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An appeal for disunity

2009 is going to be an interesting year, particularly in the USA. Big State Democrat Barack “The One” Obama crushed Big State Republican John “I Support the Bail Outs” McCain and this means the country is going to have a new president whose politics make him the most committed statist since LBJ. The country was given a choice between statism and statism and it voted for… statism.

Well to quote Mencken, the American electorate are going to get what they voted for good and hard, because this is also the year the global economy is truly going to crash, big time, plunging us into a recession and indeed a depression that will last longer and be driven deeper by the policies being implemented by governments on both sides of the Atlantic.

And this presents friends of liberty with a great many opportunities.

Never has there been a better time for cleaning house. The usual excuses given for pragmatic ‘broad church’ politics no longer apply on the so-called ‘right’… no amount of unity will change the fact that regulatory tax-and-spend politicians will be in charge for the next few years regardless of what people of a classical liberal disposition do. And so I would strongly urge such people to get into politics like never before, not primarily to fight the statist left just yet, but to create opposition parties that are actually worth voting for.

In short, I am calling on anyone who believes in liberty and limited government to reject all thoughts of party unity and work tirelessly to drive the statist right from their parties.

I am not calling for the ‘libertarianisation’ of the Republican party along the lines I would actually like, just for the party’s rationalisation. I am in essence calling for a nominally conservative party to become… conservative. The simple fact is that people can be fellow travellers on a path that leads to liberty without all marching in ideological lock-step. It just boils down to asking the question “do you want the state to have less control over people’s lives or more control?” If a person can honestly answer that they think the state is too powerful and needs to be reduced, that is a fellow traveller. This is the time to apply that test to Republican politicians, every last one of them… and drive any who fail that simple test out of the party by whatever means necessary. Now is the time for a figurative internal ‘Night of the Long Knives’. This is the opportunity to destroy a great many political careers and remake the Republican Party into the party of constitutionally limited government and to start fighting the culture war that the party should have been fighting since the day Ronald Reagan left office with his job only half done.

Lest people think I abominate Reagan, I do not and he must be judged within the context of the Cold War (and winning thereof), and so the inconvenient fact the military build up actually increased state spending need not be glossed over. What Reagan did do, and what gives him lasting appeal to those of us who value liberty, was that he actually did fight the culture war with a veritable litany of quotable remarks in praise of smaller government. It is hard to overstate the importance of that as part of the long process.

But the biggest failure of Reagan, and indeed Thatcher, was that they did not establish ideologically motivated party cores to build on their successes. They acted as if their successes were so self evident they did not need to be defended, let alone built upon in the future. That Margaret Thatcher let Norman Tebbit destroy the Young Conservatives was perhaps her biggest of several mistakes as it more or less guaranteed the party would vanish into a pointless intellectual void resembling one of David Cameron’s apertures.

Reagan’s big mistake was made at a much higher level, namely his choice of vice president. People voted for George “Read my lips” Bush because they thought he was a continuation of the Reagan ‘Revolution’ (hyperbole I know)… and they voted his patrician butt out of office when he turned out to be nothing of the sort. That a significant number of Republicans never got their head around that key dynamic is the root cause of many of the party’s problems today. Instead a great many accepted their enemy’s analysis that Bush Sr.’s defeat was a rejection of Reagan’s legacy and ultimately why a ghastly candidate like John McCain could ever have got the nomination.

What is needed is a return to the ideologically driven and highly successful Reagan days, but happily without the distorting bipolar reality of nuclear superpower rivalries to worry about. Compared to the Soviet Union, the threat posed by Islamic terrorism is nothing more than the yapping of an annoying poodle, albeit one with rabies. Face it, it was the Cold War and fears over his hawkish foreign policy leading to nuclear Armageddon that did in Barry Goldwater, the best president the USA never had.

So now is not the time for Republicans to spend most of their efforts pulling together against The One in the White House… no, it is the time to rip the Party apart, ruthlessly and quickly, so that it can eventually become something worth uniting around. Oh sure, put the boot into Obama at every opportunity as this is also the time to fight the culture war without cease or apology, but the most important thing now is for Republicans to get their own party in order and that will require some extremes of disunity to achieve.

But this all needs to be done sooner rather than later, at the juncture where the Democrats are unassailable and party unity is frankly pointless. Pull out the political knives on Inauguration Day as a way to take you mind off the nauseating waves of sanctimonious kack radiating across the media caused by Barack Obama’s living beatification. Concentrate instead on the much needed massive internal political bloodletting and leave Obama and his Congress to do their worst as in truth there is nothing the Republicans can do to stop them anyway.

The economic crisis needs to be re-branded for a start: this is not, and never was, a ‘crisis of capitalism’, it is in fact the ‘crisis of regulatory statism’. John Maynard Keynes said “in the long run we are all dead”… well sadly for the Keynesians of all parties, the long run has finally arrived as it always does with Ponzi schemes. The lesser evil, the easy option, is no longer a viable option at all and the sooner the failures of the past are not dealt with by more of the same, the better.

It does require a measure of courage however and the first act of courage needed is to cut the Republican Party to pieces and rebuild it without the cancers that grew during the Bush dynasty.

Although I will wish you one, do not expect a Happy New Year.

76 comments to An appeal for disunity

  • Alsadius

    I agree largely on what you’re saying, but I guess I have to take issue with one minor point that In hear a lot but I don’t really buy into.

    Specifically, what you said about Goldwater. So far as I can tell, in the last half-century, there have been three truly good candidates for the Presidency. Thing is, two of them won, and proceeded to balls up the job by actually living within the political realities that thy felt around them. After all, the Nixon of 1968 or the Reagan of 1980 were just as good as the Goldwater of 1964, and more electable besides. The difference is, they got into office, and thus we judge them as Presidents(and in Nixon’s case as a filthy crook, but even his policy side was hardly flawless), not as contenders. Goldwater, as the loser, never had to deal with that. He would have been better than LBJ, of course, but a syphilitic monkey would have been better than LBJ. I worry that we idolize the man because America never gave him a chance to disappoint us. And if so, what does that say about our movement?

  • You act as if Goldwater was not in politics and so cannot be judged… but his voting record and whole thrust of what he tried to do suggests he was vastly more pro-liberty than 99% of his contemporaries.

    Perfect? No but who is? Would he have disappointed in the White House? We will never know.

  • Alsadius

    No, he was a Senator and a damned good one, I’ll agree. But a good Senator and a good president are two very different things. Reagan was a better small-government Governor than President, and while I’m not as familiar with Nixon’s background, my understanding is that the pre-Presidential Nixon was a far better economic leader than President Nixon was – seriously, wage and price controls?

