Why Libertarians Should Vote for Obama (1)

First, war.  War is the antithesis of the libertarian philosophy of
consent, voluntarism and trade.  With every war in American history
Leviathan has grown larger and our liberties have withered.  War is the
health of the state. And now, fulfilling the dreams of Big Brother, we are
in a perpetual war.

A country cannot long combine unlimited government abroad and limited
government at home. The Republican party
has become the party of war and thus the party of unlimited government.

With war has come FEAR, magnified many times over by the governing party. Fear is pulling Americans into the arms of
the state. If only we were better at
resisting. Alas, we Americans say that
we love liberty but we are fair-weather lovers.  Liberty will flourish only with peace. 

Have libertarians gained on other margins in the past eight years? Not at all. Under the Republicans we have been sailing due South-West on the Nolan
– fewer civil liberties and more government, including the largest new
government program in a generation, the Medicare prescription drug plan, and
the biggest nationalization since the Great Depression. Tax cuts, the summum bonum of Republican
economic policy, are a sham. The only
way to cut taxes is to cut spending and that has not happened.

The libertarian voice has not been listened to in Republican politics for a
long time. The Republicans take the libertarian wing of the party for granted
and with phony rhetoric and empty phrases have bought our support on the
cheap. Thus – since voice has failed – it is  time for exit.  Remember that if
a political party can count on you then you cannot count on it.

Exit is the right strategy because if there is any hope for reform it is by
casting the Republicans out of power and into the wilderness where they may
relearn virtue. Libertarians understand better
than anyone that power corrupts. The
Republican party illustrates. Lack of
power is no guarantee of virtue but Republicans are a far better – more libertarian –
party out-of-power than they are in power. When in the wilderness, Republicans turn naturally to a critique of
power and they ratchet up libertarian rhetoric about free trade, free
enterprise, abuse of government power and even the defense of civil liberties.  We can hope that new leaders will arise in
this libertarian milieu.


In my view the current priority is avoiding a war with Iran.

"Apotheosis" or "antithesis"?


I think if McCain had gotten elected in 2000 instead of Bush, we probably would never have invaded Iraq. That was a neocon pet project and they used 9/11 to justify it.

Its even possible that a McCain administration might have paid more attention to the intelligence about the threat to airplanes. If you'll recall, Bush and company were focused on wiggling out of the strategic arms treaties with the Russians, which probably helped kill democracy there, not on terrorism. This despite the fact that the threat has been developing for years.

Would Obama be better? Its very tough to say. But he certainly would build better relationships with the rest of the world. And we definitely need that.

I hope someone does a counter-post on why libertarians should vote for McCain, since there's a very strong case to be made that (1) Obama is a huge collectivist and (2) McCain's policies are at least somewhat libertarian.

The Republicans have been terrible at implementing Libertarian policy at any level during the last eight years. However, it does not logically follow that the Democrats will be better.

Indeed, other then getting out of Iraq there is no indication that they will. However it is worth remembering that during Bill Clinton's tenure we invaded, bombed, and interfered with several small countries, albeit for different reasons. There is no guarantee we will not find ourselves back in the same mess 'for humanitarian reasons' under a Democrat administration.

I would agree that another war must be avoided at all costs. I'm skeptical that putting Obama in place would really provide this guarantee. I think at the end of the day, divided government has the best track record for preventing lots of things libertarians dislike - including war.

Obama is more of a traditional Democrat/Neo-Con on Foreign Policy than many of us would like to admit. He strongly supports war in Afghanistan, and I can imagine a host of Darfur-like crusades in the name of repairing America's image abroad. His rhetorical ability combined with a lack of restraint in Congress make for a dangerous pair.

"Libertarians" should not vote for Obama. We should vote for Obama and a Republican majority in Congress. Or, we should vote for McCain and a huge Democrat majority in Congress. The latter is more likely. War with Iran is unlikely.

Not all libertarians agree about the War on Terror or the Iraq part of it. Obama's interest in increasing the state is far more troubling to me and frankly, I'd rather be fighting terrorists over there than over here, thank you. I agree that some aspects of Leviathan need to be trimmed back, Bush's failure to veto spending items for six years was far worse for us than the War was in that respect. Nothing Obama says has convinced me that he wants to sail south on the Nolan chart slower than the GOP.

Well, done. It's odd how the party that speaks the loudest about loving freedom consistently does the most to curtail it.

Likewise, on economic policy there's a huge gap between rhetoric and reality. Your article pointing out that there have been no tax cuts, only a tax SHIFT, under the GOP should be required reading for all Americans.

Speaking of Obama supporters, Where is Andrew Sullivan?

I'm honestly kind of worried.


An excellent summary of the failure of the Republican party in both the Legislative and Executive branches that I absolutely agree with.

However, you have not shown how the Democratic party, with control of both the Legislative and Executive branches (I'm assuming Dems control Congress after this election irrespective of which party wins the White House) will be any better; do you expect them to sail north-east on the Nolan Chart?

I still believe Voice is the more appropriate choice, the damage done by the acknowledged big government-statists of the Democratic party will be irreparable after our journey to the desert.

I agree with the majority of this post, especially the part about the GOP taking the libertarian wing for granted. But while Obama may be correct about the Iraq war, he does not oppose the use of military force throughout the world. As recently as 2007, he advocated redeployment of troops from Iraq to other conflicts. http://obama.senate.gov/press/070718-obama_statement_76/

Opposing a wildly unpopular war (Iraq) is a nice benefit, but it's not enough to inspire a libertarian following. A true anti-war politician would oppose any war except perhaps that which is fought in self-defense.

Call me crazy but shouldn't Libertarians maybe want to vote for a Libertarian. Plus as much as Obama likes to rant against the war in Iraq, I don't beleive he is against all war, just this one.


You make one essentially a single point, and that is that a libertarian must oppose the war. Let me tell you why you are wrong.

Libertarianism, as I understand (and define it) is the belief in self-ownership. The principle that you own your life and consequently you own the property that you create during your life. No other person has a higher claim on your life than you do, and conversely, you have no claim on the lives of other people.

Some people use force, or threats of force to deny others of life, liberty, or property. It does not matter if these people act alone or in a group and call themselves "government", the effect is the same.

One of these people is called "Saddam Hussein".

You have the right to protect your own property, and you may ask others to help you.

We are the others and we are here to help. If you want to defend libertarianism you must support the overthrow of dictators like Saddam Hussein. They are a much greater threat to libertarian ideals.

I do not support a draft and I never will under any circumstances. However, so far, none has been called for, and I am willing to offer my material assistance - a portion of my property - to defend the lives and property of others. If you are unwilling, I understand and I wish there was a entirely voluntary fund to contribute to. That is sadly not the case and would be difficult to change. Rather than lament the imperfect system I will work with what we have.

You are entirely within your right to refuse to help the Iraqis. However, the overthrow of tyrants is not only consistent with libertarian ideals, it is the very soul of libertarianism.

- Jay

Shouldn't this post be titled "Why Libertarians Should Not Vote Republican/McCain"?

The alternative is not simply Obama, but staying home. In a close election staying home would help Obama (if libertarians were planning to vote Republican) and save some time/resources in the process.

Since when are higher taxes and increased public spending (on universal health!) defined as libertarian?

I'm a libertarian who opposed going into Iraq, but I still can't agree with Alex. The problem I see is that we now not only have to get out of Iraq, but we have to leave Iraq in a way that leaves it somewhat stable. The region seems volatile enough to me that withdrawing from an unstable Iraq would be more dangerous for us in the long run. I trust McCain more (or distrust him less) to leave us with a situation in Iraq that won't come back to bite us in the ass.

Furthermore, I don't believe McCain's more likely to lead us to a war with Iran than Obama is precisely because he does take a stronger stance with them. I don't think Obama will be an effective negotiator because he'll be seen as weak and inexperienced, and his VP proposed the most boneheaded idea for dealing with Iraq outside of Rumsfeld's office. When McCain talks to Iran (and he will)I think they're more likely to listen.

The mistake I see Alex and many other people making is failing to understand that McCain is not Bush. Republicans are not all the same, and McCain tends to disagree with those in his party more than most. Like others, I think we would be in a better place today if he had been elected in 2000 instead of Bush.

Obama intimated he would invade Pakistan and wants to drawdown the Army in Iraq, and redeploy for a surge in Afghanistan.

Cynically, the best bet for libertarians is Obama with a Democratic Congress and hope 2010 is a repeat of 1994.

Bill Clinton also attacked a country on faulty intelligence, albeit on a much smaller scale, when he bombed Sudan after the Kenya embassy bombings. With the patriotic zeitgeist after 9/11, I could not imaging Gore or McCain not attacking Afghanistan when Osama was clearly stationed there.

Also, considering the apparent easyness of the Afghanistan campaign and the ongoing acrimony between Hussein and America, a similar Iraq invasion was not out of the question either for Gore or McCain. Bill Clinton, after all, had Desert Fox which was likewise panned by every country other than Great Britain.

Finally I wonder how much influence libertarians can have in the presidential election. Bush needed quasi-socialist programs in 2000 and 2004 to win since he needed some of the quasi-socialist middle. With a hardline stance against new government programs, such as NCLB or the prescription drug plan, he could not have won either election. If libertarians drop their vote in the presidential election, the Republicans will go farther to the left, not farther to the right.

Instead, libertarians can have the most influence in local elections, particularly in primaries. The north Atlanta suburbs, for example, probably has a majority of fiscal libertarians. Yet they have blindly voted for the incumbent, Tom Price, even though he has supported major pork bills. More Ron Pauls and Mark Sanfords will do the most to help the influence of libertarians in this country.

No, sorry, It's all about the economy, stupid!


Respectfully, your position, held by many reasonable libertarians and objectivists has been discredited.

I believe this has been shown by events (being greeted as liberators by the Iraqis) as well as described in books like The Undercover Economist and The J-Curve.

Regimes are not held hostage by a tyrannical leader, they are corrupt through-and-through. The figurehead simply is the last man standing, holding the corrupt system in it's most stable form. Ahmadinejad may very well be crazy, but he may well be rational by appeasing his people with his belligerence.

Add to this that the threat of pre-emptive strikes, when actually carried out, forces other nations to build up defenses and you have all you need to discredit the entire neo-con foreign policy.

An extremely rare, yet quite gigantic miss.

1992-94 with Democrats in both houses was a Libertarian nightmare, and remember that Obama votes with the Democrat leadership 97% of the time. (John McCain crosses party lines three times as often.) I don't know why you would be opposed to adding prescription drug coverage to a wildly popular health plan for seniors given that we pick up the tab for extra doctor visits when they get sicker and end up in a nursing home if they don't take their pills. It's a far smaller power-grab than Hillary-care was or Obama-care would be.

I want our international relationships to be based on respect and mutual self-interest, not trying to make the theocracies and socialists like us. As a warrior, McCain gets it. All Obama ever fought for was a vote.

Finally, Alaska is about as Libertarian a state as you can find, and I want that kind of thinking around the table in the oval office. Drill-baby-drill should be the Libertarian battle cry. Remember, every barrel of oil pumped here is $100 of wages, royalties, taxes, and dividends that doesn't go the the mid-east.

I agree that war is not libertarian, but have p=0.13 that (elect Obama, avoid war) is a Nash equilibrium.

So the thing you're trying to avoid, REALLY big government, will be accomplished by voting for Obama????????

Excellent post AT.

