George Phillies: “Libertarian Populism”= Republican Lie

Posted to Liberty for America , August 2013
Dr. Phillies sent this to us at IPR for publishing.

The Republican Party has hatched a newer but hardly better scheme to
lure libertarian-leaning voters into their clutches. It’s called
‘libertarian populism’. It’s named after two things that Republicans
will never be: ‘libertarian’ and ‘popular’.

Republican supporters of ‘libertarian populism’ throw out a smoke screen
of small concessions to libertarian thinking, while leaving in place the
herd of elephants in the living room, the vast horde of antilibertarian
Republican social and spending policies.

Thus, the Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney talks about ending the sugar
subsidy and the Export-Import bank. These are tiny government programs.
You will search in vain for “libertarian populists’ who talk of ending
the big corporate welfare programs.

Big programs? How about ending the entire agricultural subsidy farm
program system? Not three months ago, the Republicans had a chance to
end agricultural subsidies by defunding them. Only 12 Republicans were
willing to vote against farm welfare, welfare that goes in fair part to
large corporate farms.

Big programs? How about ending the defense corporate welfare scheme,
which spends trillions every Presidential term for pointless weapons
systems, defenses against dangers that do not exist, and drones sent to
strange countries to kill small children.

The Cold War has long since ended, and only the United States has been
foolish enough not to demobilize most of its Cold War military. Defense
welfare is corporate welfare, corporate welfare at its most grandiose
and pointless.

Big programs? How about ending the national surveillance state, the
spying scheme that listens to your every telephone call? Republicans
didn’t support that, either.

Then there is the Republican populist ‘tax simplification’ scheme, a
scheme whose actual effect is to shift taxes from Republican donors to
Democratic donors. Taxes go down on the rich, and up on the not-so-rich.
Total taxes do not change, but names on tax bills do. Note in particular
the proposed elimination of the mortgage deduction, which will crash
house prices, this wrecking a substantial part of the savings of many

Missing in all this are the real Libertarian stands that “libertarian
populists”, conservative wolves in sheep’s clothing, can be counted on
to oppose. Let’s look at a few of those real Libertarian stands, all
reasons why Real Libertarians Don’t Vote Republican.

*Abortion. Libertarians are 100% pro-choice. Period. Full stop. The
other guys? Even in Massachusetts, we have a forthcoming special State
Senate Election, and the first policy position out of the Republican’s
mouth was that he was against abortion rights.

*Sexual Freedom. Republicans continue their war against gay marriage,
and are not about to change. Republicans opposed allowing teenagers to
obtain the Plan B contraceptive, and even got Democrats to join them.
Libertarians, of course, are just the opposite.

*The War on Drugs. Republicans are inveterate drug warriors, for whom
the war on drugs is important outreach to working-class white males.

*Immigration. Libertarians welcome foreigners who want to move to
America. Republicans want to brick up the door.

*Foreign Trade. “Libertarian Populism” attacks NAFTA as a key part of
their outreach to Perot voters. That’s the opposite of Libertarian
thinking. We may well point out that NAFTA is anything but free as a
trade agreement, but Libertarians recognize that free trade is morally
right and beneficial to our economy.

* The warfare state. Libertarians reject our wars in Iraq, Pakistan, the
Philipines, Somalia, Yemen, Uganda, Nepal, Syria, and a long list of
other places, because waging war on people who have not attacked you is
wrong. Blowing up innocent women and children with robot dorne strikes
is immoral.

That is not a complete list, but it’s enough.

Libertarian populism is an opposite of Libertarian.

Oh, yes: Libertarian populism is actually a scheme for recruiting Perot
voters into the Republican Party. Republican thinking — if you will
forgive the oxymoron — on the topic is confounded by a wrong Republican
belief. Republicans believe that if Perot had not run, Bush would have
won. In fact, there are excellent exit polls on this question. Clinton
led Bush by a significant margin. If Perot had not been in the race,
Clinton would have won the election with a solid majority of the popular

Libertarian populism is sound evidence that Republicans are idiots.

The Libertarian answer should always be “Just say no! to libertarian

George Phillies is a physics professor, long-time Libertarian activist and frequent commenter here on IPR. He ran for the LP’s presidential candidacy in 2008, and has expressed interest in running again in 2016. He is the editor and publisher of Liberty of America .

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