What Differentiates Republicans and Democrats

I saw this chart from Cato a while back (click to enlarge)

With the proviso that it is super dangerous to analyze this sort of data by eyeballing a scatter chart, it sure looks to me like the difference between Republicans and Democrats is mainly on economic rather than social issues.  This is surprising, I suppose, because Democrats and the media focus most of their criticism on Republicans for being social dinosaurs, but it looks like the social issues are not as much of a discriminator.  I also find it surprising given recent the Republican affinity for what strike me as liberal economic ideas, including Trump's protectionism and the strong vote for a minimum wage in red-state Arizona.

I will say however that Bryan Caplan has been on this for years.  As he reiterated the other day,

I regretfully invoke my Simplistic Theory of Left and Right.  The heart of the left isn't helping the poor, or reducing inequality, or even minority rights.  The heart of the left is being anti-market.... The second half of my Simplistic Theory says: The heart of the right is being anti-left.

I like the way he puts the last bit, because I SURE would struggle to call modern Republicans pro-market.

In this post, by the way, Caplan is skeptical about the feasibility of progressive-libertarian concerted action on certain issues.  I know my friend Brink Lindsey is working on a book to be released in the fall which will make a case for such areas of cooperation.

I will say from my personal experience that as a libertarian I was able for years to make common cause with the Left on certain issues and on the Right for other issues.  I found, starting a couple of years ago when I tried to participate in the leadership of a pro gay marriage effort, that it was increasingly hard for me to work with the progressive Left.  To work with me, they demanded not just that I agree with the issue at hand, but that I also had to pass any number of other litmus tests unrelated to the issue we were working on -- ie I could not be allowed to work for gay marriage given that I had expressed skeptical opinions on the minimum wage and catastrophic man-made climate change.

  • Peabody

    Intuitively I think this makes sense. While some union construction worker from Boston may support gay marriage or tri-gendered bathrooms or whatever the latest progressive cause for some allegedly marginalized group may be; ultimately he cares a lot more about a steady paycheck, health care, retirement, etc.

  • Peabody

    The Simplistic Theory of Left and Right fits very well with the current healthcare situation. The left wants the government in charge of healthcare as much as possible, and the right doesn't know what they want, but it can't be called Obamacare.

  • Patrick

    Excellent points, although I think to a large extent we can make the theory even more simplistic and perhaps add accuracy... "The heart of the left is being anti-right and the heart of the right is being anti-left."

    The scatterplot is flawed, I think, by the limited data considered (not that I have a better approach offhand). The kind of flattened look to it is because most Americans really are fairly moderate here... "we need some taxation and redistribution, but don't go crazy with it." The "no taxes/no safety nets" and "take it all/redistribute it all" voices at the extremes are hard to find. And those extremes aren't really representative of any of these political movements. "Raise taxes on other people and give me the benefits" seems to me to be the most common attitude across the Coke & Pepsi parties, so this drives a natural division between blue and red even while both are following that central selfish maxim.

    On the social scale, the three data points of marijuana legalization, morality of premarital sex, and abortion legalization are a potentially useful proxy and are helpful in showing the extremes, but the "center" is much murkier. Someone who supports our long-standing tradition of locking up ethnic minorities who use marijuana, but also believes free love is morally A-OK is a "moderate." Someone who adheres to libertarian beliefs about personal freedom and has a religious conviction that premarital sex is immoral but isn't the state's business also gets labeled "moderate." And those two planks (marijuana and premarital sex) haven't really been used to differentiate the Coke & Pepsi parties. So it makes sense that people with varying views on pot and premarital sex find themselves at home in either party.

  • Ann Ominous

    There are two degrees of freedom here, where they center each axis. They chose to put them very close to the median. The percentages are therefore determined almost entirely by a single variable, the correlation between the dimensions.

  • james

    I've just finsihed reading a book, 11 nations I think it's called. Sorry no link as I lent it to a friend.
    I thought it was about indigenous tribes but it turned out to be about immigrant "nations" to the US. Greater Appalachia, Left coast, Yankeedom etc.
    No idea if it's true. I don't live in USA. But a fascinating read nevertheless.

  • kidmugsy

    "The heart of the right is being anti-left." I came to this conclusion for Britain some years ago. The Conservative Party is an alliance of liberals/Whigs and conservatives/Tories, united by their opposition to socialism.