Just like "paleoconservatives" (such as Pat Buchanan and the guys at "American Conservative") developed in response to "neoconservatives," so there are paleo-libertarians. I had hoped that you were not one of them.

The reason I abandoned the Libertarian Party years ago, and hold Ron Paul in contempt today, is because of the paleo-libertarian element. War, it is said, is the health of the state, so war is bad, so American paleo-libertarians adopt a radical isolationist and even pacifist view of the world in regards to foreign policy. Some, but not all, including Ron Paul adopt a neo-Confederate hostility toward the federal government.

Such isolationism creates a quirky view of the world. Pat Buchanan's new book suggests that the US and UK should have stayed out of World War Two and left Hitler and Stalin fight it out in mainland Europe. Apparently, we would all be more free if Hitler won. Isolationism creats cognitive dissonance. If we don't want war, and war happens, then WE did something wrong. It is easier to blame ourselves for our failings than to accept that there is evil in the world. To recognize evil would mean to accept the need for a foreign policy that countered evil, and that would mean building a military, and that would mean Big Bad Government and taxes and so forth. Better to accept defeat and allow taxes to rise.

We get oddballs like Murry Rothbard who, when the Soviet Premier visited New York, cheered the Soviet rather than Eisenhower because Eisenhower killed more people. Libertarianism gone mad.

The Republican Party under Hoover or with Charles Lindberg and the "America First" gang was removed from power, for which we may all be grateful. Eisenhower's internationalism won over Taft's isolationism. For a while, both Republicans and Democrats worked together for a bipartisan foreign policy that understood that US security depended on a stable world, and that US freedom could not survive without such security. Why is that so hard to understand?

Now, it is the Democrats turn at rancid isolationism and pacificism. Bill Clinton's Democrats were coldly indifferent to the challenge of Islamic radicalism, and who cared about silly old Afghanistan anyway? In 2 days, we will remember the consequences of isolationism. It wasn't pretty. I could happen again.

If you think that Obama could keep the country more secure than McCain, say so, and explain why. But please spare us all the Higgs "war is the health of the state" crap.

that is idiotic. libertarians should vote for the Libertarian candidate. i guess voting is just a game huh?

I largely agree with this assessment, but I often fear the Democrat version of what the Republicans did for Bush's first six years (not cut spending like they said they would) with regards to war. While Republicans will outright go to war, Democrats claim to respect diplomacy and sovereignty and go not on wars, but on "peace keeping" missions that are essentially mini-wars. I have no doubt a President Obama would go to Darfur and Burma to effectively nation build and have a net result that's not all that different.

The big advantage for McCain on the other hand is that his party does not control the house and senate.

So, the primary reason a libertarian should vote for Obama is so that he can vote against Republicans? That seems less than compelling.

Further, you do accurately list Republican faililngs, but that leaves one half of the story untold. You've failed to address why Democrats would be preferable to Republicans.

If only I could vote, I would follow your advice.

Even if this is true, oil in the middle east is important.

The libertarian vote for should go to neither Obama nor McCain, but to Nader—to get him elected but simply to promote his main messages: Stop the war on drugs. Knowing that I’m writing towards a relatively educated audience, I won’t go into why libertarians want to liberal drug policy, and why it probably the most important libertarian policy that will affect America. Instead, I will note that voting for Nader promotes this argument, even if you disagree with him on every other issue. Further, I will note that McCain and Obama are not as different as they would have you think.
McCain wants to leave Iraq in 2013; Obama wants to leave 16 months after taking office (which comes to half way through 2010). A difference of 20 some months will not change the history of the world. Further, the Iraqi government is currently working on a deal for a gradual withdraw of troops, and the new president is not likely to rewrite this deal. I don’t care who becomes the next president. However, I do care whether they address the issue of liberalizing drug policy in the U.S. Nader is the real reform candidate, even for libertarians.

I think some of these comments are missing the point. This is not an endorsement of Obama. Note the "(1)" in the title. I expect this will be followed by "Why Libertarians Should Vote for McCain (2)" and possibly "Why Libertarians Should Vote for Barr (3)." Obviously, there are arguments against Obama, and I'm sure we'll hear them.

Even after he outsourced foreign policy to Joe Biden?

Just FYI: that sort rant fits in well at a place like Huffington Post, but it's very disappointing to read at Marginal Revolution.

Note how the so many of the comments conform to the Amens you get at lesser sites. That's a clue to the level of readership this stuff attracts.

You really need to guard against lowering your standards like this.

Alex, it's not Dems vs. Reps IN THE ABSTRACT. It's a far-left democrat president with 56-57 Dem Senators and a Dem house vs a centrist republican president with 57-58 Dem Senators (because Janet Napolitano will appoint a socialist goon to replace McCain) and a Dem house.

You're making the fundamental analytical error here by failing to consider the query in context.

That argument doesn't hold much water. Obama has said no on school vouchers and privatizing Social Security and wants to tax the "windfall" profits of oil companies (why don't you google Google's profits?) while the Democrats in congress are busy passing laws against smoking, eating, and plastic bags. The best possible scenario is McCain and a Democrat congress--hopefully they can't pass anything else.


How dare you make people have the wrong impression as to what your website is about.

Next thing you'll be including properly labeled but highly misleading charts!

Alex, yes, Bush & Republicans have blundered in many ways (Medicare, farm subsidies, arguable anti-terror strategy...). McCain, no doubt, will make some boneheaded moves. You may be right, Republicans might get their act together better in a libertarian-favored way if totally frozen out, but their big losses in Congress are already creating that environment. Obama PROMISES much higher taxes and (irreversible) moves toward socialized medicine. Naive and wishy-washy on foreign policy doesn't make war less likely. On civil liberties, is the appointment of more justices who back decisions like Kelo supposed to help? I would suggest that many libertarians need to distinguish between political philosophy and politics. They should be connected, but they are not one and the same. Adams and Burke understood that. Even PJ O'Rourke views libertarians as too utopian. In reading some of the comments, it's not hard to see why.

