What Is the Libertarian Position on Abortion? UPDATED

That is the question posed by Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey to Reason Magazine’s Matt Welch and Nick Gillespie for their “Ask A Libertarian” video series:

Ed reacts with appreciation for a “measured, thoughtful response.” As you might expect, I’m not so charitable.
No, Ed, this was not a thoughtful response. A thoughtful response would have asked what the scientific evidence reveals about the humanity of the unborn, and the discussed how the answer relates to the nature of liberty (you know, the root word of “libertarian”) and the libertarian purpose of government. Instead, all we got was platitudes about respecting differing views wrapped around, quite frankly, Naziesque talk of a “sliding scale of humanity” and how “definitions of life and death change with time.” Gillespie even admits that the sliding scale is an intuitive idea, rather than a logical argument.
I’ll be the first to acknowledge that there are principled, consistent libertarians out there, like Libertarians for Life, who embrace the full implications of the statements “all men are created equal” and “to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men.” But in what might be the most disturbing part of the video, Welch claims that only about 30% of libertarians call themselves pro-life. If that number is accurate (and I don’t know if it is), then that confirms my worst suspicions about libertarianism being merely a form of liberalism that wants to keep its paycheck rather than a sincere, coherent liberty ethos.
But hey, that moral and intellectual confusion is one of the reasons I’m a conservative and not a libertarian. That’s their knot to untangle, and I hope for the sake of the Right as a broader coalition that pro-life libertarians are successful in untangling it.

UPDATE: Speaking of libertarians and social issues, Ann Coulter nukes Ron Paul and company along similar lines, in a column so good we’ll let slide her misguided infatuation with Chris Christie:

Most libertarians are cowering frauds too afraid to upset anyone to take a stand on some of the most important cultural issues of our time. So they dodge the tough questions when it suits their purposes by pretending to be Randian purists, but are perfectly comfortable issuing politically expedient answers when it comes to the taxpayers’ obligations under Medicare and Social Security.

If they could only resist sucking up to Rolling Stone-reading, status-obsessed losers, they’d probably be interesting to talk to.

In my book “Demonic: How the Liberal Mob is Endangering America,” I make the case that liberals, and never conservatives, appeal to irrational mobs to attain power. There is, I now recall, one group of people who look like conservatives, but also appeal to the mob. They’re called “libertarians.”

Buckley’s Observations on Libertarianism Sound Awfully Familiar

I recently acquired a copy of The Jeweler’s Eye, an old collection of essays by the late, great William F. Buckley, and found the following passage especially worth sharing, since it describes an unhealthy and counterproductive subset of the Right that is still active today:
In 1957, Whittaker Chambers reviewed Atlas Shrugged, the novel by Miss Ayn Rand, wherein she explicates the philosophy of “Objectivism,” which is what she has chosen to call her creed. Man of the right, or conservative, or whatever you wish to call him, Chambers did in fact read Miss Rand right out of the conservative movement. He did so by pointing out that her philosophy is in fact another kind of materialism – not the dialectical materialism of Marx, but the materialism of technocracy, of the relentless self-server, who lives for himself and for absolutely no one else, whose concern for others is explainable merely as an intellectualized recognition of the relationship between helping others and helping oneself. Religion is the first enemy of the Objectivist, and after religion, the state – respectively, the “mysticism of the mind,” and “the mysticism of the muscle.” “Randian Man,” wrote Chambers, “like Marxian Man, is made the center of a godless world.”

