2007 October 03 Wednesday
Ron Paul Raised $5 Million In Third Quarter For Presidential Run
Libertarianism is very much a fringe movement in American politics. Yet enough non-Democrats are sufficiently disgusted with Bush and repulsed by the Republican front runners for President that Texas libertarian Republican Congressman Ron Paul that he raised $5 million in the third quarter of 2007.
WASHINGTON — Rep. Ron Paul's presidential campaign reported today to have raised $5 million in the third quarter of this year, a sum suggesting that the Lake Jackson Republican's Internet-driven campaign continues to attract intense support despite his low standing in the national polls.
The libertarian-leaning Republican has drawn media interest and a group of devoted followers, in part because of his outspoken opposition to the Iraq war, which has set him apart from other GOP presidential candidates.
The Iraq war is a pointless waste. We have no national interests to defend there. Paul wants out and he is opposed to illegal immigration. So for paleocons and the non-open borders libertarians (and there are plenty such people) Paul's candidacy is attractive.
Paul raised almost as much as John Edwards.
True, $5 million pales in comparison to the $27 million Hillary Clinton raised this past quarter or the $100 million she and Barack Obama are each expected to raise this year. But Paul's haul isn't far behind the far-more-established John Edwards' $7 million for the third quarter.
And get this: Ron Paul's $5 million is about five times what former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee raised last quarter, despite all his enhanced publicity springing from a second-place finish in the Ames straw poll.
I'm skeptical of Paul's ability to win in a general election because as near as I can tell it sure looks like the welfare state is popular with the majority of the voters. Otherwise conservative Republican farmers support their farm subsidy pork. Lots of retired Republicans support Social Security and Medicare. Real limited government libertarianism is supported by a pretty small minority of the electorate.
Update: What is with Rudy Giuliani? He regularly interrupts public appearances to take phone calls from his latest wife. Can someone so nutty win the Presidency? Of course, George W. Bush won. But back in 2000 he tried to act sensible. Rudy can't be bothered. We seem to be looking at a President Hillary future.
"it sure looks like the welfare state is popular..."
Randall, I'm afraid that this is exactly correct. People simply like socialism, as long as they can be convinced that it's the other guy who's getting suckered into paying for their goodies. Thanks to the debt that the government has taken on "the other guy" may actually turn out to be some future generation or perhaps the Chinese, when we pay back their bonds with worthless, inflated dollars. In the latter case one is tempted to say: Well played ! The joke's on them ! The problem is that in the meantime the State has grown to obscene dimensions and, as we all know, Leviathan does not shrink and expects to be fed. Frankly I don't see a way out short of some cataclysmic event that radically rearranges the scene and people's assumptions.
In the meantime I support Ron Paul which, given how out-of-the-mainstream I find myself, just confirms that he has no chance.
Other candidiates ought to sit up and take notice of this surge in funding for Paul. As Randall says, it is because of his opposition to the Iraq war. It should be noted that his opposition was publicized last quarter as a highlight of the Fox News debate that night and in news clips in days following. A clever candidate would notice there is a large segment of conservatives out here that cannot find a voice for their opposition to the war, albeit on much different grounds then the cut & run democrats. Paul was also correct when he shouted " we are losing the party because of this war" (or some variation of this statement).
Someone like Tancredo or Huckabee or Hunter should take a stab at opposing the war on the basis that the Bush doctrine is basically fraudulent (where's the pre-emption on Iran?, and Islam & democracy don't work). Just think of the publicity a candidate could get, and the campaign donations that could follow, should he take a bold stand and point out Islam as the problem. At a minimum it would put Guiliani & Romney on the defensive and be left to explaining how wonderful Islam is and how it was hijacked by extremists...yada yada yada- which an intelligent candidate, correctly advised, and knowlegable about global jihad, could use to make the others look silly and uninformed.