I see little different in either party's actions. This leads me to think an Iraq-like invasion would not be impossible for the Democrats to execute. ... I'd argue their problem with this war is more that it wasn't their idea, rather than some ideological objection.

If I want to piss off the GOP, I'd rather do so by voting libertarian. At least with that line of action, I can live with myself.

Voting twice for the "lesser-evil"-Bush has resulted in heartache and a guilty conscience. If I want to sleep better at night, I'm going to have to vote my gut.

(Bush I knew how to keep Iraq small, and go home.)

Who said libertarians were kooks? They're just funny.


You point out a different axis of analysis between us. I give no bonus points to the number of other people in the world who support our wars. If a war was just (defensive), and voluntary, I'd fight the whole world. Luckily, our government is likely to never make me that offer.

"This seems mostly a retrospective negative evaluation of the last most recent regime. But we've had lots of regimes over centuries - shouldn't we use that entire dataset to infer what the next candidate will do, and not just cue off of the political party of the last regime?"

Given McCain's voting record, you already know. You just don't want to admit it.

FWIW, I look at the internationalism from a pragmatic perspective (realpolitik), and don't think I'm making any particular moral argument.

The moral argument would be that to go to war, you have to be SURE you are choosing the lesser evil (never a good) ... and on that front I think we've slid too far, accepting collateral damage (even when it's kids) far more than we should.

"Now, it is the Democrats turn at rancid isolationism and pacificism. Bill Clinton's Democrats were coldly indifferent to the challenge of Islamic radicalism, and who cared about silly old Afghanistan anyway? In 2 days, we will remember the consequences of isolationism. It wasn't pretty. I could happen again."

You have GOT to be kidding me. In 2 days we will remember the consequences of supporting Israel with its settlements - lock stock and barrel, bases in Saudi, and unremitting mucking around in that region in general. Let me know how you'd react if a bunch of Mexicans started building settlements in Texas, and if Russia put military bases in our backyard. Like, say, Cuba. Oh, wait. I already know how you'd react to that.

BTW Obama talks a big anti-free trade anti-NAFTA line but then Austan Goolsbee says don't worry about that he is only lying.

In my opinion, the only time to do a "protest vote" is when your state has tipped so far it doesn't matter. If you are in a close or swing state, I'd suggest not.

"his ears are too big for a Messiah"

Silly me. I'd forgotten that ear size was a criterion. :)

Tell me, is this


supposed to be ironic? I honestly don't know. It seems way too over-the-top not to be, but I don't think it is. From the product description:

"Ever since Barack Obama was young, Hope has lived inside him. From the beaches of Hawaii to the streets of Chicago, from the jungles of Indonesia to the plains of Kenya, he has held on to Hope. Even as a boy, Barack knew he wasn't quite like anybody else, but through his journeys he found the ability to listen to Hope and become what he was meant to be: a bridge to bring people together."

There's also a children's book about John McCain: American Hero, which is also somewhat perverse, but it's nowhere near this level. This at least borders on deification, if it doesn't go all the way there.

Keep in mind: I know that most Obama supporters are nowhere near this crazy.

Someone called Jay way up above wrote:

"You are entirely within your right to refuse to help the Iraqis. However, the overthrow of tyrants is not only consistent with libertarian ideals, it is the very soul of libertarianism."

Excellent Jay, you sound like Jefferson. I say think globally, but act locally! With Jefferson, perhaps time is long overdue for us to overthrow our state, and worry about the Iraqi's later!

childish. there is a libertarian on the ballot to vote for. if the democrats win big, the republican party will only get more liberal thinking that is what the voters want. contrary to your argument, when one party goes farther from the center, the other does not go the other direction, they go towards the middle. In this case, your recommendations would move republicans leftward.

What bitter person must you be if you are anti-government and vote for Obama. I'm glad my mind is more at ease.

I'm missing the connection between "war" and "loss of liberty". We've lost some liberties because we were attacked (i.e. the Patriot Act was a result of 9/11...not of Iraq). Why are we libertarians so cozy with our own rights ("We the people...") but are not willing to grant, or fight for that right for others ("I Saddam Hussein..."). A blanket anti-war stance by libertarians makes us look whimpy, or worse -- fuzzy headed. As Machiavelli says, war is not to be avoided. We can avoid war over the next few years with Iran, but if Iran wants war...it will get war.

Ouch, this speech on Judge Janice Rogers Brown is a good counter example of why libertarians shouldn't vote for Obama: http://www.barackobama.com/2005/06/08/remarks_of_us_senator_barack_o_1.php

The best that a libertarian can hope for is governmental stalemate. Obama certainly does not offer that, and with a Congress behind him, there is actually not much guarantee that he won't find a war to fight as well.

I personally detest McCain, but I doubt that he will get much done with Democrats in control of the legislative branch- and vice versa.

The good news is, no matter which way you vote, or even if you stay home, you're going to get the exact same government. On the other hand, that's also the bad news.

WAR is one huge reason to prefer Obama over McCain - and, de facto, Presidents currently make war while Congress plays the role of doormat. CIVIL LIBERTIES is another - about as big as War. Just looking at the Warmongering Fascism in the Republican convention makes me shudder. Domestic spending has been roughly constant with GDP over the last 40 years - so we will just shift the waste. But we are all potentially Jose Padillas and us or our children can be drafted to fight for perpetual Armageddon in Georgia, etc. A vote for McCain is an endorsement of the last 8 years of Bush II. If I have to choose between habeas corpus and a lower marginal tax rate on wealthy people, I'll go for habeas corpus.

