2020 Libertarian presidential candidate Jacob Hornberger, whom the readers of IPR previously interviewed, has started a series on his campaign blog about Libertarian Congressman Justin Amash. Amash is also running for the Libertarian presidential nomination. Parts 1 and 2 of Hornberger’s series were posted here. Part 3 was posted here. Parts 4 and 5 were posted here. Parts 6 and 7 were published here. Part 8 published yesterday, is posted below:
Part 8 – Play It Safe versus Going Bold
In Part 7 of this series, I addressed the interview that Congressman Justin Amash gave on MSNBC, specifically focusing on his plan to have the federal government give every American a monthly free check of $1,200 on an indefinite basis as long as the coronavirus crisis lasts.
I wish to delve more deeply into that interview because I believe it reveals a lot about the type of campaign that Amash would run if he were selected as our party’s nominee.
Amash was asked what his qualifications were to be president. He answered that he is a “determined” person, a “practical” person, and an “honest” person. When pressed, he said that this is about “democracy” — i.e., giving people more choices on who to vote for.
That’s not the way I see things at all. For me, this is all about liberty, not democracy. In fact, whenever any interviewer has asked me why I am running for the LP presidential nomination, my answer has been consistently the same: I want to be free, and I want everyone to be free. Freedom is what will lead us out of the morass into which both Democrats and Republicans have plunged our nation.
Now, I’m not saying that democracy is a bad thing. It is a good thing, but only in the sense that it enables people to change regimes without a violent revolution. Democracy is not freedom. In fact, the Bill of Rights expressly protects us from democracy.
I think it’s also revealing that during the interview, Amash did not even describe the virtues of libertarianism or even mention the Libertarian Party. I think the reason for that is that he isn’t accustomed to doing so given that he has been running for Congress for 10 years as a Republican and, as of the last year, an Independent.
Shifting gears, there is no doubt that Joe Biden and the Democrats are going to wage one of the nastiest campaigns in U.S. history against President Trump. It’s going to be a visceral, highly personal campaign. We have seen this during the past three years in liberal editorials, op-eds, speeches, websites, and social media. They are going to say that Trump is a rotten person, a liar, and worse. They are going to say that Joe Biden is a good person and, therefore, more qualified to be president.
A presidential campaign between Amash and Trump will be no different. There is tremendous personal animosity between these two men. Trump has already called Amash a “loser.” Amash, of course, joined up with Nanch Pelosi and the Democrats to try to remove Trump from office through impeachment, first based on the Robert Mueller report and then later on the basis of the “quid pro quo” with Ukraine. There is no doubt that an Amash-Trump political battle will be one great big food fight involving endless personal invectives. One thing is for sure: discussion of libertarian principles is going to be submerged and suppressed during that food fight.
Nonetheless, as we an see from the MSNBC interview, Amash’s general position will be much the same as Biden’s — that would make a better president than Trump because he is a “determined” person, an “honest” person, and a “practical” person.
All my adult life, I have heard this concept — that what we need to do to extricate America from the morass in which we find ourselves is just put “better people” in public office.
It’s a pipe dream. You could put the biggest saint and the most brilliant person in the world into the presidency and it wouldn’t make one bit of difference. That’s because we have a bad system, one foisted upon our land by both conservatives and liberals. When you have a bad system with good people, the bad system will always win out.
I have nothing personal against Trump. Sure, he has been a disaster as a president, but that’s not because he’s a bad person. It’s because he’s part of a bad system.
Why is the political-economic system under which we live a bad system? Because it is based on both conservatism and progressivism, two of the most morally and economically bankrupt philosophies known to man. These two phllosophies are actually nothing more than flip sides of the same coin. It is both conservatism and liberalism that have jointly given us the bad systems under which we live today.
This is what Amash can’t see, because he is a conservative. Granted, a libertarian-leaning conservative but a conservative nonetheless. He can’t see that it is both conservatism and progressivism that have destroyed liberty, peace, prosperity, health, and harmony in our land.
That’s what causes him to see himself as someone who, with his “determination,” “honesty,” and “practicality,” is more “qualified” to manage America’s welfare-warfare state system than Trump and Biden.
That’s in fact why the reform element within the libertarian movement and the Libertarian Party are rushing to support Amash, just as they rushed to support Bill Weld, another libertarian-leaning conservative who was planning on seeking our party’s 2020 presidential nomination. In their minds, the solution to America’s woes is keep the welfare-warfare state system intact and just put libertarians and libertarian-leaning conservatives in charge of it. That’s why they celebrate, for example, when a libertarian-leaning conservative is selected to chair some federal regulatory agency and then brings “free enterprise” or “choice” “public-policy prescriptions” to the regulatory process.
I have no doubts that Amash could garner 3 percent, maybe even 4 percent of the vote. That’s what a safe campaign can do. I say: Big deal. We have been here 49 years and we celebrate a 3 percent return. That’s sad.
Playing it safe doesn’t produce big payoffs. I say we do something bold. I’ve been saying this at every one of the 18 state LP conventions I have attended and the 12 presidential debates in which I have participated. Acting with boldness has the potential for a super big payoff. And after 49 years of striving for liberty in the political arena, we have earned the right to a big payoff.
I say: Let’s run a bold campaign, not one based not on personal attacks or on getting “better” people into public office. Let’s run a campaign employing what we are good at — philosophy, ideology, principles, ideals, and sound ideas on liberty. I want to explain to our fellow Americans what libertarianism is all about, what we are all about, what we are fighting for, and why we gave devoted our lives to the cause of liberty.
We are the party of principle. I say: Let’s do something different. Let’s do something bold. Let’s run a presidential campaign of principle for The Party of Principle.
Yes, see Monmouth poll.
