Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Libertarians for Webb

In response to this article, I wrote the author the following e-mail. Thoughts?

* * *

Hi David,

I enjoyed this article and was glad that you came to your provisional conclusion:

"It might be in libertarians' best interest to ally with Democrats for this election."

I found it insightful until the last few paragraphs, when I think you moved a little bit away from your initial cogent analysis:

"Even when [the Democrats] are railing against NSA wiretapping, they're wishing they could be passing higher taxes and entitlement payouts."

It's certainly up to you whether or not you'd be let down by some future Democratic majority that you helped elect solely because it was preferable to a Republican one, but I think that last sentence of yours I quoted was off the mark. All of our politicians these days love entitlement payouts: the Democrat or Republican label simply tells you which ones. Republicans spend more on tax breaks and the military; Democrats spend more on social programs and the environment. Neither party wants to do the responsible and correct thing, which would be to cut taxes AND cut spending. Jonah Goldberg of the National Review recently said that George W. was spending like a pimp with a week to live--what a reversal of the party line! Libertarians might end up rightly being disappointed by Democrats they elect for their own reasons, but no Democrat wants to raise taxes just to raise taxes. I think that increasing spending and increasing taxes, while terrible, is always better than increasing spending and decreasing taxes, which can lead to a recession. I'm open to revision on this position.

I hope this is helpful--I'm glad we both agree that we need more people like James Webb.


At 4:58 PM, Blogger RedHurt said...

I understand that the libertarians are all about personal freedom, but to reject the republicans solely on the basis of the wiretapping hoopla is ridiculous. I can't understand what the big deal is, and I don't think most people outside of the media do either. Bill Clinton would have been recording your calls if you placed them to Osama Bin Laden also.

At 1:55 PM, Anonymous dadman said...

Of course Bill Clinton would have been recording your calls to Osama bin Laden. But he would have had a warrant to do so. (And don't tell me the right wing wouldn't have freaked if he had tapped the calls without a warrant! They accused him of killing Vincent Foster, for goodness sake.)

I think libertarians, and some of us liberals from the old school, are seriously and sincerely worried about an administration declaring itself beyond the law, even for the sake of fighting a war.

Once you're beyond the law, where does it stop? Consider the case of the two ABC reporters who were told by a friendly government official that it was time for them "to get new cell phones." (google "abc reporters" and "new cell phones", you'll find it.)

More seriously, consider the innocent people arrested by our government, and sent overseas to be tortured, and denied redress in federal court. Google "Maher Arar"--a Canadian citizen that happened to.

And of course you and I haven't done anything wrong, they're not listening to us, they're not coming for us. We probably don't have the right complexion or name to be arrested and tortured. But those of us of a certain age and political persuasion just can't get used to it happening to anyone.

This has gone way beyond the topic of the original post, sorry about that. But I thought redhurt's implied question ("what is the big deal?") deserved an answer.

At 2:13 PM, Anonymous dadman said...

Back to the original post. Charles was right to call David Weigel on his casual swipe at Democrats. Since 1968, there have been only twelve years with a Democrat in the White House. The only balanced federal budget in recent memory was with a Democrat in the White House. The federal deficit is unimaginably large right now, and there has been a Republican in the White House since 2001. The GOP mantra seems to be not "tax and spend" but "cut taxes and spend."

I don't get it. Republicans are in charge, some things are messed up in a big way, and we Democrats are still wrong. I don't know how we do it.


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