More people would die as a result of Obama's proposed interventions in the health care market than in a war with Iran. McCain wants a relatively short war against Iran. Obama wants a never-ending war against Americans.

Habeus Corpus? You are naive if you think any president will "give back" extended powers. The nature of the executive is to acquire increased power against congress. With both of the same party, there won't be any serious move to force the president to divest himself of his kingship.

Since Obama has stated quite clearly who he intends to tax, I'm voting my pocketbook, at the very least.

The problem is, as bad as the Republicans are, the Democrats are far worse. Wars eventually end, whilst a single payer health system introduced by the Democrats may be extremely difficult if not impossible to dismantle.


That is perhaps the most idiotic comment I've ever read here. Please don't share your thoughts with us again; you're wasting our time.


It's a point that's been made thousands of times before, but keeps being forgotten - most of the wars of the last century were started under Democractic administrations and it was Republicans who got us out.

Iraq appears to be an exception to the rule of Democrats getting us in, though not of Republicans getting us out.

Your "war is the health of the state" argument is also undercut a little by something done by a Republican - Richard Nixon's elimination of the draft. Obama wants to return the draft in "wars" on all the little pet social issues of Democrats and to extend that involuntary servitude beyond adults to middle school students. Shame on anyone who supports that.

Great post!! I'm 55 yrs. old, wishy-washy libertarian who has never voted for a democrat. I even held my nose and voted for GWB the second time. I'm voting for Obama this time. I've had enough of the war, fear, small govt. stuff. Hannity, Limbaugh, Colter, etc have taken over the party and these are not small govt. folks. My view is that both are parties of big govt., and I prefer the democrats' version.

The question really isn't what is, but what will be. McCain may take America into Iran and Obama may take America into Pakistan or increase the presence in Afghanistan.

If war itself is an anathema to libertarians, then the question becomes which of these is more likely to occur. If the cost of war is the problem, then it's which will be worse. Furthermore, one must also remember that George W. Bush, as the opposition, promised to use the military as a last resort, as a reference to Clinton's actions. If Obama, as the opposition, claims the same now, in reference to Bush's actions, what is the likelihood that he will renege on his stance?

For me, I'm not as confident as Alex that Obama is the better choice.

christopher espinal,

Indeed, "middle east oil is important." So, does this mean
that invading Iraq was a good idea, given that it led to a
decline in oil production there and an increase in the price
of oil. Guess that increased the profits of the major oil
companies. Can hardly wait to see what an invasion of Iran
would do to the markets.


Ummm, the US spends a higher percentage of its GDP on medical
care than any nation in the world, but is something like 32nd
in life expectancy. Just what is it that Obama might do that
would cause this situation to get worse?

Of course noone is listening, but you are reading.

And I didn't compare Vietnam to Iraq, I contrasted them. The Left are the ones who desire a corollary.

McCain is anti-war to the extent that he is anti-draft with respect to Obama, who of course listens to the left who are pro-draft, and to the extent that a draft supports getting into wars big-time and only ensures getting out after we've lost a lot more lives.

I bet someone other than you is reading me.

Maybe you forgot that those "morons" were a vast majority. Let me give you a clue, calling them morons ain't a winner.

And, just so you know, the reason I'm zealous on this, and I do beg forgiveness, is because I get venting e-mails from solidly moderate (former) Republicans like this...

"I am leaving the Republican Party and registering as an Independent. Both major parties are bankrupt of leadership. The campaigns are a joke, as is the press coverage. Neither candidate has addressed any major issue in a substantive way. They are not being asked the questions. Their tax, health, Iraq so called plans hardly differ. Everything is political. Change! Don't make me laugh. Shake up Washington! A campaign joke on the American people. Where is a plan for oversight of the incomprehensible debt system, which puts future generations in jeopardy. Where is a plan to protect our currency?"

Note the enthusiasm this person has for their alternative. People should be listening. Libertarians can control this election. They need to get their thoughts straight.

Thanks Jim,

I'll leave everyone alone now.

Does the name Zbigniew Brzezinski ring a bell to anybody? He's the creator of the Mujahideen (al-Qaeda came from the Mujahideen), and he's Obama's Senior Foreign Policy Advisor. So your telling me that us libertarians should vote for the candidate who has the father of modern day terrorism on his staff?

A most insightful piece, and I have to agree heartily, especially about sending the Republicans to the Wilderness of Not Having Any Power. That is aside from the same powers that ordinary citizens may share. It is time for truly right thinking people to come out of the woodwork and proclaim that "We Have Had Ehough, More Than Enough!" It is time to take this democratic republic back from the people, corporations and groups that have abused their powers of government and financial leverage and, worst of all, responsibility was thrown out the window. We have seen too much to just let it go this time, we must really use our minds and think about the choices for president, and what those choices really mean.
We have seen how the Republican Party acts when they have full power over the Legislative and Executive branches of government and they were the very worst government for the poor and middle class people, for the environment, and for the image that we as a country have abroad. When the Democrats gained a bare majority in the House and achieved only parity with the Republicans in the Senate, the Republicans did everything they could to not allow the best of the Democratic programs to advance into law by use of filibuster and other administrative tactics. That is the reason that the Public's view of the role Congress has been playing the past two years has been so low.
We cannot afford to play the same old game of picking the president based on how much 'entertainment' they provide because their circus and hoopla is only there to try to divert attention from the bald fact that McCain is trying to usurp the mantle of the "Change Candidate", but no one seems to have informed him that we already know that the Republican Party cannot "Change" from being the Republican Party! And it is a fact that they are the very ones that have, for the most part, caused the very problems that they are Finally admitting need fixed, but only because they have turned into full scale calamaties. We must not allow them back at the reigns of power, they must be taken from their hands, before they and their eneptness get us into WWIII .
The only way that we are going to be able to change this government is to vote the Republicans, one and all, out of the Federal Government, at least as far as representing this Nation. If that should happen, then Obama is going to have to make good on his claim to really Change Washington, not just revert to the same kind of misuse of the governmental apparatus, however, I think that he is much above that, and truly, Truly wants to lead us into prosperity and freedom again. We need to get out from under the yoke of the Republican Machine's corruption before it destroys us. I am hoping that enough people will see these things too, and take it to heart to make the very best choice for Everyone in this Country, we are, after all, One Nation Under God, and we are liberal, conservative, independent, green party, and all the various wonderous flavors and colors of culture and religions that exist! Because we ARE the hope of the World, and we need to remember that Everyone needs to be represented, Not just the white rich folks, mostly men, that have been Abusing their power for the past eight years. It is time for a Change, it is Past time for a Change.

