Tag: Democratic Party

The Cruelty of the $15 Minimum Wage

Reason posted this over the weekend. It’s a good review of why the $15 minimum wage, which Clinton has now embraced, is insanity.

Boudreaux gets into an aspect of the wage hike I didn’t: that he thinks the gradual increase is designed to conceal the effects. If the economy does well for other reasons, the Democrats will then claim the $15 minimum wage is having no effect on jobs.

Here’s the thing: the Democrats are claiming, based on a grand total of one study that doesn’t say what they think it says, that we can raise the minimum wage without increasing unemployment. Let’s pretend that this point is up for debate and that we are, in effect, engaging in a massive gamble on the laws of economics. What is the downside risk if they’re wrong?

As I noted in my last post, long-term unemployment is one of the most damaging things that can happen to someone. It can repress earnings for a lifetime, it can affect health and happiness and, as we’ve seen in Europe, masses of unemployed young men can become a hotbed of crime and extremism. That’s the risk if they’re wrong.

The Democrats are gambling the futures of millions of people on this will-o-the-wisp idea that the Law of Supply and Demand is magically suspend for labor because … well, because the unions want it to be. If they’ve gambled wrong, they won’t be paying the price. Millions of poor people and minorities will. If the $15 wage causes mass unemployment, the effects will last for generations. It may not be reparable in our lifetime.

I’m glad the Democrats have a few pet economists who will tell them this is a low-risk bet. But it’s yet another illustration of how the Democrats “help” people by holding their heads underwater. I have no doubt that they think they are being compassionate. But gambling someone’s life on crackpot economic ideas is not compassion.

Democratic Debate #425

Here’s the wonderful thing about Democratic Part debates. Any time I even entertain the notion of voting for a Democrat, all I have to do is watch them debate and I am instantly dissuaded. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton debated again last night. I don’t know (or care) who the winner was. I know who the loser was: anything approaching sanity.

Here is a short list of the things the candidates basically agree on:

  • We should address global warming. But in doing so, we should abandon the technologies that have made the most progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions: nuclear power and fracking.
  • Government should spend yet more money making college more expensive. I mean, cheaper, definitely cheaper.
  • We shouldn’t reign in exploding retirements. We should expand them. And we can pay for that with taxes on the rich.
  • We need way more liberals on the Supreme Court.
  • Any SCOTUS opinions liberals like is “established law” and should not be touched. Anything they don’t like, such as Citizens United should be overturned.
  • We need a $15 national minimum wage.
  • Boy, do we need to spend more money. For jobs and stuff.

There is some daylight between the candidates. Clinton is more of an interventionist abroad while Sanders is more isolationist. Clinton is also a bit more hostile to civil liberties. And, to be fair, Clinton has frequently taken the opposite opinion on the minimum wage and fracking. But it was kind of scary listening to these chowderheads last night and imaging what they might do with a Democratic Congress.

On style, Sanders won. But, were I a Democrat, I would probably be voting Clinton. Sanders has the big ideas and high-sounding rhetoric. But Clinton is the one who could actually get things done. If I were a Republican, I’d probably want Sanders since even a Democratic Congress wouldn’t do all the crap he wants.

The more I turn this over, the more I think retaining Congress has to be the priority for the GOP. I’ve basically given up the White House for lost this year. I think Clinton is going to win the nomination and the election, despite her high negatives and ethical problems. I base this partly on intuition. In every election since 1980, I’ve gotten a feeling for who was going to win. It has rarely failed me. The only time I was even uncertain was 2000. I’m now getting that feeling about Clinton. I see her on TV and think, “Jesus, we’re actually going to do this thing, aren’t we?”

But I also base on the GOP, which is either going to nominate Trump or nominate someone else to lead a badly fractured party. I’m hoping it’s Cruz, since he will probably lose but would at least bring enough voters to the polls to hold Congress. But if Trump is the nominee …

This is a bad year. I’ve been watching politics since 1980. I’ve been blogging about it, off and on, for the last 15 years. I’ve never seen anything like this. Even Gore and Obama had their redeeming features. Even Bush and Dole had reasons to vote for them. I look at this field — a socialist, a criminal, a fascist and a twerp — and all I can think is, “please, someone else.”

