Showing posts with label libertarianism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label libertarianism. Show all posts

Friday, July 31, 2015


Sort of the theme song here at alicublog.

•   It's like Jonah Goldberg is actually trying to live down to the role in intellectual history I've assigned him.
Huckabee’s Hitler Comparison That Wasn’t
Huckabee, you'll recall, said that by negotiating a treaty with Iran Obama "will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven." OK, the generously-inclined might say, maybe this is just a bagatelle for Goldberg, like Mencken's In Defense of Women. (Sorry, I just suffered an eternity in Hell for comparing Goldberg to Mencken.) But Goldberg's method is, unlike the Master's, charmless and bucket-footed. He tries to warm up the crowd by sneering at the silly liberals who would take offense at such an innocent statement ("Clinton even said she was 'really offended personally,' as if her feelings are what really matters"). Then he pulls out the big gun (or, in the more appropriate Virgil Starkwell usage, gub):
Now, I’ve never been a big fan of Huckabee’s style of politics — or policy. But a remotely fair reading of the statement strongly suggests that Huckabee was comparing Obama to Neville Chamberlain or some other member of the “Hitler is a man we can do business with” school. That’s the point of calling Obama “naive” for trusting the Iranians — the Hitler in Huckabee’s analogy.
We all remember the newsreel footage of Chamberlain marching Jews -- well, more like escorting them, he was a polite fellow -- to the ovens at Dachau, and saying, "in you go, there's a good chap."
We can parse more deeply if we must.
Oh Jesus.
Hitler didn’t march Jews to the doors of the ovens, but into them. The Iranians are the ones with sinister intentions in Huckabee’s description, not Obama, who, again, is described as naive and feckless, not sinister and evil.
Revise the imagery: Chamberlain escorting the Ashkenazim to Berchtesgaden, and Hitler going, "Thanks, Neville!" and Chamberlain going "not at all," and shuffling away saying "remarkable fellow that Hitler."
Huckabee probably shouldn’t have used the word “march” because it muddies his point.
"March" was actually very much to Huckabee's point, which is the one Goldberg is strenuously missing.
“Delivered to” or “abandoned at” would have worked better.
This is a man too lazy to even access an online thesaurus.
I think, as a general rule, one should pretty much always avoid talking about Jews and ovens unless discussing the actual Holocaust. And one could argue that Huckabee, who insists he never compared Obama to Hitler, was cynically hoping to be misconstrued in order to get some media attention — which he got.
And this is where ten years of farting-Goldberg analogies pay off: This really is the equivalent of Goldberg, exhausted from several paragraphs of holding it in, finally unloading the inevitable and, while hoping  the sofa cushions will filter the evidence, trying the distract us with even worse reasoning:
But on the merits, Huckabee isn’t saying anything that lots of serious people haven’t said, albeit more eloquently. In countless speeches, Bibi Netanyahu...
We can stop there, as it's a sad scene and the room is filling up with stank, but connoisseurs will be pleased to learn that at the running-out-of-the-room-crying stage Goldberg actually says this:
George W. Bush was routinely compared to Hitler with a fraction of the outcry Huckabee has received.
Like the guy waiting at the barroom door says, it's always 9/11 somewhere.

•   Can there be any hed more glibertarian than this:
The Gay Marriage Case Against the Minimum Wage
From A. Barton Hinkle's copy:
True, at present all of this seems thoroughly academic. The likelihood that the U.S. will abandon minimum-wage laws anytime soon sounds almost preposterous. Then again, once upon a time so did the idea of gay marriage.
Deep in my heart/ I do believe/ You will work for scraps, someday. Yea, even unto the Middle Ages.

•   Speaking of which, David Weigel:
Rand Paul's politics are a constant source of debate on the libertarian right and left. Some think he's lurched too far toward military interventionism. Some think he's too close to the Republican establishment. but Paul's abortion views are less nettlesome than liberal observers of libertarianism seem to think. In April, ThinkProgress's Judd Legum wrote confidently that Paul was "not a libertarian"; his first evidence was that the senator "vehemently opposes abortion rights." This week, Little Green Footballs's Charles Johnson wrote that "Rand Paul likes to present himself as a civil libertarian, but his stance on reproductive rights is straight from the darkest, most regressive part of the Republican Party’s war on women."

The evidence for Paul's heresy is his sponsorship of legislation to define life as beginning at conception -- something liberals see as antithetical to "choice." Doctrinal libertarians don't necessarily agree.
I'll say. I give Weigel credit for  1.) getting Megan McArdle to embarrass herself more than usual, and 2.) patiently explaining to the punters what those of us who've been paying attention have known for years and years: Forced childbirth is not an issue that interests libertarians, because to them there is no freedom even remotely as important as the freedom of capital and of those who possess most of it to do whatever they want -- and those guys tend not to be child-bearing. They only tell the rubes that The Movement will protect them from revenooers* and court orders from their bitch ex-wives to keep it from looking too obvious. (*Damn it, now I got this song stuck in my head).

Wednesday, June 10, 2015


I love Jerry Seinfeld, but if the kids don't dig him anymore, maybe it's political correctness, maybe it's not, so what? The hippies didn't dig Bob Hope either -- that is, as they say, show business. Bitching about it makes you sound like Lenny Bruce's Comic at the Palladium when the Brits don't laugh -- "well, Freddy boy, I see it's a little squaresville tonight, real squaresville for the first show..."

I notice Aziz Ansari isn't having trouble drawing college crowds. Maybe different audiences just like different things. They're not obligated to like you, and if they don't it's not the same thing as oppression, as conservatives seem to think. The kids have not been "unwittingly drawn into a cult they cannot escape." They are young, they like what they like, and they think old people smell.

