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George Will: Goldwater Republicans Will Rally To Third-Party Candidate Against Donald Trump

Transcript from the Hugh Hewitt’s radio show, via the Daily Caller:

HH:  If [Donald Trump] is the nominee, how many Democrats cross over to vote for him and how many Republicans cross over to vote for her if she is indicted?

GW: There would large numbers going both ways. TI would be a very interesting migration. I think you would have more Democrats going to the Republicans than Republicans going the Democrats but you would also figure that there would be movement to have a third-party candidate because if the election is Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump, this will be the first election since God knows when, there was no real conservative candidate. And I don’t both of us who have started our political careers, and I cast my vote for Barry Goldwater. Who valued that classic, creative defeat of his because he took the Republican Party and said henceforth it will be a Conservative party. Those of us who feel that way are not about to sit idly and see the Republican Party which was saved by William Howard Taft to 1912 for conservatism that was reclaimed by Barry Goldwater for conservatism, we’re not going to let it disappear in 2016.

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Andy Craig

81 Comments

  1. George Phillies George Phillies January 20, 2016

    Of course, Will would also need someone for whom to vote.

  2. Shane Shane January 20, 2016

    “This will be the first election since God knows when, there was no real conservative candidate.” — Huh?

    Romney
    McCain
    Bush II
    Dole
    Bush I

    The last “conservative” candidate (and that’s arguable) was Reagan. He was the anomaly. All of the guys above were populist pretenders who sometimes pandered to a conservative base.

    Regardless, Trump can’t win the convention unless he walks in with 58%+ delegate support. RNC Super Delegates (7.8%) can vote any way they want on the first ballot — so that means brokered convention and even Jeb’s crap campaign could end up getting the nod.

    Will should know better as he’s familiar with ballot access and knows that it’s too late in the game for a GOP candidate to switch and it’s unlikely an independent could pull it off in time at this point.

  3. Richard Winger Richard Winger January 20, 2016

    It is not too late for a new presidential candidate to enter the general election. John Anderson didn’t enter until April 24, 1980, and he got on the ballot in all jurisdictions, and the laws are better now than they were in 1980. Ross Perot didn’t enter until mid-March 1992 and he got on the ballot in all jurisdictions. And if the new entry is the right kind of candidate, there are one-state qualified parties in 13 states that might nominate him or her, thus hugely easing the petition burden.

  4. Steven Wilson Steven Wilson January 20, 2016

    Will forgets to mention how Goldwater was treated during his run and afterward. The deeper question is: Does the American voter even want conservatism?

    I doubt you could get a consensus on what the term “conservatism” means.

  5. George Phillies George Phillies January 20, 2016

    It could b worse. You could try to get an agreement about libertarianism.

  6. George Phillies George Phillies January 20, 2016

    With no candidate and no money, the outcome is no race.

    There are signs that part of the Republican establishment has decide to switch over to Trump.

  7. Steve Scheetz Steve Scheetz January 21, 2016

    First of all, I disagree with George’s assessment, and pretty much because of exactly what George Phillies mentioned. Unfortunately, even IF there were a legitimate third party choice out there, the rank and file republican will vote to save the nation against Hillary, or whomever else the Dems trot out, because the Party will scare people into believing that the world will come to an end if the Dem is elected. (which it may, but no more so than if the Repub is elected)

    I am going to be speaking to the Lower Bucks chapter of the Philadelphia Tea Party Patriots, as a candidate for Congress here in Pennsylvania’s District 8. I intend to tell them much the same thing when I start asking them how well they have been represented in DC…

    Anyway, I am still working on that speech, but stay tuned, I am closing in!

    Sincerely,

    Steve Scheetz

  8. Darcy G Richardson Darcy G Richardson January 21, 2016

    Steve,

    I didn’t realize you are running in PA’s 8th congressional district. There’s some real LP history in that district. I was living in Montgomery County at the time and vividly remember the spirited campaign waged there by Don Ernsberger nearly three decades ago. He debated Democratic incumbent Peter Kostmayer and Republican Ed Howard several times during that campaign and received some pretty decent coverage. (A few months earlier, of course, Ernsberger had delivered the keynote address at the 1987 Libertarian national convention in Seattle. It was a really good speech.)

    In any case, my brother-in-law, who currently chairs the Quakertown Democratic Committee — he and my sister are supporting Shaughnessy Naughton in the Democratic primary, but they’re pretty independent-minded (I’ll put in a good word) — told me a month or two ago that there was a rumor floating around that retiring U.S. Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick’s brother might relocate from California and run for that seat. I was just wondering if that was still a possibility.

    Again, Steve, best of luck in your campaign!

  9. Robert Capozzi Robert Capozzi January 21, 2016

    ss: Unfortunately, even IF there were a legitimate third party choice out there, the rank and file republican will vote to save the nation against Hillary, or whomever else the Dems trot out, because the Party will scare people into believing that the world will come to an end if the Dem is elected. (which it may, but no more so than if the Repub is elected)

    me: It’s a play used before, but I dunno, I suspect that there are more moderate or more (let’s call them “real”) conservatives who see Trump as pronouncedly dangerous. Recall that in 08 there were prominent Rs who supported Obama, as McCain was also dangerous, and then to boot picked Palin as his veep.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republican_and_conservative_support_for_Barack_Obama_in_2008

    Trump is erratic, megalomaniacal, AND clueless.

    A GJ could catch some fire with a Trump/Clinton choice. He stumbled badly out of the gates, but one can only hope….

  10. Shane Shane January 21, 2016

    And Repiblicans treated Reagan horribly when he first ran — like they treat Trump now.

