Many Lean Libertarian, But Parties Remain Polarized

Pollster Nate Silver finds that 22% of Americans favor gay marriage and oppose income redistribution, indicating libertarian views. He explains:

Why should views on (for example) gay marriage, taxation, and U.S. policy toward Iran have much of anything to do with one another? The answer is that it suits the Democratic Party and Republican Party’s mutual best interest to articulate clear and opposing positions on these issues and to present their platforms as being intellectually coherent. The two-party system can come under threat (as it potentially now is in the United Kingdom) when views on important issues cut across party lines.

And he adds, “the rigidly partisan views of political elites should not be mistaken for the relatively malleable and diverse ones that American voters hold.”

These voters, aside from the small, diehard Libertarian Party folks, generally fall into the independent camp. They swing to the Democrats when the Republicans seem too socially conservative, and to the Republicans when the Democrats seem to be pushing too much big government spending and intrusiveness. Nevertheless, the left/right partisan polarization seems to be getting worse.

David Boaz, author of The Libertarian Mind, shares more thoughts on Silver’s findings .

61 Comments for “Many Lean Libertarian, But Parties Remain Polarized”

  1. posted by tom Jefferson 3rd on

    I suspect that levels of age, education, income are probably still big indicators with regards to gay rights and government taxation and spending policy.

    Folks who complain about ‘wealth redistribution’ or ‘big government’ tend to complain a bit less where their favorite program or services are on the hypothetical chopping block.

    Independent voters fall into main groups.

    The (largest group) folks who don’t pay too much attention to political news are not really a part of any political ideology and tend to make political choices based on which candidate they think that they would probably like to drink a beer with. These tend to be seen as centrist/swing voters or weak democrats or weak republicans.

    The second class of Independent voters are involved with some sort of third, fourth, fifth or sixth political party. They tend to believe in conspiracy theories-mixed in with some sort of quasi-political ideology.

    You get folks on the very far right – American Independent Party, the Constitution party – as well as socialist and communities parties (albeit not too active) and other, odd political things like the Libertarian party (right-wing version), the Prohibition Party, the Reform Party, the Pot Party, the Green Party, etc .

    Now the proper place for such political parties in our system is a subject for another time.

    Yet, the reality is that the two major parties will never be ideology-based. They will be molded and remolded like children’s play-off.

    Eventually, both parties will probably have the same position on marriage, on paper, because of public opinion.

    On tax, spending and economic issues the parties are actually quite similar, with a few variations.

    This is due to how campaigns are financed and the public ain’t gonna take to kindly to losing the government benefits, services and investments that they enjoy.

  2. posted by tom Jefferson 3rd on

    Germany has a third party called the Free Democrats. They are basically a party for an education and generally prosperous (upper?) middle class.

    They tend to back ‘liberal’ social issues (like gay rights) but want to strip down Germany’s welfare state and taxation. So, maybe more classical liberal.

    This party almost always sides with the Christian Democrats (major party) when building a coalition, so their liberal views on social issues gets more or less ignored in favor of conservative economic policy.

    So, gay marriage does not exist in Germany, largely due to the Christian Democrats (who have had to begrudgingly live with domestic partnerships and some anti-discrimination laws).

    If a similar third party emerged in the U.S., would it favor joining with the GOP (putting aside gay rights policy)?
    I wouldn’t be surprised

  3. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    These voters, aside from the small, diehard Libertarian Party folks, generally fall into the independent camp. They swing to the Democrats when the Republicans seem too socially conservative, and the Republicans when the Democrats seem to be pushing too much big government spending and intrusiveness.

    I recognize that the party’s positions put “socially liberal, no social insurance” voters in a bind, but other than to note that “socially liberal, no social insurance” voters don’t have a natural home outside “the small, diehard Libertarian Party”, what’s to be done?

    The modern Democratic Party’s core principle is “social insurance” (Social Security, Medicare, maintaining a social safety net) and is unlikely to abandon its core principles. The modern Republican Party was founded on the “Southern Strategy” and the anger of “Reagan Democrats” (opposition to “social insurance”, moral majority and busing) and is unlikely to abandon its core principles, either. The positions of the parties on “equal means equal” are a natural outgrowth of the parties’ political history and seem firmly set for the time being. I don’t expect either party will reverse course on equality, although it is inevitable that the Republican Party will eventually moderate on “equal means equal” as the demographics in the party change over the next decade. If anything, the Republican Party seems to be digging in its heels this election cycle.

