In a two-part column over at Breitbart’s Big Government, Kurt Schlichter practically begs libertarians to “support our Constitution” and vote for Mitt Romney this November in order to avoid not only the “destruction of this country” by way of a second Obama term, but also to avoid the destruction of libertarianism by way of the Libertarian Party becoming a pariah.
The begging will not work, especially when it comes with the usual platitudinous overtures to America and the Constitution being at stake; and the suggestion that not supporting Romney is to selfishly disregard of the Constitution in the name of ideology. No matter how you dice the logic, a committed Republican accusing libertarians of not supporting the Constitution is nothing short of laughable.
Schlichter’s misunderstanding of the libertarian mentality doesn’t help, either. The first and most obvious mistake he makes is to conveniently overlook the fact that small-L libertarians are truly unconcerned with the Libertarian Party. “Remember the Greens?” he ominously asks libertarians, alluding to the fact that following the Green Party’s role as “spoiler” in Al Gore‘s 2000 presidential bid, the “Greens” died off and became a punchline.
He naively assumes libertarians actually care what happens to the party that, for years, has been mismanaged and run by glibertarians like Wayne Allyn Root, a birther who only recently realized it’s time to give up the act and join the GOP. For many libertarians, the party already is a punchline. And looking at this year’s “none of the above” incident at the Libertarian National Convention, can you blame them?
Schlichter makes the case that libertarians will sure-as-Hell never find a home in the Democratic Party, what with the party’s “free this, free that, bailouts this, bailouts that” spectacle at the 2012 DNC. He rightfully points out that the Dems only occasionally make attempts to reach out to libertarians, but are happy to eliminate that support at the drop of a hat. This is probably true. But dedicated libertarians find themselves politically homeless mostly because the corrupting forces of party politics are inherently in conflict with remaining ideologically principled. For many libertarians, a functioning political party to call home is not the desired end-game.
Schlichter’s blind partisanship is unlikely to convince libertarians either. What’s most insulting about the column is how he lectures libertarians about how President Obama is on an unstoppable path of “trampling” the Constitution and Bill of Rights, one amendment at a time. He notes in terribly overwrought language that “Obama’s spent nearly four years trampling the First Amendment,” and that the Second Amendment is “just one Supreme Court vote from being snatched away.” Look, it’s no secret that the Obama administration has a seeming disregard for the Constitution. Schlichter suggests that, therefore, libertarians who are truly dedicated to the age-old document need to support Romney and the Republican Party because they are different — they will save the Constitution and end the madness.
But hey, guess what? Many of President Obama’s constitutional abuses are simply extensions of the ones initiated under President George W. Bush — you know, that other unsupportable Republican that we libertarians were all told to shut up and vote for in 2004.
It was the Republican Party that rammed through the PATRIOT Act that Obama reauthorized last year. It was the Republican Party that set the precedent for the use of indefinite detention, torture, executive overreach, and the crackdowns on government whistleblowers. It was the Republican Party that heightened the crackdown on medical marijuana dispensaries operating legally under their states’ laws. It was the Republican Party that voted for Bush’s spending spree and expansion of federal powers under Medicare Part D, the No Child Left Behind Act, etc.
Schlichter points to the administration’s recent “rousting” of the Innocence of Muslims filmmaker as an Obama First Amendment abuse. The president’s handling of this entire “movie-causing-riots” debacle was, indeed, frustrating to libertarians. And so we libertarians should support Romney because he’s dedicated to the First Amendment, right?
Not quite. This is the same candidate who pledged to “vigorously” fight the scourge that is all forms of adult pornography. Oh, and under the last Republican president, we saw an increase of pointless federal prosecutions of porn-makers like John Stagliano, who film consenting adults doing consensual things — you know, the kind of stuff Republicans hate when it involves sex, drugs, or gambling.
Sure, this current presidency has some constitutional abuses you wouldn’t have seen under Bush, but that’s because this is precisely how our two-party system works: When Democrats are in power, they abuse the Constitution by lighting the metaphorical candle at one end; and when the Republicans are in power, they abuse it by lighting the other end.
A Romney presidency would surely not be exempt from this natural process.
And so it is truly backwards for Schlichter to implore libertarians to “support the Constitution” by casting a vote for the Republican Party. Here’s a better idea:
How about you start supporting the Constitution? And how about you actually make an effort to incorporate libertarians by, for starters, not dismissing them only until it becomes politically necessary to beg for their support?
Read Schlichter’s columns here and here.
TIME FOR RON PAUL FANS TO SUPPORT THE CONSTITUTION
There is no more time for games, no room for hurt feelings. Ron Paul fans, you need to choose, because not voting for Romney is a vote for Obama. It’s that simple. And you could make the difference.