  • SamWah

    Yes , the left has a laundry list of Things You Must Agree To/With Or Be Cast Into The Outer, WAYYYY Outer, Darkness.

  • The difference is that one takes away your social freedoms while the other takes away your fiscal freedoms.

    Welcome to your polling place sir, which freedoms can we violate today?

  • Aggie -

    You know, I'm not sure I agree with your conclusions, but I do agree with your observations. I think the dominantly traditional political culture in the USA is Economically neutral and Socially conservative, as shown in this study of the 2016 election: http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/06/new-study-shows-what-really-happened-in-the-2016-election.html?utm_source=pocket&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=pockethits. Maybe this might be shifting now with new norms: an avowed Socialist running as a presidential candidate as well as the ongoing stresses being applied to the Middle Class?

    I think I like their scatter plot better 🙂 But it does show quite a bias toward economic liberality on the part of Clinton (and I'm assuming this also includes the Sanders) supporters. What is interesting to me is the absence of data points on the hyper-conservative side. Who is in the extreme here?

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/bca9a62279e7a3dc63999b955b03d729c657e2b14f81a2149108e79832647149.png

  • I think you miss the point. The Republicans in the US oppose the Democrats but they hardly advocate for a free market. Americans would be lucky if Republicans opposed socialism. They claim to but in deed are simply socialists of a lesser degree.

  • james

    correction
    American Nations title
    Colin woodard author

  • johnmoore

    I don't buy the hypothesis. I'm on the right, have been for a long time, and regularly read the magazines and web sites of the right.

    Republicans are strongly socially conservative - especially since gay rights has changed from being a legitimate striving for ending persecution to being a source of persecution through legalized politically correctness. A lot of Republicans have watched our churches under an increasing siege. We have seen private businesses driven out of business for refusing to participate in gay weddings - out of religious conscience, not a refusal to serve gay people.

    Identity politics is driving people like myself to be utterly unwilling to even consider voting for Democrats. We don't want to elect people who put identity "rights" over the Constitution. We don't want to elect people who put some simplistic idea of global equality over our nation (which is a nation of people and a nation with a culture, not just a place on the map). We don't want to elect people who believe that government should control everything - not just economy, but importantly, our behavior in all areas. We don't want to elect people who want to take our guns away. We don't want to elect people who elevate one race or sex or sexual preference over another. We don't want to elect people who believe that the government and its "experts" should make all decisions.

    And we sure as hell don't want to elect people who deny biology in their crazy idea that gender is socially constructed.

    Look at my list. Not much of it is about economics, except the derivative of a goal of freedom that means government not running the economy.

  • johnmoore

    Which social freedoms am I, a conservative Christian conservative Republican, going to take away?

    The "social freedoms" trope is decades out of date.

  • johnmoore

    Nonsense on stilts. The heart of the modern right is freedom from government coercion. Tied to that closely is a strong belief that government should defend us, because other countries would take that freedom.

  • johnmoore

    Good luck finding more than a token construction worker with those beliefs.

  • I don't know what you believe so I can't possibly answer that question. I do suspect that you aren't one of our national politicians though.

  • The Repupblican party is a marketing arm for the Socialist Uniparty.

    After 8 years of calling for "repeal of ObamaCare", we found that the Pubs had no bill ready to go under Trump. There had been no dicussions, working groups, focus groups, data analysis, or economic scoring. The Pubs started from scratch to cobble together a bill which would be different in some minor ways than OCare, but which would still distribute the goodies to keep the Pubs in power as part of the Uniparty.

    The Pubs had not published articles or explanations about what was happening under OCare and how things could be better. They didn't even define what insurance was really about. Their silence announced "We'll go along to get along".

    The Pubs are just as dedicated to "Tax, Spend, and Rule" as the Dems, but with a flavor meant to dissuade real opposition. There are a few conservative members of Congress, but too few to really matter.

    The hard truth is that the Pubs (and Dems) didn't think a non-Uniparty candidate like Trump would be elected, so there was no need to work on a plan in the past 8 years. The only reason the Pubs are proposing anything is that they are a bit frightened of Trump's election and what may happen in the future.