What does someone like Tancredo have to loose as far as the race is concerned? He is so far behind and does not make the news unless he calls for bombing Mecca. I have read that he understands global jihad. Why is he so silent? He voted "present" yesterday on Resolution commemorating Ramadan which included such verbage (Resolved, Islam is one of the worlds greatest religions). He opposed it in an interview on separation of church & state grounds after the vote in an interview, but not because he knows in his heart that such statements are false.
It is not just "socialism" to make other people pay for your goodies.
At some point, due to the statistical evidence in the Bell Curve book, the smarter top 5 % of the population will gain total control of the entire world in the absolute sense. This is because in the "Libertarian" (defined in 2 different ways here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarianism ) system, you simply cannot interfere with the competitive advantage (i.e. superior IQ) of other people (who will displace and dispossess all their rivals, if given a legally permitted opportunity to compete.) Thus it all depends on what you mean by fair competition: If you are given the same revolver as Jesse James, but you cannot possibly be trained to use that gun so efficiently, then it is not a fair duel. Give Einstein a sword and ask him to fight a duel against Cyrano de Bergerac, and he will scream that this is again not a fair fight. And ask the average M.I.T. graduate students to compete with Einstein, and they will complain that this is not fair, since Einstein had too many more brain cells than they have (he did).
But the modern technology makes it much easier for the top 1 % to totally surpass and displace everyone else in a short period of time. This will only accelerate. In that sense, a certain legal system is needed to protect the endangered species (the lower 99 %) from extinction or slavery, which is what the upper 1 % will do to the lower 99 %, if the free system allows them to do so.
I've never really seen a coherent justification for libertarianism. Seems to me that its asking humans to go against their socio-biological driven desire to organise into exclusive groups.
Seems to me that libertarianism is fine if you're a leopard, but not so good if you're a wildebeest (or a human).
My guess is that libertarians do not, on average, have the same instincts as the average person. Libertarians are probably more aspergery than the average. They certainly are much more male - hence the speculation that they are more aspergery. They are probably much more independent and less insecure.
I don't think Paul can win a national election, although I like a lot of what he says, he is too radical for Americans and too damn honest...people do not want honesty (not most people).
This election is Hillary's to lose...Republicans are in chaos as the nativist fight the business elites, the traditionalist fiscal conservatives fight the neo-cons and the religious right demand everyone bow to Jesus and Pat Robertson. Right now the Religious Right are threatening to go "3rd party' if they do...that's all she wrote.
Question is can Hillary win the white male vote:
If not...will enough disillusioned Republicans stay home to make up the difference?
"My guess is that libertarians do not, on average, have the same instincts as the average person. Libertarians are probably more aspergery than the average. They certainly are much more male - hence the speculation that they are more aspergery. They are probably much more independent and less insecure."
No, Randall and Stephen. You got this the wrong way around. People who are libertarians, such as myself, are such BECAUSE we have an appreciation of human nature, especially as it expresses itself in bureaucracies. All large scale institutions are bureaucracies (this is a law of nature). Private organizations seem to be somewhat more functional than non-private ones, but they all exhibit the classic symptoms of bureaucracy such as group thing, go along with the flow, bad decision making by committee, and so forth. This is the reason why start-up entreprenuers are often able to run circles around thier big business competitors (think Apple vs. IBM in the late 70's to early 80's). It is precisely these problems of bureaucracy that makes all large scale human organizations ineffectual and, therefor, worthless.
I have experience of working for both large companies as well as small companies (both start-up and non start-up). Every large scale organization I have worked for or have ever dealt with in any capacity has been totally screwed up. I believe my experiences to be representative (the principle of observational mediocrity) of large scale social organizations in general. My experiences with smaller companies and organizations have been that they are more functional and less bureaucratic than the large ones. It is because of this real-world experience that I am far more of a libertarian today at age of 44 than I ever could have been 20 years ago. I simply do not believe that large scale human institutions, particularly public ones, are capable of doing anything useful or rational. In fact, it is on the basis of such organizational dynamics that I consider libertarianism to be the only rational political philosophy in existance.
