Dan Behrman: We are Still in the Race!

2020 Libertarian presidential candidate Dan “Taxation is Theft” Behrman sent out the following release today providing some updates on his campaign.

COVID-19 has disrupted the race, but we are still fighting!

There are two very important announcements today.

First, Taxation Is Theft Fest 2020 is now being promoted on all of our social media platforms. We have over 40 speakers committed to this weekend-long virtual event, and YOU are invited to participate! Our roster will be posted this week, but for now, you can register for FREE at https://taxationistheftfest.com

Second, there is a very important poll coming up tomorrow night, and you’ll only have a short window to vote. Justin Amash is slowly entering the race, and his positions are very much anti-freedom. While some of his views align with libertarianism or freedom in general, his plan to implement them is always with the force of government. During his first interview since announcing his exploratory committee, he announced support for a UBI, which would destroy our economy even more than it already has been. But he is refusing to debate me or even respond to most of the other candidates he is running against. You can see my response in the video below.

Tomorrow night, the Kentucky LP will be holding a debate with myself and a few other libertarian candidates who have yet to be announced. During that debate, there will be an online poll. If we get just 300 votes in that poll, we will be able to debate Amash in the one debate that he has agreed to. But I need your commitment to help me win this poll.

The poll will only be open for a short window during the debate, and the link won’t be available until it’s up. My staff will be sending another email tomorrow night during the debate, as soon as it becomes available. Please be ready to vote for me, and to get all of your friends and family to do the same. We have been told that they will be deleting duplicate and fraudulent votes, so if your family wants to vote, make sure they disconnect from their wifi and use their cell phones, which will have their own unique IP addresses.

I have made many suggestions to the LP to have a more strategically implemented debate and nomination process that would gather the attention of the general public, but these ideas are often shot down by people who don’t understand advertising or marketing. The Democrats and Republicans have a firm grasp on these subjects, but unfortunately, they use them for evil. Please help me win, so that we can break the cycle and restore liberty to America, and the rest of the world.

In Liberty,

Dan Taxation Is Theft Behrman

54 thoughts on “Dan Behrman: We are Still in the Race!

  1. Anthony Dlugos

    That makes me more likely to support him, not less.

    Then again, a guy running for president wearing a hat like that was never gonna be on my short list anyway.

  2. dL

    Did Amash come out in favor of a UBI?

    Well, don’t call it Universal Basic income. I didn’t get a government check

  3. SocraticGadfly

    Many libertarians and even capital L ones support Basic Income of some sort. The devil’s in the details, that said.

  4. Anthony Dlugos

    agreed, SocraticGadfly. I am one of them.

    we need a lot more of them. A LOT more.

  5. William Saturn Post author

    Title can be interpreted in three ways:

    1. We are Still in the Race – We remain in the race (likely the intended interpretation)
    2. We are Still in the Race – We are motionless in the race (campaign press releases from Behrman certainly have slowed)
    3. We are Still in the Race – We are the Bill Still candidate in the race (he may have a similar amount of support as Still in 2012 but I doubt he’ll become a Trump supporter after the election)

  6. Tony From Long Island

    Maybe he and Vermin can have a contest to see who makes the party look less serious.

  7. Bondurant

    UBI will never work. Progressives would never agree to suspend other entitlement programs. They’ll support it to create another entitlement, sure.

  8. Anthony Dlugos

    Bondurant,

    Would a UBI ever get instituted in its “perfected” form (i.e., as a complete replacement for the entire welter of entitlement programs, perhaps the form that could come closest to acceptance by Libertarians)?

    Probably not.

    But in electoral politics and policymaking, lets not let the perfect be the enemy of the good…a now-classic Libertarian mistake, one that is reinforced the more time one spends around other Libertarians (or, it could be the case that the LP’s dogmatic messaging just attracts those predisposed to preferring the perfect over the good.)

    I can only speak for myself here: I’ve had much more success in getting the gestalt of Libertarian thinking across to non-Libertarians by explaining why a UBI would be better than the current welfare system than I ever did by saying that welfare is categorically unacceptable and a violation of the NAP.