“The people most likely to vote for Amash would be those who generally tend to be predisposed to vote Republican, but can’t stomach Trump. Absent Amash, they’re more likely to vote for Biden.”
Then I guess what I heard Amash argue recently is correct: Is that group bigger than the group that would hold their nose and vote for Trump?
Sure, that’s the starting point. JA’s job is to make himself viable. Not easy to do. But, it’s 2020…anything is possible….
Humans are not born self-sufficient. You need permission to be born into this world. The difficult question is the age of consent when the child no longer needs anyone’s permission, and the extent the child’s autonomy can be bound to parental authority before the age of consent. That is to say, what is the scope of children’s rights? The LP used to have a pretty good children’s rights plank before it was removed for the conservative parental rights plank.
Not unless you’re a pacifist. Philosophical questions about what constitutes a human being don’t arise when exercising the right of self-defense(a right which pacifists do deny). So if you ascribe to the right to self-defense, you should stop pontificating about the “sanctity of life.” An unwanted pregnancy(which is almost always unintentional) is an act of aggression, innocent embryo or not. A pregnancy can exact a profound physical toll on the female body. And, of course, there is a coerced parental responsibility post birth for the next 18 years(failure to abide by that can put your ass in a cage).
Block’s fetal ejection is silly. For starters, most abortions occur during the embryonic stage. For the minority that do occur during the fetal stage, where in the hell is the fetus being ejected to? And who would be responsible for keeping the fetus alive? Sounds like a ready made scheme for the Rev Falwell’s Liberty and Life Incubatory Corporation to feed off state budgets.
Abortion on demand reaffirms the self-ownership principle while also serving to establish a legal culpability for parental obligation. That is to say, there would be no liberty of infant neglect that the likes of Rothbard and Benjamin Tucker seemed to be OK with. Conversely, there is no libertarian bridge between an obligation to give birth and an obligation to be a parent. In that instance, given that birth was a compulsory edict of the state, infant neglect shouldn’t be a crime(of course, it still would be, but it would be a bad law).
Hornberger is anti-abortion but against government criminalization of it…at least at the federal level. I’m not clear RE: his view of criminalization at the state level. Amash is likewise anti-abortion but favors a federal prohibition under the auspices of the 14th amendment. Essentially, a theocrat on the issue. Not a moderate.
The US has been in a state of unabated war pretty much since 1775. 100 + wars. Pretty much all of them imperialist.
Being against the war machine and the military industrial complex is based on an expectation that the imperialistic/conquest/subjugation side of human civilization won’t change miraculously.
A vote for Biden is a disqualification of anyone’s leftist or “left-leaning” credentials.
Paulie: . . . . . . Even though I do think Amash will take more votes from republicans than democrats.
My gut instinct, and the Monmouth poll, indicate otherwise. The people most likely to vote for Amash would be those who generally tend to be predisposed to vote Republican, but can’t stomach Trump. Absent Amash, they’re more likely to vote for Biden. Amash gives them someone closer to their views who’s respectable and well known enough from their perspective. . . . . .”
As a democrat, I don’t see any democratic or left-leaning independents choosing a pro-life and pro 2nd Amendment candidate.
p.s. I forgot how to do that italics quote thingie
My gut instinct, and the Monmouth poll, indicate otherwise. The people most likely to vote for Amash would be those who generally tend to be predisposed to vote Republican, but can’t stomach Trump. Absent Amash, they’re more likely to vote for Biden. Amash gives them someone closer to their views who’s respectable and well known enough from their perspective.
William raises an interesting point. Already, artificial wombs have been developed for lambs and this works. There is no theoretical reason this couldn’t apply to humans as well.
Fertility clinics routinely discard unwanted fertilized eggs. All could become humans.
A woman may have a right to expel the fetus, but nobody has a right to a dead fetus.
I may have read incorrectly, but allegedly Hornberger is pro-life and anti-abortion. That probably means he is a self-identified Christian and this could explain his neo-Platonism. Apparently he has no problem with higher-level a-priori assumptions. This amounts to mysticism. Amash appears to be similar but moderate.
In Casey the Court said states could restrict abortion after viability of the fetus outside the mother. This may not remain precedent for long due to the changing ideological make-up of the Court. Until that happens, pro-life supporters would be better served to fund development of an artificial womb that would make viability outside the mother much earlier. As a result, states could pass more restrictive abortion laws constitutionally under the current precedent.
“My personal philosophical view is that human life begins when the brain becomes active.”
I’ll bet you a glass of scotch the answer to that question is not as easy as one might believe.
My personal philosophical view is that human life begins when the brain becomes active. Because that is what distinguishes humans from other animals, our much greater ability to reason using the brain. Probably not all states would agree with my viewpoint, even though it is similar to Roe v. Wade.
In that case (the question is factual no a-priori), there is no room for federal intervention. Because under the federal common law system I propose, which is improvement of the Greco-Roman system archetype, the feds would be limited domestically to enforcing those laws in common with all states.
Not sure I would have to amend my amend my comment, because I did mention the analogy of an unwanted intruded being INSIDE the woman’s house, which would put it closer to your bj version of the analogy.
Otherwise, Kevin, you make a fair point: abortion necessarily INVOLVES the philosophical question of “what constitutes a human being.” I like the use of the word involves, because that means the answer to the question isn’t dispositive. Although my reading of the science leads me to believe that a human being becomes a human being at birth, there are many pro-choice supporters who say the answer to that question does not matter: the woman’s rights always takes precedence.
On the other hand, it seems to me those who are anti-abortion do see it as dispositive, i.e., they believe that a human being has rights from the moment of conception (as Amash himself has said), and that the woman’s rights are irrelevant. That is a strange position for anyone to take, even stranger for a Libertarian, given our predilection to be opposed to coercion, a predilection that ranges from a helpful starting point to pathological in some cases.
