Jackson, Hamilton, Wilson, or Jefferson?

Just read a dated but amazing article by Daniel McCarthy on the philosophical undercurrents of the Bush era (and American history). Helps explain the population segment that supported Bush and is now the Tea Party / “True Conservative” movement. They’re Jacksonians, according to the schema laid out in Walter Russell Mead’s book “Special Providence”.

Attention, Libertarian!

The sage Lew Rockwell wrote this piece in 1996, during another one of those tribal conflicts we call federal presidential elections.

It is important reading for those of us who quickly call ourselves ‘libertarians’, accepting the pessimism and hopelessness that hangs on that label. It reminds us that we are part of a proud tradition that has proven its success and popularity worldwide since the Age of Enlightenment, and even back to antiquity: liberalism. Continue reading

The Permanent Party

This speech from the Revolution March, reprinted at Lew Rockwell, has coined a meme that will be very useful to us: the permanent party. Charles Goyette uses this term to refer the the Democrats and the Republicans, those two hemispheres of the same criminal mind.

I like it: the Free Independents versus the Permanent Party.

It subtly echoes Mexico’s quiet revolution against the Institutional Revolutionary Party that ruled with an iron fist for 80 years.

Partly due to flaws in our electoral system (see RangeVoting.Org for an explanation), the older generation often thinks in lesser-of-two-evils terms: “if I vote Republican, my kids might die in Iraq and the Federal Government will go bankrupt; if I vote Democrat, my kids might starve on the street and the Federal tax burden will skyrocket. Either way, we’re all going to carry National ID Cards and virtually stripped searched every time we fly a plane.” So, if it’s an older, wealthier male, he votes Republican, and vice versa. Yet, we’re all told time and again to ‘get out the vote.’ Why? What an exercise in pointlessness.

I say if you’re voting for the Permanent Party, it’s a wasted vote. Why cast that symbolic ballot of support when the PP is going to win every election anyway, and they don’t represent your beliefs? Use that one day of energy to write a letter to the editor asking for an electoral reform referendum on the next ballot. Now, that’s worth your time (and you won’t spend any money on gas).

Anyway, the speech linked above is worth a read. As far as I’m concerned, there is no two-party system, only members of the Permanent Party and the rest of us.

Great idea!

I’ve always looked to religion for strategies to spread ideas. I abhor religion, but churches are master vectors of memes. You can look up those words later. My great idea is to settle on one book that so thoroughly explains right from wrong, violence from nonviolence, liberty from slavery, that it could be considered the Torah of the classical liberal world.

Now, there are too many contenders to count, too many august tomes which deserve this honor. But the key to the Ambrahamic religions is that they have one, simple book which explains everything. Of course, there can be many volumes of Talmud to provide deeper insight and to address extant debates within the philosophy, but to the average Joe who has more pressing concerns than politics just needs a Torah, a Bible, to give him a basic understanding of why he must, say, pay for housing instead of voting for housing.

Any readers out there, floating through the blogosphere, please leave suggestions on what you think should be THE book on libertarianism. Not just a great book, but THE book. Then, I’ll make it a poll. We can all pick and choose. And then, who knows? Maybe it will turn into something.

Or maybe it hasn’t yet been written…

Forward: Break the Matrix

Okay, so I was just thinking how surprising it is that American libertarians, a very techy folk, haven’t founded a successful web 2.0 site. So, I googled, and sure enough, one seems to be snowballing:

It’s a great mix: independent (not too dogmatic), supportive of several new and creative initiatives, well put together. So, join up!

Oh, Dr. Paul, you seem to have really laid the foundation of a lasting r3VOLution. Perhaps we are a ‘great’ generation after all.

Prometheus Unbound

I just stumbled upon The Prometheus Institute, which closely mirrored a dream I had for a Web 2.0 liberate meeting place. Though it often tries too hard to be hip, the site does employ the sophisticated web design necessary to communicate libertarian ideas legitimately. But guys, not to be unappreciative, but where the heck are the interactive elements? The site doesn’t even have a forum.

I don’t know how many radical liberals have heard of a site called Ravelry, but it is a good example of a Web 2.0 site that serves its niche well. It’s niche happens to be knitters/crocheters, but the fundamentals are the same. Users each have a profile; they can share information in myriad ways; they can create projects and keep other people abreast of their progress; users have spontaneously created phenomena such as ‘testers’ which give feedback on other people strategies and finished works. A libertarian version could allow people to create pages for their local classical liberal societies. We could finally abandon the egregious fees of meetup.com! Or at the very least get people talking on a pride-inducing, flashy website.

On this point, I propose cross-pollination between The Prometheus Institute and Bureaucrash. Both are energetic, insurgent organizations run by youths (if funded by adults). Bureaucrash had the ingredients of the site I envision, with their innovative ‘cell’-based network and fostering of online user identities. They, however, didn’t have the organization, programming aptitude, and critical mass of users to keep the project going. Bureaucrash seems to have lapsed now into an RSS syndicator with periodical original content.

I’m not slamming Prometheus or Crash. Doing something is better than nothing, and both of these players have had a huge impact. I met many libertarian friends in college through Bureaucrash, and they supplied me with my favorite clothing. It was an outlet, and a home, especially because in New Orleans it was hard enough finding the politically interested, much less politically principled. The Prometheus Institute I don’t know personally, but I’ve read that their youthful spirit has caught the eye of major media. Kudos to both organizations, and thank you for existing. But, please, look at each other, and deliver unto me that killer app which spreads liberty like wildfire.