Both the liberal-left and the non-libertarian right believe in the efficacy of large scale institutions. Since all large scale institutions are bureaucracies, both of these political philosophies are really a belief in the efficacy of bureacracy. Since bureaucracy, by definition, is incapable of any kind of productive achievement, I would say that the continued belief in these philosophies constitutes a form of autism.
We libertarians are not the autistics in this world.
Here is Paul's hope for winning (as much as I would like that to happen and the ensuing minimization of the flow of legislation to occur, it isn't going to): people don't actually know what policies he's for and pull the lever out of anger at Bush and the Beltway. "Screw the government!" they will say, as they did for Reagan (who expanded it). The ignorance of voters is well illustrated by the story of the elderly woman who grabbed a politician by the shoulders and said "Don't let the government get its hands on my Medicare!" (the Dem. pol coolly responded "Don't worry, ma'am, I won't").
Kurt said: "People who are libertarians, such as myself, are such BECAUSE we have an appreciation of human nature, especially as it expresses itself in bureaucracies. All large scale institutions are bureaucracies (this is a law of nature)."
But isn't that the fundamental problem with libertarianism? Its in our nature to organise into groups/ tribes/ institutions/ bureaucracies/ clubs /cliques /religions /sects etc, and libertarianism seems to require a constant struggle against that fundamental drive. Consequently, libertarians will always be swimming against their innate biological predisposition to create a bureaucracy.
I'll always bet my money on the biology over philosophy.
Stephen - there's nothing in libertarianism contradicting the tendency of people to gather into groups. In fact, even absolute monarchy is compatible with libertarianism, assuming that the monarch does not force anyone to stay within his kingdom (and that the land was acquired honestly, not by means of aggression). You may be surprised to learn that 19th century monarchs were a lot more liberal than their people - and people in these monarchies had a lot more personal freedom than modern Americans.
Democracy is, bascially, an irrational belief (based on logical fallacy of confusing literal equality with equality of rights, and on the oxymoronic notion of "the common good" - it makes about as much sense as avergage temperature of patients in a hospital). As such it will eventually go the way of all irrational beliefs - to the oblivion, until the lessons of the past are long forgotten and it is "rediscovered" again. What Ron Paul's "revolution" represents is the beginning of the global collapse of the democratic religion - in its undiluted forms (i.e. "people's regimes" of Soviets, Red Chinese and Nazi) it is already dead. The strong following of Ron Paul on campuses shows that the younger generation is no longer buying the socialist drivel.
It is certainly true that most people have an inate desire to be part of a group. However, this is not a fundamental problem of libertarianism. The fact that most people have this inate desire does not mean that it is useful for any kind of productive human accomplishment. Libertarianism recognizes the fact that group behavior is useless for any kind of positive human accomplishment. None of the other political philosophies do. From the stand point of wanting to accomplish things, I consider the libertarian philosophy to be the only usefull and, therefor, rational one. All of the others are excuses for group-oriented mental masterbation.
Other than striving for productive human accomplishment (like space colonization, immortality, and nanotech), the only other human activities I have any interest in is making piles of money and/or living a totally hedonistic lifestyle (which includes both outdoor sports and urban nightlife). I find the inate desire for group belonging that most people seem to have to be utterly useless for any of these activities. So, it is only natural that I would be a libertarian and nothing else.
A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising them the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over a loose fiscal responsibility, always followed by a dictatorship.
–John Tyler, in his 1770 book, “Cycle of Democracy”
It's amazing that democracy has survived as long as it has in the USA.
I don't think libertarianism is against "socio-biological driven desire to organise into exclusive groups", what it is against is the governent controlling such groupings with things like affirmative action and various 'equality' laws. Freedom of association is a big thing for genuine libertarians.
Most of the western world was libertarian a 100 years ago by modern standards, the government has much more influence over peoples daily lives and businesses now than then.
