From Conservative to Libertarian

Maybe it was original and true when Reagan first said it in 1962, but by the time Arlen Specter appropriated the old “I didn’t leave the [insert party] Party.  The [insert party] left me” in 2009 it was an obnoxious cliché.  Or so I thought.

Now, in 2010, I find that the phrase captures my own feelings about my transition from conservative to libertarian just perfectly.  I’m not moving, the label is moving.  I didn’t change, conservatism changed.

Fifteen years ago the only thing I thought libertarians stood for was legalization of marijuana. I’m actually indifferent on that issue, but I certainly don’t think it’s the kind of thing I’d want to build a political party around. Back then I saw conservatism as the movement that stood for our traditional political infrastructure and so – by extension – for limited government and civil liberties. These were the days of the Gingrich Revolution, and it was a good time to be a conservative.

And then along came Bush.  There was the War on Terror, PATRIOT Act, and the invasion of Iraq. But more than that, there was compassionate conservatism. In an effort to further entrench the evangelical vote in the conservative wing, conservatives embraced the basic tenet of liberalism: better living through big-government. Instead of cutting down on superfluous government like the Department of Education, we got the No Child Left Behind Act.  Instead of trimming waste and fraud in entitlement programs, we expanded government with Medicare Part D.  This was not the conservatism that I had signed up for.  This was not the conservatism that revered the principles of our Founding.  This was not the conservatism that I wanted to have anything to do with.

A decade ago I saw the world in terms of liberals vs. conservatives. Today I see the political landscape as divided between progressives and libertarians, with liberals and conservatives in a confused jumble in the middle.

Despite my belief in limited government, I’m a staunch social conservative.  I believe in protecting the right to life of all human beings.  I believe in the importance of traditional families.  I believe in old-fashioned morals, and for a while this aspect of my politics kept me in the conservative tent while the rest of my support for conservatism slowly eroded.  But in October 2009 a sermon by Elder Todd Christofferson in the Mormon General Conference forever changed my perception of morality and politics.  Here’s an excerpt from his talk, called Moral Discipline:

The societies in which many of us live have for more than a generation failed to foster moral discipline. They have taught that truth is relative and that everyone decides for himself or herself what is right. Concepts such as sin and wrong have been condemned as “value judgments.” As the Lord describes it, “Every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god” (D&C 1:16).

As a consequence, self-discipline has eroded and societies are left to try to maintain order and civility by compulsion. The lack of internal control by individuals breeds external control by governments. One columnist observed that “gentlemanly behavior [for example, once] protected women from coarse behavior. Today, we expect sexual harassment laws to restrain coarse behavior. . . .

“Policemen and laws can never replace customs, traditions and moral values as a means for regulating human behavior. At best, the police and criminal justice system are the last desperate line of defense for a civilized society. Our increased reliance on laws to regulate behavior is a measure of how uncivilized we’ve become.”

In most of the world, we have been experiencing an extended and devastating economic recession. It was brought on by multiple causes, but one of the major causes was widespread dishonest and unethical conduct, particularly in the U.S. housing and financial markets. Reactions have focused on enacting more and stronger regulation. Perhaps that may dissuade some from unprincipled conduct, but others will simply get more creative in their circumvention. There could never be enough rules so finely crafted as to anticipate and cover every situation, and even if there were, enforcement would be impossibly expensive and burdensome. This approach leads to diminished freedom for everyone. In the memorable phrase of Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, “We would not accept the yoke of Christ; so now we must tremble at the yoke of Caesar.”

In the end, it is only an internal moral compass in each individual that can effectively deal with the root causes as well as the symptoms of societal decay. Societies will struggle in vain to establish the common good until sin is denounced as sin and moral discipline takes its place in the pantheon of civic virtues.

I had some qualms about quoting a Mormon leader on America’s Right, but when I realized that the lynchpin quote in that excerpt comes from political commentator Walter Williams I decided to go ahead and include it.  If Mormon leaders get to quote libertarian economists in their sermons I figure I ought to get to quote Mormon leaders in my libertarian essays!