    So, to my mind, the real question for this election cycle is whether the “socially liberal, no social insurance” voters will vote on the basis of “socially liberal” or the basis of “no social insurance”. I don’t have a prediction.

    Nevertheless, the left/right partisan polarization seems to be getting worse.

    I’m old enough to remember a time when both parties were not so polarized and were willing to make political compromises, a time when I could and did split my ticket. Except for local offices like County Clerk and Sheriff, I haven’t done that in a long time. Political scientists have a lot of theories about why the parties have become so polarized (modern redistricting techniques, which have rendered most state and federal legislative districts into “safe” districts where neither party has to compete for the moderate middle in general elections seems to be the primary culprit), but I don’t think that anyone disputes the fact of increased polarization of elected legislators from the two parties.

  4. posted by Mike in Houston on

    I don’t necessarily think that the American public is any more or less “libertarian-leaning” than we’ve ever been… distrust of government is woven into our national DNA, but so is the ideal of coming together for the “common good”. Politically we have always swung between those two poles.

    The polarization that we see today is not so much left versus right as it is centrist versus the far right.

  5. posted by tom Jefferson 3rd on

    Corporate welfare is popular with most elected officials – even the ones who decry ‘pork’ projects and ‘wastefull’ government spending.

    Welfare to farmers ain’t gonna be dramatically cut, like welfare to people was (not that I object to welfare to work in theory). Farmers are more likely to vote and organize.

    Voters aren’t going to be thrilled if one day the government woke up one morning and decided to ‘free’ people by getting rid of Social security, Medicare, Medicare, public schools, minimum wage, health care for the poor, civil rights and the like.

    So, the idea that voters (even 22%) are opposed to ‘wealth redistribution’ is a bit iffy. It’s liking asking people if they are op

    • posted by Houndentenor on

      It’s odd to hear conservatives complain about “wealth redistribution” when for 35 years the wealth has been redistributed upwards, not downwards, which is what they wanted.

    • posted by Houndentenor on

      We can’t even seem to back away from subsidies for the highly profitable oil industry. In addition, the programs for the poor greatly help major corporations. The amount WalMart takes in from food stamp usage in its stores is greater than it’s profit margin. In other words, they’d go under if food stamps were eliminated. And as for Social Security, Medicare, etc. it becomes clear when talking to conservatives (which I do daily) that they view their own government benefits as “earned” while those others receive are not.

  6. posted by tom Jefferson 3rd on

    Now it is entirely possible that a third party in America would arise like the German Free Democrats or the Jesse Ventura Minnesota Independence party.

    It’s more likely that the two main parties in America will have more noticeable differences in social policy, in comparison to the more nuanced and muddly realm of tax/spend/economic policy.

    If opposing (legally) marriage equality is rewarded, it will still have some political relevance…mostly among Republicans

    If opposing marriage equality is a political liability, it will become less and less relevant among among (mostly) Republicans.

    I doubt that gay marriage law will remain as politically polarizing as abortion law, but I still see it being used to try and paint voters into red or blue color codes.

  7. posted by Jorge on

    It is not uncommon for dogs to bark for no reason at all.

  8. posted by Dale of the Desert on

    Actually, dogs never bark for no reason, but we may not understand the reasons, and sometimes they may not understand why they do what they do either.

    • posted by Jorge on

      …and sometimes they may not understand why they do what they do either.

      I should adopt that addition.

  9. posted by William T. on

    It’s quite a strawman to say that the kind of libertarian-centrists-independents that the blog post discusses are “against social insurance.” These are not the “diehard” LP voters. What the movable middle (and I count myself as part of it) is against is both the homophobic Republican right and the Democratic left that has moved way, way beyond providing a social safety net (Tom’s “social insurance”) and has embraced an agenda of deficit-busting economic social engineering that might be acceptable if it worked (“stimulus” doesn’t) and instead is often counter-productive (incentives for dependency).

    So, no, we’re not “against social insurance,” as much as that makes your side sound like members of the righteous.

    • posted by Tom Scharbach on

      So, no, we’re not “against social insurance,” as much as that makes your side sound like members of the righteous.

      A quiet note: The categories “socially liberal” versus “socially illiberal”, and “social insurance” versus “no social insurance” are neither Stephen’s nor mine, but Nate Silver’s, from the Data Lab posting cited by Stephen.