Her exclusion from the conservative community was, I am sure, in part the result of her desiccated philosophy’s conclusive incompatibility with the conservative’s emphasis on transcendence, intellectual and moral; but also there is the incongruity of tone, that hard, schematic, implacable, unyielding dogmatism that is itself intrinsically objectionable, whether it comes from the mouth of Ehrenburg, or Savonarola, or Ayn Rand. Chambers knew that specific ideologies come and go, but that rhetorical totalism is always in the air, searching for the ideologue-on-the-make; and so he said things about Miss Rand’s tone of voice which, I would hazard the guess, if they were true of anyone else’s voice, would tend to make it eo ipso unacceptable for the conservative. “…the book’s [Atlas Shrugged’s] dictatorial tone…,” Chambers wrote, “is its most striking feature. Out of a lifetime of reading, I can recall no other book in which a tone of overriding arrogance was so implacably sustained. Its shrillness is without reprieve. Its dogmatism is without appeal…resistance to the Message cannot be tolerated because disagreement can never be merely honest, prudent, or just humanly fallible. Dissent from revelation so final can only be willfully wicked. There are ways of dealing with such wickedness, and, in fact, right reason itself enjoins them. From almost any page of Atlas Shrugged, a voice can be heard, from painful necessity, commanding: ‘To a gas chamber – go!’ The same inflexibly self-righteous stance results, too, in odd extravagances of inflection and gesture….At first we try to tell ourselves that these are just lapses, that this mind has, somehow, mislaid the discriminating knack that most of us pray will warn us in time of the difference between what is effective and firm, and what is wildly grotesque and excessive. Soon we suspect something worse. We suspect that this mind finds, precisely in extravagance, some exalting merit; feels a surging release of power and passion precisely in smashing up the house.”

As if according to a script, Miss Rand’s followers jumped National Review and Chambers in language that crossed the i‘s and dotted the t‘s of Mr. Chambers’ point. (It is not fair to hold the leader responsible for the excesses of the disciples, but this reaction from Miss Rand’s followers, never repudiated by Miss Rand, suggested that her own intolerance is easily communicable to other Objectivists.) One correspondent, denouncing him, referred to “Mr. Chambers’s ‘break’ with Communism”; a lady confessed that on reading his review she thought she had “mistakenly picked up the Daily Worker“; another accused him of “lies, smears, and cowardly misrepresentations”; still another saw in him the “mind-blanking, life-hating, unreasoning, less-than-human being which Miss Rand proves undeniably is the cause of the tragic situation the world now faces….”; and summing up, one Objectivist wrote that “Chambers the Christian communist is far more dangerous than Chambers the Russian spy.”

What the experience proved, it seems to me, beyond the unacceptability of Miss Rand’s ideas and rhetoric, is that no conservative cosmology whose every star and planet are given in a master book of coordinates is very likely to sweep American conservatives off their feet. They are enough conservative and anti-ideological to resist totally closed systems, those systems that do not provide for deep and continuing mysteries. They may be pro-ideology and unconservative enough to resist such asseverations as that conservatism is merely “an attitude of mind.” But I predict on the basis of a long association with American conservatives that there isn’t anybody around scribbling into his sacred book a series of all-fulfilling formulas whcih will serve the conservatives as an Apostles’ Creed. Miss Rand tried it, and because she tried it, she compounded the failure of her ideas. She will have to go down as an Objectivist; my guess is she will go down as an entertaining novelist.

The conservative’s distrust of the state, so richly earned by it, raises inevitably the question: How far can one go? This side, the answer is, of anarchism – that should be obvious enough. But one man’s anarchism is another man’s statism. National Review, while fully intending to save the nation, probably will never define to the majority’s satisfaction what are the tolerable limits of the state’s activity; and we never expected to do so. But we got into the problem, as so often is the case, not by going forward to meet it, but by backing up against it.

There exists a small breed of men whose passionate distrust for the state has developed into a theology of sorts, or at least into a demonology, to which they adhere as any religious fanatic ever attempted to adhere to the will of the Lord. I do not feel contempt for the endeavor of either type. It is intellectually stimulating to discuss alternatives to municipalized streets, as it is to speculate on whether God’s wishes would be best served if we ordered fried or scrambled eggs for breakfast on this particular morning. But conservatives must concern themselves not only with ideals, but with matters of public policy, and I mean by that something more than the commonplace that one must maneuver within the limits of conceivable action. We can read and take pleasure in the recluse’s tortured deliberations on what will benefit his soul. Bernanos’ Diary of a Country Priest was not only a masterpiece; it was also a best seller. And we can read with more than mere amusement Dr. Murray Rothbard’s suggestion that lighthouses be sold to private tenants who will chase down the beam in speedboats and collect a dollar from the storm-tossed ship whose path it illuminates. Chesterton reminds us that many dogmas are liberating because, however much damage they do when abused, it cannot compare with the damage that might have been done had whole people not felt their inhibiting influence. If our society seriously wondered whether or not to denationalize the lighthouses, it would not wonder at all whether to nationalize the medical profession.