  9. Anthony Dlugos

    I finally watched as much as this dopey video as I could take.

    Amash wasn’t even arguing for a permanent UBI. Obviously, the question was about the CARES Act, and how Rep. Amash would have designed it better.

    Apparently, even temporary payments are redefined as a UBI by this dope.

    Hat Boy gives an excellent lesson in how you appeal to no one outside of a tiny sliver of the Libertarian Party…in less than 30 seconds. Wonderful job.

  10. paulie

    Maybe you can explain it to me. How would UBI be a good thing, especially with other entitlements not actually done away with?

  11. Anthony Dlugos

    Well, speaking very roughly…what if its 10% of a UBI combined with eliminating 10% of the current welfare state?

    At least that’s how I think about it as a self-avowed moderate Libertarian.

    In any case, is eliminating other entitlements off the table?

    I’m not sure it is.

    As I mentioned recently, I spent some time recently hanging with Democrats. I’ve learned that they are not necessarily wedded to the current entitlement system.

    They ARE wedded to providing a safety net of some kind. I am too.

    I just want it as simple and unobtrusive as possible. A UBI…in theory…does that.

    Its nice when I can dialogue with Democrats and come off as Libertarian AND more generous than they are when it comes to helping the less fortunate.

    As aside, the first point I would have made if I were Amash in the above interview would have been to reject the idea posed by the interviewer that Libertarians are for smaller, limited government.

    I would said that’s a republican talking point that I reject. A larger population and a larger economy is gonna mean a larger government. I’d have said I’m for LESS INTRUSIVE, limited government.

  12. paulie

    I’m for a safety net. And for leveling the playing field. Government usurping those roles is counterproductive to those stated aims. It took me a lot of reading and debate to arrive at those conclusions, and I will grant that I am not good at making the argument in short form. Someone would have to be willing to look at the case in a lot of detail as I was, and most people are not.

    As for the fact that a new program is easier to pass than for existing programs to be done away with, that’s a fact with plenty of historical evidence. People may be open to a tradeoff in theory, but that’s just not how the legislative process grinds its gears.

    The problems with a UBI – 1) As more people see more and more people get “something for nothing” while they work and pay for it, more and more people give us and join the ranks of those living off UBI 2) As most people get used to getting money from the government every month “for free” the appetite for decreasing the state becomes much less. It’s already a problem with “tax refunds” and that’s just getting people’s own money back after letting government collect interest on it for a year; imagine how much worse that will be with UBI.

    You would be better at coming to fully understand how a completely voluntary system can be much more compassionate, just and equitable. And, if you can become better at it than me in conveying that to others in more simplified ways, that would be a big bonus.

  13. Anthony Dlugos

    Well, I assume that your support for a safety net means support for a COMPLETELY and EXPLICITLY private, voluntary safety net, no government involvement whatsoever?

    If that’s the case, then I wouldn’t beat yourself up over your admission that you’re “not good at making the argument in short form.” because in the context of electoral politics and policy making, its not possible to succeed making such an argument. Way too far outside the frame of reference of 99.9% of voters. On other hand, your admission makes you an honorable Radical, because many others refuse to make any concession to how difficult such an argument is.

    Now as far as your practical arguments go,

    1) this strikes me as a remarkably conservative argument (especially coming from you), and one I no longer buy. People want to work. They want fulfilling lives, and that includes a vocation. They will choose such a life if they can. Pair the UBI with a deregulated economy, and the subset of people who choose to live off their UBI playing video games and smoking weed will be vanishingly small for an economy the size of ours.

    2) again, I can make an argument for a government that gets bigger (spends more) but INTRUDES less into individual lives. I’ve dispensed with the Utopian notion of eliminating the state as a goal. I’m not even sure anymore that would even be desirable, and its definitely not a NECESSARY position in order to call yourself a libertarian.

    Now, I would suggest to you that you would be better off coming to fully understand that anyone or any organization which chooses to enter the field of electoral politics and policy making must incorporate a component of action for the state because that’s what the public wants. I guarantee you the difficulties you have in making your arguments will disappear.

