Rand Paul and Young Voters

As the Republican party tries to figure out how to appeal to the growing demographic groups that they’ve lost by wide margins in the past, Nate Cohn looks at whether Rand Paul can help them build a bridge to such voters. And there are some issues where he differs enough from the usual Republican presidential candidates to at least open the door to that possibility:

Rand Paul’s Republican Party would probably still struggle among young voters, but at least he offers targeted proposals to narrow the gap. For instance, he supports states’ rights to legalize marijuana. Recent polls show that nearly 70 percent of young voters support legalizing marijuana, just as nearly 70 percent of young voters in Washington and Colorado supported initiatives to legalize marijuana last November. Paul also advocates a less aggressive, less costly foreign policy. Millennial voters, having come of age during the Iraq War and without memory of the Cold War, tend to agree: Just 44 percent of 18-29 year olds think the best way to ensure peace is through military strength, compared to 63 percent of voters over age 50. The age gap on foreign policy is even more evident when considering specific policies. Only 28 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds want to “get tough” with China, while twice as many—55 percent—of voters over age 30 support getting tougher with China. Similarly, while 30 percent of voters over age 30 would prioritize avoiding a conflict with Iran over taking a “firm stand” against the country, 49 percent of young voters would prioritize avoiding war.

When combined with a pathway to citizenship for undocumented workers, which Paul also supports, these measures push up against the limits of what the Republican primary electorate could potentially support. Marijuana is a new issue, and the GOP could conceivably go either way: On the one hand, CBS News found that 65 percent of Republicans support allowing state governments to determine the legality of marijuana, compared to just 29 percent who believed the federal government should decide; on the other hand, Quinnipiac and CBS News polls found that 66 percent of Republicans think marijuana should be illegal.

These are all issues on which Rand Paul is correct, in my view, though I would go considerably farther than he would (I’d legalize all drugs, not just allow states to legalize one drug). And they are generally consistent with the views of most progressives, I think. The problem, though, is that Paul’s libertarian streak ends when it comes to the familiar hot button issues the religious right, and the GOP, has long based much its appeal on: Gays and abortion. He’s opposed to marriage equality and on the extreme far right on reproductive rights (he sponsors the fetal personhood amendment, which would not only ban abortion but some types of contraception as well). And that’s something that younger voters aren’t likely to go for.

47 comments on this post.
  1. Ben P:

    I read this a couple times to see if they were talking about the wrong Paul.

    Ron Paul has a strong base of younger libertarians who like some of his views (pot legalization, isolationist foreign policy, and dismiss some others as his being kooky). Ron Paul at the very least has a long record of bucking republicans on his particular issues. (although like any congressman, he does take perks for his district).

    Rand Paul however consistently seems to have been a doctrinaire republican. Aside from some “tea party” dissent votes, I can’t think of anything yet where he’s crossed swords with the Republicans.

  2. Raging Bee:

    For instance, he supports states’ rights to legalize marijuana.

    …so the kids will be too stoned to follow exactly how the Republitarians are reducing our country to Third-World status and diminishing our opportunities to be anything other than unemployable stoners.

    Paul also advocates a less aggressive, less costly foreign policy.

    You mean like, having more intelligent and proactive diplomacy, and maybe investing more in foreign aid, so America can uphold its interests by some means other than war? What has Rand Paul actually done to achieve that?

    These are all issues on which Rand Paul is correct, in my view…

    You’ve been scammed, and now you’ve allowed yourself to be manipulated into being part of the scam.

  3. Raging Bee:

    Aside from some “tea party” dissent votes, I can’t think of anything yet where he’s crossed swords with the Republicans.

    And he never will, because his ideology is the sameas theirs: defund democracy, deregulate business, demonize liberals. The Republicans know this too — which is why they’re not attacking him as mercilessly as they attacked liberals who questioned the War on Drugs.

  4. Brandon:

    I find a lot to like about both Pauls, but I’m not voting for anyone that far out on the loony libertarian fringe of economic ideas.

  5. democommie:

    You may find a lot ot like about what both Pauls, Parasite and Filth, SAY. About what they actually do? What is there to like. Both are lying, fuckbag snakeoil salesmen.

  6. Raging Bee:

    In other words, when you ignore the insanity, dishonesty and bigotry that define them and guide all of their significant actions, they’re really quite likable folks. Just like every other loony cult leader, and their Stepford followers.