UPDATE. Hey, remember that crazy shrink or psycho-sociomologist or whatever she is Stella Morabito from The Federalist? She has another the-PC-end-is-near rant ("Ignorance was cultivated in the schools through political correctness and squashing free debate," etc. skree), and in it she acknowledges that the peecee people do in fact laugh, but at bad things that it's bad to laugh at:
I think the reason there is so little “comedy” that’s funny today is the genre itself has been hijacked by the humorless PC crowd. Why is their humor so unamusing and so dependent upon mean-spiritedness? 
Also, the music they listen to these days, you can't even make out the lyrics, and what's with those baggy pants. Increasingly it looks like this whole P.C. boo-hoo is just a weaponized version of Those Were The Days.

UPDATE 2. Enjoy some libertarian Mad Libs from the Fonzie of Freedom at Reason:
To be sure, San Diego State student Anthony Berteaux also insists in his letter that, hey, he likes edgy and funny folks such as Amy Schumer and Louis C.K. and George Carlin and that Seinfeld should "Offend the fuck out of college students. Provoke the fuck out of me. We'll thank you for it later." 
But this doesn't just ignore the chill that is already upon campuses when lefty feminist profs like Laura Kipnis gets dragged into Title IX hearings about sex on campus in The Chronicle of Higher Education...
If you don't laugh at this AARP member's jokes, Laura Kipnis goes to the gas!
...viewings of films as mainstream and honored as American Sniper are replaced by Paddington, and students call for trigger warnings before reading The Great Gatsby.
Regular readers know how sick I am of all the culture-war bullshit, but Fonzie has it exactly backwards. College students saying they don't like your act isn't oppression. If the kids want a different leisure time activity than American Sniper, which made gazillions of dollars without their help, who gives a fuck? You don't have a Constitutional right to student activity board funds. Incursions into the curriculum and the rights of professors, on the other hand, are about the new consumerist approach to education, whereby students are regarded as customers to be satisfied rather than seekers after knowledge; "social justice" is just the MacGuffin.  The bad ideas you should worry about are the ones that created this system, not some teenager's insufficiently deep understanding of racism.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


Pretty much everyone has noticed that violent mass events starring white people get handled differently in the press from violent mass events starring black people, and Waco/Baltimore comparisons seem to fit the pattern. Surely you must have been wondering: what is the libertarian position on this? Take it away, Ed Krayewski of Reason:
The comparisons to the police reform protests are the more problematic of the two. The Atlantic's Ta-Nehisi Coates seemed to make that comparison in a series of tweets Monday night that emulating right-wing reactions to the police protest movement. One curious tweet asks "Why won't America's biker gangs be more like Dr. Martin Luther King?" What is the comparison Coates is trying to draw? If there were violent protesters in Baltimore with legitimate grievances—and they were urged by some to be more peaceful—does Coates believe the bikers, too, had some kind of legitimate grievances at the Twin Peaks restaurant? If he doesn't believe so, does he believe there are white people out there who believe that? I certainly haven't heard or read anything about either the bike gangs allegedly involved or anyone in the press trying to ascribe legitimate grievances to the thugs at the restaurant.
In other words, the libertarian position is they don't understand jokes unless they're in Klingon.

UPDATE.  Kevin D. Williamson does a version of this at National Review, with arguments on the order of oh, you're against calling black rioters "thugs" well what about Tupac libtards etc. Also, why doesn't "America’s most stridently progressive mayor, Bill de Blasio" shut down the Hell's Angels clubhouse on East Third? I might tell him that the Angels have been keeping that block clean and righteous for decades, as opposed to shooting it up Waco-style, but then I'd be playing Williamson's neither-Holy-nor-Roman-nor-an-Empire dork game with him, and life is too fucking short.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


A Duke professor wrote comments on a New York Times editorial that got negative attention. Sample:
So where are the editorials that say racism doomed the Asian-Americans. They didn’t feel sorry for themselves, but worked doubly hard. 
I am a professor at Duke University. Every Asian student has a very simple old American first name that symbolizes their desire for integration. Virtually every black has a strange new name that symbolizes their lack of desire for integration. The amount of Asian-white dating is enormous and so surely will be the intermarriage. Black-white dating is almost non-existent because of the ostracism by blacks of anyone who dates a white. 
It was appropriate that a Chinese design won the competition for the Martin Luther King state. King helped them overcome. The blacks followed Malcolm X.
Never mind that you can see that and worse in the comments of any online article that mentions race -- in fact, look at the comments under this story at WorldNetDaily and elsewhere -- the point is that Hough's an academic and from the left, so needless to say conservatives have a new hero. Ole Perfesser Instapundit:
SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER... Even being an old commie apologist isn’t enough to keep you from being savaged over this badthink.
"Savaged" means, in this context, some people disagreed publicly with his comments and he wasn't fired. (Hough was on leave working on a book when this thing blew up, though some of the usual suspects have sought to convey the impression that Duke pushed him out after the fact.) Don Surber:
Telling the truth online gets you in trouble in America. Consider Duke University political science professor Jerry Hough made the mistake of pointing out that Asian-Americans are as a race doing better than African-Americans in general. For that people are calling him racist. 
Part of the reason is Asian males are not shooting one another up like inner city black males are.
Surber knows how it is to be vilified for what folks 'round here jes' natchurly knows. Nicholas Stix at more-mainstream-conservative-by-the-minute VDare:
As a result of the school’s racist hate campaign Hough’s life is in danger on and near the North Carolina school’s campus. During the 2006-2007 Duke Rape Hoax, which was also rabidly promoted by the school’s administration and faculty, racist blacks in Durham exploited the hoax as a pretext to commit violent hate crimes against white students, simply for breathing while white.
He's like MLK in Selma except, you know. Maybe Stix can get up a posse from the Bundy Ranch to protect him. The libertarian position is expressed by Robby Soave at Reason:
These are gross, nonsensical statements (Asian names are better geared for integration than black names? What?). But to say that they have “no place in civil discourse” is going too far. Is hearing, contemplating, and rejecting his claims not a worthy exercise for university students?
The problem with higher education is that Harvard students are not exposed to the opinions of Professor David Duke, that they may wrestle with them to their intellectual profit.  How will they defend their mollycoddle anti-racism when confronted with an argument on the order of "nigras has funny names"? Liberalism has much to answer for.