Since hearing that sermon I’ve decided that I’m tired of trying to win the culture wars by the application of top-down political force.  Not only is it unwinnable, but even if you did win you would still lose.  I don’t want to live in a country where public and higher education are riddled with antiquated leftist fossils pedaling their failed ideologies, but I’m no more keen to live in a world where a conservative government imposes politically correct conservative ideology. I’m now a libertarian because I believe that’s the only way to win the culture wars and still have anything left at the end of the day.

The last barrier that prevented me from calling myself a libertarian as I grew more and more cynical about the conservative movement was that I didn’t really know what it meant to be a libertarian. I have long since learned that there’s more to it than legalizing pot, but I was confused by the different factions who considered themselves libertarian and even more confused by the fact that libertarian views can crop up from folks all across the old conservative/liberal political spectrum.

Two things finally made me comfortable with libertarianism. First of all, I found the Volokh Conspiracy. It’s the most prominent libertarian legal blog in the country, and – although there is certainly dissent among the members – it was my first introduction to top-rate libertarian legal scholars.

Secondly, I came to believe we are in a period of political sea-change in which old paradigms (liberal v. conservative) are dying and new ones are forming (progressive v. libertarian). Part of the reason libertarianism has been so ill-defined is that – as a small, marginal element of American politics – there was little pressure to form a cohesive ideology. There were no leaders because there was nothing significant to lead. If you view the Tea Parties as essentially libertarian rather than conservative, however (and I do), then all of a sudden the libertarian movement is the most vibrant and influential political ideology in popular society.  There will always be alternate views and dissenters, but the time for libertarianism to move from the fringes to center-stage is now.  And along with that transition it’s time to start developing a coherent policy philosophy.

So I’ve stopped looking for an arbiter of libertarianism. I don’t think there is a kind of “orthodox libertarianism”.  Instead – much as with conservatism just prior to the National Review – I think it’s high time to build one.

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Comments

  1. Scriv says:

    Well put, Robert. The real fight in American politics is coming to light. Left vs. Right is no longer an accurate descriptor of the battle: it about the statists and the libertarians. The nature of our freedom has opened the door to a wide array of social and cultural views. If you try and define “American Culture” you would get hundreds if not thousands of contradicting examples from across our nation. We have fallen into the trap of trying to guide our culture through legislation- going against the very definition of freedom in it’s most basic sense (defined by Merriam Webster’s dictionary as “exemption from external control”). I especially like the quote of a quote in your article ““Policemen and laws can never replace customs, traditions and moral values as a means for regulating human behavior. At best, the police and criminal justice system are the last desperate line of defense for a civilized society. Our increased reliance on laws to regulate behavior is a measure of how uncivilized we’ve become.”” This sums up the situation: how do you maintain a truly free society where personal social responsibility is not the norm? If the individual in a free society does not act with some degree of personal responsibility then it jeopardizes the freedoms of the society as a whole. Laws have to be put in place to prevent those with bad intentions from harming the rest of us, but at the cost of some of everybody’s liberty. How do you get a group of people (hundreds of millions of them) to “do unto others…” and not harm, steal, etc without forcing them to some degree? The Church has been a means of enforcement for that for centuries, but now our society is growing more and more secular and the Laws of God are almost completely ignored while the laws of the state becoming their replacement. This has been troubling me more and more as I continue to take action in the pursuit of liberty (i.e. the “tea parties”). We have the means to achieve and maintain real freedom from a standpoint of how we are governed, but can America as a society in it’s current state be trusted to adhere to the values necessary to preserve it?

  2. Gail B. says:

    If all parties would adhere to the limits of the United States Constitution, I can’t see how there would be a problem with belonging to any party. But, to hack at the document for the purpose of bleeding out more control over the citizens? And to appoint CZARS?!

