Nader Advocates For Progressive Libertarian Alliance

From Stephen Webster:

Longtime American politics gadfly Ralph Nader, a man of many ideas almost diametrically opposed by most libertarian conservatives, said Wednesday that he sees a coming convergence of liberals, progressives and libertarian conservatives in the wake of a worsening financial crisis and dogged partisanship that’s put the government into gridlock.

Speaking to Fox Business’s libertarian host Judge Napolitano, Nader called these shifting alliances “the most exciting new political dynamic” in the US today.

Nader has long been an advocate of overturning “corporate personhood“: an oft’ criticized legal principle that treats massive organizations with vast stores of wealth as individuals under the law.

So how will this left-right alliance begin?

Nader suggested that it already has, thanks to the unity of Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), the most conservative and most liberal members of their respective chambers. They’ve teamed up to propose cuts to the US defense budget, which has long been by far the largest sector of America’s annual budget, and to push a more thorough audit of the Federal Reserve, the private central bank which controls America’s currency.

You can see all of Nader’s appearance on Freedom Watch here. For more discussion on a progressive libertarian alliance, see this IPR open thread.

73 thoughts on “Nader Advocates For Progressive Libertarian Alliance

  1. Thomas M. Sipos

    The last two times Nader ran, I saw him on C-Span. Both times he praised “true conservatives.” It sounded like he meant the paleo kind.

    Nader said that many true conservative values support the small, vibrant communities and clean environments, and oppose big corporations and military adventures.

    Milnes can learn from Nader. Nader’s PLAS tent is big enough to include progressives, libertarians, and Ron Paul type conservatives.

    Some may recall that Nader and Paul even did some media events together in 2008.

    Milnes, if you want PLAS to win, you must include Ron Paul fans!

  2. Steve

    Nader has said a lot of good things about libertarians and “true conservatives” in the past and they’ve said good things about him. I hope this alliance can move beyond a mutual admiration society and score some real achievements.

    The only real difference between a libertarian and a progressive is role of government in achieving their ideal society. The progressives still live by the fallacy that if only the right people are in charge, government will be benevolent.

  3. Michael Cavlan RN

    Steve

    Could not agree more about progressives and libertarians needing to work together. It is about time we had this conversation. I appreciate the tone of your comment.

    Oh and your comment about the fallacy of us progs is in fact quite wrong. Many of us see that no matter who the “good person” is, the system itself (and the big money that owns it) will never allow for that better society to happen. Do not confuse progressives with Democrats please.

    From the left wing of the Campaign For Liberty

  4. NewFederalist

    “Milnes hasn’t been around in a while. I’m worried about him.”

    There is an insinuation by Anonymous on the PLAS Open Thread that he may have been banned. I find that very hard to believe.

  5. pete healey

    I’m pleased to hear Nader talk this way. In recent years, especially since 2004, it looked to me like he was resuming his traditional position just over the “left” shoulder of the Dems. I hope he’s abandoned the notion of being the “Democrats’ conscience” for good.
    And I can embrace an alliance like he’s talking about on the basis of promoting PR as an electoral system. Then the American political culture would be big enough to include us all.

  6. paulie

    I left a message for the number I had for Milnes. The message greeting did not identify whether that was still him and went straight to voice mail.

  7. Gene Berkman

    This is a natural development from his positive statements about Ron Paul in 2008, and his participation in Ron Paul’s third party press conference.

    Libertarians and Progressives can work together on issues where we agree – antiwar, legalization of marijuana, protection of a women’s right to control her own body, and support for non-discriminatory marriage.

    A less likely prospect is Libertarian/Progressive coalition support for candidates. A Libertarian can honestly welcome Green voters to support him, since he won’t take away any of their freedoms.

    But a Libertarian has to hesitate before supporting a Green or Independent Progressive candidate who favors government takeover of healthcare, expanded regulation of business, or abolition of corporate personhood.

  8. Catholic Trotskyist

    NF, I am pretty sure that the anonymous commenter on the PLAS thread is James Ogle, not Robert Milnes, and that James was mostly talking about himself being bad.

    However, I’m still worried about Milnes too.

  9. Carey Campbell

    Enjoyed the post. This isn’t new. Look at the 2000 Green Party presidential run. Go to CSPAN video tape from 2000. Nader’s announcement.

    A group was encouraging Ralph to lead a libertarian Green Party (and Natural Law, and Reform) alliance in 1999.

    At that Ralph’s February 2000 press conference I was in the front row, and asked him about the possibility.

    Is the implication from comments here Nader could win the Libertarian nomination in 2012?

  10. Ross

    This is great. In Philly the Green Party is going to start trying to reach out to tea party groups…maybe it will work, maybe it won’t, but we’re trying it.

  11. Hugh Jass

    Nader really ought to step aside in favor of new blood. He’s already run on virtually every left-of-center third party ticket (Greens, Reform, Natural Law, Peace and Freedom, etc.). I think he would do more good endorsing a Libertarian candidate in 2012 (assuming someone besides Root wins the nomination) than if he made a sixth quixotic run.

