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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Libertarians taking the lead in this strategy...

...is a mixed blessing. As a first step Robin Koerner's articles on Blue Republicans and the new Facebook  page dedicated to the same are helpful. They show libertarian hospitality to progressives, a welcome difference from the demonization we get from typical GOPers. However it would be more helpful if Koerner and other libertarian hosts would try to think about how a progressives respond to all the common ground talk of civil liberties and ending wars.

Progressives are likely to think, "I'm glad we have this common ground but we are worried that what you want to do is get our votes and then gut social security, medicare, and the rest of the New Deal and Great Society. Obama is far from perfect but at least he has begun a significant draw down in Iraq and is starting a reversal in Afghanistan. We would rather take the chance that America sees the Republican party for what it really is in 2012, and once an anti-war, progressive congress is in place, you can come on board and help us to roll back the military industrial complex and restore our civil liberties."

I am apt to agree with libertarians that Obama's track record represents who he will be until 2016. He is going to keep a significant force in Iraq, many of them hidden as military contractors. He is also likely to continue a counter terrorism strategy in Pakistan and nation building in Afghanistan. He has shown no signs of wanting to draw down forces in the other 400 plus foreign bases. Heaven help us if he gets inspired by winning in Libya.

Even if Obama's wishes are more progressive than his policies, he needs 60 progressive Senators to get anything progressive done. Unfortunately, the American people are not likely to give progressives a bigger victory in 2012 than they did in 2008.

Libertarians may shake their heads and throw up there hands given progressives' unrealistic hopefulness toward President Obama. That's also understandable but rather than stick with the same selfish game of flirtation liberals and libertarians have been at with each other for decades, why not offer a little bit more incentive?

Ron Paul's transition plan offers a template of how to reach out beyond the usual "do it my way and you'll be happy" game, and I suspect that he is willing to tweak it a bit to get the nation where he wants it to be in 2016.  The tweak he needs is to expand on what that 50% of savings can be spent on. He opens the door by saying he is willing to use it for entitlements. If he promises not to veto any bill that uses it for other domestic purposes such as block grant funding to states and localities for green projects, he will awaken multitudes of progressives who are beginning to see that Obama will not or cannot provide the funding the peaceful green economy needs.

Rather than avoiding the tricky economic issues so as to be a good host, Koerner and other hosts who long for the libertarian utopia ought to take a cue from Ron Paul's realistic side. The principle is: don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. A good coalition economic agreement might look something like this:

During Ron Paul's 2013-2017 presidential term, we want to see an annual average of 1 trillion dollars reallocated from projected spending on war, military, security, drug wars, foreign military bases, etc. Half of this must be used to pay down national debt. The other half must be spent on social security, medicare, medicaid, green infrastructure or block grants to states based on population. Any new revenues arising from tax reform or economic growth must also be used to pay down national debt. Cost of living increases for entitlements must be granted throughout these 4 years. Any other savings from reductions in spending must be apportioned in the same manner as above.

Such a coalition covenant does not have to extend beyond 4 years. It would significantly reduce the overall size of government in accordance with Ron Paul's transition plan. It provides for an honest conversation about real tax reform. According to both libertarian and progressive economic thinking, it should create jobs on a much larger scale than is happening now.  It likely puts the alternative before America of a truly libertarian plan versus a truly progressive plan in 2016 instead of the same old rerun of liberal corporatist against conservative corporatist.

Keep at the nice talk about what we already agree on and libertarian hosts will win a few of us over but not enough to get Ron Paul the nomination. Just think if the same coalition covenant were proposed by Bernie Sanders against Mitt Romney. Surely you would support the socialist while holding out hope for better things in 2016.


  1. Though he hasn't made a specific pledge he has said he intends to use the money to bolster our failing infrastructure, social programs and to give incentive to companies to return to this country. And considering his record on the subject and everything else, I believe him to be a man of his word.

    • Consistently voted against using tax dollars to subsidize logging in National Forests
    • Co-sponsor of legislation designed to encourage the development of alternative and sustainable energy. H.R. 550 extends the investment tax credit to solar energy property and qualified fuel cell property, and H.R. 1772 provides tax credits for the installation of wind energy property.
    • Taxpayers for Common Sense named Paul a "Treasury Guardian" for his work against environmentally-harmful government spending and corporate welfare.
    • A member of the Congressional Green Scissors Coalition, a bipartisan caucus devoted to ending taxpayer subsidies of projects that harm the environment for the benefit of special interests.
    • “Individuals, businesses, localities, and states must be free to negotiate environmental standards. Those who depend on the land for their health and livelihood have the greatest incentive to be responsible stewards.”

  2. I am aware of what the 'Right' regards Progressives as, but I must admit that I have never gotten the definition from a Progressive.

    Can you kindly share what your ideology is?

    To be fair I will give you a taste of mine.

    I am a Classic Liberal very akin to a Jeffersonian. I understand that the US should be Neutral similar to Switzerland, but at the same time having an adequate Navy to protect our Trade routes.

    I understand that there is only ONE Race, the Human Race and any subdivision on account of skin tone is purely superficial.

    I understand and adhere to Natural Law which recognizes the equal station among all mankind and a Rule of Law that recognizes Unalienable Rights.

    Equal access only promotes equal results, it does not seek to coerce an outcome.

    I am for Sound money. A 2011 Dollar should be worth 1 Dollar in a 100 years, not 4 cents as the Federal Reserve has produced.

    In any event, I will say that I am excited and eager to participate in a dialog between Libertarians and Progressives. Perhaps there is common ground. I detest NeoCons probably as much as any Progressive, but I must say I detest the Central Planning ISM's (i.e. Socialism, Marxism, etc) equally.

  3. I am a libertarian Ron Paul supporter and I love everything you wrote here. I think this country would be a much better place if people could have rational, productive conversations such as this - thank you.

  4. Not sure why but I cannot seem to get a comment to post here. Isn't that pathetic. I had a long response to all 3 of you....rather than trying to reconstruct it let me just say thanks for the feedback and encouragement. Hope this one sticks...