Progressive vs. Libertarian

Background: My husband, A., works for a local government, and has for nearly 15 years. He is almost automatically a believer in government, as are most of his co-workers, who see daily the effects of tax spending on the public. He tends to vote Democratic party line, but is more progressive than that. He gets mad at right-leaning Republicans, and didn't really know what a Libertarian was before we had the following conversation.

A.: I was listening to the guy who leaked Valerie Plame's name in his column - he was on Dianne Rheam today. He made me so mad that I had to turn off the radio!
me: Bob Woodward?
A.: Yeah! He was talking about government, and he said "It comes down to two things, either you believe government is the solution, or you believe that government is the problem." I had to go to music.
me: Do you know what a Libertarian is?
A.: No...
me: A Libertarian is someone who believes that less government is better. Daniel (guy I used to work with, a staunch Libertarian) is convinced that there should be fewer laws and fewer government agencies. This apparently means that they believe in no libraries, all-private schools, and private roads everywhere.
A.: But if people don't have to make their kids go to school, some of them won't!
me: I know. But these Libertarians believe in the power of the free market to get people what they want.
A.: If they can't pay for it, they won't get it.
me: Right, and apparently that's just too bad for them.
A.: Well, he (Woodward) was a freak, that's for sure.
me: He was one of the Watergate guys, you know.
A.: He was raging on about the 'liberal media'. He was talking about how there's all this liberal bias in the newspapers, which equates to all of the media...
3-year-old: Mommy and daddy! Come fly airplanes with me! Please! Varoooommmmmm!!!!

So that was a few days ago, and I keep thinking back to the many conversations I had with my former co-worker Daniel. He is a hard-line Libertarian when it comes to programs that are invisible to him, such as social services and medicaid, but his kids go to public school, he drives on public roads, and he graduated from a public university. I got mad at him one day years ago (in the runup to the 2004 election, I think), and he said "Look, it's all just a game. Nobody really gets hurt by this stuff!" This had the effect of making me madder, so I walked back to my office so I wouldn't scream at him. I HONESTLY can't believe that he was really that naive, but apparently he was.
Here's the thing, though - this guy IS smarter than that, but when something isn't in his face all the time, he manages to convince himself that it doesn't exist and isn't a problem.

I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but I'm still steamed about something my co-worker said to me probably 4 years ago (and that office doesn't even exist anymore!)
Just had to get it off my chest.

Edited to add: Yeah, it probably was Novak. I get my Bobs mixed up a lot.

Comments

I think it was Robert Novak, not Woodward

Novak leaked her name in his column and was just on the Rehm show:
http://wamu.org/programs/dr/07/08/06.php#13121

Libertarians scare me - but I can understand the position from a civil liberites perspective, particularly in a time of unconstitutional executive branch powers. (New GOP talking points should be: Remember the terrorists attacked us for our freedom and democracy! Therefore, we must fight them by taking away some of our freedoms and diminish the checks and balances of the branches of our democracy)

I remember being at candidate forum many years ago and the Libertarian candidate for Governor (Barbara Howe) made some comment like "we don't need government making rules about how you have cook meat. If restaurants are not doing their job (by cooking food appropriately) then customers won't go and it will go out of business."

To which an audience member commented "Yeah, except I don't want my kids to get salmonella poisoning and die in order for that restaurant to go out of business. Do you?" Howe didn't respond. I think her son was in the room.

"It's all just a game. Nobody really gets hurt by this stuff"

I think this is a very telling quote. Libertarians, especially ones who think this is a game, strike me as possessing pretty strong cognitive dissonance, just like the free market fundamentalists and religious fanatics whom they associate with.

Libertarians are deluding themselves when they vote for the Republican party, which has a far worse record of support for balance of powers and civil liberties than the Democratic party (of recent years anyway).

-- ge

P.S. Of course the Democratic party's support of civil liberties is woefully inadequate - as shown by their vote last Saturday in the House.

Besta é tu se você não viver nesse mundo
http://george.entenman.name

Besta é tu se você não viver nesse mundo
https://george.entenman.name

Seeking Liberty first is the sign of a "real" Libertarian

Libertarians are deluding themselves when they vote for the Republican party, which has a far worse record of support for balance of powers and civil liberties than the Democratic party (of recent years anyway).*Z

True! Except one! Ron Paul who is scaring the hell out of the establishment republicans in the republican presidental race. There is many types of Libertarians like Democrats and nutcase religious Republicans. The " real" Libertarians are the Lew Rockwell types, the rest are war mongers, neo-cons in dress drag, and phony Art Pope puppets.

Most liberal or progressive democrats usually are liberty seeking folks in their personal lives like most " real" libertarians who love the same constitution along with the Bill of Rights Together.

Libertarians want to have their cake and eat it, too.

They believe that things will happen because people want them to happen, and will make them happen. Guess what folks? That's government. Frickin' duh.

Or as one of my favorite people says: "Don't like government? That's ok. You go ahead, then. Build a road."


Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

I can sympathize

I've been meaning to post a diary about this for a while - unfortunately, it would seem that my generation (Echo Boomers) tilts more libertarian than previous generations. This is the result of a number of influences, and it can be really infuriating. Whether they call themselves "libertarians" or "South Park Republicans" or whatever, I think they're a serious threat to the progressive political coalition. I actually prefer to get into a debate with a Pat Robertson Republican than a Ron Paul Republican.