    My complaint is speculative worries about a speculative claim. It’s necessarily pretty abstract, counterfactual, and unverifiable. It’s just something that’s bothered me for a while, and this is the first chance I’ve had to raise it. This movement seems to invest a bit too much of our collective(pardon the expression) hope in a race 44 years old that we lost, and I’m not convinced that it’s worth it.

  • Flash Gordon

    I like Rush, but when he used to say that George W. Bush and Karl Rove were trying to destroy the Democrat party I always thought he had it exactly backwards; it was the Republican party they were trying to destroy, and it appears they largely succeeded.

    My state of Colorado has gone from red to blue with lightening speed. I think it is because Republicans have decided they don’t want to offer voters any alternative to the Democrats. The Dems must be secretly wondering how they got so lucky.

  • I reached your conclusion some time ago and have the application forms in front of me as you talk.

    My priority is to push for education reform. Detach the schools from the state, competition amongst them via vouchers and the scrapping of state determined curricula. Make the schools consumer led, not producer led.

    Remove the dead hand of the left from its stranglehold on the throats of the children.

  • tranio

    Read Goldwater’s book about being a conservative.

    I just watched an interview on Canadian TV, the hour before New year, with Sarah Palin. Was it the Canadian interviewer but to me she came across very poised and real at the same time. No ‘you knows’ like Caroline Kennedy. I never did see the US interview where Palin was so bad. Look for her in 2012

  • James

    This the interview you’re talking about tranio?

    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=qsI-7ajkKto

    I agree – she came across much better than in previous interviews. A few grammatical errors here and there, but does that really matter? Having lived through Blair’s reign, the charms of being led by a smooth actor have worn slightly. She knows her neck of the woods well, and most of her political beliefs seem sound enough.

  • Millie Woods

    One point that everyone seems to miss about the majority of politicians these days is that few if any of them have the slightest understanding of pure and applied science.
    The closest any of them come to literacy in these areas is to quote Jeremy Rifkin’s misinterpration of entropy. The other major weakness is a complete inability to add, subtract, multiply and divide and to believe that the supply of OPM (other people’s money – confiscated through various governmental scams) is both limitless and enduring.

  • Ian B

    Detach the schools from the state, competition amongst them via vouchers and the scrapping of state determined curricula.

    I’ve actually drifted gradually to a more radical position than that. I think we need to abolish schools altogether.

    If we can’t do that, I’m not much in favour of vouchers, since this creates another corporate state problem in which the schools become clients of the government. Once an entire “private” industry becomes reliant on government grants it is their bitch. There will have to be central government standards to define what is a school and whether it is deserving of the grants (to stop a group of people getting together, setting up a fake “school” in a garage, not educating the kids and just taking the voucher money). I understand the idea of vouchers but I don’t believe in practise it’ll get us very far.

    If I were king for a day, I’d entirely privatise the schools (and repeal all compulsion). The costs of schooling, in a low tax regime, would be quite affordable for the majority of parents (back of a fag packet estimates suggest you can school a child for well under £2000/year)- and it would be better, if one is worried about the poor, to directly hand them benefits to pay for their kids’ schooling than to create the voucher system, which most parents won’t need.

    As to the actual post by Perry, the question is whether the American conservative in the street can wrest the party hierarchy from those who occupy it now. I think they have a reasonable chance of doing so. It’s going to be tough though. Parties are keen on winning, and thus are dragged toward wherever the “centre” is which is why they become more alike as every year passes. One of the great successes of the Bastards is that they’ve dragged the “centre” a very long way in their direction, such that extreme statists now get to call themselves “centrist”.

    Libertarians and small government conservatives are up against an incredibly well organised international movement that very much resembles HG Wells’s “Open C0nsp1racy” and has, as I’ve often said, pretty much won and is now just tying up the loose ends. Obama is their Blair- the man at the head of the procession with a long tail of cranks winding behind him who are going to inflict their nutty ideologies with every iota of strength they have, massively inflating the crat cloud and making sure it is virtually impossible to dismantle afterwards without a Gabbite purge.

    And, we must remember that Mark Steyn is wrong. America isn’t a shining citadel of freedom surrounded by Europeanist socialists. The lion’s share of statist activism orginates in America among their elites; Steyn and those of similar mind miss this because the Constitution acts as a block to some degree which requires the statism to be inflicted at the States level and on the rest of us overseas. Most of the internationalised statist causes- health fascism, green fascism, the various prohibitions are considerably driven by yankee dollars.

  • Ian,

    I got to admit, I often find myself disagreeing with your position, but not this time.

    Re schools, you laid out my feelings, but that ain’t going to happen. The best we can hope to achieve medium term is to break the producer capture of them, and the way to do this is tie the survival of any one school to how well it satisfies the requirements of the real consumers of education, the parents. The kids don’t get a say in the matter I guess.

    As for the rest, well, I see breaking the hold of the left on education as being the first step in OUR long march through the institutions.

    I don’t want to dictate what is taught in all schools, but by God, I want to break their, and anyone else’s, ability to to do the dictating. With the sole exception of the parents that is – it is their right to so dictate.

  • Ian B

    CC, I have two major concerns about a long march through the institutions. The first is that I’m unconvinced that there is sufficient time left for one. The Enemy- with massed boots on the ground and enormously good organisation- has taken a century to get where it is. I don’t think there’ll be much left for our descendents to save a century from now.

    The other issue is that the Enemy are already guarding the gates of the institutions zealously. When they began their march, those they wished to displace were entirely unaware of what was happening. They didn’t have an organised foe. They could thus just nudge one person out at a time, impose a policy here, set up a committee there… Our attempts to displace the Enemy will be against an enemy who knows exactly what we’re trying to do and will use their every resource (which are considerable) to block us even getting started. We need a way in.

    I mused the other day about setting up our own online news sites. Really what this comes down to in such respects is pure money. We simply won’t get our policies started unless we can wrest at least partial control of one of some part of the hegemonic institutions, and it turns into a chicken and egg problem. We’re libertarians, we’re free marketeers, unabashed capitalists, yet there doesn’t seem to be much money sloshing about in our camp.

    So, in a practical manner, suppose we, i.e. some libertarians, could create a successful media company. Then, for instance, we could buy newspapers, or TV stations, and so on, and start pumping out our own propaganda, or at least stem the tide of theirs. Imagine buying the Daily Mail, or the Express- at least in newspapers we could stem the tide of moral panic that feeds statism at source. We need a beachhead.

    They’ve got money. We haven’t. We need to fix this.