    George, the establishment is in no way turning for Trump. But I can see how you came to that conclusion. Dole’s comments were out of spite toward Cruz and IA’s establishment is afraid of Cruz as he opposed RFS since he’s in the pocket of oil.

    The LP needs to get in this game and start biting at the heels for attention. Trump is the easy target and the media would ignore criticism from libertarians but Cruz, playing the anti-establishment card, would feel the heat if the original anti-establishment party jumped on him and pointed out flaws.

    For one, you can’t claim to be a constitutional conservative and brush off concerns that you may not be a natural born citizen. Its intellectually dishonest.

    Then there’s the Wall Street ties. Cruz is probably the first candidate to overtly be literally bought and paid for by Goldman Sachs and investment bankers.

    If people don’t think that corporate America cannot influence legislation and rules that much and that corporations and industry is all good, just look at what happened in Texas on Monday with Fantasy Sports. That was bought and paid for by Adelson. Look at the proposed rule to go to E-15 as the next fuel standard — introduced by Corn and killed by Oil.

    Point is that Cruz could be the next president that’s bought which is frightening. We’ll be in another Oil War within the first year just to break up OPEC.

  11. Robert Capozzi Robert Capozzi January 21, 2016

    s: The LP needs to get in this game and start biting at the heels for attention.

    me: That would be wise. But a substantial portion of the LP is not interested in the “game.” They play a different game…a deontologically derived unitary “principle.” There’s basically no interest in outreach to lessarchist voters but rather inreach to convert “leaky” Pledge signers to the One True Way.

    Some believe the LP needs to be cleansed with a NOTA candidacy! That tells me there has been a resignation from the game before it starts.

  12. Shane Shane January 21, 2016

    Robert, yep.

    The LP debates on Sesame Street. R’s and D’s debate at the corner of Main and Wall.

    It’s hard to get traction when party leaders focus on an alternate universe and ignore everything around them.

    I know why they do, it’s because they think they cannot make an impact. Lack of belief in your own strength is the first step to failure.

  13. Stewart Flood Stewart Flood January 21, 2016

    I think that most of the heavy push for NOTA is from small “l” libertarians who are no longer active in the party, but sit on the sidelines. I’m certainly not in favor of NOTA, but up until a few weeks ago we really didn’t have any candidates worth choosing from.

    Yes, we need to get into the game. The primary system is how the DNC and RNC pay for their media attention though media buys by the candidates. I sometimes wish that we had primaries, even if they were just internally run by state parties and ratified by their delegates at their state conventions. It would at least give candidates and the party something to show to the media other than the tired response of “the decision is made at the convention in May”

    We need to start attacking Trump, Clinton and all the other candidates. Our candidates that can get media, which I believe currently includes only McAfee and Johnson, need to be on the air blasting the Ds and Rs.

  14. Andy Andy January 21, 2016

    Stewart, I am strongly in favor of the Libertarian Party running a candidate for President, but the field of declared nominees is so weak that I am sympathetic with NOTA. If the nomination vote were held today I’d probably cast a write in vote out of protest.

  15. Andy Andy January 21, 2016

    The Libertarian Party actually does have primaries in a few states. The problem is that they are ignored by the media, and most of the public does not even know that there is a Libertarian Party primary in these states.

  16. Andy Craig Andy Craig Post author | January 21, 2016

    It would be great if we could at least get a NH one again. Beyond that, I don’t think there’s a whole lot of hope for getting presidential primaries in enough states to have a truly national primary, and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t want us to do that anyway. Unless we run a breakout-level presidential ticket that gets 10%+, and then four years later we might see something like the smattering of coverage that the Reform 2000 primaries got.

  17. Robert capozzi Robert capozzi January 21, 2016

    S, that COULD be A reason for some of the plumbliners. Others seem deeply emotionally invested in being “pure,” and right in a world full of wrong, white and disengaged in the blackness they perceive in the unwashed multitudes.

    Others simple seem to recoil from the responsibility of being a change agent in the mix. They fear failure, so they cocoon in the cozy construct made for them by Murray, Ayn, and Rod.

  18. Andy Craig Andy Craig Post author | January 21, 2016

    Rod?

  19. Mark Axinn Mark Axinn January 21, 2016

    >Cruz is probably the first candidate to overtly be literally bought and paid for by Goldman Sachs and investment bankers.

    Haha.

    You forgot Bill Clinton and his business partner Hillary Rodham Clinton whom I believe is also running for office at present.

  20. Richard Winger Richard Winger January 21, 2016

    Presidential candidates who ran outside the Democratic and Republican Parties have never needed or depended on being in presidential primaries to get attention, with the exception of John Anderson, who of course was running inside Republican presidential primaries. Ross Perot in 1992 didn’t have anything to do with presidential primaries, but that didn’t stop him from being decisively in the lead in early June 1992. According to polls that month, if the election had been held then, he would have carried two-thirds of the states and won the election.

    In 1996 the Reform Party had its own mail ballot presidential primary, paid for by the party. Everyone who was a registered member of the Reform Party, and everyone who had signed a ballot access petition, automatically got a mail ballot. Anyone else could request a ballot. Ross Perot and former Colorado Governor Richard Lamm were the only names on that ballot. Perot beat Lamm 32,145 to 17,121.

  21. George Phillies George Phillies January 21, 2016

    In order to rally to third party candidate, there has to be one. Will these people rally to one of the three real third parties. That is possible. However, they need a candidate, a whole pile of cash, and some sign of organization. Perhaps someone is actually doing this, up to the “how much will it cost?” stage.

    I am seeing more than adequate numbers of reports indicating that there is some establishment coalition around Trump and against Cruz.