Maybe we can be smart...for a Change

Your position is delusional and illogical. You are essentially willing to risk Obama in power who will likely erect the second "New Deal" in order to teach the Republicans a lesson? That is, you are willing

Obama, at least on economic issues, is clearly a greater threat than Mccain. He supports globalization in the abstract but opposes all forms of trade liberalization, actually willing roll back existing agreements to erect trade barriers. He is pro-union and favors intervention in the market for wages. His health care plan will force health care providers into contracts with uninsured customers also instituting price controls to provide care.

Finally, your solution shows a sincere lack of creativity. Instead of positing that maybe the marketplace for liberatarian ideas is shrinking or that you should improve communication, you explicitly buy into the dualistic party system by pitting party A against party B. With such creative solutions, it's no wonder libertarians are in trouble.

Are you kidding me? I'm no fan for John McCain, AKA Juan McSame. But I'll be damned if I vote for a damn socialist. Do you have any clue what kind of associates he has? Like William Ayers, The unrepentant terrorist from the 1970's.

So, while McCain is more of the same, Obama would be much, much worse.

So, in protest of the offerings, I'm voting for Bob Barr.

A better solution would simply be to get more involved in the Republican primaries and donate money to good candidates around the country to help get a cadre of libertarians in the house and senate. If you could get some Dems to cross over and vote Republican in the primaries and general elections, then you have the makings of a swing movement.

And by the way, I completely disagree. I am libertarian on social and economic issues, but on foreign policy you have to face reality - there are people out there that want to kill you, and its better to make the other guy die for his country than you for yours. That doesn't justify the massive intelligence and military failure that is the Iraq war, but it does justify Afghanistan and any other conflicts specifically designed to capture terrorists. Thus, I think McCain is the much better candidate because I'd rather pay slightly higher taxes to avoid a repeat of 9/11.

As for those who are thinking of voting for McSame "to prevent another 9/11" (Tristan that means you, among others):

That's not libertarian. That's scaredy-scaredian.

Remember, "those who would trade liberty for security deserve neither."

There is nothing more Big Government than Islamo-Fascism. Only Leftwing Libertarians oppose the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan against Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Rightwing Libertarians, or Goldwaterites support both Wars, and I dare say, we are the MAJORITY VIEW of the libertarian movement.

The author seems to have a terribly skewed view of libertarians. He's probably basing his opinions on a few Ivory Tower intellectuals he meets at cocktail parties.

Real Libertarians oppose Islamo-Fascism, and oppose Islamo-Fascists who want to destroy our civil liberties: Force our wives/girlfriends to wear ugly black burqas, stone prostitutes in the streets, outlaw booze and gambling, kick our dogs, and cut off the genitals of our Gay friends.

Libertarianism = Opposing Islamo-Fascism.

Those who support Islamo-Fascism, even those who have stolen our "Libertarian" label, are, well, um FASCISTS!

IMHO, McCain is better. He will be less likely to get dragged into a military conflict and much less likely to further expand government.

But, we need to admit that:

As libertarians, we are *ucked. Remember when closing the department of education was a real possibility? Now, the media shouts / laughs down anyone who mentions the idea. The failure of FNM/FRE? Too little regulation.

We're done.

"First, war. War is the antithesis of the libertarian philosophy of consent, voluntarism and trade. "

World War I - Woodrow Wilson, Democrat

World War II - Franklin Roosevelt, Democrat

Korea - Harry Truman, Democrat

Vietnam - Lyndon Johnson, Democrat

Gulf War - George H.W. Bush (also used military force in Panama, not exactly war, but...), Republican

Kosovo - Bill Clinton (also used military force in Sudan, Iraq, Somalia, Haiti...) Democrat

Iraq & Afghanistan - George W. Bush, Republican

American lives lost in foregin wars entered/started by:
Democrats = >650,000
Republicans = <6,000 The Democrat Party has shown itself to be far more interventionist & militaristic, and with far more dire consequences for Americans. Further, Barack Obama has promised to continue and increase the effort in Afghanistan, and to violate Pakistan's sovereignty in the pursuit U.S. enemies. Further, many of his supporters endorse military intervention in Darfur. The Republicans often promise to be Libertarian on any number of issues, often failing on many but coming through on some. The Democrat Party no longer even makes such promises, and actually promises to increase the degree which the federal government exercises control over our daily lives. The Republicans are driving this country to ruin in a Model T Ford. The Democrat Party will take us to the same destination, but on a rocket sled. No Thanks, Keep The Change. Yes, I do think the Democrat Party can still be Part of the Solution to end this downward, anti-Liberty inertia, but not in its present (Marxist/Nanny State) state, and not without a degree of verbosity sure to run off anyone in this forum :)

I have read a lot of threads on political blogs, and this one contains the highest ratio of thoughtful comments to mindless rants that I have run into anywhere. Perhaps it's the nature of libertarianism that it attracts individuals who can disagree intelligently rather than bash each other with silly arguments about lipstick and pigs.