Where I Am Right Now, February Version

So we had two more debates over the weekend. I won’t go blow-by-blow through them. Trump continued to be obnoxious. Bush punched back. Rubio and Cruz sparred, occasionally in Spanish. Kasich tried to set himself up as the adult in the room (not always successfully). Instead of going through that, I thought I’d lay out what my current impression is of the candidates and the order in which I would vote for them. I’ve put all the candidates in the list except for Ben Carson. The reason I’ve left Carson out is because I’m not sure what I make of him and I don’t think he’ll be in this much longer. The others should last at least through Super Tuesday.

So here’s my current preference for presidential candidates. Keep in mind that these rankings are fluid and could change significantly as the race progresses.

Read more… »

RNC Whining vs. DNC Whining

After the last Republican debate, the GOP was miffed about the tone and content of the questions asked. Almost everyone thought the questions were terrible, that the commentators interrupted too much and the debate was even less informative than these things tend to be (all except Vox, because of course). In the wake of the debate, the RNC has suspended their partnership with NBC.

(One thing to clear up. This does cancel the broadcast of GOP debates on Telemundo, which is supposedly racist or something. But that’s a temporary thing. They could easily find another Spanish-language outlet. ABC has an association with Univision. Fox has their own Spanish-language channel. This is about NBC, not Telemundo.)

In the wake of this, every liberal outlet is bashing the GOP for “whining” about the debate. According to them, the Republicans are big babies. Their proof of this? Fox News asked tough questions too. But in making that comparison, they illustrate precisely the problem. Fox News’ questioning was pointed, but it was not ridiculous. It was managed well and it did not try to pit the candidates against each other or focus on trivial nonsense. At one point during the debate, Chris Christie got some of the biggest cheers of the night for castigating the hosts for asking questions about fantasy football. Everyone — liberal and conservative alike — thought Fox’s questioning was at least solid. No one — liberal or conservative — thought CNBC’s was.

But here’s the real rub. The Democrats did the same thing in 2007, withdrawing from a debate hosted by Fox News because, ostensibly, they didn’t like some things Roger Ailes had said about Obama. They couldn’t specify what precisely Ailes said, but they assured us that, whatever it was, it was really really bad. The really real reason, of course, was that they were pressure from MoveOn and other liberals orgs that hated Fox News. So the Democrats did not have a Fox News debate in 2008. And they won’t have one this year. I realize that the Left has decided that Fox News is Objectively Evil. But I can’t help but wonder … just a bit … if that decision was made because Fox News is the only news channel that would challenge the Democrats. Every other host — NPR, PBS, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNBC, MSNBC, F/X, ESPN, VH1, TLC, MTV, Disney, Nickelodeon, the Cartoon Network, the Sci-Fi Channel, THC, NG, CSPAN — would be friendly to them.

So … who exactly are the whiners who can’t face tough questions?

Democratic Fantasies

As the Presidential debates have unfolded over the last few weeks, something has become increasingly apparent to me: the Democratic Party is currently living Fantasy World.

You’d be forgiven if you didn’t think this was the case. After all, the media are filled with stories about how crazy the Republicans are. They’re actually going to nominate Donald Trump or Ben Carson! Never mind that the Democrats have been consistently losing at the Congressional, Senate, gubernatorial and state legislature levels. It’s a new Democratic era! Just look at the demographics!