  12. Dennis

    There was talk in 2000 of Nader being the Reform candidate, but Buchanan had more “in party” support. I doubt Nader will ruin in 2012.

  13. Dennis

    @ 20, Nader is a purposeful villain? What was Leon Trotsky then?

    @21, He wouldn’t even try.

  14. Kimberly Wilder

    Steve @5 –

    I would say more that “the left” thinks that government can do the solutions, if the right people are in charge.

    I think progressive implies, to some extent, someone with newer ideas than the old left. So, I think that it is not entirely accurate to say that progressives look to the government to solve the problems or create the law for or against something.

    Maybe just my opinion.

    P.S. A Democratic politician in Long Island is proposing a steep fine for people who do not clear all the snow and ice from their car.

  15. paulie

    @22 True.

    Michael @7 and Kimberly @23

    How would you define the difference between progressives and libertarians then?

    That is: what makes you something other than a libertarian?

    I would say that a progressive who believes that social problems can always or almost always be solved in ways that don’t involve monopoly government is a libertarian. Do you disagree, and if so, why or how?

  16. paulie

    But a Libertarian has to hesitate before supporting a Green or Independent Progressive candidate who favors government takeover of healthcare, expanded regulation of business, or abolition of corporate personhood.

    Not sure why you threw that last one in there. Many Libertarians support abolishing corporate personhood as well.

  17. Michael H. Wilson

    In this day and age from what I hear from Progressives they are interested in issues relating to the poor and the environment.

    Many of us in the LP are likewise interested in these problems. We realize that if we don’t solve the problems of poverty or at least reduce poverty then we just leave open the door for more government interference in the economy. To that end some of us have suggested opening the marketplace in transportation, housing and health care just for starters.

    In transportation lots of low income people, especially women who work part-time and elderly women, are without access to alternatives.

    Improved transit alternatives may help reduce urban pollution simply because low income people who need cars are the least able to properly maintain them because of the costs. When they have an alternative they may find they won’t need the vehicle in the first place or not need to use it is often.

    Government regulations have driven up the costs of housing and made it difficult for low income families to find adequate shelter. In some states the increase has been estimated to have added as much as 50% to the costs of homes.

    In health care government regulations have been used to deprive expectant mothers of the services of midwives. Yet we know that midwives have better results than MDs and do so at lower costs. In Europe nurses and midwives account for 60% of health care budgets and are just as capable as MDs and often more so.

    Occupational licensing, which has its roots in America’s racist past, must be repealed and could be replaced with a system of certification and adequate liability laws to protect consumers. These laws should be recognized for what they are. The last of Jim Crow.

    Not to mention the devaluation of the currency, which hits low income workers the hardest.

    The need to bring our troops home. The overseas deployment today is doing nothing but subsidizing those the American worker must compete against in a global economy.

    Last but not least the Drug War which has targeted low income people, especially young males in the minority communities.

  18. pete healey

    When do we get to consider the possibility of a tactical “alliance” which seems to be what Nader is suggesting? It’s not about nominating Nader as a Libertarian, since he isn’t. And it’s not about trying to get the Greens to agree to having Ron Paul as their national nominee. It’s about remembering the common ground we actually have, without forgetting our disagreements, and going forward together on a limited basis with a limited run and clear purpose. That purpose might be to force the two asshole parties, and the public, to sit up and take notice. Can’t we talk about whether it’s possible to do that?

  19. Gene Berkman

    “Many Libertarians support abolishing corporate personhood as well.” Paulie @ 25 –

    OK, so you really DO want to close down the Berkeley Coop Supermarket! And the Salvation Army! Or the Catholic Church for that matter.

    Corporate Personhood is not restricted to “corporations – i.e. limited liability joint stock companies.” Any entity other than a living being that can buy, sell, and own property can do so only because of corporate personhood.

    If you have gripes against specific corporations – e.g. Donald Trumps development company that is dependent on eminent domain and government subsidies, or Ross Perot’s EDS, which is totally reliant on government contracts, those are legit criticisms.

    But abolishing corporate personhood gives the government free reign to close down all associations that engage in production, trade or beneficial activities.

  20. paulie

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_personhood

    The corporate personhood debate refers to the controversy (primarily in the United States) over the question of what subset of rights afforded under the law to natural persons should also be afforded to corporations as legal persons.

    In the United States, corporations were recognized as having rights to contract, and to have those contracts honored the same as contracts entered into by natural persons, in Dartmouth College v. Woodward, decided in 1819. In the 1886 case Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, 118 U.S. 394, the Supreme Court recognized that corporations were recognized as persons for purposes of the Fourteenth Amendment.

    Prior to these court decisions, and in other countries which have not had them, associations of all sorts, commercial and non-commercial, have long existed and continue to exist.

  21. paulie

    From that same article:

    The Federal Constitution of 1788 did not mention corporations. Thus, although the Federal government has from time to time chartered corporations, the general chartering of corporations has been left to the states. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, corporations began to be chartered in greater numbers by the states. Corporations had long existed in the new nation, but these were primarily educational corporations or institutions chartered by the British crown which continued to exist after the new nation was created from the Confederation. Due to experience as British Colonies and the accompanying corporate colonialism from British corporations chartered by the crown to do business in North America, most directly exercised through government grants of monopoly as part of the chartering process, new corporations were greeted with mixed feelings. Thomas Jefferson wrote in a 1816 letter to George Logan:[11]

    I hope we shall… crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations which dare already to challenge our government in a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.

