Georgia Libertarian Party Operations Director Sparks Controversy with Facebook Post

I chose the title above judiciously because I didn’t want a headline blaring “Libertarian Equates Nathan Deal and Georgia GOP with Nazis.” Here is the story from conservative activist Tom Milanese who obviously has a stake in the game. I will let the readers judge for themselves whether the Facebook post was out of line and whether Mr. Milanese’s response fairly characterizes it. The discussion below the article is interesting as well.

Via PeachPundit.

35 thoughts on “Georgia Libertarian Party Operations Director Sparks Controversy with Facebook Post

  1. RedPhillips Post author

    Mr. Milanese (Paulding Pundit) has weighed in on the (long) Peach Pundit thread. This was my response to him there:

    Paulding Pundit, I am a conservative, and I intend to vote straight ticket Libertarian in the general. I would vote straight ticket Constitution Party if I could, but unfortunately the CP isn’t on the ballot. Voting is not always about agreeing with everything a candidate or party stands for. There is such a thing as strategic voting. A vote for the GOP nominee is an endorsement of what they are doing. The person receiving your vote doesn’t know whether or not you were holding your nose when you cast it. Your vote counts the same whether you cast it reluctantly or enthusiastically. A vote for a third party is an unambiguous repudiation of the major parties. I wouldn’t vote for a Green Party candidate because that would be a repudiation from the left, which is not the directional signal I want to send. But a vote for the LP candidate is essentially a vote to repudiate the GOP from the right. (We could have a long philosophical discussion about where libertarianism actually falls on a left/right political spectrum, but a vote for the LP is generally perceived as from the right whether that is philosophically accurate or not.)

    I think the idea of open borders is insane, but I could vote for an open borders LP candidate precisely because I know he isn’t going to win. I would have a much harder time voting for an open borders LP candidate if I thought he could win. But the run-off system in Georgia gives us even more reason to cast a strategic protest vote. If the third party candidate forces a run-off, you can always vote for the GOP nominee then.

  2. d.eris

    The headline and post from the “conservative” corporatist Republican shill at Paulding Pundit is a complete fabrication. The FB statement does not in any way “equate” the GA GOP and with Nazis, but rather states ironically that the GA GOP is “in good company” on the issue of immigration, given the stance of the Nazis in the National Socialist Movement on so-called “illegals”.

    The Paulding Pundit’s equation and the inference on which it is based does not even follow logically, but rather rests on a logical fallacy that was famous already in ancient Greece. One sophist sees another with his dog in the Agora. The first one says, “hey, your mother is a bitch.” The second one is insulted and demands an apology. The first one says an apology is unnecessary because it can be proven to be true, so he points to the dog and says: “She’s a mother and she’s yours, therefore she’s your mother. Your mother is a bitch.”

    But of course, logic and truth is not of much value to the ideologues and demagogues in the Republican and Democratic parties.

  3. d.eris

    I’d also disagree, at this point at least, that the FB post has “sparked a controversy.” It seems more precise to say that individual Republican ideologues are grasping at straws to discredit superior candidates from the Libertarian party in any way they can.

  4. RedPhillips Post author

    “The FB statement does not in any way “equate” the GA GOP with Nazis, but rather states ironically that the GA GOP is “in good company” on the issue of immigration, given the stance of the Nazis in the National Socialist Movement on so-called “illegals”.”

    d.eris, I wouldn’t say that the post doesn’t equate the GOP to Nazis in “any way.” What is the point of linking to the Nazi story if not to tar Deal and Republicans by implication? He was just being “ironic?” That seems a rather generous interpretation. There are elements of the environmental movement that oppose immigration on “carrying capacity” grounds. But Mr. Bittners didn’t link to them and equate Deal and the GOP with liberal Greens. Why?

    That said, Paulding Pundit wasn’t exactly being nuanced when he responds “Operations Director of GA Libertarian Party Equates Nathan Deal and GA GOP to …”

    Nazi is a particularly toxic association and people know this and exploit it. Responding with righteous indignation at being in anyway linked to Nazis is an equally appealing rhetorical game. But it is all just silly and coarsens sensible discourse. You can always find some element of liberalism that is similar to communism and call them Commies. Likewise you can always find some element of conservatism that is similar to Nazism and call them Nazis. You can also find elements of liberalism that are similar to Nazis and call them Nazis as Jonah Goldberg did in his book. But what is the point? No rational person thinks most American liberals are on the whole Communists and no rational person thinks most American conservatives are on the whole Nazis. So it is all just childish rhetorical one-upmanship and an attempt to demonize.

