Has Libertarianism become the refuge of illiberal violent authoritarian xenophobes?

by: Peter Jukes

Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 17:40:42 PM EST

My day job precludes me from writing too long a diary on this, but happy to comment, and let the subject in question speak for himself.

The editor of Libertarian Republican has resigned in the wake of the thorough trashing of the GOP on Tuesday. And what he says by way of goodbye is downright interesting.

Today starts a new course for my life. I've soured on electoral politics given what happened last night. I believe now the best course of action is outright revolt. What do I mean by that?

Well, to each his own. Some may choose to push secession in their state legislatures. Others may choose to leave the U.S. for good (Costa Rica, Switzerland, Italy, Argentina, Hong Kong, Israel). Still others may want to personally separate themselves from the United States here in North America while still living under communist rule' the Glenn Beck, grab your guns, food storage, build bunkers, survivalist route. I heartily endorse all these efforts.

Peter Jukes :: Has Libertarianism become the refuge of illiberal violent authoritarian xenophobes?
Jeez. There's butthurt in electoral politics, and then there are calls from armed anti democratic insurrection. I thought libertarians believed in the sanctity of the individual.

Not so, it seems, if you are the ideological enemy. Eric Dondero urges his readers to "Express your hatred, shame, and outright disgust with anyone you know who voted Democrat"

What does that mean? Defiling your neighbours lawns for one. But it goes on

Starting early this morning, I am going to un-friend every single individual on Facebook who voted for Obama, or I even suspect may have Democrat leanings. I will do the same in person. All family and friends, even close family and friends, who I know to be Democrats are hereby dead to me. I vow never to speak to them again for the rest of my life, or have any communications with them. They are in short, the enemies of liberty. They deserve nothing less than hatred and utter contempt.

I strongly urge all other libertarians to do the same. Are you married to someone who voted for Obama, have a girlfriend who voted 'O'. Divorce them. Break up with them without haste. Vow not to attend family functions, Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas for example, if there will be any family members in attendance who are Democrats

I thought only Stalinists were guilty of equating a person with their ideology. But in a brown red shift, the libertarian editor has gone full tilt into pure ideological venom:

There are so many other nasty little things I plan to do against the communists and those who support them. Perhaps I'll keep Jim informed and he can report on my activities here at LR.

For now, off to my first assignment: Telling all my friends and family who voted for Obama to "fuck off, don't ever speak to me again you slimeball mother fuckers." Wish me luck!

So there we have it: libertarianism is reverting to hate speech, and hate speech is the precursor of hate crimes. I always thought there was something Pre-Hobbesian about an ideology which reduces everything to a binary authority/liberty axis, and makes the state the only threat to individuals.

From the sound of this guy, the threat comes from somewhere else

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Withdrawing From Public Discourse? (2.00 / 6)
Good.  Avoiding the company of reasonable people?  Fine with me, saves me the trouble of listening to them.  The evidence of the past decade, certainly since late 2008, seems to suggest that racism, for example, hadn't disappeared but merely been shamed into silence.  So be it, probably the best we can hope for.

It strikes me that these are the very people whose minority views were magnified by their volume, if they are voluntarily withdraw from public discourse there votes will be subsumed by the majority unnoticed.  It is a long overdue polemic suicide which I will gladly assist.

Unintended Consequences (2.00 / 5)
On a similar note this makes interesting reading:

But watching Rove vainly raging against the dying of the light cemented for me a view that's been forming throughout this campaign. Fox News, widely perceived to be one of the Republican party's greatest assets, has actually become a liability to it.

To describe Fox as a polarising broadcaster would be to give understatement a manly bear-hug. For Democrats and the liberal Left it is effectively an extension of the GOP press office, prosecuting a vicious and biased campaign against their candidates and values. For Republicans and the Right it provides a vital balance against the liberal prejudices of the Main Stream Media. But whatever the perceptions, Fox - to my mind - proved to be an albatross around the neck of Mitt Romney throughout this campaign.

Dan Hodges - Fox News Is Killing The Republican Party Telegraph 8 Dec 12

One unexpected revelation of the closing days of the campaign is how completely sealed-off from reality the numbers people in the Romney campaign had become; this made their defeat far worse to them and their supporters than it need have been.

[ Parent ]
Incidentally... (2.00 / 5)
If one thing has emerged in the last forty-eight hours it is that we really dodged a bullet; if the campaign is prologue to the administration the Romney folks were totally incompetent.  Beyond the mistaken assumptions and derisive mendacity which characterised the campaign, their surprise at the outcome alone demonstrates unfitness to run the executive branch:

They based their own internal polls on turnout levels more favorable to Romney. That was a grave miscalculation, as they would see on election night.

Those assumptions drove their campaign strategy: their internal polling showed them leading in key states, so they decided to make a play for a broad victory: go to places like Pennsylvania while also playing it safe in the last two weeks.

Those assessments were wrong.

Jan Crawford - Adviser: Romney "shellshocked" by loss CBS 8 Nov 12

Consider that for a moment, their whole campaign strategy, all of their internal polling, every day-to-day decision made in a billion dollar campaign was founded on "assessments" that they simply pulled out of their collective asses.  And they were wrong.  Holy crap.

Imagine if their repeated boasts about their clumsy, wasteful, ineffective ground game, outsourced to church groups and con artists, was an insight into their managerial culture.  For pity's sake, blue chip managerial excellence was their whole argument in favour of Romney's candidacy.  No, sorry, that just isn't good enough.  And this:

...it was during that [2008 "Listening Tour"] that [Jeb] Bush uttered a vivid reality: We're losing the demographics game, he said, and we won't start re-winning until we change our playbook and actually try to attract women and minorities. [...] Pretty simple.

Yet here we are, four years later, and this is all coming as news to the Republican Party? I'm sorry. It's not so much that I violently disagree with their prehistoric ideologies, which of course I do. It's that they're just too stupid to govern.

P M Carpenter - So, guys, what's new? P M Carpenter's Commentary 8 Nov 12

Having drunk deeply of the post-election analysis I can't believe the wall-to-wall incompetence of the Romney campaign, along with all their demons, minions and fellow-travellers, isn't a story.  And I'll bet a lot of journalists and pundits are secretly grateful their endorsements, real or implied, will never be called to account.

I hate to beat the same drum (no, I don't), but this is expected. (2.00 / 4)
The Progressive teeth-gnashing of the past few years has also missed the same point. It doesn't really matter - in the long run - if the GOP takes the Tea Party path. In some ways it is a good thing.

As more years go by and the fears that have been so cartoonishly presented continue to fail to happen the lesson learned here will become accepted by a larger and larger majority. The GOP itself will remake under a different set of focuses, where association with the Dark Years will itself be a disqualifier.

Far more than the 50% who voted for Obama already agree. Most of the GOP voters I know dismiss the Tea Party/Beck/Hannity line out of hand today. They did not vote Romney because they agree with FOX, they did so despite the fact they disagree.

The landslide is not the votes cast, it is the loud sheering-away of the vast majority of the nation from the stump of extremism.

Glen Beck got 10% of the country to watch his show. 0.43% of the population listen to Rush.

80% of the population disagrees with them. Maybe 90%, maybe more. "They are really just entertainment" is something many their audience says.

Like Pawn Stars.

The system works. If someone wants to run something up a flag pole, have at it. If the person not worth remembering quoted in this article wants to piss on all his family and friends and find somewhere he can live with "his kind", have at it.

Let us know how that works for you.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
Yes, that is hilarious/disturbing (2.00 / 5)
I honestly don't know what to make of the story of their "faith-based" numbers strategy.  Either they were remarkably stupid or this is an attempt to explain away the loss.  It's just very hard for me to wrap my head around the possibility that when they campaigned in Pennsylvania, they honestly thought they were running up the score; that when Romney laid an egg in the third debate, it may have been due to a belief that he needed to act cautiously in order to protect his imaginary lead.  If this is all true, it requires a wholesale reinterpretation of the last weeks of the campaign.

Anyway, we dodged a bullet, thanks in part to their shitty polling and election software.  I love that they apparently named "Project Orca" after a predator of the narwhal ("Narwhal" was the code name for Obama's campaign program).    

[ Parent ]
I'm Guessing... (2.00 / 3)
The problems for them are structural and enduring.  Every path to moderation runs through the very conservative state and House seats they have just gerrymandered into bastions.  For a party which needs to shed their most radical constituencies they have entrenched them for a decade.

I don't see how they wriggle out of it even after it dawns on them.

[ Parent ]
Maybe they should try (2.00 / 4)
Herman Cain's idea of a new, truly conservative party.  Then we'll have a centrist party (that's the dems) an extreme conservative party (The GOP) and an extremer conservativer party that Cain envisions.

At that point, we're absolute idiots not to push through a public option.

Gotta think that the remaining sane 10% of Republicans will start to vote democrat at some point.  Tradition and culture only carry so far.  It'll be the opposite of the Dixiecrats turning Republican.

The future is unwritten

[ Parent ]
As I've Noted... (2.00 / 3)
For some time the Tea Party is the genie that won't go back in the bottle.  They're stuck with it now, one party or more.  And the delicious irony is the gerrymander of 2010, the enduring legacy of the Tea Party movement, provides an indelible platform for the Wallace constituencies within their ranks to unrepentantly pursue their demonstrably destructive messaging for another decade.  They're screwed.

I'm guessing the 10% of sane Republican congressional members may start to vote with Democrats at some point; that will be a day of reckoning.  They are almost where Democrats were in 1968-72; which is to say marginalised by internal strife for a generation.

[ Parent ]
By the way (2.00 / 4)
if I haven't already said so (my memory is for shit these days), I have missed you as well. You make me want to move to Australia, especially with that Prime Minister you have down under.

I am years behind and decades ahead. ~ Somebody else, I am certain

[ Parent ]
Shucks (2.00 / 3)
It's good to see you here again, Hollede.  Our prime minister is under a lot of electoral pressure at the moment but she sure isn't going out without a bang.

[ Parent ]
I would like to hear (2.00 / 2)
more about that. Since I can't be bothered to read any of the major newspapers (OMFG I am Sarah Palin), I rely on you all to keep me informed. Oh that and my persistent addiction to MSNBC:~J

I am years behind and decades ahead. ~ Somebody else, I am certain

[ Parent ]
Sigh (2.00 / 1)
Outside of parliamentary slamming and scandals our politics is a bit boring, all the interesting stuff goes on internally in party back-rooms.  Unfortunately our electorate has not been mobilised by much in the way of "issues."  It is all Punch and Judy in the media, which is virtually a Murdoch monopoly.

[ Parent ]
They didn't go into states like Pennsylvania and Minnesota (2.00 / 8)
because they were competitive. They went into those states at the last minute so the campaign advisers and consultants could make more money off ad buys. It has to do with how the GOP structures their campaigns. The consultants get a cut of every ad buy. The result is that they concentrate on buying the most expensive ads they can find instead of the cheapest. That also rewards them for running ads in non-competitive markets.

This is not a recession. It's a robbery.

[ Parent ]
And... (2.00 / 7)
For SuperPAC buys being more expensive than discounted campaign buys.  A very Bain-like operation for skinning the investors.

[ Parent ]
JOHN!!! (2.00 / 6)
Goodness it is wonderful to see you here. I have missed you my friend.

I am years behind and decades ahead. ~ Somebody else, I am certain

[ Parent ]
wow, thats really kind of stunning, (2.00 / 4)
so win or lose, consultants and campaign people make money.

[ Parent ]
Why do they insist on calling Obama voters communists,,, (2.00 / 6)
...when we are clearly Death Eaters?   Which explains why we're so nice to the mudbloods of course.

I'd snort and laugh.  But this is the same tone employed by Allen West, who raised more money than any other candidate for The House.  And even those one would expect to be a tad more responsible, given positions of leadership, dabble in rhetoric that comes awful close.  When Paul Ryan accuses Obama and us of endangering Judeo-Christian values, and when they all wrap themselves in the Constitution and either implicitly or explicitly accuse us of disregarding it, there's no place to go.  We are an evil threat.

But this really is not new.  What Peter raises here is how these degraders of the concept of Liberty have seized upon Libertarianism, which once upon a time was the label that described fiscal conservatives who were socially liberal.  Libertarians, for most of my life, were the people who wanted lower taxes, legal abortion and drugs, and dismissed homophobia.

But let me share an interchange I had just yesterday on a guitar blog with a self-described libertarian conservative:

Him: of course black celebrities monolithically supported Obama; blacks are the most racist group in America, hating whites, Jews, Hispanics, and Asians with equal fervor because they've been programmed to believe that everybody else is benefiting to their detriment.

ME: What percentage of blacks are racists? Or is it all of them? And where do you get your figures?

