Maybe that libertarian-conservative split is worse than I thought. Frank Mickadeit offers this insider report from a debate inside Freedom Communications, publisher of the Orange County Register and other libertarian-leaning newspapers:
[Tibor] Machan came down for voting for the Libertarian. Even with a small chance of winning, he said, there is value in getting the pure libertarian ideas out there, “preparing the culture for some kind of serious reforms, maybe even a revolution.” I recorded his first mention of Ayn Rand at four minutes in. Remarkable restraint.
… There was some back-and-forth over the practical vs. the philosophical approach to politics, and [Freedom CEO Scott] Flanders said that in this election, for him, “the No. 1 issue is who will get us out of Iraq.”
OK, I’m thinking, if you really mean that, there’s only one major candidate you can support. But there’s no way you are going to stand there and say you support him.
Editorial writer Steve Greenhut told Flanders he thought he was really making an argument for not voting. Not true, Flanders said, and then he did it. He said the words, “Barack Obama.” As in, that’s who any true freedom-lover should vote for.
At that moment, I thought the wailing ghost of R.C. Hoiles would burst through the ceiling and the floor beneath us would split into a ragged, cleaving maw we’d all tumble into – swallowed whole by the earth. Better no company at all than one whose CEO supports a Democrat for president.
A few observations: First: I admire Freedom for having these sorts of debates and for being open enough to allow a columnist to report on them. Second: Are these guys nuts?
I understand and, to a great extent, sympathize with the libertarian objection to American military involvement around the world, but I’ve got some bad news for you, Sunshine: We’re not leaving Iraq. McCain, Obama, Hillary, Ron Paul–we could elect Grover from Sesame Street president, and we’re not leaving Iraq. We still have troops in Germany, Okinawa, and Korea–and people think we’re pulling out of Iraq, where there’s still actual fighting going on, and where, even the most moonbatty anti-Bush picket-bearer will enthusiastically agree, we have strategic interests? (The Left only approves of military action where the U.S. has no national interest at stake, i.e. Kosovo, Haiti, Somalia, Darfur, &c.)
And what makes the libertarians believe that the farthest-left senator will be less likely to engage in military adventuring abroad? Obama believes he is the Second Coming of JFK, who was not at all shy about sending troops overseas: In 1961 there were several hundred American “advisers” in Vietnam, but by 1962 there were nearly 14,000 military personnel. In 1963 JFK took it upon himself to help overthrow the Diem regime in South Vietnam. If Obama is following the JFK model, he’ll be no pacifist.
Wars end. Entitlement programs do not. In the long run, President Bush’s prescription-drugs subsidy scheme will cost us more than the Iraq war. Obama promises to Sovietize the healthcare system and has fled from his once-promising stances on education reform. Does anybody really think that a President Obama is going to sign the bill that ends farm subsidies or cuts Social Security payments to millionaires?
I’ve met and worked with some of the Freedom Communications guys during my short career in the nonprofit sector, and I know that they’re not nuts–they really smart, intellectually rigorous, and very committed to liberty. But it seems to me that embracing the far Left because of opposition to the Iraq campaign is disproportionate. Unfortunately, libertarians are famously susceptible to this sort of temptation, e.g. Murray Rothbard’s counterproductive embrace of the anti-Vietnam war moonbats of his day, or Ron Paul’s fevered courting of the hate-America Left. I think bringing home most American troops from abroad would be a great thing, but the withdrawal should start from Ramstein, not from Baghdad.