    Opposition to illegal immigration is a widely held mainstream position. If one wishes to associate all those regular people who hold that opinion with Nazis then be my guest. Bittner’s statement was if nothing else unwise. It is the kind of thing that excites the true believers who are already converted and repulses regular people who might otherwise be attracted to your positions.

  5. Gene Berkman

    Actually, I cannot remember ever hearing a Libertarian Party candidate advocating Open Borders. Libertarian intellectuals, yes, but not candidates.

    I have heard two candidates for President advocate Open Borders with Canada & Mexico – Ronald Reagan and Rep. Phil Crane, both running for the Republican nomination in 1980.

    Congressman Crane pointed out that in the 19th Century America had free enterprise and absorbed millions of immigrants into a productive economy. Ronald Reagan advocated Open Borders in a 30 minute infomercial kicking off his campaign for President in 1980.

    Obviously, President Reagan did not give us open borders, but his policies were not as rabid as those being proposed by Republican candidates in this year’s election.

  6. paulie

    Wasn’t the last general amnesty under Reagan? I could be wrong, maybe it was Bush Sr.

    I think Harry Browne and other LP candidates before him did run on open borders.

    Personally, I think we should make it a big issue. If I didn’t have a lot of personal reasons not to run for office, I’d be out there pushing it front and center.

    And pointing out that a candidate has one particular issue stance in common with unsavory elements such as nazis or communists is not the same thing as actually calling him a nazi/communist.

    There are enough Republicans saying that (and the “secret Muslim” crap) about Obama as it is.

    I doubt anyone is seriously saying that everyone who disagrees with us on migration rights, which includes, unfortunately, a lot of Libertarians, is a nazi.

  7. Westmiller

    @Berkman
    “Actually, I cannot remember ever hearing a Libertarian Party candidate advocating Open Borders … I have heard two candidates for President … Ronald Reagan and Rep. Phil Crane, both running for the Republican nomination …”

    Another good reason to pursue liberty within the GOP (www.rlc.org), rather than “educational” third-parties.

  8. d.eris

    Red writes: “What is the point of linking to the Nazi story if not to tar Deal and Republicans by implication? He was just being “ironic?””

    The irony is saying Deal is in “good company,” on the assumption that being in the company of Nazis is the opposite of being in good company.

    The point doesn’t tar Deal and Republicans by implication, as the conclusion/equation inferred by Paulding is false and does not logically follow, i.e. it is not implied. For example: if one says “Deal is against illegal immigration” and “Nazis are against illegal immigration,” it does not follow that Deal is a Nazi. Just as in my example above it does not follow that the sophist’s mother is a dog.

    The assertion that Deal is a Nazi was falsely inferred by Paulding from the FB statement by the Libertarian and then attributed to the latter as if he had equated the two, when in fact he had implicitly set up two propositions (Deal is against x and Nazis are against x), from which the Republican drew a false conclusion in order to score a cheap political point. Obviously, the Libertarian was also making a cheap political point, but at least his was true, pointing out that Deal and the Nazis are on the same side of the issue.

  9. paulie

    Also, I saw a lot of the Republicans on that thread went on and on about Monds, who was not the guy who said anything about Nazis.

    He is, however, the guy who got over a million votes for PSC, as well as the first black man of any party to be on the ballot for governor of Georgia (a state with a large percentage of black residents).

    Those two facts mean that he has above-average potential for a Libertarian candidate, and that coupled with a close race (or so I inferred from the comments) between the D and R – oids must be the real reason that these Republicans are working themselves into a lather over an offhand facebook comment by someone who is not the candidate.

    The funny thing is, Monds may well draw more votes that would otherwise lean Democratic than Republican.

  10. Gene Berkman

    Paulie @ 7 – I would not be surprised at Harry Browne holding an open borders position, but I never heard it during either campaign. Jacob Hornberger who ran against him did (and does) talk (and write) about open borders, but he did not get the nomination.

    And yes, the last amnesty occurred when Congress passed an immigration reform bill during Ronald Reagan’s Presidency.

    Bill @ 8 – I mentioned Ronald Reagan and Phil Crane to contrast them with the insane pronouncements on immigration we hear from Republicans these days. Even Ron Paul is taking a questionable position on borders.

  11. RedPhillips Post author

    d.eris, I think you are being too clever for your own good. I think Paulding Pundit was exploiting the situation with his reaction, but Bittner obviously intended more than irony. It was IMO a sleazy drive-by innuendo.