  22. Gene Berkman

    It is reasonable to oppose government grants of monopoly and other priviledges to corporations, but if associations exist and have the right to buy, sell and own property, and enter into contracts, that is corporate personhood.

    “Progressives” who attack corporations don’t tend to diferentiate between those corporations that rely on government subsidies and favors, and other corporations that survive by serving customers. Allowing our opposition to mixed economy corporations to push us into an alliance with anti-capitalist progressives is a dead-end for the Libertarian Movement.

  23. paulie

    It is reasonable to oppose government grants of monopoly and other priviledges to corporations, but if associations exist and have the right to buy, sell and own property, and enter into contracts, that is corporate personhood.

    See the reference at 32. Excerpt:

    Where exactly in the Constitution does it say corporations have rights? Corporate personhood may be long-standing legal precedent, but that doesn’t make it constitutional or righteous. The court decision that is credited with establishing corporate personhood doesn’t even make the concept explicit.

    It was actually a court reporter who, in an attempt to summarize the case Santa Clara County vs. Southern Pacific Railroad, coined the term. Author Thom Hartmann explains in Common Dreams: “In writing up the case’s headnote — a commentary that has no precedential status — the Court’s reporter, a former railroad president named J.C. Bancroft Davis, opened the headnote with the sentence: ‘The defendant corporations are persons within the intent of the clause in section 1 of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which forbids a state to deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.’ ”

    Lawyers started using the headnote in their arguments, and subsequent courts cited the note in their opinions. Before that time, corporations were seen as artificial persons with privileges — but certainly not rights.

    No one is saying corporations should have no expectations of legal protection, but to assert they deserve the rights of human beings is absurd.

    And one more:

    Yes, big government can be a destructive force to the country, but it isn’t the only kind of “big” one should fear.

    Corporations don’t seek to influence the government to promote a libertarian utopia. They get involved with government to gain a competitive edge, either through regulation or subsidy. All the corporate money in our politics does not go to secure a free market, despite what some on the anti-corporate left will tell you. The very last thing big corporations want is a fair or free market. Big Business plays politics to secure its position and keep the little guy out.

  24. paulie

    From wikipedia article referenced above:

    It should be understood that the term ‘artificial person’ was in long use, prior to the Dartmouth College decision, and was in principle distinct from any contention that corporations have the rights of natural persons. ‘Artificial person’ was used because there were certain resemblances, in law, between a natural person and corporations. Both could be parties in a lawsuit; both could be taxed; both could be constrained by law. In fact the corporations had been called artificial persons by courts in England as early as the 16th century because lawyers for the corporations had asserted they could not be convicted under the English laws of the time because the laws were worded “No person shall….”

  25. Gene Berkman

    Again, the author of the article at Nashville City Paper does not understand what corporate personhood means. He is in fact for limiting corporate rights, not abolishing corporate personhood.

    Of course, advocacy of limiting corporate rights again is a call for government power, inconsistent with free market libertarianism.

    Germany in the 1930s actively limited corporate rights. (Thank you, Mr Godwin). Corporations owned by Jews were either dissolved, nationalized or taken by the state and given to “Aryan” owners. Corporations with capitalization of less than 5 million Reichmarks were simply dissolved.

    Progressives assume only humanistic people will run the governments they give power to, and how likely is that?

  26. paulie

    Again, the author of the article at Nashville City Paper does not understand what corporate personhood means. He is in fact for limiting corporate rights, not abolishing corporate personhood.

    The sense in which the Nashville City Paper uses the term is the one I have commonly seen it used over the years.

    Of course, advocacy of limiting corporate rights again is a call for government power, inconsistent with free market libertarianism.

    How can that be, when it is governments which issue corporate charters? Do you believe unlimited nonconcensual limited liability exists in a state of nature?

    If individuals can’t effectively use torts to police the behavior of corporations hiding behind a corporate shield, regulations become the accepted alternative. Of course, regulations are preferred by big corporations – they can hire lobbyists to write themselves custom loopholes and lawyers and accountants to help them comply, and if worst comes to worse pay a fine. Would be or fledgling small businesses aren’t so lucky.

    Thus, wealth accumulates hand in hand with government influence and regulation. The big stay big and get bigger, the small never sprout or are choked off.

  27. paulie

    From Daniel McCarthy, cited above:

    By a logical extension of the corporate person argument the railroads, again for instance, soon found it expedient to apply to national instead of State courts, under the interstate commerce clause. That procedure brought the granting of injunctions against strike action, the violation of which in turn resulted in summary imprisonment of labor leaders, without jury trial, for contempt of court. Thus the national development of industry on the one hand, and of trade unionism on the other, led through the channel of the Fourteenth Amendment to the nationalization of governmental power and the resumed weakening of federal structure. Business leadership, too “practical” to theorize on politics, welcomed this centralization of power as long as it seemed to favor laissez-faire at the expense of labor organization. There was all too little anticipation that, in the name of democracy, this favoritism would eventually be reversed.”

