Doing Libertarianism Wrong

Rand Paul has gotten libertarianism wrong again. Despite the fact that he has attempted at times to throw off the libertarian label as too limiting and ultimately inaccurate in describing the whole of his political philosophy, Paul has also clearly embraced the label many times. More importantly for our discussion, many movement libertarians have embraced Paul as a movement leader, giving the initial fundraising momentum necessary to Paul’s political success. So why is Paul seemingly so intent on violating whatever limited principles libertarianism might hold?

It’s no surprise that most libertarians are doing libertarianism wrong of course: most of us don’t think through most of our positions, even many times on important issues. There simply are too many important issues for us to be educated or even thoughtful about every single one. I’m sure I do progressive queer feminism wrong many times as well. In fact, that’s part of the reason why I’ve chosen the life path that I have, with its focus on study that permits more time to examine those positions, more exposure to knowledgable, thoughtful takes on important issues I haven’t yet considered, and more support for rethinking issues that one had previously thought settled.

Nonetheless, you don’t exactly expect movement leaders to do that movement wrong. If a person wasn’t competent on issues important to a movement why would that person have been accepted as a leader?

[Read more…]

Good Witch or Bad Witch: Andrew Jackson

In addition to being the subject of the most morally abominable statement I’ve ever heard made on television, Andrew Jackson was the 7th President of the United States and a staunch defender of slavery.

A populist, Jackson was nonetheless very much an advocate of the status quo: he opposed many SCOTUS decisions that had the potential to create change and consistently sided with those who wanted to keep social structures locked in the same forms they had taken in preceding decades. He did antagonize many with power, but from my rough reading of history that appears to be because of his autocratic tendencies: his policy outlines were similar to those of others of his party, but by acting unilaterally he was effectively reducing the opportunities for other office holders to exercise their powers in legislative and other governmental processes. Jackson favored a “strong presidency”, which just happened to benefit his autocratic hunger for power. Justifying this publicly, he insisted that Congress was corrupt and vesting king-like power in the executive was the only effective check on congressional corruption. While in office, Jackson preserved the status quo not least by rejecting new legislation: he exercised his veto more than all previous presidents combined. And yet, Newt Gingrich thinks that Jackson was a huge “change agent”. Listen to Gingrich speak of Trump (from CBS This Morning):

I think Trump is a remarkable figure. I think he’s a historic figure. He’s certainly probably the biggest change agent since Andrew Jackson in the 1820s and 1830s.

[Read more…]

Another Misused Phrase

Readers of this blog, both of you, know how I feel about the misuse of the phrases witch hunt and lynch mob, and more generally about all the variations of the word lynch. I’d like to discuss another phrase without the same level of history but with vital importance to understanding the self-serving faux-martyrdom of those in our society who are actually the most powerful ad privileged. It’s used in this NY Times piece on Mueller’s investigative tactics:

[Read more…]

I Didn’t Know Historians Have Senses of Humor

Via Rawstory I saw a bit of writing on the political jeopardy to Trump’s presidency and how, in the author’s view, this jeopardy is greater even than what Nixon faced in the time period before impeachment proceedings began. I started reading and in the first full paragraph came upon one of the great historical jokes of all time:

Since George Washington Americans have taken pride in electing honest presidents. Whether the chief executive is rated by historians as great, average, or failure, there has been general agreement that honest men have occupied the White House.

I had to find the History News Network site to examine the quote at its source, it was so unbelievable. Slowly, slowly it dawned on me that in this piece of serious writing, this line must have been slipped in by an editor as a joke. I mean, Holy Historical Humor, Batman, could any student of history ever actually believe this?

 

 

Ed Brayton Will Have a Field Day With This

So, this cannot compare to The Greatest Political Scandal Ever, but in California, the leader of the Republican caucus of the State Assembly is having an affair with the former leader of the Republican Caucus of the State Assembly. Of course Chad Mayes, the current leader of the State Assembly Republican Caucus (hereinafter SARC), and Kristin Olsen, the former leader, are more-moral-than-thou types, and protect-marriage-from-the-sinning-sinners types to boot. Mayes’ father is a preacher, and Mayes himself graduated from Liberty University.

[Read more…]

Dairy Cows and Professional Republicans

I see quite a lot in common between those two. Both of them create a whole lot of product every day, and there’s a great deal of people in the US who find the products of both quite appealing.

But it is sure as heck true that there are a great many people that find those products hard to digest, and although you might not like the fact, it’s not a sampling error nor mere vagaries of individual preference when studies show that both go down easier with some ethnic groups and not others.

Republicans Asked WHAT?

In one of the more amusing screams to come out of the lethal circus fire that is the Republicans’ “big tent” these days, we now hear this complaint:

  • Senate Democrats, from Sen. Bernie Sanders to Sen. Joe Manchin, have followed Sen. Chuck Schumer’s lead and refused to negotiate with Republicans on a path forward to replacing Obamacare.

Well, I could mention the fact that refusing to negotiate and refusing to repeal are two different things, but then I’d pour water on this thing when the really exciting explosions are just about to…

 

[Read more…]

Hold My Beer: “Let Them Eat Champagne” – No, really.

Let them eat Brioche not good enough? That’s okay: Ivanka gives us the high-class version of Hold My Beer. For Ivanka, it’s hold my champagne.

Ivanka Trump, whose family sells Trump-branded champagne, actually tweeted out that this memorial day – the day we set aside to think about those who actually fucking died in the wars fought by US soldiers at the orders of US politicians – that this Memorial Day should feature champagne frozen into popsicles. Y’know. For the dead.

[Read more…]

I have no words.

Trump wants to rehire the man he was forced to fire because that man broke the law, was being paid by a foreign power while working for the Trump campaign, and had ties still intact when taking up the position in charge of US national security.

Great galloping gorgosauruses! Is there no idea too stupid for Trump to think it brilliant when he himself thinks it?

[Read more…]