But Dr. Rothbard and his merry anarchists wish to live their fanatical antistatism, and the result is a collision between the basic policies they urge and those urged by conservatives who recognize that the state sometimes is, and is today as never before, the necessary instrument of our proximate deliverance. The defensive war in which we are engaged cannot be prosecuted by voluntary associations of soldiers and scientists and diplomats and strategists, and when this obtrusive fact enters into the reckonings of our state haters, the majority, sighing, yield to reality, whereas the small minority, obsessed by their antagonism to the state, would refuse to give it even the powers necessary to safeguard the community. Dr. Rothbard and a few others have spoken harshly of National Review’s complacency before the twentieth-century state in all matters that have to do with anti-Communism, reading their litanies about the necessity for refusing at any cost to countenance the growth of the state. Thus, for instance, Ronald Hamowy of the University of Chicago complained about National Review in 1961: “…the Conservative movement has been straying far under National Review guidance…leading true believers in freedom and individual liberty down a disastrous path…and that in so doing they are causing the Right increasingly to betray its own traditions and principles.”

And Henry Hazlitt, reviewing Dr. Rothbard’s magnum opus, Man, Economy, and State, enthusiastically for National Review, paused to comment, sadly, on the author’s “extreme apriorism,” citing for instance, Dr. Rothbard’s opinion that libel and slander ought not to be illegalized and that even blackmail, “‘would not be illegal in the free society. For blackmail is the receipt of money in exchangef or the service of not publicizing certain information about the other person. No violence or threat of violence to person or property is involved.’…when Rothbard wanders out of the strictly economic realm, in which his scholarship is so rich and his reasoning so rigorous, he is misled by his epistemological doctrine of ‘extreme apriorism’ into trying to substitute his own instant jurisprudence for the common law principles built up through generations of human experience.”

“Extreme apriorism” – a generic bull’s-eye. If National Review’s experience is central to the growth of contemporary conservatism, extreme apriorists will find it difficult to work with conservatives except as occasional volunteers helping to storm specific objectives. They will not be part of the standing army, rejecting as they do the burden of reality in the name of a virginal antistatism. I repeat I do not deplore their influence intellectually, and tactically, I worry not at all. The succubi of Communism are quite numerous enough and eloquent enough to be counted upon to put their ghastly presences forward in effective protest against the marriage of any but the most incurable solipsist to a set of abstractionist doctrines the acceptance of which would mean the end of any human liberty. The virgins have wriggled themselves outside the mainstream of American conservatism. Mr. Hamowy, offering himself up grandly as a symbol of the undefiled conservative, has joined the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy.

