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November 12th, 2012
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The Dissident Frogman's Epistle to the Libertarians, and Political Culture

The Dissident Frogman has broken a long silence to comment on the results of our election, and this article, "The Frogman's Prophecies," should be read in full.  Because of the strong logic and utter beauty of its last few paragraphs, and its relevance to many I know who want to be purist libertarians (or even anarcho-capitalists) I think the climax of his essay deserves to be quoted in a multi-paragraph block, and hence have broken my usual practice

The various flavors of Social Democrats who run Europe (into the ground, admittedly), and share so many features and aspirations with Obama have learned the mistakes of the less subtle autocrats who preceded them. If France can teach you one thing, it’s that Obama will never bleed you dry or push you beyond the threshold of revolt, only to the nearest edge of it: you are now more likely to bleed from a thousand cuts over a thousand years than to get a quick, if violent, resolution to the relentless assaults against your life, liberty and pursuit of happiness—snarky Libertarians who opted to let Obama squat in the Oval Office unopposed on the deluded notion that "it doesn’t matter" and will bring the fall of Leviathan sooner, may want to take notice.

Even the French have not yet managed to completely plunder and ruin their comparatively much weaker economy, and the good Lord knows they’ve been trying for the best of the last 80 years or so.

Just like in France, the rates of taxes, duties and fees unleashed upon the good folks of the US of A will not only augment, they will also metastasize over an incredibly varied and ever expanding range of products and services, in addition to your income and profits. You will suffocate under an unrelenting onslaught of new regulations, red tape and audits by a growing army of government agencies and bureaucrats all tasked with the mission of controlling that nothing passes through their nets, and punishing you ruthlessly for anything that does.

And still: you will live through it, and you will live well enough—for a given value of "well"—to never really have a legally and morally unquestionable motive to rise up in arms and go full scale de oppresso liber on the tyrant. This will not be, as many of you imagine when they think about France, North Korea only with more cheese, wine and broads who don’t shave their armpits. Instead, you will find yourself in a multi-generations limbo of "too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards"—as, ironically, a Libertarian once said.

Just like in France, this will turn you into a depressed, cynical and pessimistic people, until they finally manage to kill your spirit whole, and nearly everybody is on the dole.

That’s when they’ve won. They do not need to kill you, they just have to break you.


The Dissident Frogman is absolutely right.  We (and I include myself, in my more naive moments) tend to expect some sort of big dramatic showdown between the forces of Oppression and Resistance, because that's how it would work in a story, because a story has to compress the drama into the scope of a movie or book.  So we fantasize about obviously-unconstitutional and clearly-tyrannical degrees, affecting everyone, being enforced by international mercenaries riding in black helicopters gunning down all opposition, or mobs of brownshirts marching through the streets smashing the livelihoods of all who oppose them.

But that's not how it actually will work -- not if Obama and (more importantly) the faction behind him actually wants to win, rather than just be a credible threat for story purposes.  Striking swiftly and dramatically would arouse opposition:  to take the most dramatic sort of example, if Obama got on TV tomorrow and declared himself Maximum Leader For Life of the American Mandate with totalitarian control over all aspects of life, almost everyone save for his most fanatical supporters would conclude that his Administration had lost its legitimacy.  Congress -- even the Democrats in Congress -- would impeach him.  The military and security establishments woulde refuse to obey him.  If he was lucky, he would be escorted out of the Oval Office by the Secret Service into a lunatic asylum.  If he was unlucky, he would find just enough military and security support that the bodies would pile up before he was pitched out of power in a short civil war, and then his final destination would be a parade ground with a ready firing squad.

And Obama probably knows this.  Heck, I doubt that even Obama really wants to be a Third World style dictator, let alone Hitler or Stalin.  He may be on a path that might eventually lead his successors to be this, but he probably doesn't know this, or at least admit it to himself.

What he wants is to create a society in which the important economic, and even many of the important cultural decisions, are made by the Federal Government (hereafter called "The State") rather than emerging from the free interactions of individuals and organizations limited only by the requirement not to commit unprovoked force or fraud upon each other.  He wants this not because he intends to build a Barad-dur at the top of which he may gloat and laugh evilly at the sufferings of his subjects, but because he genuinely believes that such a society would be more peaceful, prosperous and sane than the alternative.

He's wrong, of course, but that's not the same thing as being consciously evil, nor is it even the same thing as being stupid.  Barack Hussein Obama is not the Obamessiah his followers imagine, but neither is he the Antichrist;  he's not as brilliant as he thinks he is, but he's also not idiotic, and he has the support of a whole faction who has been thinking about how to change America into a socialist country, and has been thinking about it for a long time.

The key is to change the political culture, and this is a generational, possibly multi-generational task.

What do I mean by "political culture?"  It's what the electorate expects and is willing to tolerate of the State in order for the State to be perceived by them as legitimate and hence to be obeyed for any reason other than sheer terror of its might.  Even a dictatorship needs a friendly political culture -- a dictator who behaves in a manner that enough of his people, especially in key places, consider illegitimate will be assassinated or overthrown, by coup or civil war.

There are three things to remember about political culture.