  • Cats, the problem with this midterm solution is that it is going to backfire, just like it is happening right in front of our eyes with whatever kind of partially castrated capitalism we have been having since Reagan and Thatcher. People (or those who claim to speak for them) will say that it is the lack of regulation, (rather than the excess of it), was what ruined the education system.

  • yet there doesn’t seem to be much money sloshing about in our camp.

    At the great risk of stating the obvious: that’s because the system is set up precisely to not favor the likes of us.

  • Bughunter

    Pull out the political knives on Inauguration Day as a way to take you mind off the nauseating waves of sanctimonious kack radiating across the media caused by Barack Obama’s living beatification.

    Oh yeah, I hear you, Bro. This caused much grinning in the Bughunter household.

  • Alice

    Right objective – wrong approach.

    Every good libertarian should be out there demanding that every household in the US — in the world, even — should have a life-size color photograph of The One in a place of honor (under penalty of law).

    Nationalize health care! Government-run newspapers! Shut down the military. Compulsory kindergarten, with homosexual teachers. Carbon taxes! More carbon taxes!! And cap & trade too — Kyoto 2, 3, 4 & 5. Compulsory union membership while we are at it.

    Libertarians should be encouraging the most stupid instincts of the Left. Taunt them for not going far enough, fast enough. Egg them on.

    And then stand back and watch the whole statist enterprise collapse — as it inevitably will.

    Happy New Year!

  • Ian B

    Alice, this whole “statism will eat itself” idea is fundamentally flawed, as with marxism’s “capitalism will eat itself” idea. There seems to be this fundamental(ist?) idea among libertarians that everyone deep down is like them and loves freedom and will rebel if they’re pushed hard enough. It simply isn’t true. Most of humanity that have ever lived have lived under the most ridiculous systems- under kings, and priests and politicians, imposing on them the most ridiculous restraints. It’s the norm. Individual freedom is a recent idea that has existed partially in some areas of the world, that is all, and generally more talked about than actually practised. There isn’t a default freedom-loving state of man.

    People will sometimes rebel when the strictures are particularly exploitative- when the king is obviously bleeding his population white for his own enrichment, for instance- but that’s not what we’re up against. Horridly restrictive systems imposed for noble or otherwordly purposes can last for hundreds of years. In Assyria, it was the obligation of every woman to serve as a temple prostitute at least once. In myriad cultures, offering one’s children for sacrifice at the request of the priesthood was the norm. Virtually every society until recently practised enslavement. Jews still are denied the right to eat many foods, muslims are told what clothes to wear and how to keep their beards. In the main, once these things are presented as a normal thing, people just do them. There isn’t going to be a grand rebellion. Libertarians are a dwindling band of outsiders.

    People who live in institutions get institutionalised. They get too scared to leave, because they’re used to being in a safe, restricted world where it’s always jam roly-poly on fridays. The people of the western world are increasingly institutionalised. A while back I had a debate with Laird and others about council housing, and he said it was good that tenants would suffer increasing bureaucracy because that would make them hate statism and we should support that. It’s not true. They just get used to it, the form filling and humiliating rituals, and come to think of it as the norm. That’s what the Enemy do; they shift the Normal.

    We need to find practical ways to pull the normal back in our direction, by whatever underhanded methods we can find. We aren’t going to win the argument and there isn’t going to be a spontaneous rebellion. An insurrection in an institution can be quashed by simply asking the rebels “and who is going to give you your jam roly-poly? Hmm?”

  • This article makes a lot of sense, but I just wonder if the public is ready to vote libertarian (or for conservatives expressing a libertarian message) yet. The big libertarian blogs have done an amazing job in moving the centre ground towards libertarianism, at least among the tech-savvy, but there is a huge job still to do in winning over the rest of the population.

    My feeling is that there is a culture war to be won, which means helping along the process of the end of the TV licence, and the promoting of alterative sources of news and culture. And how do we deal with the forcefeeding of leftism in schools?

  • Janine McAlister

    This article makes a lot of sense, but I just wonder if the public is ready to vote libertarian (or for conservatives expressing a libertarian message) yet.

    He’s just asking the conservatives to start expressing a conservative message, hence the references to Goldwater and Reagan rather than Bob Barr and Ayn Rand which probably where his true sympathies actually reside :-P

  • Alice

    “We aren’t going to win the argument and there isn’t going to be a spontaneous rebellion.”

    We are in complete agreement, IanB. So why are you still plotting about how to ‘win the argument’?

    There is not going to be a spontaneous rebellion. But push Leftist ideas far enough and there is going to be an inevitable breakdown in Big Government’s ability to write checks and to perform functions.

    When it comes to how bad things have to get before that inevitable breakdown, I admit that the example of the UK is depressing — people dutifully pay the BBC regressive tax; they put up with a legal/police system which penalizes the innocent & protects the guilty; they are honestly proud of a National Health System which too often fails to supply simple human dignity as well as basic health care. Perhaps the same stiff upper lip which was so useful in withstanding German bombing is now dysfunctional?

    But we have to have Hope (TM). Even the Brits will eventually reach the end of the road, and the Leftist Big Government model will collapse. Hopefully quicker in other countries than in Dear Old Blighty. The only thing we know for sure is that nothing lasts for ever.

    We need to look beyond the failure of Leftism, and think about what comes after. The failure mode will be complicated, and there is no guarantee that what follows will be any better. That is where you come in!

  • Kevin B

    I don’t think that the triumph of libertarianism. or even conservatism, will come about through the collapse of socialism. That will only bring about dictatorial tyranny.

    I reckon the only hope for the forces of liberty is a large technological breakthrough of the kind that changes the paradigm, coupled with a youthful rebellion against the status quo.

    Sadly, I don’t see either of those conditions being met in the West. It is doubtful that the kind of technological advance necessary could take place in the west what with the regulatory environment which stifles innovation, and our youth seem too apathetic to rise up against the status quo.

    Let’s face it, the West is Rome turning into Italy and all those who control the levers want us to go further backwards. The capitalists want us to return to the early twentieth century, the socialists want us to return to the nineteenth, the greens want us in the seventeenth and the multiculturalists want us in the seventh.

    But while we are busy counting the number of CO2 molecules that can dance on the head of a pin, somewhere in the world the conditions for change are getting closer to being met.

    It may be China, or India, or even Africa. Somewhere where a newly prosperous middle class is bringing up a generation who remember the bad old days, but feel stifled in the current political climate, and a new technology is changing everything around them.

    It is there that the libertarians need to strike. Not through education or popular culture, but through youth culture. Get them while they’re young, but not through the fuddy duddy old schools.

    Who knows, in a few generations, the new masters may bestow the blessings of this new civilization upon us, if we’re not too churlish to accept it.

  • Ian B

    So why are you still plotting about how to ‘win the argument’?