    You have a choice: you can stay outside the arena of electoral politics and make an argument for a completely private social safety net…or you can enter the field of electoral politics and then argue what a libertarian state-provided social safety net would look like. Either choice is valid.

  14. dL

    Now as far as your practical arguments go

    Where’s my check? I didn’t get one. Stop calling something where only 1/2 the adult population gets a check a UBI. Speaking in the most practical terms, that is, speaking in terms of what just transpired, what just transpired is exactly what any idiot could have predicted. Not everyone gets a check. Explicit exceptions are carved out on who cannot receive a check. Most of the stimulus money went to politically connected or bank connected corporations. So, no, that is not what the public wants. So, thus begins another round to do it again. I.e, politics. And politics is a zero sum game. There are winners and losers. UBI is not a zero sum game where interests are fighting over the spoils.

  15. Anthony Dlugos

    Yes, Justin Amash was definitely NOT supporting a UBI in that interview. The question was clearly about the CARES Act, and Amash responded with how he would have designed the CARES Act. It was not about a UBI, that was Hat Boy Behrman’s deliberate misinterpretation.

  16. dL

    Its nice when I can dialogue with Democrats and come off as Libertarian AND more generous than they are when it comes to helping the less fortunate.

    That’s some sappy shit coming from someone who makes his living as a bill collector

  17. Anthony Dlugos

    haha. You keep saying that, and I don’t know why.

    Bill collector generally refers to consumer collections.

    I do accounts receivable work, that’s business to business.

    What’s the difference? The work is perfectly legal and necessary.

    What does any of this have to do with public policy anyway?

    Carry on!

  18. dL

    The question was clearly about the CARES Act, and Amash responded with how he would have designed the CARES Act. It was not about a UBI, that was Hat Boy Behrman’s deliberate misinterpretation.

    Holy Hat Boy Behrman No true Scotsman

  19. dL

    haha. You keep saying that, and I don’t know why.

    I don’t keep saying it. You volunteered you were in collections for some reason unbeknownst to anyone but you.

  20. Anthony Dlugos

    I don’t know if Amash is for or against a UBI. I know the question from the interview as NOT about a UBI

    It would be nice if Amash were for one.

    But if you or Hat Boy are opposed to Amash’s version of the CARES Act (all the money directly to the citizens) because its effectively a UBI, and that preferred solution is for the government to do nothing, then you marginalize yourself. Once again.

  21. Anthony Dlugos

    You DO keep saying it.

    Are you untethered from reality, dL?

    I brought up my occupation last year or the year before in relation to some point IIRC (maybe about being a business owner), and you are the only one who keeps bringing it up.

    Like just now.

    And for the life of me, I don’t know how it matters to the present discussion.

  22. paulie

    Well, I assume that your support for a safety net means support for a COMPLETELY and EXPLICITLY private, voluntary safety net, no government involvement whatsoever?

    Ultimately, yes. I would prefer a soft landing, devolving government from its current role in those areas slowly and carefully, and they’re not at the top of my hit list of government overreach. But I would move in that direction and my ultimate goal is to end coercive monopolies.

  23. Anthony Dlugos

    ok, but you do understand that, to the voters, there’s no softening the blow of what your ultimate goal is? “Ultimately” might as well be “immediately.” The order is irrelevant. And that’s an entirely reasonable assumption to make by any voter. after all, there’s no takebacks after an election, at least not until the next one.

    IMHO, you might as well just state the radical case with no qualifications at all, The message should be uncompromising: any government program, tax, regulation that can be eliminated should be eliminated, irrespective of order.

  24. paulie

    1) this strikes me as a remarkably conservative argument (especially coming from you), and one I no longer buy. People want to work. They want fulfilling lives, and that includes a vocation. They will choose such a life if they can. Pair the UBI with a deregulated economy, and the subset of people who choose to live off their UBI playing video games and smoking weed will be vanishingly small for an economy the size of ours.