I think the problem with modern libertarianism is that few of them are genuine and many seem to be just rich globalists bitching about the state which makes them unappealing.
I don't know about Libertarians, but there is a bit of evidence that atheists are more apsperger tendencies than religious people. At least among people I know, atheism and libertarianism correlate fairly well. It's reasonable to assume that there is an aspergers-atheism-libertarianism connection. Probably because we are bad at social situations, when there is social control, whether religious or politial, we think we're going to get screwed. From a couple of comments I left at anepigone
Vox day had a little experiment where his readers(he's some bizarre brand of free-range Christian) and readers of maybe pharyngula, took an autism/aspergers quiz. On this admittedly self-selected data set, atheists and agnostics scored way more autistic than religious people did.
The reason why libertarianism and atheism tend to correlate is because religion, at least the Abrahmic ones, promotes paternalism. People are attracted to libertarianism because they dislike any form of paternalism. So, it should be no suprise that libertarian and atheism would strongly correlate. I see no reason to believe that the rejection of paternalism as a general concept should, in any way, imply aspergers.
I think the association of aspergers or any other mental condition would be the other way around. Most people I know who are libertarian oriented tend to be much more driven than most other people. This suggests that they would be less mentally "ill" than most others, since they clearly view the value of any philosophy or human institution specifically with how it relates to whatever personal goal or abjective that they may have. Non-libertarian types, on the other hand, seem to believe that human institutions have some kind of "inherent" value of their own, independent of any objective value they have to personal objectives. This, if anything, strikes me as a form of aspergers, delusion, or whatever else you may choose to call it.
Well, maybe you hang out with a higher class of libertarians. Many of my pet libertarians just wanna smoke pot without hassle.
But aspergers is largely about _not_ seeing the "inherent value" in social realities, or indeed not seeing social constructs at all. They see religions as groups pretending, having little desire or ability to join groups, they don't.
I am not stating that all atheists, or all libertarians are mentally ill. There is a long and non-illustrious history of claiming political opponents are mentally ill. Preferring objective reality to social niceties is a bit aspergery. It is certainly not a terrible thing.
Delusion, asperger's etc. are different. I would agree that people who follow religion X are delusional, but delusions are not the asame as aspergers.
The fundamental problem with libertarianism is that it only works if everyone else will play by the same rules (or rather, if everyone else will accept the absence of the same rules), and that won't happen because biological imperatives eventually click-in and the familiar social constructs start to reassert themselves. Just to be clear, Government is itself a social construct.
I also have bad news for those who want to think of libertarianism in terms of a cool medical syndrome (eg the current aspergers fad), because if libertarianism is merely a symptom of aspergers, then the carriers of the mutation will be out-competed by the more efficient breeding environments created by the non-carriers. Oh, I also think the extinction rate will be hastened by another problem - there's a lot more male libertarians than female libertarians...
Libertarians are up against the desire of people to take stuff away from other people. Libertarians are up against resentment, jealousy, and the strong dislike of low status. Libertarians are up against the human ability to rationalize how self interested desires to violate the rights of others are moral.
Look at libertarians who are for open borders. They ignore that the descendants of Third Worlders will vote for the the welfare state that most libertarians profess to abhore. There's something that seems autistic about that position, something limited about their ability to understand the rest of humanity.
Those aren't libertarians. They refuse to respect the property right of national territory -- land held in trust for the posterity of the founders of the nation in questions -- ie: citizens.
The question of what they are is interesting, but they sure as hell aren't libertarians.
I think I may associate with a different kind of libertarian that you do. I don't know anyone who still smokes pot.
There is no inherent value in anything, independent of any kind of intent. All human organizations and ideas are artificial constructs. Anything man-made is an artificial construct. That is the origin of the word "artificial".
Even though I am a hard-core libertarian, I have been known to join and be active in plenty of organizations.