    I’m not. I’m trying to figure out how to win the war, not the argument.

  • Alice

    “The capitalists want us to return to the early twentieth century, the socialists want us to return to the nineteenth, the greens want us in the seventeenth and the multiculturalists want us in the seventh.”

    Brilliant! Jan 1 is not even over, and already we have a contender for Samizdata Quote Of The Year.

  • Ian B

    Indeed, I intend to shamelessly steal that Kevin B quote in future :)

  • I reckon the only hope for the forces of liberty is a large technological breakthrough of the kind that changes the paradigm, coupled with a youthful rebellion against the status quo.

    Both of those things are staring you in the face.

  • Ian B

    Perry, there seems to have been some kind of error. The part of your post that explains your first sentence got lost.

  • Kevin B

    Alice, Ian

    Thanks and feel free. I’m sure I’ve ‘borrowed’ plenty from some of your posts.

    Perry, if you mean the internet, I’m not sure that it is game changing enough. And though I admit I’m probably not sufficiently in touch with current youth culture, I’m not sure that enough of current crop, in the west at least, have thrown off their parent’s hedonism to embrace personal liberty and it’s vital concommitant, personal responsibilty.

  • Then you are not trying hard enough. Hint: you are using that technology now and the generation who growing up with it now are the generation who will sweep the old statist models away. And please spare me the “we are doomed” riffs. We are far from doomed.

  • jerry

    IanB

    Have to agree with you on this one.
    The slow steady progress that has been made by the left is based on ‘slow’ ( you have to admire their patience ).
    This is what will prevent outright revolt.
    Think if 60 years ago, taxes were suddenly increased to their current levels ( in my case about 50% which at one time would have been called slavery – literally !! ) there would have been a revolt, so the path is to increase a bit here and a little there until we reach the current level without upsetting enough people to cause an ‘adverse reaction’.

    Sadly, I think this will continue until most people wake and say ‘what the hell happened ??’ but by then it will be far too late to correct as the governmental dependency will be almost complete.

  • Ian B

    …will sweep the old statist models away

    Indeed. The old statist models, like the old states themselves, are being swept away, to be replaced by a system of international monolithic governance, and that switched on young internet generation you refer to are, in the main, clapping like seals. Just as the boomer generation swept away much of their parents’ fuddy duddy society. Remember them? The free love, dope smoking, turn on, tune in, drop out generation? They turned out so well, didn’t they?

  • And please spare me the “we are doomed” riffs. We are far from doomed.

    Posted by Perry de Havilland

    Heh. If the State can’t keep brigands and violent nutters in prison, then they are damned well not going to keep me in for practicing liberty. Not unless get stupid and volunteer for prison.

    In the mean time, infiltrate your favorite major party, and encourage your friends to do so. Parties are run by the most active, and NOT the majority.

    Embrace Outlawry … and work to decriminalize Liberty.

  • RRS

    Political Parties

    That is where Perry began this discourse. It has drifted (somewhat interestingly) to political objectives.

    “The Parties,” [U.S. & U.K.] as such (vehicles of political doctrines), have long since morphed into differing formats of transitory coalitions which in turn are used as vehicles for the political aspirations of individuals.

    The issues of “opposition” (including “rebuilding an opposition party“) will require identifying those interests whose coalitions are sufficiently opposed to the interests of other coalitions forming other “parties.”

    There do not appear to be any such sufficiently differentiated interests (which might constitute new coalitions) evolving in the U.S. electorate at this time. Nor does there appear to be any trend of such development.

    There will likely be “peeling off” of segments of existing coalitions as those whose interests are concerned realize they are not being advanced (or more likely being blocked); dominant coalitions erode at rates varying by the eroding forces they encounter.

    Thus, it may be important to generate those eroding forces, and far more effective to derogate and fragment existing coalitions than attempt to form a minimalist new coalition.

  • Thus, it may be important to generate those eroding forces, and far more effective to derogate and fragment existing coalitions than attempt to form a minimalist new coalition.

    You may well be correct and as I *am* talking about the opposite, at least ideologically, of ‘broad church’ politics, perhaps this is not a case of one approach being opposed to the other.

  • Ian B

    I don’t know whether “coalitions” is the best filter through which to analyse parties. It carries with it a suggestion that the supporters of them are constructed from clearly defined groups, and I’m not sure that’s true- it’s a bit like the multiculturalist fallacy of defining individuals as parts of clear groups (“african american”, “muslim american” and so on) when things are more diffuse than that; it suggests there are monolithic definable classes (“african americans vote Democrat”), which I don’t really think is necessarily a very accurate view of reality.

  • RRS

    O K then, what are “parties” today?

    I suffer from the disadvantage of begining my listening to “political discourse” at the dining table in the era of James A. Farley who assembled what became the “modern” Democratic party.

    I don’t know what else to call conjunctions of varying interests other than coalitions. Of course they are not monolithic and can be fragmented (as is true of the “labor” vote, vis a vis “union” objectives). Coalitions can be fragmented (rank and file vs. leadership, etc.). The coalitions that comprise the major political parties of these days do not reflect any form of consensus of political objectives.

  • moonbat nibbler

    The capitalists want us to return to the early twentieth century

    Too fucking right. The British government were irresponsible with 8% of GDP in 1908, a century later they are planning to command 48% of the country’s wealth.

  • Daveon

    IanB: Care to show your working re the 2000 a year?

    Moonbat Nibbler: Would you rather live in 1908 or 2008 though?

  • Eric

    This is always the tension in a political party, isn’t it? Do we water down our platform and cast the widest possible net for “independent” voters or do we expunge the people who are too far off the centerline and run as an ideologically pure (or mostly pure) party?

    Waiting it out is certainly easier and far less risky for the incumbents. The Republicans can probably recapture Congress just by running against the Democrats until the voters are ready for a change. But that kind of strategy only benefits people in the party hierarchy who are angling for a government job. I don’t see any point in supporting an organization which has as its only goal the acquisition of power.

    On the other hand, if your ideological tent is too small you may never gain enough influence to see any part of your platform enacted.

  • Ian B

    Daveon, that’s a back of a fag packet calculation :) A while ago when considering this I noticed that when Blair came to power was £2500 per pupil per year. There has been inflation since then of course, but we also know the public sector is enormously wasteful. I think it’s also reasonable to consider that none of the money lavished on the school system since has actually improved the education of children. So it’s a rough figure that says the private sector could probably provide a reasonable basic education for under £2000 per year.

  • Voros McCracken

    Almost everyone agrees that the state should have less control over their lives, where libertarians are in the vast minority is their belief that the state should have less control over everyone else’s lives.

    Folks may want the government to leave them alone but their neighbor who cuts his grass at 7 am needs to be stopped, and the city councilman is there to help.

  • Where should Republicans go? That was a question asked and I went through that(Link)… and its problem is that it has no ideology at all. It is, now, a ‘pragmatist’ Hamiltonian party laced with the belief that T. Roosevelt did good things for the Presidency. Not the Nation, but that Office of the President. That lust and infatuation with power to move against the ‘states rights fetish’ as he put it, of distributed power in the Nation. Chapter X of TR’s autobiography clearly states his ideals and belief of an ‘expansive’ view of Presidential and, thus, State authority.

    I’ll put my holdings with the President who vetoed the National Bank and who saw that direct ownership of State created institutions by the poeple without government as intermediary was a just and good thing. That 1832 veto message is one of the best examples of why State collected power is uncontrollable in the long run and needs to be leashed. Hard to believe that those on the ‘right’ don’t recognize that message of privatization and distribution of power, save when it is prettied up by modern speakers.

    And just what did happen to the followers of Paine who do well and truly believe that the state is the punisher, and needs limited tools and is an investment place or our negative liberties for protection, while society is the boon of a Nation and source of what is good? Can’t find Republicans who understand that bit of Common Sense.

  • Some fascinating exchanges here. As I have written on my own site picking up Ian B, Atlas Shrugged takes all these arguments to the bitter end.

    The book ends with the Collectivists seemingly going insane or crawling away, psychologically crushed. But what if they turn out to be even more resilient and ruthless (if you like evil) than we free-thinkers can possibly be?

    http://charlescrawford.biz/blog.php?single=719

  • anonymous

    Alice, this whole ‘statism will eat itself’ idea is fundamentally flawed, as with marxism’s ‘capitalism will eat itself’ idea. There seems to be this fundamental(ist?) idea among libertarians that everyone deep down is like them and loves freedom and will rebel if they’re pushed hard enough. It simply isn’t true. Most of humanity that have ever lived have lived under the most ridiculous systems- under kings, and priests and politicians, imposing on them the most ridiculous restraints.

    What is the libertarian position on Home Owners Associations?

  • moonbat nibbler

    Daveon,

    I’m not being greedy when suggesting the want of having the technological and social advancements of 2008 along with the redistribution of 1908. The latter wouldn’t have stopped the former. The opportunity cost – the unseens – lost through the misallocation of capital in the past century is troubling, the last decade truly horrific.

    With the industrialisation of China, the Indian service sector boom and the Internet becoming mainstream we should have seen a sustainable increase in wealth this past decade. Seen a FTSE or S&P chart recently?! The government has gobbled up the productive economy, built-up vast debt and promised gold-plated pensions the private sector can not pay for. This can not go on indefinitely.

  • If conservatives should have learned any lesson from last year, it’s that “compromise,” “bipartisanship” and “cooperation” only play into the hands of the left. We need to fight hard and dirty. When good compromises with evil, evil wins.

  • Bob Young

    Ahhh, but what of the sheep? The sheep must still be fed because they’ve lost the ability to forage. They stand at the manger and watering trough and bleat. They must have their beer, circuses and quarter million $ sheep shelters. They see no problem with this for they are but sheep following their training. In spite of losing most every useful qualification, the sheep still vote….and they are the majority.

    How will this Top-Down reconstruction account for the sheep?

  • Ahhh, but what of the sheep? The sheep must still be fed because they’ve lost the ability to forage

    Then they will go without. Let them vote themselves ever more of other people’s money, it does not matter… in 2009, they will discover that there is no more and no amount of voting (or bleating) will magically create more fruit on the money tree. And let the Obama’s of this world run their printing presses all they want, they will discover they cannot print their way out of this one.

    The long run has arrived. The people you speak of will now discover the cost of what they voted for and it is our job to rub their faces in it with no false sympathy.

  • Alice

    “And please spare me the “we are doomed” riffs. We are far from doomed.”

    “The long run has arrived. The people you speak of will now discover the cost of what they voted …”

    OK, Perry. Please compare & contrast those two statements you made in this thread. Do you support the idea that intrusive Big Government is reaching the end of the road? Or do you reject that as Doomerism?

    For what very little it is worth, my take is that we are approaching a ‘crisis’ — in the Greek sense of a turning point. Big Government has not yet reached the inevitable end of its road, but it will. What follows the breakdown of Big Government is still up for grabs — although there is no guarantee that it is going to be better.

  • Ian B

    No they won’t Perry, any more than they did in the Great Depression. Not when the great and the good are busy telling them, via every media outlet, that their woes are the fault of somebody else, specifically “capitalists”, “speculators”, “fat cats”, “the world” and so on.

    This is not your Grand Collapse of statism. It is a Great Leap Forward for it.

  • If you are really serious about retaking Britain from the mushy left and the dedicated statists, you are going to have to think like military planners. What are the entry points for attack? What are the levers of influence and control that need to be taken control of? What are the easiest things to do now? What are the institutions that need creating to do the jobs that need doing? I know that for libertarians it will seem counter-intuitive to create new institutions and plot how to take over existing ones, but thats what needs to be done if a great big thing like Britain is to change course. I would be very interested to participate in plotting this takeover with other people. But I think the model should be something like the takeover of the Russian empire by the Bolsheviks. Without the murder of the kulaks obviously.

  • He sort of has a point here but I think he overstates it. The Republicans can still filibuster. And it’s naive to say that the Cold War is over so we can relax. I see a new Cold War brewing with Red China.

    Let me modify his thesis: conservatives, as opposed to Republicans need to attack any and all enemies of liberty in our country in every way possible without restraint or remorse. The RINOs are expendable. But we have to put the brakes on what the regime is doing so we’ll still have a country to save. We can’t stop them but we can at least slow them down.

    Link back

  • This is far from the apogee of the statist’s long march through our institutions.

    Trans-national socialists haven’t even begun to mulch their fields with the corpses of those who dare openly cherish Liberty and/or oppose their power.

  • Blacque Jacques Shellacque

    My state of Colorado has gone from red to blue with lightening speed.

    How many current Colorado residents can call themselves ex-Californians? I wouldn’t be surprised if the change has come about due to the political leanings of migrants from blue areas.

  • vincenzo

    Great comments and original post here.

    If not mistaken, I’m reading “culture war” to be defined here as the big v. small government debate. Stateside, the “culture war” has come to mean the battle over social issues, e.g., abortion, church-state issues, and so on.