    That’s taken from Morley’s Freedom and Federalism. His chapter “The Fourteenth Amendment” elaborates the story. Morley is not, of course, arguing that he’d like to see businesses or individuals deprived of their property or rights in a lawless fashion at any level. But the structure of government matters as well as its content, and the combination of a liberal reading of the Fourteenth Amendment with the concept of corporate personhood wrought tremendous changes in the way governments works, in its scope and machinery. Power fled the people in the states and was absorbed and amplified by the institutions of the federal government — first by the Supreme Court, to a lesser extent by Congress, but ultimately and to the greatest extent by the executive branch, whose agencies, in the name of rights, can now seize property (the DEA), kill (the CIA), interfere in business (the FTC), censor communications (the FCC), and manipulate elections (the FEC) with nary a thought to “representation” or the legislative process. The corporate state turns out to be the executive state — which probably in the end becomes the military-security state. We’re not there yet, but we’re well on our way.

  28. Gene Berkman

    In what way is The Green Party different from a corporation? Well, some corporations make products that benefit the cousumer, that is one difference.

    But in crucial areas, The Green Party is a corporate person. If a Green Party committee orders some printing, and fails to pay for it, the printer cannot go after individual members of The Green Party to collect – they have protection from liability for the actions of Green Party (Inc).

    If the Chair of The Green Party says something libelous about a non-public personality, and is sued, the lawsuit will not include all the individual members of the Green Party as co-defendents.

    The Green Party has the right to spend money to influence elections. Why should it have more rights than other Corporate persons?

  29. Gene Berkman

    “Of course, advocacy of limiting corporate rights again is a call for government power, inconsistent with free market libertarianism. ”

    “How can that be, when it is governments which issue corporate charters?”

    The progressive case for regulating all private property is that the state guarantees property titles. The anarcho-communist case for the abolition of private property is that the state issues property titles.

    Do you really want to grant the state that much power? The classical liberal case is that the government is a servant, and protects our property (if legitimately acquired) as a servant. It does not grant us the priviledge to use property as though it were the master.

  30. paulie

    If a Green Party committee orders some printing, and fails to pay for it, the printer cannot go after individual members of The Green Party to collect – they have protection from liability for the actions of Green Party (Inc).

    I wouldn’t want to be that printer. Would you?

    The progressive case for regulating all private property is that the state guarantees property titles. The anarcho-communist case for the abolition of private property is that the state issues property titles.

    Property can exist without a monopoly state. Can non-concensual limited liability corporations with the rights of natural persons so exist? Have they ever? Would they?


    Do you really want to grant the state that much power? The classical liberal case is that the government is a servant, and protects our property (if legitimately acquired) as a servant. It does not grant us the priviledge to use property as though it were the master.

    I think the premise of your questions here is false. If not the state, what entity would give corporations immunity from their actions? It doesn’t exist in a state of nature, and can’t be derived from mixing labor with land. Do you envision any number of people getting together at any time they wish and saying “we are henceforward not responsible for our actions; you can sue our corporate shell, and if need be we’ll dissolve it and reorganize under a new name”?

    How long would the neighbors, creditors, and victims of such an entity allow this arrangement?

    It seems to me that only granting the state a lot of power can cause such a strange monstrosity to be created. Once it evolves, hand in hand with the monopoly state the entire way, the two monsters evolve a symbiotic relationship which they both use to grow ever bigger, calcify their power, and eliminate upstart competition.

    They need each other: the state can’t effectively produce wealth, and the corporate entity is somewhat better at it – but may not be able to compete on a truly even playing field except for the state’s intervention.

    The corporation can’t monopolize, or immunize itself from the consequences of its behavior, except through the state.

    Corporations buy political influence and politicians and bureaucrats pad their income with corporate bribes, contributions and benefits. Many people create a revolving door where they take on, in turn, roles as lobbyists, legislators, regulators and corporate employees and/or board members/shareholders – all at the expense of the “little people.”

  31. Gene Berkman

    In a state of nature, without some institution protecting property rights, would the Empire State Building be built?

    In reality, without limited liability, nobody would join any association, including a labor union, the Green Party or the Libertarian Party.

    Devising a means for protecting rights without giving the agency of protection so much power it can abolish rights is the classical liberal case for limited government.

    Progressives hold up a bogey man they call “The Corporation” and hint at its abuses in order to call for taking limits off government.

    Criticizing corporations for getting special favors, or for promoting a government big enough to grant special favors, is important for libertarians. But it is a different critique from the anti-corporate critique of the Left.

  32. Gene Berkman

    “If a Green Party committee orders some printing, and fails to pay for it, the printer cannot go after individual members of The Green Party to collect – they have protection from liability for the actions of Green Party (Inc). ”

    “I wouldn’t want to be that printer. Would you?”

    When I lived in Austin, Texas, I had a bookstore next to the only union print shop in Texas. He did all the printing for the Democrat candidates in Texas, because they all wanted the union bug.
    Because he did so much printing for candidates, he had a sign at the front desk that said:

    “All printing must be paid for in advance, cash only, no checks.”