    “Actually, I cannot remember ever hearing a Libertarian Party candidate advocating Open Borders. Libertarian intellectuals, yes, but not candidates.”

    Agreed. Because it is a toxic position to take if you have to actually face voters.

    “I have heard two candidates for President advocate Open Borders with Canada & Mexico – Ronald Reagan and Rep. Phil Crane, both running for the Republican nomination in 1980.”

    The “pro-immigration” position used to be pretty much the “mainstream conservative” position at one time based on economic reductionist grounds. Think about how Pat Buchanan was once viewed as an outlier on the issue by mainstream movement cons.

  12. d.eris

    “It was IMO a sleazy drive-by innuendo.”

    Well, that is almost the very definition of everyday politics under the conditions of Democratic-Republican government. And what else is Facebook for? I mean, it’s not like he said the guy was “palling around with terrorists.” 😉

  13. RedPhillips Post author

    When the paleolibertarians started to emerge as a separate faction, one issue where they disareed with “regular” libertarians was on borders. Hoppe provided a libertarian basis for opposing open borders as well as the standard “you can’t have open borders and a welfare state” argument. In recent times the paleolibertarians have actually started to drift away from their immigration stance. See link below.

    http://vdare.com/misc/080514_pendleton.htm

  14. paulie

    Agreed. Because it is a toxic position to take if you have to actually face voters.

    Au contraire. It could make for a fairly large (by LP standards) and committed niche market. The problem is that most LP activists come from the right, have holdover conservative attitudes, and market the party/movement primarily to others from/on the right – thus failing to relate to our largest and most available potential audiences, including immigrants and migration rights supporters.

    Well, that is almost the very definition of everyday politics under the conditions of Democratic-Republican government. And what else is Facebook for?

    Finding your soulmate, deep intellectual discourse, mafia wars and farmville?

  15. paulie

    In recent times the paleolibertarians have actually started to drift away from their immigration stance.

    Excellent news! Thanks. Very, very glad to hear it.

  16. paulie

    The “pro-immigration” position used to be pretty much the “mainstream conservative” position at one time based on economic reductionist grounds. Think about how Pat Buchanan was once viewed as an outlier on the issue by mainstream movement cons.

    So, “paleolibertarians” have become more pro-freedom just as mainstream conservatives have become more anti-freedom. Got it.

    🙂

  17. paulie

    http://www.ontheissues.org/text/Harry_Browne.htm — links at original

    Harry Browne on Free Trade & Immigration
    Click here for 15 full quotes OR click here for 4 headlines on about Immigration OR click here for other candidates on Free Trade & Immigration.
    Tariffs cost Americans $70B a year. (Sep 9)
    Sweat shops abroad disappear as workers gain wealth. (Sep 9)
    Immigrants create demand rather than take jobs away. (Sep 9)
    Replace WTO & NAFTA with uniformly low tariffs. (Jan 27)
    Let in the huddled masses. (Jan 13)
    Open trade policy without NAFTA or WTO. (Jan 13)
    Russia: No aid; no meddling; just free trade. (May 1996)
    Replace all government aid with free trade. (May 1996)
    Maintain open borders; end war on immigration. (May 1996)
    Ease immigration laws; no Official English. (May 1996)
    No import tariffs, regardless of human rights. (May 1996)
    Cuba: Lift the trade embargo. (May 1996)
    Against NAFTA and WTO. (May 1996)
    Free trade guarantees peace better than military. (Jul 1995)
    “Trade aggression” meaningless, since both sides benefit. (Jul 1995)

  18. Gene Berkman

    Paulie @ 12 – yes, Ron Paul formerly took a more genuine free market position. I saw him speak at the 1981 Libertarian National Convention – he was in Congress as a Republican at the time – and he added freedom of movement for people as a corallary of free trade.

    While “Open Borders” is a hard position to defend to voters currently, it is certainly incumbent upon advocates of limited government to oppose the immigration hysteria being promoted and used to support attacks on freedom such as the Arizona law, or California’s Proposition 187.

  19. Gene Berkman

    Red @ 16 – Lew Rockwell has declared that the Paleolib/Paleocon coalition idea has clearly failed. Too many of the Paleocons fail to understand the free market, and have shown less appreciation for freedom than the Paleolibs had hoped.

    Pat Buchanan writing for antiwar.com is about all that is left of the attempted Paleoright coalition.

  20. JT

    Westmiller: “Another good reason to pursue liberty within the GOP (www.rlc.org), rather than “educational” third-parties.”