I guess if you assume that there are only two candidates, and that war is the only issue you may be correct. It's too bad both of those assumptions are false.

Why are you publishing email addresses directly to the website. Will you please be kind enough to remove mine, I'm not interested in spam.

Good points but a true lover of liberty will not vote! It only registers your consent for the forthcoming wars, taxes, flase flag attacks and economic assaults on the American ppl, no matter who wins.The reason for all this Thriller-era Michael Jackson adulation of 1st, Barry Obama and lately, SaraH Palin is because many Americans are turned off and disaffected from our sadistic rulers.They dont wannna participate. They are too stressed to validate their slavery and register their consent of the Mega-state's nuclear bullying. This is a good trend , lets not eff it up by driving "libertarians" to vote for fascism-lite.Also, let us not forget the words of Joe Stalin(parapharasing) it aint who votes its who counts em! Heard of Diebold? Florida recounts?

Just think how Putin in Russia must be quaking in his boots with the thought of a school teacher in the Oval Office.

I never knew so many lefties read this blog....

Republicans may well have "worse" likely policy preferences, but you'd want to consider shelf-life and likelihood of passage of major curtailments. Including these, I'd argue the Republicans are the lesser evil.

Stereotypical Republican anti-freedom policies seem to me to be against the grain of time; younger people are more tolerant, less religious than older. How stem cells or partial-birth abortion are regulated in 2025 seems almost irrelevant to Bush's current preferences.

On the other hand, I think Democrats' policies (health care, safety net, environmental) tend to be pretty popular once they get through. The New Deal and Great Society live on nearly untouched 40-70 years later.

Meanwhile, differences in charisma and congressional control (divided government) mean that Obama is likely to have an easier time passing controversial legislation.

I'm stunned and appalled to see thoughtful and intelligent discourse and civil disagreement re: this election. How will you persuade anyone if you don't use curse words and tell each other how stupid everyone is? :)
I have my preferences (Obama), but am thrilled to hear that people can disagree with a RATIONAL argument based on their beliefs and actual facts. Makes me feel better about democracy. Thanks.

The US has 5% of the world's population and about 20% (and falling) of world production. But it spends almost 50% of world spending on "defence". Let's leave aside the impact of that spending on foreigners


the impact on foreigners is that they get to spend less on their own defense because the U.S. is doing the defending and the spending for them. They're getting a free ride.

The U.S. heavily subsidizes NATO, for example. During his European tour, Barack suggested Europe spend more on defense so that the United States can reduce defense spending to pay for a tax cut for the middle class. The response to Barack's suggestion from Europe was a unanimous "fuck you".

This article is a joke, right? No Libertarian would vote for either of these two clowns.

I don't quite see how it is "libertarian" to vote for a party that favors protectionism over free trade; a party that favors unionized state schools with strict catchment areas over school choice and school vouchers; a party that favors marginal tax rates of more than 60% (including payroll tax that Obama wants to uncap) and the second-highes corporate tax in the world over low taxes that incentivize savings, investment and entrepreneurial spirit; a party that is led by a candidate who voted against the Born Alive Children Protection Act, a bill that even NARAL supported; a party that favors justices who legislate from the bench over justices who interpret the constitution and protect the preexisting individual rights.

Alex, if you want to "signal" the GOP to become more libertarian once again, there are three ways:

1. Stay home.
2. Vote for Libertarian Bob Barr.
3. Vote for McCain/Palin: They are both way more libertarian than Bush, and they'd keep the Democratic Congress in check.

A vote for Obama however would be interpreted as a signal for collectivism.

More proof that the typical libertarian is a closet democrat. Glad I switched my affiliation back to Republican.

IMHO it's impossible to decide from first libertarian principles whether or not to support the Iraq war. Libertarianism does not imply pacifism. For me it mainly boils down to a cost-benefit analysis. Defense spending in 2000 was 3.5% of GDP. Now it's 3.9% of GDP - just like in the first Clinton term. Eight year ago, 25 million Afghans and 25 million Iraqis lived under tyranny - now they have at least the chance to thrive. And that's all for a minor increase in military spending as a percentage of GDP. I would call that good value for money.

Government is far more likely to grow under Obama than under McCain. Obama voted for the 500 billion energy plan, McCain voted against. Obama voted for Medicare Plan D, McCain voted against. Obama voted for the 300 billion farm bill, McCain voted against. I don't know of any significant spending bill that Obama opposed. He vows to hand out 500 dollar cheques to hundreds of millions of Americans (he calls that "tax cut", but it's a simple hand-out in fact) financed by higher capital gains taxes, and more debt, debt, debt.

Obama plans to spend hundreds of billions on his healthcare plan, without addressing the true structural inefficiencies in the US health system: The tax subsidies for employers providing health insurances, that misallocates resources away from high-deductibles, catastrophic insurance, private health savings accounts, and incentivizes "pre-paid healthcare". McCain would level the playing field, as well as allow individuals to purchase health insurance across state lines thereby encouraging competition. Obama vows to uphold Roosevelt's tax-and-spend Social Security scheme, even willing to uncap payroll taxes, while McCain is more likely to let workers voluntarily redirect resources in private pensions savings accounts.

As a libertarian, I rather vote for the candidate with whom I agree 70%, than for the candidate with whom I agree only 10%.

the impact on foreigners [of the bloated US defence budget] is that they get to spend less on their own defense because the U.S. is doing the defending and the spending for them.

Defending them from what? Martians? I would have thought the last thing the world needs is more guns.

Speaking as a foreigner, we'd do our own spending if we ever needed to - this "I'm only carrying all these guns to protect you all from each other" line is laughable (and, I might add, is duly laughed at by those supposedly being protected). And the notion that you're spending $680 billion a year to deal with a handful of bearded lunatics who managed one lucky punch is just absurd on the face of it. It implies an inefficiency that not even government can manage.