    As many lawsuits that have been presented to the courts to establish the eligibility of this current occupant of the White House, only to be told that We, the American People, have no standing indicates to me that we have a BIG problem: our justice system is broken. My question is WHO BROKE IT, HOW, AND WHY?! Laws of the states are going to be challenged by the federal government. WHY? And, will the law suits against the federal government challenging constitutionality of the healthcare bill going to be thrown out–because we have no standing? WHY DON’T WE?

    I am very troubled by the way things are going with the political parties. Maybe NOVEMBER 2010 will offer some REAL HOPE AND CHANGE!!!

    Grrrrr!

  3. Gail B. says:

    “And, will the law suits….”
    Make that “And, are the law suits….”

  4. Randy Wills says:

    Good article, Robert. This captures my deepest concern, one that I share with Glenn Beck, that nothing less than a spiritual reawakening in America can save us from self-destruction. In the absence of self-governance based on commonly accepted moral/spiritual principles, the cost of governance is a bottomless pit and the most well-intentioned objectives unobtainable.

    Randy

  5. John Buyon says:

    @ Robert Wallace
    is your version of libertarianism social conservative, economic liberal?
    if so that is the exact same as American conservatism.
    nothing new nothing “spiritually awakening”.

    ” The Church has been a means of enforcement for that for centuries, but now our society is growing more and more secular and the Laws of God are almost completely ignored while the laws of the state becoming their replacement. ”

    wow this sentence is jaw droppingly stupid
    1) the church has enforced moral order: Bullshit it is people, civilization and families that make religions good
    not religion that make ppl good.
    2) secularism is bad: would you like a theocracy?
    3) the laws of god are being ignored: which god? which laws? which part of what section of who’s gods laws?
    I would prefer the laws of a democratic republic over some fairytale of the bronze age any day.

    why do you hate and distrust the government of the USA so much? why are you so eager to believe the absolute worst about it?

  6. Kahleeka says:

    I’ve been toying with the tenets of libertarianism for a few years now and I’m glad you mentioned a good website to get more info. No matter how many laws are put in place, depraved man will find ways to circumvent those rules for their gain. Americans no longer have a moral code. Corruption is seen from within our neighborhoods on up to the leaders of our nation. This is not the America I grew up in where I left my bike in safety on my front lawn and our doors were rarely locked! I’ve been disillusioned with one lying Republican after the other, worse yet, honest Republicans who have no idea what fiscal or personal responsibility is.

    This is an excellent excerpt. I no longer “feel” Republican, I’ve learned more about our government and the Constitution in the last few years than I have in my entire life. Over the course of my self-education by reading websites like America’s Right and many others, I’ve learned that much of my historical education was a farce. History was perverted and distorted and I still cannot fathom why that has happened in our society!!

    I’ve heard for many years that America needs a “revival” and churches accross our nation hold “revivals” periodically, but I fear there never will be that revival . . . I personally have almost lost hope because the depravity of our society knows no bounds and forever marches toward the pit of hell growing more brazen in our wanton sinfulness. Anyone who disagrees might check their local sex offender registry and see how many convicted sex offenders live in a 5 mile radius of their home . . . probably dozens if you live in the suburbs.

    I don’t know where I’m going with this . . . I’ve been a bit exhausted lately. I know no solution but to walk one day at a time and do my part in my little world. I hope for a Jonah who will preach to an American Ninivah and have us all on our knees in repentance.

    Until then, I think fiscal responsibility has to be paramount! Or will our nation have to lose everything before we are willing to change?

  7. whats_up says:

    Robert, good article, much their that I agree with. Any society whose rules are forced from the top down wont last long.

    Gail,

    Your fundamental misunderstaning of the Constistituion might be part of your problem. The Constitution allows the President to appoint CZARS, and Presidents have been appointing them for sometime now. I dont have a problem with you criticizing what Obama does, but for heaven sakes do it truthfully.

    Randy,

    Good point and one I agree with you on, spirtuality is lacking in America, a country where 80% claim to be Christian. At some point, perhaps we need to have a debate on wether the various churches in this country have lost their way, and more importantly why. Now that conversation would be interesting.

