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I Am a Right-Leaning Libertarian

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What political label do you give yourself?Libertarian-leade-2

Yesterday, I blogged about calling myself a Republican. I was a kid.

Then, from about 1996 on, I called myself a conservative.

Over the past year or so, I’ve taken on the label of libertarian. Now, a simple online test confirms that I’m a right-leaning conservative. [Take the test yourself]

That’s exciting, because I feel like I need a new label.

Labels Matter

I know there was a movement a couple of years ago to abolish political and ideological labels. But the brain likes labels, just as it likes other shortcuts. We want to know the time, not how to build a clock. But group labels are far more important than mere shortcuts. Labels change the way we treat others and increase our willingness to cooperate.

In short, a simple common name triggers assimilation into a preferred group.

Research by Henri Tajfel and others shows that this in-group/out-group dynamic happens for the lightest of causes. In one experiment, he divided a group of otherwise similar people by flipping a coin: heads go to one team, tails to another. Almost immediately and with no additional information, these subjects rated their “team mates” as more interesting and having better artistic taste than the other team’s members.

Someone who identifies as “Republican” favors other Republicans over any other label. Likewise for conservative, liberal, progressive, Democrat, centrist, and, of course, libertarian.

So simply saying “I am a libertarian” changes your view of yourself and of everyone else in the world. That’s powerful stuff.

Why Libertarian Might Be The Thing

I’ve pointed out before that the Millennial generation (born between about 1982 and 2002) is becoming increasingly libertarian over time. Ironically, Millennials are also joiners who favor group activities and work well with others. But they want to work in self-forming and self-directed groups, much like the GIs of World War II and very unlikely the radical individualists of Generation X (born about 1962 to 1982).

Also, the Millennials will be the largest generation in American history to date, surpassing the Boomers by several million. With Boomers now reaching elderhood and Generation X being uncentered and small in number, political influence will quickly shift from Boomers to Millennials by 2020, when even the youngest Millennials will have reached voting age.

And Ron Fournier, writing at the National Journal, speculates that Millennials might soon abandon both establishment parties.

In politics, Millennials rewarded President Obama in 2008 because they liked what he was selling. But he quickly damaged his post-partisan brand, and young voters drifted away in 2012. Going forward, Diggles says her beloved Democratic Party can’t take Millennials for granted. This is a choosy bunch, a generation of disruption.

After establishing a sociological profile, Diggles pulls together a variety of polling (including surveys I wrote about here and here) to show how young voter attitudes are already defying conventional politics.

  • Since Obama’s election, the number of self-identified independents among the Millennial Generation has increased by 11 points, nearly twice the pace of all other generations. “They aren’t satisfied with either side,” she says.
  • More than other generations, they believe government can play a positive role in people’s lives. That could be good news for Democrats, but think of the events that have shaken Millennials’ faith in government: Iraq, Katrina, the financial crisis, and the Affordable Care Act rollout. More than half of young voters think something run by the government is usually inefficient, up 9 points since 2009. The percentage of Millennials who “trust the government to do what’s right” all or most of the time fell from 44 percent in 2004 to 29 percent in 2013.
  • They’re skeptical of big institutions, including corporations and churches. In a warning to Democrats, Diggles writes, “Millennial voters are unlikely to align with a political party that expects blind faith in large institutions – either governmental or nongovernmental.”
  • They are socially tolerant, which raises severe problems for the GOP.

But Be Careful

Millennials might not adopt the libertarian label. They may go someplace else entirely. My guess is their preferences will remain what we call “libertarian.” They will want government to do fewer things but do them well. They will want government to greatly reduce or eliminate prohibition on behavior, but they will expect punishment for behavior that hurts others. They will expect charity to become a private matter, but ostracize the selfish and greedy who refuse to help out in a pinch.

Most of my life I felt like a libertarian but identified as a conservative or Republican. That was a cop out, really. There just weren’t enough libertarians to form a critical mass.

So call me an opportunist or a coward or a bandwagoneer. Just so long as you call me a libertarian.

UPDATE: Dave Leonhardt writes in the NYT that Millennials could morph into more traditional conservatives. H/T Ben Evans of Heritage Action.

