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Saturday, April 17, 2010 - 6:27pmSanction this postReply
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That was a good read.

I liked this: "It turns out that watching Goldman Sachs, the United Auto Workers, public employee unions and a raft of other vampires drain the treasury at America's weakest moment in a generation will make a person pretty hacked off."

No kidding!!!! :-)

And, "Libertarian sentiment has finally gone mainstream."



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Saturday, April 17, 2010 - 6:54pmSanction this postReply
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In my dreams.



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Post 2

Saturday, April 17, 2010 - 8:13pmSanction this postReply
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"In my dreams"

Beck, despite his poor time slot, pulls in over 3 million viewers a night. Stossel now has his own TV show - one of which was about Ayn Rand, another about why he is a Libertarian. In 2006 15% of the American voters identified themselves as Libertarian - I'd bet that number has jumped enormously in the last 4 years. Today, the portion of those who identify with the Tea Party AND would agree with the key principles of Libertarianism far exceed 15% of the voters. Look at all of the Tea Party demonstrators holding signs mentioning Rand or Galt. Look at the spike in the sales of Rand's books. If all of these don't add up to a strong move towards being main stream, I don't know what is. (Don't get confused by the "main stream" media's continuing determination to pretend that this isn't happening. It might be their worst dream that middle America is moving towards Libertarianism while the number of devoted progressives isn't increasing.)



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Sunday, April 18, 2010 - 8:16amSanction this postReply
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I just don't see how obama could have won the presidential election, with no popular libertarian candidate, and the US be full of libertarians. Going from fringe party to a major power in 2 years? I don't think that people's minds would change so quickly. In my dreams. I hope that you are right, but I have no confidence in the size or power of those leaning libertarian.

Only if there is a major change towards indiviualism in the November elections will I gain more confidence.





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Sunday, April 18, 2010 - 12:18pmSanction this postReply
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History suggests that this temporary surge in libertarian interest is just a flash in the pan, and much of it is merely motivated out of a liberal president in office. The Tea Party movement is largely a phenomenon of political Right (or at least it's being co-opted by the Rightist establishment by now). The Right has always capitalized on Libertarian messaging when it's convenient.

When a power shift occurs, the consistent ideologues on the losing side always have the most effective message with their broader base. If and when that side gains power back, the politicians gradually compromise their principles and move to the center.

Consider how the left was united around an antiwar platform during W's presidency. Obama campaigned early on by claiming he'd bring all of our troops home. He rode the wave all the way to the White House, and he's since backtracked on everything. But you won't hear anything from the Left - they're just delighted to have power back, and they fear the thought of the "other party" getting power more than they do their imperfect leader.

Expect the same from the Tea Party movement.




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Post 5

Sunday, April 18, 2010 - 1:38pmSanction this postReply
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Pete,

He rode the wave all the way to the White House, and he's since backtracked on everything. But you won't hear anything from the Left - they're just delighted to have power back, and they fear the thought of the "other party" getting power more than they do their imperfect leader.

Expect the same from the Tea Party movement.

So let's say Ron Paul got elected in 2012 in a third party called: The Tea Party. You're saying that he'd backtrack on things -- e.g., he wouldn't restrict or eliminate The Federal Reserve -- and that the supposedly-principled Tea Partiers would ... just go along with it???

I can see how your pessimism applies to the bipartisan establishment politics, but your defeatist attitude must lead you to conclude that any administration of any government has to be corrupt. Are you, praytell, an anarchist?

Ed

(Edited by Ed Thompson on 4/18, 1:40pm)




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Sunday, April 18, 2010 - 4:03pmSanction this postReply
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Pete,

Given that the Tea Party is a reaction against the far left that now governs, and given that the goals common to the Tea Party people include small government, reduced taxes, reduced spending, and going back to free enterprise, I don't see how it could join with moderates or the left. That only leave the right with whom it shares positions.

The Conservatives have never followed a libertarian or been respectful towards a libertarian before - yet that's what we are seeing in the attitudes towards Ron Paul, John Stossel, and Glenn Beck.

The right has never marched about with signs that have Ayn Rand's picture, or say something about Galt.

The right has never been anywhere near this explicit about Capitalism before.

It isn't being coopted by the Conservative structure... The are trying, but the political pull goes both ways. The Republican party will have to make some concessions that will move the entire party to the right and they will have to adapt some Libertarian principles. They have always shifted back and forth between center-right and center, but never like they are going to have to this time.

The most interesting power struggle from my perspective is between the Conservative ideologues and the Libertarians. That is where Conservatives are learning new things about economics and morality. Hopefully the Libertarians won't compromise their positions.