But I want you to consider where the Democratic Presidential candidates are on the issues:

  • In the Democratic Party, there is no longer a debate over whether the federal government should guarantee “free” college to everyone. The debate is over whether this free college should be made available to the children of rich people or not.
  • Free daycare and mandated maternity leave are no longer up for debate. The question among the Democrats is how much of these things we are going to get.
  • Expanding the broken Social Security system is now the mainstream view in the Democratic Party.
  • There is no longer any debate about whether there should be more gun control. It’s about whether we should consider Australia-style gun confiscation. Bernie Sanders was pilloried for having the temerity to suggest that liberal gun control wouldn’t fly in the entire country.
  • All of this, of course, will be paid for with “taxes on the rich”. Of course, even if you raised taxes on the rich, even if you confiscated all of their income, it wouldn’t pay for all of this. Bernie Sanders’ agenda would cost a cool $18 trillion over the next decade. I’m old enough to remember when the Democrat were worried about the deficit.

The thing is, these view are out of step with clear majorities of the American public. For example, most Americans oppose more gun control and, even for those who want more, this is a low-priority issue. And by a huge majority, they blame mass shootings on mental health issues, not a lack of gun control.

You may remember that, a few years ago, the media buzzword was “epistemic closure”. This was the idea that the Republicans had encased themselves in a bubble of Fox News media so that they never heard any dissenting views. And while there is some legitimacy to this, it’s peanuts compared to what’s been happening with Democrats. Between NPR, MSNBC, Vox, HuffPo and other media, they have created an echo chamber that brooks little dissent and assumes that certain issues, like gun control, have basically been agreed upon by all “reasonable” people. The result is a party where Jim Webb’s left of center views have no place anymore. The results is a party where Bernie Sanders’ candidacy is doomed not because of his extreme socialism but because of his minimal moderation on gun control.

Doubtless once the primary is done, Clinton will try to tack right and proclaim herself to be a moderate. And doubtless the press will go along with this. There’s a problem though: Clinton has 25 years of her views on the record. She’s part of an Administration that has eight years on record. She’s made actual policy proposals that represent more big government and more spending.

President Clinton the Second is not inevitable.

Monday Quick Hits

BLM Disses Dems; Makes Me Happy:

Last week, the Democratic Party expressed support for Black Lives Matter. Here is BLM’s heartening response:

A resolution signaling the Democratic National Committee’s endorsement that Black lives matter, in no way implies an endorsement of the DNC by the Black Lives Matter Network, nor was it done in consultation with us. We do not now, nor have we ever, endorsed or affiliated with the Democratic Party, or with any party. The Democratic Party, like the Republican and all political parties, have historically attempted to control or contain Black people’s efforts to liberate ourselves. True change requires real struggle, and that struggle will be in the streets and led by the people, not by a political party.

More specifically, the Black Lives Matter Network is clear that a resolution from the Democratic National Committee won’t bring the changes we seek. Resolutions without concrete change are just business as usual. Promises are not policies. We demand freedom for Black bodies, justice for Black lives, safety for Black communities, and rights for Black people. We demand action, not words, from those who purport to stand with us.

While the Black Lives Matter Network applauds political change towards making the world safer for Black life, our only endorsement goes to the protest movement we’ve built together with Black people nationwide — not the self-interested candidates, parties, or political machine seeking our vote.”

Again, I might take issue with some of the verbiage and emphasis. But they are forcing the Democratic Party to admit that they supported the militarization of police and the ramping up of criminal penalties. They are forcing the Democratic Party to face their long history of pandering to black votes while screwing black people. While we might disagree on policy, I applaud any movement that refuses to associate itself with a political party.

Speaking of Keynesianism:

Tyler Cowen reminds us that the growing sinkhole that is the Chinese economy was the subject of praise just a few years ago:

Remember back in 2009, and a bit thereafter (pdf), when so many people were praising China’s very activist, multi-trillion fiscal stimulus?

Yet some of us at the time insisted this would only push off and deepen China’s adjustment problems. There was already excess capacity and high debt and favored state-owned industries, and the stimulus was making all of those problems worse and only postponing a needed adjustment. The Chinese incipient contraction was based on structural problems, not a simple lack of aggregate demand.

How’s that debate going? While the final outcome remains uncertain, Austrian-like perspectives on China are looking pretty good these days.