The Establishment’s Creed

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I believe in cash, the money almighty, creator of happiness and wealth; and in Big Corporations, its only friend, which were conceived by the holy government, born of the power to tax, suffered under regulations, were criticized, bankrupted, and neglected. On the second vote, the bail-out passed, and they ascended into The Fed. They are seated at the right hand of Government from whence they shall come to lobby for tax breaks with more debt.

I believe in the holy income tax, the holy eminent domain, the forgiveness of squishes, the resurrection of the Bushes, and government everlasting.

Amen.

This Is The Infographic That The Whole Republican Party Is Freaking Out About

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The 3 million McCain voters who didn’t vote for Romney?

They’re dead.

Voters Die

[Click image to view full size. Please forward, download, and print. This is important.]

To survive, the GOP needs to stop being afraid of Millennials and tell them truth: they can move out of mom and dad’s house, they can drop out of school, they can quit their dead-end job with the idiot supervisor. But they can’t get away from government and debt.

If you want freedom, it doesn’t emanate from Washington, DC.   It starts here.

The Republicans also have to stop pandering. It’s weak and annoying and convinces no one.

It’s time to bring professional, scientific marketing and messaging to work for our country. And that means a lot of money shifts from the traditional consultants to people who actually know what they’re doing.

ACTION

Please forward this infographic to your friends. Share it. Download, print, and hand out. This is important.

How To Maximize Your Election Influence

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Here’s What To Do Today And On Election Day

Tuesday is the most important election of your life, but voting is never enough. You can have a bigger impact by using social proof to increase your influence. I’ll tell you how, and it won’t take you long.


First, though, make sure nothing gets in the way of exercising your duty to vote.

Studies have shown that you are more likely to vote if you answer these questions before Election Day:

  1. Do you see yourself fulfilling your duty to vote? (Answer “Yes.” Write it down.)
  2. What time do you plan to vote? (Write it down.)
  3. Where will you be coming from? (Work, home, etc. Write it down.)
  4. What will you be doing immediately before you go to vote? (A meeting at work? Dropping the kids off at day care? Write it down.)

Have a friend who might not vote? Ask him these four questions, and he’s more likely than not to show up at the polls. But don’t ask these questions of friends if you don’t know they’ll vote right.

Immediately After Voting

Voting empowers you with remarkable influence and credibility. You’ll waste that power, though, if you don’t put it to work. Here’s what you need to do immediately after voting.

For each candidate or issue you support, tweet: “I just voted for [candidate] for [office]. [hashtag] #stltpc #election2012”

Examples:

I just voted for @MittRomney for President. #POTUS #stltpc #election2012

I just voted for @EdMartin4Mo for Attorney General. #MOAG #stltpc #election2012

I just voted No on Prop A. #PropANo #stltpc #election2012

Next, repeat the process on Facebook in a single post, but omit the hashtags. Studies show that twitter-style hashtags turn off Facebook users, making them less likely to Like, share, or comment.

Tell People You Voted

Finally, tell 3 people you voted and for whom. Check this out:

Even when we control for alternative sources of similar behavior, such as having the same income, education, ideology, or level of political interest, the typical subject is about 15 percent more likely to vote if one of his discussion partners votes [emphasis added].

Christakis, Nicholas A.; Fowler, James H. (2009-09-09). Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives (p. 185). Hachette Book Group. Kindle Edition.

You’ve just maximized the power of voting. Your influence will spread to at least 3 degrees of separation reaching hundreds or hundreds of thousands of people, depending on how connected your network is.

This Sums Up Everything I Believe Better Than I Ever Could

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Buckley (right) and L. Brent Bozell Jr. promot...
Buckley (right) and L. Brent Bozell Jr. promote their book McCarthy and His Enemies, 1954 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Liberal Kirsten Powers (my favorite liberal at times) described the leftist media’s mania as “absolutely, utterly insane.”

What triggered the maniacal insanity from MSNBC and The New York Times (among others) was Mitt Romney’s public dismay over the way Barack Obama’s State Department responded to terror attacks on US embassies in Egypt and Libya.