When looking at the totality of the issue, then, including the implications of outlawing abortion, I’m not as concerned about any one particular person who might be in favor of the abortion prohibitions, but why a LIBERTARIAN would be.
As I mentioned, 40% of all abortions are of the medicated variety, which means a ban would effectively constitute a massive expansion of the drug war. Thus, pro-choice and opposed to the drug war is consistent. Anti-choice and opposed to the drug war is not.
“as far as abortion goes, I don’t think its a difficult issue at all. A woman has sole dominion over her body and everything in it, end of story. You’d say that about her house, that argument is even more forceful regarding her own body.”
(K) The issue is not as simple as you claim. No person has sole dominion over his/her own body. For instance, I could use my hands (a part of my body) to strangle another human. You might amend your comment to say, each has sole dominion over what is inside his/her own body. If true, that would mean, a person giving a blowjob could bight off a body part of another if inside the mouth.
Abortion necessarily involves a philosophical question, i.e. what constitutes a human being.
The issue cannot before resolved by deduction from assumption, a-priori assumptions aren’t necessarily in accord with reality. Which is why we need to employ our sensory abilities to acquire knowledge of the real world, and then analyze perceptions.
We need to start by observing what all legal systems have in common. The set of such laws comprise the common law or Jus Gentium. We must analyze the observations to discover what they have in common.
well, if the Dems do manage to replace Biden, I think that hurts Amash.
Even though I do think Amash will take more votes from republicans than democrats.
as far as abortion goes, I don’t think its a difficult issue at all. A woman has sole dominion over her body and everything in it, end of story. You’d say that about her house, that argument is even more forceful regarding her own body.
No Libertarian should stand for a state infringing on the rights of individuals where they think the federal government shouldn’t either. Besides, the 14th Amendment says so.
Finally. the 9th amendment applies here:
“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
I can think of anything more appropriate to that amendment than the time, place, and manner of sexual activity.
Any restriction on abortion would necessarily infringe on that right, because women (and men, frankly). would have to consider the possibility of carrying a potential pregnancy to term. (No birth control is 100% effective).
That isn’t just a run-of-the-mill state intrusion into private decision making, like what minimum wage to pay your employees. This is intrusion into one of the most intimate decisions a woman will ever make. Every time she decides she wants to have sex (at least during childbearing years).
Its a state intrusion par excellence, and one we would never be debating if men could get pregnant.
Not to mention that 40% of abortions are of the medicated variety, and given that a lot more women have sex than do drugs, any Libertarian supporting an anti-abortion position is effectively supporting a drug war that would DWARF the current one.
Biden will not be the nominee. Dem party insiders are not stupid enough to allow that. Biden doesn’t have enough delegates to win on the first ballot, after that the delegates are not bound, and with super-delegates, will nominate Hillary. Biden has a lot of sexual and financial scandals, and with his dementia exposed by a presidential campaign, will lose overwhelmingly to Trump. The GOP is solidly behind Trump and his campaign is flush with cash.
Concerning abortion, that is a difficult issue to resolve by the usual “libertarian” method of deduction from assumption. Rather, we should adopt the inductive method invented by the Greco-Romans, that is, Jus Gentium or laws in common to all nations. If all legal systems of government prohibit abortion, then we can say with certainty, abortion is contrary to natural justice (Jus Naturale). If not, then each US state should be able to decide the issue for it’s own citizens, with the federal gov’t out of the picture.
“I would suggest only addressing that question if specifically asked.”
same here. I would just answer it differently.
As I noted on Facebook, I think that answer has IMMENSE implications for the party and our future success.
As far as the abortion issue goes vis a vi Libertarian politics, I will say again: good debating you. We’ve probably reached the agree-to-disagree point in this iteration of the debate.
I still say Amash is gonna leave votes on the table with his latent conservatism, as our party has for many years, on abortion and on other issues, immigration being one of them. ( which brings up the oddity that we agree there and on the errors of nostalgia-tarianism, but part ways at some point thereafter, I don’t know where).
Thanks, I’m glad you liked it. I don’t know whether Trump will lose, and if he does, I don’t know if it will be convincingly. My best guess is it will probably be close in either direction. I’m in no way certain about that though. Even if Trump does lose convincingly, I don’t think that the long term trends pushing Republicans in the direction he is pushing them in will go away. And it’s not a direction Amash would fit in with unless he changes a large number of his issue stances.
Obviously, we can say that there are positions other than 100% for or against gun rights. It was a statement of fact regarding abortion, not a prescription for what position anyone should take. That’s a separate issue.
“Given that its primary focus is on arrest, prosecution, and punishment, however, it is possible that a state will prove ineffective in significantly reducing or deterring abortion. Moreover, some women will simply travel to a jurisdiction where abortion is legal and procure it there.”
The following paragraph after that suggests a different approach than arrest, prosecution and punishment. But again, since he isn’t running for state office, I’m less interested in what he thinks states should do than I am in the as yet for me unanswered question of whether he supports federal money for anti-abortion propaganda or whether he is talking about some voluntarily funded effort.
Then went back to it in subsequent interviews on CNN and other places.
I don’t agree with characterizing his stance that way.
I would have no problem with any such candidate. I don’t care whether they personally oppose gun ownership if they don’t intend to use the guns of the state to take away the guns of those who aren’t part of the state, or prevent those who make, sell and buy guns from doing so. Likewise I don’t care if someone is personally against gay sex, prostitution, adultery, blasphemy, women showing their ankles in public, pot, alcohol, caffeine, any technology developed in the last 500 years….I care about whether they want to use force to prevent those who have other preferences from exercising them.
I don’t either.
I wouldn’t single them out for defunding. I would suggest only addressing that question if specifically asked. I fully agree that disaffected conservatives are the perpetual fool’s gold of libertarian politics.
Well, let me put it to you this way, if Amash came out in support of Roe and opposed to federal funding of abortion, I would be 99% behind his campaign, and that’s plenty close enough. I could easily make an argument for him (as a total candidate) to my Democratic-leaning friends in that case.
The issue of federal funding would be a quibble only.
But here’s the thing…I think Amash would have a higher potential for votes if he came out pro-Roe and tacitly in favor of abortion tax funding, or at least not making an issue of it. And its not because of the single issue of abortion. Its because of the larger implication of what being in favor of reproductive rights means. It signals a progressive, secular, yes, non-religious, left-leaning disposition, and that’s where our sweet spot is.
I’m more uncompromising on abortion than you are, however. State protection starts at birth, IMHO.
AD: Libertarians shouldn’t make the mistake of singling out abortion funding just because a bunch of conservatives get their panties in a twist about that particular issue.
me: I’m not sure I agree. I’d say advocate that because it’s peaceful. Neither the life or choice position is “correct,” how could it be? They are simply different positions on when a pre-born human should get the same protections as a born human, in effect.
A lot of people who ID as “conservative” support Amash. They might vote for him. It makes it easier for them to go against their factory-settings if he’s pro-life and anti-abortion tax funding.
There are, of course, hopeless cases, on either side. Single-issue voters are a waste of time. No amount of conciliation or triangulation are going to capture them. Most people are not that, near as I can tell.
“There are many shades in between 100% for and 100% against legal abortion in all circumstances.”
Can we say the same about gun rights? Most Libertarians I know take an absolutely strident position on 2A rights, then hem and haw about abortion.
“He adds that he is against criminalization at the state level…”
I’m sorry, where does he add that? I see this,
“Under traditional principles of criminal justice, abortion falls under the jurisdiction of state governments. Given that its primary focus is on arrest, prosecution, and punishment, however, it is possible that a state will prove ineffective in significantly reducing or deterring abortion.”
As a pretty solid admission that he’s okay with states outlawing abortion.
Besides, he is running for President, and that includes the nomination of federal judges, which makes its pretty clear, then, that his position on abortion legality at the state level is QUITE relevant.
“Weld’s position is worse on guns than Hornberger’s on abortion.”
Disagree. Weld indicated that he regretted his past stance on gun rights. Hornberger is taking a anti-choice stance in the here and now. So is Amash. A LIbertarian candidate who said he is personally opposed to gun ownership would end his campaign the minute he made that statement, his policy position notwithstanding.
“If you are looking for a presidential candidate with that position to get the Libertarian nomination you’ll likely be disappointed, and not only this time.”
A) I wouldn’t suggest a Libertarian presidential candidate makes that an explicit hill to die on.
B) If you’re looking to stop the flow of disaffected conservatives flocking to the LP, singling out abortion services for defunding even though it represents a TINY, TINY fraction of the federal or any state budget is a very bad way of doing that. I guarantee you you’ll be disappointed pandering to them.
No. I’ve taken no compensation from any campaign for the presidential nomination. If I get to vote on the nomination, Hornberger isn’t among my top choices. Neither is Amash.
I always try to be fair, with varying degrees of success. There are many shades in between 100% for and 100% against legal abortion in all circumstances. Hornberger’s position is that he is against criminalization at the federal level, which is the level of office he is running for. He adds that he is against criminalization at the state level, which is a nice bonus, but not very relevant since he’s not running at that level. He makes it unclear whether he supports using tax money for anti-abortion propaganda. He should clarify that better.
If it’s worse than Amash’s, then Amash’s position is better than I thought it was.
A single issue voter probably wouldn’t. Someone who considers many other issues to be important might, especially since the second of those sentences is “However, that doesn’t mean that the federal government has a legitimate role in this area.” The first sentence is merely his personal view as an individual, which the second sentence clarifies is not policy he wants to enforce with government force, especially at the level of government he is running for.
Weld’s position is worse on guns than Hornberger’s on abortion. Yet he got the VP nomination and had not insignificant support for the P nomination. As I recall, you wanted him to come back again after he jumped back to the Republicans yet again. Even if I’m wrong about that, there’s also Chafee.
If you are looking for a presidential candidate with that position to get the Libertarian nomination you’ll likely be disappointed, and not only this time.
I must tell you, paulie, your post at 13:20 was really quite impressive.
I might have known a good part of that info, but you put it in a cogent, organized post. Good work.
Let me just say that I’m not expecting the GOP to become a righteous small government or classical liberal party. Just that it veers back in the conservative direction when Trump loses convincingly in November. How much veering? Maybe enough to make Amash comfortable again there.
Obviously, I could be proven wrong.
are you working for Hornberger?
That’s as charitable a description of an avowedly pro-life position as I have ever seen. Kudos to you!
No pro-choice voter would support someone with that position, based on the first two sentences alone.
Why is he even blathering about criminal justice with regard to someone exercising a constitutionally protected right?
If nothing else, its the president’s duty is to nominate judges who ensure recalcitrant backwards states DON’T infringe on a woman’s right to choose.
As I said, his position is a terrible position, worse than Amash’s, maybe owing to his age.
Switch gun rights for abortion in that position and the dude would get run out of any Libertarian convention on a rail.
As an aside, the federal government is funding A LOT of things that it shouldn’t be funding. Libertarians shouldn’t make the mistake of singling out abortion funding just because a bunch of conservatives get their panties in a twist about that particular issue.
I want the federal government’s role in health care reduced. I welcome anyone to join us in that fight. But any person who makes that TINY amount of funding a dealbreaker is not on our side and never was.
The federal funding of abortion services should be protected until such time that a plan is developed to reduce federal involvement in health care that doesn’t throw poor people under the bus.