    What people choose to do with their free time will be up to them, and for many it may involve some type of work and barter. It won’t be all video games and weed. But it’s a process that takes place over time. At first relatively few people will want to subsist entirely on UBI. Of course, with the mechanization of many former occupations, some people who are unwilling or unable to adjust to new occupations won’t have much choice. But, over time marginally more and more people will see no point in struggling and working if their jobs aren’t fulfilling and don’t earn them a much better standard of living than UBI. Others will despair at the ever heavier tax bite this will take on them and over time the scales will tip.

    2) again, I can make an argument for a government that gets bigger (spends more) but INTRUDES less into individual lives. I’ve dispensed with the Utopian notion of eliminating the state as a goal. I’m not even sure anymore that would even be desirable, and its definitely not a NECESSARY position in order to call yourself a libertarian.

    I don’t consider it utopian or undesirable, but I do consider it beside the point here. When most people get a reliable UBI and increasing numbers of people rely in whole or large part on it, there will be less and less motive for public pressure to make government even marginally smaller or less intrusive in any way, shape or form, and more pressure to demand more from it, both generally (bigger UBI payments) and specifically (various interest groups).

    I do consider it utopian to believe that a government which spends more will intrude less in people’s lives. Money always comes with strings attached, and you’ll never get “free money” without social control, loss of privacy, red tape, hamhanded enforcement, bureaucratic waste and mismanagement, ill conceived and ill executed plans, and all the other bad aspects of government. They are all inextricably intertwined, and always will be.

  25. dL

    But if you or Hat Boy are opposed to Amash’s version of the CARES Act (all the money directly to the citizens) because its effectively a UBI, and that preferred solution is for the government to do nothing, then you marginalize yourself. Once again.

    I can’t be opposed to something that doesn’t exist. There is no Amash version of the CARES Act. Amash declined to vote on the actual CARES act, which means his preferred solution on this matter was for the government to do nothing. Hence, according to you at least, his criticism of the CARES Act only managed to marginalize him.

  26. Anthony Dlugos

    relentlessly pedantic, as is usual for you. and as usual, your pedantry leads you to error.

    I know there is no official Amash version of the CARES Act. But at ;27 in the video, he says,

    “I’ve said repeatedly that what people should have is direct pay from the government.”

    And he has repeatedly said that.

    That’s his preferred solution.

    That’s not nothing.

    Nothing would be Amash saying, “the government has no role here.”

    Hat Boy’s response, was in fact, that Amash was not supporting doing NOTHING. In fact, he argued that it was tacit approval of a UBI, something I would disagree with. A UBI is actually more expansive and permanent as even you pointed out. But supporting direct government payments to individuals is most assuredly not “doing nothing.”

    Let’s see if your ego can allow you to admit you’re wrong. I doubt it.

  27. dL

    You DO keep saying it.

    Are you untethered from reality, dL?

    You’re the one who volunteered your line of work completely out of left field as an unsolicited postscript.
    https://independentpoliticalreport.com/2020/04/lnc-chair-nick-sarwark-not-seeking-re-election-fuels-vp-speculation/#comment-2208264

    The you brought it up again, unsolicited
    https://independentpoliticalreport.com/2020/04/lnc-chair-nick-sarwark-not-seeking-re-election-fuels-vp-speculation/#comment-2208264

    Informing someone completely out of the blue that you are in collections and that you have no reason to worry about getting a phone call unless you own a greenhouse is just a bit creepy, brah. So, yeah, I took a jab back. Obviously, you got a glass jaw.

  28. paulie

    Now, I would suggest to you that you would be better off coming to fully understand that anyone or any organization which chooses to enter the field of electoral politics and policy making must incorporate a component of action for the state because that’s what the public wants. I guarantee you the difficulties you have in making your arguments will disappear.

    I’m not advocating immediate abolition of the state. It’s my ultimate goal, but a crash landing will be destructive. I do believe there’s room in electoral politics for a movement and party which seeks to make the state smaller and less intrusive across the board and gradually more so over time. It isn’t going to seize undivided power overnight and there will be plenty of other parties and movements pushing back on any and every issue. There’s no cause for alarm that we will suddenly do away with the state or make it too small or too weak.

    You have a choice: you can stay outside the arena of electoral politics and make an argument for a completely private social safety net…or you can enter the field of electoral politics and then argue what a libertarian state-provided social safety net would look like. Either choice is valid.