    If the RLC exists to “pursue liberty within the GOP” (i.e. reduce the size and scope of government), then it’s at least as ineffective as any so-called “educational” third party.

  21. Thomas L. Knapp

    “While ‘Open Borders’ is a hard position to defend to voters currently”

    Which voters are you talking about?

    The Republicans are anti-immigration-freedom.

    The Democrats are anti-immigration-freedom.

    Even the Greens seem to wobble between staying completely mum on the issue so as not to offend “labor progressives” who want their jobs “protected” from immigrant workers, and limiting their rhetoric to criticism of things like post-capture detention policies, enforcement against leaving water caches in the desert for immigrants to drink, etc.

    The last polls I noticed — it’s been a couple of years, had a clear majority in favor of more immigration restrictions, but a 40%+ minority in favor of relaxing immigration restrictions.

    If even 1/4 of that 40% takes an “open borders” position or something close to it, that’s 10% … or, to put a finer point on it, 20+ times as many voters as usually pull the lever for the LP’s presidential candidate and an order of magnitude more than vote for LP congressional candidates in 3-or-more-way races.

  22. Gene Berkman

    “While ‘Open Borders’ is a hard position to defend to voters currently” – having run for office, and having a retail bookshop where people share their opinions, I stand by that statement.

    If there are people outside Libertarian think tanks who support a position that they call “Open Borders” I have yet to hear one offer that position voluntarily. Whereas I get exposed to too many people with restrictionist views on a regular basis.

    Part of the problem is terminology. When people hear “open borders” they think “no borders.” My bookshop has doors, which are locked at night, but I operate an “open door” policy during business hours.

    Freedom of movement would actually diminish some of the problems the restrictionists worry about. Enhanced enforcement of border controls makes it easier for people who have come here to stay here, rather than come here for work and return home in the off season. But the hate rhetoric is loud enough that one rarely has a chance to make that point.

    “If even 1/4 of that 40% takes an “open borders” position or something close to it, that’s 10%…” Yes that is more than LP candidates normally get, but it is still a minority. And if people hold libertarian views on immigration, they might not agree with us on other issues, so it is not a guarantee we will get their votes.

    Most importanly, few voters (i.e. citizens) who support liberalizing immigration see a personal benefit in it, whereas many restrictions (wrongly I think) see a benefit to restricting immigration. It is easier to get people to vote for something as a benefit, than as an abstract principle.

  23. Gene Berkman

    Another point – even if we got 10% based on stressing “open borders” it is still a minority. In California, Republicans can get about 30% based on anti-immigrant appeals, and that is a minority too – California is an increasingly Democrat controlled state.

    But most who vote against Republicans because the GOP is seen as anti-immigrant, do not themselves support “open borders.” At best they oppose the increasing attacks on freedom the “conservatives” are pushing in the name of protecting the border.

  24. d.eris

    Given the almost hysterical over-reaction to Bittner’s comment, I became curious whether Nazi groups have supported Republican Nathan Deal in the past. A search of supremacist web forums reveals that vocal neo-Nazi support for Nathan Deal on the issue of immigration goes back to at least 2003. More recently, they have also applauded his efforts to obtain a copy of Obama’s birth certificate. See quotes and excerpts at the end of the post on this “controversy” at Poli-Tea.

  25. Gene Berkman

    I recommend that people read the Poli-Tea post that d.eris links to, and I would like to make a couple of points more as a historian than political activist.

    Extremists back mainstream candidates, and praise actions of mainstream politicians for several reasons.
    (a) on any issue, the direction of an action is important, even if it does not go far enough for the extremist. So a Communist will back a Democrat that favors nationalized health care, even if the Dem. does not want to nationalize steel factories. A Nazi will favor conservative candidates who are for restricting immigration, even if they don’t go as far as the Nazi will.

    (b) Extremists seek support from the same constituencies that back mainstream parties and mainstream candidates. The Communist Party does not just back Democrats – they attack other left wing third parties that might split the vote.

    In 1948, the CP backed the Progressive Party of Henry Wallace, and ran the party in fact. The result was not only that Wallace went down to defeat, but CP cadre who held leadership positions in CIO unions were purged for their role in the third party. Now the CP wants to protect their position in labor unions and in the black community – both very loyal to the Democratic Party.

    Nazis have no position to protect in this regard, so if they praise a Republican it is most likely because they agree with some position the Republican takes that is otherwise not popular.