You know, I'm beginning to think that these guys weren't really into Charlie Hebdo for the free speech part.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015


You may have noticed the snit libertarians had over "vagina voters" who weren't giving us menfolk a chance at the presidency because misandry. The term had been used by assholes before ("Thanks, vagina voters. Thanks a pantsload. Enjoy your unregulated vaginas..."), but Brendan O'Neill's article at Reason spread the usage till it reached the attention of Rush Limbaugh, emperor of its natural constituency, who did what you'd expect with it ("you know me, just trying to stir the pot out there" ah shaddap).

Over at PJ Media (aka "Roger L. Simon's Tax Write-off"), Susan L.M. Goldberg ("a writer with a Master's in Radio, Television & Film") asks "How Will the Republicans Combat Vagina Politics?" After complaining that today's sheeple "don’t know a thing about [new AG Loretta] Lynch beyond the fact that she is black and a woman" -- not like in the dear, dead citizen-scholar days of Alberto Gonzalez! -- Goldberg prescribes:
In an increasingly visual culture, what candidates will the Republicans proffer to fit the demographic bill? Even Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are too white and too male for this tough crowd. If they took a few lessons from Sofia Vergara they might stand half a chance. You know, jazz up that accent, tease the hair, get loud with the wardrobe, be ethnic. Sure, it was a strategy that kept your demographic out of office for the past 200 years, but times have changed. Race is in. Desi Arnaz would stand a better chance than these family values-laden dudes.
Happy Cinco de Mayo! Other conservatives focus on the racial mixture of the Freddy Gray defendants, which appears to prove to them that there's no racism except against Whitey. The best exemplar is neo-neocon:
But I can’t help but reflect that this case might have gone down differently if this information about their races had come out earlier.
But although their names were released early on, their races were not.
Yes. How?
Not only that, but most of the speculation I read prior to learning their races indicated, or at least hinted or guessed, that they were all white. Typical is this article that appeared in the April 22 Atlantic:
And she gives us a quote that says lots of Baltimore cops are black -- that is, it implies the opposite of what she says. Maybe she's not actually trying to make a point at all, just... well, effusing would be a polite word for it.
...I also wonder what would have happened had Freddie Gray been white, with the same set of fact circumstances otherwise.
You mean if White Freddie Gray got killed? Not much chance of that.
Would there have been much of an outcry? 
Or what if all the officers had been black; would that have defused the protests entirely? Or would it not have mattered?
Or what if all of the officers had been white...
And so on, into "who would win in a fight, Bon Jovi or a blade of grass" territory. Anyway, neo-neocon finally tells us how mad she is that black Baltimoreans were happy to hear about these indictments ("something like a reverse OJ Simpson phenomenon") -- though I don't know why, given the mixed racial composition of the defendants; maybe she assumes the citizens don't know about that, just like they don't know Loretta Lynch's credentials -- and eventually starts calling these citizens a "mob" (four times in two grafs! I hear neo-neocon's a shrink in real life; wonder if she'd consider that some sort of a tell if a patient started doing it?).

Personally, I don't see how they have any choice now but to nominate Ben Carson.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


As you may expect in the wake of the Baltimore riots, on the right it's all ooga-booga all the time. The Mayor of Baltimore said that in giving citizens space to demonstrate, the city had also given "those who wished to destroy space to do that," which to normal people means that if you choose to have a free society, as opposed to a police state, some people will abuse the privilege. To professional bullshit artists like Paul Mirengoff, however, it was evidence that the Mayor was telling rioters to go nuts. Fox's Lou Dobbs said the mayor had "basically have given a free pass to those who are tearing up property," and his guest Keith Ablow responded, "if you want to tear down the system, you might be taking your cues, by the way, from a president who has given the appearance that there is every justification for any level of anger at our country because we're such despicable people." Further proof that ObamaHitler is responsible, from Warner Todd Huston: "Priorities: Obama Sends THREE Reps to Freddie Gray Funeral–Sent ZERO to American Sniper Chris Kyle’s and British PM Thatcher’s Funerals."

At American Thinker, Thomas Lifson decried the "paltry number of arrests" in Baltimore, and quoted his colleague, racial obsessive Colin Flaherty, who said that it didn't matter that crime has gone down in Baltimore, what's important is that "in Baltimore, police will not arrest black criminals" (apparently they were just giving Freddie Gray a lift -- as they've done frequently to others), and the cops, the statisticians, and the media are all siding with their friends the Negroes against persecuted white people:
The idea that crime in Baltimore is going down comes up every time a case of black mob violence hits the local news. Which is pretty much all the time. Everything except that black part, that is, which they leave out.
This, folks, is the modern conservative movement -- a toxic stew of racist paranoia and Nixonian lawn-order. It has nothing to do with that "libertarian moment" PR campaign from last summer, the memory of which gets more grimly funny every month. There's an election coming up and they need to get as many horrified honkies as possible into the van.

Speaking of libertarianism,  here's Robby Soave at libertarian flagship Reason having a rap session with the Baltimoreans:
Violence is violence, and it’s wrong. That’s a foundational principle of libertarianism, for one thing.
Fight the power! Next week he'll tell them about the grave injustice of affirmative action and the Civil Rights Act.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


I've been saying that the essence of libertarianism is the elevation of "them that has, gets" to the level of holy gospel, and hey, here comes David Boaz of the Cato Institute to prove it. Boaz likes those check-off boxes that let you devote a few bucks of your taxes to different funds and wonders, why can't the whole thing be like that?
Why not take this one step further? Why shouldn’t taxpayers make direct decisions about how much money they want to spend on other government programs, like paying off the national debt, the war in Iraq or the National Endowment for the Arts? This would force the federal government to focus time and resources on projects citizens actually want, not just efforts that appeal to special interests.
They're all "a republic, not a democracy" until it comes to money -- and of course Boaz isn't for letting the moochers use the tax system to loot the makers (as they do now -- ask Mitt Romney!), but rather for the makers with the most bucks to decide what services will be available to the little people:
Entitlements would be the biggest problem. About 60 percent of the federal budget now goes to entitlement programs. Medicare and Medicaid make up more than 20 percent of spending, and most of that comes from general revenues. Should taxpayers be able to withhold their hard-earned dollars from such programs? In a free society, they should. So how do we handle a shortage of funding? Congress could change the spending parameters to fit what the taxpayers are willing to supply.
The more money you have, the more dollar-votes you have on this. Like it is now, in other words -- but with no need for subterfuge, because that's the difference between libertarians and conservatives: Libertarians don't feel shame, so there's no need to be sneaky about it. (h/t Brent Cox.)

