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Opening Arguments

Little choice, small hope

Randy Balko grew up in a "particularly conservative" part of Indiana, but he's a senior editor for Reason magazine, so dismiss his observation as a libertarian rant if you want to. But he makes a lot of sense to me:

The truth is, unless you vote for a third-party candidate (which really isn't a bad idea), you don't have much of a choice this November. You can either endorse the idea of a massive, invasive, ever-encroaching federal government that's used to promote center-left ideology, or you can endorse the idea of a massive, invasive, ever-encroaching federal government that's used to promote center-right ideology.

Sadly, if the GOP does lose, it's likely to be interpreted not as a repudiation of the GOP's excesses, but as an endorsement of the Democrats'. When the only two parties who have a chance at winning both have a track record of expanding the size and scope of government, every election is likely to be interpreted as a win for big government — only the brand changes.

Voting yourself more freedom simply isn't an option, at least if you want your vote to be taken seriously (and I'm not denigrating any third parties here; I'm just reflecting reality).

Which brings me back to why the Republicans need to get throttled. A humiliated, decimated GOP that rejuvenates and rebuilds around the principles of limited government, free markets, and rugged individualism is really the only chance for voters to possibly get a real choice in federal elections down the road.

Neither major party is really dedicated to the principles of liberty and limited government. A third party will never gain enough of a foothold to make a difference -- even if it does, it's just as likely to be populist as libertarian. The only hope is for a major party to get back to its ideals, which means our hopes, pitiful as they might be, are tied to the Republicans coming to their senses. A huge humiliation in a couple of weeks won't guarantee the party will take stock and regroup, but it's our best shot.


Mon, 10/20/2008 - 3:15pm

That's probably not a bad analysis. It took the Watergate thrashing of the Republicans to get to the Church Committee in 1975-76 to stop the executive branch from using the CIA to collect information on the political activities of citizens.

Gerald Ford, who was being actively advised by two up-and-comers named Rumsfeld and Cheney, couldn't stop the Congress from exercising oversight and limiting the intrusive powers of the intelligence agencies.

But, eventually the Watergate backlash faded and Cheney & Rumsfeld got back into power, and now we have to go through another backlash.

Mon, 10/20/2008 - 9:51pm

Gosh Doug ...I hate it when you exclude the Dems.

Morton Halverson, a favorite of the Clinton Administration and an isolationist who wanted to influence US foreign policy said:
`If the Church Committee report didn't make it clear enough, there can no longer be any doubt that covert operations are incompatible with constitutional government and should be abolished.'

But in the end, the Democrats and the Clintons bowed to the temptation to use the security agencies to their own advantage. Besides the infamous Filegate database assembled by Mrs. Clinton and the FBI on political rivals, there was Echelon.

From American Thinker:
'The US National Security Agency (NSA) created a global spy system, codename ECHELON, which captured and analyzed virtually every phone call, fax, email and telex message sent anywhere in the world. evidence already existed that electronic surveillance had previously been misused by the Clinton Administration for political purposes. Intelligence officials told Insight Magazine in 1997 that a 1993 conference of Asian and Pacific world leaders hosted by Clinton in Seattle had been spied on by U.S. intelligence agencies. Further, the magazine reported that information obtained by the spying had been passed on to big Democrat corporate donors to use against their competitors.

So, during the Clinton Administration, evidence existed that:

Z Man
Tue, 10/21/2008 - 10:30am

Poor Randy and Leo -- you may be the last people in the US that realize that "limited government, free markets, and rugged individualism" got us into this financial mess (er, depression). Randy is probably not complaining when the government backs his bank deposits, bails out his under-water mortgage, provides unemployment and food stamps when he is laid off, and gives his kids a good public education. Since he is a "ruggest individualist", he probably is taking advantage of tax credits for energy efficient heating, riding on federal and state funded bike trails, and eating farm-subsidized vegetables. Give me a break.

Leo Morris
Tue, 10/21/2008 - 11:02am

Omigod, you;ve made me see the light. We have too LITTLE government.

Z Man
Tue, 10/21/2008 - 12:22pm

That's what you and your libertarian pals were saying when your 401K plan was dropping 30% last week.

tim zank
Tue, 10/21/2008 - 12:30pm

Z Man, you must have slept through American History in school. The three things you mention

Z Man
Tue, 10/21/2008 - 1:11pm

Zank-man, nice to see your compassionate conservatism. Is that what your are saying to the 4,000 National City employees that are getting pink slips today because your "free market" mortgage system ran afoul? I've been in business for 30 years and can survive this and other meltdowns. People like you, on the other hand, are the first ones in line for the government safety net.

tim zank
Tue, 10/21/2008 - 2:18pm

uhhh...been self employed (or straight commission) about as long as you, 38 years, I too can weather this one. I vividly remember the late 70's & early 80's sitting on spec houses while mortgage interest rates were 18% Sorry to burst your bubble, but I've never had a handout. Given plenty away though over the years, I just prefer to give it as opposed to having it taken away by the state and given to those with their hand out.

As for Natcity, I don't think it stated on the employment application "You are hereby guaranteed a livelyhood for your natural life".

Leo Morris
Tue, 10/21/2008 - 2:36pm

Here ( http://volokh.com/archives/archive_2008_10_19-2008_10_25.shtml#1224544434 ) is some recommended reading, Z Man, though I doubt it will sink in.

Larry Morris
Tue, 10/21/2008 - 3:30pm

Yes, Tim, I agree, ... I'd rather keep my money and give away what I can to people who live close to me who need it - gee, do ya think if we ALL did that, we might not even need the Federal handouts, ... ?

tim zank
Tue, 10/21/2008 - 6:19pm

It wasn't that long ago Larry, that is precisely what everyone did. If you fell on hard times or had some sort of calamity you reached out to your family, your church, and your friends instead of your Congressman.

Of course, then came the New Deal and the Great society and all of it's responsibility killing entitlements (welfare, medicare, medicaid etc etc etc.) attached, so after a couple of generations of folks getting everything they want and need for not doing a damn thing, why wouldn't the next generations simply expect even more free shit?