouth them, as you say, by inducing panic. It is only by convincing people the circumstances are extraordinary that leftists can get them to support socialist policies – because under ordinary circumstances, when they are of calm mind, people recognize that socialism is contrary to things they know are right.

    Well, if you’re a libertarian, then by definition, you find the standard arguments against libertarianism to be factually wrong or logically invalid. But are they all specifically straw men arguments? I certainly wouldn’t say so.

    There are plenty of possible arguments against libertarianism that do not qualify as straw mans. Which is what makes it striking that all of the standard ones are.

    But what is more important, if you try arguing libertarianism in front of typical people, your positions will, one way or another, run counter to their most fundamental beliefs, feelings, and principles. Their first (and usually permanent) reaction will be to either dismiss you as nuts or get into righteous indignation over your (as they see it) monstrous extremist views.

    People’s reactions depend a great deal on how you express yourself, and libertarians generally do a poor job talking to people unfamiliar with our positions. if you haven’t been overtly hostile, a simple “hear me out please” is enough to get most people to do just that. And if you spend the next couple of minutes being polite and treating their concerns as valid and addressing them with specific examples, people have no cause to consider you “monstrous.” That isn’t to say that there aren’t some who will anyway, but in my experience what generally happens is they tell me they see my point but think I’m naive. Which is fine with me because I’m never so unrealistic as to expect to change anyone’s mind on the first go. If they think I’m intelligent but naive, they are willing to talk to me again, and with time most people I talk to come around.

    If you’re a libertarian, a statist commentator need not go any further than accurately list some of the more controversial practical implications of your libertarianism — from ending the drug prohibition to doing away with antitrust legislation. However much we might hate to admit it, this will firmly place you in the loony bin in the eyes of an average person.

    You’re very pessimistic. It’s true that simply mentioning full drug legalization puts us in the loony bin for most people – IFF that’s the end of the discussion. But if I’m allowed to explain myself, I get the reaction I described above, and that is always an opening to further discussion at a later date.

    What’s curious to me is that most mainstream commentators aren’t even satisfied just saying “libertarians want legal cocaine” and letting it go. What they do instead is concoct all sorts of nonsense about how we believe everyone should be maximally selfish all the time, or that we hate the poor because we believe the strong should survive, or that we want the police run by the mafia, among all sorts of other absurd things that no libertarian (well, maybe Lew Rockwell on an off day) has ever advocated. The confusion between libertarianism and anarchy exhibited by many statist pundits is, if you ask me, deliberate, because they know if they portray us accurately we can defend ourselves and make our case. And they know that because they know, every bit as much as I do, that most people are libertarians left to their own devices. Which is precisely why they do NOT leave people to their own devices.

  • Well, i totally desagree about McCain.

    In a way he is an analogy of Vladymir Bukovsky becoming a president of Russia, which is a dream

    BUT NOT IN THE US

    McCain will be a first prisoner of soviet GULAG to become a US president.

    It is hard to underestimate the significance of this major victory for all of us, well ,at least in terms of real politics

    Chances are he will staop the bulshit about muslim fundamentalism being a source of global terorism and will try at least try to tell american peole the truth about kremlin dirty deeds on 9-11, in Iraq, Iran and N. Korea.

    Guys, i really did not expect from samisdat people such foolishness

    tell me i am wrong

    Sergij Kabud, New York- Kyiv

  • spidly

    I’m a committed “suicide voter.” I prefer to be called a Maverick. I’ll be changing my registration to *gack* democrat long enough to help Obama in the primaries and will vote for him unless McCain does some serious wowing, and then I may just not vote.

    for me to even consider voting for him he’d have to start copping to every crap thing he’s done and telling me how I could be sure it wouldn’t happen again (shock collar, cerebral implant, mean as hell Reagan Republican Ranger “aide” 24/7).

    he will probably give conservatives the finger as long as Hillary might get the nomination as he can probably come out on top of that one without the base of the party based on her negatives alone. But if Obama is in I’m sure he’ll come running home. but that’d be too little too late.

  • Ivan

    Joshua:

    Hence the current “meta-context” we operate in, in which most of the tacit assumptions about government are socialist. If you scrape all that away, underneath it all most people are libertarians. They believe in ownership, they want their privacy respected, they are uncomfortable with unearned rewards, etc. If you look at the history of leftist rhetoric, it’s all designed to tiptoe around such values. Leftists generally don’t say things like “we want it, and they’ve got it, so let’s go take it,” because your average Joe would recoil at the brazen theft. Instead, they have to portray the wealthy as involved in sinister plots to stack the deck against ordinary people. Leftists save all the stuff about scientific allocation of wealth and engineering society for the back pages of their obscure journals, where only the faithful are ever going to read it. On the ground it’s all vilification and cries for restoring justice.

    Unfortunately, I’d say that this is only one part of the story. People are indeed reluctant to support those leftist policies that come across as brazen theft and plunder — historically, leftists who advocated such things openly have rarely, if ever gained mass popular support (hence the complete rejection that the first generation of Marxists encountered whenever they bothered to actually talk to real working class people). However, there is another sort of deep collectivist instinct running inside most people, and the leftists have unfortunately learned how to exploit that one very successfully.

    What I’m talking about is people’s support for legislating morality. Whether we want to admit it or not, the overwhelming majority of people do believe that there are things that should be illegal even if done among fully consenting adults, and that the government must enforce some sort of moral code that goes beyond ensuring that people aren’t coerced or defrauded. In the last few decades, the leftists have been enormously successful in pushing their own causes into this set of moral codes that most people believe to be a rightful duty of the government to enforce. I’d say that moralizing has become their number one weapon, far more important than exploiting envy by advocating wealth redistribution. They’ve succeeded with their propaganda to the point where opposing (or even questioning) many of their causes is apt to provoke the same reactions in people as questioning the tenets of the established religion in some deeply religious traditionalist society.

    People’s reactions depend a great deal on how you express yourself, and libertarians generally do a poor job talking to people unfamiliar with our positions. if you haven’t been overtly hostile, a simple “hear me out please” is enough to get most people to do just that. And if you spend the next couple of minutes being polite and treating their concerns as valid and addressing them with specific examples, people have no cause to consider you “monstrous.” That isn’t to say that there aren’t some who will anyway, but in my experience what generally happens is they tell me they see my point but think I’m naive. Which is fine with me because I’m never so unrealistic as to expect to change anyone’s mind on the first go. If they think I’m intelligent but naive, they are willing to talk to me again, and with time most people I talk to come around.

    Unfortunately, I’ve had experiences much worse than what you describe; maybe we’ve been encountering different sorts of people for some reason. In my experience, it often happens that regardless of how carefully, politely and logically I formulate my arguments, people end up feeling that their personal sense of self-righteousness and self-importance has been hurt, and once that happens, you can forget about any rational discussion. For example, I argue against various environmentalist dogmas, and people start feeling it as a personal insult, since I’m disparaging their efforts to follow various environmentalist fads (whose underlying logic can’t withstand any scientific scrutiny, but they are nevertheless seen as high standards of moral behavior under the incessant environmentalist propaganda). Or, I argue against the drug war, and people realize that if they accept what I’m arguing, it means that all this time they’ve been supporting violent repression against honest people minding their own business. Once they start feeling this way, their natural reaction is to develop personal hostility to the bringer of inconvenient truths (pun not intended :-)).

    In such situations, I really don’t know what to do except to admit defeat, and hence my overall pessimism.