  22. Robert capozzi Robert capozzi January 21, 2016

    AC, Roderick Long.

  23. Andy Craig Andy Craig January 21, 2016

    I see. I’ve heard the name before, and probably read some of his articles, but it isn’t a name I’ve noticed any particularly dedicated movement following him, personally, like Rothbard and Rand had. Rothbardians and Randians/”Objectivist” I’ve heard of, I’ve yet to meet a… Longian? Longite? Not saying they don’t exist, or that he hasn’t had what looks at a glance like a pretty impressive career, but if they’re a mass presence in the party or movement I missed that somehow.

  24. Robert Capozzi Robert Capozzi January 21, 2016

    Paulie’s a Long fan, as are many left-anarcho-Ls.

  25. Robert Capozzi Robert Capozzi January 21, 2016

    more….

    My sense was that his following is made up of anarcho-Ls who want to keep their distance from the haterish vibe coming from Rothbard and the LvMI crowd, even though Long has some association with LvMI. I don’t fully get the nuance, to be sure.

  26. Green_W/O/A Green_W/O/A January 21, 2016

    Despite Roderick Long’s background in objectivism and right-Libertarianism, his current views fit in better with the Green Party than the Libertarian Party. Obviously the guy could never be a politician because of his weight, but if he were to run for office as a Libertarian, he would be crucified for advocating sophisticated ethical views, for being an IWW member, for opposing the state’s monopoly on property titles, for advocating “equality of authority” (gasp, doesn’t he know that egalitarianism is a crime against nature?)and other offenses against right-Libertarian orthodoxy.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=su5TiSLfd3Q

  27. Matt Cholko Matt Cholko January 21, 2016

    WTF is a Goldwater Republican anyway? Isn’t it 2016?

  28. NewFederalist NewFederalist January 21, 2016

    Wang Tang-Fu is a Goldwater Republican? I didn’t know that!

  29. Stewart Flood Stewart Flood January 21, 2016

    The term Goldwater Republican is still used within GOP circles. In some areas of the country, like South Carolina, it is used to call someone a Libertarian who is still active in the Republican Party without using the “L” word.

    I don’t know if it means that everywhere, but it does here. I’ve heard it in discussions with leaders in the GOP. I’m in the same local parliamentary study group along with Republicans and Democrats. Believe it or not, when you get a bunch of Ds, Rs, Ls, (and even a G!) in the same room talking about RONR we all get along! We just rarely discuss actual politics. 🙂

  30. langa langa January 21, 2016

    Unfortunately, some people in the LP hold the false belief that it is possible to achieve liberty through the ballot box, without first creating a paradigmatic shift in the views of the public. According to this theory, which is usually espoused by the same people who constantly decry “libertarian purity”, all we have to do is find a candidate who is reasonably charismatic and free from any major closet-dwelling skeletons, and then have said candidate shy away from making any “controversial” statements (e.g. heroin should be legal, the income tax amounts to theft, people should have the right to buy and carry assault weapons, etc.) during his campaign. By doing this, we can trick the public into voting for our candidate, and then, once he’s in office, he can show his true colors, and ram peace and freedom down the public’s collective throat, whether they like it or not.

    Of course, this rests on an obvious misunderstanding about the nature of social/political change. In order for it to be effective, you have to change people’s minds first, and then their votes will naturally follow. Doing it the other way around will never work. I think that, deep down, most of these people understand that, but they also understand that changing public opinion is a slow and tedious process, and they are simply too impatient for that. So, they desperately cling to the hope that if the LP could just win a major election (especially a Presidential election), we could pull off some kind of coup d’etat.

    A far better approach would be to focus on finding a candidate who truly understands libertarian ideas, and has the ability to communicate those ideas clearly and persuasively. Of course, that won’t deliver the kind of instant results that some people desire. But it would allow us to take the first small, baby steps toward actually moving the world in a genuinely libertarian direction.

  31. langa langa January 21, 2016

    Rod Long (the perfect name for a male porn star) is a very smart guy, who has contributed quite a lot to libertarian theory over the years. Unfortunately, in recent years, he seems to have become increasingly consumed by the “thick libertarianism” delusion, to the point that he often seems to have lost sight of the whole point of being libertarian (opposing aggression). Nowadays, he seems more interested in making libertarianism palatable to hardcore “social justice warrior” types. A shame, really.

  32. Andy Andy January 21, 2016

    langa, how about libertarians move to the same geographic territory and become a majority somewhere? A libertarian majority population somewhere would result in more liberty for said territory.

    There are a lot of people who do not want a free society, and libertarians will never change the minds of a lot of these people.

  33. langa langa January 21, 2016

    Andy, in theory, that could certainly work, but in practice, I’m skeptical about it. Look at the FSP, which hasn’t made much progress so far.

  34. langa langa January 21, 2016

    Also, as far as changing people’s minds, sometimes, you just have to change some percentage, and the others will just go along with the crowd.

    For example, I know quite a few people that, 20 years ago, were strongly opposed to gay marriage and marijuana legalization. But now that these ideas have become more acceptable, and are starting to be considered “mainstream” views, these same people are a lot more willing to go along with them.

  35. Andy Andy January 21, 2016

    That is because The Free State Project participants are too spread out in New Hampshire, as in there are not enough of them in any city/town or county to where they can take over the local government.

    Free Staters in New Hampshire could have more success right now if enough of them would move to a city/town or county where they could become the majority and take over.

    Another problem is that they have no way to keep big government types out. Say 20,000 Free Staters did move to New Hampshire. There is nothing to stop 20,000 big government supporters from moving to Mew Hampshire and nullifying them.