When I lived in Japan, I was active in a group called the "international Adventure Club", or IAC for short. We were into hiking, climbing, sea kayaking, and any other kind of outdoor sports. We were also a social club in the sense that our "meetings" were really parties. This is an example of a social construct for the purposes where a bunch of people (both gaijin and Japanese) get together to do outdoor sports.
Lets say for example, you want to develop a new launch vehicle. In this case, you will start a company or a research group and go found and find the best rocket engineers, materials science people, and what not to develop your new launch capability. I have been in several start-ups as well.
The point is that these are examples of groups that form, on the basis of spontaneous self-order, for specific purposes. However, the organizations we start or join exist for the specific purposes that we create them for. When that purpose, in the case of a work organization, has been achieved, either the organization is changed, say to an operating company, or is shut down having accomplished its purpose. The play organization (in this case, the IAC) continues to exist as long as there are gaijin in Japan who are looking to hook up with others to do outdoor sports. We create or join human organizations bases on whatever real value they offer to us.
Having lived a substantial portion of my adult life outside the U.S., I know full well that the vast majority of the human race is "tribal" in nature. I consider race, nationalism, and religion as various forms of tribalism. Being a libertarian, in no way, has inhibited my ability to deal with the tribalist nature of the rest of the human race. I just trade and do business freely with all of the different tribes, while maintaining my libertarian identity. In this sense, I make a very good overseas Chinese person (indeed, they are a model I seek to emulate). Living as expat in Asia helped make me even more into a libertarian/transhumanist than I would otherwise be. The reason is that it forced me to create a self-identity totally independent of any kind of group identity. You should try living as an expat for 10 years.
The scenario is if we libertarian/tranhumanist types manage to "grow" (using nanotech) our own city-state out on the ocean where we are totally politically independent of the rest of the world, but trade freely and openly with the rest of the world. Think of a transhumanist version of Singapore or Hong Kong. If I am free to be what I want to be, I have no desire to convert others to being like me. Moreover, I am more than capable of accepting others for what they are.
I don't care if the rest of the world seeks "group identity", as long as they do not try to make me join that identity as well.
Proving that libertarians are just another group (unfortunately an especially fragile group) contending for finite resources, Kurt said: "The scenario is if we libertarian/tranhumanist types manage to "grow" (using nanotech) our own city-state out on the ocean where we are totally politically independent of the rest of the world, but trade freely and openly with the rest of the world. Think of a transhumanist version of Singapore or Hong Kong."
Libertarianism is merely another utopian dream or dystopian nightmare. My guess is it would be dystopian until the following ingredients are present:
- Life spans that are effectively infinite and customisable;
- An infinite amount of resource available to everybody simultaneously so there is zero resource contention;
- Very high level AI automation so that labour becomes a hobby rather than a need;
- Nano-tech (or more likely some technology that can manipulate matter at an even more fundamental level).
In short, being a libertarian won't work until we reach a stage where resource (including duration, labour, space, matter and energy) is no longer a limiting factor. Unfortunately, that's not in our foreseeable future.
The existance of Singpore and Hong Kong proves that the free-trade city-state model is successful. I see no reason why a libertarianism/transhumanist city-state could not be just as, if not more, successful. In fact, I think such a city-state would be tremendously successful. Your comment implies that libertarianism is somehow less capable of competing in a complex, dynamic world than competing systems. As I mentioned previously, all competing systems are based on a belief in the efficacy of bureaucracy. Since we all know that bureacucracy does not work, this would imply that libertarianism would out-compete all competing systems.
You mention four ingredients for overcoming resource limitations. I would think that a libertarian society, due to its inherent dynamism, would create these "ingredients" more quickly than any competing system. In deed, creating these ingredients may, indeed, be the chief motivation of those who seek to create a libertarian society in the first place.
I stand by my original points: All large scale social institutions are bureaucracies. Bureaucracy is inherently incapable of any kind of productive accomplishment (this is based on human nature). All of the non-libertarian political ideologies that I am aware of are based on the efficacy of large scale social institutions and, thus, bureaucracy. As such, all non-libertarian political ideologies are, by definition, non-starters.