    All together now: “We ALL bundle…”

  7. steve84:

    Rand Paul is an idiot. He isn’t really for or against anything. He just wants to dismantle the federal government entirely and allow the states to do anything they want. He’d also be in favor of slavery and segregation as long as is it’s the states making that decision.

  8. blf:

    Paul also advocates a less aggressive, less costly foreign policy.

    You mean like, having more intelligent and proactive diplomacy, and maybe investing more in foreign aid, so America can uphold its interests by some means other than war? What has Rand Paul actually done to achieve that?

    Done? Probably nothing.
    Is that what the thuggish nutter is proposing? I don’t think so. My broad understanding is he wants USAlienstan to withdraw into a shell and pretend RoW (the Rest of the World) doesn’t exist. But I doubt he’s given any details, or indeed has any details, since such withdrawal and going La La La, I Can’t Hear You is just plain silly.

    Certain changes do seem needed, such as those listed by the OP albeit there’s always the devil in the details.

  9. d.c.wilson:

    Lots of good points being made here. The main thing is, Randy is anti-civil rights, especially gay rights and women’s reproductive rights, though I doubt he’s a big fan of the rights of other minorities. His big thing is that he wants to neuter the federal government so that states will be able to impose theocratic laws.

    Here’s a simple test: if Kentucky were to consider a measure to legalize marijuana, would Randy support it? If not, then his just like the republicans who say the they want the federal government to stop enforcing prohibitions and just wants the states to be the ones who do it.

  10. doublereed:

    I’m always confused on how much of the younger generation is libertarian vs liberal. I see so much libertarianism, but all the statistics I’ve seen makes me think it just doesn’t have the population to support it.

    Those are all positions that Rand Paul’s opponent is going to take anyway. Most things are going to be either neutral for Rand Paul or negative.

  11. Ben P:

    Rand Paul is an idiot. He isn’t really for or against anything. He just wants to dismantle the federal government entirely and allow the states to do anything they want. He’d also be in favor of slavery and segregation as long as is it’s the states making that decision.

    This is niggling, but that’s not quite what he said. I think when you attack someone you owe them a duty to at least characterize their position correctly.

    Rand Paul, in his first election, said something his father had never quite been stupid enough to admit to on in the media, which is say that he believed all the federal civil rights legislation is unconstitutional. He immediately had to step back and clarify that he doesn’t think it’s wrong, just that the states should be the ones to enact it.

    By implication that does mean the Federal Government could do nothing about segregation if a state did choose to enact it, and that he thinks this the legally appropriate outcome. But this isn’t quite the same thing as saying he’d be in favor of segregation.

  12. Raging Bee:

    He’d also be in favor of slavery and segregation as long as is it’s the states making that decision.

    …and the states were willing to legalize whatever drugs might be useful for keeping the slaves compliant. Hey, how about that stuff the bokors use in Haiti?

    This “outreach to young voters” looks like the political equivalent of date-rape: give the kids drugs so they won’t be able to understand or resist when we do what we want with them. What a sick fucking joke.

  13. slc1:

    Re Ben P

    By implication that does mean the Federal Government could do nothing about segregation if a state did choose to enact it, and that he thinks this the legally appropriate outcome. But this isn’t quite the same thing as saying he’d be in favor of segregation.

    A distinction without a difference.

  14. Raging Bee:

    This is niggling, but that’s not quite what he said…

    For all practical purposes, it was close enough. The distinction you draw is between the actual sentiment and the bogus ConLaw sophistry it’s dressed up in.

  15. Ben P:

    I’m always confused on how much of the younger generation is libertarian vs liberal. I see so much libertarianism, but all the statistics I’ve seen makes me think it just doesn’t have the population to support it.

    In my sense this is how it breaks down.

    Post 2012 election polls by the Pew research Center showed that 45% of people under 30 identify as democrats, 26% identify as republicans, and 30% identify as independents.

    In 2009 Obama won 60% of voters under 30. 36% of voters under 30 supported Mitt Romney.

    If we can make some loose assumptions, Obama probably won most or all of the 45% under 30 that identify as democrats, at at least half (15%) of the “Independents” under 30, and very few of the republicans.

    Some percentage of the Republicans under 30 are evangelicals/true believer conservatives. I’d hazard a guess that it’s a majority of this 26% of self-identified republicans. So, maybe 10-15% of the total population.