  10. posted by Lori Heine on

    If “social insurance” issues were removed from the purview of government, they would no longer be subject to the whim of the mob. Material security would be based on something more solid and sustainable than is possible when it’s dependent on the current score in the power game.

    I ask my straight friends to imagine waking up every morning wondering if their most basic human rights were up or down, in or out, hot or not. How would they like having to check a public opinion poll every morning to see whether–at that moment–they had a future?

    The poor and unemployed, in general, don’t like that either. Neither do most Americans, regardless of economic status or political stripe. This is why they’re in the movable middle. It’s also why they won’t commit to either side. Their team might lose.

    Rational self-interest is a sustainable power-source for an economy. Political muscle is not.

    • posted by Mike in Houston on

      I’m always amazed at the assumption that generally is articulated from the “lets get rid of programs for the poor & unemployed” on the right: namely that chronically poor people are lazy and not working because of government largess. It’s the old black welfare queen canard — which provides the excuse for all sorts of degrading treatment dictated by people who ostensibly want the government “out of everyone’s business”.

      Nevermind that the biggest welfare queens sucking at the government teat are corporations and agribusiness…. it’s easier to kick the olds and the poors.

      I’m a firm believer that there are working solutions to poverty — private, public and private/public partnership — and they can be done in a financially prudent way. I also happen to believe that Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid are programs that have been highly successful when allowed to be — without unnecessary attempts to dismantle them from recalcitrant GOP opposition.

      So much of the conversation about “income redistribution”, however lacks nuance to the point of being childish — and hardly meets the rational self-interest test.

      • posted by Lori Heine on

        I’m always amazed when bizarre notions are read into relatively straightforward arguments.

        If anyone is arguing that the poor are lazy, it is not me. I am arguing that because they are human like everybody else, they have rational self-interest like everybody else.

        As I am neither young nor anywhere remotely approaching wealthy, I doubt if I am kicking members of groups to which I belong. it’s interesting for a lesbian to come to an LGBT website, express a libertarian argument, and be lectured by BMW-driving male professionals about how we hate the poor.

        I hope you don’t fall into that category. Too many here do.

        • posted by Mike in Houston on

          My comment wasn’t directed at you, but at the degeneracy of arguments against “social insurance” that we too often see… the empathy gap is palpable.

          I don’t have all the answers or maybe even the right ones, but I’d like to think that I’m open to proposals that go beyond “bootstrapping” by people that don’t even have boots.

          • posted by Lori Heine on

            Agreed. I favor giving the poor more options. None available to them should be taken off of the table.

            That presupposes just the opposite of their being lazy. It assumes that a great many, perhaps most, desire the chance to find meaningful work and pursue their dreams.

            I know a lot of people who are struggling, and I know that they all have dreams.

        • posted by Houndentenor on

          The problem Lori is that these kinds of things sound good in a general abstract way. Yes, it’s best if we are not all subject to the whims of the mob. But in practice, what happens to poor people without a social safety net? We know what would happen to them because we can look at how they lived before such a thing existed. It’s well documented. Our system is not perfect and an overhaul to meet the needs of people int he 2010s rather than the 1960s is long overdue. But when I hear people talk about getting rid of it altogether it causes me great concern because it’s usually coming from people who sound like they wouldn’t mind if poor people just starved to death, even children. (I know that’s not you, but you can’t have missed this from people who say such things.) Moreover, I get very nervous about the idea of “privatizing social security” because Wall Street would love nothing more than to get their hands on one of the largest piles of cash int he world and suck it dry until there’s nothing left for anyone but themselves. That’s currently happening to state pension and other funds and when the next downturn in the economy happens everyone is going to realize what’s been going on that our lazy, ignorant press corps has failed to report (just as they failed to report on the mortgage backed security and other frauds going on in the late 00s).

      • posted by Ricport on

        First, I gotta ask: How many poor people do you live near? I often find that libs who weep about the poor quite often live in areas where the only poor people are the gardeners, maids and trash collectors. The county where I live (Montgomery County, MD) is a prime example of this. The rich, white libs in Chevy Chase and Bethesda who weep about the poor would go positively apoplectic if there was ever a proposal to put Section 8 housing in their neighborhood. I live in a complex that is predominantly black and working-class. However, sprinkled in with us are quite a few Section 8 recipients. Hate to break it to you, but in my experience, they are the ones who trash up the place, completely disobey the neighborhood rules, and generally make life less pleasant for the rest of us. And I lived right next door to a welfare queen. She was an immigrant from Africa, was on every possible bit of public assistance she could get (including electric, which caused her to leave the door open in the dead of summer while the AC was blasting on more than a few occasions), and bragged about how she was milking the system. And to ensure those welfare dollars kept coming in, she went out and got pregnant again.