Wednesday, April 01, 2015


Some of the libertarians are getting very worked up over this Indiana thing. Makes sense; after all, the real issue behind all the cake-and-florist agitation is public accommodations as a civil rights issue and, as you may remember from Rand Paul's spirited if temporary stand against the Civil Rights Act, libertarians have never fully accepted the justice of making white people do business with black people, so making straight people do business with gay people must seem to them a gruesome flashback.*

Timothy P. Carney, for example, has thoroughly melted down at the Washington Examiner, doing a better impersonation of Carol Newquist from Little Murders even than David Brooks:
Religious liberty is the terms of surrender the Right is requesting in the culture war. It is conservative America saying to the cultural and political elites, you have your gay marriage, your no-fault divorce, your obscene music and television, your indoctrinating public schools and your abortion-on-demand. May we please be allowed to not participate in these?
Gays, abortion, jungle music -- the injustice never stops.
But no. Tolerance isn't the goal. Religious conservatives must atone for their heretical views with acts of contrition: Bake me a cake, photograph my wedding, pay for my abortion and my contraception.
This will make a great schtick for pride parades: Big Gay puppets lumbering down Fifth Avenue hissing BAKE ME A CAAAAKE!

But for sheer entertainment value you can't beat the religious maniacs. The Anchoress claims she's been busy with some holy shit and after a brief Indiana post scuttles back to it, but in between riddles us this:
There is a staggering amount of hysteria and outrage being spewed about Indiana’s RFRA by many of the same people who — just mere weeks ago — were spewing in hysterical outrage about the nation’s growing so-called “rape culture”, and this despite disputed claims that 1 in 5 women are raped on college campuses, and a highly dubious accusation of gang rape on a college campus.
See, you and your gay friends are all liars. Rape liars!
Rape, of course, is an indisputably heinous act; because it forces a woman to engage in something she does not want to do, it must always be roundly decried and despised by all sane people.
That's kind of a strangely mild description of rape, isn't it -- "forces a woman to engage in something she does not want to do"? Makes it sound like dusting, or going to her boyfriend's office party. Eventually we see why Thee Anch portrayed it thus:
But, that being the case, what shall we make of the fact that, for the most part, the very same entities who (disputed “rape culture” claims aside) quite rightly insist that a woman should never, ever be forced to engage in acts against her will, have pivoted toward Indiana to demand that “other” people be forced to engage in acts against their wills?
Should governments, or new agencies, or pundits for that matter, really be positioning themselves over people and telling them that if they do not submit to what is demanded of them — and engage willingly — then they will be forced to take it, and like it?
 This is the real War on Women: dusting, rape, and gay cakes.
Doubtless someone will say, “these two issues are not at all the same.”
Wow she's pyschic!
I’d argue that to the people being shoved down, they look exactly alike. 
I’m going back to my project. Comments remain closed.
SLAM! When she comes back, watch out for the spraying hot chrism.

UPDATE. Normal comments policy is, when we delete a troll, we also delete comments in response, but I must say those comments are still pretty funny out of context, so carry on and good job all around.

UPDATE 2. * That's why Ramesh Ponnuru is so calm about the nearly-even split in public opinion over this issue. In the context of the fake story these guys have been pushing -- evil libtard homos versus Christianity -- this would be a disturbing result, since it would suggest America is divided over "religious liberty." But in view of the real goal -- which is to trim back our traditional understanding of civil rights -- it's actually an advance.

Friday, March 27, 2015


Song's been going through my mind for some reason. Weep, sad freaks of a nation.

•    I guess 2012 was the last year I paid attention to "Human Achievement Hour," the annual chest-thump in which the Competitive Enterprise Institute says Fuck You to the World Wildlife Fund's Earth Hour by asking True Sons of Liberty to burn up as much energy as possible in celebration of the stinking shithole we've made of the earth, I mean progress. The event remains hilarious. Got some links from a CEI publicist to "Human Achievement of the Day" posts about how guitars only exist because of capitalism and so forth. My favorite is about bitcoin:
These are still very early days, and bitcoin is still thought more as a volatile store of value rather than an emergent system of property rights, but the prospects for this particular human achievement are incredibly bright, if regulators do not find a way to stifle it (by regulating people rather than the system, for example).
This puts me in mind of Hearst on the trail of The Color in Deadwood, except Hearst's psychosis was not the type that kept him in his parents' basement. Murder and dismemberment were more his thing -- the sort of activities in furtherance of capital that the CEI pencil-necks are more likely to dress up in purty language than directly perform.

•   In the high-decibel world of wingnut blowhards it's tough to rise above the din, but in a column about the Bowe Bergdahl prosecution at PJ Media Michael Walsh amps it up:  In addition to standard-issue slur-slinging -- "the Coward-in-Chief and his deliberate thumb in the eye to the honor of the American military," "pathetic little pansy Bergdahl," "painfully stupid Jen Psaki," aargh,  blaargh -- Walsh bellows:’s a rare instance of the military finally asserting itself against a rogue commander who is imperiling the nation and insulting it as he goes. Unlawful orders do not have to be obeyed, even from Fearless Leader; that’s a principle the U.S. clarified at Nuremberg. 
One imagines Walsh parachuting into Fort Bragg, a cigar in one hand and a pearl-handled revolver in the other, crying PATRIOTS! NOW IS THE TIME! Or maybe not: see, everyone's a disappointment to Walsh:
John McCain and Mitt Romney should both be hanging their heads in shame. They could have defeated him, and they chose not to. But that’s America in the 21st century — it never saw a fight it wanted to finish.
Maybe Walsh can stake out a little corner of his mental ward and declare that The Real America. I'll have to read Walsh more often; I haven't seen anything like him since the heyday of Ralph "Blood 'n' Guts" Peters.

