I’m no fan of Rand Paul, but his directness in the below Politico article on the GOP’s national troubles impresses me. Here’s Politico:
Republican leaders are questioning the interventionist foreign policy that President George W. Bush and the party’s last two nominees paid obeisance to; party elites are urging a more tolerant or even supportive stance on gay rights and would be just fine if abortion wasn’t discussed at all; […]
“We have to, as a Republican Party, get bigger, not smaller, and we’re a party that’s becoming more regionalized and I think a smaller, less significant national party,” said Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, deadpanning: “We’re a great red state party.”
The way to compete in blue America, Paul said, is to embrace a more restrained foreign policy and take a federalist approach on values issues.
“If you want to get together a majority in California I think your only chance is to be more of a libertarian Republican,” said Paul, who is considering a presidential bid in 2016 […]
Rand Paul is right, of course. The old right wing foreign policy and traditional values canards can no longer deliver 50% of the electorate in national elections. But whether yet another white southern male is the vehicle for carrying the libertarian rebranding of the Republican Party to a national audience in 2016 is another question.
Here’s Jon Stewart, using Glenn Beck as his foil, deconstructing the paranoia, intellectual confusion, and panic that surrounds contemporary American conservatism:
There is a reason there are no libertarian governments – it doesn’t work!
Huh? No libertarian governments?
Africa has many libertarian governments–those are governments under which each individual has total responsibility for his or her own welfare. Your own natural or learned talents and abilities determine everything about how you fare in life under these regimes. No officials will prop you up, impose an education on you, make you take care of your neighbor. All your choices depend on your own initiatives and resources. Zimbabwe is an example. Or, almost any other African nation. Burma has been a classic example, but, in the past year, Burma has actually adopted less libertarian politics, slightly (and perhaps only as a ploy to fool the credulous public) opening its political affairs to opposition critics’ speech.
Therefore, in such countries, those individuals with the most determined drive, ambition, and unswerving persistence rise to the top of society’s ranks in politics, in business, in practically every aspect of life. Usually, these individuals are also the ones without the slightest moral scruples; they will stop at nothing and, since government is such a tiny factor, there is nothing to stop them. They are free–free to use their powers of persuasion, of the threat and the use of force, to terrorize any and all who dare to raise even the slightest objection to their strong-man domination of the nation. Typically these leaders are known as “Warlords” or some such similar term to indicate that they rule by force and keep power by ruthless brutal violence–whereas in an ordinary democratic nation, the brutal violence is somewhat circumscribed by the occasional restraints of law.
In a real libertarian society, however, such restraints are reduced to the minimum or–usually– removed completely, since a Warlord, once in place, isn’t going to have the slightest use or respect for real legal curbs on his use of force.
And that is the real-world reality of libertarian ideology–a world where the strongest rule over the weaker, whatever “stronger” and “weaker” may mean under the social circumstances that prevail. “Stronger” in some cases means “richer”; in others, it means “those with the largest and most heavily-armed militias”, etc. Whatever it means, it doesn’t refer to “those who comprise the majority voting opinion.”
Appreciate you making my point. Where this reality falls from the libertarian ideal, however, is that it relies also on tribal affiliation. Something the ‘libertarian’ pretends to reject.
Thar is a very astute observation. You’d think that there’d be a rather general understanding of that point. I don’t think that there is; and this is an essential factor of libertarian idealism’s remove from actual human behavior.
It’s remarkable that so many people of average or below average means can find libertarian idealism atractive. They’ve failed to grasp your point about the tribalist factor because, under libertarian practice, the numerical majority’s natural democratic advantages are specifically and deliberately reduced to the bare minimum–making this “tribe” weak and ineffectual compared with any othe organized interests which can monopolize important powers and influences that, because they are narrowly drawn and defined, trump a larger, more diversified groups’ (tribes) ability to act in concert.
So, under libertarian practice, unless the tribe one belongs to is for some reason either rich or powerful, one and one’s tribal members are at a distinct disadvantage in the very competition that libertarian ideology sets up –seeing such competition as the be-all and ultimate end of a society: the “superior” individuals’ rights to prevail over any and all other conceivable interests. That, in brief is what libertarianism is and what it means.
And the by-definition average lot of people, for whom such an ideology offers simply left-overs, find this morally and politically attractive!?!
It makes as much sense as any tea party.
Libertarian says something I agree with. Must preface with statement that I’m no fan, dismiss his viability because he’s a white male, and the comments are all about attacking libertarianism. Yell loud enough racists, and maybe you’ll convince yourself 😀
It is not the message that makes Libertarianism non-viable, but the reality of humans and politics.
It is yet another utopian vision that relies on the kindness of strangers. While some strangers may be kind, not enough to cement a viable state.
That Africa is the unfortunate victim here makes no one racist (to include Paul) though he may appeal to some.