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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Fanboys And Angrytarians

Rocky, if you measured Libertarian radicalism in the conventional way (by how much government one would tolerate), then I indeed care how much a politician deviates from radicalism.  Namely, he should deviate neither too much nor too little. (True Libertarian radicalism is measured by how much systematic aggression one would tolerate, and on that score self-styled LP "radicals" aren't radical enough for my taste.)
Barr advocates somewhat more government than I do, but my support for him isn't so much a function of how much he agrees with me or what his record was like before he joined the LP.  Rather, my support is a function of how effective he is now at promoting the LP's core message: that we are the only party that is neither liberal nor conservative, and that instead advocates both more personal freedom and more economic freedom.
The jury is still out on his effectiveness. He is getting far more media than his nomination opponents could have, but we need to analyze how much of that exposure is on-message.  I'm in the middle of systematically scoring all of the Barr appearances on national TV that I can find.  That's 50 so far, which as far as I can tell is about an order of magnitude more media than the Badnarik campaign earned.  (Pointers to Badnarik earned media appreciated.)
I also plan to score all of the TV and radio commercials I can find from the 2008 Ron Paul campaign (19 so far).  Although Paul's platform and earned-media message was quite libertarian, the message that his commercials presented was clearly more conservative than it was libertarian.  Thus I argue against both Rockbardian fanboys who hold up Paul as a paragon of libertarian radicalism, as well as against Angrytarians who would revoke Paul's libertarian credentials because of litmus tests over LP franchise schisms (abortion, immigration) or over how to minimize government power (through radical decentralism).