    That said, I’d reckon that to properly organize/purge the Republican party to fight this big/small G culture war, the party will need to jettison its various social conservative/evangelical-religious constituencies. This will create an interesting ripple, as the So-Con constituency has been an electorally significant “leg” of the Republicans’ “stool” since at least as early as Reagan’s candidacy. With Obama having made explicit overtures to woo these people to the Democratic party this year, it makes me wonder what we will replace them with to avoid becoming an ever-shrinking minority party.

    Not that I disagree with the need to at least proportionalize the leaning on these social issues as against economic and role-of-government issues in a conservative party platform; I’m seeing the conservative party as one that will be very small, and never taken very seriously by the establishment as a result.

    Further, with all the talk about these great technological innovations that will facilitate sidestepping the statist/establishment channels for propagating messages: we’ve got a slate of government coming on in a few weeks that is explicitly looking at reforming/reinstituting such things as “fairness doctrine” in broadcast media, as well as extensions of the idea to the Internet (it’s for the safety of the children, don’t you know). So, on what basis are we supposed to put faith in the concept that the establishment will allow itself to be undermined rather than legislate over any cracks in the pavement of its messaging monopoly?

  • Midwesterner

    the party will need to jettison its various social conservative/evangelical-religious constituencies

    More genius idiocy. Forget what their political philosophy is, ‘jettison’ them for their personal beliefs. How very doctrinally libertarianally correct.

    Me thinks you need to read what Perry wrote again.

    I am not calling for the ‘libertarianisation’ of the Republican party along the lines I would actually like, just for the party’s rationalisation. I am in essence calling for a nominally conservative party to become… conservative. The simple fact is that people can be fellow travellers on a path that leads to liberty without all marching in ideological lock-step. It just boils down to asking the question “do you want the state to have less control over people’s lives or more control?” If a person can honestly answer that they think the state is too powerful and needs to be reduced, that is a fellow traveller.

  • Gregory Koster

    Dear Mr. de Havilland: Your post has great appeal. But it leaves out what’s going on in foreign affairs. Foreign affairs was the reason I yelled for McC in this last election, alternating with hideous spells of nausea. The great progress in Iraq should not blind us to the immense dangers that still lie in the Middle East and Central Asia. These dangers are far from dead, and continue their aggressive march to the United States and Europe. They don’t call the city “Londonistan” for nothing. For a recent roundup that should dismay all readers, try Phyllis Chesler’s 1 January post at Pajamas Media:

    http://pajamasmedia.com/phyllischesler/

    Without trying to label you against your will, what do you, a strong believer in libertarian philosophy, have to offer in foreign affairs? Specifically, the conflict with Islamic militants? What would you advise Israel to do about Hamas? The music you are playing is terrific, which is why such sordid hogs as Trent Lott, or David Cameron or McC himself, are clasping their hands over their ears and moaning in pain. But sing us some lyrics, about foreign affairs.

    Hope to hear from you.

    Sincerely yours,
    Gregory Koster

  • vincenzo

    Hey Midwesterner, thanks for that; you’re particularly convincing due to the name-calling.

    So, when the mechanism of media and Democratic party spinning continues to successfully characterize the So-Con types as wanting to tell the rest of Americans how to live and so forth, how does this figure into the argument that “the state [is] to have less control over people’s lives”?

    Seems to me that this idea that the “religious right”, as they’re called by the media, wishes to impose a set of values through legislation is not without reason. Of course, the “secular left” is equally restrictive with their ideological dogma and desire to impose it on everyone, but pointing that out does not address the issue, does it?

    It’s not about whether someone’s religious, it’s about whether they see the government as a vehicle for imposing their religious/cultural preferences.

    How about you consider and respond to that idea, rather than simply calling names, eh?

    Or is it so important to be the “winner” of this thread that you’ll alienate others on the same side because they’re raising questions that will need to be answered at some point? I’m sensing that’s the kind of guy you are, which is your loss, really.

  • Ian B

    It just boils down to asking the question “do you want the state to have less control over people’s lives or more control?” If a person can honestly answer that they think the state is too powerful and needs to be reduced, that is a fellow traveller.

    Well yes, but the point is that isn’t really “conservativisation”. Small government isn’t inherent to “conservative” philosophy; indeed it’s not very clear what conservative really means beyond some level of resistance to change.

    Ask a “small government” conservative what he thinks of legalising drugs, relaxing alcohol laws, reducing the military budget, getting rid of “decency” controls on the media, and you’ll probably find him calling such small government moonbattery. Ask him whether it is right that American children are obligated to pledge allegiance to the state and a particular god, and you’ll find how much he cares about freedom of conscience.

    Such conservatives may be fellow travellers, but it’s questionable how far along the road they really want to walk.

  • Midwesterner

    vincenzo,

    It’s not about whether someone’s religious, it’s about whether they see the government as a vehicle for imposing their religious/cultural preferences.

    Because that is not remotely what you said. Just to be clear, I quoted you and I will quote you again.

    the party will need to jettison its various social conservative/evangelical-religious constituencies.

    Words mean things.

    So, when the mechanism of media and Democratic party spinning continues to successfully characterize the So-Con types as wanting to tell the rest of Americans how to live and so forth, how does this figure into the argument that “the state [is] to have less control over people’s lives”

    Why don’t you quit getting your opinions of Evangelicals from the same MSM that tells us that all libertarians want is for drugs and sex to be legal and available to children?

    ‘Nuther correction for you. “Idiocy” refers to the proposal, not the person proposing it. If I were calling you names I would have used “idiot”. :-)

    It is also curious that you, the guy that just said we need to jettison the biggest and most principled faction in the party, is worried that I might “alienate” people. Presumably those massive hoards of doctrinaire libertarians.

  • Midwesterner

    Ian B,

    Such conservatives may be fellow travellers, but it’s questionable how far along the road they really want to walk.

    Probably back as far as ‘original intent’ application of the Constitution. I would be very happy with that. Wouldn’t you?

  • Ian B

    I’m not sure, MW. Part of the thing about the US Constitution is that it’s a federal document, and the USA is a federation. For instance, the famous First Amendment protections for freedom of religion and speech beging “Congress shall make no law…” By original intent, they don’t apply to the states. Indeed it was 20th century progressives in the Supreme Court who decided that freedom of speech applied at all government levels.

    So, if you go back to the original intent, the citizens lose their constitutional protection of speech. It’s no good replacing one kind of federal tyranny with a different local one.

    States’ rights aren’t at all the same as citizens’ rights. I can’t help but wonder how many american conservatives are like the british ones who primarily wish to leave the EU so they can impose their own local tyranny without interference from above. That’s not really liberty, in my view.

    I was just about to post but thought I’d clarify; I’m not opposing states rights. I’m just asking how many people are saying “we want our states rights back so we can be a freer state” and how many are saying “we want our states rights back so we can make lots of interfering laws at the state level”.

  • Midwesterner

    Actually, no on a couple of points. The USA has not been a federation for some time. Practically speaking, it is one nation. Also, section 1 of the 14th is generally interpreted to extend the bill of rights to the states. Unfortunately, we do have some amendments (ie 16, 17 18 21/sec 2) that are on the books and have to be tolerated or constitutionally repealed.

    But even if this were not the case, only some citizens would lose rights. Stupidly run states would lose citizens to other states that better recognized their rights. It is self limiting, like a herd of cats. Only when the state’s powers are unified into one single authority can they stand. This is the big difference between the UK and the US.

  • Midwesterner

    Ian B,

    I should probably clarify. The ‘one nation’ character of the US is anti-Constitutional and there are amazingly complex (yet still unconstitutional) contrivances used to synchronize our state’s laws. The national government uses its funding to extort cooperation from states. Strict original intent, even with the added amendments, would do a great deal to de-synchronize our laws. That would of course be a good thing.

  • Ian B

    The USA has not been a federation for some time.

    Maybe not, but that’s the status the Constitution was written for.

    Also, section 1 of the 14th is generally interpreted to extend the bill of rights to the states.

    These days, yes. Wasn’t originally.

    Stupidly run states would lose citizens to other states that better recognized their rights.

    From what I hear, people are leaving the nanny states for the more free ones, then voting for nanny state politicians and policies. That’s the problem with collectivists, they’re like a contagion. They spread.

    It is self limiting, like a herd of cats.

    As said above, the opposite is true. They’re more like an algal bloom. They only stop growing once everything else is dead.

    This is the big difference between the UK and the US.

    That difference seems to be narrowing every year. And if you’d be so kind as to get your academics and intellectuals to shut the fuck up, the rest of the world would be one hell of a lot less statist. Thanks, America, for the Big Idea of prohibitionism. It’s really fucking working well so far.

  • Midwesterner

    I wish I could disagree with more of what you say, Ian.

    I’m not prepared to get into ‘original intent’ of the 14th ratifiers v. The Slaughterhouse Cases, but I think it is quite reasonable that the “privileges or immunities” clause in the 14th was expressly intended to bind the first eight amendments on the states. After the S.H. cases, the “due process” clause of the 14th was used to achieve that purpose and the “privileges or immunities” clause was ignored.

    Really, Ian, original intent is a vast improvement even if all it does is bring about a reversion to a federation.

    As for the contagion, it would be of no consequence if they did not have the National government behind them. The weapons they wield to bludgeon compliance on their conquests are forged in Washington.

    And ‘our’ “academics and intellectuals” are never going “to shut the fuck up” any more than ‘your’s’ are. But we can sure as hell steal their audience. And we most definitely are.

  • vincenzo

    Well, boyo, as I said in the part of my post you didn’t quote, the culture war here is not necessarily big v. small government, but breaks down along, well, cultural lines of abortion, etc., fwiw.

    What I’d like to know, though, is whether anyone seriously buys into the idea that the So-Con leg of the stool is any more likely than their mirror-image on the left to be in favor of less-intrusive government? Ian’s response to Midwesterner’s post cut that one to the quick. Additionally, the past 8 years of that “leg’s” most-devoted support of our Big-Government Conservative-In-Chief is pretty good evidence that they’re as likely as anyone to grow the government.

    Whether they grow it the way you or I like or not is a matter of personal taste, along the same lines that, were Bush a president with a “D” after his name, the left would currently be erecting monuments to his greatness. Few have done more to bloat the leviathan than our beloved W. (whom I nonetheless supported because, despite his inability to market or defend his positions, was on the right side of things in the war, imho).

  • Ian B

    MW, I think I should apologise for the tone of my last paragraph about “your academics and intellectuals”. It wasn’t a go at you or americans in general or whatever. It was a little squeak of frustration I have at how the US is supposed to be the land of the free but is the source of so much of the Enemy’s arsenal. I am somewhat haunted by this bit of my favourite essay which was, remember, published in 1922 (before the welfare state proper, so Chesterton is noting, a significant point for modern libertarians, that nanny arrived before the welfare state…)

    Nothing marks this queer intermediate phase of industrialism more strangely than the fact that, while employers still claim the right to sack him like a stranger, they are already beginning to claim the right to supervise him like a son. Economically he can go and starve on the Embankment; but ethically and hygienically he must be controlled and coddled in the nursery. Government repudiates all responsibility for seeing that he gets bread. But it anxiously accepts all responsibility for seeing that he does not get beer. It passes an Insurance Act to force him to provide himself with medicine; but it is avowedly indifferent to whether he is able to provide himself with meals. Thus while the sack is inconsistent with the family, the supervision is really inconsistent with the sack. The whole thing is a tangled chain of contradictions. It is true that in the special and sacred text of scripture we are here considering, the smoking is forbidden on a general and public and not on a medicinal and private ground. But it is none the less relevant to remember that, as his masters have already proved that alcohol is a poison, they may soon prove that nicotine is a poison. And it is most significant of all that this sort of danger is even greater in what is called the new democracy of America than in what is called the old oligarchy of England. When I was in America, people were already “defending” tobacco. People who defend tobacco are on the road to proving that daylight is defensible, or that it is not really sinful to sneeze. In other words, they are quietly going mad.

  • vincenzo

    To clarify what I suppose the point of my earlier posts is, now that I’ve ruminated a bit: I think that treating a group like “religious conservatives” (as that term is understood in the mainstream consciousness here in the US) as a monolithic entity that will or should vote in lock-step runs counter to the idea of a party whose aim is reduction of the size, scope and intrusiveness of gov’t.

    The idea itself, as well as the “American idea” generally, seems more of an appeal to individualism and self-determination than one of large blocs, united by their respective grievances, impositional urges or hands-out.

  • Midwesterner

    Ian,

    From over here it looks like our educated elites are all pandering to the Europeans they believe are so superior to us. And besides, we won’t give our ‘elites’ any respect here, they have to go to Europe for stroking.

    Laugh at them, ridicule them. They are utter buffoons. They know it, we know it, now let’s make sure a few more people realize it. I think even The Anointed One knows it and that is why he is filling so many of the jobs that require at least some minimal competence with players drafted from the other team.

    Unlike you, I see none of the options that were so useful to totalitarians in the GD as being of any use to them now. At that time there were savings to plunder, lenders to borrow from and money to bribe enforcers with. Now there is nothing but debt at every level. There are no savings left to plunder but foreigner’s (via printing $). Every government that I can think of in history that has reached this point has vanished like a popped bubble. This unified national US government created during the 20th century will be no exception. We don’t have to defeat them, only be ready to fill the void when their bubble bursts. With our Constitutional framework still in place we stand more than a fighting chance.