    If you want to see a realistic way that a free society could be achieved in our lifetime, do a search on the site for my Libertarian Zone article.

  36. Andy Andy January 21, 2016

    Lots of people will never accept the full libertarian platform no matter what we do.

  37. George Phillies George Phillies January 21, 2016

    The FSP effort seems to have failed. The people who move to New Hampshire all become Republicans or Democrats, so the LPNH, which worked hard to lure them, derives no benefit from the Project. However, a state is based on the original analysis the smallest significant unit, so spreading out over the state is actually necessary and proper.

  38. Andy Andy January 22, 2016

    The FSP is an ongoing project, so it is too early to call it a failure.

    Like I said above, there are already more than enough Free Staters in New Hampshire where they could have already taken over a low population city/town and/or county by now.

    Being in a place where a majority of the people around you do not really want freedom is a sure way to not have freedom, which is the situation that all of us are in right now.

    Some of the Free Staters are non-voting anarchist who think the best strategy is to work outside the system. Other Free Staters think that engaging in electoral politics as Republicans or Democrats is the way to go.,

    There are other Free Staters that support he Libertarian Party, or at least the concept of the Libertarian Party, but due to a combination of LP mismanagement, relatively difficult ballot access laws, and Free Staters who do not engage in electoral politics, or who engage in electoral politics as Republicans or Democrats, the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire is in poor shape.

  39. Andy Andy January 22, 2016

    A good way for the government to destroy the Free State Project would be to use the Refugee Resettlement Act to use tax payer funding to bring a bunch of foreigners to New Hampshire, preferably ones who are religious extremists and/or hardcore socialists (the government could even screen them beforehand to find ones who are the biggest religious nutcases and/or Marxists they can find), and to then sign them up for every welfare program they can once arriving in New Hampshire (which is what they already do under the Refugee Resettlement Act). Fast track them to become American citizens, and then add them to the voter roles. Send in “community organizers” to make sure they go to the polls and vote, and preach to them that Free Staters are bad people who want to take away their welfare checks, and that they are “racist” gun nuts.

  40. Robert Capozzi Robert Capozzi January 22, 2016

    L: By doing this, we can trick the public into voting for our candidate, and then, once he’s in office, he can show his true colors, and ram peace and freedom down the public’s collective throat, whether they like it or not.

    me: Who is advocating this approach?

    Probably no one is my guess.

    I’d say that what MIGHT work would be lessarchist candidates running on lessarchist platforms (a wide range) running in jurisdictions where the dynamics were such that they stood a chance of election. They advocate for things that could actually happen in their terms, vs grandiose constructs. They get funded enough to show up.

    Lightning might strike and these sorts of candidates might get elected. There they use their best judgment to move policy toward lessarchism.

    This is in contrast with the LP, which is set up to preach the Gospel of the NAP.

  41. Thomas L. Knapp Thomas L. Knapp January 22, 2016

    Heh,

    Somehow I missed this thread and the included references to Roderick Long.

    Yes, I’d say the Longian faction in the LP is fairly small, but I’m a proud member:

  42. Robert Capozzi Robert Capozzi January 22, 2016

    L: For example, I know quite a few people that, 20 years ago, were strongly opposed to gay marriage and marijuana legalization. But now that these ideas have become more acceptable, and are starting to be considered “mainstream” views, these same people are a lot more willing to go along with them.

    me: Yes! This is what I call riding the lessarchist asymptote!

    Plumbliners hope that people will move gradually if Ls hold high the banner of crypto-anarchism. Negotiate with the middle from the fringes, is the approach.

    Same-gender marriage was mostly won by a single-issue constituency and the Supreme Court. Marijuana legalization is being won in fits and starts by a single-issue constituency. There’s no evidence that it’s being won by application of
    https://mises.org/library/rothbard%E2%80%99s-confidential-memorandum-volker-fund-what-be-done%E2%80%9D

  43. Green_W/O/A Green_W/O/A January 22, 2016

    “Yes, I’d say the Longian faction in the LP is fairly small, but I’m a proud member:”

    Serious question, if you’re a Long fan and your ideology is in the C4SS mold, then why be active in the LP? Isn’t the typical LP member actually deeply hostile to your ultimate objectives, while the typical GP member is in sympathy with them? Don’t you ever worry that Students For Liberty Conferences and Libertarian Party propaganda actually indoctrinates youth and sheeple in the very same values that the status quo (global neo-liberal hegemony and the accompanying breakdown of popular control over economics and society) thrives on?

  44. Green_W/O/A Green_W/O/A January 22, 2016

    And yes, no doubt there are aspects of Green Party ideology that also uphold and reinforce the status quo. So I guess my question is given the overwhelming preference for vulgar libertarianism and (deontologicaly justified) propriatarianism in the LP (ideological aspects that help protect and defend the neo-liberal status quo), then why is the LP preferable to the GP for the left-libertarian, geo-libertarian, or other kind of libertarian that strives for justice in social and economic relationships, and who opposes imperialism and war as well as the economic relationships that drive it?

  45. Thomas L. Knapp Thomas L. Knapp January 22, 2016

    “Isn’t the typical LP member actually deeply hostile to your ultimate objectives, while the typical GP member is in sympathy with them?”

    In my experience, neither of those is, for the most part, true. I have friends in the Green Party. I’ve attended Green Party events. I sometimes see issues of alignment and have worked to bring the two parties together when possible (for example, when I managed my wife’s US Senate campaign in 2002, we did events with the Green candidate at our expense, including buying time for a radio debate and holding a campus-oriented party after the C-SPAN debate).