(1) Only in an extreme crisis can it change swiftly

The classic example of this is a great depression or major war.  Note that the three biggest past changes in the American political culture -- during the first of which we established our Republic and in the last two of which we began to slip away from the libertarian ideals of that Republic -- were in the Revolutionary War (major war coinciding with depression, and the depression lasted for years after the war); American Civil War (major war with regional depression in the South owing to the war followed by prolonged Reconstruction); and World War II (major depression followed by major war).

We are in the fourth such crisis.  The war started in 2001 but hasn't yet become "major;"  the economic downturn also started in 2001, and deepened in 2007.  Obama's re-election itself is likely to ensure that both war and depression increase to "major" scale.  No, Obama didn't plan it this way:  he genuinely imagines that rainbows and unicorns come from his ass, and expects glorious success to increase his popular support.  Yet, here we are.

The thing about swift changes in the political culture is that they are impermanent unless either the crisis lasts for a very long time, or they are ratified and made permanent after the end of the crisis.  The reason why this is so is that the changes introduced during the crisis are understood by most to be temporary measures put in to deal with the crisis:  once the crisis is over, unless the electorate then demonstrates that they consider them good enough to remain in "normal" times, the changes are likely to be scrapped.

In the Revolutionary Crisis, for example, while independence from Britain by its nature was permanent barring a British reconquest, the Union was not:  it took the ratification of the US Constitution in 1787, four years after the end of the war, to make it permanent.  Until then, the Republic was in limbo as a confederation

In the American Civil War, the reunification of America and the liberation of the slaves were by their nature irreversible as long as the South lay militarily prostrate.  However, the South still needed to be politically reconstructed (restored to functional state governments) and black status needed to be defined.  The key events here were the 13th - 15th Amendments of the US Constitution (permanently abolished slavery and established racial equality), and the compromise attending the disputed election of 1876 (Republicans got to see Hayes President in return for an agreement to cease enforcement of many aspects of racial equality in the South).

In the Great Depression/World War II Crisis, the vast and permanent expansion of the State required over three terms of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, followed by over a term and a half of Harry S. Truman.  It was Truman's Presidency, not FDR's, which ensured the permanency of this growth, because Truman got majorities of the electorate to consent to these changes in the much less anxious environment of economic growth and cold war, as opposed to depression and hot global war.  (Note, though, the key role played by the stress of having to fight Communism in the ratification of America's permanent involvement abroad:  it was Stalin as much as Hitler and Tojo who killed American isolationism).

(2) Significant change can happen over one generation

If the crisis is perceived as great enough and the response by the faction in favor of the change is perceived as successfully and favorably resolving the crisis, people can in the course of their own life go from opposing (or at least fearing) to accepting the change.  Consider a man born in 1750 assuming himself to be a loyal subject of the King who by 1800 accepts the United States of America and assumes himself a loyal citizen of the Republic.  Or a man born in 1840 believing in states' rights who by 1890 accepts Federal supremacy.  Or a man born in 1910 believing in fully-free-enterprise capitalism who by 1960 has accepted the State's power and right to interfere in the economy.  Or a man born in 1980 believing in ???? who by 2030 has accepted the State's right to ????

In all these cases, the State is now doing something which, decades ago, would have led to protest and possibly violent rebellion, which is now just accepted as "the way things are," which is to say the change has become part of the political culture.  These changes may be good, or bad from our POV.  (Personally, while I'm not happy that the States are no longer semi-independent, I'm very happy that Lincoln liberated the slaves).  This is irrelevant.  The important point is that the changes are no longer controversial.

This is what Obama wants to do, in his lifetime.  He wants to secure the regulatory expansion of the 1970's and go a bit beyond it, and have these changes be ratified by his successors so that, by 2030 or so (when he'll have long since retired from politics) Americans just accept this growth in Federal purview as normal, and only a few extremists still regard them as controversial.

Think this couldn't happen?  Imagine the position of a man in 1800 who believed that America should still be under British rule.  Or a man in 1890 who thought that states should be able to nullify Federal laws.  Or a man in 1960 who argued that it was malfeasance for the Federal government to deliberately inflate the currency.

(3)  Really major changes require several generations to accept

Imagine that the current electorate of the United States of America was born in 1780.  Would they have accepted the political and legal situation in America in 1980?

No, and for many reasons.  Some would have bad (they would have been horrified at the sight of enfranchised poor people, women and blacks).  Some would have been good (they would have been equally horrified at laws restricting the right of contract and the right to bear arms).  But all these reasons would have had something in common -- they would have been a matter of dissonant political cultures.

They would have revolted at the sight of enfranchised poor people, women and blacks because their concept of "responsible voters" was limited to rich or at least middle-class white males.  They would have revolted at laws restricting the right of contract and the right to bear arms because, in the America of 1801 (when they would have attained their adulthood), you could make and have enforced any contract which was not actually criminal under Common Law, and you could buy and own any weapon you wanted up to and including siege artillery (though for obvious reasons very few people actually did own siege guns).

When I say "revolted," I'm not engaging in hyperbole there.  I mean that they would have found these laws so noxious that they would have been willing to pick up weapons and make an armed rebellion against the Federal Government.  After all, their fathers and grandfathers had been willing to do just that against a British Empire which was far more similar to them in terms of political culture than would be the America of 1980.