    I have a third choice. I work to decrease the size, scope and power of the state and create and popularize functioning, voluntary alternatives to its various functions through a broad variety of means and tactics, including but not limited to electoral, and within electoral politics not limited to parties but also to single and multi-issue pressure groups, lobbying, protests, and so on.

  29. Anthony Dlugos

    are you stupid, dL?

    you’re the one who said unsolicited in that thread that you “pay your bills on time.”

    not that I give a sh*t, but my p.s. response was that I don’t work in consumer collections, so would have no reason to call you, unless you own a greenhouse.

    are you drunk or something?

  30. Anthony Dlugos

    ok, paulie.

    I tend to believe that a political party that takes this position,

    “I’m not advocating immediate abolition of the state. It’s my ultimate goal…”

    pretty much marginalizes itself immediately, to the point where the process doesn’t matter. No one wants that destination, so no one is going to vote for a gradual process towards it.

  31. dL

    “I’ve said repeatedly that what people should have is direct pay from the government.”

    And he has repeatedly said that.

    That’s his preferred solution.

    In other words, his preferred solution was to criticize the bill that passed and hobby horse for something that has no chance to pass. The exact same thing any other libertarian would have done. Different hobby horses, perhaps. My preferred hobby horse would have been to use the pandemic as an opportunity to abolish the military budget and redirect the money directly to the American people to smoke weed and play video games during the pandemic peak.

  32. Anthony Dlugos

    keep digging your hole, dL.

    your hubris is pathological.

    whether or not his preferred solution has no chance to pass is not relevant. His preferred solution is not to do nothing.

    In any case, the CARES Act is not a UBI.

  33. dL

    you’re the one who said unsolicited in that thread that you “pay your bills on time.”

    lulz… “I pay my bills on time” is an idiomatic expression denoting a low tolerance for delusion. Solicited in this instance as a retort against your charge that I was heading for a “psychotic breakdown.” Nothing to do with what you do for a living. I guess that explains your wtf responses about bill collecting.

  34. dL

    whether or not his preferred solution has no chance to pass is not relevant.

    I’ll remember that next you start pontificating about libertarian purism and electoral politics. I assure there is not a libertarian on this planet whose preferred solution is “business as usual.”

  35. Anthony Dlugos

    “I pay my bills on time” is an idiomatic expression denoting a low tolerance for delusion.

    lulz right back at ya!

    Its been my experience that.

    “I pay my bills on time”

    generally means the speaker does not.

    Its akin to an unsolicited “I don’t hit my wife.”

    Not that I care.

    Your the one that keeps going back to my career, over and over again, lo’ these several years.

    You have some kind of unhealthy obsession.

    In any event, my occupation is nothing secret (a simple LinkedIn search of my name would “reveal” it), and commonplace, really.

    But I’m sure you’ll keep going back to that well.

    Mush on!

  36. Anthony Dlugos

    Rep. Amash’s idea of the federal government dispensing funding solely to individuals is clearly within the frame of reference of voters. As is a UBI, something that’s nearing ubiquity in policy debates.

    Abolishing the military is batsh*t crazy.

  37. robert capozzi

    AD,

    On JA and the CARES Act, listen to today’s The Fifth Column. He lays out what he did there.

    Ignore the pseudonym. S/he seems very intelligent at times, but something misfires upstairs.

  38. paulie

    I tend to believe that a political party that takes this position,

    “I’m not advocating immediate abolition of the state. It’s my ultimate goal…”

    pretty much marginalizes itself immediately, to the point where the process doesn’t matter. No one wants that destination, so no one is going to vote for a gradual process towards it.

    I don’t advocate the party taking such a position. Nor do I advocate candidates taking it. I advocate a directional stance both in the platform and campaigns, with language that makes it clear that we care about poor people, children, workers, consumers, the environment, etc. Any language in platforms or campaigns that I can help influence would talk about increased freedom as an opportunity to see how much better we can make everyone’s lives through greater choice and voluntary cooperation without getting bogged down in ultimate end states.