You are right that this fits patterns that we've seen before, but it is also true that it carries unique qualities that we have never seen before. It is the first real call for Capitalism being made in living history by a very large number of voters.



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Sunday, April 18, 2010 - 5:30pmSanction this postReply
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Steve: "Stossel now has his own TV show - one of which was about Ayn Rand, another about why he is a Libertarian."

Yes, but Stossel went from a spot on a major network primetime show to a show on a tiny cable outlet (Fox Business News) that a lot of people like me can't view unless we hunt it down on YouTube.

I like the new show, but I suspect Stossel has taken a huge hit in viewership numbers and pay for his laudable advocacy of libertarianism. It's not quite the most convincing case for the alleged newfound popularity of libertarianism.

We've got just a handful of libertarian-leaning Republicans in Congress, and no elected Libertarian Party candidates ever elected to a major statewide or national office to my knowledge.

I hope people are finally revolting against the two major parties, but I'd like to see more evidence before breaking out the champagne to celebrate.



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Sunday, April 18, 2010 - 5:35pmSanction this postReply
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Steve: "The most interesting power struggle from my perspective is between the Conservative ideologues and the Libertarians. That is where Conservatives are learning new things about economics and morality. Hopefully the Libertarians won't compromise their positions."

We'll see if this plays out in a promising direction. I'm running for a State Senate seat on the Republican ticket in a marginally Republican-leaning district, but will be sticking to a purely libertarian message. I'll see if that resonates with the voters.




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Post 9

Sunday, April 18, 2010 - 5:53pmSanction this postReply
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Jim,

1.) Stossel wasn't allowed to do the full-time Libertarian theme on the "major network" - I put quote marks around "major network" because what you call the "a tiny cable outlet (Fox Business News)" has more viewers than any of their competitors - broadcast or cable (by nearly double). (I have no idea what Stossel's current versus past ratings or salary are - but I suspect that in a fairly short time he will have more viewers, if he doesn't already).

2.) "We've got just a handful of libertarian-leaning Republicans in Congress." That's true. But in November that will be old news. I hope that the Republican party fields solid small-government candidates and makes it unnecessary for the Libertarian party or any third party to come out.

3.) The Libertarian Party gives people a place to vote when the two other parties ignore common sense and put up twiddle-dee and twiddle-dum candidates. It also serves the function of keeping the major parties from moving to the left at an even faster pace. The libertarian Party is also an idea generator and a source of political education. No way to estimate the value of these features.







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Monday, April 19, 2010 - 12:39amSanction this postReply
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Steve -- are you talking about the Fox channel that runs shows like 24, House, and whatnot, which IS a powerhouse, or the Fox Business News channel, which in Hawaii at least isn't even on the basic cable package on Oahu? The two are not the same, albeit having the same corporate ownership.

I hope you're right about November bringing a sea change in libertarian-leaning Republicans in Congress. Do you have a link to a credible source predicting this, or is this a gut feeling?

Re this: "3.) The Libertarian Party gives people a place to vote when the two other parties ignore common sense and put up twiddle-dee and twiddle-dum candidates. It also serves the function of keeping the major parties from moving to the left at an even faster pace. The libertarian Party is also an idea generator and a source of political education."

I agree with the first and last sentences here. Maybe in other states it's different, but here in Hawaii the major parties almost completely ignore the LP, which gets pitifully small vote totals in the handful of elections where they can even field a candidate. So, the leftward drift may be checked by libertarian individuals who advocate its principles, but not so much by the LP itself.





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Monday, April 19, 2010 - 1:09amSanction this postReply
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Jim,

It is the Fox News Channel that has the killer ratings - the channel with Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck - they tout for Stossel and he appears as a regular guest on their shows even though he is on the Fox Business News Channel. I don't know what the ratings of FBN are.

You ask me, do I have a creditable source predicting this, or is this a gut feeling? :-) My gut feeling isn't creditable enough for you?

I lived in Hawaii for almost 6 years... I wouldn't attempt to judge national politics from what goes on there - but you know that.
-----------

Good luck on your run for the state senate seat!



Post 12

Monday, April 19, 2010 - 11:20amSanction this postReply
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Steve -- a typo in my post 10 -- should have read "Do you have a link to * another * credible source predicting this, or is this a gut feeling?" ;)




Post 13

Monday, April 19, 2010 - 8:42pmSanction this postReply
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I will address Ed & Steve:

Ed says:

So let's say Ron Paul got elected in 2012 in a third party called: The Tea Party. You're saying that he'd backtrack on things -- e.g., he wouldn't restrict or eliminate The Federal Reserve -- and that the supposedly-principled Tea Partiers would ... just go along with it???