•   The composer John Adams recently remarked at Avery Fisher Hall that Rush Limbaugh exercises "casual brutality toward women" -- which, really, is about as close to an incontrovertible statement as you can get -- and to National Review's Jay Nordlinger this is Hitler plus Big Brother:
To this remark, the audience responded with sustained and robust applause. In 1984, Orwell writes of the two-minute hate. The applause in Avery Fisher Hall did not last for two minutes, but it went on long enough... 
You’re never supposed to analogize anything to the Nazis. That’s the rule. But sometimes I break the rule. And I believe I got a whiff — just a tiny whiff — of Nuremberg in Avery Fisher Hall tonight. Collective hatred, and self-satisfied hatred, based on damnable lies.
I suppose this makes me Genghis Stalin, but Nordlinger is a fucking idiot.

Thursday, March 26, 2015


At The Federalist, Georgi Boorman gives us the usual rightwing schtick about ISIS (i.e., Obama's a pussy let's get our war on):
Despite Boko Haram’s purported pledge of fealty to ISIS, apparently neither organizations’ bloody rampages have reached the level of egregiousness that stirs the executive branch to crush the evil gobbling up Iraq and surrounding territories. President Obama has told us repeatedly that there will be “no boots on the ground” save for “advisers, trainers, and security personnel.” Regardless of whether the advisory missions happen to put those advisers in a combat role, the goal, apparently, is to keep us “out of another ground war.” 
Whether this be on principle of non-interference or sheer ignorance of an organization that will, if unchecked, eventually threaten global stability, the result is inaction (save for a few airstrikes).
By "a few airstrikes," Boorman of course means over 1,300 as of December 2014. At The Federalist, bullshit walks and talks!
The U.S. military wears a heavy boot, but at the moment it does nothing more than cast a shadow over the growing terrorist threat.
With a prose style like that Boorman will go far in the movement. But she still has to thread the needle: something that looks like a solution to ISIS but doesn't come with blinking QUAGMIRE tags all over it. Her Big Idea: Bring back privateers!
“Privateers” were given letters of marque permitting them to capture and plunder enemy ships; an admiralty court adjudicated on the legality of the capture... 
To fight war tourists like Jihad John, hire some guns! Maybe they'll be dashing, shiver-me-timbers young libertarians looking for adventure! Or Somali pirates fresh out of prison!  (Probably, though, they'll be petty criminals and navy rejects with nothing left to lose.)
Some will rightly point out the potential for abuse, as there almost certainly will be, as with all social and governmental institutions. However, the U.S. government would be holding accountable a much smaller group of individuals, whose scope of operations are far more limited than the expansive U.S. military. If abuse were to be found, processes for investigation and prosecution would be in place to swiftly bring to account and deal punishment for violations, as they had in the past.
You know, like with Blackwater.
Some less rational factions will undoubtedly hail this as a crazy right-winged conspiracy to privatize the military. But Founders did not design a Constitution with powers that undermine other powers. If letters of marque were a tool of privatization, what good would it have been to include provisions, just a few lines below this, “to raise and support armies” and to “provide and maintain a Navy”?
I dunno -- the Post Office is also in the Constitution, but conservatarians want to privatize that, too. Self-evidently, their dream is to strip the federal government for parts and empower privateers to handle all its former functions. Of course, the ones who would be fighting ISIS for us would be flying no flag but the Jolly Roger, and if it should turn out that someone else is offering better pay than Uncle Sam, there's nothing to stop them from turning their guns around. That's what happens when you love the market more than your country.

Friday, March 13, 2015


Tom T. Hall sure writes a lot of songs about musicians.
This one really needs an uptempo rock cover.

•     Stephen F. Hayes of Bill Kristol's Get Your War On thinks the Iran Letter was a masterstroke:
A final point: The Cotton letter has already achieved its goal. We are, finally, engaged in a serious national debate about the threat from Iran. That is something the Obama administration has avoided for six years. No more.
"We have engaged a serious debate" is press-agent for "people think we're idiots." Also, Hayes hauls out the customary oh-yeah-what-about-traitor-Dems-and-the-Russians examples, apparently just because he can't help himself, as these examples certainly don't help his cause:
Of course, the past behavior of Democrats doesn’t justify the Republican letter on Iran.
[Vaporlock vaporlock quick give me the index cards...]
The letter needs no justification.
[Dammit, shoulda pulled the fire alarm instead!]
...Unlike, say, John Kerry or Ted Kennedy, and unlike David Bonior and Nancy Pelosi, these senators gave no succor to dictators and despots.
Of course not -- when we blow up this Middle Eastern country, somebody good will take over! Isn't that how it always works?

•     In a grand act of slur reclamation, Charles Two Middle Initials Cooke of National Review pimps his "Conservatarian Manifesto," in which the sort of thing we use the word to make fun of -- i.e., bullshit libertarianism -- is claimed as the Future. In Kang and Kodos terms, it's "Miniature American flags for some, abortions for nobody." As with anything associated with the Future these days, there's a Kids & Tech angle:
The first thing is that young people are just used to customizing their lives. They are used to Facebook. They are used to their cell phones. They are used to building their own computers. Yet they are routinely asked to vote for the DMV. They haven’t rebelled against that, but there will come a point where that sort of homogenization starts to irk them.
Surely der kinder will rise up against Net Neutrality -- that's just an FCC "power grab"!  -- and prepare to go overseas and fight ISIS, cognizant that "in 1945, the British, overnight, handed the baton to the United States," etc. I can see this going over big with the MySpace generation.