  33. paulie

    In a state of nature, without some institution protecting property rights, would the Empire State Building be built?

    I think some institution(s) would always evolve to protect property rights in a state of nature, but the idea that these rights would include evading responsibility – i.e., privatizing profit while socializing risks and costs – seems counter-intuitive to say the least.

    Progressives hold up a bogey man they call “The Corporation” and hint at its abuses in order to call for taking limits off government.

    I disagree with those that do so.

    I don’t see government as an agency that reins in corporations. I see them as codependent institutions that prop each other up at the expense of everyone else. In fact, often they are the same institutions under two guises: “private-public partnerships.”

    But as for corporations themselves and their abuses, they are very real and it does libertarians no good to pretend that these abuses do not actually exist. Really, do you think that people are so good that if given the opportunity to evade responsibility for their actions, the unscrupulous among us would not take advantage of the opportunity?

    Criticizing corporations for getting special favors, or for promoting a government big enough to grant special favors, is important for libertarians.

    What system of checks and balances do you propose, if not either torts or regulations?

    But it is a different critique from the anti-corporate critique of the Left.

    Only in part, as I think in many cases we are like two blind people trying to describe an elephant based on the part of the elephant they can touch. What we are dealing with in reality is a joint corporate-state behemoth that feeds on human lives, labor and liberty.

    Because he did so much printing for candidates, he had a sign at the front desk that said:

    “All printing must be paid for in advance, cash only, no checks.”

    Smart printer.

    Of course, that’s only good as long as the US government maintains its “faith based” credit, but that’s another story.

  34. Gene Berkman

    “What system of checks and balances do you propose, if not either torts or regulations?”

    Actually, I believe in limited government, so there will necessarily be some amount of regulation of economic activity, and lawsuits will always remain a resort of people who believe they have been wronged.

    What we have now is excessive regulation, some promoted by particular corporations or business sectors in order to protect themselves from competition, and some overregulation is promoted by “progressives” along with opportunistic politicians who see themselves standing up for the little guy.

    I see little potential for cooperation between libertarians and progressives on economic issues, although libertarians defend the rights of cooperative enterprises.

    I see real potentional for cooperation on social issues, including promoting legalization of marjuana.

    Last year in California we had a proposition to legalize marijuana and it was endorsed by The Libertarian Party and by The Green Party, as well as by Republican Liberty Caucus, Young Americans for Freedom, and Progressive Democrats of America.

    But I was at a forum to kick off the campaign, and a Green Party spokesman said that they support Prop 19, but were afraid that corporations would be allowed to grow and sell marijuana. Honestly, I have less fear of corporations that sell marijuana than I do of government that puts people in jail for selling marijuana.

  35. paulie

    Actually, I believe in limited government, so there will necessarily be some amount of regulation of economic activity, and lawsuits will always remain a resort of people who believe they have been wronged.

    What we have now is excessive regulation, some promoted by particular corporations or business sectors in order to protect themselves from competition, and some overregulation is promoted by “progressives” along with opportunistic politicians who see themselves standing up for the little guy.

    How do you keep regulation from becoming excessive?

    Lawsuits become basically a joke when the entities being sued can dissolve and reorganize at will, leaving no real people responsible for their costs and risks and those they create for others while they profit.

    Regulations do indeed pose an alternative method of checks and balances, but in addition to regulatory capture which I talked about above there is also regulatory creep – that is, the natural tendency of bureaucracy to expand over time.

    Hence, the symbiotic relationship of big corporations and big government discussed above at the expense of everyone else.


    I see little potential for cooperation between libertarians and progressives on economic issues, although libertarians defend the rights of cooperative enterprises.

    I see a lot of potential for economic cooperation. Corporate welfare, direct and indirect, is much bigger than supposed social welfare. Many libertarians realize that existing big business in the mixed economy and free markets are different things.

    Many, but not all, agree with me on corporate personhood and nonconcensual limited liability.

    Many progressives see decentralization as a good thing.

    There’s certainly a lot of potential common ground to be explored. My questions at 24 remain unanswered at this point.


    I see real potentional for cooperation on social issues, including promoting legalization of marjuana.

    Yes, and I would add cooperation on foreign/military policy and its domestic corollary of the “homeland security” state as well.


    Last year in California we had a proposition to legalize marijuana and it was endorsed by The Libertarian Party and by The Green Party, as well as by Republican Liberty Caucus, Young Americans for Freedom, and Progressive Democrats of America.

    But I was at a forum to kick off the campaign, and a Green Party spokesman said that they support Prop 19, but were afraid that corporations would be allowed to grow and sell marijuana. Honestly, I have less fear of corporations that sell marijuana than I do of government that puts people in jail for selling marijuana.

    Corporations that stand to benefit from various competitors to marijuana and hemp – wood paper, pharmaceuticals, alcohol, tobacco, petrochemicals, synthetics, etc – played a large role in outlawing marijuana and keeping it illegal. So did teh corporate yellow press.