    I’m not a central planner. I don’t know what will work for everyone. I don’t know for sure that completely getting rid of the state will ever happen, or that it will work out well if and when it does, when we are this far remote from it and it’s not even on the horizon. It is my personal and considerably lengthily thought out opinion that it should happen and will happen, and will ultimately be a good thing, but that’s a world away from my involvement with practical politics.

    I want to get the ball rolling in the direction of voluntary solutions and greater choices for individuals living their lives and working together voluntarily. How far that ball will roll if and when it rolls that way will work itself out. I’m not smart enough to design a perfect scheme for everything or a perfect plan how to get from here to there, and I don’t believe anyone else is either.

    Nor am I delusional enough to expect some massive overnight change unless it’s through a massive catastrophe. And, I’m not delusional enough to think that people who want to change things in the same direction as me will suddenly get the undivided power to get everything we want overnight in all branches and levels of government – or any of them – without lots and lots of pushback and divided power anywhere and everywhere. It isn’t our job to advocate for retaining any aspect or power of government; there are plenty of other people pushing for that and they are not about to go away. They don’t need our help to do so.

  39. paulie

    Abolishing the military is batsh*t crazy.

    There was no massive standing military by today’s standards before WWII, and the US founders had a healthy distrust of standing armies. Costa Rica and some other nations currently have no standing military and do fine. For the moment, I’d settle for reducing military spending to, say, not outspend the rest of the world put together. I think we could do a lot better than that, but it would be a start. Greatly scaling back active intervention and focusing solely on defense preparedness would also be good, but really a well armed and trained populace, not provoking blowback, free trade with all and entangling alliances with none would do a great deal more for true national security from foreign invasion and terrorism than any conceivable level of military spending ever could.

  40. dL

    Its been my experience that.

    “I pay my bills on time”

    generally means the speaker does not.

    that’s more of a statement of the company you keep, brother. I’d be happy to compare credit scores. I doubt you have me beat.

  41. Anthony Dlugos

    “There was no massive standing military by today’s standards before WWII, and the US founders had a healthy distrust of standing armies.”

    paulie,

    I posted last year (I think) the following article:

    https://www.libertarianism.org/columns/errors-nostalgi-tarianism

    and you agreed with me that it was a great article.

    Now, I’ll concede the Horowitz article was surely more about domestic policy. However, I will note the Hornberger fundraising letter he quotes near the beginning does pine away in a similar fashion as you for a long-lost time when there was, “no military-industrial complex, CIA, NSA, TSA, FBI, Homeland Security, foreign aid, foreign wars, or foreign interventions.” I’ll also note that you know as well as I do that this vision of a radically smaller military footprint will find a lot of agreement in paleo Paulbot circles. Take that for what its worth.

    In any event, I think pining away for such a radically smaller military falls into the same nostalgi-tarian trap.

    Yes, the military budget is far too big and the interventions in foreign conflicts far too frequent, but its also true that the founding fathers (nor Costa Rica) did not preside over a state that had a public domain of any value. In other words, there was nothing for the nascent U.S. government to protect. Now there is, the liberal world order not the least of those things.

    I’m not arguing for full-on interventionism, but I am telling you that if you agree with me that we should have a more humble foreign policy and much less military spending, using the examples of the pre-WWII U.S. military, or worse, the Costa Rican military or the founding fathers trepidation about a standing army is no way to get the voters on our side, and is erroneous to boot.

    Just like with a larger state-provided social safety net, a standing army is partly inevitable, akin to an indivudal or business that buys more insurance as they become more wealthy.

    So, yeah, ABOLISHING the military at this time is batsh*t crazy.

  42. paulie

    I posted last year (I think) the following article:

    https://www.libertarianism.org/columns/errors-nostalgi-tarianism

    and you agreed with me that it was a great article.

    I did and still do. That doesn’t mean US founders got everything wrong. Some things have gotten better and some things have gotten worse. They generally made most things better than they had been. The things which were worse back then were by and large worse before them too. That doesn’t mean we should overlook their many moral failings from our modern perspective. But when they were right, they were right. Their skepticism of standing armies came from a long train of abuses by same.