    But ultimately whenever I engage with the Greens, they seem to default to, and stick to, state solutions to everything. So even where I agree with them on a goal, it seems to me that they’re busting their asses to not achieve that goal.

  46. langa langa January 22, 2016

    Same-gender marriage was mostly won by a single-issue constituency and the Supreme Court. Marijuana legalization is being won in fits and starts by a single-issue constituency.

    As is often the case, you completely miss the point. I was merely using these issues as examples of how public opinion changes, not as examples of how libertarians have changed public opinion. In fact, I have explained on several other threads here in the past that I don’t view either of these issues as being examples of “victories” for the libertarian movement. This is true for two reasons. First, the changes in these areas have not been in an unambiguous, significantly libertarian direction. Rather, they have been more like marginal improvements over the status quo (and in some cases, little more than rearranging deck chairs). Second, even to the extent that policy has moved in a libertarian direction on these issues, libertarian arguments have had little, if anything, to do with such movement. If the public had really been persuaded by libertarian arguments about drugs, then there would be more support for legalizing “harder” drugs, like cocaine. Similarly, if the public had really been persuaded by libertarian arguments about marriage, then there would be more support for legalizing polygamous marriages.

    I could have just as easily chosen other examples to make my point. For example, 20 years ago, many people were vehemently opposed to public smoking bans or government-run health care. But as these things have become more mainstream, many of these people have decided to go along with the crowd and accept them. The key to getting radical ideas to gain “mainstream” acceptance is to get a small number of influential people (especially those in education and/or the media) on your side. These people then convince others, and eventually, you have enough people on your side that it is no longer seen as a “radical” idea. Then, many people will go along with the crowd. But none of that can happen unless you can first get those influential people to become passionate advocates of your position. And you can’t do that with milquetoast rhetoric that’s designed primarily to avoid offending anyone.

  47. George Phillies George Phillies January 22, 2016

    However, at this point there is no third party candidate to whom establishment Republicans are likely to rally. Indeed, there is no such third party.

  48. Robert Capozzi Robert Capozzi January 22, 2016

    L: The key to getting radical ideas to gain “mainstream” acceptance is to get a small number of influential people (especially those in education and/or the media) on your side. These people then convince others, and eventually, you have enough people on your side that it is no longer seen as a “radical” idea.

    me: Actually, even more key is for the idea to be a good one. We’d have to map how these radical ideas you cite grew from non-mainstream to moderate acceptance. It’s possible that each one took a somewhat different path, one that IIRC Hayek suggested.

    Still, these are all single issues, not major ideological shifts. My observation is that the LM is built up on the notion that promoting the NAP long and hard will eventually gain favor among the intellectual class, and then the rest of us.

    As I’ve made clear, the NAP is not a good idea, except as a sentiment.And I’ve seen no indication that the intellectual class is buying it.

    It’s time, I submit, for a recalibration and a reset.

  49. langa langa January 22, 2016

    I’ve seen no indication that the intellectual class is buying [the NAP].

    These things take time. That was the whole point of my original comment.

    Look at feminism, or socialism. It took these movements roughly a century to get their ideas accepted by a substantial portion of the intellectual class. By contrast, the modern libertarian movement has only been around for barely half a century. It could easily take another half a century (or more) before libertarian ideas really begin to gain traction.

  50. Andy Craig Andy Craig Post author | January 22, 2016

    While I don’t disagree with your point, I have to quibble that it took the socialists that long. The Communist Manifesto was published in 1848; the Paris Commune was just 23 years later, the Bolsheviks came to power just 69 years later. Socialists of various stripes were a large and substantial influence in European politics throughout the latter half of the 19th Century. By the time it got around to being a full century post-CM, Stalin and Mao between them ruled a third of the planet and social-democrats dominated Western politics.

    You could point to proto-socialist ideas and movements before Marx, of course, but you can do the same with libertarianism pre-WWII. But then I guess that depends when you really date the modern libertarian movement to: the founding of FEE and Hayek’s Road to Serfdom is often cited for an immediately post-WWII dating, but there are arguments for later dates. Atlas Shrugged wasn’t published until 1958, the famous split in YAF until 1969, and of course the LP in 1971, and many “foundational” libertarian works not published even into the early 1980s (Free to Choose, Ethics of Liberty). Which one of those you want to interpret as being most akin to Marx-1848 in this analogy, is up for interpretation. As is, for that matter, Rothbard’s contention that it’s an appropriate analogy to draw strategic lessons from.

  51. Gene Berkman Gene Berkman January 22, 2016

    Barry Goldwater, Jr served in Congress from 1969 to 1982, when he ran for Senate and lost the Republican primary. He actively supported Ron Paul’s campaign for President in 2008, and introduced Ron Paul before his speech at the Rally for the Republic.

    Currently, Barry Goldwater, Jr is on the Advisory of Our America Initiative
    https://www.ouramericainitiative.com/honorary-board-members.html

  52. langa langa January 22, 2016

    While I don’t disagree with your point, I have to quibble that it took the socialists that long. The Communist Manifesto was published in 1848; the Paris Commune was just 23 years later, the Bolsheviks came to power just 69 years later. Socialists of various stripes were a large and substantial influence in European politics throughout the latter half of the 19th Century. By the time it got around to being a full century post-CM, Stalin and Mao between them ruled a third of the planet and social-democrats dominated Western politics.

    Well, it took considerably less than a century in Europe (obviously so in Russia, and to a lesser extent the rest of the continent), but in America it took much longer. While the New Deal undoubtedly contained some aspects of socialist ideology, outright Marxism was still quite taboo, as the McCarthyism of the ’50s demonstrates. Indeed, it wasn’t really until the ’70s that Marxist ideas came to be widely accepted enough to be taught on college campuses.