We ran into the John Birch Society – or more precisely, into Robert Welch. Mr. Welch’s position is very well known, Scrubbed down, it is that one may reliably infer subjective motivation from objective result – e.g., if the West loses as much ground as demonstrably it has lost during the past twenty years to the enemy, it can only be because those who made policy for the West were the enemy’s agents. The ultima ratio of this position was the public disclosure – any 300-page document sent to hundreds of people can only be called an act of public disclosure – that Dwight Eisenhower is a Communist. (To which the most perfect retort – was it Russell Kirk’s? – was not so much analytical as artistic: “Eisenhower isn’t a Communist – he is a golfer.”)
In criticising Mr. Welch, we did not move into a hard philosophical front, as for instance we did in our criticism of Miss Rand or of the neoanarchists. Rather, we moved into an organizational axiom, the conservative equivalent of the leftists’ pas d’ennemi a gauche. The position has not, however, been rigorously explicated or applied. Mr. Welch makes his own exclusions; for instance, Gerald L. K. Smith, who, although it is a fact that he favors a number of reforms in domestic and foreign policy which coincide with those favored by Mr. Welch (and by National Review), is dismissed as a man with an idee fixe, namely, the role of Perfidious Jew in modern society. Many right-wingers (and many liberals, and all Communists) believe in a deus ex machina. Only introduce the single tax, and our problems will wither away, say the followers of Henry George….Only expose the Jew, and the international conspiracy will be broken, say others….Only abolish the income tax, and all will be well….Forget everything else, but restore the gold standard….Abolish compulsory taxation, and we all shall be free….They are called nostrum peddlers by some; certainly they are obsessed. Because whatever virtue there is in what they call for – and some of their proposals strike me as highly desirable, others as mischievous – no one of them can begin to do the whole job, which continues to wait on the successful completion of the objectives of the Committee to Abolish Original Sin. Many such persons, because inadequate emphasis is give to their pandemic insight, the linchpin of social reconstruction, are dissatisfied with National Review. Others react more vehemently; our failure to highlight their solution has the effect of distracting from its unique relevance and so works positively against the day when the great illumination will show us the only road forward. Accordingly, National Review is, in their eyes, worse than merely useless.
The defenders of Mr. Welch who are also severe critics of National Review are not by any means all of them addicts of the conspiracy school. They do belong, however inconsistently, to the school that says that we all must work together – as a general proposition, sound advice. Lenin distinguished between the sin of sectarianism, from which suffer all those who refuse to cooperate with anyone who does not share their entire position, right down to the dependent clauses, and the sin of opportunism, the weakness of those who are completely indiscriminate about their political associates.

New on NewsReal – Ron Paul’s Latest Lonely Position: We Should Have Asked Pakistan to Arrest Bin Laden

My latest NewsRealBlog post:

Ron Paul’s descent into self-parody continues. Earlier this week, the newly official presidential candidate offered his unique take on the mission that killed Osama bin Laden:

“I think things could have been done somewhat differently,” Paul said this week. “I would suggest the way they got Khalid [Sheikh] Mohammed. We went and cooperated with Pakistan. They arrested him, actually, and turned him over to us, and he’s been in prison. Why can’t we work with the government?”

Asked by WHO Radio’s Simon Conway whether he would have given the go-ahead to kill bin Laden if it meant entering another country, Paul shot back that it “absolutely was not necessary.”

“I don’t think it was necessary, no. It absolutely was not necessary,” Paul said during his Tuesday comments. “I think respect for the rule of law and world law and international law. What if he’d been in a hotel in London? We wanted to keep it secret, so would we have sent the airplane, you know the helicopters in to London, because they were afraid the information would get out?”

Actually, there are conflicting reports about the possibility that the United States did have Pakistan’s permission to get bin Laden on our own if we got a bead on him. Now, your guess is as good as mine as to who’s telling the truth, but something tells me that getting the details straight wouldn’t change Paul’s opinion. Either way, one wonders if Paul has ever stopped to consider the fact that bin Laden spent six years in a sizeable compound built in a town dominated by the Pakistani Army, and wonder how that little detail could have possibly escaped the Pakistanis’ notice.

Read the rest on NewsRealBlog.

New on NewsReal – Why Do College Conservatives Seem to Be Lagging Behind the Paulestinian Fringe?

My latest NewsRealBlog post:

We can’t expect to defeat the Left if we don’t take the time to reflect on the state of the Right. One of conservatism’s biggest inter-movement issues, the race between mainstream conservatives and the radical paleo-libertarian alliance represented by Ron Paul, recently caught the attention of Keith William Neely, a Vanderbilt University student who wrote a Huffington Post article identifying the “Radical Right” as the “real threat to conservatives on college campuses.”

