Is Ricochet Worth It For Libertarians?

In my inbox the other day there was a message from a fellow Ricochet member.  The person is a libertarian, frustrated and no doubt with a headache from especially hard headbutting with conservatives lately.

And they asked:

In the time you’ve been on Ricochet  have you seen any change or progress in the overall thinking of those at Ricochet? Because there is such a religious right-wing stronghold here, and I’m really thinking “conservatives” are a lost cause. My time would be …

  1. Franco

    This is a very pertinent post for me. I have always been a Classic Liberal and as soon as I realized the nature of the left I ran like hell away from Democrats and have been fighting them ever since(about 30 years) I aligned myself and even invested heavily in the Republican Party. I held a lot of sympathy for social conservatives. I began to recognize the statist nature of Republicans but in those days *we* could give up a few things if it thwarted the Democrats and their designs.  Time marches on and our liberties are being taken away retail and wholesale, we have no more to give while remaining free.

    By 2006 I was beginning to seriously question the Republican Party and 2008 with John McCain was the first time I refused to vote GOP. perhaps a dose of real leftism will wake the country up and we’d do a real course correction, since incrementalism has proven such a losing long-term strategy.

    Meanwhile the wars are taken over by Democrats, and if they had trouble producing results before they sure will become pointless efforts now. 

  2. HoosierDaddy

    There is such a thing as an anti-Christian who votes Democratic, but not an anti-Libertarian. In fact very few Americans even know what a libertarian is. Christian conservatives and Libertarians have enough in common to form a winning anti-statist coalition. The problem is the two-party system which prevents power-sharing coalitions. Ricochet is an excellent forum for anti-statists to learn how to cooperate against the common enemy. I’m in favor of a “re-branding” of the Republican Party that emphasizes what all Ricochetti have in common and can explain to the growing populations of minorities what is in their long term best interest.

  3. Franco

    Now I know that any war started by the USA, the enemy just has to hold on till the next election. The way the Democrats undermined the war -and the way the Republicans had to spend political capital defending themselves (and not too well) showed me that this country has no business engaging in any war on foreign soil until those things are straightened out. So the strong foreign policy and world policeman leg was kicked out. I still think the world needs us and our military needs to be strong, but something has to be done about this whole thing.

    Of course the creeping totalitarian state with all the new inventions cameras linked databases, the pathetic “drug war” that at once criminalized everyone and allows police to use any pretense to stop and search, arrest and fine. Republicans do nothing about this. Democrats *should* be against it, but somehow they are not. Interesting…

    The TSA and Homeland Security along with the Patriot Act and now the ability to kill a US citizen by Executive order pushes me more libertarian.

  4. katievs

    Are there really Ricochetti who think the Grand Canyon was formed by Noah’s Flood?

  5. Fred Cole
    HoosierDaddy: In fact very few Americans even know what a libertarian is. Christian conservatives and Libertarians have enough in common to form a winning anti-statist coalition. The problem is the two-party system which prevents power-sharing coalitions. Ricochet is an excellent forum for anti-statists to learn how to cooperate against the common enemy. 

    Well said.  

  6. Franco

    My daily life has been surrounded by liberals of all stripes. Very few Republicans. I know default leftists, activist communists, anarchists, left libertarians and rightist libertarians, conspiracy theorists, Democrat drones, and have often engaged them in political discussions. I gradually learned to pick my battles.

    Now I’m down to Republicans and conservatives. Around 2004 I started to battle the David Frum poseurs and developed a healthy contempt for them. Here at Ricochet, I am sometimes appalled at certain social conservative ways of thinking, political acumen and goals. 

    I 2008 Mike Huckabee nearly got the nomination, although I think his role was to block for McCain. But his brand of Republicanism is too close to leftism for me and I was appalled that so many so-cons fell for him.  

    I came to realize that people of faith are often blinded by the next world, and/or don’t care enough about this one to make accurate assessments and judgements. Many seem quite stuck in a pattern. They tend to believe propaganda and seem to dig in their heels politically.

    But many are seeing libertarian arguments. They need to hear you Fred and you make a good case here. Thanks. 

  7. BrentB67

    If you think it is hard being a libertarian try calling out the Republican Party for the fraud that it is. I am not sure Ricochet is a religious-right stronghold. I think our diversity is our strength and I am not trying to convert or change anyone, but I do enjoy using data and research in posts hoping others will do the same so we form more reasoned positions.

  8. Jim Chase
    Franco: I came to realize that people of faith are often blinded by the next world, and/or don’t care enough about this one to make accurate assessments and judgements. Many seem quite stuck in a pattern. They tend to believe propaganda and seem to dig in their heels politically.

    Just because a person of faith may have a different point of view does not make him “blind”.  Just because one has a different set of operating principles does not make their observations and judgments “inaccurate.”  But if that is your judgment, so be it.

    Iron sharpens iron.  The discourse here allows for the honing of ideas, the sharpening of arguments, and the healthy discussion and dissection of the driving forces of our common principles.  And the exploration of principles we may not hold in common.

    I personally would not want to become any group’s automaton.  If people are converted to a new way of thinking along the way, so be it. 

    The heterogeneous mix we have here is far more interesting to me than if it were homogeneous. 

  9. Franco

    Jim -

    When people act out their belief systems in the political realm, such as what Mike Huckabee focused on, I believe they are blind to realities. The idea of “helping” our fellow man, being “compassionate” and offering compassion through government is ether a good thing nor a good political strategy. That’s the kind of thing I’m talking about.

    Of course there are people of faith who reject this.

    I’m basically anti-abortion, but many people of faith are so strongly anti-abortion (and they have a right to be) that that issue dominates and obfuscates things. We all have our priorities. I can’t (and won’t) tell people what to think.

  10. katievs
    Franco: Jim -

    When people act out their belief systems in the political realm, such as what Mike Huckabee focused on, I believe they are blind to realities

    People who act out of their beliefs systems are blind to realities?

    Libertarians don’t have belief systems?

  11. Franco
    katievs

    Franco: Jim -

    When people act out their belief systems in the political realm, such as what Mike Huckabee focused on, I believe they are blind to realities

    People who act out of their beliefs systems are blind to realities?

    Libertarians don’t have belief systems? · 0 minutes ago

    Well, here we go again…. (channeling Reagan)

    I don’t think you are taking the whole of my comments and processing them. You are taking a sentence or two and challenging based on , ahem, your belief system that everyone has a belief system

    Of course everyone has a default belief system. Libertarians believe killing is wrong, etc. (L)ibertarians tend to be skeptical of belief systems, and some are skeptics to a fault – these types I also am very wary of. But that’s not what I’m talking about. Are you a Huckabee fan? Do you see where some religious folk are blinded by their faith vis a vis the real world as you see it? 

  12. Jim Chase
    Franco: Jim -

    When people act out their belief systems in the political realm, such as what Mike Huckabee focused on, I believe they are blind to realities. The idea of “helping” our fellow man, being “compassionate” and offering compassion through government is ether a good thing nor a good political strategy.

    Gotcha.  I would merely counter, however, that people are going to act (or not act) according to their belief systems, whether it is in the political realm or not.  In some cases, they will do so with integrity (as in, actually true to what they say they believe).  Others will act or not act hypocritically per what they say, but even then what they “believe” will be revealed (opportunism, etc).

    Still, it is obvious that there are many who will idolize rather than scrutinize.  Would that they would examine and think through things, rather than aligning to a collection of sound bites. 

    There are many political and moral realities, and as many strategies to affect those realities.  Reality can be changed, but timing and circumstances dictate the level of effectiveness.  One reality is that the nation is drifting toward statism.  That’s a reality worth standing against, on principle.

  13. Joseph Paquette

    I think as long as my favorite Libertarian is on Richocet I’m staying, that’s Molly Hemmingway!  She 99.9% right, and agrees that the designated hitter needs to be taken out of baseball!

    I think the Christain right needs to be reminded often, that the in almost every area, less government the better for them. 

  14. Franco: 

    …. police to use any pretense to stop and search, arrest and fine. Republicans do nothing about this. Democrats *should* be against it, but somehow they are not. Interesting…

    The TSA and Homeland Security along with the Patriot Act and now the ability to kill a US citizen by Executive order pushes me more libertarian. · 1 hour ago

    Libertarians seem to concentrate on SSM and legalizing pot and not the underlying problems. I used to think it a strategy but now do not.  The most vocal Libertarians are simply social leftists (and their arguments, including this post reflect this- a religion? Must we all be materialists?). I can agree on the economic issues and partially on others (military) but not at all on some. That’s enough for me as I am fed up with the Reps and I would vote Libertarian depending on on what the candidate based their platform. Maybe Libertarians should change their message. Fred, take what you can get as we will not be assimilated. Actually be happy about it! Society is based on the free market of ideas and plays out through history, right?
  15. katievs
    Franco

    Of course everyone has a default belief system. 

    I’m not a Huckabee fan.  I disagree with his politics.  I also don’t trust him.

    We agree that everyone has a belief system.

    And we agree that some belief systems interfere with the apprehension of reality.

    One of the things that interferes with apprehension is the ridiculous imagination that one is free of beliefs.  

    I think it’s funny to hear Libertarians preening themselves on their rational superiority over religious people, while appearing not to realize that their irreligion is similarly based on faith.  It is in no way empirically or philosophically demonstrable. 

    Libertarians sometimes remind me of the logicians Chesterton tweaks.  Their principles are clear and consistent, but too small and narrow to comprehend reality.  So their thinking stays in tight circles.  And they have very little patience for disagreements of any kind. 

    They think anyone who disagrees with them must be blind or irrational or stupid.  They console themselves by talking to other Libertarians who agree that everyone else–especially religious people—is stupid.  

    Not all Libertarians are like this of course.  Mollie isn’t, for sure.  Fred has shown often and often that he enjoys disagreement.

  16. Aaron Miller

    Chalk me up as a faith-focused conservative Christian who wants nearly every government program and agency since FDR eliminated entirely and most laws repealed. Does that make me libertarian, like Mollie?

    When I started the “Limited Government vs Limited Society” thread, I thought the main difference between libertarians and conservatives in general was the degree of respect for non-legal social obligations and arrangements. Since then, I’ve come to think that libertarianism is just a preference for limited government which assumes but does not address non-legal elements of society.

    In other words, I don’t see anything inherently incompatible between libertarianism and conservativism or religious arguments.

    It’s foolish to believe government can make a people moral. It’s also foolish to believe government needn’t have anything to do with debates about morality and fundamental worldviews.

  17. Franco
    PracticalMary

    Franco: 

    Libertarians seem to concentrate on SSM and legalizing pot and not the underlying problems. I used to think it a strategy but now do not.  The most vocal Libertarians are simply social leftists (and their arguments, including this post reflect this- a religion? Must we all be materialists?). I can agree on the economic issues and partially on others (military) but not at all on some. That’s enough for me as I am fed up with the Reps and I would vote Libertarian depending on on what the candidate based their platform. Maybe Libertarians should change their message. Fred, take what you can get as we will not be assimilated. Actually be happy about it! Society is based on the free market of ideas and plays out through history, right?

    Most libertarians think SSM is absurd and the state shouldn’t be involved. From a practical POV it’s not worth dying for. Marriage in general has been debased. If marriage was anything like what it used to be, gays would have none of it. I think it is a relatively trivial issue and a political loser. I believe this should be fought out in the culture. 

  18. raycon and lindacon

    Fred;  This is why many of us socons love you.  You exhibit a fidelity to ideas that we also hope to do.  And, yes, conversion comes from within ourselves.  We all do, however, need a catalyst formed of passionate ideas, to change our hearts.

    We generally believe that it is the God element that mostly separates conservatives from libertarians.  We also have friends who define themselves as libertarians who are deeply Christian.  Go figure!

  19. Franco

    Practical Mary cont.

    What’s wrong with legalizing pot? You have been had by propaganda. That’s what I think.  The state has not been able to stop its use. Teens can get it easier than cigarettes. Trying to keep it illegal to support moralism and instill fear in the few remaining holdouts (as though the state can keep them “moral”) is not worth fighting for.

    The downside is it has helped create a police state. It has backfired and undermined the rule of law. Created millions who have contempt for the us vs. them police state. 

    I’m not naive either . Now that this police state is in place legalizing pot won’t stop it.

  20. katievs

    Will the Ricochetti who believe that the Grand Canyon was formed during Noah’s flood please stand up?  

    I’ve never met anyone like you, and I’m very curious.

    I also harbor a suspicion that this was a slur on Fred’s part.  If I’m wrong, I’d be glad to know I’d done an injustice to him in my thinking.

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