Just as you go to war with the army you’ve got, so must a country conduct fiscal stimulus with the policy instruments it has. And most forms of Chinese fiscal stimulus make their imbalances worse rather than better. Yet dreams of fiscal stimulus as an answer to the macro problems on the table never die.

To the Keynesians — or, as I call them, the pseudoKeynesians — it is always time to spend money.

Was Segregation Made or Did it Just Happen?:

I’ve been sitting on this link for weeks but there’s not much I can add. It details how our inner city slums didn’t just happen. They were made and the men who made it were Democrats.

Hmm. I should pass that on the BLM folks.

Denali Denial

Obama officially reverted Mt. McKinley back to being named Denali. A few people are trying to whip up some outrage but I don’t see the point. Everyone in Alaska calls it Denali and Congress appears to have punted this kind of authority to the bureaucracy long ago.

Bad Plebs! Bad bad plebs!

So last night was a big deal for the Republicans. In the Senate, they surged to 52 seats, with one run-off (Louisiana) and two races that are too close to call (Alaska and Virginia). We’re probably looking at 53-54 seat majority. They will probably also gain about ten seats in the House. They won governor’s mansions in Maryland, Illinois and Massachusetts. They lost Pennsylvania mostly because Corbett was extremely unpopular (and deservedly so).

On ballot initiatives, fetal personhood was rejected in two states, legal pot won in two states (and fell shy of supermajority in Florida). Minimum wage hikes also passed in four states.

Anyway, the best part of any election is always the rending of garments, gnashing of teeth and making of excuses by the losing side. Here are just a few things I have learned since the Republicans won the election last night, with my responses in italics:

We shouldn’t be having midterms anyway (For example, the 2006 midterm: WTF?).

The Republicans only won because of evil dirty money (The Republican spending advantage was about 10%. Democrats raised nearly $2 billion in campaign funds).

The Republicans only won because young people didn’t turn out (This is what happens when you confuse the Cult of Obama with a Permanent Democractic Majority).

The Republicans only won because they suppressed the black vote (The Republicans also elected the South’s first black senator in South Carolina).

This was not a rejection of any liberal ideas. (If you identify liberal issues solely by the ones that are popular, sure. But while the public may broadly agree with the Democrats on some specific issues, they disagree with massively with the Democrats’ performance.)

Republicans only won because the adopted liberal positions. (You should read that article, because it basically agrees with everything we’ve been saying: that Democratic policies harm the causes they supposedly support.)

Republicans only won because of redistricting (Apparently, you can redistrict states now).

Democrats only lost because of hate and racism (That’s half true. People do hate $18 trillion in debt and skyrocketing insurance rates).

Republicans only won because the map was unfavorable (It’s the same map Democrats won on six years ago.).

The next few are from various comments sections and I’ll just throw up there for the LOLs:

Republicans only won because we don’t have mandatory voting. Republicans won because of the skewed the polls, making Democrats overconfident. Democrats lost because they didn’t run on their awesome liberal record. Republicans won because they lied about Obama’s record. Republicans won because they had more virgins to sacrifice to the great electoral god, Gerrymaunderkin.

Ok, I made that last one up.

For what it’s worth, I think Republicans won for a variety of reasons. They put together a broader and more appealing party; they stayed away from divisive issues and concentrated on the economy; they let the Democrats beclown themselves. But mostly, I think, it was simple fatigue. The country is tired of Barack Obama. It is tired of Nancy Pelosi. It is tired of Harry Reid. Hell, I’m tired of blogging about them. These three clowns have dominated our politics for almost a decade now and the American people are tired of them. They aren’t over-eager for the Republicans. But the new faces of the GOP — Nikki Haley, Tim Scott, Scott Walker, John Kasich, etc. — are certainly a lot less depressing than the Democrats.

The Phantom Koch Menace

Let’s face it: the Democrats are scared. Polling shows them down, Nate Silver now projects the Republicans to gain the Senate this year and while Hillary is popular in Democrat circles, it is quite likely she would lose a general election. There is a very real possibility the Republicans could control both Houses and the White House in 2017.

