Laurence Vance: ‘Am I Being Unfair to the Republican Liberty Caucus?’

H/T Marc Montoni. Laurence Vance writes at LewRockwell.com about whether the Republican Liberty Caucus is ideologically libertarian (excerpt):

I was primarily attacking the worthless and evil GOP and only secondarily criticizing the RLC for the dishonest postcard. My first criticism was: “It says that the Republican Party ‘won big on libertarian themes’ in the recent election. That’s funny, I don’t remember any libertarian themes in the Republican ‘Pledge to America,’ just empty promises.” My second criticism was: “The RLC postcard also mentions ‘the liberty wing of the GOP.’ There is a liberty wing of the Republican Party, but it only has one member: Ron Paul. The RLC must be referring to the fake liberty wing of the GOP that rears its hypocritical head when a Republican is trying to get elected, reelected, or convince the gullible that he is less evil than a Democrat.”

So, did the Republican Party win big on “libertarian themes” in the last election?

First of all, the Republican Party victories in the last election were in a great measure because of voter discontent with the Democratic Party. Just like the Democratic Party victories in the previous election were in a great measure because of voter discontent with the Republican Party.

Second, if the Republican Party won on libertarian themes then I wonder which libertarian themes those were. It certainly wasn’t on the libertarian themes of end the war on drugs, no more foreign wars, stop stationing U.S. troops all over the world, abolish the welfare state (including Social Security), dismantle the national security apparatus (including repealing the PATRIOT ACT), end all foreign aid and farm subsidizes, and eliminate most federal departments and agencies.

Dr. Vance goes on to explain,

When I said that the liberty wing of the Republican Party had only one member, Ron Paul, I was referring to Republican officeholders and politicians – the very people I mentioned in the next sentence in my original post. I did not mean to imply that no one in the entire Republican Party was a libertarian except for Congressman Paul. The homepage of the national RLC says: “Welcome to the Republican Liberty Caucus, the small government, liberty-loving wing of the Republican Party.” This wing is actually much bigger than the RLC. In fact, on the grass-roots level, I’m sure there are many people still in the Republican Party who, although not members of the RLC, are liberty minded, libertarian leaning, or even hardcore libertarians. Party leaders and candidates may sometimes use libertarian rhetoric, but I suspect that anyone in the Republican Party with any libertarian inclinations whatsoever only votes Republican because he thinks he is voting for the lesser of two evils, not because he believes what comes out of the mouth of lying Republican politicians.

It was not my intention to be unfair to the RLC, and I don’t think that I was.

His conclusion:

The Republican Party is hopelessly corrupt, evil, statist, and pro-war, but I applaud every individual Republican who is not. And I applaud the work of the RLC when it is consistently libertarian.

23 thoughts on “Laurence Vance: ‘Am I Being Unfair to the Republican Liberty Caucus?’

  1. Maybe Not

    Just to be fair though, I don’t think Laurence Vance is suggesting that the Libertarian Party, other third parties or independent candidates are better. He’s more into non-electoral strategies.

  2. Kevin Knedler

    The GOP left me in the late 80’s. I walked away from that brand of clowns in the time of 1992 thru 2000.
    No different than writing off a brand of car. I moved on to a new brand I found, that fits my believes. I drive the LP brand now.
    KJK

  3. d.eris

    “The Republican Party is hopelessly corrupt, evil, statist, and pro-war, but I applaud every individual Republican who is not.”

    This conclusion makes zero sense. Why would you applaud someone who is not hopelessly corrupt, evil, statist and pro-war for supporting an organization that is hopelessly corrupt, evil, statist and pro-war? Beyond that, in what sense might an individual be considered the opposite of corrupt, evil, statist, militarist, when they support an organization that is corrupt, evil, statist and militarist?

  4. Down and Out in Dixie

    d. eris

    Corollary: The US government is hopelessly corrupt, evil, statist and pro-war, but I applaud every American who is not. And I applaud American political parties and independent candidates, as well as individuals within the American government, at those times when they are consistently libertarian.

    Would such a statement conceivably make any sense to you?

  5. d.eris

    I don’t think the analogy holds between the US government and a political party, on the one hand, and between US citizens and members of a political party, on the other. American citizens are not members of the government, but party members are members of the party by definition. If you think that the US government is “hopelessly corrupt, evil, statist and pro-war,” it would stand to reason that it is so because of the Republican and Democratic parties. And since membership in and support for those parties is wholly a matter of individual choice, if an individual supports those parties s/he supports a “hopelessly corrupt, evil, statist and pro-war” political system and ruling class, whether that individual is hopelessly corrupt, evil, statist and pro-war or not, thus making him/her part of the problem.

    Indeed, such individuals might be an even greater part of the problem than those who are consciously corrupt/evil/pro-war etc., since they recognize the problem but choose to facilitate the reproduction of the problem.