If you want to shirk the undue influence by the disaffected conservatives and stop the flow of ex-republicans, THAT’S how you do it, not by appeasing religious retrogrades, IMHO.
Conservatism is not a political orientation, but a psychological predisposition. It is a measure of level of disgust.
For instance, a conservative Christian might dislike homosexuality, but not necessarily enforce that distaste politically.
BTW, Hornberger is not defending his views in light of my criticism. If he won’t communicate with libertarians who disagree with him, how could he possibly relate to the average person, who if exposed to his views would think him a madman?
The most recent immigration-related stance I’m aware of from Amash has been voting in 2016 to let funding expire for the MAVNI program that permitted recruitment of DACA recipients for military service despite their illegal status. As far as I can tell, his position is more or less typically Republican pre-Trump (and typically Democrat pre-Obama): immigrants are good for America, but they need to go through the proper legal channels. I’d be interested to hear his present-day thoughts on “comprehensive immigration reform” and simplifying the naturalization process.
If Amash wants to keep the federal government out of the business of outlawing abortion, his position on the issue is better than I thought it was.
As far as I know he gave me a straight answer.
That’s fine. He’s running for federal office. His personal moral views aren’t the issue. He doesn’t want to use the federal government to outlaw abortion.
That’s fine. I would have said the same of criminalization, but it doesn’t matter what he thinks states should do unless he runs for state office.
True as well.
It depends on who “we” is. He doesn’t explicitly say government money here, but he doesn’t not say it either. This point should be clarified.
This is from Hornberger’s campaign site:
Its a pretty sh*tty position, probably worse than Amash’s.
I got a lot of dodging and weaving from Dasbach when I asked him on Facebook. This may be because I am more animated by the issue than you. I couldn’t get a straight answer out of him. I know I asked about whether she supports nominating judges who would uphold Roe, and got a lot of flubdub.
But she’s probably better than Hornberger and Amash.
If she could just give a straight answer that she would support nominating judges who support Roe, then I’d love to help burn the phones making calls to get delegates to support her. Having a pro-choice woman running this cycle would be an excellent idea.
According to his campaign manager, he’s against it, but also against making it illegal.
Chris Baker: Did Browne change his position from 1996 to 2000? I could have sworn he was anti-abortion.
Me: Only on a personal level. He explicitly disavowed government enforcement, both cycles.
Steve Dasbach: Paulie Cannoli (that’s) Jo Jorgensen’s position as well.
Well, I know Hornberger ain’t.
Jorgensen’s campaign manager dodged and weaved with the best of them when I asked him what her stance was.
In any event, you are probably aware of my equation from hell: nominate a respectable candidate who will get coverage but holds a terrible position on the issue, or nominate the catastrophically unqualified or horrifyingly embarrassing candidate who happens to be pro-choice.
“Who are the pro-choice candidates, paulie? Serious question. Besides Vermin. ”
Most of them, as far as I know.
“I’ve never heard him suggest he’s opposed to immigration in principle,”
He’s said he has no objection to the wall in principle. I’m fairly sure it is not the only thing he has said about that, along with votes cast.
“This is to say nothing of the realty that the next SCOTUS nomination might very well make a difference for basic reproductive rights, You can’t say the same about immigration.”
Debatable, and not necessarily the only way a president’s policy views matter. Trump has made changes in immigration policy by fiat; no court decision needed.
“Biden is already not the world’s most coherent speaker.”
True, and the same can be said of Trump. Still, the odds are they will both make it to November. Serve another 4 or 8 years? Maybe, maybe not.
Who are the pro-choice candidates, paulie? Serious question. Besides Vermin.
And regarding his other positions, I’d like to know if there are any others where he is categorically against the basic libertarian disposition?
I’ve never heard him suggest he’s opposed to immigration in principle, or opposes the individual right to bear arms. He is saying that about abortion.
This is to say nothing of the realty that the next SCOTUS nomination might very well make a difference for basic reproductive rights, You can’t say the same about immigration.
We’d pick a fine time to nominate an anti-choice candidate.
There are plenty of pro-choice candidates running.
Also, it’s simply false that abortion is the only problematic position Amash has from a libertarian perspective. Regardless of what you think of Hornberger, please read the entire series of articles of which this article is the 8th installment.
Immigration is another such issue, to take one of many examples.
this is the rare occasion (reproductive rights) where I happen to agree with you, GP.
I think its a definite problem for his campaign, and a bigger problem in the larger electorate than just among Libertarians.
Do we even have a pro-choice candidate running, outside of the guy who wears a boot on his head?
Unlike past recent elections, there is a non-trivial probability that the D and R nominees come November will not be Biden and Trump. They are both beyond their sell-by dates. Trump has already had one unscheduled hospital trip with no satisfactory explanation, and Biden is already not the world’s most coherent speaker.
Running another antiabortionist will also not be saleable to a segment of Libertarian voters.
Trumpism isn’t just a cult of personality which came from a vacuum. Granted, it is a cult of personality, but it’s more than that.
For one thing, the roots of conservatism are authoritarian. It started as unquestioning faith in the Church and the Monarchy as authoritarian institutions, intertwined and ruling by divine right, unquestioned ethnic/national/racial supremacy, authoritarian patriarchal family structure and gender roles, etc. US conservatism has always had some elements of libertarianism, but only because the US itself was founded on the ideas of classical liberalism.
The natural and historic nature of liberalism, libertarianism and leftism was that they were all pretty much the same thing, or at least the same general tendency and close allies. They were artificially cleaved apart, first by Marxist and progressives embracing what had until then been universally recognized as right wing means (state power) to supposedly achieve leftist goals, then by a reactionary rhetorical pivot to libertarian rhetoric by conservatives on economic issues in response. But that rhetoric was always just a surface veneer. Beneath that surface conservatism always entailed big business intertwined with big government, strong elements of forced social traditionalism and religious authority, militaristic chauvinism, police authority, etc.