I also maintain my position that it is libertarian types like myself who are keenly aware of these realities of organizational dynamics and, thus, reject any philosophy based on the "false" belief in the efficacy of such human institutions.
First, Singapore isn't libertarian. Behavior is heavily regulated. I realize you know that. But the existence of Singapore doesn't tell us anything about the potential of a group of people at some point getting together to create a libertarian state.
Second, Singapore and Hong Kong are successful because Chinese people are smart.
Third, if all nation-states were smaller that would increase the chance that a few would be more libertarian. But the larger states get the more the factions cancel each other out and create social welfare states.
Fourth, the fact that it would take creation of an artificial island to be able to get like minded libertarians together in sufficient mass indicates how stacked the deck is against libertarianism.
Fifth, such a floating artificial island would need a more invasive state apparatus in order to ensure someone didn't wreck the place.
Sixth, the extra costs for the floating island might be a larger percentage of GDP than the welfare state is now in the United States.
I'm well aware that Singapore is not libertarian. Hong Kong was the closest thing to be a libertarian society (close enough for my tastes) except for the housing industry. Housing (and real estate) in Hong Kong has always been run or owned by the government.
Taiwan is also fairly libertarian in the sense that taxes are low (individual income tax is around 10%, corporate is 25%) and regulation is fairly minimal. One thing that almost every Asian country has over the West is medical freedom. What I mean by this is if someone does perfect the SENS therapies for curing aging, it will be far easier to roll them out to the public in Asia than it would in the U.S. or Europe, because of the huge excess of regulation of medical therapies in both areas of the West.
In fact, I fully expect anything like SENS to become available in various east Asian countries before they become available in the U.S. (they are already doing stem cell therapies in India). Since I travel often to Asia for business, it will be very easy for me to avail myself (and my wife) of them before most people in the U.S. get access to them. Medical tourism is already a multi-billion dollar industry and will only continue to grow.
In reality, the comparison of libertarianism vs. the other systems is really a comparison of the trade-off between freedom vs, security. As you know well, freedom X security = a constant. Libertarians prefer to give up security for freedom. Non-libertarians prefer to trade freedom for security. It is clear to me that these two groups are mutually incompatible with each other. One solution is separation, which is where the city-state idea comes in. As you point out, this is rather expensive and has problems inherent to it. However, there is another, far cheaper, solution to this problem.
Your comments about the Chinese being smart implies that these differences between the freedom-seekers and security-seekers is rooted in human biodiversity (i.e. are based on biological differences). This, in turn, implies that these differences can be elucidated by scientific analysis. This implies that the solution to the problem of the security seekers is found in applied biotechnology. Once the fundamental biological knowedge is known, implementing the biotechnological solution would certainly be far cheaper than trying to create a city-state on the ocean. For obvious reasons, this solution would need to be implemented by a non-governmental player. Of course, this further supports my point that the conventional large-scale bureaucracies are not capable of resolving the problems of current society.
Again, I do not look to any of the currently existing human institutions to do anything remotely useful for what I want to do or become. This is why I do not believe in them.
As follow on to my previous posting, I do agree with you that all of the issues of human society are rooted in human biodiversity. You are correct that places like Singapore and Hong Kong are successful, because they are comprised of a populace with a mean IQ of 105. Randall, I have been following your blog, as well as the blogs of Steve Sailer and the like, for 3-4 years and am well-aware of your focus on human biodiversity.
Like you and many others (such as Steve Sailor), I believe that the intelligent, capable, and self-sufficent should be able to create societies free and independent of the rest of the human race. My idea of the ocean city-state (as well as the old L-5 space scenario) is currently impractical. However, short of a biotechnological solution (you can interpet that anyway you want), I simply do not see any other way for accomplishing this task, given the motly-crew that comprises current U.S. society.