    Again, educated guess, but then I’d guess the remaining portion of the self-identified republicans plus a smaller chunk of the independents are the true libertarians. They’re fiscally conservative, but socially liberal.

    Then I’d guess there’s also a larger chunk of the independants and some of the liberals who profess to like Ron Paul because he’s in favor of legalization where most democrats aren’t, and, like I noted above, either don’t know about some of his other beliefs, or simply dismiss them as kooky.

  16. Ben P:

    Re Ben P

    By implication that does mean the Federal Government could do nothing about segregation if a state did choose to enact it, and that he thinks this the legally appropriate outcome. But this isn’t quite the same thing as saying he’d be in favor of segregation.

    A distinction without a difference.

    I’ll only go so far on this point, but bullshit it’s a distinction without a difference. Laws matter, otherwise why bother having states at all? why not just call them administrative divisions of the federal government. Then you can let the feds enforce everything.

    Oh wait, that would go over like a lead rock in most areas.

  17. dean:

    Of course this weekend this moron (R Paul) said that instead of marriage rights gays and lesbians would be happy with a flat tax, because “straight marriages would not get a tax break”.

    http://videocafe.crooksandliars.com/david/rand-paul-flat-income-tax-solves-same-sex-ma

    He truly is the stupid that keeps on giving.

  18. democommie:

    “Again, educated guess, but then I’d guess the remaining portion of the self-identified republicans plus a smaller chunk of the independents are the true libertarians. They’re fiscally conservative, but socially liberal.”

    In other words libertarians–reptilicans who like porn and dope.

    Ben P.:

    If you’re trying to convince folks that you’re NOT a Paulista, Urdoin’itrong.

    The Pauls are both grifters; theocratic, “states rights”, racists as well, but grifters at heart.

  19. democommie:

    The Randitarians, btw, are all about THEIR nice, white, middle-class FREEDOM. They pretty much don’t give a flying fuck about other people. So, yeah, they’re sociopathic.

  20. Ben P:

    In other words libertarians–reptilicans who like porn and dope.

    Wouldn’t you find a republican who likes porn and dope preferable to a fundamentalist?

    Granted I’d go further, I think being a libertarian rather than a republican requires not being opposed to gay marriage, (asking why the state is sanctioning religious marriage at all is a permissible alternative IMO) , and generally pro-choice.

    I’m not a republican in any sense of the word, but I am, however, suspicious of ideologues of all stripes. People with a “vision” tend to be blind to the negative or unintended consequences of their ideas. I call myself a moderate, but if that gives me libertarian leanings than I won’t argue with that.

  21. Ben P:

    Stated otherwise, I’m a professional nit-picker.

  22. steve84:

    There are things that are better decided locally. For example something like economic policy, so that it can be better tailored to local conditions. But the amount of autonomy US states have is ridiculous. They are NOT independent countries (which is how they saw themselves in the 18th century). There is no reason for every small state to have radically different family laws for example. It’s absurd how much things can change if you simple move from one area to another. Especially considering today’s high mobility.

    And the only reason for that is tradition. Not any principled stand on what works best. When the US was founded, there wasn’t much in the way of family law. So the Constitution didn’t reserve it for the federal government and let it fall to the states. But since the early 20th century, it has become hugely important.

  23. davidworthington:

    Not sure young folks would be real happy with RP when they see his position on student loans:

    http://thinkprogress.org/education/2013/03/22/1762921/senate-republicans-unanimously-support-repeal-of-student-loan-reform-law/?fb_action_ids=723889727242&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=aggregation&fb_aggregation_id=288381481237582

  24. mudpuddles:

    Rand Paul’s opposition to reason and science are enough for me to consider him a dangerous loon. Whatever the facts he’s presented with to the contrary, he still trots out the same old shite that subsidies for renewable energies “distort the market” and are bad for the environment and the economy, whilst subsidies for fossil fuel exploration and distribution are a-ok. He also likes to claim that the EPA has a mission to destroy private property rights (because people should be allowed to pollute or exploit to extinction any goddamn way they please!), and that Agenda 21, the notion that local communities should be more involved in ensuring the wise use of their natural resources, is somehow a globalist conspiracy to consume America.

    Not that different to the rest of the GOP on those issues.

  25. democommie:

    “I call myself a moderate, but if that gives me libertarian leanings than I won’t argue with that.”