The Republican Party started out as a mercantilist, protectionist party of crony corporatist big business interests and has remained many elements of that ever since. Dixiecrat conservatives started their long journey away from the Democrats around WWII, but have over time become more and more entrenched in the Republican Party. Their conservatism was and is primarily authoritarian, more around the social and militaristic aspects of conservatism than any principled opposition to big spending, heavy borrowing or using the heavy hand of the state in favor of policies and social goals they favor.
Neoconservatives started out as leftists and later Democrats who moved right primarily over social and foreign/military policy. Reagan, likewise, started out as a New Deal Democrat turned cold warrior and social reactionary, and those roots reflected most in his actual governing record over and above his empty free market rhetoric. Nixon, with his Southern strategy, and Reagan with the Reagan Democrats, were antecdents to Trump’s appeal to blue collar whites who had traditionally been Democrats and simultaneous alienation of country club moderate Republicans. Trump didn’t start this process, he just sped it up.
Paleoconservatives likewise had no great love of free markets. They tend to be more isolationist, opposed to free trade and free immigration as well as international alliances and foreign aid. Pat Buchanan appealed to a pretty big slice of the Republican Party even in 1992. They weren’t hostile to labor union economic demands, but were culture warriors, social reactionaries, right wing identity politics types. Their opposition to the warfare state was never due to an inherent dislike of militarism or war, but rather of international alliances – note Buchanan’s current rhetoric of a new cold war with China, or the more extreme racists calling for a global war between whites and Asians.
A chunk of what was the Republican coalition – mainly suburban, educated and moderate voters – have moved over into the Democratic Party, including active participation in the primary process on behalf of the more moderate candidates and voting for Democrats for congress in 2018 leading to a shift towards Democrats in suburban districts and retaking the House. A chunk of blue collar white Democrats moved towards Republicans, leading to Trump carrying or almost carrying several Northeastern and Midwestern states that hadn’t voted Republican for president in decades up til then, despite a fairly narrow electoral college win and an overall national popular vote loss. His strongest state nationally, West Virginia, had until fairly recently been a strongly Democratic state. Again, this is an acceleration of a process that had already been taking shape for decades, not a brand new thing that came out of nowhere.
All this leads me to conclude that the Republican Party will continue in this same direction, not revert to its former coalition, after Trump. Amash will not fit well into a Republican Party coalition in the future unless he changes many of his present views.
That’s a solid assessment.
What I expected. 1) Less favorable climate for a strong third run vis a vis 2016 for the reasons we agree on 2) Johnson had marginally better name recognition thanks to 2012 then Amash does now, even before Weld and nomination related coverage. That makes at least somewhat of a case for a dry run for 2024/8 not being a complete waste necessarily. One of those years will have no incumbent, and Amash is 40.
Do you take away anything from the data point that Johnson started at 11% and Amash starts at 5%?
And if so, what?
Unlikely its related to the candidates themselves, as neither of them are that well known.
Largely confirming my gut feeling on multiple points:
I guess I am a little more sanguine about the GOP returning to its more conservative…as opposed to authoritarian…roots.
Not because I have any love for the GOP, even the previous version. More because there’s nothing like losing to jerk a political party back into some level of sanity.
Maybe Amash does think exactly what you’re arguing. In that case, its best to be the first rat off the sinking ship.
Furthermore, he might already be aware this run is even more no-win than the typical 3rd party run, but its better to make his case for his brand of paleolibertarianism in front of the whole country rather than in front of a district that is essentially getting wiped out in a race he was going to lose anyway.
Seems plausible, but I don’t think the timing will work out. I don’t believe the Republican Party will return to what it was before Trump. Rather, I think it will continue further down an authoritarian-populist-nationalist path wedded to protectionism, xenophobia and implicit if not explicit racial, ethnic, religious and other bigotry. I don’t see a future path for Amash to return to congress or make a non-trivial presidential run in that party, even decades from now. He may well be following the Ron Paul playbook in terms of building his national lists and media profile. But a dry run for 2024 seems more of a plausible short term strategy for him.
well, he’s been doubling down on his infernal “pro-life” position, and he did a lengthy interview with the right-wing/Paulbot Libertarian Republic right after announcing.
I have a sneaky suspicion the Ron Paul playbook is not far from his reach at this point. Shorn of the conspiracy theories, gold buggery, and racism.
I think your guesses above seem pretty reasonable.
then my question to you is…why do you think he’s doing it?
Same. I exaggerated a bit above – it now looks like the LP will nominate in June rather than July if the compromise CAH and JBH among others floated on the LNC list holds up (e-vote on the P and VP nomination only, still trying for an in person convention in July) and Richard Winger corrected me on another thread – most of the mail and early voting will be in October, not September.
Nevertheless my main point still holds. It will be a shortened campaign season in a year characterized by extreme negative partisanship in an up-or-down referendum on a highly polarizing incumbent, with a likely shortfall in ballot access. Even if we manage to avoid that shortfall, it’s not a good year for a third option. The squeeze will be worse than ever before.
This would be a good year to run someone who is not a Republican retread, particularly after the last three cycles. With Amash running that probably won’t happen. And Amash will almost certainly fall short of Johnson 2016, and possibly even Johnson 2012 vote totals. I think Hornberger would probably come in around the 0.3-0.5% that the LP got in every presidential cycle from 1984 to 2008. It’s not impossible that Amash will as well; in fact, I’d rate that as a higher probability than that he will set a new record in either raw numbers or percentage.
“the police have no de jure power of retaliation, although they usually will get away with if they do go around “retaliating” on people.”
(K) Defense occurs before or during the force-initiation. Retaliation occurs after the force-initiator has already committed the crime and left the scene.