    However, I will note the Hornberger fundraising letter he quotes near the beginning does pine away in a similar fashion as you for a long-lost time when there was, “no military-industrial complex, CIA, NSA, TSA, FBI, Homeland Security, foreign aid, foreign wars, or foreign interventions.” I’ll also note that you know as well as I do that this vision of a radically smaller military footprint will find a lot of agreement in paleo Paulbot circles.

    It may be a long lost time in the US but not in Costa Rica among other places. Paulbots, like US founders, are not wrong about everything. They have their good and bad points.

    In other words, there was nothing for the nascent U.S. government to protect.

    The nation’s independence from foreign invasion was more tenuous then than now. European invasion was a non-trivial possibility, and indeed the British did attack the US mainland in the war of 1812. However, that’s the last time it happened. As I said in prior comment, the US military does a poor job of actually defending the US from attack. Wholesale military invasion is unlikely, more so because the US would be too much of a pain to occupy and hold as the Japanese concluded in their assessment during WWII than because of all that military funding. Terrorist blowback is encouraged, not discouraged, by US military spending.

    Massive amounts of tax-extorted pork for military-industrial contractors is not what keeps the US safe. It likely has an overall negative value as far as that goes. The value of the US economy as a trading partner and place to save and invest foreign wealth, and a well-armed US population, are the things which actually protect this country from attack.

    I’m glad we agree that “Yes, the military budget is far too big and the interventions in foreign conflicts far too frequent.” Given the number of people, especially people with influence over policy, who disagree, we should spend much more time trying to make that position better known, understood and prevalent than we do in endless and largely pointless arguments about just how much we could cut it by if we were in a position to cut it, which we aren’t.

    I’m not arguing for full-on interventionism, but I am telling you that if you agree with me that we should have a more humble foreign policy and much less military spending, using the examples of the pre-WWII U.S. military, or worse, the Costa Rican military or the founding fathers trepidation about a standing army is no way to get the voters on our side, and is erroneous to boot.

    I don’t think it’s erroneous, and it depends on my audience. I content myself with saying it’s too big, too expensive and intervenes too much when talking to people who aren’t ready for stronger opinions.

    Just like with a larger state-provided social safety net, a standing army is partly inevitable, akin to an indivudal or business that buys more insurance as they become more wealthy.

    We disagree that either is inevitable, but I’m OK with that. So long as we agree that they are too big we have a basis for working together to get things moving in the correct direction. The rest will work itself out if and when we ever get there.

  43. Anthony Dlugos

    Fair enough.

    I think our difference in a general sense is in how quickly I think voters would tune us out, despite how true some of your information is.

    For example, a political party arguing,

    “Wholesale military invasion is unlikely…” marginalizing itself immediately.

    And the voters wouldn’t be wrong to marginalize such a party. No one is going to vote for a party that signals the only thing the U.S. military is justified in doing is stopping a wholesale invasion.

    Its not a lack of understanding that causes voters to turn away from the LP. They hear us loud and clear, and they want no part of the destination we suggest. No amount of…”well don’t worry, our ultimate goal is WAY down the line” softens the blow of our goal of “a world set free in our lifetimes.”

    They ain’t getting on that train in the first place.

  44. Tony From Long Island

    Anthony D ” . . . .Abolishing the military is batsh*t crazy. . . .

    I would like defense spending cut in half at least, but abolishing the military is, yes, crazy.

  45. dL

    I would like defense spending cut in half at least, but abolishing the military is, yes, crazy.

    This is what is bat shit crazy vis a vis military spending. A 90% cut would still put the US above everyone else except China.

  46. paulie

    For example, a political party arguing,

    “Wholesale military invasion is unlikely…” marginalizing itself immediately.

    You keep wanting to ignore that my personal position in discussions with libertarians is not a position I want the party to take. The party’s public position should be purely directional. No end states specified in specific policy positions.

    And the voters wouldn’t be wrong to marginalize such a party. No one is going to vote for a party that signals the only thing the U.S. military is justified in doing is stopping a wholesale invasion.