Him: it's prima facie obvious. just listen to their leaders spewing anti-Semitism, note the explosion of black youths' "flash mob" attacks on defenseless whites, and look at the warfare between hispanics and blacks in areas where hispanics are moving in. in San Francisco, blacks have rioted to drive ethnically Chinese out of public housing because "it belongs to US." and let's not even talk about the rate of black-on-white crime compared to the converse.

I dropped it there and then as others suggested he switch his avatar to a hood and be done with it.  But clearly this is someone who thinks "Birth of a Nation" was a documentary.

The communism charge is just as historically ignorant or flawed...or manipulative.  It follows from an elision of socialism and communism, which itself follows from a total misrepresentation of socialism.  See, they define socialism according to level of commitment to government administered SOCIAL programs and services.  Socialism actually relates to government ownership and control of the means of production and/or regulation and potentially the elimination of private property.  Clearly, one can have a robust public sector with a high level of social programs without the government taking over all private industry, finance, and property.  

But, to paraphrase someone in that thread further excerpted and linked below, try and tell them that a horse chestnut has nothing to do with a chestnut horse.  When I pasted in a dictionary definition of socialism from Merriam Webster, I received this response:

And to all those getting hung up on dictionary definitions: you're being fooled. I know you won't believe it, but you are.

When the moderator stepped in to try to calm things down, asking if we could simply stop for the day, he received this response from our bold and stalwart opponent of socialism and of Black on White racism:

no. the two ideologies are mutually exclusive and cannot coexist. to compromise with evil is to endorse evil.

If you want, you can read the whole thread here: http://gretschpages.com/forum/...

BUT, and this is a big but, we cannot simply assume that these voices represent the totality of GOP voters.  It is absolutely incumbent upon us to continue to be reasonable in the face of unreasonableness.  We must not mirror the worst among them, or we will feed their divisive aims.  We must posit, as an act of faith, that among them are people who are simply scared and manipulated, misinformed, or committed to principles they hold dear that are not in and of themselves toxic, but who are deeply frustrated.  Imagine the best among them and reach out.

As for libertarianism, I'd point to Ron Paul, but his newsletters exposed during the primary suggest that the racism and xenophobia of contemporary libertarians have significant antecedents.

The future is unwritten

So... (2.00 / 5)
How come "modern" libertarians, usurpers of the label, are such divisive racists.  Are they evangelicals?  Or are they the secular version of evangelical racism?  I don't understand it.

I considered myself a libertarian when I was a teenager; I grew out of it, of course, but it is an attractive package as an adolescent.

[ Parent ]
I think a certain form of religion has something to do with it indeed (2.00 / 5)
Look at the thread I linked.  These folks see themselves as the only ones who aren't racist, who are hated because of their commitment to Christian love (which they see as only expressible privately, not politically), and who aren't riven with envy and covetousness of others' possessions.  Their concept of political freedom is almost exclusively negative and pursuit of positive freedom in the political sphere is an infringement of their individual and private freedom.  Anyone who thinks differently is an enemy of Liberty.  

I've often wondered about tenuous ties to Protestant concepts.  The emphasis on personal vocation.  The resistance to visible institutions and their authority (remember that early Protestants stressed their membership in an invisible True Church that was under attack from the visible Roman Church).  And in their identification with the primitive church, their belief that persecution is the ultimate sign of Truth.  So they have to imagine themselves as persecuted by collective and institutional powers that are necessarily opposed to individual conscience.

But right now, I think what we are seeing is an anxiety regarding change.  Demographics are changing.  Our economy is globalizing.  Science and technology are developing exponentially.  Its terrifying to some conservative dispositions.  They can't even face the possibility that we're changing the climate as well.  Desire for redemption is always mixed with terror of upheaval.

The future is unwritten

[ Parent ]
Well... (2.00 / 3)
They've reinvented Christianity into an unrecognisable, radical social movement which seems to borrow heavily from 20th century fascism; esteeming a past which never existed coupled with radical, dystopian "solutions" antithetical to the values of those they claim as their predecessors.  It's disturbing.

[ Parent ]
I have to admit that though this seems to have been (2.00 / 7)
a serious, though hyperbolic statement by this Dondero person, I would up chortling

Starting early this morning, I am going to un-friend every single individual on Facebook who voted for Obama, or I even suspect may have Democrat leanings. I will do the same in person. All family and friends, even close family and friends, who I know to be Democrats are hereby dead to me. I vow never to speak to them again for the rest of my life, or have any communications with them. They are in short, the enemies of liberty. They deserve nothing less than hatred and utter contempt.

