Sunday, February 17, 2008

Libertarians for Obama

Given my habit of mocking and baiting libertarians, it seems only fair when their overly-simplistic principles end putting them on the right side of an issue. So if Lew Rockwell's site is suggesting that libertarians should support Obama, because war is the most pro-big-government thing there can be, and Obama is the most anti-war of the viable candidates...well, my hat is off. That Lew Rockwell is often a nexus of racism and xenophobia just heightens by admiration. I've long thought that libertarians would be truer to their principles if they allied themselves with the Democrats than Republicans (both parties of "big government", but in different ways) and it seems like they are coming around.


TGGP said...

Were you unaware of "The Reality of Red State Fascism", written by Rockwell himself?

Like Daniel Larison, I am unconvinced when it comes to Obama's dovishness. Give me a Gravel over him any day.

mtraven said...

Yes, I was unaware of that essay, not being a devoted student of such stuff. It's not bad. But the idea that the right was basically libertarian until 1994 is ridiculous and ahistorical, ignoring the authoritarian big government tendencies of the Nixon and Reagan eras, the repressive paranoia of the anticommunists, etc. The right has always been authoritarian. I admire the Rockwellites for managing to use their principles to partially climb out of that swamp.

It's not clear how dovish Obama would be -- but it's pretty clear that the other two viable candidates won't be at all. I was rooting for Kucinich myself.

TGGP said...

Larison continues on Obama and the enthusiasm for him on the part of libertarian doves here.

You're right that the right was not libertarian, but it was relatively so in the past. Hopefully when the government is controlled by The Other Guys they will go back to hating and fearing it a bit more, like in the glorious days of Clinton!

What does "repressive paranoia of the anticommunists" have to do with libertarianism? A lot of it was healthy anti-government fear, though it also acted through the pre-existing HUAC in a rather non-libertarian way. Bit of a wash or orthogonal you might say. Korean-Jewish Jared Taylor protege Marcus Epstein has a good essay on Rothbard's stance on McCarthyism here.

I'm not sure what to think of Reagan. He increased the size of government and didn't eliminate any of the things he claimed he would and though he initially lowered taxes he later raised them and also increased the deficit. On the other hand how many Presidents actually have decreased the size of government rather than just increasing it at a lower rate? His was the first administration to bring in neocons (the paleo split occurred when Bill Bennett was picked over Mel Bradford) but it wasn't really much more neocon than Bush Sr. He's fondly remembered for being a Cold Warrior but he kept us out of serious conflicts (Grenada seems rather trifling) and backed out of Lebanon when things got rough. I'd much rather we waged wars by proxy than directly, even if I'd really prefer if the money sent to "freedom fighters" wasn't raised in the first place and we had nothing to do with it.