You are being played for suckers, brothers - you, like us, would be safer (as well as richer and freer) if you had a miltary a fraction of its present size. And as I said it is really, really damaging your democracy.


This follows you post:



community organizer - failed. But gave away $100,000's with no accountability or results

Harvard Review student president - failed, least cited review in many years and installed unworkable maoist committee process that took two years to reverse.

chiago annenberg challenge - failed, with Ayers tried to convert several chicago public schools to a maoist/communist structure. Spent 100Mill + on a communist boondoggle.

Woods fund - with Ayers, succeeded in giving money to radical groups including terrorist Bernadine dorne.

IL senate - failed, no significant accomplishments except giving money to radical groups.

USA senate - failed, no significant accomplishments except earmark to michelle's hospital. Her salery went from 125K to 325K shortly after,, timing

what makes anyone think he can accomplish anything.

Radical friends will crawl out from under the bus and slime trail into the oval office and bring qaddafi and others to check out the safe.

Will he place Ayers in a position of influence in the education department? Ayers has a lifelong commitment to using the school system to advance the communist agenda.

What will a move towards Xerxes and away from Leonidas do for Israel?

Biden has shown he is no fan of Israel for many years.

How is this guy even running, go figure?

I'm not unsympathetic to the argument. Indeed, I long toyed with sitting out 2008 and for many of the same reasons. At the end of the day, however, I concluded several things:

  1. Obama’s agenda offers nothing for either social conservatives or libertarians except (maybe) a faster end to the war in Iraq. Everything else is, at best, a wash and, in most cases, a loss. Obama simply is not a small government guy.
  2. Taxes. Government can get bigger without higher taxes, as it did under Bush, but higher taxes—which Obama is bringing—make it a lot easier for government to grow.
  3. Regulation: Obama’s no friend of free markets.
  4. Judges: It’s not just what Obama is going to do over the next 4 or 8 years. It’s what hundreds of Obama judicial appointees with life tenure will do for the next 2 or 3 decades.
  5. Divided government. The first two years of the Clinton administration and the middle years of the Bush administration demonstrate that having one party in charge of both the White House and the Congress is unwise, especially if you care about small government issues.

Apparently, derrida has failed to note what Russia and China have been up to with their militaries lately. My sincere hope is that the next time the Euroweenies get their collective arses in a crack, their plaintive bleats for help go unanswered. And, if you happen to be from some other Third-world s@@thole, you get an even ruder response.

So where's part 2?

Obama is not anti-war, he's anti IRAQ war; he actually believes in taking troops out of Iraq and just putting them in Afghanistan and even Pakistan.



Oprah refuses to have Sarah Palin on her show but now she is pushing a bill to be passed, using her show. Oh and gee whiz, guess who the sponsor of the bill is? Joe Biden. My oh my how blatant can you get. She has alerted her production company to be ready for an onslaught of emails. She is pitiful. I will definately vote against the unfair Oprah by voting McCain/Palin.

Thanks for staying home. That way you won't cancel out my vote. I appreciate it.

Libertarians should vote Libertarian...

How's this for Obama's ethics. The earmark was turned down but he tried to charge taxpayers for something for his wife. This came from The Huffington Post, a hard left website. They were talking about earmarks.

Also: "In among them was a request for $1 million in federal funding in 2006 for a new pavilion at the University of Chicago Hospitals, where his wife, Michelle Obama, was a vice president at the time. The request was not ultimately included when Congress passed spending legislation that year, according to the Obama campaign. But he tried to pork the hospital.

Somebody posted: "Republicans have not taken Libertarians for granted. They have ignored Libertarians because Libertarianism is a losing political argument. Look at how low Mitch Daniels sunk in the polls after privatizing the lottery and roads in Indiana."

Daniels has Indiana in the best economic shape of its past 15 years. He will also win by 10+ points this fall, and this is one of the reasons Obama has not shot in Indiana. Daniels sunk in the polls short term, but he will be rewarded for doing the right thing in the long run.

Considering that Republicans are facists and Democrats are socialists, I'll take socialism instead of facism.
I'd rather my liberties and paternalistic concerns for my welfare than a loss of my liberties in the name of military security.
Economically viable countries do not need to go to war for this reason: when people have a good flow of income, they want money more than patriotism.
One does not bite the hand that feeds it.

I once believed in free market economics, but the speculator feeding frenzy tells me that capitalists have no morals.
Sadly, regulation is necessary so that one capitalist does not rape another and then ask the middle class slave wagers to pay for their BMWs.

What I want to know is why profit is being privatized and risk is being socialized?
The middle class has been taken hostage.

I think this explains why I no longer believe in unregulated free market economics; I no longer trust that capitalists are moral or ethical.

When intelligent Libertarians examine Barack Obama, they see his high intelligence and intellect as an asset for rational [libertarian] thinking.

Combined this with his background as a civil rights lawyer and a constitutional law professor who's favorable to voluntary, free community organization, and who as a Senator, took a daring stand against the Iraq War -- it becomes easy to see that Barack Obama is more "libertarian" than not.

Obama is the best candidate to work on four top libertarian reforms:

1) Iraq withdrawal

2) restoring the separation of church and state

3) easing off victimless crimes such as drug use

4) curtailing the Patriot Act.

Any Libertarian who voted for Obama should be tared and feathered , Obama is a Marxist, Left wing totalitarian, the exact opposite of Libertarianism, he supportes everything Libertariansim is against including gun control, state control of all industry, state control of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and everything else we libertarians support. John Mccain is NO libertarian either but he is a billion times better than Obama ( who was not even born in america to begin with)

Nobody knows when the politician man is talking truth, when is talking nonsence

Libertarians have no business voting.

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