This demonstrates that a really major change in political culture requires time.  Specifically, it requires enough time for those holding the older views, who remember how things used to be, to die out and new generations to be born who accept the change as part of the background, the "way things are."  Generally, a really major change in political culture takes roughly 40-90 years to be fully accepted, for different political situations and varying values of "fully accepted."

"Fully accepted" means that the new view has now become part of the legal and political background upon which nearly everybody agrees.  Those who disagree are considered extremists, eventually lunatics.  Once a change has reached this point it cannot be reversed save by the most radical measures.

For instance, people who think that we should return to the relatively free gun control laws of 1962 are considered moderate conservatives.  People who today think the economy should return to the freedom it enjoyed in, 1912, would be considered extremists (libertarians, though the media would probably paint them as "conservatives").  People who think that blacks should revert to the slavery they suffered in 1812 would be considered insane racists (even most modern white supremacists want segregation rather than a return to chattel slavery).  People who think that we should return to the British rule over America that existed in 1762 are -- well, almost nonexistent:  loyalty to the British monarchy in modern America is a vague sentiment of sympathy rather than a political movement.  And so on.

Conclusion

We've lost the election of 2012.  What we need to do is get ready to win the elections of 2014 and 2016.  And what we on the Right need to do to achieve this is to pull together, rather than pull apart.  A lot is at stake -- if Obama is able to get more legislation through in 2015 and 2016, he will increase his support and may be able to jigger the polls in 2016 so that we can't win.  And if another socialist is elected in 2016, then this could work out like the New Deal:  and racism against whites, sexism against men, and hatred of the upper middle classes become fixed in our system for at least another 60-80-years.  We have to win.

As the Dissident Frogman points out in reference to France, the French conservatives were utterly-ineffectual in their opposition to socialism in France, and now it may be too late for France.  Generations have grown up now who simply accept socialism as "the way things are," and regard any attempt to turn it back as unrealistic at best, insane at worst.  It has become part of the French political culture.

Let us on the American Right, both conservative and libertarian, unite to prevent the ratification of Obama's socialism before it simply becomes part of the political culture.  I've already argued to the Religious Right that stopping Obama and his socialist successors is more important than opposing homosexuality; now I'm arguing to the Libertarian Right that stopping Obama and his socialist successors is more important than opposing religiosity or even crony capitalism.

Because if we fail, that's it for the American Experiment.  America herself will endure, probably grow stronger by shifting from economic predominance to military domination over key resources.  But America will endure as an Empire, not as a Republic.

Honestly, if someone has to be the "Roman Empire" of the Western Civilization, I'd rather it be America than, say, China or even France.  But I'd much rather see the Republic live on.

Wouldn't you?

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Comments
 
[User Picture]
From:x_eleven
Date:November 12th, 2012 10:18 pm (UTC)
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I've said as much myself. Yes, I supported Ron Paul in 2008 and this year. I voted for Sarah Palin and her running mate last time, and for Romney/Ryan this time. I didn't expect much from Romney, and held my nose to cast that vote.

That's what I said: Romney would have some incentive to move our way to one extent or another, whereas the Big O would have none. I told these Fundievangelicals™ so what if Romney is involved with a goofy, "un-Xian cult" -- that's between him and God. What would he do to bring on the Mormon theocracy? Make us all marry more than one wife? Of those people involved in flying airliners into skyscrapers, not a one was a Mormon. Even if worst came to worst, and Romney really did prove to be just like the O-ster, how would we be any worse off? Obama is identical to Obama, and that's a certainty. Romney's being just like Obama was not.

There is a time for ideological and theological purity, and a time to compromise: this year was the time for the latter. It's disgraceful that the turn out this time was significantly lower than in 2008. Romney could have won it if these fools had bothered to show up and vote.
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From:marycatelli
Date:November 13th, 2012 01:38 pm (UTC)
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For that matter, is Obama involved in a goofy, "un-Xian cult"? Such evidence as we get out of Wright's church was-- not promising.
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From:jordan179
Date:November 13th, 2012 04:15 pm (UTC)
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Both Black Liberation Theology and Mormonism are to varying degrees Christian heresies. The former holds that blacks, owing to their historic persecution, are inherently holier than whites; the latter -- well it's basically Joseph Smith's Biblical fanfic, as if I were to base a religion on Paradise Lost and (for example) deem cannon diabolical because Satan's Legions first invented them.

I think we should be more concerned with what Obama is doing than the religion of his challengers -- unless said religion is clearly anti-American (as in the case of the Muslim fundamentalists).
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From:marycatelli
Date:November 13th, 2012 05:35 pm (UTC)
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That's one stripe of black liberation theology. I have read with my own eyes a black liberation theologian declaring that "we" reject any God who is not behind their demands.


Talk about tail wagging the dog.

But -- what stripe is Wright's church?

If we had a press and not a Democrat PR machine, we might know.
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From:jordan179
Date:November 13th, 2012 06:09 pm (UTC)
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Oh, on the Muslim end of things you have Elijah Muhammed's weird mad-scientist-created-the-whites version of Islam, which owes as much to inverted pulp sf ideas of the 1930's and 1940's as it does to the Koran, and manages to make the Koran look sane by comparison (!!!)

I don't know what version of black liberation theology Jeremiah Wright spouts, save that it's a very hateful and anti-American one. As to what Obama himself believes -- who knows? Marxist atheism? Black Liberation theology? Moderate Islam? Does Obama himself know?