Don’t let that headline fool you; it may sound like the start of another by-the-numbers HuffPo hit piece, but Neely’s piece is really a substantive take on a serious problem facing the Right:

Radical organizations on the right, in hopes of garnering more attention for their ideas, have resorted to increasingly provocative tactics to spread their message on America’s college campuses. And to some degree, it’s been effective. Polling at the latest CPAC suggests that nearly half of its attendees were between the ages of 18 and 25, temporarily dispelling the old political adage that a conservative at 25 has no heart and a liberal at 35 no brain […]

At Vanderbilt for example, a local chapter of the radical libertarian organization Young Americans for Liberty has found limited success in putting on large events like the one on March 26th, where they prominently displayed the ‘National Debt Clock’ alongside photocopied images of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to illustrate the need for disbanding the Federal Reserve. At public events, they wear Guy Fawkes masks to advertise their presence, and have even been known to target conservatives with their extremist ire. At the recent IMPACT Symposium, members of the organization passed out leaflets pejoratively branding both Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty and Weekly Standard founder Bill Kristol as ‘neo-cons’.

Remember YAL? I had a run-in with them last year, in which YAL writer Wesley Messamore wrote a crappy rebuttal to one of my Ron Paul takedowns and couldn’t defend it, so he instead demanded a video debate and declared victory when I said I wasn’t interested. YAL also shills for anti-American cyber anarchist Julian Assange, dislikes copyright laws, and writes insipid, self-worshipping poetry, so I’m glad to see someone else calling out these pretenders to the conservative mantle. Neely’s examples are hit and miss, though—I’ve also noticed the Paulestinians’ creepy interest in Guy Fawkes imagery, but opposing the Federal Reserve, however misguided they may be (an issue I readily admit I haven’t studied enough to pontificate on) doesn’t strike me as manifestly insane.

Read the rest on NewsRealBlog.

New on NewsReal – Has the Ayn Rand "Cult" Brainwashed the Tea Party?

My latest NewsRealBlog post:

Leftist Rule for Engaging Conservative Ideas #1: conservatives’ motives are never what they claim. It must be rigorously asserted that right-wingers are invariably driven by impulses more sinister than making people better off or trying to find solutions to the problems we face. New Republic senior editor Jonathan Chait knows that lesson by heart—on the Daily Beast, he argues that from the lowliest Tea Partier all the way up to Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the Right is animated by a view of “the poor as parasites” and “the rich as our rightful rulers,” a dogma we’ve picked up from philosopher Ayn Rand:

Ayn Rand, of course, was a kind of politicized L. Ron Hubbard—a novelist-philosopher who inspired a cult of acolytes who deem her the greatest human being who ever lived. The enduring heart of Rand’s totalistic philosophy was Marxism flipped upside down. Rand viewed the capitalists, not the workers, as the producers of all wealth, and the workers, not the capitalists, as useless parasites.

John Galt, the protagonist of her iconic novel Atlas Shrugged, expressed Rand’s inverted Marxism: “The man at the top of the intellectual pyramid contributes the most to all those below him, but gets nothing except his material payment, receiving no intellectual bonus from others to add to the value of his time. The man at the bottom who, left to himself, would starve in his hopeless ineptitude, contributes nothing to those above him, but receives the bonus of all of their brains.”

In 2009 Rand began popping up all over the Tea Party movement. Sales of her books skyrocketed, and signs quoting her ideas appeared constantly at rallies. Conservatives asserted that the events of the Obama administration eerily paralleled the plot of Atlas Shrugged, in which a liberal government precipitates economic collapse.

To be sure, Rand’s ultra-capitalist works have enjoyed a surge in popularity recently, a predicable response to our leaders overreaching in the opposite direction. But it’s not quite true to suggest Rand is universally embraced on the Right; for instance, consider National Review’s March 2009 symposium on Rand, which on the whole takes a dim view of the author (in fairness, she’s much more popular at Big Hollywood).

I haven’t read her, and have no strong opinions about her philosophy either way, but I can certainly tell when mainstream conservative thought is subjected to class-warfare caricatures:

Read the rest on NewsRealBlog.

