Marginal Revolution on Why Libertarians should vote for Obama

Alex Tabarrok, not Tyler Cowen, and more…”rhetoric-filled” than the vast majority of their posts. But still worth a read.

Why Libertarians Should Vote for Obama (1)

First, war.  War is the antithesis of the libertarian philosophy of consent, voluntarism and trade.  With every war in American history Leviathan has grown larger and our liberties have withered.  War is the health of the state. And now, fulfilling the dreams of Big Brother, we are in a perpetual war.


Have libertarians gained on other margins in the past eight years? Not at all. Under the Republicans we have been sailing due South-West on the Nolan Chart – fewer civil liberties and more government, including the largest new government program in a generation, the Medicare prescription drug plan, and the biggest nationalization since the Great Depression. Tax cuts, the summum bonum of Republican economic policy, are a sham. The only way to cut taxes is to cut spending and that has not happened.

Also, here’s the link to Ezra Klein’s and Tyler Cowen’s talk on DailyIntel at nymag. EK is a liberal, TC is a libertarian.

Tyler Cowen and Ezra Klein on Palin’s Speech and What Obama and McCain Would Each Accomplish — or Not — As President

T.C.: So, Palin. People are missing one of her long-term implications, namely that she means the libertarian tradition in American politics is making a distinctly nationalist turn, just like Ron Paul. For my taste that is worrying. One of the most striking things in Palin’s speech was all the talk of energy independence. That is (a) bad economics from any point of view, and (b) an appeal to blatant nationalism. The left is acquiring more and more of a lock on cosmopolitanism, and, of course, Barack Obama personifies that.

E.K.: I’m actually surprised to see you fit her into the libertarian tradition. She seems more like a Christian nationalist sort, no?

T.C.: She is not a libertarian, in my view. She is a populist. But she is/will be soaking up lots of support that otherwise goes into quasi-libertarian causes. She will be turning those sources increasingly nationalist. Just like many current Ron Paul supporters might have been Ed Clark supporters in 1980, but now [libertarianism] is packaged with more “nativist” ideas.


E.K.: Though I think you get into why presidents only matter somewhat here: My hunch is that Obama’s economic instincts are actually more “conservative,” or at least “libertarian,” than McCain’s, but McCain isn’t interested enough in economics to construct an ideology that’s symmetrical to his gut beliefs. While Obama has merged his concerns about government into an appropriately big government framework: You don’t need that much administration to do redistribution.

And this is Ross Douthat and Tyler Cowen, again on nymag:

Ross Douthat and Tyler Cowen on Lieberman, Palin, and Outlawing Abortion

R.D.: I wonder what you think of her libertarian credentials? It’s hard to get an exact read on where she’s stood on a lot of issues, but her candidacy has been greeted with more interest from online libertarians than you’d expect from an evangelical pro-lifer, I think…

T.C: I doubt if she is very libertarian. I think of her as a populist with libertarian tendencies but really not a libertarian. I’m sure you heard about her trying to censor books at the local public library. Again, there is a lot here I am not comfortable with. I wonder about her attachment to moderation, most of all. For me that is a bigger question than experience per se. But she is also a breath of fresh air in a party which is falling apart.


11 thoughts on “Marginal Revolution on Why Libertarians should vote for Obama

  1. The leadership of the Libertarian Party of Alaska endorsed Palin for Governor in 2006. She spoke to two LP meetings that year at their invite. Even her Libertarian opponent in the race Billy Toien endorsed her the last 3 days, telling his supporters to “vote for Sarah.”

    I wonder if the Libertarian Party of Illinois has ever supported Obama? Somehow, I think not.

  2. Our libertarian movement has been infiltrated by Leftwingers in these past few years. The movement started by Barry Goldwater and Dana Rohrabacher has been polluted by pacifist surrenderist ideals of Leftwingers aligned with Islamo-Fascists.