Compared to that, being a Jew by birth and early rearing, atheist by reason and Christian by sentiment (which is basically my background of belief) is pretty damn simple!
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From:kitten_goddess
Date:November 17th, 2012 01:29 pm (UTC)
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Interestingly, the regular Muslims don't think the Black Muslims are really Muslim.

Jordan, thank you for explaining how political culture changes. It helps me to be more patient. After all, the LGBT rights movement did not really become visible to the American public until the last decade. Civil rights for LGBT people are still controversial, but getting more acceptance by increasing numbers of Americans. It may take many more decades before those changes are accepted by almost all Americans.
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From:x_eleven
Date:November 13th, 2012 07:08 pm (UTC)
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"I have read with my own eyes a black liberation theologian declaring that "we" reject any God who is not behind their demands".

That would be James Cone.

"But -- what stripe is Wright's church?"

Wright's "theology" comes straight from Cone. You can find out all about it at Trinity United's web site.

As for O, he joined that church for reasons of political expediency. When starting out as a community organizer, it was explained to him that church membership was expected. No real evidence he was anything more than a paper member. It doesn't look like O has any religious convictions.
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From:jordan179
Date:November 19th, 2012 03:55 pm (UTC)
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He seems to worship himself ...
From:Will Linden
Date:November 13th, 2012 06:18 pm (UTC)

Libertarian scapegoats

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By all the evidence, if everybody who voted for Johnson, Stein, Goode, Rocky Anderson, and whoever was the "Liberation and Socialism" candidate had voted for Romney... it would have made no difference whatever.
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From:jordan179
Date:November 13th, 2012 06:34 pm (UTC)

Re: Libertarian scapegoats

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I'm not talking only about those libertarians who actually voted for third-party candidates. I'm talking about those libertarians who avoided voting for Romney -- or, worse, voted for Obama -- because Romney pandered to or even belonged to the social-conservative wing of the Republican Party.

What I'm saying is that the threat Obama and his faction pose to our civil liberties is great and imminent, whereas the threat Romney and his faction would have posed is small and far-away, and that this was true even before Obama won the 2012 election. The reason why is that the socialists enjoy the protection of academic and media support, while the theocons don't. It makes a very big difference.
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From:jordan179
Date:November 13th, 2012 06:35 pm (UTC)

Re: Libertarian scapegoats

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Also, this isn't about "scapegoating" either libertarians or theocons. All the effort that both wings put into blaming each other is effort that is not being applied toward trying to stop the socialist erosion of our civil liberties. Time enough to quarrel over social issues when the socialists ARE OUT OF POWER.
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From:jordan179
Date:November 13th, 2012 06:42 pm (UTC)

Re: Libertarian scapegoats

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Let me put it this way -- we'll still be blaming each other when the tanks roll up Pennsylvania Avenue. And both the theocons and the libertarians will be right to blame each other.

And it won't matter a bit.
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From:prester_scott
Date:November 13th, 2012 03:01 am (UTC)
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Well said, although it's questionable whether there is still a realistic chance to turn things around.
[User Picture]
From:jordan179
Date:November 13th, 2012 05:32 am (UTC)
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There most definitely still is a realistic chance to turn things around. Obama can't do much if he faces active Congressional opposition, especially if the Republicans can gain a majority in both houses after 2014. And Obama can't run at all in 2016 -- so it will be challenger vs. challenger that year.

It's really important to turn things around in 2014 and 2016, though. If we lose in 2016, then there might be a Democrat in the White House through 2024, owing to the advantages of incumbency in the election of 2020. Given four full terms of socialism in power, Obama's "hope and change" might be as irreversible as was the New Deal by 1948.

The biggest advantages we have now are unpleasant ones. The diplomatic and economic situations are both about to crash, probably in Obama's second term -- we have to be prepared to exploit this if we want to win in 2016. And we must not be shy of attacking Obama.
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From:belvarius
Date:November 13th, 2012 01:10 pm (UTC)
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Obama not being able to run for a third term (thank goodness for the 22nd amendment) is about the best thing that can be said about him winning his second term.

You are absolutely right though that republicans now need to do everything they can to make sure that Obama and the dems OWN every single thing bad that happens during his second term. Simultaneously they also need to clearly communicate to the american people that "we have solutions, good ones, but there's not much we can do to implement them when we only control the house."
[User Picture]
From:jordan179
Date:November 13th, 2012 04:33 pm (UTC)
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The worst thing we can do is to abandon hope. The next worst thing we can do is assume that our victory is so assured that we waste so much energy bickering about the exact shape of that victory that we destroy our own coalition.
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From:redxcrosse
Date:November 13th, 2012 03:56 am (UTC)
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Libertarians who opted to let Obama squat in the Oval Office unopposed

Wait, so why is this my fault (yes, I voted for Gary Johnson, and I'll fucking well do it again, every time) and not the Republicans' fault for, you know, not running Gary Johnson?
[User Picture]
From:jordan179
Date:November 13th, 2012 05:37 am (UTC)
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Because the Republicans were the only party with any realistic chance of defeating Obama in 2012, and there was no way that they were going to run an outright Libertarian in 2012. For that matter, an outright Libertarian would have lost -- the electorate does not generally support hard-Libertarian principles.

