for my friends in the marijuana-smoking, gay-marriage wing of the Republican Party

Markos Moulitsas* has a really interesting piece on why ‘libertarian Democrat’ is not a contradiction in terms. Definitely recommended reading for anyone interested in politics. He makes one interesting point, one obvious point, and one totally broken assumption:

  • Interesting: the argument that in our modern economy, even doctrinal libertarians should be as afraid, or perhaps even more afraid, of corporate power than of government power; government being relatively much more constrained than corporations at this point, and in many meaningful ways, directly controlled by said corporations.
  • Obvious: the observation that the modern Republican party, as led by Rove and Cheney, has been the biggest threat to the rights libertarians claim to cherish we’ve seen in generations. [Left mostly unsaid is that this is not a temporary problem- a GOP structurally indebted to the religious right will always choose meddling in private lives over libertarian principles; a GOP structurally indebted to our largest corporations will always choose corporate welfare over actual efficiency and rationality.]
  • Broken: the assumption that corporate/religion-wary libertarians who want to flee the GOP (as they should) would necessarily want to (or need to) flee to the Democrats. While I tend to agree that the insane far right is at this point much more powerful and more dangerous to libertarian values than the insane far left, that doesn’t mean that the insane far left is not powerful enough to paralyze the Democratic party and prevent it from actually doing anything constructive and useful. Kos, as one of the more publicly partisan people on the planet, probably can’t see this, but I do think that there is a place for a strong third party in this country- one without unpayable debts to the religious right and gigantic corporations, or to those who are instinctively anti-capitalist and pro-government.

Anyway, a challenging and interesting read, no matter where on the spectrum- far left or far right- that you fall.

*yes, sadly, the often nearly unhinged Kos of Daily Kos.