I think Ron Paul getting elected - especially under a new third party - is a far-fetched notion (though he will get from me a vote, a donation and a sign on my lawn).

Even if he did get elected, he would not govern in vaccum. The two parties will still be a force to be reckoned with in 2012. It's not like he'll just be able to do whatever he wants - especially with ideas that are as radical to the establishment as some of his.

Far more realistic is an establishment conservative who pushes Tea Party buttons on the way to winning an election, and then in turn delivers a fairly normal Republican presidency.


I can see how your pessimism applies to the bipartisan establishment politics, but your defeatist attitude must lead you to conclude that any administration of any government has to be corrupt. Are you, praytell, an anarchist?

Just a pessimist, not an anarchist. I believe that any governmental regime that has ever existed is corrupt at some level, though not always irredemably corrupt.

Given that the Tea Party is a reaction against the far left that now governs,

Not entirely true, the movement was actually born out of the bailouts under Bush

and given that the goals common to the Tea Party people include small government, reduced taxes, reduced spending, and going back to free enterprise, I don't see how it could join with moderates or the left. That only leave the right with whom it shares positions.

I agree.

The Conservatives have never followed a libertarian or been respectful towards a libertarian before - yet that's what we are seeing in the attitudes towards Ron Paul, John Stossel, and Glenn Beck.

Are you referring to the conservative masses or to public conservative intellectuals?


The right has never marched about with signs that have Ayn Rand's picture, or say something about Galt.

This is a minority of Conservatives - her atheism is very controversial still.

The right has never been anywhere near this explicit about Capitalism before.

I welcome the trend.

It isn't being coopted by the Conservative structure... The are trying, but the political pull goes both ways. The Republican party will have to make some concessions that will move the entire party to the right and they will have to adapt some Libertarian principles. They have always shifted back and forth between center-right and center, but never like they are going to have to this time.

The most interesting power struggle from my perspective is between the Conservative ideologues and the Libertarians. That is where Conservatives are learning new things about economics and morality. Hopefully the Libertarians won't compromise their positions.

The biggest problem with the Tea Party movement is the war, or more broadly, the views towards the role of American military power and how it is to be used (or not) around the world. There's a huge chasm here, and we're still not at a point in history where this issue can be swept under the rug to be dealt with at a much later date (such as things like drug laws, prostitution etc). You either believe that the US military should use its military to secure interests and defend allies abroad, or you believe that intervention spawns a never-ending cycle of conflicts that will bankrupt us and put us at risk of further attacks. There's not a lot of middle ground.

Since the issues on the homefront are largely economic, the Tea Party is relatively unified for now, but sooner or later a candidate will have to be chosen who is on one side of the war or the other, and that will fracture the movement. My guess is that the pro war side will win, and the traditional hawkish conversative platform will slowly creep back in.




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Post 14

Monday, April 19, 2010 - 9:04pmSanction this postReply
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Pete, you said, "Since the issues on the homefront are largely economic, the Tea Party is relatively unified for now, but sooner or later a candidate will have to be chosen who is on one side of the war or the other, and that will fracture the movement. My guess is that the pro war side will win, and the traditional hawkish conversative platform will slowly creep back in."

I see the economy getting worse, not better. And I see the progressives continuing to push hard on Cap and Trade, financial reform, comprehensive immigration reform, etc. If this is the way it goes, the war will take a back seat and the Tea Party will be strengthened and unified around free enterprise principles - that would be good.

But there is a kicker: Iran and the bomb. If we don't do anything (and I don't think we will), Israel will have to act and there will likely be war in the middle east. But, all things political are unpredictable to an extreme. Hawkish conservatives, religious conservatives, and those who offer the "safety" of being more moderate will all be pushing their points and the more the Tea Party people hold out against all of them and demands that they all join on committing to Capitalism the better we will be. But there will be compromises, not because there has to be, but because people don't know that they don't have to.



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Tuesday, April 20, 2010 - 7:04pmSanction this postReply
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Steve,

I sanctioned your post but I just have to take a jib-jab at something you said:
... Israel will have to act and there will likely be war in the middle east.
Was there ever a time in recent memory where there wasn't some sort of war going on in the Middle East???

:-)

I know what you mean (possible nuclear war), but it's like you were saying something extremely redundant. Kind of like saying that if you gave a bunch of toys to kids well ... then there will likely be kids playing after that. It ignores the plain fact that there has always been kids playing (and that your toy gifts won't change that to any great degree).

Ed




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Tuesday, April 20, 2010 - 7:04pmSanction this postReply
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it won't really make a difference in the end.

Hating the government is just the "in" thing at the moment; they don't even understand why they do.

They have no basic understanding of the values that even lead toward free-market Capitalism and individual rights.