  8. Robert Wallace says:

    Jeff Buyon-

    You started your comments out with a question (“is your version of libertarianism social conservative, economic liberal?”), and then you spent the rest of your post dedicated to the *wrong* answer to that question. Of course my version of libertarianism is not social conservative, economic liberal. That is the definition of “compassionate conservatism”, which (as I state in the article) was the major factor in driving me *away* from conservatism.

    In fact, the entire point of my piece was to talk about justifying my social conservatism with my libertarian (small gov’t) politics, The fact that you missed that makes me wonder if you even read what I wrote at all.

    “wow this sentence is jaw droppingly stupid”

    The problem – once again – is that you don’t understand what you’re reading. The Church *literally* imposed order because the Church was both moral and secular authority for centuries in Europe. This isn’t a theoretical model we should work for, it’s just plain history.

    I’m going to forego point-by-point refutations of the rest of your comments. If you’d care to *read* what I wrote and try again I’d be happy to address legitimate concerns, but you’re so busy beating up a straw-man that I’d hate to interrupt you.

  9. Robert Wallace says:

    Kahleeka-

    I like that you brought up Jonah and Ninevah. Not only has my daughter been watching the Veggie Tales version of this story for the last couple of weeks, but I remember wanting to have a direct line to Glenn Beck’s show last week when he talked about the pride cycle and wanted to know if there was an example of a people who’d gone from “sin” to “freedom” without going through the “bondage” step. Yes! The people of Ninevah! When Jonah preached to them they actually *listened*, repented, and short-circuited the cycle of pride by skipping the lowest part of the cycle.

    That’s my hope that we can do the same thing in the United States. For all we talk about necessary political reforms – and they are necessary – what we fundamentally need is for people to repent. If that happens political reform will be easy – or at least possible. If it doesn’t happen than no amount of political reform will be any good.

  10. whats_up says:

    Robert says:

    The problem – once again – is that you don’t understand what you’re reading. The Church *literally* imposed order because the Church was both moral and secular authority for centuries in Europe. This isn’t a theoretical model we should work for, it’s just plain history.

    Robert,

    I think the problem might be that historically speaking, the Church during the middle ages and up until about the 1900′s wasnt really a very good “moral” authority. The Enlightenment and much of the advance of politcal and personal freedoms happened in spite of the Church, not because of it.

  11. Randy Wills says:

    “whats-up”: You’re on. I would love to engage you in that “conversation”, but a lot of my “Chrisian” friends aren’t going to like what I have to say on that subject.

    And I would like to say again how much I look forward to all of the comments on AR, even from Mr. Buyon, who I am determined to convince that his arguments would be taken more seriously if he would elevate his rhetoric to a more respectful level. Just because he may think that religion is a fairy tale from the Bronze Age doesn’t make that so. Since when is one person’s mere opinion – or faith – sufficient reason to dismiss all others? We all choose what we will believe, but none of us possesses the capability of “knowing” what is unknowable in this present world. That is why believers such as I am say that we “walk by faith”. That does not weaken my belief or the “defense of the faith that lies within me” but simply acknowledges that what I believe is not empirically provable within the context of the present physical world in which I live, but yet I would gladly stake my life on it. I accept “faith” to believe as a gift from a loving God. And I guess that would give Mr.Buyon a clue as to where I think that the gift of “faith” to disbelieve comes from, wouldn’t it?

    More to come.

    Randy

  12. Monica says:

    Excellent piece, Robert. Progressive vs. Libertarian. Interesting. I think my beliefs are pretty similar to yours, and I have felt less attached to the “conservative” label as well.

  13. Robert Wallace says:

    whats-up

    “I think the problem might be that historically speaking, the Church during the middle ages and up until about the 1900’s wasnt really a very good “moral” authority.”

    I’ll let Scriv defend his own words, but from my POV there are two ways to look at that:

    1. Historically the Church enforced moral code. That’s the way I took the phrase the first time, but I think I got it wrong.