There are many ways for the Democrats to respond to this downturn in their political fortunes. They could work on getting their message out. They could change their agenda to be more in tune with reality and the needs of the … spttt … teeheeehee …. OK, I can’t finish that sentence with a straight face. I actually think the best political strategy for anyone, regardless of party, is just to shut the hell up and let your opponents defeat themselves.

But no, they’ve decided that the path to electoral victory is … attacking the Koch Brothers. I’m not joking. Harry Reid has been lambasting them on the Senate Floor. A progressive group incorrectly accused them of being behind the Keystone XL pipeline (said group being under the impression that Americans oppose it). That turned into a hilarious incident in which the WaPo mindlessly repeated their bogus claims. When called on it, they said:

The Powerline article itself, and its tone, is strong evidence that issues surrounding the Koch brothers’ political and business interests will stir and inflame public debate in this election year. That’s why we wrote the piece.

In short, the Democrats are going to make the Koch Brothers an issue so we are going to make them an issue, facts be damned.

There’s only one problem. Most Americans could give a rat’s backside about the Koch Brothers. Half of Americans don’t even know who they are. Another fifth don’t care. The only people who really care about them are … passionate partisan Inside the Beltway Democrats and their adherents.

This a perfect distillation of how the Democrats have gone from the Party of Destiny to the Party of Density. They are constantly railing about side issues that no one cares about, constantly glomming onto some issue that they think will propel them to victory. They do this because when it comes to the most important issue right now — the economy — they haven’t the faintest foggiest fucking clue as to what to do about it.

If the Democrats think they’re going to ride Koch hatred to victory, they are deeply mistaken. But then again, they’re mistaken about almost everything.

Can’t say I am surprised

I have dealt with plenty of libs that have made the argument that stupid rednecks vote against their own interests when they don’t vote for nanny state democrats, the assumption being that nanny state democrats and their massive vote buying scheme is something that benefits people the left feels are too stupid to do things on their own. And you bet that rednecks, along with minorities, are all seen as people that can’t do anything for themselves and need donkeys to keep them alive. But if you really ignore the appeal to emotion and look at facts, you get a different picture:

The top five states with the highest income inequality rates all voted to reelect President Barack Obama, though no state boasted a higher rate of inequality than Washington, D.C. This ia according to a study released this week by MoneyRates.com.

The study used data from the Bureau of Labor statistics to measure how many times more money the top-earning income bracket of a state made than bottom earners. Researchers compared the top 25th percentile earner to the bottom 25th percentile earner and divided the sums into each other, then ranked states by number. California, in which a top 25th percentile earner makes 2.55 times more than a bottom 25th percentile earner, is by far the most unequal state, followed by New York, New Jersey, Michigan, and President Obama’s home state of Illinois.

In Washington, D.C., however, a top 25th percentile earner makes 2.6 times the amount of money a bottom 25th percentile earner makes, which represents the biggest gap in the nation. Maryland and Virginia both make the top ten group of biggest gaps in income, and Maryland experienced the largest gap increase in the past decade of any state: 12.05%. Breitbart News has previously reported that eight of the 13 wealthiest counties in the U.S.A. are in the D.C. region. Texas and Louisiana are the only red states in the top ten.

Can’t say I am surprised. I do have to point out that D.C. isn’t a state however, but it is definitely a democratic stronghold the left would love to make into a state. I live in a blue state where the gap is brutal and blatant. Some of the biggest donors to the democratic machine are the loaded fat cats that live in Greenwich and Fairfield, commuting to NYC to do their thing. Then you have cities like Hartford, Bridgeport, or Waterbury that have the bulk of their personal residents sucking on the government’s teat, and do nothing but make more people to suck at the government’s teat, be the welfare or the prison system. This last group also votes for democrats. In fact, they vote for a living. The rest of us in the middle get the shaft. The state is hemorrhaging money and skilled people, the economy keeps shrinking, people keep getting laid off, and the democrats keep doing more of the same while pretending they are actually trying to help. And yet, these two blocks keep these crooks in power.