    Critics say correctly that the OCare-Light bill being proposed will merely delay the full failure of OCare into the future. This will then be blamed on the Pubs. That is not actually a problem. The Pubs will go back to being a comfortable, false-flag operation and minorty, fitting their experience and training. The Dems will resume their march into the Socialist-Utopia future. The Uniparty will continue to live comfortably off the American people. All will be well as it was in the past.

  • Don

    The enemy of the good is no longer the perfect, it's now ideological purity.

    Of course, the ideology changes from day to day, so it's not one test you must pass, but many, and sometimes you won't know you're being tested.

  • John Moore

    I strongly suspect that you don't actually know what our national politicians are going to do in this regard.

    Otherwise, how about answering what social freedoms you are concerned about?

  • 看看你的博客,也是一种娱乐!

  • Mason

    Speaking as a right-leaning libertarian, here are a few:

    The drug war. At the very least, taking marijuana off the schedule 1 list.

    Here in my home state of Texas, the god damn bathroom bill.

    Attempts to ban books from school and public libraries for various flavors of "offensive."

  • Max

    The chart is wrongly labeled (though I think to modern Americans this is not even apparent). The y-axis should not go from conservative to liberal because liberals are pretty much illiberal. It should run from liberal to conservative. Except for the newwspeak in the US the left is not considered to be liberals...

  • morganovich

    and let us not forget some other gems like search and seizure laws, civil asset forfeiture, abortion rights, and gay marriage.

  • Heresiarch

    I'm amused by the Theory, but he also says:

    Immigration restrictions deprive billions of basic liberties, impoverish the world, and do so on the backs of the global poor, most of whom are non-white

    That's sheerly insane. I wish there were a kinder word for it. Moving to another country is not a basic liberty. And a lack of immigrants does not make a country poor, because thanks to technological advances, the work done by zillions of the uber-poor is frequently fatuous and unnecessary, like landscaping, and under all conditions, including higher prices, the market will decide how much it's actually worth and whether we really need any of it to be done.

    It is not, in fact, a general libertarian position to be in favor of open borders. It's the position taken by a fairly stupid subset of libertarians, who can't see two pretty basic points that kill the idea.

    First, you can't use logic based on our high-trust society to allow in massive numbers of people from low-trust societies. To quote Paracelsus, "the dose makes the poison". A large enough number of such people will change our society to a low-trust one, ruining all the reasoning of open-borders advocates.

    Secondly, they can't see that you can't have both open borders and a welfare state at the same time, for obvious reasons. They're not in favor of the latter, but since they can't get rid of it, they can't have the former either.

  • Heresiarch

    Reason enough.

  • John Moore

    I could see taking marijuana down to a lesser crime (which has already happened de facto). We are going to regret marijuana legalization, though. Whether people should have the freedom to make bad choices is always a difficult problem. Obviously they shouldn't have the freedom to drive in a dangerous state, such as stoned on today's weed which is vastly more potent than that of my youth. Should they have the freedom to purchase a dangerous drug (dangerous to some, not to all)? Perhaps. I don't see that as an absolute, though.

    The bathroom bill is *pro* freedom. It is about allowing people to not have the government force who uses what bathroom. It is also frigging common sense - the idea of putting biological men into women's bathrooms, by government edict, is beyond stupid.

    Book banning? Yeah, as if banning books was high on the list of republican priorities!! Jeez, are you frigging serious? BTW, most book banning these days is by public school and public library librarians. We live in Phoenix, and a lot of #1 best seller books never turn up at our library, because they are not politically correct. Democrats are for that, and those librarians are virtually all Democrats, as are most public "servants."

    So, if those three are a reason not to vote Republican, then they must rank awfully high - over, say, all the freedoms republicans protect that democrats try to suppress, starting with freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to not have your country and your life invaded by people from cultures inimical to freedom, and freedom of self defense.

  • John Moore

    Search and seizure are not popular Republican goals.

    Republicans are *actively* against civil asset forfeiture s (with a couple of exceptions). Look at what Ted Cruz has to say on this, or what Clarence Thomas is saying forcefully in his opinions and speeches.