    Moderates do not embrace people like the Pauls. What few “positives (and those few, illusory) exist in their fever dreams about polity are held by people who aren’t fucking batshit KKKrazzeepants.

  26. Ben P:

    Moderates do not embrace people like the Pauls. What few “positives (and those few, illusory) exist in their fever dreams about polity are held by people who aren’t fucking batshit KKKrazzeepants.

    First, I don’t embrase the Pauls, the challenger would have to be exceedingly bad before I’d consider voting for Ron Paul, and I’d never vote for Rand.

    Second, I trust you to give me a good sense of what “moderate” is about as much as I trust Mitt Romney to give me a good definition of what “rich” is.

  27. Raging Bee:

    I call myself a moderate, but if that gives me libertarian leanings than I won’t argue with that.

    I notice libertarians sometimes call themselves “moderate,” or “small-c conservative,” just before proving they’re nothing of the sort.

    Also, opposing or showing skepticism about this or that particular tax or reg isn’t a sign of “libertarian leanings,” any more than supporting this or that reg is a sign of “communist leanings.”

  28. Who Knows?:

    Wouldn’t you find a republican who likes porn and dope preferable to a fundamentalist?

    Nope. Especially when you throw the Pauls, and those like them, into the equation.

    With a fundamentalist, at least there is some known quantity. We know what they believe and we know pretty much why they believe it. That, and we are also somewhat protected by the Constitution from their agenda.

    The Libertarians, and I’m not sure if it is fair to lump them in with the Pauls, don’t seem to base their beliefs on anything more than what they see as good for themselves. The Pauls in my opinion are nothing more than racist assholes. Sure, they try to cover it up with arguments over property rights and state’s rights but what it comes down to is they want to sit at the lunch counter only with people like themselves.

    They also don’t have any sense of being responsible for the community, whether you view the community as your neighborhood or the nation. Which is why they won’t mind paying more for a street light outside their house as long as they aren’t paying for any other street lights and they support isolationism so strongly. Unless they personally benefit, they don’t want their tax dollars going for it.

    We can argue with a fundamentalist that investing in the community is something their God would want done. A Libertarian has no God beyond themselves and there is no reasoning with them.

  29. lofgren:

    I feel like the kid in Big. “I don’t get it.” If you’re going to sell me a transforming robot, it ought to be able to transform into something better than a republican.

  30. sanford:

    As Charley Pierce says for the first 5 minutes he makes since. 5:01 off the rails

  31. Michael Heath:

    Ben P writes:

    By implication that does mean the Federal Government could do nothing about segregation if a state did choose to enact it, and that he thinks this the legally appropriate outcome. But this isn’t quite the same thing as saying he’d be in favor of segregation.

    Not true. In the famous interview between Paul and Rachel Maddow Paul effectively argued state-level government should protect the rights of bigoted business owners to deny black people access to goods and services. I.e., he could see that the 1960s civil rights acts does infringe on the property and association rights of bigoted business owners and operators. Where Paul failed miserably to observe that black people have rights to access goods and services. Far superior rights according to Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, and LBJ and the attendant Congresses who passed the key civil rights laws from the late-1950s into the mid-1960s. I.e., Paul’s just another garden variety reality denier, he’s simply the libertarian type who can’t see past government infringement of property and gun rights.

    So while Sen. Paul may claim to be for anti-segregation, his arguments would effectively allow communities in the south and other racist enclaves to re-create segregation.

  32. D. C. Sessions:

    I think being a libertarian rather than a republican requires not being opposed to gay marriage, (asking why the state is sanctioning religious marriage at all is a permissible alternative IMO) , and generally pro-choice.

    That’s assuming that “libertarian” isn’t just a code phrase for “States’ Rights plutocrat.”

    My observation is that the great majority of self-described “libertarians” are authoritarians who don’t want a strong central government messing with their ability to lord it over the peons.

  33. Michael Heath:

    D.C. Sessions writes:

    My observation is that the great majority of self-described “libertarians” are authoritarians who don’t want a strong central government messing with their ability to lord it over the peons.