The whole episode drove me to look back to William F. Buckley’s credenda for National Review. Published in its first issue, November 19, 1955, Buckley summarized the magazine’s position. I can find no way to improve Buckley’s words, so I ask you to take this list to heart:

Among our convictions:

  1. It is the job of centralized government (in peacetime) to protect its citizens’ lives, liberty and property. All other activities of government tend to diminish freedom and hamper progress. The growth of government(the dominant social feature of this century) must be fought relentlessly. In this great social conflict of the era, we are, without reservations, on the libertarian side.
  2. The profound crisis of our era is, in essence, the conflict between the Social Engineers, who seek to adjust mankind to conform with scientific utopias, and the disciples of Truth, who defend the organic moral order. We believe that truth is neither arrived at nor illuminated by monitoring election results, binding though these are for other purposes, but by other means, including a study of human experience. On this point we are, without reservations, on the conservative side.
  3. The century’s most blatant force of satanic utopianism is communism. We consider “coexistence” with communism neither desirable nor possible, nor honorable; we find ourselves irrevocably at war with communism and shall oppose any substitute for victory.
  4. The largest cultural menace in America is the conformity of the intellectual cliques which, in education as well as the arts, are out to impose upon the nation their modish fads and fallacies, and have nearly succeeded in doing so. In this cultural issue, we are, without reservations, on the side of excellence (rather than “newness”) and of honest intellectual combat (rather than conformity).
  5. The most alarming single danger to the American political system lies in the fact that an identifiable team of Fabian operators is bent on controlling both our major political parties(under the sanction of such fatuous and unreasoned slogans as “national unity,” “middle-of-the-road,” “progressivism,” and “bipartisanship.”) Clever intriguers are reshaping both parties in the image of Babbitt, gone Social-Democrat. When and where this political issue arises, we are, without reservations, on the side of the traditional two-party system that fights its feuds in public and honestly; and we shall advocate the restoration of the two-party system at all costs.
  6. The competitive price system is indispensable to liberty and material progress. It is threatened not only by the growth of Big Brother government, but by the pressure of monopolies(including union monopolies. What is more, some labor unions have clearly identified themselves with doctrinaire socialist objectives. The characteristic problems of harassed business have gone unreported for years, with the result that the public has been taught to assume(almost instinctively) that conflicts between labor and management are generally traceable to greed and intransigence on the part of management. Sometimes they are; often they are not. NATIONAL REVIEW will explore and oppose the inroads upon the market economy caused by monopolies in general, and politically oriented unionism in particular; and it will tell the violated businessman’s side of the story.
  7. No superstition has more effectively bewitched America’s Liberal elite than the fashionable concepts of world government, the United Nations, internationalism, international atomic pools, etc. Perhaps the most important and readily demonstrable lesson of history is that freedom goes hand in hand with a state of political decentralization, that remote government is irresponsible government. It would make greater sense to grant independence to each of our 50 states than to surrender U.S. sovereignty to a world organization.

Ideas to rule one’s self and one’s government by.

Part 2: Here Is Todd Akin’s Real Crime

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Breakdown of political party representation in...

Part 2 of 3 | Read Part 1 | Read Part 3

What is Todd’s real crime?

He’s a damaged candidate, sure, but he is not a damaged man.

He was wrong, but he erred on the side of life.

It says something about a society and political mood where a man can be disqualified for loving life and God, but another man celebrated for enabling the slaughter of living children with surgical scissors through the base of their skulls.

No, Todd Akin isn’t perfect, nor perfectly informed.  Neither are the 100 Senators seated. The last candidate sold to us as perfect is the son of a bitch occupying the White House right now.

Did I want Todd to drop?  Yes. But my wish wasn’t for some high political or moral reasons; it was the easiest result for me.  It was convenient for me.  It was the default, selfish choice for me.  For me, for Romney, for Marco Rubio, for the GOP, Todd Akin’s candidacy is an inconvenient pregnancy we’re all too willing to surrender to the political abortionist’s vacuum.

Yes, Todd Akin was wrong.  Scientifically and rhetorically wrong.  He erred on the side of life.  He loves life to a flaw, and he’s not ashamed to say it out loud.

If that’s the worst candidate for Senate we can produce, then the republic is in fine shape.