Keep on voting Libertarian, and if a lot of other libetarian-Republicans vote with you, we'll sink right into democratic socialism, followed after a time by some sort of fascist reaction. And by that time, the fascist reaction will be the better of the two alternatives, as the other one will be total national collapse.

If the Democrats win the elections of 2014 and 2016, I give it about 10-25 more years after 2016 (2026-2041) before we get the first President who makes himself President-for-Life and backs it up with troops. And you know what? By then, nobody will even remember or care how the system used to work, because the political culture will have changed. They'll view their options not as "democracy vs. dictatorship" but rather "competent dictatorship vs. incompetent dictatorship."

Beat the Democrats in 2014 and especially 2016, and this won't happen for many decades to come. Perhaps never.
[User Picture]
From:jordan179
Date:November 13th, 2012 05:44 am (UTC)
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Oh, and by the way, this isn't just the fault of the Libertarian Republicans, who jumped ship in 2008 and 2012 to strike moral poses in defiance of the consequences. This is also the fault of the Religious Republicans, who refused to let the gays on board the ship in order to strike their own moral poses in defiance of the consequences.

If both these factions don't wake up, soon you're going to be living in an America which is long-term democratic-socialist (until the next Generational Crisis), in which the State will intrude both on economic-lifestyle and on religious freedoms. And your only way out will be to back whichever Man on Horseback (or, by then, Man in an Airjeep) who you think is likliest to allow at least some of the liberties you value.

And it will be "allow," by then (probably around 2030-2040), because after decades of democratic socialism, the Constitution will be worth about as much as the same quantity of toilet paper. The Republic will be broken, and you'll be able to beg the new Commander for whichever freedoms you desire. And he'll be able to say "no" to you if he thinks it unwise, or (in the case of a Caligula or Nero) because you didn't like his horsey or his latest musical work enough.

Stop the democratic socialists now, while we still have a Republic to save. There are two elections coming up in 2014 and 2016 -- unite behind whoever isn't on Obama's side in them, and stop looking for moral purity. We can't afford to be so delicate any more.
[User Picture]
From:redxcrosse
Date:November 13th, 2012 09:32 am (UTC)
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soon you're going to be living in an America which is long-term democratic-socialist (until the next Generational Crisis), in which the State will intrude both on economic-lifestyle and on religious freedoms. And your only way out will be to back whichever Man on Horseback (or, by then, Man in an Airjeep) who you think is likliest to allow at least some of the liberties you value.

the Constitution will be worth about as much as the same quantity of toilet paper. The Republic will be broken

I agree with this, actually, only it's my assessment of the current situation. And, accordingly, I do vote for those most likely to maximize the freedoms I value. I don't think there is a substantial difference between Obama and Bush's foreign policies, and certainly no difference between their economic policies. It comes down to social policies, and I'm not going to go with the social conservatives, who appear to be utterly detached from the rest of reality. I also will not directly vote for anybody who opposed the DADT repeal or who would support its reinstatement, because, you know, I'm a gay Soldier.

Social conservatives have nobody but themselves to blame for how badly the Republicans did.
[User Picture]
From:jordan179
Date:November 13th, 2012 04:32 pm (UTC)
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... the Constitution will be worth about as much as the same quantity of toilet paper. The Republic will be broken ...

I agree with this, actually, only it's my assessment of the current situation.


With all due respect, you don't know what you're talking about. When I say "the Republic will be broken," I'm not talking about today's minor abuses of government and imperfections in our electoral system.

I mean that the people will no longer really elect their leadership; autocratic Presidents (or Emperors, or Commanders, or whatever they call themselves) will only allow that degree of political opposition which relieves pressures and co-opts opponents: any really serious political opposition will be dealt with by imprisonment, exile or judicial murder. I mean that the Government will be able to do literally anything it wants to do, with the courts assenting out of fear of the consequences should they oppose the executive.

If you want to know what this will look like, don't think of LBJ or Nixon, think of Augustus or Tiberius. Or, for that matter, Caligula.

I don't think there is a substantial difference between Obama and Bush's foreign policies ...

The difference between Obama and Bush's foreign policies is that Bush knew that we have no choice but to fight and win the global war against Muslim fundamentalism; also he knew what side he was on. Obama seems to imagine that we can end the war any time we want simply by pulling our troops back home; and much of the time to be more sympathetic to our enemies than he is to our friends.

We are witnessing the consequences of this right now in Egypt, and they will likely lead to a major Mideastern war. Also, Bush supported strategic defenses: Obama has dragged his feet on deploying them. We will pay for this someday in burning cities and dead civilians.

... and certainly no difference between their economic policies.

Bush failed to sufficiently-restrain the growth of government in economic matters; Obama actively-promotes such growth. You're also perhaps missing the role of the 2011-13 Congress in blocking many of Obama's economic policies: had the Republicans not won the Hous in 2010, we would be seeing much more severe government intrusions into the freedom of contract.

You're quite right that Republican social conservatives have and are foolishly alienating sexual nonconformists of every stripe. But you're throwing away all your OTHER liberties to protect one liberty, and when push comes to shove -- when Augustus ascends to power and takes away all your other liberties -- what's to stop him from taking that liberty away from you, too, if it suits him?