        Are all poor people like this? Of course not. Are a majority? Very likely yes. And that’s the problem with our current system. I’d much rather see welfare dollars being spent on the man or woman flipping burgers at McDonald’s who are actually trying to be productive members of society and get out of poverty, rather than rewarding lazy people for gaming the system.

        And your pointing out that corporate welfare is every bit as vexing as social welfare (no arguments here, BTW) ironically proves that both political parties are abject failures, as they are – once again – protecting their voting blocs at the expense of the nation.

        • posted by Houndentenor on

          LOL I am certainly not rich. I’m not sure at the moment that I would qualify as middle class since I went back to grad school and work a combo of part time jobs and have no benefits (I pay for my own crappy health insurance, for example). I live hear poor people and on several occasions have lived in close proximity to housing projects. Yes, there are limousine liberals. At least unlike the limousine conservatives they can at least pretend to care about poor people. I worked for a number of both and they all suffered from the effects of living in the kind of bubble that only wealth can create for you.

          • posted by ricport on

            And I prefer the refreshing honesty of the “limousine conservatives,” who aren’t being the very definition of hypocrisy by pretending to care and wanting to be equal to the poor.

            I’d also point out that not every rich person is evil and out of touch any more than every poor person is humble and noble.

    • posted by JohnInCA on

      I’m curious what workable alternative you think you have to government-backed “social insurance”.

      • posted by Lori Heine on

        How about making it easier for people to strike out on their own and make money as freelancers and entrepreneurs? Not penalizing them for making money over a limit artificially set by someone else? Not throwing every possible impediment in their way, at every turn, when they try to develop themselves and their potential?

        A lot of people don’t want to spend the rest of their lives on a sugar-tit. They want to be self-employed and pursue our own plans. But this is made far more difficult for them than it needs to be.

        If libertarians thought those struggling at the bottom end of our economy were lazy, it would make no sense for us to advocate for this. We think human potential is being tragically wasted.

        This is not, incidentally, an either/or proposition. The dichotomy between either having a social safety net or making greater room for human development is a false one.

        • posted by Doug on

          I’m not being argumentative but what are all these ‘throw every impediment’ things that prevents people from starting their own business and/or improve themselves? Yes there are rules and regulations but somehow Warren Buffet and Bill Gates succeeded in-spite of various regulations that were implemented for the common good. Laissez-faire just doesn’t work in an organized society.

          • posted by Lori Heine on

            Not everyone is Warren Buffet or Bill Gates. Why must they be exceedingly exceptional in order to succeed? What about regular folks? Single mothers? Elderly people, trying to start their lives again? People with criminal records, or those struggling with mental health issues?

            Not to be argumentative, but I would think progressives would care.

            Why the fear of placing additional options alongside a government-mandated safety net? Other than control, what would there be for government and its advocates to lose?

            Nothing. Again, it is not an either/or question. The dichotomy between a social safety net, even one supplied by government, and other options (maligned as “laissez-faire”) is entirely false. It exists nowhere except in progressives’ heads.

            More options are a good thing in a free country. Let a thousand flowers bloom.

        • posted by Houndentenor on

          You realize that you didn’t actually answer his question, right?

          If you are saying you favor making it easier for people to start new businesses, then I would favor that. A lot of regulation on small businesses is there to make it harder for start-ups to compete with the established businesses in the community. I don’t think you’d find much argument for such reform here. But beyond that you didn’t really explain specifically what you want, and again this is the primary frustration I have with libertarians. I might agree with you on at least some proposals but I need to see the details first.

          • posted by Lori Heine on

            I did indeed answer the question. Not everyone likes how I answered it.

            Without being argumentative and starting yet another flame war (which at the moment I don’t have time for, and am getting tired of), I could not have expanded too much on what I said.

            I disagree that all the rules and regulations that restrict ordinary people from going into business for themselves are “for the common good.” I think the great bulk of them exist at the behest of the very big corporations and rich people Doug (rightly) distrusts.