At the Risk of Ticking Off Some of My Fellow Right-Wingers…

…check out this quote from Abraham Lincoln, which encapsulates a tendency among libertarian/paleocon circles that I’ve always found off base:

What is the particular sacredness of a State? I speak not of that position which is given to a State in and by the Constitution of the United States, for that all of us agree to—we abide by; but that position assumed, that a State can carry with it out of the Union that which it holds in sacredness by virtue of its connection with the Union. I am speaking of that assumed right of a State, as a primary principle, that the Constitution should rule all that is less than itself, and ruin all that is bigger than itself. But, I ask, wherein does consist that right? If a State, in one instance, and a county in another, should be equal in extent of territory, and equal in the number of people, wherein is that State any better than the county? Can a change of name change the right? By what principle of original right is it that one-fiftieth or one-ninetieth of a great nation, by calling themselves a State, have the right to break up and ruin that nation as a matter of original principle? Now, I ask the question—I am not deciding anything—and with the request that you will think somewhat upon that subject and decide for yourselves, if you choose, when you get ready,—where is the mysterious, original right, from principle, for a certain district of country with inhabitants, by merely being called a State, to play tyrant over all its own citizens, and deny the authority of everything greater than itself.

The Booze Parallel to Big Government

From Patrick McIlheran:

You want the booze parallel? It’s that conservatives grasp the difference between having a beer in the backyard and getting face-in-the-toilet drunk. The left’s attitude toward government, by contrast, is that if one vodka-and-tonic is good … hey, can we get this stuff in two-liter bottles? And get that guy in a suit to pay for it?

Gurda does not grasp that conservatives have been saying for years — really loudly these past two — that there is a logical stopping point when shrinking government, and that is the outline put forth in the constitution. This is perhaps because liberals, and Gurda I gather is one, do not admit to any logical stopping point in the other direction. If some government is good, more is better — always. They think the constitution allows so little government, it amounts to “civic suicide,” as Gurda puts it. But what, then, is the upper limit?

Not that we’d reach it. Recall what started all this: Unions weren’t demanding that the governor offer more schooling or parks. To the contrary, Walker said, repeatedly, that he wants to preserve schools, parks, aid for the poor and so on even as the state copes with a $3.5 billion deficit, and the only way to do that in a state that’s already the fourth-hardest taxed in the country is to get the same amount of labor at a more reasonable cost. Walker suggested unions’ absurd benefits take a haircut and the mechanism that permitted the absurdity to begin with, collective bargaining, be reined in.

That’s what this is about. It’s not about nicer education or better services but about unions holding on to their power. Education and services will be much costlier to provide, if they have their way. Which, if you think about it, is the modern approach to prohibition: add taxes to jack up the cost to the point no one can afford much — what? tobacco? gas? booze? You name it, but it’s a lot more subtle than axing rum barrels.

Conservatism at a Crossroads

Today my NRB colleague Chris Queen has a blog post with a good overview of important issues all conservatives should be able to agree on, but unfortunately, it rests on a deeply flawed premise:

I think the Right is at a crucial crossroads. If we have too many more moments like these, conservatives will be known for what we can’t agree on more than what we can. I believe it’s time for the Right to rally around certain issues and unite. There’s too much that true conservatives can unite around, and that’s what this list is about.

I’d like to make one note here: in this post I’m avoiding certain social issues for one particular reason. While there are plenty of conservatives who are passionate about abortion, traditional marriage, and several other issues, we often have to walk on eggshells when dealing with such issues. My intention is for this post to be a rallying cry, rather than a flashpoint for further debate, so I’m staying clear of some of these potentially more contentious issues.

Conservatism is at a crossroads, all right…but that crossroads is the choice to either stick to our principles or abandon them. Conservatism is undergoing a critical battle for its soul right now, with libertines and cultural leftists within the movement who want to stigmatize and drive out social issues, and avoiding that discussion is functionally equivalent to surrendering those issues to the Left.

Further, social issues simply cannot be separated from the first principles of conservatism. As the murder of innocent human beings, abortion is clearly a liberty issue, and to be pro-choice is nothing less than to reject the Declaration of Independence. And as for marriage, the Founders were clear that self-governing societies don’t work if institutions like the family aren’t strong and stable. Don’t expect to make any progress making government less paternalistic if marriage goes down.