Thursday, March 12, 2015


Over and over and over again I have to remind people that the conservatarian enlightenment on police power and civil rights --which starry-eyed opportunists tell us is coming any day now -- is never going to happen. This is partly due to the necessity of keeping the racist element of the Republican base enthralled with ooga-booga, suggesting that blacks are animals that must be kept at bay by Blue Knights, and partly due to the authoritarian equity to which they always return when an election gets close. Remember how the Justin Amash wing of the GOP was going to save us from trumped-up foreign wars? Look how that's working out.

But no one ever learns. On March 5, Leon Neyfakh had a story at Slate called "Cops and Conservatives: Could the DOJ’s Ferguson report lead the right to abandon its love of law enforcement?" Neyfakh interviewed "one of the most prominent conservatives in the criminal justice reform movement" who told him, this time for sure! Well, here we are a week later, and two cops have been shot in Ferguson. Here's Jazz Shaw at Hot Air:
Leaders from the local level all the way up to Eric Holder are pursuing a policy of appeasement in the face of mayhem with tragic results which should not be coming as a surprise... the state and the feds have essentially delegitimized the law enforcement structure and punished those charged with keeping order. And not just the police, but even the courts as well. Under such a public specter, why should the law abiding have any confidence that they will be protected under the rule of law? And why would those contemplating criminal activity feel any fear of the consequences of their actions? (Yes, “fear” is the correct term, even if you don’t care for it. Criminals should fear the long arm of the law. It’s how deterrence works.)
Expect more such lawn-order ejaculations in the days to come. By 2016 Bernie Kerik will take the stage at the Republican Convention riding a tank and wrapped in Kevlar, and "prominent conservatives in the criminal justice reform movement" will not be in attendance.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


For a second, in the right light, it looks as if Megan McArdle may have achieved self-awareness:
This is a question I’ve asked myself before, funnily enough, when arguing with anarcho-capitalists. For those who do not follow the ins and outs of libertarian sectarianism, anarcho-capitalists want to replace the state with private institutions, with insurance companies and private security forces substituting for most current government functions. But when I’ve probed into the actual mechanics of this, I’ve often found that anarcho-capitalists end up describing something unpleasantly like a police state, only not called “the government” -- like giving insurance companies and private police forces the ability to perform warrantless at-will searches in order to prosecute crimes. One way or another, society is going to protect itself against theft and violence, rape and murder, and putting those tools in the hands of private parties causes much the same trouble as they do in the hands of the police.
Alas, no. The problem is, when the state oversteps its role, there is at least a formal mechanism for addressing that problem -- you can throw the bums out. (Yeah, I know it's not a perfect recourse, but if it were useless why would all those people spend so much time and money trying to achieve electoral results at all?) Once this social contract is swapped out for something more like Facebook's terms of service, however, you get only what you can negotiate -- and with collective bargaining being swept away, you can't negotiate shit.

So when McArdle says, "there may be trade-offs: The price of safely enjoying our vices may be surrendering some of our civil liberties, either to the government or to private parties," it doesn't mean she's had an epiphany; it just means she's gotten smart enough to do false equivalence with a straight face.

Monday, February 09, 2015


You read Bob Dylan's great MusiCares speech, right? Remember the part where he talks about the grand tradition of folk and blues and how it affected him? Excerpt:
For three or four years all I listened to were folk standards. I went to sleep singing folk songs. I sang them everywhere, clubs, parties, bars, coffeehouses, fields, festivals. And I met other singers along the way who did the same thing and we just learned songs from each other. I could learn one song and sing it next in an hour if I'd heard it just once. 
If you sang "John Henry" as many times as me -- "John Henry was a steel-driving man / Died with a hammer in his hand / John Henry said a man ain't nothin' but a man / Before I let that steam drill drive me down / I'll die with that hammer in my hand."

If you had sung that song as many times as I did, you'd have written "How many roads must a man walk down?" too.
Dylan is so clear about this that you wouldn't think he could be misunderstood. But then you'd be forgetting libertarians! Take it away, Ed Krayewski at Reason:
Bob Dylan's Makes the Case Against Today's Copyright Climate
In a 20 minute speech, Bob Dylan explains how copyright is detrimental to cultural heritage without mentioning the word
Ain't even kidding.
...Were these different folk standards composed in a legal climate such as today's, they would never be "standards." They'd be copyrighted and would lose their status as musical currency that can be passed around, performed, revised, and rewritten and so forth.
And some old black men might have gotten paid. I wonder if Krayewski reached out to Dylan and told him he was on the right track, and should now read some Hayek and oh, yeah, put his catalogue into public domain to stimulate freedom. He might also try that on Kid Rock, Nick Gillespie's latest libertarian rock star -- see how he goes for the idea that copyright is "detrimental to cultural heritage."

These guys have got me believing in life on other planets because they can't possibly be from this one.

Thursday, January 29, 2015


At National Review, Heather Mac Donald tells the story of de Blasio and the cops. It's full of grafs like the following, about de Blasio's famous comment that his black-skinned son had to watch himself around the police:
At the time, those remarks — based in thorough ignorance of the facts about policing and crime — were a body blow to the rank and file. But after the Ramos and Liu assassinations, carried out in the name of Eric Garner and Ferguson teen Michael Brown, they became a source of visceral rage, as they fed the atmosphere of escalating cop hatred that led to the killings.
So de Blasio's remarks were like a time bomb, or rather a time-traveling bomb -- after officers Ramos and Liu were killed, the remarks "fed the atmosphere of escalating cop hatred that led to the killings." That's propaganda, baby -- by which I mean, the author is so committed to bamboozling you that she's willing to embarrass herself with incoherent prose to do it.

Mac Donald portrays de Blasio as an out-of-touch elitist social justice warrior -- "[New York's] long term public safety remains at risk from an activist mayor who sees his base as the anti-police Left" -- but does not mention even once the polls that show most New Yorkers siding with de Blasio  against the NYPD. Mac Donald does seem aware of them, though, because instead of larding in anonymous quotes from humble citizens begging for Giuliani to come back, her anonymous quotes are all from alleged cops who agree with her ("'Liu and Ramos would have turned their backs as well,' asserts an official at One Police Plaza").