One could make the argument, based on facts, not the usual emotional drivel, that if anything, the states that elect the class warriors are the ones with the most inequality and the worst economic conditions. And these are clearly caused by the class warriors and their policies. From minimum wage hikes that cost the young & inexperienced, especially amongst minorities, to have limited employment opportunities, to insane and rigged pro-business schemes to favor those industries they want to see win and anti-business practices, mostly based on insane taxation, to destroy the businesses they don’t like. Especially upstart small businesses that might compete with their favorite big crony corporation’s monopolistic grip on the serfs. It is not coincidental that the businesses they favor are the ones that donate big to them.

In the quest to force equality of outcome, while making sure they succeed far beyond anything they would have been able to doing honest work, the class warriors have produced exactly the opposite of what they promise, and have done so while causing economic ruination. And it seems that the places that suffer the worst from their practices are the ones more likely to keep them in power. Look at Detroit, Chicago, or Washington D.C. if you doubt me. If you ask me, these people are the ones that vote against their own interests.

The Threat of Liberty

Via Reason, I found this article which digs into the spate of vehemently anti-Libertarians screeds which have been recently popping up on liberal websites and publications. Salon became a hard-core anti-libertarian site so gradually I hardly even noticed. Slate has been shifting against libertarians. The New Republic published a rancid little article trying to dig into the supposed libertarian ideals of Glenn Greenwald, Julian Assange and Edward Snowden. LGF and Balloon Juice have been screaming about us for years with a horde of liberals in their wake blaming libertarians for the financial crisis, the government shutdown, income inequality, global warming and the failure of the Cubs to win the World Series.

It’s odd that so much ire is now focused on libertarians. The Libertarian Party has precisely zero elected officials at the national level. The most libertarian member of Congress is probably Rand Paul, who is pro-Life and somewhat culturally conservative. And these “libertarians are destroying the country” articles alternate with “libertarians are a fringe movement and have no real power” articles. Apparently, we’re invisible but powerful. We’re silent guardians, watchful protecters.

Libertarians are Batman.

I don’t agree with everything that is in Borders’ article but I think he finds the real reason for the anti-Libertarian screeching:

Progressivism’s cracks have finally been exposed. Progressives will urge that Obama is not the change they hoped for. But the Affordable Care Act should have been progressivism’s shining moment. Of course, it was anything but. First the president lies to the population, then joins his party in forcing Americans to swallow the bitter pill of Obamacare. He then unleashes the technocrats and gives contracts to his crony buddies to create a $500 million non-functioning Web site (and that’s just the start of the crony bonanza). The president then assures everyone that the wasted resources, high premiums, and diminished options are for the greater good. People start to get wise to it. Progressivism’s cracks are exposed. Add the failure of Cash for Clunkers, the failure of Solyndra, all the bailouts of banking cartels, and the “rescue” of the auto manufacturers and unions. The list goes on and on. The more progressive technocrats try to do, the more they botch it. Of course, something similar can be said about all the faith-based initiatives of the Republican years: you know, like the creation of the TSA, the War in Iraq, “stimulus” packages, and all manner of pork barrel projects. Progressive purists will try to argue that all of this has been a series of pragmatic patches to a failing system. For America to truly be great, they say, Republicans must not be so “obstructionist.” But President Obama, with his pen and his phone, has seized dictatorial power. Apparently, the ends justify the means. This is the foundation of progressive ideology. And it’s failing.

For all the lip service progressives pay to the “problem” of income inequality, they consistently back the most illiberal and inegalitarian policies. Is there anything fair about showering taxpayer resources upon this energy company or that—and making their CEOs’ wealth more secure in the process? Is there anything equitable about shoring up the U.S. banking cartel with permanent legislation like Dodd-Frank? And what chosen “one-percenters” are benefitting from the crony-infested Obamacare legislation, which rains goodies down on drug-makers, healthcare providers, and insurance companies in equal measure? On the other hand, while libertarians don’t mind the sort of inequality that comes from people successfully creating happy customers, wealth, and jobs, we really—no really—don’t like collusion between business interests and government power.