Lastly, on every “unifying” issue Chris lists, there is still intense disagreement, on philosophical, practical, and political grounds. How do fights between pro-life conservatives and pro-abortion Republicans make us “known for what we can’t agree on more than what we can,” but fights between Israel supporters and Ron Paul cultists not? How is arguing against gay marriage divisive, but arguing against people like David Frum, who wants to merely “improve” ObamaCare rather than get rid of it, not?

Bottom line: whenever you stand on any principle, you are inviting division and opposition. It’s unavoidable, and real principle and courage is about standing up for what’s right regardless of how challenging it will be. We can’t expect to get anything done as long as we’re constantly obsessing over who we’re going to alienate, because once you start jettisoning principles for convenience, it’s only a matter of time before you have nothing left.

Get Conservative

The American Principles Project has been at the forefront of what I believe to be the most important fight within the Right going on today: whether or not conservatism is going to remain pro-life and pro-family, or if it’s going to degenerate into a slightly less embarrassing version of libertarianism. I’d like to call your attention to their blog, Get Conservative, which has a petition you should sign to voice your support for all of conservatism’s indivisible facets.

Leon Wolf, Scourge of Pseudo-Cons Everywhere

Leon Wolf, author of a gloriously merciless review of Meghan McCain’s book Dirty Sexy Politics, has a couple of excellent posts up at RedState taking to the woodshed some not-so-conservative views and figures who reside on the Right.

First, CPAC and GOProud apologists:

Of course, conservatives have always been willing to wander into the arena of ideas and engage in spirited debate with liberals. Who can forget Buckley’s famous exchanges with Gore Vidal? It positively begs the question, however, to assert that CPAC is a place where this must occur and that conservatives must be willing to attend for this purpose or they are shirking their responsibility.

Many conservatives (including myself) live their lives surrounded by combative liberals, whether in the work place or in our social circles. We are constantly on the defense of our principles. The very reason we attend CPAC is that it is healthy once a year to be around like minded individuals and recharge our batteries for the fight in the upcoming year. It is not the Free Exchange of Ideas and Debate Club Conference. It is the Conservative Political Action Conference.

Of course, the post attempts somewhat to skirt this problem by asserting that conservatives can believe in all kinds of ideas. This assertion is based on a faulty taxonomy of conservatism that could well have been pulled from an essay written by a left-wing journalist assigned to cover conservatives like they were Gorillas in the Mist […]

It is of course the libertarian’s right to believe and think as he does, but it is important for conservatives to be honest with ourselves on this point: many areas in which the libertarian desires to reduce the size and scope of government are borne of fundamentally liberal instincts.

Second, pro-appeasement libertarians:

You see, there is almost nothing more important to Gillespie and his ilk than being blasé about Islamic terrorism. At this point, it has actually become tiresome. Yes, Nick, we are all very impressed at how very little you care about the government protecting the lives of your fellow citizens, and we are all admiringly agape at your daring suggestion that we have nothing to fear from Islamic terrorists. The victims of the families of 9/11, the USS Cole bombing, and the World Trade Center bombing I’m sure find you edgy and cool and would like to hear your views on the relative merits of The White Stripes and The Black Keys at their next cocktail party.

Of course, the real “point” of Gillespie’s post is for a hard-boiled Libertarian to lecture mainstream Republicans on what they ought to do to win elections. Ordinary people might find this as out of place as me lecturing Kobe Bryant on what it takes to win NBA titles, but Gillespie manages the trick with such panache that none of the other authors or commenters at Reason (who are also smarter and much more in tune with todays voters than anyone who might read such a pedestrian site as RedState) seem to notice what a majestic buffoon he makes of himself in the process. To recap, the Republican party has held the White House for 20 of the last 30 years with pro-life, anti-gay marriage candidates; the Libertarian party has never cracked double digits in a Presidential election, ever. Even in 2008, with Republican brand identity at generational lows and a relatively high profile candidate in Bob Barr, the Libertarians managed to get beat by Ralph Nader who was running without the Green Party nomination. If we are smart enough to follow Gillespie’s advice, someday the GOP nominee might well reach the soaring heights of barely beating Cynthia McKinney. 

Expert articulation of critical messages. Go read ’em both.