    2. When people are devout, they enforce themselves based on the teachings of the Church to which they belong. In that sense America’s rising rate of alienation from organized religion leads to less practical *self-control*. I think this is what Scriv meant, and it’s correct.

    “The Enlightenment and much of the advance of politcal and personal freedoms happened in spite of the Church, not because of it.”

    I disagree. There was some antagonism between the Church and progressive (meant something different back then), but it’s vastly overplayed for political gain by modern secularists. The fact is that the Church was often at the forefront of scientific and moral progress. The Catholics had banned slavery by the 11th century or so throughout Europe, and fought tooth-and-nail against the resurgence in later centuries. Much scientific progress was thanks directly to the work of monks monitoring their own resources, and Rodney Stark has argued that it was the nature of Christian theology that led directly to the age of reason because it was an orthodox rather than an orthoprax (as Islam and Judaism) religion. (See his book: Victory of Reason.)

    People who buy into this reason vs. religion (and I’m not saying you totally do) often forget that it was a Catholic priest who – for example – created the Big Bang Theory.

    All in all it’s really just one of those historical fables we tell ourselves because it’s got a conveniently moralistic narrative to fit our secular times. The truth is far more complex.

  14. John Buyon says:

    @ Randy
    I have contempt for public religion especially when religion gets political. there is no way of me hiding that. BUT I don’t have contempt for libertarianism.
    nor do I “dismiss the rest of your ideas”
    All I am saying is that when there is a political question the first person who loses is the one who mentions god, Jesus, Mohammad etc…

    @ Nataniel
    I am amazed that you know enough about history to know that the church wasn’t a complete roadblock, HOWEVER it did stunt technological and social progress. the original liberals and “good guys” came out of the church but in the late 19th and 20th century the church became essentially a force for “bad”

    @ Christians
    please understand that when liberals or leftist critique Christianity it isn’t because we think Christians are the worst. I for one believe Christianity with all of it’s defaults and ridiculousness is still far more advanced philosophy than Islam or Judaism.
    Jesus is a very good role model better than the other ones.
    what I do hate is when religion is worn on the sleeve and when religion gets political. nothing good ever EVER happens when a faith based groups gains political power.

  15. Robert Wallace says:

    John Buyon-

    You are not a very polite person.

    And we don’t see eye-to-eye on the role of religion, either. But I’m not sure I want to get into it with someone who isn’t polite.

    I’m getting too old for that.

  16. Scriv says:

    Mr. Buyon,

    ” ” The Church has been a means of enforcement for that for centuries, but now our society is growing more and more secular and the Laws of God are almost completely ignored while the laws of the state becoming their replacement. ”

    wow this sentence is jaw droppingly stupid ”

    I will not “take the bait” and begin an argument here. Instead I will offer an elaboration of the mentioned quote in relation to the context of the statement.

    The phrase “the Laws of God” was left ambiguous because it does not refer to any particular religion. It refers to an observance by people of a moral code that is held by a society separate from the laws of the state. “The Church” does not refer to a building or an organization, but the people who adhere to these sets of morals. I apologize for not making that clearer in my original comment; I had grown accustomed to that phrase referencing the people of a faith and not the organization through my parochial education.

    Robert was correct in my intended meaning with his 2nd interpretation of the statement:
    ” When people are devout, they enforce themselves based on the teachings of the Church to which they belong. In that sense America’s rising rate of alienation from organized religion leads to less practical *self-control*. ”

    That aside, I feel that you missed the point of what I wrote and just searched for a phrase inside of it to attack. The point was about questioning the capability of a secular America adhering to the necessary internal motivation to “do the right thing” without the need of laws handed down by the state to enforce certain behavior. I have observed in my generation a sway towards the mentality of “it’s only wrong if you get caught”. The generation after mine isn’t showing many signs of improvement on that. This lack of internal motivation to adhere to behavioral limits only increases the perceived “need” for the state to enact more legislation regulating behavior- hence a slide into authoritarianism. Liberty is what we seek, but I question that we as a society are ready to handle it (that shouldn’t stop us from fighting for it, we just need to realize the potential problems before they destroy the cause). The last thing that anyone here is seeking is a theocracy; that is just another form of “statism”. The whole idea of libertarianism is about the minimal impact of the state in the lives of the citizens. There are great responsibilities put onto the individual citizen to make this possible and sustainable. Your aggressive and immature response only serves as confirmation to the notion that we as a culture may not be ready for it.