    Hear hear. And those you observe like that are the only ones with any political power or influence. That rest are just participating in a vast circle jerk of denialism. We’d all be better off if the liberaltarians just admitted they were liberals and pushed for reforms inside the Democrat party for trends that are already going their way. Like the Dems being far more pro-growth, pro-business, and pro-fiscal discipline than they used to be while also out-performing the GOP on these factors as well. (Only arguably regarding the pro-business assertion; there’s arguments to be made against this position as well though the Dems have GDP rates, unemployment, and the stock market trends all on their side).

  34. Ben P:

    That’s assuming that “libertarian” isn’t just a code phrase for “States’ Rights plutocrat.”

    My observation is that the great majority of self-described “libertarians” are authoritarians who don’t want a strong central government messing with their ability to lord it over the peons.

    That really is about the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard.

  35. Ben P:

    Hear hear. And those you observe like that are the only ones with any political power or influence. That rest are just participating in a vast circle jerk of denialism. We’d all be better off if the liberaltarians just admitted they were liberals and pushed for reforms inside the Democrat party for trends that are already going their way. Like the Dems being far more pro-growth, pro-business, and pro-fiscal discipline than they used to be while also out-performing the GOP on these factors as well. (Only arguably regarding the pro-business assertion; there’s arguments to be made against this position as well though the Dems have GDP rates, unemployment, and the stock market trends all on their side).

    Ah yes, “all libertarians should just vote democrat and try to make their argument inside the party.”

    When “libertarian” outlets shill for mainstream conservative positions that really aren’t libertarian in the slightest, I’m pretty sure you’ve already lost that particular argument.

    I vote Democrat most of the time anyway, generally because they’re the lesser of two evils, but if you want me to unequivocally vote democrat you’re going to have to persuade me that a lot of democrats aren’t just as much about enacting their petty whims into government just like most fundies are.

  36. Ben P:

    I also find it intensely amusing that here, I’m derided for (purportedly) being right of center, yet about half the other places I post I’m being derided for being left of center.

    I think that means I’m doing something right.

  37. Michael Heath:

    I wrote:

    Hear hear. And those you observe like that are the only ones with any political power or influence. That rest are just participating in a vast circle jerk of denialism. We’d all be better off if the liberaltarians just admitted they were liberals and pushed for reforms inside the Democrat party for trends that are already going their way. Like the Dems being far more pro-growth, pro-business, and pro-fiscal discipline than they used to be while also out-performing the GOP on these factors as well. (Only arguably regarding the pro-business assertion; there’s arguments to be made against this position as well though the Dems have GDP rates, unemployment, and the stock market trends all on their side).
    [emphasis in original post]

    BenP responds:

    Ah yes, “all libertarians should just vote democrat and try to make their argument inside the party.”

    That’s not what I wrote. I even bolded for easier comprehension.

    Ben P writes:

    When “libertarian” outlets shill for mainstream conservative positions that really aren’t libertarian in the slightest, I’m pretty sure you’ve already lost that particular argument.

    I have no idea who you’re referencing and why the scare quotes. The primary libertarian outlet I’m aware of, and subscribed to for years was Reason magazine – no scare quotes earned.

    Ben P writes:

    I vote Democrat most of the time anyway, generally because they’re the lesser of two evils, but if you want me to unequivocally vote democrat you’re going to have to persuade me that a lot of democrats aren’t just as much about enacting their petty whims into government just like most fundies are.

    Which petty whims are Democrats enacting that makes them equivalent to most fundies?

  38. Michael Heath:

    Ben P writes:

    I also find it intensely amusing that here, I’m derided for (purportedly) being right of center, yet about half the other places I post I’m being derided for being left of center.

    I think that means I’m doing something right.

    Uh no, that’s not a logical conclusion.

  39. Michael Heath:

    D.C. Sessions [correctly] observes:

    That’s assuming that “libertarian” isn’t just a code phrase for “States’ Rights plutocrat.”

    My observation is that the great majority of self-described “libertarians” are authoritarians who don’t want a strong central government messing with their ability to lord it over the peons.

    Ben P responds:

    That really is about the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard.

    Than you’re in denial. The Koch brothers and the Pauls do exist. Here’s Rand Paul just the other day on gay marriage:

    [Rand Paul] believes the issue [gay marriage] should be left up to the states.

    “I’ve always said that the states have the right to decide,” Paul, who opposes gay marriage, said on “Fox News Sunday.”

    DOMA, the federal 1996 law, defines marriage as between one man and one woman. So does a 2004 amendment to Kentucky’s state constitution.