    You could point to proto-socialist ideas and movements before Marx, of course, but you can do the same with libertarianism pre-WWII. But then I guess that depends when you really date the modern libertarian movement to: the founding of FEE and Hayek’s Road to Serfdom is often cited for an immediately post-WWII dating, but there are arguments for later dates. Atlas Shrugged wasn’t published until 1958, the famous split in YAF until 1969, and of course the LP in 1971, and many “foundational” libertarian works not published even into the early 1980s (Free to Choose, Ethics of Liberty). Which one of those you want to interpret as being most akin to Marx-1848 in this analogy, is up for interpretation. As is, for that matter, Rothbard’s contention that it’s an appropriate analogy to draw strategic lessons from.

    Fair point. Personally, I would say that Hayek and Co. represented more of a (temporary) revival of classical liberalism, based largely on economics and utilitarianism, whereas modern libertarianism, with it’s emphasis on deontological/moral arguments, can be traced to the ’60s, when the ideas of Rand and Rothbard began to gain popularity. In any case, my basic point was that changing society from the bottom up (which, in my opinion, is the only way that can work) is a long, tedious process, where seeds may be planted, only to take decades before bearing fruit. Trying to gauge success from one election to the next is an exercise in myopia, and ultimately, in futility.

  53. Robert Capozzi Robert Capozzi January 23, 2016

    L: In any case, my basic point was that changing society from the bottom up (which, in my opinion, is the only way that can work) is a long, tedious process, where seeds may be planted, only to take decades before bearing fruit. Trying to gauge success from one election to the next is an exercise in myopia, and ultimately, in futility.

    me: It’s certainly not a useful gauge to look at one election. But each and every election for decades starts to show a pattern: 1% throughout, with no perturbations. At some point, does someone step back and say, This NAPster/deontological approach is not working.

    Why isn’t it working? I’d say because it’s an unworkable idea. Socialism is a bad idea, but socialists were effective.

    Further, I thought the idea was to make change from the top (intellectual class) down. Once significant subsets of the population are primed to challenge the CotOS, then and only then will the cadre move to dismantle the State with all deliberate speed, or something. To me this implies that the LP as NAPster vessel is premature.

  54. Thomas L. Knapp Thomas L. Knapp January 23, 2016

    “But each and every election for decades starts to show a pattern: 1% throughout, with no perturbations. At some point, does someone step back and say, This NAPster/deontological approach is not working.”

    Well, yes, someone might, if someone was under the impression that a “NAPster/deontological approach” characterized each and every election for decades.

    But in order for that someone to think that, that someone would have to have a pretty long and well-established habit of consuming large quantities of crack.

  55. Robert Capozzi Robert Capozzi January 23, 2016

    tk, yes, when L candidates run, they don’t run on the NAP, except possibly — I’d say — Bergland and Hospers. The NAP constrains Ls from running engaged lessarchist campaigns. And the institution is in so many ways constrained, suppressed, and limited by the NAP foundation.

  56. Thomas L. Knapp Thomas L. Knapp January 23, 2016

    “The NAP constrains Ls from running engaged lessarchist campaigns. And the institution is in so many ways constrained, suppressed, and limited by the NAP foundation.”

    Feel free to provide actual examples of Libertarian candidates being prevented by the NAP from running engaged lessarchist campaigns, or of the NAP constraining, suppressing or limiting the institution.

  57. Robert Capozzi Robert Capozzi January 23, 2016

    tk, ah, were it only so simple. But it’s not.

    The LP has been positioned as a NAP vehicle from Day One. Over time, it has attracted True Believers and liberty lovers who perhaps did not fully grok the full implications of NAPsterism. Some non-True Believers hang in there as the LP is the closest platform to their beliefs. Most candidates who wish to express themselves know that they cannot get the nomination if they stray too far from the plumbline.

    Consciously or not, non-plumbliners tend to recognize that the LP is a broken down Model T that still runs, but it sputters and runs out of gas a short way down the road.

    Rank and filers who are not True Believers become frustrated by this dynamic, and they leave and either go back to the Rs (probably mostly) or just sit on the sidelines (like me). Some stay because they need a hobby and like to play Robert’s Rules games, as it reminds them of the intrigue of debating societies, and perhaps hope that some day the membership will see that the country is ready NOW for lessarchism.

  58. Thomas L. Knapp Thomas L. Knapp January 23, 2016

    “tk, ah, were it only so simple. But it’s not. ”

    OK, so you have a deep belief unsupported by any actual evidence? No problem. We all have our religious beliefs, and I suppose Capozzis for NAP Truth isn’t any further out than Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth. It takes all kinds.

  59. Robert Capozzi Robert Capozzi January 23, 2016

    tk, you are forgetting your Bastiat…the seen and the unseen and all that! Remember, the unseen can often be just as much a factor as the seen.

    But the experience of the post-Clark campaign would be an example. The Clark campaign began to stray from the plumbline toward a lessarchist approach, and MNR and others savaged “the Crane Machine” relentlessly for the next few years.

    Ls were being elected to the AK legislature and lessarchism was gaining traction. Plumbliners struck back hard in 82 and 83, derailing the lessarchist momentum.

  60. Thomas L. Knapp Thomas L. Knapp January 23, 2016

    Well, that would bring us back to the question of whether or not “lessarchism” is “libertarianism.” Your complaint seems to be as much that the “lessarchists” failed to completely derail the Libertarian Party from its chosen foundations as that NAPsolutists were the proximate cause of that partial failure.

