The Pardu

The Pardu
Watchful eyes and ears feed the brain, thus nourishing the brain cells.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Libertarianism: PRRI Survey, Murray Rothbard, Lew Rockwell, Ron Paul, The Kochs And A Recipe For Plutocracy

We at the TPI vehemently disagree!

Regardless of the perception US Libertarians are divided socially and politically, the ideology has a conservative lean that provides very fertile ground for American Plutocracy. The ideology has major money-brokers in the Koch brothers and their (secretive) Billionaires Donors Club and has a fissure into a lack of racial diversity.  Any learned person would be blind if they did not recognize via digging deeper bigotry and racism embedded the existential comings and goings of Ron and Rand Paul (document-able in his case). Despite concerted efforts to divest and separate from republicanism, I do not find enough daylight to separate modern libertarianism from common conservative republican ethos. In some cases the light is so slight libertarianism almost seems as far-right conservative doctrine. Factually, speaking, I have yet to meet a libertarian that did not come across as a conservative. If there are truly liberal conservatives, they must co-exist in a secretive society away from most publications and never on camera!

There are many schools of thought on libertartianism. The one major criticism I  can muster is, all that I read seems to avoid factoring human behavior as a critical outcome of theory.  One publication that garnered my attention is an Institute of Humane Studies publication read on US libertarianism. I feel the material is palatable and similar in content to my admittedly biased paradigm when it comes to the most visible aspects of libertarianism. 

The Institute of Humane Studies defines "libertarianism' as follows:
The libertarian or "classical liberal" perspective is that individual well-being, prosperity, and social harmony are fostered by "as much liberty as possible" and "as little government as necessary."
The Institute's definition lends itself to serious scrutiny and questioning. What manifests "as much liberty as possible?" What level of government is the minimum level to maintain any degree of ordered in society?"

" much liberty as possible."  How about the liberty to run around naked with an expectation people will not report you to the authorities? More seriously, how about the liberty to deny a people access to facilities and services based on race, gender or sexual orientation?  All prospects that inordinately benefits the white male (See PRRI survey data below).

" little government as necessary."  Does Somalia serve as a good enough example?

The Institute of Humane Studies
Other libertarianism definitions

According to Libertarianism: A Primer by David Boaz, Free Press, 1997. 
Libertarianism is the view that each person has the right to live his life in any way he chooses so long as he respects the equal rights of others. Libertarians defend each person's right to life, liberty, and property-rights that people have naturally, before governments are created. In the libertarian view, all human relationships should be voluntary; the only actions that should be forbidden by law are those that involve the initiation of force against those who have not themselves used force-actions like murder, rape, robbery, kidnapping, and fraud.

According to American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition, 2000.
NOUN: 1. One who advocates maximizing individual rights and minimizing the role of the state.
The Challenge of Democracy (6th edition), by Kenneth Janda, Jeffrey Berry, and Jerry Goldman
Liberals favor government action to promote equality, whereas conservatives favor government action to promote order. Libertarians favor freedom and oppose government action to promote either equality or order.

On Monday October 29, Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) has published the results of a 2700 participant survey on American Libertarianism. The survey in aggregate seems to confirm my stated premise. A quick read of the press release excerpt below, shows deep connection with hard core right-wing politicians, support for Tea Party politicians and a demographic composition that mirrors the GOP. We have extracted a few passages and data from the exhaustive PRRI Survey.

Public Religion Research Institute

Survey | 2013 American Values Survey: In Search of Libertarians in America (full pdf report)

Compared to the general population, libertarians are significantly more likely to be non-Hispanic white, male, and young. Nearly all libertarians are non-Hispanic whites (94%), more than two-thirds (68%) are men, and more than 6-in-10 (62%) are under the age of 50. 

The party affiliation of libertarians skews significantly more Republican than Democratic. Close to half (45%) of libertarians identify as Republican, compared to only 5% who identify as Democrat. However, half of libertarians identify as politically independent (35%) or identify with a third political party (15%), including roughly 1-in-10 (8%) who identify with the Libertarian Party. Roughly 4-in-10 (39%) libertarians identify as part of the Tea Party movement, while 61% do not. 