(DL) “the bulk of police intervention entails enforcing crimes against the state that have no victim”
(K) I don’t deny that. Again, I’m not with the Time Police and don’t necessarily endorse all that has happened or is happening with the political system.
I keep seeing the same pattern, with Hornberger and now with dl. Their argument seems to be, militaries and police have committed misconduct; therefore the military and police ought to be abolished. Starting with the US military and American police. If human nature were to miraculously change, and everybody were an angel, there would be no need to organize force in defense or retaliation against force-initiation.
I’m not saying that every military or police action has been justified. What you are saying is that no military or police action can ever be justified.
I’m not quoting Marcus Aurelius, much less the socialist Mussolini. You appear to dismiss any Greco-Roman contributions to civilization, without bothering to study the matter. America’s founders were well aware of what you don’t know, there is even a reference to the “law of nations” in the US Constitution. Art. I Sec. 8 Cl. 10.
Henry Maine translates and quotes the Institutional Treatise published under the authority of the Emperor Justinian:
“All nations who are ruled by laws and customs, are governed partly by their own particular laws, and partly by those laws which are common to all mankind. The law which a people enacts is called the Civil Law of that people, but that which natural reason appoints for all mankind is called the Law of Nations, because all nations use it.”
Rothbard plagiarized Gustave Molinari, not Marcus Aurelius…lulz. The above is just complete drivel. Proceeding from Hobbes’ dismissal of democracy to then equating private defense /law with government militaries, and then somehow tying this all back to your favorite fetish, ancient Roman law, smacks of someone with a school boy crush on Benito Mussolini. Frankly, it’s so bad, it’s the kind of tripe I would expect from a progressive as a take down of libertarianism….i.e, libertarianism==fascism. However, in your case, the accusation would apparently be true.
Well, the police have legal immunization from any duty to protect. Well established legal precedent regarding that. And the police have no de jure power of retaliation, although they usually will get away with if they do go around “retaliating” on people. Apart from all that, the bulk of police intervention entails enforcing crimes against the state that have no victim, which in effect makes the police a criminal racket. Analogizing the military to the police certainly establishes that you apparently would have no qualm about, say, the Bejing Police enforcing crimes against the Chinese government in Tacoma, Washington.
If Hornberger spelled out the full implications of his foreign policy, and explained to people that he wants to abolish the US military, that would be embarrassing. If MSM ignores him, as seems likely due to his obscurity and kookiness, then to that extent there would be less embarrassment.
There is no point to having a military that would be prohibited (somehow) from intervening. It would have to be tax-financed, because nobody would be stupid enough to voluntarily pay a military fee for which there could be no corresponding military service.
Hornberger has not made a serious study of history, and bases his conclusions on deduction from his non-intervention assumption. He believes in a system which has no historical precedent, and is deliberately deceptive when describing his views because he realizes in some far recess of what passes for his brain, that virtually everybody would laugh at his implicit proposal to unilaterally disband the US military.
Notice, Hornberger doesn’t deny any of my characterizations.
The upside of hornberger is that he won’t embarrass the party, which is more than we can say for many of the other candidates. He will be ignored by the media, however, and forgotten essentially the moment his nomination is announced. I’d agree he’d struggle to get to Barr’s .4%.
The question is if Amash will do better than Johnson/Weld 2016.
All things considered, I’d be willing to take wagers…at this time, I don’t think he will.
agree 110% with paulie @ May 4, 2020, 06:57. Well put.
As paulie’s post alludes to, much of what makes this an inopportune time to run a 3rd party campaign would be true even without the coronavirus. The addition of that unprecedented unknown element (what if there is spike in infections/death in some month up to November?) makes it even tougher to make the case.
Which, again, makes me wonder why Amash decided in favor of a run.
I posited elsewhere that maybe he is just looking at this as a dry run for 2024?
In one of the dinosaur parties, what would dissuade against that is that a candidate might not want to get the stink of a poor performance on them, as you typically don’t get many bites at the presidential apple.
That might not be a factor here, as the LP doesn’t exactly have a stable of qualified candidates.
On the other hand, someone might advise him that such a stink could stay with him even if he returns to the GOP.
The other thing I wondered is if he is following the Ron Paul model: this might be an endeavor to build a mailing list/funding streams drawn from the old right/paleo movement.
Who he ends up with as his v.p. nominee will tell a lot about his intentions.
I agree that Hornberger is a purist. Unfortunately, he is not a libertarian purist, but is instead a non-interventionist purist. He could as easily claim to be a libertarian purist if he were a vegetarian purist or a unicorn purist.
Since the principles of justice apply to all natural persons, in all places and times, his non-interventionism in foreign policy also has domestic implications. For instance, if police could not intervene to protect or retaliate against murder, rape, theft, and other common -law crimes, there would be no police functions for police to do. Because that is what police do, professionally–they intervene.
Supposedly, to protect innocent victims. Suppose I had asked a domestic non-interventionist how he derived his non-intervention principle from the non-initiation of force principle. If he had responded by citing examples of police misconduct, and then expected listeners to draw the conclusion that because some domestic interventions are bad, all are bad, that would be analogous to Hornberger’s “answer” to my question.
Hornberger is disconnected from the real world. He bought the mailing list of the original Future of Freedom group, starting with their original 1969 conference featuring Mises. Austrian economics has it’s own problems, but at least has coherence and some kind of overlap with reality.
If Hornberger were nominated, libertarianism would become utterly useless as a label; much as “liberal” lost it’s original meaning. True libertarians would have to invent a new term. If Hornberger becomes the face of libertarianism, that would set back the movement by a century or more.