    “I do believe in traditional marriage, Kentucky has decided it, and I don’t think the federal government should tell us otherwise,” Paul said. “I don’t want the government promoting something I don’t believe in, but I also don’t mind if the government tries to be neutral on the issue.”

    And here’s Rand Paul professing to be a small ‘l’ libertarian
    :

    Like his father, the son also favors notions of limited government. “Libertarian would be a good description,” Rand Paul told CNN, “because libertarians believe in freedom in all aspects of your life – your economic life as well as your social life as well as your personal life.”

    Regarding Paul’s “belief” the states should decide gay marriage, doubly ironic given Paul’s demonstrably false claim he’s for limited government: I present the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment’s which expressly limits government power while Paul simulaneously advocates for increased government power at the state level to deny gays federal protection of their right to marry and have families:

    No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    So back to your claim D.C. Session’s observation is, “the most absurd thing you’ve ever heard“. That argues you’re in extremely deep denial, and not that D.C. Sessions observations are false.

  40. Ben P:

    So back to your claim D.C. Session’s observation is, “the most absurd thing you’ve ever heard“. That argues you’re in extremely deep denial, and not that D.C. Sessions observations are false.

    Do I have to go back to the very first thing I wrote in this thread?

    Rand Paul however consistently seems to have been a doctrinaire republican. Aside from some “tea party” dissent votes, I can’t think of anything yet where he’s crossed swords with the Republicans.

    I’ll openly call Rand Paul an authoritarian, like most of the Tea Party I don’t think he’s libertarian in the slightest. He’s a conservative looking to cash in on Anti-Government rage. In my opinion very few elected republicans can claim to be libertarians at all. Insisting that we ought to get ride of social security and the department of education doesn’t make one a libertarian.

    The statement is absurd because, the way you’re using it, it’s a tautology. You think the Koch Brothers etc are “Self-Interested plutocrats” and I won’t dispute that. They claim to be libertarians, therefore you say that libertarians are nothing more than authoritarian “self-interested plutocrats” intent on imposing their will on others absent government control. It’s absolutely useless as a definition, and hence, absurd.

    At the end of the day all you’ve done is come to the conclusion that authoritarians are bad, therefore those who disagree with you must be authoritarians.

    Although it’s cheesy I’ll go back to a political compass like scale. One can be economically conservative and economically liberal, which measures in a very general sense (to the point of destroying a definition) the degree to which one thinks the government’s purpose is to encourage individual responsibility versus acting for a more collective good, and authoritarian versus libertarian, which measures, again to a very general degree, the level to which one thinks one’s personal standards should be imposed on others.

    There are many problems with that sort of measurement, first among them that it ignores the utilitarian ideas that a policy may have good outcomes regardless of whether it encourages responsibility or reduces it. Now, why would a libertarian admit that? Perhaps it’s because you all are making a silly goddamn assumption.

  41. D. C. Sessions:

    You think the Koch Brothers etc are “Self-Interested plutocrats” and I won’t dispute that. They claim to be libertarians, therefore you say that libertarians are nothing more than authoritarian “self-interested plutocrats” intent on imposing their will on others absent government control. It’s absolutely useless as a definition, and hence, absurd.

    David Koch was the Libertarian Party candidate for Vice-President in 1980.

    As to the larger claim, I confess to not having quantitative sociological studies to cite and that there are certainly principled libertarians (see, for instance, The League of Ordinary Gentlemen and other blog collectives.) However, the Party and the more prominent “libertarian” writers are heavily focused, not on reducing Governmental control people’s lives, but on reducing the central government’s ability to regulate commerce and on increasing the ability of States to control people without interference by the Federal government. Personal contacts, while obviously not dispositive, bear this out.

    Consider that one of the hot topics in libertarian theory is whether the sacred right of contract includes selling oneself into slavery. By the time you reach the point of debating this, you’ve already blown past all of the other ways that people have used nongovernmental compulsion on each other and are, at the least, back to feudalism and debt peonage (e.g. latifundia.)