  17. Randy Wills says:

    To “John Buyon”;

    I understand what you are saying, and I too detest the co-mingling of religion and politics (and entreprenuralism) for self-serving purposes, but it’s quite difficult to analyze political problems without acknowledging that most of them have their origins in religious phiosophy.

    Without delving too deeply into the theological aspects (it makes Jeff kind of nervous when I do, because AR is supposed to be a politicl blog), I’ll try to establish the reason that a nation that claims to be 80% Chritian has failed so miserablly to create a society which, by its very nature, make the current move to the “left” both unnecesary and impossible to take root.

    Randy

  18. Jeff Schreiber says:

    Randy: I’m barely here. And it’s only gonna get worse before it gets better. Get after that cookie jar while Dad is off looking elsewhere :)

    Buyon: Robert is right, and Randy is too. I get the feeling your comments would be a whole lot more interesting to read if you framed them in a little less angst and anger.

    Robert: Top notch. You and I are pretty darned close when it comes to where we stand ideologically. When it comes to the philosophical, though, you put it into words much better than I can.

    And that’s all he wrote. The coffee pot and the review books beckon.

    Jeff

  19. John Buyon says:

    @ Scriv

    your definition of church was not my definition of church and in that sense you are right. a lack of internal indigenous moral discipline facilitates a slide into authoritarianism.

    however I dispute the fact that America is getting less moral ( if morality is not judged by strict old testament interpretation)
    through out the world and especially in America
    1) Racism has ended
    2) Women are now equal to men economically and legally
    3) teen pregnancies are down
    4) property crime is down
    5) economic growth is still high ( ppl are not getting lazier)
    6) numerous conventions and laws have been passed to protect the rights of minorities immigrants, and children
    7) students are less rebellious than when you were growing up (think about it, remember anarchist rebels and Maoist protesters rioting all over the west in 1968?)
    8) Politics has gotten much cleaner ( death of big city machines, get out the vote programs, No politician can lie and get away with it etc…)
    9) freedom has been extended ( collapse of communism, east Asian liberalization)
    10) rise of mass communication enabling rigorous debate, and encouraging freedom of speech and the development of open societies.

  20. Scriv says:

    @ John Buyon,

    Your change in tone is much appreciated. If you keep it up you will find that more people will engage in a discussion rather than an argument with you.

    As far as the points you listed as advancements in morality, I do have do disagree. There has been some progress in these areas in certain aspects, but by no means has there been a total shift towards the “ideal” or even a level that would make a truly free society sustainable.

    I do not have the space here to discuss each point individually but I will take the time to talk about one: racism in America (even though it is a little off topic for this thread). Racism as an apartheid style segregation of races has gone away. Unfortunately, racism in other areas has not. As long as groups create sub-cultures by classifying themselves as “hyphenated Americans” (i.e. Mexican-American, African-American) there will be a social divide amongst races in some form. That is amplified by legislation such as “affirmative action” that is in itself a form of “reverse racism”. Until we can shed the hyphen and all just be Americans, this will continue to create divisions in our society. An example of the division and stereotyping that still exists is shown in the YouTube video listed below (you’ll have to copy and paste, sorry that I don’t know how to insert the address as a link) from the secular comedian Bill Maher.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UeDPWaLWKCc&feature=player_embedded

    I appreciate the adjustment in the presentation of your comment, please keep it up in the future and you’ll find discussion here is more productive and a better use of everyone’s time than an argument.