Mac Donald also defends the force's work slowdown as justified because they felt like it:
Ideally, and usually, cops perform their duty regardless of their attitudes toward the civilian authority under which they operate. That this tradition of neutrality cracked in this instance shows how deeply de Blasio violated their trust.
The next time a public service union feels itself disrespected and goes on strike, I wonder if we'll see Mac Donald at the barricades.

Boy, that libertarian moment seems like a long time ago, huh?

UPDATE. There has been some misunderstanding about my first complaint, which is not that de Blasio's comments came after the cops were shot -- they came before -- but that Mac Donald wrote about it as if time itself were fluid, and the Mayor's remarks had been weaponized by the shooting, then sent back through time to do their lethal work. Regarding the notion that de Blasio's expression of concern for his black son had anything to do with the nut who shot Liu and Ramos, commenter Ellis_Weiner laments that "MacDonald has never recovered from the trauma of discovering that the Beatles killed Sharon Tate."

Thursday, December 11, 2014


At libertarian flagship Reason, Scott Shackford:
In this politicized fight between the contents of hundreds of thousands of pages of reports and reviews, the actual debate centers on disagreement over two issues: How honest or dishonest the CIA represented what it was doing in communication with those charged with oversight; and whether enhanced interrogation or torture actually succeeded in accomplishing what the CIA claims it did. Strip out the torture and terrorism and you've got any other troubled government program. Was the Department of Health and Human Services honest with those charged with oversight about the state of Obamacare health insurance exchanges prior to their launch, and has it succeeded in providing affordable health insurance? It's the same argument.
"Strip out the torture and terrorism" and statist meat inspections are also tyranny.  Similarly, strip out the so-called racism and Eric Garner's death is about cigarette taxes. I used to think these people were raised in Skinner boxes, but now I think they spend their whole lives in them.

UPDATE. Speaking of Garner, Steven Hayward at Power Line takes the tax thing all the way:
Has anyone argued yet that liberalism caused torture because, I dunno, moral relativism or Saul Alinsky or some shit?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


One of the guys stepping up to defend America's recently revealed torture is Max Boot.  Like his fellow pain freak Andrew C. McCarthy, he puts quotes around "torture," because apparently the reported horrors of our Black Sites are not a big deal to him. He implicates Dianne Feinstein and John F. Kennedy, which is okay by me, or would be if he were trying to drag them down with him -- but Boot thinks the real crime is complaining about the torture, not furthering it.  He actually says, "It’s easy to denounce such brutal measures from the safety of an armchair" as if that were worse than approving them from the same armchair. He concludes:
Whatever the case, of one thing I am positive: that the release of the Senate report will only aid our enemies who will have more fodder for their propaganda mills. It is hard to see how it will serve the interests of the United States, because even if you believe the interrogations in question were war crimes, the reality remains that they were long discontinued. Feinstein’s report merely rakes up history and for no good purpose beyond predictable congressional grandstanding.
If your conscience does not respond to this, let me remind you what Boot is.

In 2003 Boot cheered the coming Iraq clusterfuck. "Afghanistan and other troubled lands today cry out for the sort of enlightened foreign administration once provided by self-confident Englishmen in jodhpurs and pith helmets," he said. He had no doubt of the mission's success: "With American seriousness and credibility thus restored, we will enjoy fruitful cooperation from the region's many opportunists, who will show a newfound eagerness to be helpful in our larger task of rolling up the international terror network that threatens us."

That same year he bade America take the fight to North Korea and Iran, quoting Kipling: "Taking on all of them is a big commitment, but as Kipling warned America, 'Ye dare not stoop to less.'" We'll beat those fuzzy-wuzzies in no time!

In 2005, apparently still excited by the bloodbaths, Boot reached back into history to approve the infamous Moro Massacre in the Philippines and its architect, Leonard Wood: "His scorched-earth policy sparked controversy but achieved results."

The course of action Boot endorsed has since been proven a disaster, but he has continued to yap and snarl. In 2011 he wept over America's withdrawal from Iraq -- "The issue of immunity could have been finessed," he insisted, "if administration lawyers from the Departments of State and Defense had not insisted that Iraq’s parliament would have to vote to grant our troops protections from Iraqi laws." It should be no surprise that Boot sees the wishes of elected representatives as a useless nuisance. Boot didn't want us to get out of Afghanistan either -- why, what would Kipling think?

Boot still bays for blood in Syria, Iran, and elsewhere. In 2013 he condemned Edward Snowden, whom he said "needs to see a psychiatrist or a minister rather than to be granted access to the front pages of the world to blow some of the U.S. government’s most important intelligence-gathering activities."

In short, Boot is the last person we should be listening to -- but then, he always was. It's worth asking why this moral leper still has a place in our discourse.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014


Mad about the Eric Garner verdict? Think it's another case of cops killing a black man with impunity? Ole Perfesser Glenn Reynolds wants to set you straight. The Perfesser says it has nothing to do with race -- in fact, he wonders what all these black people are upset about:
Listening to NPR on the way back from the UT Studio — I taped a segment on this for The Independents on Fox Business tonight — they kept stressing that it was a WHITE officer who had killed a BLACK MAN. You could pretty much hear the capitals in their voices. They’d never stress race that way in other circumstances. And it’s not clear that excessive force by police is especially a racial problem. In Alabama, we had the shooting of a unarmed white 18-year old by a black cop; in Utah, we had the Dillan Taylor shooting, also unarmed, also not prosecuted. Racializing the issue makes it more divisive and less likely to be addressed.
I'll see the Perfesser's two cases and raise him four unarmed black guys and that was in one month -- and there's plenty more where that came from.

Of course, if you've been living in the United States of America for a while and paying attention, you probably don't need the explanation.

The Perfesser also has a solution:
If police can’t be accountable for their use of force, then we shouldn’t have police. Fire ‘em all and privatize.
Because privatization worked so well with prisons. Jesus, these people are so reliably wrong that when they finally object to a cop killing a black guy, it's for crackpot reasons.

UPDATE. Reynolds is just one of the conservatives who are outraged by Garner not because of this "black lives matter" thing you hippies think is important, but because free enterprise:
Whereas many conservatives said Wilson was simply doing his job, some on Wednesday said Pantaleo was enforcing a punitive big government policy. And while Brown was nothing more than a "thug," Garner was the victim of the dreaded nanny state. 
"A man is killed for selling *unlicensed* drugs by a cop who walks even though it's all on video: Putting the 'police' in pink police state," tweeted New York Times columnist Ross Douthat on Wednesday. 
Douthat was one of several conservative media personalities to seize on New York's law against selling single, untaxed cigarettes.
Whereas if they'd killed him for walking in the middle of the street, well, no big whoop.

Rand Paul blames Eric Garner's death on high NYC cigarette tax
The still-alive white guy selling you smokes out of the trunk of his car is laughing his ass off.

UPDATE 3. In comments, Kevin Berger reminds us that Ferguson is already sort of a libertarian privatizer's paradise, as it makes its poorest citizens fund the city with user fees masquerading as criminal justice. New York, on the other hand, is in the usage of Robert Tracinski a "nanny state" that taxes regular people, which is why he and every other asshole is rushing to declare that the first dead black guy they ever troubled over is really all about taxes and race has nothing to do with it, except insofar as liberals are (I swear to God he said this) "hoping for a new series of contentious, racially charged killings."

It's the new wingnut fad, alright, and here's proof: Look at the change in that ancient authoritarian John Podhoretz. When de Blasio was elected, Podhoretz was telling us that the ooga-booga barricades had broken down and it would be Crown Heights Riots every day from now on -- why, just last week he was telling New York Post readers that we were "Turning on the cops: Forgetting what crime was like," and blubbering over the end of stop-and-frisk. Now he's telling us that we don't need Broken Windows policing anymore! Man, they're good at message discipline -- what a pity that their message sucks.


Yeah -- Al Capone, Pablo Escobar, and Eric Garner; I can see the connection. Hey, I wonder what tax Rumain Brisbon was resisting?

Monday, September 29, 2014


Last week I mentioned the  spate of  conservative complaints about Emma Watson's very measured feminist speech at the U.N., which apparently spoiled their bedtime Hermione fantasies. Since then, in Time magazine -- a major outlet of what was once called the Liberal Media, for reasons lost to history -- Cathy Young of Reason has delivered the libertarian response. Guess how that goes?
Sorry, Emma Watson, but HeForShe Is Rotten for Men
Until feminism recognizes discrimination against men, the movement for gender equality will be incomplete.
Lots of weeping about "anti-male biases in the court system," and how if a woman beats up a man (as they frequently do) no one sympathizes, whereas if a guy beats up a chick everyone gets bent out of shape, etc. This pretty much comports with what libertarians usually say about women's rights. I wouldn't be surprised if folks started catching on at last that social issues don't mean as much to libertarians as the transfer of wealth from paupers to the deserving rich.

While his colleagues were raging at Watson, Kevin D. Williamson of National Review kicked it old school with a rant about Lena Dunham. the Brooklyn actress who started driving culture warriors crazy during the 2012 campaign, and whom, despite their protestations of disgust with her tattooed ass, they just cain't quit.

Dunham wrote a pamphlet for Planned Parenthood (or, in Williamson’s view, “a gang of abortion profiteers”) called “5 Reasons Why I Vote (and You Should, Too),” spurring his column-length sputter. Mostly it was about  how voting is stupid (“the most shallow gesture of citizenship there is”) because people with whom he disagrees get to do it (and are only doing so “as an act of self-gratification,” not to get candidates elected) and seem at present to outnumber him and his lunatic fringe. But Williamson managed to stuff unchivalrous comments about Dunham in there, too, and plenty of abortion ravings, including an assertion that women have abortions out of a “desire to fit nicely into a prom dress."  "FWIW, I've been dumping of democracy/voting fetishization for almost two decades," cheered Jonah Goldberg in response.

Later Williamson went on Twitter to tell people that women who had abortions should be hanged as murderers. The boy will go far.

Our favorite stray ladyragebit, though, is a line from Bryan Preston at PJ Media. Angered to learn that Alicia Keys was appearing naked for some social justice thing, Preston seethed, “She and the [New York] Times see this as ‘empowering.’ Is it empowering that an insanely successful woman and mother believes that getting naked before the entire world is the best way to draw attention to her cause? Or is it just plain old attention-whoring from her, and sucking up to leftwing celebrities from the New York Times?” Fucking bitches, with their whoring and sucking! 

“Yet here she is,” sneered Preston, “being all empowered. Naked, to push for gun control.” And now, his piece de resistance:
Try confronting an Islamist madman like this.
Message discipline is message discipline -- squads of headchoppers roam America's streets! Even in the midst of ladyrage, there's always time to pick on Muslims.  

Thursday, August 21, 2014


Since that Robert Tracinski column about Ayn Rand's heroes looking for love I've been checking out his venue, The Federalist, and I must say it's a treasure-trove of old-fashioned virtues-'n'-values nonsense, with titles like "If Millennials Want Liberty, They Need Virtue Too." (Author Rachel Lu promotes something called "virtue-interested libertarians," or as we call them around here "the worst of both worlds.")

I could go on about it all day, and I'll certainly have more later, but for the moment I'll just leave you with this wonderful passage by D.C. McAllister:
If we’re going to warn people of the perils of Big Gulps and French fries, shouldn’t we warn them of the dangers of sex?
The title of this essay is "Stop Pretending Sex Never Hurts." Amazingly, there's no cross-promotion with Astroglide.

I have to say I'm enjoying the conservative movement's Libertarian Moment much more than I expected.