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smoovegeek

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  1. But where is the Objectivist Republican in the short term? I'm not laboring under any illusion that a Libertarian, Objectivist or not, will hold any major political office in the foreseeable future. I'm not trying to get a Libertarian elected. I'm suggesting voting LP to influence the GOP. I think the GOP is our best bet in the long term too, but only if we can pull them back from their current strategy of chasing religious right and moderate left voters---and that means showing them that advocates of laissez-faire capitalism are their true base by overtly refusing to sanction their present course.
  2. The further along I read this thread, the more I am struck by the fact that the left and the right have got rational voters between a rock and a hard place. It's Attila vs. the Witch Doctor in 2004.
  3. Oakes: I admire your optimism. On the other hand, keep in mind that a Conservative Student Conference is not the same as a Republican one. I would venture to guess there were a lot of libertarians in that crowd, or P.J. O'Rourke style Republicans at the very least. Reagan gave us the federal Department of Education, which Newt Gingrich and his ragtag band of radical Republicans swore to dismantle. The Democrats said Republicans wanted to kill our children, so the Republicans backed down from their agenda. You see, most politicians are mainly concerned with being reelected. Bush Sr. gave us Head Start. W ran in 2000 partly on a platform of increased federal education spending. Things are not headed in the right direction with the GOP. They alternate between pandering to the religious right (allegedly half of the party) and trying to attract more Democratic voters by expanding government programs (and creating new ones). I hope we see a Howard Roark run for office too. Alas, though, this year the Republicans have offered us George W. Bush. When the GOP fields a "rugged leader" who wants to privatize education, repeal the income tax, reduce the federal government to its constitutional functions, take the Bill of Rights seriously, separate church and state, etc., you can be sure I will vote for that candidate. I just don't think communicating that we like Bush (or that we like Kerry better than Bush) is going to make that scenario likely. In an age when the electorate is split nearly 50/50, we're not going to see any mavericks from the pragmatic major parties.
  4. "Shouting for real capitalism" is even more ineffective in the short term than voting for a third party. Shouting for real capitalism while voting for Bush or Kerry borders on the absurd. Of course, the best way to change things is to influence the culture. We all, I'm sure, are doing what we can in that respect, but there's still a long way to go before major political candidates start quoting Atlas Shrugged in their campaign speeches. What I'm talking about is purely political action right now, which is a direction Dr. Peikoff has opened up. Of course it would be nice to have great short term AND long term results. Unfortunately, voting for a major party candidate in this election can only give us the possibility of slightly less awful short term results while doing nothing in the long term. I think the GOP seeing their constituency slowly drain away towards more pro-liberty candidates will give us great results in the long term (i.e., more pro-liberty candidates, and eventually electable ones). So, between slightly less awful for four years, then starting all over again, and progressively great for the future, I think the choice is clear.
  5. Republicans? Good economic policy? Maybe marginally better than Democratic policy, but an Objectivist and a Libertarian have much more in common in this department than an Objectivist and a Republican. Let's take a look at just a few Republican economic policies in recent memory: 1. Bush Sr.'s famous tax-hike ("Read my lips") 2. The 1994 Republican Congress' capitulation to the Democrats (Breaching the Contract with America) 3. Republican opposition to W's miniscule tax cuts 4. W's attempt at protectionism via enormous steel tariffs (Thankfully reversed) 5. W's signing off on social spending increases while running up the deficit (Is there a veto in the house?) 6. Speaking of social spending, how about the new Medicare prescription drug benefit? (Take that, present and future taxpayers---not to mention pharmaceutical companies!) The Republicans of today, economically speaking, are acting like Carter Democrats. If libertarian economic policy were followed, these economic disasters would never have occurred. In fact, the income tax and social spending would be eliminated altogether. I would say the Democrats have a nightmarish economic policy, the Republicans a bad economic policy, and the Libertarians a great economic policy. I'd have to concede the bad foreign policy, but you're bound to get some bad no matter who you go with. Who's closer to Objectivist ideals overall? Again, I'm not suggesting we abandon the major parties; I'm suggesting we cause them to reevaluate their policies by voting for alternatives.
  6. Andrew: Your point on joining vs. voting is well-taken. I would not advocate joining the LP, but I still think voting for an LP candidate can be a rational choice. How would you respond to my theory that voting for an LP candidate would have a more beneficial result in the long term? Maybe I didn't fully explain this. Voting for Kerry is pushing Bush away from the White House. Voting for Bush is pushing Kerry away from the White House. However, voting for Badnarik is pulling the Republicans away from statist policies toward more (small-L) libertarian policies. The Republican Party has been drifting leftward for years. In the short term, voting for Bush or Kerry may accomplish something nominally desirable, but where does that leave us in 2008 and further down the line? We will still be debating which candidate poses less of a threat. In the long term, nothing changes. Shouldn't we, as people committed to reason, plan long range?
  7. I have a very simple view of the "theocracy" issue. Let's look at some figures: 1) Take the figure that was floated earlier: 25% of our country's population are fundamentalist "evangelical" Christians. I think this may be an overstatement, but then again I've never spent any time in the Midwest. 2) The Democrat vs. Republican split in recent years is roughly 50/50. 3) Fundamentalist Christians (those who would favor some form of "theocratic" government) are overwhelmingly Republican, so half of Republicans could theoretically support a theocracy. 4) Democrats (roughly 50% of the voting population) are overwhelmingly supporters of the separation of church and state. Therefore, in simple terms, 75% of Americans would not favor theocratic government. If Bush were to win in November, how would he implement a theocracy? The only way this could occur is by force. Does anyone seriously believe that the Bush Administration is inclined, let alone able, to force Americans into a theocratic government? I think the threat is completely overblown. Still, I don't favor Bush; nor do I favor Kerry. At the risk of being branded a heretic, I plan to vote Libertarian. If you have something to say about this, I urge you to read the Lesser of Three Evils thread and respond there. I don't want to hijack this thread.
  8. Thanks for your replies. I appreciate it. Fred: I share your distaste of those planks of the LP platform, and the lack of solid grounding for them. However, I challenge you to find less to be concerned about in the GOP or Democratic platforms. As I've said, as long as we're considering taking action in behalf of a major party candidate, why not consider the LP? As far as crazy Libertarians go, I think that's painting them with a pretty broad brush. I've talked to some far out ones, yes, but I've also talked to and listened to some pretty lucent ones. Let's not forget that a large wing of the LP are Objectivist sympathizers. I think that Schwartz's essay has some good points, but he does much the same thing. He focuses on the Rothbard anarcho-capitalists and the hippies in the party, which may have constituted more of the movement at the time the essay was written, but have not been a major force in the party in at least the past decade or so. I really would love to reread the essay so I could give it a better response---I'm working from memory here---but I've lent out my copy of The Voice of Reason. I could certainly understand a refusal to deal with the LP on philosophical grounds if Objectivists abstained from political action altogether, but to ostracize them for reasons that we do not apply to other political parties is beyond my ability to provide rational support for. This is why I wanted to start a dialogue on the subject. Perhaps it could be argued that we should only support a candidate who could actually win. As the debate in the Peikoff For Kerry? forum shows, even very intelligent and rational people are unable to reach a consensus on which would be worse for the country. Additionally, if we vote for Bush or Kerry, we provide them with a mandate for their destructive policies. If the LP wins a higher percentage of the vote than they have before, and especially if they spoil the election for Bush, the Republicans will have to take a look at what the LP is offering. True, a good portion of the LP's ideas are bad; however, they are not as bad as the Republican's bad ideas, and their good ideas are much, much better. Let's examine some purely hypothetical 2004 election results. Just for fun, let's say the Objectivists who can all agree on how to cast their ballots are 1% of the vote. Scenario A. Objectivists vote for Kerry: Kerry 49% Bush 46% Nader 3% Badnarik 1% misc. 1% Scenario B. Objectivists vote for Badnarik: Kerry 48% Bush 46% Nader 3% Badnarik 2% misc. 1% In Scenario B, the RNC is going to pay a lot of attention to how that 2% got away. If this trend continues in 2008 etc., the LP's more "moderate" ideas will begin to find a home in the GOP platform as the GOP tries to woo the "fringe" voters with a combination of ideas they value and plain electability. Is it better to argue Kerry or Bush or to take a more long range view? You tell me.
  9. I wanted to jump into this discussion, but my thoughts would take it a bit off-track. Therefore, I have created a new topic ("Lesser of Three Evils?"). I would very much appreciate your feedback.
  10. I have often been puzzled by AR's (and ARI's) pronouncements on political action, especially regarding "third parties." For example, in PWNI, Rand states: "Above all, do not join the wrong ideological groups or movements, in order to "do something." By "ideological" (in this context), I mean groups or movements proclaiming some vaguely generalized, undefined (and, usually, contradictory) political goals. (E.g., the Conservative Party, which subordinates reason to faith, and substitutes theocracy for capitalism; or the "libertarian" hippies, who subordinate reason to whims, and substitute anarchism for capitalism.) To join such groups means to reverse the philosophical hierarchy and to sell out fundamental principles for the sake of some superficial political action which is bound to fail." This quote encapsulates the two main objections I have encountered in official Objectivist literature: Objection 1: That one should not support a political organization, campaign or movement that is not soundly based on solid principles (Objectivist philosophy?). Objection 2: Fringe movements are doomed to failure (you're throwing your vote away). I can see why Rand did not vote in the 1980 presidential election, with this view. However, now there is discussion about supporting the lesser of two evils---Peikoff's rather unenthusiastic endorsement of Kerry, and other Objectivists' equally lukewarm support of Bush. We are debating whether to throw our hats in the ring of the intrinsicist, vaguely theocratic GOP or the subjectivist, multiculturalist Democratic Party. Both have proven themselves tremendously anti-capitalist; both have demonstrated their commitment to "vaguely generalized, undefined and usually contradictory" political goals. What has changed in orthodox Objectivism to produce such a strange phenomenon? I'm sure you've been waiting to see how long it takes me to bring up the Libertarian Party. Let me first say that I am not a member, and I find the party to be distressingly lacking in philosophical support. I certainly disagree with some of their political goals. On the other hand, this applies in spades to the Republicans and the Democrats, or at the very least Bush and Kerry. I can find much, much more to be disgusted and alarmed about with their stated goals, past performance, and ideology than I can with any Libertarian candidate I have seen. So why is ARI still vehemently opposed to the Libertarian Party? The first objection I identified above seems to me to no longer apply. Since I don't have the luxury here of a real-time dialogue, I will move on to the second objection identified above. "You're throwing your vote away." I think this is a very short-sighted thing to say. It seems to me to be awfully cynical. Of course I harbor no illusion that the Libertarian candidate will win the presidency. I very much doubt he does either. However, the more people vote for third party candidates, the more the major parties will shift to capture those votes. Libertarians have "spoiled" local elections in a few states, and it is the Republicans' fondest hope that Nader will spoil the 2004 election, drawing crucial votes away from Kerry. In this age of photo finishes at the polling booths, a movement to support alternatives to the major parties can, if it gathers enough steam, bring those parties to heel. Personally, I would love to see a scenario where the Democrats moved further towards the sort of wacky populist socialism that Nader represents and the Republicans moved further towards the commitment to constitutional government, individual rights and laissez-faire capitalism that the Libertarians represent. I would contend that Objectivists, as long as they are thinking about choosing the lesser of two evils, would do better to consider the lesser of three evils. What do you think?
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