    P.S. You were off by a few decades in the assumption of my age/generation: I am actually in my 20′s and I was referring to the 20-something generation in my previous comment. I will take it as a compliment.

    Oh yea, and I do agree with your #10 one hundred percent. Let’s hope that doesn’t fall under the heavy hand of the federal regulation too (please see the proposed legislation about regulating media including radio and the internet: I don’t have a bill # but it should be easy to find if you Google it).

  21. Dream Dream Dream says:

    8:13

    tea partiers are having their fingers bit off,
    their husbands are being cold cock punched in front of their wives and children, and frail black men selling flags are being pummeled by SEIU thugs…..

    try again

  22. Thou says:

    8:13

    “if morality is not judged by strict old testament interpretation”

    Those pesky Ten Commandments

    What a shallow superficial world some insist on.

  23. Barack Obama says:

    “9) freedom has been extended (collapse of communism, east Asian liberalization)”

    Hey wait a minute, I thought communism was a very, very, very good thing?????

  24. Pilate says:

    10:46 “nothing good ever EVER happens when a faith based groups gains political power.”

    Same goes for heathens.

    Try a new tact. Eh

  25. John Buyon says:

    @ Scriv
    I hate affirmative action because it is reverse racism and its underlying philosophy is that black ppl are too stupid to succeed on their own so we need to help them out. it is disgusting. plus affirmative action has handed the white working/middle class vote over to the corporatist big business republicans.
    the racism that is dangerous is not reverse racism or simple “forward” racism it is oppression and injustice that come from racism. that my friend is gone.
    BTW how was bill maher racist? he was more funny once again oppression from racism is evil racism for purposes of a clear joke is alright in my mind.

    @ Dream
    you silly little idiot you think tea partiers are being harrased? get out of the way of serious discussion.

    @Thous yea the most important 10 things god had to tell us was the ten commandments what a joke you and your belief system is.

    @ the other two
    I’m not even going to argue with your straw man ridiculousness . if you have something serious to say put your name on it so I can address you as a human being.

  26. The other two says:

    You want my Canadian name, or my American name?

  27. C.R. says:

    @John Buyon At first I literally thought you might be being facetious, but realized you were serious. While I’m going to point-by-point disagree, I also believe this entire discussion has gone the way of so much socio-political debate these days: the fundamental point gets buried by attacking the messenger, straining on single points, and becoming simply downright course, rude, or disrespectful (e.g. “bull___,” “jaw droppingly stupid,” [God is a] “fairytale of the bronze age,”"you silly little idiot,” and “what a joke you and your [religious] belief system is”) . But with that said,