  61. Robert Capozzi Robert Capozzi January 23, 2016

    tk, yes, the lessarchists failed to talk the plumbliners off the NAP ledge. I don’t think they really tried, and in some ways I don’t think they ever really consciously grokked that the NAP doesn’t and won’t work, barring some sort of cosmic shift in global consciousness.

    (Actually, I’m not sure whether the proto-lessarchists of the 80s really ever got that the NAP is sentiment at best. I think they thought they were focusing a plumbline-acceptable “transitions.”)

    Just as the NAPsters thought they could convert non-NAPsters over time by stealth, protracted psychops, and tautological double talk, the Crane Machine probably thought they could bring the NAPsters along with Koch money, better organizational skills, and political sanity.

    Very little has changed in 30 years. It’s a death-spiralling stalemate.

  62. Robert Capozzi Robert Capozzi January 23, 2016

    tk: the Libertarian Party from its chosen foundations

    me: …the eight people with founded the Libertarian Party from the foundation that these eight chose…

    Fixed.

  63. Robert Capozzi Robert Capozzi January 23, 2016

    …who founded…

  64. Thomas L. Knapp Thomas L. Knapp January 23, 2016

    Well, yes. It’s irrelevant how many people founded the Libertarian Party. They founded it on the principles they chose, and codified those principles in such a way as to make it very difficult to change those principles.

    Since I can think of an immediate example of another prominent organization — the United States of America — making its own bylaws even more difficult to amend, that doesn’t strike me as unusual.

    People who want an organization with different principles are entirely free to start their own organization with such principles as they think wise.

    It’s not like the Libertarian Party has a monopoly on either libertarianism or lessarchism. Its total putative membership is fairly low six figures, its financially supportive membership at any given time is fairly low five figures, and its active membership is fairly low four figures, out of a population pool of 300 million plus, double digit percentages of which score as “libertarian” or “lessarchist” in various surveys attempting to categorize them.

    I’m only aware of one case in which an attempt to start a more broad-based lessarchist party was brought to your attention, and you rejected that attempt in favor of continuing your decades of belly-aching about the LP not being the party you wish it was.

  65. Robert Capozzi Robert Capozzi January 23, 2016

    TK, I’d say it’s not relevant FOR YOU, but I certainly find it to be highly relevant that eight (some dead) people dictate hundreds of thousands of people’s politics. Extraordinary, in some ways, when you look at it!

    I didn’t join the BTP, as I found it too rigid. Didn’t like the name, either.

    I assure you, I’m not “belly aching,” I’m just sharing observations, just as I might for the Rs and Ds. (I think it’s not in their interest to nominate Trump or Clinton, for ex., as both are highly risky and very weak candidates. I especially find the idea of President Trump to be disturbing. They both IMO would be better off with Rubio and O’Malley.)

    I just like to yak about politics! Nominate NOTA, and I won’t vote. Nominate Perry, and I won’t vote. Given his start, I really have to think about whether voting for GJ is worth an hour of my time to me. I’ll decide as late as November.

    For me, this is like talking about the Super Bowl the day after. It’s set up to be inconsequential, and therefore it is not consequential. COULD it be? In my mind’s eye, yes, but the eight have so booby-trapped the institution, it seems all but impossible.

  66. Thomas L. Knapp Thomas L. Knapp January 23, 2016

    Bob,

    Although my preferences run to NOTA and Perry, I don’t think you have to worry about either of them being nominated.

    The prediction market I follow (PredictIt) doesn’t have a Libertarian presidential nomination market. I wish it did, as that would inform my own odds-setting. Right now I’d put the odds at 55% McAfee, 40% Johson, all others a combined 5%.

  67. Robert Capozzi Robert Capozzi January 23, 2016

    tk, I probably would not vote for John “Public Works” McAfee, but I do find him interesting and, in his own way, telegenic and articulate. Even if he sees the Light and puts his moreachist stances down the memory hole, I don’t see him as advancing the cause of lessarchism, but rather further marginalizing it.

    If the LP wants a comic nominee, perhaps Jimmy McMillan can be talked out of retirement.

  68. Thomas L. Knapp Thomas L. Knapp January 23, 2016

    “If the LP wants a comic nominee, perhaps Jimmy McMillan can be talked out of retirement.”

    Actually, I have been begging Doug Stanhope to reconsider for lo on 8 years now, and would instantly drop NOTA and support him if he indicated any willingness.

  69. Robert Capozzi Robert Capozzi January 23, 2016

    tk, good one!

    Is DS a 100% lockstep plumbliner, too?

  70. Thomas L. Knapp Thomas L. Knapp January 23, 2016

    Bob,

    If he”s a 100% lockstep plumbliner, then he’s the only one I’ve ever met.

  71. Robert Capozzi Robert Capozzi January 23, 2016

    Well, I met MNR, so if there was anyone to hold that honor, it’d be the manifesto’s author, yes?

    But I take your point. Is DS explicitly committed to the NAP? Or is he perhaps more of an emotional, leave me the fuck alone L vs a rigorous, deontological L?

  72. Thomas L. Knapp Thomas L. Knapp January 23, 2016

    Bob,

    I never met Rothbard. Nor have I read much of his work.

    I’ve never discussed the questions you ask with Stanhope. We’ve only had one real conversation, and it was pretty much liquor-centric.

  73. Robert Capozzi Robert Capozzi January 23, 2016

    tk, OK. So why are you so jazzed about DS as a candidate, then? While I see his appeal, shouldn’t he be vetted to ensure that he won’t wander too far off the plumbline reservation?