    Most important though is that no mainstream candidate, and no third party candidate, can avoid having crazy people among their supporters, so keep that in mind when discussing political controversies.

  26. Thomas L. Knapp

    Gene,

    I’m trying to find the archived web site position papers from my 2008 congressional campaign. I THINK I used the term “open borders” to describe my position, but I may be wrong.

    Of course, that doesn’t mean I can call it a winning position. I got more votes than any third party candidate in a decade had polled in that district, but it was still a low single-digit percentage.

  27. Red Phillips

    “The problem is that most LP activists come from the right, have holdover conservative attitudes, and market the party/movement primarily to others from/on the right”

    I couldn’t agree more. But doesn’t the fact that most LP activists come from the right suggest that the right is the most fertile ground for new converts. Perhaps there is a reason fewer converts come from the left. You could always argue theoretically that it is because they are repulsed by all the rightists they find, but couldn’t it also be, perhaps, that they are not likely candidates to embrace libertarian values regarding social welfare programs, economic regulation, etc.?

  28. paulie

    But doesn’t the fact that most LP activists come from the right suggest that the right is the most fertile ground for new converts.

    No, it suggests that marketing to the left is not done nearly enough, and when it is done it is not done nearly well enough, while at the same time many libertarians frequently and publicly say things that are not intrinsic to libertarianism – or even not libertarian at all – to drive anyone on the left-libertarian border away.


    Perhaps there is a reason fewer converts come from the left.

    Yes, there is. And that reason is piss-poor marketing.

    But doesn’t the fact that most LP activists come from the right suggest that the right is the most fertile ground for new converts. Perhaps there is a reason fewer converts come from the left.

    Some are, yes, just as some conservatives are repulsed by our social and foreign policy views. But not all, in either group. I know many who don’t know or care much about economic issues, or even lean quasi-libertarian on them, but are turned off by bad signaling and end up on the left or in the apathy camp.

    The single most available age group is under 30, in fact 90% of Americans don’t switch parties after age 30. The single biggest cluster in that age group is left-center-libertarian. Ron Paul was able to reach these people, despite, not because of, his more conservative social views on some issues. There is no reason the LP or LMovement can’t reach them other than lack of trying.

  29. Jeremy Young

    I’d like to mention that Red Phillips is becoming a real asset to this site. He is the consummate professional — well-written and non-biased posts, with his own cogent opinions in the comments. I’m very glad he’s been brought on at IPR.

  30. Gene Berkman

    There are three main concepts that define the Libertarian movement – free market economics, support for personal & civil liberties, and opposition to interventionist foreign policy.

    In the past, and to this day, there are more free market conservatives who decide to support civil liberties and oppose war, than there are “progressives” who come over to a free market position.

    Progressives and modern “liberals” seem to be heavily invested in the welfare state. Whereas in conservative circles, there are discussions of the merits of legalizing drugs (National Review) or the importance of opposing war and the Patriot Act (The John Birch Society).

    That is why more people come into libertarianism from the right. We can hope that antiwar.com and similar initiatives expose more on the left to libertarian views.

  31. paulie

    @34, 26-27

    Not the case among the left-center-libertarian plurality I found among college students, coincidentally the most available to party change overall…economics tend to be the least important issues to them, and 90% of Americans don’t switch parties after age 30. Think about what that means. The single most available group of voters are on the libertarian borderline and we can’t win them over? Why not?

    And among older (0ver 25 or over 30) the most available group is immigrants, since they are least likely to be attached to a US political party yet.

    It’s true that few are across the board libertarians, although some are. But the same can be said of any libertarian position: legalizing drugs, ending coercive taxation, unabridged self defense rights, single issue supporters on any of these issues mostly disagree with some LP issues.
    Yet, they have all been used effectively, just as open borders can be.

    A couple of years ago I ran across a Denver newspaper reporting on a survey of Latinos that found many consider migration rights a primary issue, support liberalization of policy, and don’t think either Democrats or Republicans are pro-freedom enough on migration.

    It IS a personal issue to them, as they may have family and friends they want to bring over, workers they want to hire, tenants they want to rent to. Many are starting businesses and have other reasons to lean libertarian.

    Not a personal issue? Whole towns have been destroyed by ICE raids. There are families that are being kept apart due to immigration laws. I’s a very personal issue to a lot of people.

    And yes, most would not support complete open borders, just as most would not support complete legalization of all drugs, 0% taxes, individual ownership of heavy military equipment, etc. However, each positi0n does bring support from those who are more moderate, yet interested in moving in that direction.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *