Libertarian Democrat? No Thanks

As everyone has already read by now, Kos calls himself a "Libertarian Democrat" by which he means "Democrat". This seems to be a repeating occurrence in the blogosphere: someone from the left creating a buzz by suggesting an alliance with libertarians. I seem to remember Belle Waring proposing something similar a year or two ago. In fact, I think one of Kos's minions did likewise back in the early days of the blogosphere.

Others have already pointed out the problems with the "progressive" side of his argument.

I'm not one for "alliances" or splits or political maneuvering or anything of the sort; I leave the political game to others. My main problem with the left/libertarian snogging over the last few years can be summed up in two words: Kelo, Raich.

It was the managerial left that understood all too well that these decisions were really about power, and it was the left that supported them. For standing against them meant standing against the might with which they wish mold society. So long as a large part of the left longs for power as the solution to societal ills, they have very little common ground with libertarians.

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Don't you have to, like,

Don't you have to, like, believe in individual liberty to be a libertarian?

It seems to me that

It seems to me that libertarians (big and small 'l') will never win elections (above, say, nonpartisan city council races) with the Libertarian Party. They'll also never be really happy holding their nose and siding with either major party. So the only question is whether they'll (1) not turn out, or (2) turn out and vote for the LP, thus acting as 'spoilers' to the degree that there was a major party candidate that they would have favored, had they had to choose between the major parties.

I think believing in liberty

I think believing in liberty is a good start. But what makes one a libertarian, in my eyes, is an appreciation of the invisible hand/emergent orders. Democrats fail this test utterly and completely. 9/10ths of them dont't believe the invisible hand even exists. And those who do find its methods evil. The best among them (few) find it to be a necessary evil.

Hamilton: The options you

The options you present are equivalent. Whether I stay home or vote a straight libertarian ticket has no effect on the outcome of an election.

The best way for

The best way for libertarians to gain a foothold is to infiltrate the two parties a la Ron Paul.

The best course of action is

The best course of action is laid out by William Niskanen over at Cato, urging the LP to cease the kabuki drama of running candidates and instead become like the NRA or AARP or NOW or other issue-pressure organizations, though more electorally oriented- the only way to have a seat at the table is to be able to credibly influence an election (i.e. the numbers you can bring to bear are greater than the expected margin of victory in a given race), not by being a spoiler, but by being a vital constituency that should switch promiscuously issue-by-issue supporting whichever candidate in a given race that is more libertarian.

All other paths are folly (for political libertarianism).

I guess I would fall under

I guess I would fall under one of the mentioned labels. I have libertarian ideals, but I'm allied up with local progressives. Though I fail to fit the criteria of the Kos. I don't care much about corporate power, though John Bogle has highlighted that there aren't enough individual owners anymore. I really just want the government out of my personal life. The Republicans on the hill just want to keep scratching away at that. Until I can be safe at home, I won't ally myself with those on the other side of the aisle unless they change their game plan.

Socialists, for some reason,

Socialists, for some reason, never want to call themselves socialists. So the keep co-opting other groups' names as cover for themselves: progressive, liberal, etc.

After a while the constant association of the co-opted name with socialist policy activism ruins the reputation of the 'host' group, requiring the socialists to go out and co-opt yet another name.

I think all the talk we've been seeing lately about 'left libertarians' or 'libertarian democrats' is just the beginnings of an attempt to co-opt the term 'libertarian'.

I think the Free State

I think the Free State Project could work -- it certainly has a better outlook than any kind of libertarian party ever will.

For what it's worth, I'd been on the fence for a while, but just signed on to FSP today.

Stormy, Maybe what you say


Maybe what you say is true, but "left-libertarian" is a phrase most often hear coming out of libertarian's mouths, not liberals. Guys like Roderick Long and the like. I'm not so sure that "libertarian" is all the rage. Isn't the label still largely equated with nut-jobs in the minds of the masses? I always thought it was.

"though John Bogle has

"though John Bogle has highlighted that there aren’t enough individual owners anymore."

That is solely the fault of the government and it's imposition of taxes and bureaucracy on startups, partnerships and sole proprietors.

I, for one, welcome our new

I, for one, welcome our new left-libertarian overlords.

Brandon, Whether I just


Whether I just stay home or vote a straight (insert party name here) has no effect on the outcome of an election. If I had voted for Bush in '04, and he won Virginia by a larger margin, would my vote then not have been wasted? It somehow would have counted in that situation?

What if I had voted for Kerry? Bush's margin would have been slimmer - to what effect on the election?

The argument that voting LP is throwing away one's vote neglects the reality that any one person's vote, considered in a vacuum, has no effect on the outcome of the election. I have come to feel that it is not a constructive way to frame the question of whether to vote for a "Third Party" or Independent.