    In your example, as in so many others, regime-chartered corporations and corporate-financed politicians were and continue to be “partners in crime.”

  36. Gene Berkman

    “Lawsuits become basically a joke when the entities being sued can dissolve and reorganize at will…”

    If a business dissolves itself, there are major costs involved, including reestablishing trade relationships and credit facilities. Dissolution of a business is not done lightly, and a lawsuit that forces a dissolution would be something to avoid.

    In theory, Libertarians can work with Greens and other Progressives to oppose Corporate Welfare. But too many Progressives consider it a form of corporate welfare if a private business gets a lower tax burden.

    “Corporations that stand to benefit from various competitors to marijuana and hemp – wood paper, pharmaceuticals, alcohol, tobacco, petrochemicals, synthetics, etc – played a large role in outlawing marijuana and keeping it illegal.”

    I knew Jack Herer, and he endorsed me for Congress, but the evidence that marijuana prohibition was caused by corporate interests with wood based paper factories is at best circumstantial. In fact The Communist Party lobbied as hard for marijuana prohibition as the Hearst newspapers did.

    When Congress passed the Marijuana Tax Act in 1937, it was part of the New Deal, supported by the various Progressives in Congress, many of whom had supported alcohol prohibition. By 1937 Hearst had already come to oppose FDR and the New Deal.

  37. Robert Milnes

    OK. everybody listen up.
    I haven’t been posting because I’ve been depressed and trying to cope with numerous problems.
    2 times computer down. computer down, voip phone down.
    trailer has numerous problems. I’ve been trying to buy a used mobile office. price went up-cheap units bought up quickly. needed to get bigger bank loan. 2 vans down. one up-ran down battery. new battery. flat tire. lugs siezed. had to drive van to tire repair. tire shot. new tire.
    new used computer. lost emails & documents
    etc.
    I’m presently trying to get 2 websites going. one domain name, one 2012 campaign.
    I’ve begged T0m K. for help. He has some sort of hair growing up his ass.
    Over the past few years I’ve addressed most of the issues raised by this Nader thread. Nader has had numerous bites at the apple. Sufficient ballot access to win. No fusion ticket. No downticket candidates. etc. All this is solved by PLAS.
    Interesting that Nader doesn’t mention PLAS or me. How is that? Same with Gravel. He didn’t know about me-I guess. So his IPR slumming democrat campaign manager Skyler was able to patronize me & dismiss me.
    All this inefficiency because I am not getting the support I need. OK?
    Don’t be surprised if I get cut off & have to start new comment. The 2 cords I have to computer are loose. Slight movement cuts off power-down it goes & I have to reboot.
    I need website help. Volunteers. Contributions.
    I’m alone here so I could use some help here. If someone who wants to try PLAS & has some tech savvy would come here with a laptop & motorhome-Great!

  38. paulie

    Interesting that Nader doesn’t mention PLAS or me.

    LOL. Glad to hear you are still alive and kicking, Robert. Hope you feel better, and good luck with all that pesky technology stuff.

  39. langa

    It seems to me that the issue of limited liability, like so many other issues, ultimately comes down to the issue of consent, which is what I think Paulie is saying as well (correct me if I’m wrong). If limited liability is stipulated as part of the terms of a particular contract, I have no problem with it. Otherwise, you should be able to sue anyone for any reason, and it’s then up to the court system to determine if your claims have merit.

    As far as the feasibility of a libertarian-progressive alliance, I have to say I’m skeptical that it could work on anything more than a handful of issues. There is just too much tension between the underlying philosophical assumptions of the two groups.

    From my perspective as a libertarian, the problem with most progressives is that they have either never bothered to educate themselves about economics or they have been indoctrinated in a false school of economics (e.g. Marxism). In either case, they propose policies without any understanding of the likely consequences of those policies.

    As a result, they often advocate policies that would move them farther from their goals, rather than closer (e.g. advocating minimum wage laws “to help the poor”, etc.). In other words, their ends are usually noble, but their means are often questionable, at best.

  40. paulie

    It seems to me that the issue of limited liability, like so many other issues, ultimately comes down to the issue of consent, which is what I think Paulie is saying as well (correct me if I’m wrong).

    Correct.

  41. paulie

    From my perspective as a libertarian, the problem with most progressives is that they have either never bothered to educate themselves about economics or they have been indoctrinated in a false school of economics

    My working hypothesis is that in many cases this is simply because the only people they have heard espouse any other views of economics have been identified as being on the side opposite from theirs – that is, the side supporting big business, the military-industrial complex and intertwining church and state.

    If and when they hear friends and allies on causes that are important to them discuss a different take on economics, and explain how libertarian means can help achieve their goals and how statist means can hurt the goals they want to achieve, more and more will be open to considering a libertarian viewpoint.

    It will be even more helpful when more libertarians enter such exchanges with an open mind (admittedly, not my strong suit, nor that of many other presently existing libertarians). Since we have a dearth of libertarians that came from the left, we have relatively few that know how to explain libertarianism in terms that appeal to the left. More importantly, since libertarians largely rely on passive recruiting, we have few people that even make any effort to have a conversation of any kind.