    “1) Racism has ended” – obvious institutional racism, yes, but more fundamental and hidden? Not on your life! I realized after moving to the South 40 years ago that while the obvious, in-your-face racism prior to that time was even receding in the South, it necessarily became more hidden – and potentially even more dangerous. Racism was (and is) alive and very well all too often. I well remember a popular Black member of the mid-60s Buffalo Bills talking about how a garden hose was stuck in the mailbox in his front door – while they were away from the house. Damage was considerable. Or the deeply offensive racial slurs and symbols that showed up outside his home, under the cover of darkness – in a supposedly more enlightened northern city. I see (and privately hear) little difference today.
    “2) Women are now equal to men economically and legally.” It would seem you have little varied experience in either government or corporate employment. Better? Yes. But still very much alive and well.
    “3) teen pregnancies are down.” Not according to reasonably reliable statistical data: “The numbers, calculated by the Guttmacher Institute, a non-profit group that studies reproductive and sexual health, show a clear reversal from the downward trend that began in the 1990s.” (USA Today quoting the Guttmacher Institute http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2010-01-26-1Ateenpregnancy26_ST_N.htm )
    “4) property crime is down.” I can’t wait to see stats for 2010 – the relatively crime-free area of my city is skyrocketing in crime, and we no longer want to leave our home for long periods despite monitoring. Anecdotal, yes – but I suspect many others are experiencing the same.
    “5) economic growth is still high ( ppl are not getting lazier).” A look at John Williams’ “Shadow Stats” site will dispel that statistically rigged claim in a heart beat!
    “6) numerous conventions and laws have been passed to protect the rights of minorities immigrants, and children.” And as was previously said, it simply imposes penalties from without, rather than the far more desirable condition where populations individually and collectively CHOOSE to behave respectfully and protectively.
    “7) students are less rebellious than when you were growing up (think about it, remember anarchist rebels and Maoist protesters rioting all over the west in 1968?).” Been there, lived through that. No longer do “students” need to protest as much – the universities are now indoctrinating at least a 2nd generation with the very amoral condition responsible for so much of what we’re “arguing” about here.
    “8) Politics has gotten much cleaner ( death of big city machines, get out the vote programs, No politician can lie and get away with it etc…).” You’re right – it’s no longer NY or Chicago-style politics. It’s gotten extra-national. Cleaner though? Not the radio and TV ads I’ve seen in the past decade or so (on both sides of the mainstream political spectrum). And “get out the vote protrams” – like ACORN?
    “9) freedom has been extended ( collapse of communism, east Asian liberalization).” Window dressing. Human rights abuses abound in China, Russia invaded Georgia and got away with it, and many more examples that directly contradict that claim.
    “10) rise of mass communication enabling rigorous debate, and encouraging freedom of speech and the development of open societies.” I suspect MSNBC and FoxNews (opposite poles, obviously) suggest otherwise, and the push by some prominent politicians to “regulate” the Internet are more than a bit troubling.

    Me? I’m one of those who gets blasted by my congressman for supporting legalization of illicit drugs when I merely asked for support of hemp as a non-drug, commercial product/raw material (which it most certainly is); or worse when I supported allowing marijuana to be used legally for those in severe pain when narcotics simply aren’t a workable solution (a person hasn’t sufficiently squirmed until they’re faced with regularly having to WATCH a person in pain that redefines excruciating). Oh – and did I mention that my congressman was a physician? And I’m branded a racist for believing that a privately owned business has the RIGHT to serve or exclude who they wish. Personally, I’d prominently boycott such a business and hope that an alternative would pop up to drain away customers and clients. Now a publicly funded organization is an entirely different matter. A libertarian is easily attacked – as long as the issue is relabeled and reduced for the convenience of presenting a loud, seemingly legitimate attack (bypassing the fundamental principle of a original libertarian position). Yes, there is a libertarian spectrum, but the issue isn’t any one issue – it’s a philosophy to restore at least the best parts of what conservatism used to be (and even Reagan began a significant departure from what that meant). I’ll take Walter Williams, Thomas Sowell, and a few others any day over a large majority of the neo-con job politicians.

    @Robert Wallace Thank you!

  28. Three blind Canadians says:

    1:02 “@ Dream
    you silly little idiot you think tea partiers are being harrased? get out of the way of serious discussion”

    someone obviously is glued to media not reporting in a fair and balanced manner.

  29. For the delusional Buyon says:
  30. John Buyon says:

    the videos are hilarious

    1. that guy got into a fight with a progressive the conservitard landed a punch in the progressives mouth and the guy got his finger bitten off.
    2. that rich conservative “activist” going into a rally to protest care for poor black folk spewing lies should have left when the black guy asked him to leave.
    3. where was the guns that you idiot right wingers love so much? huh?
    if progressives protested that obnoxiously at a teabag convention they would have been shot by the gun totting bible humping christofascists.

  31. Buyon loves Marx says:

    There you have it at 1:27, no. 3

    You can’t reason with an atheist Canadian.

  32. John Buyon says:

    Im sorry but if you had any skills of debate or reason maybe you could make inroads.

  33. Assfault road says:

    Why build a road to nowhere?

  34. Reason, with a capital T says:

    I’d give my right arm for the reason of Mr Buyon.

  35. Penny is really pretty on the series Big Bang Theory, she is quite perky too.“-

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