  • Midwesterner

    Well, boyo, as I said in the part of my post you didn’t quote, the culture war here is not necessarily big v. small government, but breaks down along, well, cultural lines of abortion, etc., fwiw.

    I didn’t realize that libertarian doctrine forbids the belief that life begins at conception. Oh the apostacy! I must have slept through that part of libertarian catechism. Somebody quickly! Ron Paul must be burned at the stake. His can’t possibly be a true libertarian. Ron Paul is eeeevil!

    vincenzo, good luck on your campaign to purify libertarianism. Mustn’t allow any of that nasty independent thinking don’t cha know. People might start thinking unapproved thoughts. :) Second thought, I wish you no success at all.

    And I have no idea what your last comment is about unless it is a half hearted Emily Litella.

  • Mid, I remember well your recent comments on conservative “fellow travelers”. Looks like Obama has a similar idea, only he is looking across the aisle, naturally.

  • Dear Mr. de Havilland: Your post has great appeal. But it leaves out what’s going on in foreign affairs.

    Not really, to quote myself:

    What is needed is a return to the ideologically driven and highly successful Reagan days, but happily without the distorting bipolar reality of nuclear superpower rivalries to worry about. Compared to the Soviet Union, the threat posed by Islamic terrorism is nothing more than the yapping of an annoying poodle, albeit one with rabies.

    Personally I am up the ‘hawk’ end of the scale: I supported (and still support) the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. However the reality of the matter is that at this juncture in time, foreign affairs is just not as important to the USA, or the UK, or the EU, at the moment. The Cold War is over the Russian State, whilst a ‘problem’, is a pale reflection of the threat posed by the Soviet Union. Moreover Russia is not really an American problem but rather a regional. and European, problem… and not that big a problem in reality. They are an annoyance, not a major threat, to anyone not actually sharing a border with metropolitan Russia.

    China? Again a regional threat, not a global one, and not really that big a regional threat, unless you are Taiwan.

    Islamic terrorism? Yes, a global threat, but one vastly over blown. As I said, I supported both wars but iI suspect if neither had happened the world would not have turned upside down and crazed Islamic hordes would not be charging down Pennsylvania Avenue today. Moreover some of the ‘Londonistan’ and Euro-Jidhad articles written in the US (conservative) press are, to put it bluntly, pure moonbattery every bit as divorced from reality as the crap that gets written on the left pretending Islam is just a ‘religion of peace’.

    Yes, Islam is a threat and one that needs to be confronted… but Islamic armies are not at the gates of Vienna and facing down global Islam does not require carrier battle groups, it requires kulturekampf. They are actually a weak, very vulnerable enemy who can produce terrorists but cannot produce invading armies, or wealth or technology or an appealing ideology. Compared to the threat we pose to our own lives, wealth and liberty with home grown regulatory statism, Islam itself is, as I said, a yapping rabid poodle. Kick it when needed but don’t organise your polity around dealing with it.

    Sorry but the comforting verities of the Cold War are gone and foreign affairs can be safely demoted to a distant third place after regaining our liberty and wealth from entirely western enemies.

  • Midwesterner

    Mmm. Yes. Kind of scary, huh? While Obama is reaching to all parts of the culturally diverse big government crowd, the small government crowd is still demanding personal purity for admission to its sainted ranks.

    If only Perry’s message can be taken to heart by a few more of the small government types, there actually are enough of us to defeat statists. By definition, individualists are not going to find a whole lot of common ground. So we defend the personal domain. As long as we allow the other side to point to a couple of our factions and say “let’s you and him fight”, we will each be isolated in our own personal prisons.

    Christianity is by its fundamental nature a consent based religion. It is impossible within every main stream theology that I know of to forcibly convert any one against their will. This is why they are often (as Laird will no doubt attest) so annoyingly persistent in their efforts to persuade. But this means that they share with us the fundamental meta-context of personal choice and suffering the consequences of those choices. As long as we continue to antagonize them for their personal beliefs, a significant portion of them will be bribed away by power brokers whispering sweet nothings.

    Abortion is obviously a point of disagreement among our factions. Taking the largest church, the Roman Catholic church, as the strongest opponent of abortion, it is useful to understand why. Many people wrongly believe that it is for theological reasons. No. The RCC opposes (for one superficially similar example) masturbation for theological reasons. The Bible says it is wrong. But it is not theology that underlies the RCCs opposition to abortion. They oppose abortion because the professional scientific advisers they consult tell them that a new human life begins at conception. Many atheists and agnostics have reached that exact same conclusion. Fred Thompson and Sarah Palin both advocate that the constitutional response is to leave that matter to the states to decide. Unless there is a Constitutional amendment defining when a life begins, something that wasn’t an issue when the Constitution was written, that is probably the correct choice.

    The points I took from this post is that the Republican party must find its raisons d’etre. Enough with the ‘all must have prizes’ philosophy that it has adopted and back to the fundamental small government roots. One of the prizes that conservative Christians will have to give up is the expectation that they can use government to build a ‘personal comfort zone’ on earth. There is nothing Biblical to support that expectation that I am aware of and much to suggest its impossibility. One of the prizes that many libertarians will have to give up is the demand for candidates with whom they share not only political goals, but cultural norms. Palin was the most clearly libertarian main party candidate since Goldwater and yet she was boycotted, lampooned and attacked in many ways by libertarians on this site. Those who could not get past McCain to vote for her are on sound footing. Those that rejected her for her ‘churchiness’ are idiots.

    I really want to repeat again what I think is the most painful to libertarians part of Perry’s article:

    I am not calling for the ‘libertarianisation’ of the Republican party along the lines I would actually like, just for the party’s rationalisation. I am in essence calling for a nominally conservative party to become… conservative. The simple fact is that people can be fellow travellers on a path that leads to liberty without all marching in ideological lock-step. It just boils down to asking the question “do you want the state to have less control over people’s lives or more control?” If a person can honestly answer that they think the state is too powerful and needs to be reduced, that is a fellow traveller.

  • It is time for the Republicans to return to the roots of the party, which was originally for small government. With the neocons in shambles, I think it is very possible that such a movement can really kick off within the party… at least I hope it can.

  • Eric

    Compared to the threat we pose to our own lives, wealth and liberty with home grown regulatory statism, Islam itself is, as I said, a yapping rabid poodle. Kick it when needed but don’t organise your polity around dealing with it.

    I would agree with this were it 1930. The possibility of nuclear terrorism is a game changer, and I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say it’s the greatest risk facing our respective countries.