  74. Gene Berkman Gene Berkman January 23, 2016

    A couple points about Mr Capozzi objecting to the LP SoP:
    The Statement of Principles, the initial platform and the bylaws were adopted by 89 people at the founding convention in Denver, Colorado in June, 1972. It was not decided by 8 people.

    We debated the issue of requiring an extraordinary majority for changing the Statement of Principles. We also debated whether a state-wide organization should be allowed to join if it did not entirely agree with the Statement of Principles and Platform.

    If you are that troubled by the Statement of Principles, you don’t have to start a new party. Start a local non-partisan libertarian group if you find others that agree with you. In most places you could probably place your candidates on the ballot as Libertarians or Independents, and the LP of your state could probably not stop you.

    In fact, the LP organizations in various states often are more similar to what are called partisan “volunteer groups” in California than they are to legally recognized political parties. So go ahead and start your own group, and see if other people agree with you on this.

  75. Robert Capozzi Robert Capozzi January 23, 2016

    gb, I stand corrected. 8 founders, 89 first conventioneers…got it. Still an awfully small number of folk a long time ago.

    And thank you for your concern about what I might be “troubled” about. It’s funny to me, since I’m not per se “troubled” by insane language, I merely point out that insane language is unlikely to gain much broad support.

    By all means, continue to carry on challenging something that doesn’t exist, and offering crypto-anarchic flourishes to a population who might otherwise be mildly to deeply sympathetic to the lessarchist path.

  76. Robert Capozzi Robert Capozzi January 23, 2016

    more to gb….

    And thank you for your time-management counsel. I’ll take it under advisement.

    Since you offered, I’ll repeat that I will vote L — time permitting, assuming the candidate is not on the fringes, and engage in spirited, loving discussion here until it no longer interests me.

    I trust you don’t have a problem with that! 😉

  77. Thomas L. Knapp Thomas L. Knapp January 23, 2016

    Bob,

    Every candidate gets vetted, by everyone who’s interested in doing so, on every criterion. And then those interested people spread the word. Which is how it should be.

  78. langa langa January 23, 2016

    …I thought the idea was to make change from the top (intellectual class) down.

    Actually, when I said you have to use a “bottom up” approach, I was referring to an approach based on changing minds first, and changing policies later, as compared to the “top down” strategy that relies on tricking non-libertarians into voting for a stealth libertarian, who will then, after being elected, come out of the statist closet and use the power of his office to ram his true libertarian views down the country’s throat.

    And, to answer the question you posed earlier in this thread, yes, there are people who advocate this “Trojan horse” strategy. They usually don’t say so openly, although they sometimes do. For example, many small-l Rand supporters claimed during his Senate campaign (and a few still do) that he is really just as libertarian as his father, but he is just “telling people what they want to hear” to win the election.

    In the LP, supporters of such a strategy rarely make it so explicit, but they give themselves away every time they argue that LP candidates should shy away from talking about libertarian positions that might make them seem too “extreme” or “radical” or “fringy” or “extremist” or whatever code word they choose — their real fear being that the candidate will appear too libertarian, and therefore, will be unable to successfully trick non-libertarians into voting for them.

  79. Robert Capozzi Robert Capozzi January 24, 2016

    L: Actually, when I said you have to use a “bottom up” approach, I was referring to an approach based on changing minds first, and changing policies later, as compared to the “top down” strategy that relies on tricking non-libertarians into voting for a stealth libertarian, who will then, after being elected, come out of the statist closet and use the power of his office to ram his true libertarian views down the country’s throat.

    me: Thanks for the clarification. I come at this from another perspective. I do agree that for something to stick (in this case, maximizing liberty), minds need to be changed. OTOH, minds change when minds see what works and what does not.

    For ex., in theory, my mind could see the benefits of statelessness. OTOH, my mind also sees that statelessness might lead to catastrophic outcomes. So I don’t advocate statelessness tomorrow or even in 50 years.

    I suspect that most who are at least somewhat politically aware have grandiose ideas about what an ideal world looks like. This includes Rs and Ds. Those who run for office don’t advocate those ideals for they know they are not ripe and not sellable in this time or place.

    NAPsters limit themselves politically because they wear these ideals on their sleeves. Even if they don’t advocate these ideals when they run for office (say, privatize all roads), it’s still in their focus that roads can and should be privatized.

    Non-NAPster lessarchists can recognize that a number of things would have to happen for roads to be privatized. It falls way down the list of priorities when engaging in the Public Square. Some lessarchists would even be able to discuss the ways and means of maintaining roads and bridges.

    Admittedly, this is not as exciting as figuring out the timetable for withdrawal of US troops from all foreign nations, but if you can’t discuss important basics that facilitate day-to-day life, you are really not interested in politics but rather political philosophy.

    Nothing wrong with that, of course. Maintaining perspective and scope strikes me as important.

  80. Thomas L. Knapp Thomas L. Knapp January 24, 2016

    So in other words, “non-NAPster lessarchists” are cargo cult fantasists who get turned on by convincing themselves that they’re possessed of a “recognition” which will somehow magically get them a seat at the grownups’ table. Someday.

  81. Robert Capozzi Robert Capozzi January 24, 2016

    Well, TK, I’d certainly hope not!

    The idea would be for many voters to respect the lessarchist candidate. Maybe they would not agree with the lessarchist candidate’s entire agenda, but many would say, I like what s/he has to say and how s/he says it. I could imagine the lessarchist in office, and I think s/he’d do a good job.

    Whether third-party lessarchists are elected is tougher, certainly, but if they are a factor in elections, that could influence the majors to be less morearchist, which would be a relative win.

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