            I believe that they were enacted–thanks to their heavy lobbying–largely for the purpose of eliminating competition from “the little people” they wish to rule and regulate.

            There are reasons that those rules and regulations stop little people in their tracks, but don’t stop the Warren Buffetts or the Bill Gateses. And anyway, they made it then, and this is now.

            The situation is worse now. And getting worse all the time.

            I’m not a politician, so I don’t have detailed policies to outline. Nor are any commenters but libertarians ever necessarily expected to do so here. Which is odd, since this is a libertarian/conservative blog to begin with.

            Stephen and the others are perfectly capable of picking up on ideas they get from the commenters. They do it all the time. I have my own interests, and political wonkery is not among them.

        • posted by JohnInCA on

          Unless you’re advocating for deregulation and government loans for start-ups, I’m not sure what actual policy suggestions you’re making.

          That said, having a more secure social safety-net makes it *easier* for people to be entrepreneurs, to takes risks, and try things. How/why? Because it means that if they fail (and most of them will) that they’re not fucked, just set back.

          • posted by Lori Heine on

            Regulatory and tax burdens keep many of them from being able to start businesses in the first place.

            Why don’t you try coming out of your little cave and actually asking people who’ve tried to go into business what they think, instead of staying in an echo chamber?

            The similarity between the statist left and the statist right gets eerier all the time. It’s funny that you don’t think you like those on the other team. They’re so much like you that if your jerseys weren’t of different colors, it would be hard to tell you apart.

          • posted by JohnInCA on

            You do make such curious assumptions Lori.

  11. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    It seems to me that the solution to the “libertarian” dilemma is for a third political party, representing the “socially liberal, no social insurance” voters, to grow rather than remain, as Stephen puts it, a “small, diehard” party. I recognize that this hasn’t happened, but perhaps it will.

    I know a number of Libertarians, and I wonder why the so-called “libertarians” who supposedly share the party’s “socially liberal, no social insurance” views haven’t moved in that direction.

    • posted by Houndentenor on

      Where I really wonder why that isn’t happening is in areas where the Republican challenger isn’t going to win the race anyway and the GOP candidate is a social conservative type. It still hasn’t happened and I wonder if it’s that a lot of conservatives like to hear themselves talk like libertarians but are in fact right-wing conservatives who don’t actually want what libertarians are selling.

    • posted by Lori Heine on

      What about the “socially liberal, expanded options and opportunities” libertarians? Where are we to go? And why are we always getting subtly edited out of the picture?

      Interesting how that keeps happening. Maybe it’s a computer glitch: some sort of libertarian-idea-erasing software feature.

      • posted by Lori Heine on

        Speaking of idiotic software, I hate the commentary feedback system this blog uses. I was attempting to answer Tom’s last remark and got stuck under Houndentenor.

      • posted by JohnInCA on

        Go wherever you want. If you can turn an existing party to your whims? Great. If you can get the numbers and influence to form your own party? Great. But whining that no one else is solving your problems for you is just an entitlement problem.

        • posted by Lori Heine on

          Exactly what libertarians are NOT doing is whining that someone else isn’t solving our problems for us. We’re practically the only people who aren’t. Which is precisely why statists like you can’t stand us in the first place.

          You’ve junked up your mind with so much propaganda that you’re babbling. Nor do you honestly even want to know what libertarians believe.

          You’ve got your strange, cartoonish concepts, based on an understanding of libertarian thought (particularly Ayn Rand) that’s about as accurate as most fundamentalists’ views of the Bible.

          • posted by JohnInCA on

            Lori, you were *just* whining that you’re being “edited out of the picture” after whining “where are we to go?”

            And I think it’s interesting that you assume what I do or don’t know about libertarian philosophy based on logistical comments. One does not follow from the other.

      • posted by Tom Scharbach on

        What about the “socially liberal, expanded options and opportunities” libertarians? Where are we to go?

        Unless “socially liberal, expanded options and opportunities libertarians” elect to vote Libertarian, then, like everyone else, they have to make a choice between Democrats and Republicans.

  12. posted by tom Jefferson 3rd on

    Interesting side note. Back in the 1980s the Minnesota legislature decided to allow counties to opt out of certain ‘big government’ regulations and operate on the Libertarian idea of self-regulation.