    Islamo-Fascism is fundamentally opposite of libertarianism. Islamo-Fascists want to destroy civil liberties, outlaw free speech, stone prostitutes in town squares, jail marijuana smokers, outlaw booze and gambling and force our girlfriends/wives to wear ugly black burqas from head to toe. The complete opposite of libertarianism.

    Opponents of the War on Islamo-Fascism are as good as Fascists, themselves.

    Eric Dondero, Fmr. Senior Aide
    US Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX)
    Fmr. Libertarian National Committeeman

  3. First of all, “libertarian” and “Libertarian” are 2 entirely different things, and that’s increasingly clear from the way the latter group is going about its affairs. I won’t pretend to be an expert-I don’t really care, actually, for a party that has virtually no effect on the larger political landscape-but I do know that it’s turning from the fundamental philosophy that I subscribe to.
    I agree that “Islamo-Fascists”, as you call them, are the complete opposite of libertarianism. They’re the bad guys. All of us get it. What we don’t get is why WE have to become the bad guys, which is what the Bush Administration is doing; They “destroy civil liberties, outlaw free speech and jail marijuana smokers”. We are becoming the enemy to fight them. Ever watched Star Wars?

  4. Because those fuckers attacked us that’s why. And you can’t win wars with nicities and feather pillows. Sometimes you gotta play rough in a rough world. Wimps never win wars.

    Walk softly and carry a big stick. Stay out of other Nation’s affairs, but if they attack you, hit back 10 times harder!

  5. The point is, it should never have been a war. TERRORISM isn’t WAR. There are other, vastly more efficient means to counter it: including “feather pillows”. WAR, in fact, BREEDS terrorism. If there was rampant anti-Americanism in Muslim countries before 9/11, the past 7 years have made sure that it intensifies and that it remains there for quite some time to come. And, if you remember, the Iraqis never attacked the US.

    Stay out of other nation’s affairs is practical when you don’t have to interact with them, but when your influence reaches EVERYWHERE it’s simply not an option.

  6. In any case, this is a complex argument that has already been rehashed several times, and I don’t think it will serve any purpose to go over it yet again. MY point was that libertarians (notice again the capitalization, or lack thereof) have no business voting in someone who thinks a woman doesn’t have the right to do what she wants with her body and bans books from libraries because she deems the contents “inappropriate”. She, as is mentioned in the excerpts, is no libertarian; just a last minute ploy to please non-college educated woman (who, according to several prominent Republican(commentator)s, are those the campaign is targeting) and the evangelical right.

  7. No, actually Terrorism breeds Terrorism, particularly the Islamo-Fascist variety of Terrorism. Radical Islamists won’t stop until they’ve imposed their radical Sharia-Law supporting views on the entire United States.

    They want to convert us, or kill us. If you want to be wishy-washy about it and surrender to these Hitlerites, go ahead. But I’ll die fighting these fuckers and fighting to preserve my liberty.

  8. Notice the liberals are backing away from that book banning charge now that the very librarian in question has debunked all the rumors.

    Let me ask you all something. Don’t you think Libertarians in Alaska know best who is and who is not a “Libertarian”? I’ve hung out with the LPA-ers. There ain’t a more hardcore group of Libertarians in the country. And they love Sarah Palin.

    The Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Alaska Jason Dowell just sent out a press release congratulating her on her VP selection.

    How often does the Libertarian Party do such a thing for a Republican?

    Try as you might, you cannot escape the fundamental fact that for the first time since Goldwater, the Republican Party HAS A BONAFIDE LIBERTARIAN ON THE PRESIDENTIAL TICKET!!

  9. @8: I invite you to read any academic study of terrorism(=,not coverage in Fox News, a STUDY) to confirm the accuracy of your statements (I don’t question the SINCEREITY of your statements, or Palin’s, or that of most people on your side; but then, that means absolutely nothing to me). Until then, let’s agree to disagree.

    @9: Capital L, capital L, capital L! You’re just redefining the word!!!
    And assuming that in the last bit you do mean what I mean: exactly how does an evangelical “pro-lifer” come off as a “bona-fide libertarian”?

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