[User Picture]
From:x_eleven
Date:November 13th, 2012 08:39 pm (UTC)

A Matter of Priorities

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I agree with this, actually, only it's my assessment of the current situation. And, accordingly, I do vote for those most likely to maximize the freedoms I value. I don't think there is a substantial difference between Obama and Bush's foreign policies, and certainly no difference between their economic policies.

I agree completely, and have been saying it all along. GWB was a major disappointment, having promised a less interventionist foreign policy during the second Bush/Gore debate. He ran on one thing, only to do the exact opposite once he was in office, and was a major disappointment to conservatives. It's too bad the Dems just had to give the nomm to the one candidate who could actually lose to the Bushwhacker in 2004.

It comes down to social policies, and I'm not going to go with the social conservatives, who appear to be utterly detached from the rest of reality. I also will not directly vote for anybody who opposed the DADT repeal or who would support its reinstatement, because, you know, I'm a gay Soldier.

We no longer have the luxury of single issue voting anymore. It's a matter of priorities. There have been times when abortion has been legal, and times when it has been illegal. The Republic survived. DADT or gay marriage: either way the Republic will survive. Fundievangelicals™ who want Creationism™ and/or IntelligentDesign™ in public schools: the Republic will survive. What the Republic won't survive is the welfare/warfare state that grows ever more intrusive, spends ever increasing amounts of money it doesn't have on entitlements and grand foreign adventures it can't afford as it destroys individual initiative, responsibility, and autonomy to buy off the Great Unwashed Masses.

Everything else is negotiable.

A big part of the problem is that the GOP has never bothered to figure out what kind of a party it is. It got its start as the Abolition party. After the defeat of Southern secession, the passage of the 13, 14, and 15th Amendments, its success relegated it to irrelevance. Ever since then, it's been a party adrift. For all too long now, the GOP has been "Democrat-Lite": let's do the same things, but move more slowly, and not spend quite so much. Ike never bothered trying to roll back the New Deal, as Nixon did nothing to roll back the Great Society. The end result was a slow motion train wreck that's now reaching its logical culmination.

Will the GOP continue to be the "good ol' boys" club that refuses to allow the tough, young men and women who have had it with Liberals and the communism-lite party of whom Ronald Reagan once spoke, as they did this year by their legally dubious fuckery at the state and national levels? Or will the GOP decide to finally become a conservative party in fact as well as in name?

The GOP failed to stop the creeping socialism, and now it's become a juggernaut. Now is not the time to be infighting over details, or casting blame on the newcomers like the Ron Paul supporters and the TEA Party members.

The Fundievangelicals™ who wouldn't vote for an "antichrist" Mormon, the Libertarians who stayed home because they "thought" there was no difference between Romney and the Big O, the Ron Paul supporters who stalked off in a snit, those who were just too damned lazy to bother -- can revel in their moral superiority, but that isn't going to keep the lights on after every coal fired power plant is shutdown, keep food on the table, keep a paycheck coming in every month.

Priorities, people, priorities.
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From:the_mcp
Date:November 14th, 2012 10:07 pm (UTC)
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And this, I think, is what Gov. Mitch Daniels meant by his remarks about calling a truce on the social issues, and it's a shame that too many people either didn't grasp what he was saying, or deliberately ignored or misinterpreted it.

No one is suggesting that the social issues are of no importance whatsoever. But every competent military strategist knows, you can only fight a war on so many fronts simultaneously; the old adage of "winning the battle but losing the war" applies equally well in politics. In a war, it does you no good to hold off the invasion of this tiny offshore island over here, if meanwhile the enemy forces are about to break through your front lines and overrun your nation's capital over there.

Well, our front lines are cracking, and our capital is about to be overrun, by the mountain of debt we've piled up for ourselves, thanks to the utterly unsustainable levels of spending on entitlement programs left and right. The band-aid of raising taxes on the hated rich and "big business" won't save us. It can be conclusively proven that even if you confiscated every penny of every billionaire in the country -- and I don't mean tax their incomes, I mean confiscate every asset they have right down to the shoes on their feet -- and taxed the profits of the Fortune 500 corporationa at 100% (and could somehow collect it), that wouldn't be enough to even sustain one year of federal spending at the levels The One and the Dems have gotten us into. (And even if it was -- what do you do for the next year, now that you don't have any more billionaires to liquidate?)

So, social-issue voters, here's a reality check for you. You keep tilting at these windmills in the name of your ideological purity... and 20 years from now, when your children and grandchildren are facing double-digit inflation as far as the eye can see, unemployment rates upwards of 30% (if they're lucky), gasoline at $10/gallon (on the days they're actually allowed to buy any), they are not going to say "gee mom, dad, thanks for keeping those gays from getting married at least!"

And frankly, I don't think your God will be any too pleased with you either, when your insistence on ideological purity and moral superiority at the ballot box accomplishes nothing except insuring that abortion-on-demand remains legal because you refused to consider even the slightest strategic retreat or truce to win the larger war, thus insuring that your side would never achieve enough political power to stop it.

Edited at 2012-11-14 10:07 pm (UTC)
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From:jordan179
Date:November 19th, 2012 03:57 pm (UTC)
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In particular, Obama's probably going to get to nominate a Supreme Court justice or two (more, if the Chicago Machine decides upon a Come Nineveh, Come Tyre solution, but really it isn't necessary) and in consequence you're going to see a liberal Supreme Court for the next decade or so.
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From:marycatelli
Date:November 15th, 2012 01:45 pm (UTC)

Re: A Matter of Priorities

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There is, in fact, no guarantee at all that the Republic will survive. A glance back in history shows that it's guaranteed that it won't, though not necessarily now.
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From:benschachar_77
Date:November 14th, 2012 06:56 am (UTC)
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" I don't think there is a substantial difference between Obama and Bush's foreign policies, and certainly no difference between their economic policies."

lolwhut?
Obama's nationalized one-sixth of the economy and you can't see a difference between economic policies. See, this is why I can't stand 3rd partiers, no freakin' perspective. You're like these jews (it was a jewish oriented website) I saw who argued that they should vote for Hilary Clinton in '08 because Republicans "only give lipservice to gun ownership" yeah guys show everyone how much you love gun ownership by voting for the party that's actively trying to make gun ownership illegal AS PART OF THEIR PARTY'S PLATFORM no way that'll backfire horribly.

Also, are you even aware of Operation Fast and Furious (a false flag attempt to prove that guns in Mexico came from America and ended up getting hundreds of Mexicans and 3 border patrol agents killed) or Benghazi where Obama sat back and allowed three of our people to die in a terrorist attack on 9/11 and then tried cover it up by refusing to acknowledge it was a terrorist attack that happened because the Obama Administration refused to provide any security around a dangerous time period don't give me that crap when you know Bush wouldn't have let that crap slide.
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From:kitten_goddess
Date:November 17th, 2012 01:37 pm (UTC)
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Thank you! Redxcrosse, I voted for Obama using a similar reasoning process. The biggest differences between Obama and Romney are their social policies. I am a woman who does not want children. Therefore, being allowed access to contraception is important. Therefore, it was in my best interest to vote for Obama.

Yes, I am aware that Romney never said that contraception should be banned. However, in an age of increasing health care costs, not having insurance coverage for something is the same as outright banning it.
From:jsl32
Date:November 17th, 2012 11:21 pm (UTC)
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only because we use 'insurance' when we could use 'money' to pay for health care services, as many countries do, with lower costs and perfectly decent outcomes.

and i still can't figure out how 'i am a woman who don't want kids'= 'so others need to pay for my contraception'.

why aren't all these strong independent feminists paying for their own sterilizations and/or birth control methods with their very own strong independent feminist money instead of whining for subsidies from people who do want to have children?
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From:benschachar_77
Date:November 18th, 2012 09:03 pm (UTC)
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In other words you voted for Obama to steal money from hard working Americans to pay for a commodity. Typical leftist.

Contraception is a commodity, not a necessity you can get them for 9 bucks a bottle at Wal-Mart. You want birth control but don't to pay for it how about rather than take money from our pockets why don't you just keep your legs closed and exercise self control like everyone else!
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From:jordan179
Date:November 19th, 2012 04:00 pm (UTC)
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Obama's ending Bush's tax cuts and running up huge budget deficits, and thinks he can end the Terrorist Wars by negotiation or by pulling out of them. The first will sink the economy; the second will mean chaotic warfare -- rather than Curb Stomp victories for us -- for at least half a decade to a decade to come. That's a big difference.
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From:gothelittle
Date:November 14th, 2012 10:47 pm (UTC)
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Pft. The Religious Republicans are very, very happy to let gays on board who want to live without fear of violence or threat, who want to engage in the sexual relationships they choose to engage in, who simply want to live and work and drive and do basically as the rest of us do.

If, however, we were to "let the gays on board" according to almost anybody who isn't Republican (and a few who are), that would require us to take as a basic tenet the belief that there is no difference between male and female except whatever social constructs we've placed on them.

And if we were to embrace the gay agenda itself (to which more than a few gay Republicans are actually firmly opposed... have we let them on board the ship? Or do they not count?), we would cease to be Conservative in any meaningful sense of the term as it exists today.

Forget the sex angle for a moment... it seems that every discussion on gay rights ends up dealing in sex. Gay rights, black rights, Hispanic rights, illegal immigrant rights... anything that uses the government to enforce rights and privileges unevenly due to skin color or sexual desire will end up going against Conservatism.
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From:marycatelli
Date:November 16th, 2012 02:22 pm (UTC)
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We do, after all, know how to contain fatal and incurable venereal disease. We did it for syphilis before penicillin. Yet we did not do it for AIDS.

And the homophobes responsible called themselves homosexual activists.
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From:pasquin
Date:November 13th, 2012 12:59 pm (UTC)
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I wonder whether libertarianism will ever gain an electoral majority or whether freedom will only be found in the stymied battle between GOP big governmentism and Dem big governmentism.

In other words, are we to be the proto-mammals living between the mighty legs of dinosaurs? Hoping to not get squashed.
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From:jordan179
Date:November 13th, 2012 04:11 pm (UTC)

Limitations of Liberty in the Early Republic

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Libertarianism in the modern sense never had an electoral majority. The regime of the Early Republic (before the Civil War) simply oppressed differently than ours does today. Most obviously, the extreme liberty enjoyed by people in early 19th-century America was enjoyed only by adult white males, with "adult" meaning "21 and over" (in a population averaging much younger than today due to more primitive medicine) and "white" often meaning "Protestant Northern European" (with Catholic Irish, Spanish, and Italians in particular facing severe de facto discrimination).

