Archive | January, 2008

Caucasian Wingnut

According to a quick Google search, this is an actual tree name and not a joke. Still, feel free to insert your own punchline.

Will Keith Halderman Back Up His Charge?

[cross-posted at Liberty & Power]

I’ve argued that the decision as to whether to support Ron Paul’s candidacy involves a trade-off between long-term and short-term gains; that there is no one rationally compulsory way for libertarians to resolve this trade-off; that my own commitments give me reason not to support his candidacy, but that nevertheless I wish him success.

Ron PaulKeith Halderman evidently thinks I am lying. That is, he apparently believes not only that my position as described above is mistaken (which of course it may well be) but that it is not my real position. Or so I infer from a recent L&P thread in which he writes, addressing me:

let us be clear about this, your time preference is not to ignore Paul’s effort because you do not think he can succeed, your time preference is to actively work against his success

This is a surprising assertion. After all, here’s a sampling of my remarks about Ron Paul over the past year (from posts here, here, here, and here):

1. Most of my libertarian comrades seem to think that Ron Paul is either a) the Second Coming, or b) the Apocalypse. … I’m somewhere in between: I have a lot of serious problems with his candidacy, but I admit I’m also gratified every time I see his poll numbers rising.

2. I have plenty of problems with Ron Paul – most notably on immigration, abortion, and gay rights. But he is astronomically superior to any other Republican candidate out there; I wish him well, and hope he shakes up the GOP plenty.

3. I neither endorse nor oppose Paul (I disagree with him on too many issues to officially “endorse” him; but I vastly prefer him to all his rivals and thus wish his campaign well).

4. Paul, despite his deviations, would likely pursue policies whose direct results would be significantly more libertarian than otherwise. … I think that’s a reason to hope he does well, and I do hope he does well. In fact, I will go so far as to say that if there were a button such that pushing it would guarantee Paul’s election … then I would happily push it.

5. I don’t support Ron Paul’s candidacy, then, because my own talents, proclivities, and commitments lie with the Agorist and left-libertarian projects, and I value the promotion of those projects over the short-term benefits that Paul’s candidacy might gain at the expense of those projects. But I can’t see that this preference is compulsory for everybody. Even if every libertarian ought to be an Agorist and a cultural lefty … it seems to me that it does not follow that every libertarian ought to make the trade-off between those long-run projects and the possible short-run gains from Paul’s candidacy the same way I do.

I think it’s fairly clear, then, that my position is not fairly describable as “to actively work against his success.” Keith Halderman’s description of my position is baseless.

I’ve repeatedly asked him to offer evidence for his claim, but so far he has made no response. Well, perhaps he hasn’t looked in the comments section to his last post lately. So I’m moving my query to L&P’s main page.

Keith, please either back up your charge or retract it.

Jon Stewart on the Media

Just now on The Daily Show, Jon Stewart said something like: “Ron Paul keeps beating Giuliani in primary after primary, yet the media treat Giuliani seriously, but whenever they mention Paul they just laugh.”

Petition to Abolish the Government of the USA

[cross-posted at Liberty & Power]

The petition I posted in draft form a couple of weeks ago is now available for signing. Here’s the text:

To: All those currently exercising positions of responsibility in the Government of the United States of America, whether elected or appointed, and whether at the federal, state, or local level

Smash the State Whereas the United States Government’s claim to legitimacy is purportedly based on such principles as the consent of the governed, human equality, and the inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and

Whereas few if any of those over whom you claim authority have ever consented to such governance; and

Whereas governments, as claimants to such authority over others, are by their nature inconsistent with human equality; and

Whereas your laws, ordinances, decrees, and policies generally stand in violation, directly or indirectly, of the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness;

We, the undersigned, hereby demand:

That you cease to claim to be acting in our name or as our agents; and

That you cease all attempts to exercise authority over your fellow human beings, on this continent or elsewhere; and

That you work to dismantle the institution or set of institutions known as the Government of the United States of America, in every branch and at every level, as speedily as possible; and

That you make no attempt to interfere with its replacement by voluntary associations of free and equal individuals.

Click here to sign it. (Signing it in this blog’s comments section doesn’t count!).

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