    What exactly does the military accomplish? It’s primarily a jobs program and the equivalent of virtue signaling for nationalism. Freeing the economy would get rid of the need for its jobs program aspect. It is a mix of not actually needed and failed at preventing foreign attacks on the US. Its interventions overseas have often backfired, likely more often than not. But, again, officially calling for abolishing it completely is not required. All we have to say for now is that we want to meaningfully reduce its budget and its meddling overseas.

    My presumption there, as with domestic spending, taxing and regulation, is that smaller cuts will open up the possibility of larger ones.

    “a world set free in our lifetimes.”

    They ain’t getting on that train in the first place.

    Some will, some won’t. It’s done better than any other national alternative party of any ideology in the US in the past 80-something years other than personality driven flashes in the pan. The larger libertarian movement is growing in all sorts of ways and media. There’s room for a wide variety of approaches.

  47. paulie

    I should also mention it’s a crony corporatist spending slush fund, but I would presume we’re not in favor of that aspect either.

  48. Anthony Dlugos

    “No end states specified in specific policy positions.”

    THAT is the problem. That is exactly it. If you don’t say it, voters are just going to assume the worst.

    I’m not even sure how it work in practice.

    What’s the Libertarian endpoint of social security reform?

    If you can’t answer it, then you might as well just explicitly say complete elimination and let the chips fall where they may. In fact, I’ll bet I can get most Radicals to agree with that.

    There’s no marginal benefit in terms of number of voters by not making it explicit.

    Same with the military budget. Voters (rationally) want to know our vision for foreign and military policy.

    A constant refrain of less will eventually be interpreted as zero. You aren’t going to get to those smaller cuts with such an endpoint.

    Good debating you, however.

  49. paulie

    If you don’t say it, voters are just going to assume the worst.

    I don’t think most will.

    I’m not even sure how it work in practice.

    What’s the Libertarian endpoint of social security reform?

    We don’t have to specify an endpoint. My preferred endpoint would be to replace it with voluntary alternatives. Yours may not be. As long as you want to move in a direction which makes the system less expensive, less complex, less privacy-destroying, etc, we may be able to work together for the time being. If not, we have other things we can work together on where we agree more.

    you might as well just explicitly say complete elimination and let the chips fall where they may.

    I prefer language which makes it clear that I don’t just callously dismiss all the people who have come to rely on a bad system that has become entrenched over nearly a century, or all those who have paid substantial amounts of money into it. While it’s true that private alternatives are my goal, I’m also happy with incremental progress towards that goal and don’t believe immediate abolition with no work done to create any kind of mitigation or alternatives is anywhere near optimal.

    Same with the military budget. Voters (rationally) want to know our vision for foreign and military policy.

    We have a range of people with different degrees of radicalism in our party, just as the other parties do. But we do generally agree that the current US military costs way too much and intervenes far too much in foreign conflicts, and that these interventions often backfire.

    A constant refrain of less will eventually be interpreted as zero.

    Do constant refrains of more from the other parties get interpreted as dystopian absolutism? Unfortunately, not by very many people.

    You aren’t going to get to those smaller cuts with such an endpoint.

    I disagree. I liked Kubby’s campaign theme, Let Freedom Grow. Given his history a lot of people assumed it to be a reference to cannabis, but I think it’s a great way of looking at a broader range of issues. Let freedom grow, and see where that leads us. It doesn’t spring forward full grown. Small steps lead to bigger steps. We don’t necessarily know how big it will grow. We can’t plan everything. And no one will put us in a position to fully implement our perfectly designed central plan anyway. It’s going to be messy, with lots of pushback, and we don’t know the end result. But we do know what direction we’d like to see things go in.

  50. Anthony Dlugos

    “We don’t have to specify an endpoint.”

    OK, there’s where we disagree.

    “Do constant refrains of more from the other parties get interpreted as dystopian absolutism?”

    But the default setting…especially of voters… is that we need a government, and they’re just deciding between different conceptions thereof.

    The technical & engineering journey to a safer, better tasting IPA is a lot different than the journey to teetotalism.

    The fact that both of those groups want fewer people dying or getting sick from their beer is just coincidental.

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