I strongly urge all other libertarians to do the same. Are you married to someone who voted for Obama, have a girlfriend who voted 'O'. Divorce them. Break up with them without haste. Vow not to attend family functions, Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas for example, if there will be any family members in attendance who are Democrats

If he is serious, and if his cadre follow his example, think how lucky all those wives, girlfriends and family will be to have such loathsome creatures remove themselves from intimate circles and relationships.  

Too bad he didn't also vow to find a ship to take him into exile to Antartica.  

"If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition"

Bernice Johnson Reagon

Hopefully (2.00 / 5)
He'll be too choked with rage to continue verbally assaulting people in the supermarket checkout lane.

Or he'll launch into one of his cherished tirades and stroke out.

If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well it were done subjunctively.

[ Parent ]
You know (2.00 / 4)
I have been advocating for some time now to send all of the nut balls to the garbage continent in the Pacific where they can create the nation they seem to so desperately want. And now there is another one in the Atlantic Ocean. I figure they can make a go of it on a pile of shit since that is what they seem to enjoy.  

I am years behind and decades ahead. ~ Somebody else, I am certain

[ Parent ]
Great piece in the Beast, Peter (2.00 / 8)

...and that avatar pic is very very handsome and thoughtful.


The future is unwritten

Well here's the Southern Strategy spoke out aloud (2.00 / 4)
Lee Atwater in 1981, on how to win the racist vote without appearing racist

You start out in 1954 by saying, "Nigger, nigger, nigger." By 1968 you can't say "nigger"-that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states' rights, and all that stuff, and you're getting so abstract. Now, you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites.... "We want to cut this," is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than "Nigger, nigger."


The p***artist formerly known as 'Brit'

Couple that with their obscene PR strategy (2.00 / 4)
wherein they pretend to be colorblind where liberals are "obsessed with race" and thus "racialists" and thus the true "racists."

The truth is that plenty on the right don't simply disavow this, they participate in it while sincerely denying it.

And when their leaders in office and in the media are confronted with it, they all exempt themselves as individuals and object to being represented by this stuff.

Imagine if Romney had had the fortitude and the decency to say what Karen Hughes advises about rape in the wake of Akin and Mourdock's absurdity: "I've heard those comments and I find them despicable.  Rape is a horrific violent crime.  Period.  The only morally acceptable discussion of rape begins and ends with our commitment to make it as obsolete in our society as human sacrifice."

We need to start holding them accountable.  If you don't actively stand up to these elements in your party, especially if this is because you are using them strategically for political gain, you are tacitly both approving and promoting them.  And when you compare liberal tax policies to slavery and the democratic party to a plantation, you should be immediately disavowed by your party, if it's a respectable political party.

And enough of the false equivalences.  There's nothing on the left that compares.  I'm tired of the constant pivot of "both sides do it" or "one could say the exact same thing of the left-wing of the democratic party."  

No.  You can't.

And don't you teach your children that deflecting responsibility by pointing out what others do wrong is unacceptable?

The future is unwritten

[ Parent ]
Whelp, they all want to secede now anyway. (2.00 / 4)
It seems to me, in contemplating the history of the past two years,that all the people of our country, North, South, East, and West, have been undergoing a salutary political schooling, learning lessons which might have been acquired from the experience of other people; but we had all become so wise in our own conceit that we would only learn by actual experience of our own. The people even of small and unimportant localities, North as well as South, had reasoned themselves into the belief that their opinions were superior to the aggregated interest of the whole nation. Half our territorial nation rebelled, on a doctrine of secession that they themselves now scout; and a real numerical majority actually believed that a little State was endowed with such sovereignty that it could defeat the policy of the great whole. I think the present war has exploded that notion, and were this war to cease now, the experience gained, though dear, would be worth the expense.

--William Tecumseh Sherman, General of the Army of the United States (postbellum)

Earth is the best vacation place for advanced clowns. --Gary Busey

...also, out of curiosity (2.00 / 4)
now that there are all these petitions calling for secession, is clear to go ahead with the obama/lincoln comparisons now?  we got a green light on that?


Earth is the best vacation place for advanced clowns. --Gary Busey

[ Parent ]
No way I support Obama sending federal troops (2.00 / 5)
to keep Alabama in the Union.

The future is unwritten

[ Parent ]
Uhhhh, sricki might beg to differ. (2.00 / 3)

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

[ Parent ]

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