    Flash forward to this year where the roof of a hotel/resort/water park collapsed. The establishment is in Otter Tail county, and yeah, the Republican leaning county decided, “hey let’s leave it up to the invisible hand of the market”

    Luckily, no death were reported, but Thumper Pond may be a good example of how ” getting off the backs” of the private sector can be dangerous.

    Now about the comments made about section 8. From my experience and my friends experiences, “Section 8” people are perfectly decent people.

    What tends to become a problem is when you get illegal trafficking of people or drugs. When you start getting criminal gangs, pimps and illegal drug trade (especially the hard drugs) just about any neighborhood starts to decline.

    Also lot’s of folk (income aside) should probably be taking some anti-depressants. Mental health treatment is too stigmatized in America and often difficult to access, especially if you don’t have much money.

  13. posted by Lori Heine on

    I’m not coming to concrete conclusions based on a (false) choice between total regulation of absolutely everything or wild-eyed deregulation of everything. I’m talking about considering a wider variety of choices and putting them all on the table for people to choose between.

    I’m also talking about listening to each other, instead of obsessing over games of “gotcha” and waiting to jump on petty mistakes (like typos in blog comments).

    I distrust anyone in politics or government — right or left — who’s afraid of choice. Honest people never are.

  14. posted by Lori Heine on

    John in CA, what a big, strong, macho man you are, using a tough-guy word like “whine!” I’ve so been put in my place now. Thanks so much for showing me there.

    Actually, you sound like a typical right-wing Republican. You’re revealing that your thinking is not so different from theirs, after all.

    Because I accurately described what is happening to people who are not wealthy and don’t milk crony-capitalist favors out of government, you (falsely) took that as passivity. Sorry to dash your chronically-itching ego, but it was nothing of the sort. Libertarians are taking an increasingly large leadership role in this country. We’re the voters candidates are going to need to please, increasingly, from now on.

    If you’d prefer to think of us as weak and whiny, so you won’t be so scared, then knock yourself out.

    We know where to go. Replacing you in terms of influence is where we’re headed. Nor are you, or anyone else, going to stop us.

    • posted by JohnInCA on

      You make so many assumptions about me! From what I think my thinking is like, to what’s important to my ego, and to what I’m even trying to do! It’s funny, but it also gets old.


      I think it’s funny that you think I was trying to “put you in your place” given that you were *just* whining about not having one.

      Fact is, I can’t put you in “your” place. I can’t put you in *any* place. Which was kinda my point, which you seem to find objectionable and led you to spurious personal attacks. You, and other people of similar political ideas, need to *make* your place or *take* your place. No one is going to give you a place or put you in a place.

      And an aside? I’m a short gay man that wears skirts (aka: kilts with underwear underneath) and can’t bench press my own body weight. I have no illusions of “macho”. But it’s cute you think I do. No seriously, I actually laughed at that.

      • posted by Lori Heine on

        I can’t understand your hostility in the first place. Why did you even feel the need to keep dragging a word like “whining” into the discussion?

        My purpose, in the suggestions I made on this thread, was to show that other options exist for those who are financially struggling, beyond the stark binary offered by the mainstream left and right. That had nothing whatsoever to do with “whining.” Why must you cast it in such a negative light?

        Why are you threatened by other choices? That’s not very democratic, nor is it particularly progressive. You think the same old, same old that brought the country to this point is good enough, evidently, and I don’t. There are a variety of different possible responses to that besides (A) merely accepting it or (B) whining.

        That you felt you had to attack someone who chose option B certainly bespeaks of weakness. And it’s rather strange for people who react in weakness to accuse others of whining. Sort of like Republican armchair warhawks calling other people cowards.

        • posted by JohnInCA on

          Lori, I’m gonna straight-up admit something about me that you might not have noticed or assumed (on the basis that you haven’t tried to insult me along those lines yet, despite your attempts to insult me on the basis of a number of assumed traits): I’m pedantic. I check things.

          And you know what I just checked? My prior six posts in this comment thread.

          #1 was asking about what alternative you had to government social security.
          #2 was a skeptical post in the same thread asking what actual policy recommendations you had (your prior response was heavy on rhetoric and absent on substance) while pointing out that government-backed social security allowed the very things you said you want.
          #3 wasn’t responding substantively to your content because it was so full of assumptions about my character there wasn’t a point. It was a one liner of “lol, your assumptions are funny”.
          #4 was in direct response to your “where are we to go”, in which I first advised to take or make a place, but don’t expect anyone to give you one. This is also where I first characterized your question as “whining”, a characterization I stand by.
          #5 I emphasized that “where are we to go” is totally whining and pointed out again you’re making weird assumptions about me.
          #6 I started off, again, by mocking your assumptions about me. Then I asked what was offensive about my “make or take a place” advice. I closed by pointing out that your “macho” attack is just funny.