  6. FYI! [More Don Lake]

    Down and Out in Dixie / d. eris / Jan 27, 2011:

    “….. American political parties and independent candidates, as well as individuals within the American government, at those times when they are consistently libertarian. ”

    [Lake: leaving many, many (so called) Libertarians out of the circle …….]

  7. Aaron

    No surprise that Montoni is the one digging this up. He’s always looking for dirt on those of us actually making a difference in the political process.

  8. d.eris

    “He’s always looking for dirt on those of us actually making a difference in the political process.”

    You don’t have to look very hard to find dirt on people who only ever play in the mud.

  9. paulie Post author

    I would not really classify it as dirt.

    LewRockwell.com has a lot more readers than IPR, and given the subject matter IPR has a higher skew towards those that have rejected the idea of working within the two biggest parties.

    Vance says the small government, liberty-loving wing of the Republican Party “is actually much bigger than the RLC”. He says “I applaud every individual Republican who is not [corrupt, evil, statist, and pro-war]. And I applaud the work of the RLC when it is consistently libertarian.”

    How would that be dirt?

  10. paulie Post author

    those of us actually making a difference in the political process

    This implies that

    1) You are actually making a difference in the political process.

    2) Other libertarians who are not in the Republican Party are not.

    Both of those premises are quite debatable, though not necessarily wrong.

  11. paulie Post author

    I don’t think the analogy holds between the US government and a political party, on the one hand, and between US citizens and members of a political party, on the other. American citizens are not members of the government, but party members are members of the party by definition.

    American citizens can vote with their feet and leave the US, just as Republicans can leave their party. Otherwise, they can work to change the US to be more like they want it to be, just as members of any political party can as well.

    If you think that the US government is “hopelessly corrupt, evil, statist and pro-war,” it would stand to reason that it is so because of the Republican and Democratic parties.

    One could also argue that it is because the wrong people are leading those parties, and that they can be reformed from within, thus leading to eventual change in the American form of government. I am not saying how likely this is, but it has happened before.

    For example:

    Prior to FDR’s administration, the Democratic Party was relatively more laissez faire on economic matters than the Republican Party. Progressives who worked within that party for decades leading up to that eventually caused some change in its positions.


    And since membership in and support for those parties is wholly a matter of individual choice, if an individual supports those parties s/he supports a “hopelessly corrupt, evil, statist and pro-war” political system and ruling class, whether that individual is hopelessly corrupt, evil, statist and pro-war or not, thus making him/her part of the problem.

    In the analogy above, you could conceivably say that about anyone who does not act to emigrate out of the US – especially if they are not trying to overthrow the government and/or are paying it taxes – is de facto supporting the US government as it presently exists and thus making themselves part of the problem. In fact, there are people who say just that.

    Indeed, such individuals might be an even greater part of the problem than those who are consciously corrupt/evil/pro-war etc., since they recognize the problem but choose to facilitate the reproduction of the problem.

    That is possible, and I am not ruling it out as a possibility.

    However, looking historically at models of change, the Progressive/Socialist movement of ~100 years ago had people working in independent and alternative parties and people working within the larger establishment parties and people working through educational means and other means outside of the electoral system.

    It would seem to me that a movement that would wish to be as successful as that movement was 100 years ago would pay attention to what has been proven to work.

    Of course, there may be other factors that make that model inapplicable now.

  12. Gene Berkman

    Many supporters of limited government vote Republican because of the big government record of the Democrats. And many limited government supporters are just not aware of The Libertarian Party , or there is little LP activity in their area.

    The problem with RLC and its predecessors is that there are not enough Republican officeholders who can be considered real libertarians, so the leaders of RLC fudge, and pretend some economic conservatives are better than they are.

    As we face the challenge of bipartisan big government, economic conservatives in the Republican Party are often useful allies. But calling them libertarians will confuse people new to libertarian activism.

    When you take away the limited government conservatives, libertarians in the Republican Party are a much smaller minority than RLC claims.

    It would be better for Libertarians to just organize as Libertarians – even outside the LP – than as libertarian Republicans. We can still run libertarian candidates as Republicans, because the political system in America is open to that type of participation.

  13. Marc Montoni

    No surprise that Montoni is the one digging this up.

    No surprise that Aaron would react thus. Instead of responding with an insult, why not reform the RLC to make it more palatable to me? All it would take is two things:

    1) Recruit *new* libertarians from within the Republican Party, rather than sip[honing them from the LP; and

    2) Adjust your criteria so that the Republicans you endorse actually vote a consistent libertarian line.

    For a long time, I followed some of the RLC’s endorsements and even donated to an endorsee or three. Then I started checking behind you by looking up individual voting recrods, and frankly I was appalled by some of them.