    But, I believe this can and will change. In fact, it is already changing, as the Ron Paul campaign (ironically, right-deviationist from libertarianism on several social issues, nevertheless) brought in a fair number of young people coming from the left and not fitting the long-standing libertarian introvert personality type.

  42. langa

    Paulie #56: I have read the first one of those articles, but I’ll reserve comment until I’ve had a chance to read the other two (probably tonight or tomorrow).

    #58: “If and when they hear friends and allies on causes that are important to them discuss a different take on economics, and explain how libertarian means can help achieve their goals and how statist means can hurt the goals they want to achieve, more and more will be open to considering a libertarian viewpoint.”

    I hope you’re right, although my experiences with graduate students in political science (most of whom were very smart and seemed to be making a sincere attempt at being open-minded) do not give me a lot of optimism. After many hours of discussion, I did get some of them to grudgingly admit that statist solutions often fail, but they still insisted that no matter how bad the state is, an “unregulated” market would be worse.

    With a couple of exceptions, almost all of them seemed to have a very deeply ingrained fear/hatred of any type of unregulated behavior, especially commerce. Perhaps I would have had more luck if I had gotten to them at a younger age, like when they were in high school.

  43. NewFederalist

    I am a nobody. I am on no particular side. I am interested in positive political change. AND… I am glad you are back with us and hopefully a bit out of your funk!

  44. Robert Milnes

    Dennis, right. & Gravel too.
    Yet I’d bet just about everybody in IPR has heard of me. I’ve been commenting for years & on TPW before that.
    Where is the disconnect?

  45. langa

    Paulie, I finally got a chance to read those articles that you linked to. First of all, I agree with the history lesson, but I don’t see how it’s particularly relevant today. Yes, modern libertarians and modern progressives have a common ancestor (the classical liberals), but that doesn’t make them natural allies, given all that has changed since then. After all, neocons are descended from Strauss, who was a leftist, but that doesn’t mean that neocons are natural allies with modern leftists.

    I also agree that as a libertarian, I frequently (though definitely not always) agree with the goals espoused by the left. However, I think it is very important to focus more on means than on ends. If we focus too much on ends, we risk falling into the same trap as the classical liberals, by agreeing to compromise on means in order to achieve the desired ends (as Spencer explained). My view is that if you always adhere to the correct means, the ends will take care of themselves.

    That brings me back to my original “problem” with the proposed alliance between libertarians and progressives to achieve common goals. From my perspective, as a libertarian, such an alliance would have to involve at least one of the following: 1) libertarians getting progressives to convert to libertarian means, 2) progressives getting libertarians to compromise and agree to some non-libertarian means, or 3) libertarians and progressives limiting their cooperation to those (relatively rare) issues where they already agree on the proper means.

    As mentioned above (in #58) I view #1 to be virtually impossible, at least on a large scale. I also view #2 as virtually impossible for much the same reasons, and furthermore, even if it were possible, I would be strongly opposed to it. As I said, I feel compromising on means would be a major mistake for libertarians, and the debate over whether to do so would further fracture the already splintered libertarian movement and further confuse the general public over what libertarians really stand for.

    That leaves only #3, which as I’ve already said, I would be more than happy to endorse and support, although even there, I must admit I’m somewhat skeptical about the prospects for success. Even if you could get the LP and the GP to work together (and heck, throw the CP in as well), you would still have no more than 10% of the public on your side. I believe you would have to at least double that number to have any real chance at influencing the political process. But who knows? With some of the Ron Paul Republicans and/or Nader-type Democrats, it might just work. It’s definitely worth a shot.

  46. paulie

    Paulie, I finally got a chance to read those articles that you linked to. First of all, I agree with the history lesson, but I don’t see how it’s particularly relevant today. Yes, modern libertarians and modern progressives have a common ancestor (the classical liberals), but that doesn’t make them natural allies, given all that has changed since then.

    Thanks for getting back to this. I agree that history is insufficient to explain why I believe it is a natural alliance. Consider another piece of the puzzle: I’ve done hundreds of OPH quizzes on colleges campuses and scored literally tens of thousands of students on the Nolan quiz, and the biggest cluster among all students is around the left-center-libertarian border area. Consider, too, that people are vastly more likely to change their party, not have a party, or even reconsider their ideology at that age than they are later on on life. That is another part of why I believe that classical liberalism is a natural alliance.

  47. paulie

    I also agree that as a libertarian, I frequently (though definitely not always) agree with the goals espoused by the left. However, I think it is very important to focus more on means than on ends. If we focus too much on ends, we risk falling into the same trap as the classical liberals, by agreeing to compromise on means in order to achieve the desired ends (as Spencer explained). My view is that if you always adhere to the correct means, the ends will take care of themselves.

    Both means and ends are important.

    On one hand, I agree with you that the ends don’t justify the means. On the other, when we consistently fail to tell this audience – again, what I believe is our natural target audience – that we share their goals, we consistently create the impression that we don’t. Think about it: they are already predisposed to think that people who want lower taxes, less regulation, school privatization, gun rights, etc., are greedy rich people who don’t care about the poor, environment, and so on. And then libertarians reinforce that impression by not actively counteracting it. Not good.