          The only “hostility” I see is the “whining” comment, which I fully standby. Sure, it’s not fair, it’s an ugly truth, but it’s also a cold hard fact.

          I also see absolutely no support for your “threatened by other choices” assumption. Then again, you make a lot of assumptions about me that you never bother defending, just asserting over and over again.

          But as always, you are free to explain yourself. You are free to point out this “hostility” you feel, preferably with quotes and not rhetoric. You are free to highlight just what I’ve said or done that makes you think I’m threatened by “choices”, live in an echo chamber, think I’m all that different from the “statist right”, have “cartoonish concepts” of Libertarian idealogy, anything to do with Ayn Rand or anything to do with anyone being macho/weak/strong.

          • posted by Lori Heine on

            Stand by any word you choose, dear. If you want to reveal yourself as a sexist plutocrat, that’s quite up to you.

      • posted by Ricport on

        John, I am still waiting for you to let us all know where you picked up all of your supposed knowledge of what Libertarians are all about…

        • posted by JohnInCA on

          So am I, seeing as that doesn’t sound like anything I’d claim.

          • posted by Lori Heine on

            So you use right-wing weasel words, then, for absolutely no reason. Except for what–some sort of childish putdown?

            Few libertarians see things in the binary black-white way you evidence in your comments. The fact that you keep coming back and repeating the error, again and again, leaves some of us to wonder exactly how we’re wronging and deeply misunderstanding you.

            We’d almost think, John, that you were…whining.

          • posted by JohnInCA on

            Weasel-words are a right-wing thing now? News to me.

            That said, I don’t use them for “no reason”, I use them because only Sith speak in absolutes. If that bothers you, perhaps your thinking is a little… how did you put it… binary?

  15. posted by Lori Heine on

    Well, I meant to add an option (C) but obviously forgot to. Somebody will have to jump in with a “Gotcha!” now.

    Maybe Professor Relevant can come back and instruct us all on what is, and is not, a proper omission. I learned so much about what typos are and aren’t allowed to be.

  16. posted by Tom Jefferson III on

    Personally, (in high school) I read the writings of Ayn Rand as well as some books published by David Boaz, Harry Browne and Milton Friedman. All pretty much the standard viewpoints and assumptions of the libertarian-right. I have also befriended some ex-libertarians and some current libertarians

  17. posted by Lori Heine on

    As I, too, go back and check things, I cannot help but notice John in CA’s dishonesty. I have said repeatedly that what I advocate is expanding opportunities for (non-wealthy) people to make a living free of excessive regulatory and tax burdens. I have said nothing whatsoever about yanking away the government safety net. I do not regard the two options as mutually-exclusive, and have said so time after time.

    Yet again and again, John tries to slip back in the notion that there must be a stark, either/or choice between the two. His argument is essentially dishonest.

    John, I do not debate with men who use slap-the-little-woman-down terms like “whine,” because they’re bastards. You have no cause whatsoever to see yourself as a progressive. For you to present yourself as one is fraudulent. And don’t try to tell me that you’d slip in a conversation-stopper like “whine” with a man you didn’t know well in any face-to-face exchange. That you wouldn’t dare go around doing such a thing can be attested to by the fact that you’re still alive.

    Libertarians propose all sorts of ideas, usually involving cutting government spending on things we think are bloated, like the military, or should be eliminated entirely, like corporate welfare. If you knew half as much as you say you do, you would already know that.

    Yet you continue offering your dishonestly black-and-white either/or. You are lying. And you can’t hide that behind your little kilt.

    • posted by JohnInCA on

      So what part of “preferably with quotes and not rhetoric” was unclear?

      That said, at least we agree on one thing. This isn’t a debate.

      • posted by Lori Heine on

        I don’t need to jump through hoops you devise for me, but press on nobody who agrees with you. I’m not running for office. You don’t have to agree with me, and I don’t need you to vote for me.

        I’ll put it plainly. I don’t take dictation from guys who can’t handle being disagreed with by women and try to smack them down with cracks about “whining.”

        You’re a progressive the way pigs have wings.

        • posted by JohnInCA on

          I see nothing to object to here.

          As you say, you are not beholden to me at all. You are free to debate or not at your leisure. You are free to satisfy my queries or not at your leisure. You are free to set your own ground-rules for a debate or not at your leisure.

          And seeing as I’m not a progressive and don’t identify as such (and don’t recall ever identifying as such either), I find your metaphor apt.

          • posted by Lori Heine on

            Cool beans. I have no idea what your problem has been all along, except that you’ve chosen to characterize any expression of dissatisfaction with a condition you’re happy with “whining.”

            We disagree. You think I’m a whiner. I think you’re a jerk.

            I’m perfectly content with the equilibrium we have established.

          • posted by JohnInCA on

            No idea? Really? Seriously? Honestly? You have literally *no idea* what my “problem” with you is? Have you not been paying attention?

            Go re-read post #7. It lays out, quite clearly, a sub-set of my problems up to that point. You clearly disagree with them. But you shouldn’t pretend they’ve gone un-articulated.

            Hell, my “I’m not macho!” and “I’m not a progressive!” comments weren’t exactly subtle either.

            All of which is to say: if you honestly have “no idea” what my problem with you is, then you’re an idiot. You might not *like* my problem with you. You may think I’m wrong to *have* said problem with you. But you have no excuse to act like I haven’t attempted to communicate all the ways your off-the-rails conclusions are problems.

            As an example of how you can acknowledge and reject the conclusion at the same time: you claim to think I’m a sexist progressive statist-left echo-chamber man who’s afraid of choices that doesn’t ever talk to people outside his ideological bubble. *That* sure seems to be your problem with me! I mean, the only word there that’s true is that I’m a man, but I still recognize what your (fabricated) problem with me is.

  18. posted by Lori Heine on

    John in CA, you are going completely off the rails. I don’t know what “Post #7” is, to begin with. Comment #7 on this thread is not even yours. I have no intention of putting any more effort than that into finding out what you’re talking about.

    I have expressed my opinion on the subject at hand, and you disagree with me. That’s fine. I don’t care, but it’s wonderful, really. Now how about going away and bothering someone else?

    I have no relationship to you whatsoever. If you have a “problem” with me, it is a problem to no one but yourself. You have been all over the map on this thread, just to keep the game going, opposing me just because to you it is a game, and you want to win it.

    Whatever, dude. I expressed my opinion and you disagreed. You seem unable to disagree with people without tossing in spluttery little cherry bombs like “whine,” but while that is a word ordinarily chosen by GOP plutocrats and sexist pigs, you are perfectly free to use it.

    You argue boilerplate leftism practically the whole thread (despite the right-wing weasel-word), yet toward the very end you proclaim that I am wrong yet again–HAH!–because you’ve never claimed to be a progressive.

    I don’t care. Again, whatever. Claim whatever you want, or don’t claim it. Stand on your head. Bay at the moon. Waste your time any way you want to. You’re done wasting mine.

    • posted by JohnInCA on

      For the record, I only “disagreed” with you when you stopped talking about your politics and started talking about *me*. If you think I’m lying here, you’re free to actually quote me disagreeing with you on your politics. But you won’t. Because apparently backing up their claims is something only us baying-at-the-moon lunatics do.

      And for reference? Post #7 was where I went through my previous six posts one by one looking for where I expressed fear of choices or hostility. Finding none, I challenged you to actually support your claims of either. Which you failed to do. Again, apparently only us lunatics bother quoting people.

      • posted by Lori Heine on

        I took exception to your spurious and ludicrous claim that I was “whining” that no one else was solving my problems. Given what I was saying, your charge made sense neither as an attack from the right or the left. Going back and looking at it again, your argument doesn’t make sense coming from any direction.

        Unless you’re simply of the position that any stick to beat libertarians is good enough, however little sense it makes, your comment made no sense. It still doesn’t.

        I will concede that it is impossible to place any particular ideology on your remarks. You are all over the place.

        As this flame-battle made a minimum of sense to begin with, I simply reiterate what I said early in the thread–that I believe government should back off of individual initiative and allow more opportunities, choices and options for those who are not wealthy. And that I don’t see this as requiring that the government stop providing a social safety net. To confuse the two concepts is to confuse apples with oranges.

        I don’t particularly care whether you agree or disagree. I’m tired of trying to figure out what the hell you’re talking about.

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