  42. dingojack:

    Ben – the problem with your argument is the strong correlation between your ‘axes’. Those that are strongly anti-authoritarians tend to be economically liberal, those that are economically conservative tend to be authoritarian. If the two were demonstrably independent variables then you might have a point.
    Dingo

  43. democommie:

    Rand Paul has self-identified as having libertarian leanings; it is juicily ironic that the Libertarian Party’s logo is the Statue of Liberty (that nice, giant lady with the screed about, “Give me your tired, your poor, etc.,) and yet he’s not quite thrilled with teh immigrantz:

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2013/03/20/17385726-the-immigration-policy-rand-paul-quietly-supports?lite

    Now, if you were to say that Rand Paul is a lying, fucking hypocrite who leans libertarian on those issues that he finds personally beneficial, well, yeah, that might be accurate.

  44. Raging Bee:

    You think the Koch Brothers etc are “Self-Interested plutocrats” and I won’t dispute that. They claim to be libertarians, therefore you say that libertarians are nothing more than authoritarian “self-interested plutocrats” intent on imposing their will on others absent government control. It’s absolutely useless as a definition, and hence, absurd.

    The Koch Brothers don’t just claim to be libertarians; they, and others like them, invest huge amounts of money injecting THEIR BRAND of libertarianism into both academics and public policy debates wherever they can. Their money and power has made their brand of libertarianism the most influential one, in both libertarian and Republican circles. In a very real and practical sense, that class of aggressive fascist plutocrats define what libertarianism is for most Americans.

    Although it’s cheesy I’ll go back to a political compass like scale…

    It’s not just cheezy, it’s old and irrelevant. Just one more tired old talking-point that libertarians fall back on when they can’t find any other way to get the rest of us back onto their script. What’s next, the “Bhopal/Khmer Rouge” comparison? I haven’t heard that moldy-oldie since 2009.

  45. Raging Bee:

    I’ll openly call Rand Paul an authoritarian, like most of the Tea Party I don’t think he’s libertarian in the slightest. He’s a conservative looking to cash in on Anti-Government rage.

    That also describes most of the longstanding libertarian coalition: segregationists opposed to the Supreme Court’s integration decision; anti-choice bigots opposed to Roe vs. Wade; opponents of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts; businesses opposed to ANY AND ALL gummint regulations that cause them the slightest inconvenience (including, but not at all limited to, the right to collective bargaining); anti-tax loonies; religious bigots still trying to inflict their religion on public schools; McCarthyists, survivalists, Klansmen, race-warriors, and many other sorts of enemies of progress…do I really need to go on? Oh yeah, can’t forget the Southern nationalists and slavery apologists, can we?

    And if you really think there’s a huge gap between authoritarians and libertarians, you need to read a little history…specifically, a sample of early fascist writing from the 1920s. Those fascist “thinkers” went on at great length about how “individualism” meant bravely resisting stodgy democratic institutions, how the dictator on a white horse is “the ultimate expression of the individual,” how democracy meant pathetic little people collectively tying down the hands of the bold and the brave…sound familiar? It’s the sound of authoritarians manipulating emotions to serve their own ends. That’s what fascism is, and it’s what libertarianism always has been.

  46. Raging Bee:

    PS: Remember the title of Hitler’s most famous propaganda film? It was “Triumph of the Will.” Sounds a bit like “Atlas Shrugged,” doesn’t it?

  47. Michael Heath:

    Ben P writes:

    I’ll openly call Rand Paul an authoritarian, like most of the Tea Party I don’t think he’s libertarian in the slightest.

    Ah. the, ‘no true Scotsman’ argument. That’s some nuclear grade denialism going on there, especially sweet since it’s followed by Sen. Rand acknowledging he’s a libertarian.

    We know not only that libertarians, a political ideology, includes authoritarians along with double-high social-dominators/authoritarians within their movement, but they’re the ones who’ve recently come to wield real power at the national level. Like being U.S. Congressmen or primary financiers of think tanks like the Cato Institute where the GOP now listens to them (AGW denialism) or the financing of political advocacy groups that significantly impacts public policy; even when these groups’ positions is held by only about a 1/4 of the country, e.g., FreedomWorks.

    Ben P writes:

    At the end of the day all you’ve done is come to the conclusion that authoritarians are bad, therefore those who disagree with you must be authoritarians..

    Well we empirically understand that authoritarians are bad, science validates this. But you’re one the creating non sequiturs here since you failed to demonstrate anyone here is claiming all people that they disagree with are authoritarians. Good luck validating that, it would be fun watching you try. Actually it would be pathetic, better to concede your assertion is wildly untrue. Flinging out a pejorative assertion without demonstrating somebody deserves it is never good form.

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