Exactly. Barack Obama’s election was supposed to herald the final triumph of progressivism. We were supposed to get New Deal II (remember Time’s cover with Obama as FDR?). We would see single payer healthcare, the end of global warming, the end of income inequality, abortions for everyone, impoverishment of the wealthy. And it would be so awesome and amazing that the American people would never again turn aside from the One Truth Path. This was when the rise of the oceans would begin to slow and the planet would begin to heal. We were the ones we had been waiting for.

Now, we’re five years in. Obamacare is a mess, at best. The economy is stagnant, at best. Income inequality is rising, cronyism is greater than ever, big money is more powerful than ever. The Democratic Congress got tossed out on their ear. Obama narrowly won re-election but his poll numbers are approaching Bush levels.

And so the progressives, faced with the failure of their last great push toward paradise, need to blame someone. Because it certainly can’t be their calcified ideas or their bumbling messiah.

The progressives would like to blame Republicans for their failure to create a progressive utopia but … that doesn’t really go very far. The Republicans are basically Democrat Lite these days with a little religion thrown in. And the Democrats’ biggest failures — Obamacare, the stimulus and Dodd-Frank — took place when the Republicans were still in their “clown car on fire” stage. They can complain about Fox News all they want, but in the end … it’s just Fox News.

Moreover, while the American people are turning away from the Democrats, they aren’t exactly turning toward the Republicans. More than ever, Americans are getting sick of both parties. Congressional control has been more volatile in the last 20 years than it was in the previous 80. The electorate has taken turns thwacking each party at the polls. And millions are abandoning both parties for independence.

So in the absence of the usual villains, they are turning toward libertarians. For a long time, I’ve been tweeting a response to the anti-libertarian idiocy: to many people, libertarianism is whatever it is they don’t like. The progressives really don’t like the way the political winds are blowing. It’s a rude shock in the Age of Obama. So whatever the nature of the opposition — the Tea Party, religious conservatives, moderates, Occupiers, Koch Brothers, constitutionalists, Green Party, rustlers, cut throats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperados, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, halfwits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, con men, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, buggerers, bushwhackers, hornswogglers, horse thieves, bull dykes, train robbers, bank robbers, ass-kickers, shit-kickers and Methodists — at the bottom, it’s really got to be those evil libertarians and especially their Koch Brothers fifth column.

And maybe they’re a little bit right. I won’t say that Americans are becoming libertarian, per se. Medicare and Social Security enjoy massive support and our country is very socially conservative, in morals if not in law. But the country is moving in a liberty-ish direction: against the war on drugs, live-and-let-live on culture issues, deeply cynical of big grand government programs. Libertarians are still on the fringe, but the fringe has been growing very large in the last few elections.

And that’s the real problem for progressives. Progressives think of themselves of the future, but they are really the past. The future of politics is not some illusory progressive center. The American people have seen where that leads — crony capitalism, rising inequality and corruption. No, the future is the fringe. The two main parties will always dominate, but a growing chunk of America wants nothing to do with them. They would rather build broad coalitions around specific issues: NSA surveillance, taxation, government spending, school choice, SOPA/PIPA. On all of these issues, we see growing trans-partisan coalitions that are not terribly interested in the politics qua politics but interested in the right thing being done no matter who is in charge. If the party currently in power won’t do the right thing, then *thwack*. Out you go. Let’s give the other guys a chance to not be stupid.

So, yeah, libertarians deserve some blame. And we’re easy to kick since we’ve been around a while. But in the end, libertarians are just the leading edge of a growing political movement — a movement that ranges from hard-core conservative to hippy-dippy liberal – that is saying, “To hell with both of yous.”