Libertarians make up a smaller proportion of the Republican Party than other key conservative groups.  Only 12% of self-identified Republicans are libertarians, compared to 20% of Republicans who identify with the Tea Party, 33% who identify with the religious right or conservative Christian movement, and 37% who identify as white evangelical Protestant. 

Libertarians also constitute a smaller proportion of the Tea Party movement than other core conservative groups. Aboutone-quarter (26%) of Americans who identify with the Tea Party movement are libertarians, compared to a majority (52%) who say they are a part of the religious right or conservative Christian movement, and 35% who identify as white evangelical Protestant. 

Libertarians are composed of a disproportionately high number of white mainline Protestants (27%) and religiously unaffiliated Americans (27%). Only about 1-in-10 (11%) libertarians identify as Catholic, and no libertarians identify as black Protestant. 
GOTW.102913.Libertarian 320x414 Survey | 2013 American Values Survey: In Search of Libertarians in AmericaGenerally speaking, libertarians are more opposed than white evangelical Protestants, those affiliated with the Tea Party, and Republicans overall to government involvement across a range of economic policies, such as raising the minimum wage, Obamacare, and increasing environmental protections.
  • Nearly two-thirds (65%) of libertarians oppose increasing the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.00 an hour, as do 57% of Americans who identify with the Tea Party. By contrast, 57% of Republicans overall and 61% of white evangelical Protestants support raising the minimum wage.
  • Nearly all (96%) libertarians have an unfavorable view of the 2010 health care law, compared to 83% of white evangelical Protestants, 78% of Tea Party members, and 89% of Republicans.
  • On the issue of passing tougher environmental laws, libertarians and Tea Party members are generally aligned in their strong opposition (73% and 74% oppose), while white evangelical Protestants and Republicans overall are also opposed but with less intensity (62% each opposed).
Unlike economic questions, on which libertarians are generally aligned with other conservative constituencies, libertarians have a more distinct profile on social issues.

  • Nearly 6-in-10 (57%) libertarians oppose making it more difficult for a woman to get an abortion, a proportion identical to the general population. By contrast, strong majorities of Republicans overall (58%), Americans affiliated with the Tea Party (58%), and white evangelical Protestants (68%) favor making it more difficult for a woman to get an abortion.
  • Seven-in-ten (70%) libertarians favor allowing doctors to prescribe lethal drugs to help terminally ill patients end their lives. Americans who identify with the Tea Party are closely divided on this question (49% favor, 51% oppose). By contrast, strong majorities of Republicans (58%) and white evangelical Protestants (70%) oppose this policy.
  • More than 7-in-10 (71%) libertarians favor legalizing marijuana. By contrast, approximately 6-in-10 Republicans (61%) and Tea Party members (59%), and nearly 7-in-10 (69%) white evangelical Protestants, oppose legalizing marijuana.
  • Unlike most other social issues, libertarians remain socially conservative on same-sex marriage. While a majority (59%) of libertarians oppose same-sex marriage, they are significantly less opposed than Republicans overall (67%) and than other conservative-leaning groups such as Tea Party members (73%) and white evangelical Protestants (80%).
Methodology in brief:

The survey was conducted among a random sample of 2,317 adults (age 18 and up) living in the United States and who are part of GfK’s Knowledge Panel. Interviews were conducted online in both English and Spanish between September 21 and October 3, 2013. The margin of sampling error is +/- 2.5 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. 
PRRI  Survey Press Release: Linked (a worthy read)

Notably, libertarians hold more negative views of Democrats than they hold positive views of Republicans. Nearly 9-in-10 (89 percent) libertarians have an unfavorable view of the Democratic Party, including nearly two-thirds (64 percent) who have a very unfavorable opinion of the party. A majority (57 percent) of libertarians have a favorable view of the Republican Party, but a substantial minority (40 percent) have an unfavorable view of the GOP.

Among voters who identify with or lean toward the Republican Party, support is spread fairly evenly across the potential 2016 presidential field in a head-to-head question. Eighteen percent prefer Governor Chris Christie, 18 percent prefer Congressman Paul Ryan, 15 percent prefer former Governor Jeb Bush, 14 percent prefer Senator Marco Rubio, 11 percent prefer Senator Rand Paul, and 11 percent prefer Senator Ted Cruz.