Even Cicero said nearly 2000 years ago that humans are prone to making judgements based on emotion, and not by reason.

Do humans occasionally see prosperous societies prop up? Yes, but they only last for a time. They don't crash and burn into the stone age or anything, but they don't last anywhere near as long as people think; they wind up finding "middle ground" where everyone complains to everyone else.

Picture, if you will, a 5 year old boy in a toy store.

Once in a while you will convince him that the toy can't be had right now, and he'll accept it--ONCE IN A WHILE--the majority of the time he'll kick and scream 'til he gets it.

that's the nature of the 5 year old boy.

I again see society much the same-- once in a while society will aim for the absolute height, and reach amazing milestones. The majority of the time, they start declining because humans simply fail to understand the very ideas that created these milestones in the first place.

I believe these ideas won't truly be understood until we've hit our next stage of evolution; I'm not saying you can't explain these ideas to humans, but most of the ideas will only scare the majority because they don't comprehend how to actually use them...they'll only see them from a very enclosed spectrum and may often get depressed, as their mixed premises and feelings in reflection of said premises will unfortunately take over.

So why do some understand while most don't? For the same reason some are successful in life, but most aren't. For the same reason you hear about some great people in this world making great things happen, but the majority instead are just sitting back, playing their video games, and watching their TV.

And that small percentage is necessary as they keep the world going; the rest just ride on their coat-tails.





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Wednesday, April 21, 2010 - 9:51amSanction this postReply
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For the same reason you hear about some great people in this world making great things happen, but the majority instead are just sitting back, playing their video games, and watching their TV.

And that small percentage is necessary as they keep the world going; the rest just ride on their coat-tails.


I don't know that your assertion is true -- a majority of the people, at least in this country, appear to be working hard and trying achieve their goals. Not everyone wants to be CEOs -- some people want to be good parents, for example. If a parent stays home and home schools their kids and raises them to be good people, I would consider that a success story. That parent may not be making money, but they are creating value.

I'm currently reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and while the protagonist is the opposite of a driven overchiever, he seems to be on the right track.

Ayn Rand seems to elevate first-born hard-charging people (such as my wife) as the only role model to follow, but I think she defined Objectivism too narrowly by projecting her particular values on work as the only ones worth having. She did the same with her personal life, tyrannically booting out people from her inner circle for small differences of opinion about smoking, aesthetics, etc.

I say this not to denigrate Ayn Rand's work, but to point out that a broad range of personality types can become Objectivists. If you choose to live your life as a producer of value, however you define value, and eschew parasitizing others, that is pretty much sufficient to lead a moral life according to worthwhile Oist values.



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Post 18

Wednesday, April 21, 2010 - 12:06pmSanction this postReply
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I'd agree with you, unfortunately when hard times come, most of those people start blaming outside sources for their problems. And most of the scenarios seem barely plausible for anyone with a thinking mind.

If there's one thing I've learned in life it's that whenever you ask people to describe their perfect idea of a utopia, you usually wind up getting an accurate description of a Socialist/Communist paradise, minus the "police state"/overbearing laws and regulations.

In other words....they wind up describing to you people living by those ideas WILLINGLY.

Look...if you want to live a middle class life, and that's your dream, then fine; but when you or anyone else you know keeps insisting on voting in lousy politicians, and for devastatingly bad regulations, no one can blame "a bad economy" or the "corrupt politician", cause despite what they say, they voted for it, and deep down, they know that they did.

Not only did they vote for it, they voted for it to affect everyone else too.

It's one of the many reasons they're more than willing to tolerate how bad things get when things go there as it is....

Life is about making choices, and when "your kid gets stuck in public school", they're stuck there because you made the choice to have children when the money wasn't there to give them a better education. No one said the majority of choices humans make are usually good ones.

Be thankful for the small minority that do make the good choices, and keep everything in check....
(Edited by R Kay on 4/21, 12:08pm)




Post 19

Thursday, April 29, 2010 - 4:24pmSanction this postReply
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I'm interested in two things here. First of all what is all this talk of "big" government? Can someone define what "big" government is and then go on to explain to me why that's bad? Oh, and after that could you then define what "big" business is and explain to me why it's not bad if "big" government is?

Second, I'd like for someone to explain to me the wonders of this Tea Party Movement. As far as I can tell they are a bunch of Republicans who are screaming about shit that is not new. Am I wrong? Did not our (that means you too) "Big" Government already bail out companies decades ago? Have we not already poured billions of dollars into welfare programs for the poor and wealthy? Does not our "big" government already dole out perks to those who could never get them otherwise? I don't see whats so new and what the reason for all the hollering and fear is now?

Just thought I'd ask.



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