If Hornberger gets the nomination I have a feeling we are going to see the worst voting results for the LP top ticket since Badnarik in 2004. He might speak well to other Libertarians that live in the echo chamber, but man alive, his schpiel is going to go down like a lead zeppelin once he is out in the General Election, not to mention he is going to barely get any mainstream earned media appearances. Odds are that Amash will still take it though, despite the purist holdouts among the delegates that will likely be more prevalent in an in person Convention.
The biggest difference is that anti-Trump opinion has firmed up among many who were hoping he would grow in office and reluctantly voted for him last time after having considered voting for Johnson or Clinton, as well as among those who reluctantly voted for Clinton. Those who were eagerly pro-Trump last time have almost all dug in even more as far as that goes, and this time they will have a lot more get out the vote resources than last time.
Unlike an open seat campaign which yielded two non-incumbents who both had high negatives, this one will be almost completely an up-or-down referendum on Trump, with Biden being the down option. Trump will try to also make it about Biden but I don’t think that will succeed nearly as well as it did with Clinton.
The election season will be shortened, with LP and Greens nominating in July, ballot access deadlines and establishment party nominations in August, and many people voting early – many in September. I just don’t see as much of an opening for any alt party or independent this year as four years ago. Name recognition and articulateness won’t get you past people unwilling to consider a third option.
paulie: “Agreed as well, although I do have my doubt he can do even that well.”
Given that his mother is Syrian, I’m fairly confident Justin Amash knows what Aleppo is. He has higher name recognition and is far more articulate and less baked than Johnson. He also probably wouldn’t beg for a runningmate more interested in helping his Democratic opponent. Independents who would’ve voted Libertarian in 2016, had they been presented with a stable candidate leading a competent campaign, may be reachable in 2020. I guess a lot depends on whether the difference in appeal between Amash and Johnson is greater than the difference between Biden and Hillary.
“it is a strange that people who quote Hobbes to dismiss libertarianism conveniently forget that Hobbes’ intent vis a vis the “war of all against all” was to dismiss representational government as a reform. So, unless you are willing to saddle up to the undivided government of the single ruler(the monarch), you should probably find another argument.”
(K) I do dismiss democracy as a reform of monarchy. Because I favor the system Rothbard proposed but misrepresented by the misleading term “anarcho-capitalism”. His agencies of retaliatory/defensive force would be governments in fact if not in name. He posed as an anarchist to cover his tracks, so people wouldn’t be aware of his plagiarism of the Jus Gentium (common law) system of the Greco-Romans.
It is not I, but dl, who dismisses libertarianism, because he would prohibit (through initiation of force, or magic) the ability to contract defense/retaliation/mediation services. Such contracts inevitably involve the possibility of intervention by a third party.
Which is why I maintain that Hornberger doesn’t understand the terms he is using, he confuses “intervene” with “initiation of force”. If intervention were somehow prohibited, more initiations of force would occur, as predatory gangs would pick off lone individuals and stragglers.
Again, Hornberger’s non-interventionism, if implemented, would result in the swift collapse of civilization and a long dark age characterized by a war of all against all (“Bellum omnium contra omnes” from his De Cive 1642; elsewhere he phrases the concept differently).
Agreed as well, although I do have my doubt he can do even that well.
it is a strange that people who quote Hobbes to dismiss libertarianism conveniently forget that Hobbes’ intent vis a vis the “war of all against all” was to dismiss representational government as a reform. So, unless you are willing to saddle up to the undivided government of the single ruler(the monarch), you should probably find another argument.
I have no doubt Hornberger is a man of principle. The problem? His principle is not non-initiation of force. It is non-intervention. The two are not synonymous, as he implies.
To “intervene” simply means, to take sides in a dispute. Without intervention, every person would be a self-defense island, unable to defend others or ask help from others in his own defense.
I asked Hornberger how he derived his non-intervention principle from the non-initiation of force principle. Instead of answering my question, he recited a list of previous US interventions and concluded from that, all interventions are 100% unjust and absent US intervention, problems would be less or non-existent.
If the US military were not allowed to intervene, there would be no military tasks for them to perform. Because that is what militaries do, professionally: they intervene.
Even if all US forces were withdrawn to within US borders, and commanded to stay behind those borders forever, they could still intervene (if there were an invasion of the US by a foreign power). Presumably, they would side with Americans and defend them against the invader.
Ironically, under a policy of non-intervention, the US military could still attack another force (whether inside or outside US borders) so long as the attack didn’t defend anybody. Such an attack would be mano a mano or a two party conflict. Each US soldier would be an army of one and could not defend any other person. As a practical matter, that would be impossible to achieve; because an attack on an enemy, if successful, would indirectly defend others (and thus be an intervention).
There is no way any military could function as a military, and not intervene. As a practical matter consistent non-interventionism at the governmental level would amount to abolishing the military. Starting with the US military, of course.
Sure, Amash is not really a libertarian. I don’t like his foreign policy. But at least he believes there should be a US military and some role for that military.
The end result of non-interventionism, if applied just to the US military, would be the end of the US as a nation. Without a functioning military, the US would have little defense. Militias would suffice, you say? I see. Hardy little bands of part-time patriots would suffice. But if they defended Americans, that would still be intervention.
Even if all militaries in the world were to disband, and force were never organized to attack, defend, or retaliate, that would amount to a war of every lone individual against every other lone individual. Unless everybody became a pacifist.
The US military, whether inside the US or outside it’s borders, should be financed by user fees. Because the principles of justice are universal, and apply to all natural persons, in all places and times. While a US military confined to within US borders, might still intervene, and might be tax-financed.
Hornberger’s foreign policy amounts to wishing for unicorns. Such a world has never existed and he has proposed no plan to create his purist new world.
He has demonstrated no ability to articulate his views in clear language, and appears to not know the meaning of the terms he so self-righteously employs in his personal drama.
Yeah, I agree. Losertarianism, which is selling out and not getting paid.
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