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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Recruiting From Liberals vs. Conservatives

Alex, you refute your own argument when you ask "how can someone understand something as esoteric as economics and yet not understand something as exoteric as marriage equality?"  As I said @10, it’s easier to find the tolerant minority among conservatives, than to find the economically educable minority among liberals.  Creating tolerance among conservatives is another matter altogether.

Bob's experience dovetails with mine when he reports that liberals care more about redistribution than about tolerance or civil liberties.  It sounds like you're reporting from another planet when you say that most liberals start with "general civil and social libertarianism" and then support redistribution merely because social conservatives oppose it.  On that theory, merely meeting a libertarian should make the scales fall from their eyes.  It doesn't.

In fact, my conversations with liberal friends always bottom out at their judgment that too many people simply are not competent to make the right choices in their economic lives.  This is precisely analogous to the conservative judgment that too many people are not competent to make the right choices in their personal lives.  That's why liberals want the State to be your loving nanny/Mother, and conservatives want the State to be your stern minister/Father.

Ron Paul is certainly an iconoclast, but let's not confuse iconoclasm with radicalism.  Paul had his chance on network national television to show how radical his 2008 campaign was, and he wet his pants.  When cornered by Tim Russert, he stammered that “abolishing public schools, welfare, Social Security and farm subsidies” is “not part of my platform”.  Paul also said he's "the one who has saved Social Security".   But what did Bob Barr say about the nanny state when he got his shot on national network television?  He said on the Stephanopolous show: "You stab it, you shoot it, you cut off its head, you put a stake through its heart, you burn it, and you scatter the ashes to the four corners of the Earth." Unlike Paul, Barr didn't back off one iota when confronted with his own position on the nanny state.  Never in the entire 2008 campaign did I see Barr give the nanny state a pass like Ron Paul did -- and certainly never on national network TV.

Michael, I totally agree that the LP should not rule out or de-emphasize recruitment from either the Left or the Right.  Indeed, I've always said that they key to our branding is to point out that we are the only choice that is neither Left nor Right, neither liberal nor conservative.

Bob, we don't have to use the exact words "initiation of force" in announcing our opposition to aggression.  We can say it in other ways: