Two for you to enjoy

Victorian posy of pansiesKevin Williamson has a brilliant article about modern feminism.  I won’t summarize it.  I’ll just urge you to read it.

I’ve called myself a small “l” libertarian, to distinguish myself from the Ron Paul crowd.  Richard A. Epstein has given me an even better name for my political view, one that recognizes the need for government, but that always hews to individual and marketplace freedom:  I’m a “classical liberal.”

Idiot leaves Ron Paul coalition; finds natural home in Democrat Party

Ron Paul yard signA liberal friend who despairs of my decision to turn my back on the Democrat Party and declare myself a conservative, sent me an article from Salon.  In it, the author smugly explains that he was a life-long libertarian, went to a Ron Paul convention, saw that a lot of the people there were conspiracy theorists, and then joined the Democrat Party.

Here’s the gist of it:  the guy grew up in Nevada, in a town that valued guns.  He was told that he was a libertarian, so he was.  Without showing any actual understanding of the principle’s behind small government and individual freedom, he liked that Ron Paul libertarians want to make pot legal and hate Wars for Oil.  In 2008, he went to a Ron Paul convention and was shocked that people there espoused conspiracy views (which Ron Paul followers are famous for doing) and believed that welfare is a bad thing.  Then, when the financial meltdown happened in 2008, he opposed the bank bailout (which libertarians opposed), but approved of greatly increasing the welfare state (something libertarians also opposed).  Oh, and he “wept with joy” when Obama was inaugurated.  As for the Tea Partiers, they were “monsters” who made him want to “puke.”  You see, there are “racists” amongst the Tea Partiers, as well as 9/11 conspiracy theorists and Birthers.  He then went to a Progressive college to get a degree in creative writing and married a liberal Canadian.  And then, pretty much badda-boom, badda-bing, there he was, a happy Democrat.

What this guy utterly fails to see is that he started out with hard-core Leftist ideology — free pot, no War for Oil, don’t give money to evil bankers, government is the solution, Tea Partiers are racist, Obama is a God who causes tears of joy — but by an accident of birth, ended up thinking he was a libertarian.  Then, when he figured out that he was a moonbat, he headed for his real political party.  It’s not so much a case of conversion as of mistaken identity.  “You mean I’m not really Lord Ambrose Wafflepoof-Chilteningham?  I am, instead, plain old Comrade John Brown?  At last, the world makes sense!”

As for his attacks against the Ron Paul group, I have to agree that I don’t like Ron Paul or his followers either.  Their isolationism (which the proto-Democrat convert loved) is dangerous, and their affinity for neo-Nazis and other immoral, bad actors is awful.  Paul is too dumb to realize that the neo-Nazis are statists who hide in his Libertarian enclave because they believe it’s the best incubator for people too dumb to realize that the libertarian’s totally laissez faire attitude to everything allows evil to grow as well as good.

The two main problems with the guy’s post are that he (a) never understood true conservativism and (b) conflates Ron Paul libertarians with conservatives.  Conservatives embrace constitutional government, not no government.  Most conservatives are not conspiracy theorists, although the Birther meme is out there — in part because Obama has withheld evidence (birth certificates and transcripts), either to stir up conspiracy controversy (“Hey, look!  I can make my dog crazy by hiding his bone”) or because there really is something to hide (I believe he might be hiding a pretense that he was a foreign national to help him get college admission/aid).

If you want serious conspiracy mavens, look Left.  That’s where the Truthers live, that’s were the antisemites who subscribe to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion live, and that’s where the people who focus obsessively on the Koch brothers live.  The fact that there is no evidence whatsoever that the Koch brothers did anything more than fund the Heartland Institute is irrelevant:

"The Nation" uses its Koch brother paranoia to fuel a fundraising drive

“The Nation” uses its Koch brother paranoia to fuel a fundraising drive

Funnily enough, all these Lefties never seem that exercised about George Soros’ funding of just about everything to the Left, which is as much an exercise of free speech as is the Koch’s funding of the Heartland Institute.

Another conspiracy meme on the Left, one that helped propel Obama back into the White House in 2012 was the spurious war on women. The Left convinced credulous women and metrosexuals that a vote for Romney was a vote to put women barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen, as forced sex-slaves to slobbering, fat, white Bible-toting Christian males. (In other words, The Handmaid’s Tale.)  That this dark vision had no reality outside the pages of a bad 1980s feminist novel is irrelevant.

And of course, there’s the “Tea Party is racist” meme that the guy, studying at his Progressive university, totally accepted.  He seems unaware that Andrew Breitbart’s $100,000 reward for anyone spotting racism at an Obamacare protest is still out there, unclaimed.  If you want racism, look Left.

The guy who wrote the Salon article was never a conservative.  He was always a hardcore, big state Leftist who had accidentally wandered into the wrong party.  His little post isn’t an indictment of conservativism.  It is, instead, a confession of his own lack of self-awareness and facile embrace of the party of the moment.

Libertarians and moral judgments

My dear friend Don Quixote retired with his beloved to warmer climes.  I miss him a great deal.  I especially miss our lunches together.  We still talk on the phone, but it’s not the same as the wandering conversations we had about politics, morals, philosophy, law, Dancing With The Stars, computer games, and whatever else seemed interesting on a given day.  One of our most memorable conversations was about government’s role in morality.  Don Quixote is more of a libertarian than I am, although I consider myself fairly libertarian.  I don’t remember the details of the conversation, but my takeaway was that government legislation should not be hostile to traditional morality, but it’s not responsible for morality either.  Citizens are responsible for morality, through peer pressure and, yes, shame.

I still believe that today, so I was very gratified to read Nick Gillespie’s post about libertarians and morality.  What prompted Gillespie’s post was a New York Times piece, by Richard Reeves, a liberal writer, that had a throwaway line about libertarians being, not immoral perhaps but amoral.  In many ways, Gillespie agreed with Reeves, who agreed with me, albeit from a liberal perspective.  Some shame is necessary to curb teen pregnancies.  So Reeves, Gillespie, and I are all in sync.

Where Reeves parts ways with Gillespie and me, and where Reeves inspired a masterful post from Gillespie is the bit about libertarian amorality:

Libertarians might want a world without moral judgments, in which teen pregnancy carries no stigma at all. And paternalists might want the state to enshrine judgments in law — perhaps by raising the age of sexual consent or mandating contraception. True liberals, though, believe we can hold one another to moral account without coercion. We must not shy away from shame.

Wrong, wrong, wrong, Mr. Reeves!  I’ll let Nick explain why:

I submit to you that few statements are more wrong than saying “libertarians might want a world without moral judgments.” From my vantage point, one of the things to which libertarianism is dedicated is the proliferation of moral judgments by freeing people up to the greatest degree possible to create their own ways of being in the world. To conflate the live and let live ethos at the heart of the classical liberal and libertarian project with an essentially nihilistic dismissal of pluralism and tolerance is a gigantic error. It’s like saying that because religious dissenters want to abolish a single state church that they are anti-god.

Really, you should read the whole thing.