Maybe Romney isn’t the uncompromising Ayn Rand hero you’d design if you could build your ideal candidate from scratch, but he’s a lot better than the guy on whose watch this happened:
Making no choice in this election is a choice – it’s a choice for a collectivist who will get two or three Supreme Court picks over a man who picked a guy, Paul Ryan, who understands capitalism and its unbreakable link to human freedom.
Now, this is a two-way street. Romney and Ryan need to reach out to libertarians over their common ground. Fortunately, there is lots of common ground.
No, the Republican Party is not a libertarian party, but it is the only party with any libertarian element. It’s the only place you have any chance of being heard. And with guys like Rand Paul and the libertarian-friendly Tea Party elements, you can be in the GOP.
Sure, the Democrats posture as guardians of freedom on a couple of issues – abortion, gay marriage – but that’s just a pose. It’s not part of any philosophy of human freedom; these are one-off policy choices made not because of a love for the Constitution but because they are demanded by the interest groups Democrats need to win elections.
When freedom becomes inconvenient, Democrats drop it like it’s hot.
You can say a lot about libertarians, but they are principled about their view of the Constitution. They don’t compromise, and in many cases they earn the respect of conservatives (though never, ever, of Democrats).
It’s hard to count how many times conservatives have watched GOP debates and muttered “Damn, I’d vote for Ron Paul if he’d just stop talking about foreign policy.”
There’s overlap with the Republicans but there is none with the Democrats. And that’s not surprising. Libertarians believe in principles of liberty, as they see them. Liberals believe in raw power to impose their will as they see fit.
Ron Paul, Gary Johnson, and Virgil Goode do not stand for collectivism. But right now, they stand in the way of stopping collectivism.
Let’s not sugar-coat it – there are some real differences between libertarians and conservatives. Foreign policy comes to mind; we conservatives see libertarian foreign policy as naive, while libertarians see conservative foreign policy as overseas adventurism. The drug war is another difference of opinion, though one the libertarians would have a hearing on in the GOP as their influence grows. We don’t need to agree on everything.
With the Democrats, you agree on nothing. We all saw the Democrat convention. It was a collectivist congregation worshiping at the altar of big government. Free this, free that, bailouts this, bailouts that.
There was no there there for principled libertarians. Nothing.
The Republicans are not libertarians, but at least libertarian-conservatives make up an influential and growing part of the party. There are exactly zero “libertarian-liberals.” Nor can there be; Democrats embrace everything libertarians oppose.
That’s why it’s silly to dismiss Romany as no different than Obama. Some wave off their obligation to choose with a cliché, that Romney is just “the lesser of two evils.”
Even if that’s true, the key is “lesser.” If you have to choose between encountering a hubcap thief and an axe murderer, you’d be a fool to shrug your shoulders and risk some face time with the dude with the hatchet.
This is no time to “make a statement” or pout that Ron Paul got treated badly in Tampa. He did get treated badly in Tampa, and that was stupid and unnecessary. But if you are truly dedicated to the Constitution you won’t let it be trampled in order to make some soon-to-be-moot point to the anonymous GOP party hacks responsible for not giving Ron Paul a primo speaking slot.
Priorities, people. Nothing less than the Constitution is at stake here.
No choice is a choice, and with the polls showing a dead-even race every vote that does not go to Romney is effectively a vote for Obama. There’s no debate here; you opt out and you support Obama by default. How can any principled libertarian do that?
Obama’s spent nearly four years trampling the First Amendment. Filmmakers who embarrassed the regime are rousted by cops at 1:30 a.m. Administration diplomats work with the UN to put in place blasphemy laws that give foreign mobs veto power over our right to speak. Religious organizations are told they must act contrary to their conscience as commanded by the government.
The Second Amendment is under fire and is just one Supreme Court vote from being snatched away. Our government sends guns to Mexican criminals in order to justify further crack-downs on American citizens.
At this rate, pretty soon the Administration will trash the Third Amendment and be quartering troops in citizens’ homes to save money that it’ll then redistribute to its cronies.
Romney’s not your dream candidate. We get that. He’s not most of ours either. But the inescapable fact – whether you like it or not, whether it’s fair or not – is that either he or Obama will be the next president.
Don’t be the guy in 20 years who looks over his shoulder to make sure no policemen are listening and then says to his kids, “Back in 2012, I was mad because Ron Paul lost and then got disrespected. I loved the Constitution, but I was mad, and so I let the guy who hated the Constitution win. I’m sorry. I am so, so sorry.”
The Romney-Ryan camp needs to do its part too; they need to reaffirm their commitment to Constitutional liberty. Freedom needs to be part of the conversation, not just Obama’s appalling record. While they can’t undo the gratuitous insults at the convention, they can make their case to the possibly decisive libertarians.
Ron Paul guys, Gary Johnson guys, Virgil Goode guys… the Constitution needs you. It needs you now. It needs you to put hard, hurt feelings aside and help elect the only one of the two candidates who has any chance of moving America in the direction you want.
Support and vote for Mitt Romney, or help Obama complete his transformation of America into a nation that violates every principle you claim you embrace.