Additionally, though the laws were better-chosen than ours (you were theoretically much freer), law enforcement in the Early Republic was very spotty. This had the most obvious effect of increasing the power of the competently-violent over those less violent or less competent at it (consider the social role of duelling in early 19th-century America, or in the South all the way through the Civil War, or of rough-and-tumble fighting and eventually gun-fighting in the Old West all through this period).

It also very much increased the power of the rich over the poor, to a degree barely conceivable today. To begin with, the notion that an employer or landlord was also one's "master" or "lord" in the pre-Industrial sense of the word (and hence had the right to forcibly-discipline employees or tenants) was a long time fading away (this was even a more severe problem in Europe, which was one reason why poor people immigrated from Europe to America rather than the other way round). A rich person had the diet and leisure to become a very good fighter, if he was so inclined; he also had enough wealth that any wound he survived was economically a minor inconvenience rather than something likely to cause his starvation. Finally, the rich man -- if he desired this -- could easily amass comptently-violent followers (this is one of the few things that Western-genre movies get right) and thus if necessary simply outnumber his poorer enemy.

The law -- such as it was -- might not interfere with this, because the rich man -- if he at all outwardly conformed to the social norms of his time and place -- was probably friendly with the local authorities. He and his family hob-nobbed with the local sheriffs and judges and state legislators: some of his family might be these personages. He could also afford lawyers, both to harass his enemies and to protect himself against any legal consequences of his actions.

Conformity to social custom was very important. In a world without very effective law enforcement, what could really doom a person was the disapproval of his or her neighbors. (I switched to the gender-neutral construction on purpose here, because such custom was one of the major ways of holding down uppity women). It greatly limited the power of the rich but also the rights of the poor. A rich man whose business manager or foreman dealt with labor organizers by beating them bloody would be tolerated; one who had his minions drag pretty young girls off the streets to be raped at his house would not. By the same token, a poor man who sued to recover a debt would be listened to with some respect in the courts; a labor organizer who tried to get the law on a rich man whose minions had beaten him bloody would be laughed out of court, and probably beaten up again (or killed) afterward. Consider the sad history of Abolition in the South, or of the Mormons in the Midwest, as examples of how this worked against non-conformists.

In other words: people in the Early Republic were so much more constrained by custom than we are now, and very large classes of people (a total well over 50% of the population) were also more contrained by law than we are now, so they were not as free as we would be now if we had racial and sexual equality plus a rule of libertarian law.
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From:princejvstin
Date:November 13th, 2012 03:00 pm (UTC)
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Hmm.

I do think that this is the fear that drives many to oppose Obamacare. Once people have it, they will come to expect it and will be upset when it is taken away. Had Romney won...

Even so, various states are dragging their feet on implementation, although I think for much less on principles such as you espouse, and more simple political opposition and hatred.
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From:jordan179
Date:November 13th, 2012 04:19 pm (UTC)
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I do think that this is the fear that drives many to oppose Obamacare. Once people have it, they will come to expect it and will be upset when it is taken away.

Note that as written, Obamacare is very likely to sink all low-cost forms of private health insurance, creating a situation in which everyone below the upper middle-class will wind up depending on it. This will make Obamacare tricky to abolish: its abolition will then have to be done in stages, to avoid a situation in which people are literally dying because Obamacare's been abolished and the private system which formerly provided such care has not yet revived. "Have to be done in stages" means that it will require more than one Presidential Administration to accomplish.

Obama's an idiot when it comes to economic and foreign policy, but he does socialist subversion very well. That is, in fact, the skill one would expect of a "community organizer."

Mmm-mmm-mmm.
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From:cutelildrow
Date:November 13th, 2012 10:00 pm (UTC)
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Good essay, but as you pointed out elsewhere, there are issues which are for quite a few, the 'make or break' single issue which will be upheld over universally important things - like freedom of speech, and a list of other rights and liberties which protect all - as these things are taken for granted as immutable and unerodable.

It takes a bad president and an unopposing senate, congress and supreme court, and a pandering puppet media to take those liberties away from people, without the people knowing those liberties and rights have been stolen from them.

Witness the railroading and persecution of Aquino's opponents out of their offices of power (Chief Supreme Court Justice, for example) by use of trial by media and Aquino using the presidential office as his gossip/bully pulpit, and the installation of cronying people into key positions of power (how else would an untried, research-focused, and highly mediocre lawyer end up as the Supreme Court's chief justice?)

You guys still have a fighting chance if you get over the apathy and cynicism.


x_eleven:

We no longer have the luxury of single issue voting anymore. It's a matter of priorities. There have been times when abortion has been legal, and times when it has been illegal. The Republic survived. DADT or gay marriage: either way the Republic will survive. Fundievangelicals™ who want Creationism™ and/or IntelligentDesign™ in public schools: the Republic will survive. What the Republic won't survive is the welfare/warfare state that grows ever more intrusive, spends ever increasing amounts of money it doesn't have on entitlements and grand foreign adventures it can't afford as it destroys individual initiative, responsibility, and autonomy to buy off the Great Unwashed Masses.

Everything else is negotiable.


This, so very much this. Well said.
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