  • Among libertarian voters who identify with or lean toward the Republican Party, Paul (26 percent) was the most popular potential candidate, while 18 percent prefer Cruz, 16 percent prefer Rubio, and 13 percent prefer Ryan. Fewer libertarian voters prefer Christie (10 percent) or Bush (6 percent).
  • Among Tea Party voters who identify or lean Republican, Cruz is the most preferred candidate (22 percent), followed by Rubio (18 percent), Ryan (14 percent), and Paul (13 percent). Roughly 1-in-10 Tea Party voters prefer Bush (11 percent) or Christie (12 percent).
  • White evangelical Protestant voters have less clear candidate preferences than libertarian and Tea Party voters. Among white evangelical Protestant voters who identify or lean Republican, top preferences include Ryan (19 percent), Christie (16 percent), and Bush (15 percent), while roughly 1-in-10 prefer Rubio (13 percent), Paul (11 percent), or Cruz (10 percent).
End PRRI Survey

As I think of libertarianism the following information comes to mind. We dug deep regarding Ron Paul's racist 1900s newsletters and located Lew Rockwell and Murray Rothbard comparable to a 105 millimeter artillery shell landing on granite hill side.

Lew Rockwell has since posited to separate libertarianism from far-right conservatism. His efforts fail to soak into my very biased mind.

Ron Paul and the roots of modern-day libertarian/conservatism.

 Follow this...
.....But in the 1990s and 1980s, anti-government sentiment was much less mainstream. It seemed contained to the racist right-wing, people who supported militia movements, who obsessed over political correctness, who were suspicious of free-trade deals like NAFTA. 
Rothbard had tremendous influence on Lew Rockwell, and the whole slice of the libertarian movement that adored Ron Paul.
But Rothbard and Rockwell never stuck with their alliances with angry white men on the far right. They have been willing to shift alliances from left to right and back again. Before this "outreach" to racists, Rothbard aligned himself with anti-Vietnam war protestors in the 1960s. In the 2000s, after the "outreach" had failed, Rockwell complained bitterly about "Red-State fascists" who supported George Bush and his war. So much for the "Rednecks." The anti-government theories stay the same, the political strategy shifts in odd and extreme directions.

As crazy as it sounds, Ron Paul's newsletter writers may not have been sincerely racist at all. They actually thought appearing to be racist was a good political strategy in the 1990s. After that strategy yielded almost nothing - it was abandoned by Paul's admirers.

Read more:  (Same link as above, provided here only for sake of attribution)

"Outreach to the Rednecks", the linked article provides what appears as a detailed expose about the genesis of the Paul Newsletter horrors. The newsletters apparently generated great amounts of income for the Paul organization.
Murray Rothbard
Murray Rothbard, libertarian theorist
At that time a libertarian theorist, Murray Rothbard argued that libertarians ought to engage in "Outreach to the Rednecks" in order to insert their libertarian theories into the middle of the nation's political passions.
Reason Dot Com: Who Wrote Ron Paul's Newletters
The most detailed description of the strategy came in an essay Rothbard wrote for the January 1992 Rothbard-Rockwell Report, titled "Right-Wing Populism: A Strategy for the Paleo Movement." Lamenting that mainstream intellectuals and opinion leaders were too invested in the status quo to be brought around to a libertarian view, Rothbard pointed to David Duke and Joseph McCarthy as models for an "Outreach to the Rednecks," which would fashion a broad libertarian/paleoconservative coalition by targeting the disaffected working and middle classes. (Duke, a former Klansman, was discussed in strikingly similar terms in a 1990 Ron Paul Political Report.) These groups could be mobilized to oppose an expansive state, Rothbard posited, by exposing an "unholy alliance of 'corporate liberal' Big Business and media elites, who, through big government, have privileged and caused to rise up a parasitic Underclass, who, among them all, are looting and oppressing the bulk of the middle and working classes in America."

If this piece is in any way peaking your curiosity, or validating your previous perceptions of liberatrianism, you may want to read this Salon Dot Com piece.

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