It’s time to choose.
MORE ON WHY RON PAUL’S LIBERTARIAN FANS NEED TO SUPPORT OUR CONSTITUTION…AND ROMNEY
More than 3100 people have commented on Tuesday’s Big Government post “Time for Ron Paul Fans to Support the Constitution.” Many agreed with my thesis that libertarians should support Mitt Romney to avoid a second Obama term, but many did not. The huge response is an indicator of how the looming specter of another four years of Obama has focused minds in the libertarian community.
Unfortunately, many libertarians are focused on the wrong things. They are trading the chance to make a short-term statement for the long-term destruction of libertarianism, and perhaps even of their country.
Libertarians need to play the long-game if they ever want to stop being a fringe movement. And folks, vindictively boycotting Mitt in the name of ideological purity isn’t it.
A significant number of libertarians have decided that Mitt Romney, while highly imperfect in their eyes, is the only hope of evading the much greater danger of Barack Obama, who if he isn’t a socialist does one hell of an impression of one. With his gleeful disregard of the Bill of Rights and his collectivist’s love of “redistribution” from those who own property to those he decides deserve it more, you would think Obama was as toxic to libertarians as non-locally sourced-garlic is to hipster vampires.
But some libertarians, as the comments make clear, have something other than a principled if short-sighted opposition to supporting Romney.
If you truly believe that American foreign policy is evil, if the Patriot Act is the end of the world, and if the drug war’s anti-bong hit agenda is so awful that you can’t support anyone who supports them, I get it. It’s not really wise, because Obama supports so many other things that should appall libertarians that Romney practically looks like a less animated Gary Johnson in comparison. But I get the principle.
The problem is the pouters, the angry and the attention seeking, who see this moment as the one time, ever, that anyone gives a half-damn about their grievances. And no, they are not letting that chance to be in the spotlight slip away.
They are making sure that every conservative knows that when Mitt Romney loses it’s because the GOP dared to pick a nominee who didn’t meet their standards, who wasn’t their guy. They want to make sure the country pays the price because they think Ron Paul got dissed in Tampa and because Gary Johnson didn’t get allowed into the debates. In fact, they seem delighted to rub it in.
Well, everyone knows. Every GOP voter knows that Ron Paul and Gary Johnson ran, and lost, and then decided not to support the candidate of the party they chose to join but to go home and ensure their party (and our country) pay the price.
Yeah, we know. And we’ll remember who expected respect but felt no obligation to do what losing factions are expected to do after the primary season – paste on a fake smile, high five the winner, and go to work.
Here’s a long-game question for libertarians. It’s not a question about who is a sore loser or who disrespected whom. It’s not a question that tries to shame you into supporting Romney, or to convince you his policies are so different than Obama’s that it makes you agree to back the GOP in November.
It’s a question about what you really want for libertarianism.
Here it is:
Remember the Greens?
I do, vaguely. I remember them as Ralph Nader’s quixotic campaign from the left in 2000 that Democrats are convinced, with some evidence, cost Al Gore the election.
Not too many Greens around today, huh? Guess that whole ideological purity thing didn’t work out so hot for them.
A libertarian candidate needs 50% + 1 of the voters’ support to win office. Where do you think that support is ever going to come from?
From Democrats? Yeah, right. They’ll like you on gay marriage and chronic and nothing else. Your love of capitalism repels them, and your hostility toward their all-powerful god, Government, means they can never be with you.
Your support in the future, if you are ever to become more than an asterisk, will have to come from conservative Republicans. Those are the people you’ll need to convince to join you.
But let me be clear about this – if you are seen as bringing us four more years of collectivist transformation because your feelings were hurt, libertarianism will never be more than a punch line.
That’s not a threat. That’s just a fact.
You’ll alienate the only possibly receptive wider audience libertarianism has. And if you think people won’t go out of the way to screw folks who they feel screwed them, well, isn’t that exactly what you’re talking about doing this November?
Of course, that assumes that you really want to see your libertarian ideas grow and spread and flourish in this country, and someday see a libertarian become president so he or she can start doing all the things you libertarians have always talked about but never had a chance to do.
But maybe that’s not the primary motivation. Maybe a lot of people who proudly call themselves “libertarians” just want to bask in the attention they get when courted by the GOP because the race is so close. After all, a lot of spineless GOP RINOs were perfectly satisfied to be in the minority for years and years. There’s a kind of comfort in knowing you’ll always lose – it means you never have to worry about getting serious.
You want to send a message this election. You need to think about what that message is. Your problem, if you truly care about growing libertarianism in the future, is that the people you’re enjoying vexing today will send libertarians a message right back in the future. And that message is anatomically impossible for any but the most limber of gymnasts.
But then, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe alienating your potential converts is a brilliant counter-intuitive strategy that I’m just too dumb to see.
Or maybe you should talk to the Greens and see how it worked out for them.