    He’s always looking for dirt on those of us actually making a difference in the political process.

    Actually, Aaron, I tend to forward notice of anything third-party related to IPR if I think it relevant to the site and if they haven’t already published something about it. And… “digging” it up? The article was sent to me in an email from LewRockwell.com.

    Besides, like Paulie said:

    This implies that … 1) You are actually making a difference in the political process… 2) Other libertarians who are not in the Republican Party are not.

    The tendency of the reform/republican crowd to fail to check their facts before spouting off is just plain annoying.

  14. Conservative Tea Party Patriot

    I am glad to see them supporting Joe Miller in Alaska who supports an East German style wall on the border.

    Also Jeff Flake and Brian Miller here in Arizona.
    Not that liberal bitch Gabrielle Giffords, who got what she deserved. As Sarah Palin said – liberal like that should be targeted, and I quote, “Don’t retreat – Reload!”

    I hope the RLC will be supporting Sarah Palin for President.

    Of course, Rand Paul, who is against civil rights laws, just like me. And his dad Ron Paul who published a most excellent newsletter that I used to read.

    Pete Sessions in Texas is also an excellent choice.

    There are many more great candidates on their list.

  15. FYI! [More Don Lake]

    View from Abroad
    Kenn Jacobine | 2011.01.28 at 23.40.25 | Categories: Uncategorized | URL: http://wp.me/p2CCv-lr

    U.S. Foreign Policy Produces Terrorism

    The President of the United States or any member of Congress has tremendous gall anytime they stand in front of an audience and proclaim that the United States is still the great beacon of the world when it comes to justice and human rights. It no longer is. Through its foreign policy, our government continually brushes aside those principles in the name of national security. We support through money, military aid, and international diplomacy what is supposed to be the very antithesis of our own governing system – undemocratic, ruthless, and corrupt autocrats all because they are with us and not against us in our war on terror. At the end of the day, we must ask ourselves, are we comfortable with violating our principles for what seems to be a fleeting safety? Can we rest easy knowing that our support of tyrants brings carnage and chaos to millions? Lastly, and most importantly, are we sure that our betrayal of American ideals abroad makes us safer or does it just, like many experts believe, provide a huge recruitment boost for terrorist organizations?

    For 23 years the U.S. government turned a blind eye to Tunisian dictator Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali. In Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh’s speech in Doha last week he mentioned a conversation he recently had with a friend in the joint special operations business. The friend was devastated that Ben Ali had been overthrown because, “he was such a good friend” of the United States.

  16. FYI! [More Don Lake]

    Fellow Vets for Freedom members,

    As I mentioned in a previous email, later this year I will deploy to Afghanistan.

    Therefore, tomorrow Wade Zirkle–our organization’s founder–will officially take over as interim executive director ………..

    Since announcing my deployment the response has been humbling. I deeply appreciate the offers of prayer and outpouring of support.

    My family thanks you from the bottom of our hearts ……….. While I will remain on the VFF board, this is my final VFF email.

    I will send personal email updates from Afghanistan in 2011-2012 and if you haven’t already, sign up to receive them at http://www.PeteHegseth.com.

    …………. continue to follow the missions in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as support veterans running for Congress. In fact, if you’re a veteran considering public life, I strongly suggest you visit veteranscampaign.org.

    Veterans Campaign is a non-partisan organization that helps veterans run for office, and their next workshop is on February 11-12 in Washington, DC. Wade will be a guest speaker and you still have time to sign up ……….. we continue the fight …….. today and tomorrow.

    Move out and draw fire, Pete Hegseth

    Post. Script. I recently appeared on FoxNews’ Fox & Friends and CNN’s Parker-Spitzer regarding my forthcoming deployment. Click above to watch.

  17. paulie Post author

    Part of the problem with running as a Republican is that in many places the Republican party can decline to include you in their primary, at their discretion.

  18. FYI! [More Don Lake]

    Looking for ‘GOP Disappoints’ thread, but at least this has to do with Republicans:

    …….. ANDREW TAYLOR, Associated Press 38 minutes ago

    WASHINGTON – Republicans now running the House are barely touching Congress’ generous own budget even as they take a cleaver to many domestic agencies.

    A new GOP proposal would reduce domestic agencies’ spending by 9 percent on average through September, when the current budget year ends.

    If that plan becomes law, it could lead to layoffs of tens of thousands of federal employees, big cuts to heating and housing subsidies for the poor, reduced grants to schools and law enforcement agencies, and a major hit to the Internal Revenue Service’s budget.

    Congress, on the other hand, would get nicked by only 2 percent, or $94 million.

    Recent hefty increases to the congressional budget — engineered by Democrats when they held power in the House from 2007-2010 — would remain largely in place ………….

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