    Overcoming this takes more than one round of discussion. It takes consistent repetition, by different people at different times and through different media of communication. We have a century of misunderstanding to overcome. But I believe it can be done. Read on…

  48. paulie

    That brings me back to my original “problem” with the proposed alliance between libertarians and progressives to achieve common goals. From my perspective, as a libertarian, such an alliance would have to involve at least one of the following: 1) libertarians getting progressives to convert to libertarian means, 2) progressives getting libertarians to compromise and agree to some non-libertarian means, or 3) libertarians and progressives limiting their cooperation to those (relatively rare) issues where they already agree on the proper means.

    As mentioned above (in #58) I view #1 to be virtually impossible, at least on a large scale.

    I don’t view #1 to be nearly impossible. Difficult, yes, as I already stipulated.

    Consider this: despite, not because of being more conservative than libertarian on several key social issues, Ron Paul made a tremendous amount of headway with the very audience I am talking about. And he could have done even better if he had actually focused on them, rather than as he did on the far right flank of the Republican Party. Being pro-life, anti-migration freedom, and an old white guy with the dreaded R next to his name and a past association with some very ugly racist newsletters are not positives in bridging the progressive-libertarian gap…and yet Ron Paul became a rock star on college campuses, bringing in many thousands of enthusiastic supporters from among people that would otherwise have either gravitated to the conventional modern left or remained cynical/apathetic about political involvement of any sort whatsoever.

    So, if Ron Paul can do it, why not libertarians?

  49. paulie

    I also view #2 as virtually impossible for much the same reasons, and furthermore, even if it were possible, I would be strongly opposed to it.

    #2 is not at all impossible, but I agree that it is undesirable.

    As I said, I feel compromising on means would be a major mistake for libertarians, and the debate over whether to do so would further fracture the already splintered libertarian movement and further confuse the general public over what libertarians really stand for.

    In one sense, yes.

    In another, at least having the debate on our left flank as well as on our right flank would be better than having it only on our right flank, as is happening at present, which is painting us into an ideological corner in the popular imagination. At least if there was a balance, some people who dismiss us out of hand right now would look more deeply. And at least some of them would like what they discover. Those don’t have to be very high percentages to make us much bigger than we are now.

    Also, I think there is at least some room for compromise on transitional phases.

    For example, while my ultimate goal is ending all drug prohibition, all taxation, and the medical license monopoly, I see allowing medical marijuana and even taxing and regulating recreational marijuana as an improvement over complete drug war prohibitionism.

    To take another example, I would ultimately like government to get completely out of the marriage business, but in the meantime I am strongly in favor of marriage equality for gay people, and would strongly oppose allowing government to reinstitute bans on interracial marriage.

  50. paulie

    That leaves only #3, which as I’ve already said, I would be more than happy to endorse and support, although even there, I must admit I’m somewhat skeptical about the prospects for success. Even if you could get the LP and the GP to work together (and heck, throw the CP in as well), you would still have no more than 10% of the public on your side.

    That’s because of the “wasted vote” fallacy/miscalculation. If you add up the support all small-l libertarians, small-g g greens and small-c constitutionalists have it’s a lot more than 10%. It does not always translate into voting booth support because most people see voting for candidates who are not believed to have a chance of winning as a waste of time at best, or actively harmful to their desired outcome at worst.

    I believe you would have to at least double that number to have any real chance at influencing the political process.

    Not necessarily. Just as influence in the public debate is often the result of constant repetition, influence in the political process can be extremely disproportionate to numbers when people are well-organized and committed. The fact is that most people, of any viewpoint, are mostly passive politically. That allows small yet dedicated groups to wield a great deal of influence. .

    With some of the Ron Paul Republicans and/or Nader-type Democrats, it might just work. It’s definitely worth a shot.

    Exactly.

  51. langa

    Paulie, just a couple more quick thoughts on this. You make some excellent points about how libertarians often alienate progressives with our rhetoric and by appearing insensitive to the issues that they care deeply about.

    I also agree that we can learn a lot from the Ron Paul phenomenon. Specifically, I think that Ron Paul demonstrates that libertarians don’t need to worry so much about appearing to be moderate and non-controversial. If anything, I think Ron Paul appealed to many young people (including those on the left) precisely because he didn’t try to water down his message and make it more palatable to the mainstream. He simply stated the truth as he saw it, without much regard to whether it would help him in the polls, or whether anyone would be offended by it. By contrast, Barr seemed to carefully scrutinize every word before it came out of his mouth. In my experience, doing that typically comes off as phony, and causes young people not to trust you. I constantly hear people in the LP saying that you can’t win elections if you take “extremist” positions, but Ron Paul has been disproving that theory for decades.

    In the end, though, while I’m optimistic about cooperating on certain issues, I’m still skeptical about a more wide-ranging coalition. Certainly libertarians should endeavor to do more to convert progressives to our side, but ultimately, I think many (if not most) of them are lost causes. Like Chomsky, they have an almost unshakable belief that no matter how bad the state is, an “unregulated” market would be infinitely worse. However, I certainly hope that I’m wrong about this.

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