    Abortion rights need to be balanced against unborn child rights, something libertarians almost always ignore. Today, in the US, it is, by Supreme Court Decree, legal in all states for a mother to kill her unborn child up to the moment that child is delivered, for any reason, and that is wrong. My granddaughter was born quite premature, but by US law, she could have been killed. She is alive today because her mother chose not to murder her - which is the right name for "abortion rights" at some age of gestation. Until that age, the correct term is homicide.

    Gay marriage is an oxymoron, but Republicans these days are not interested in the government persecuting gays, just as we are strongly against people being persecuted on behalf of gays.

  • JTW

    and most book banning is by liberals, banning things for being "offensive" to some "minority" or generally exposing their agenda.

  • JTW

    well said. I'm against government sanctioned gay marriage, but then against government interference in marriage of any kind.
    Mind that that also means that I'm against governments subsidising marriage, or penalising those who are not married through taxes and other means.
    I've nothing against homosexuals getting 'married' as in forming the social structures traditionally involved in living as a married couple.
    Neither am I against anyone else doing that in whatever form or number of people.
    What I am against is the government providing incentives that cause a lot of people to marry purely for financial gain over the backs of others and the moment that financial gain is no longer there getting divorced to find new partners that will give them those gains.
    I'm in favour of (limited!) child support for couples who have children living at home or are supporting children in university who are not living with them. And I couldn't care less if those are your biological children or adopted, though there should be a limit of the number of children you can get support for to prevent abuse (e.g. in some European countries immigrants can get child support for any number of children, and those don't have to live with them. Result is that there is an entire industry in among others Turkey and Morocco providing fake birth certificates, causing some "parents" from those countries to get child support for 20-30 children).

    Civil forfeiture is wrong, period, beyond direct compensation to victims of the crime (and there should be strict limits to that, no multi-billion dollar settlements for "emotional damage").

  • Hewitt Rose

    Dissatisfied with the simplistic and wrong left-right continuum, I experimented for years with various multidimensional ways to analyze political spectrum. Every one of them had significant exceptions that ruined their utility. See generally https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_spectrum. I finally came full circle and now speak of the left-right continuum. It's still simplistic and wrong but people at least know what you are talking about.

    As much as I respect Bryan Caplan, this particular 2X2 analysis is misleading. From upper left to lower right is a valid dimension of individualism (aka libertarian) to communitarianism. But the other dimension--conservative to liberal--does not tell you much of anything. If you want something no more complex than a 2X2, try a table of Social Issues (freedom v. authoritarian) by Fiscal Issues (free market v. government controlled). At least Libertarians and liberal Catholics fall out into their opposite respective boxes.

    It still does not work, however. What about foreign policy issues? What about the pragmatists who vary from issue to issue on the degree of government control depending on what works? In what square hole would you mash the round peg of Trump? Do the work, as I did, and you will find yourself back at square zero.

  • Hewitt Rose

    There are at least four Republican parties these days:

    1. Country Club (aka establishment) Republicans - Whatever benefits the rich is good; supports the corporate capture of government and the market power and profit that brings. Loves globalism. Social issues are just a means to an ends.

    2. Religious Right - Social issues--God, guns, gays, and abortion--are the only things that matter. If you are right with God, the economy will follow. Despises the Libertarians; works with the Country Club Republicans.

    3. Libertarians - Individuals should be free to do whatever they want fiscally and socially. Despises the Religious Right. In it's more consistent moments, despises the Country Club Republicans.

    4. Tea Party Republicans - National identity and opposing the elites are paramount. Essentially reactionary. Hates globalism, blames government, welfare cheats, and "the other" for all their problems. Despises the Country Club Republicans but happy to be co-opted by them. Will work with the Religious Right. At their most paranoid, sound like the anarchist wing of Libertarians.

    If I have pegged you right, you sound like a Religious Right Republican with Tea Party sympathies.

  • Hewitt Rose

    Why is it then that the progressive and establishment wings of the Democratic party get along with each other so much better than the establishment, religious right, libertarian, and Tea Party wings of the Republican party?

  • Hewitt Rose

    Are you aware that Obamacare established exchange markets for private health insurers? That is pretty far from "government in charge of healthcare." TrumpCare (he's endorsing whatever Congressional Republicans can come up with) does not change that structure so much as it robs the poor to feed the rich.

  • John Moore

    Considering that all of your categories are simplistic exaggeration, nope.

  • Hewitt Rose

    I think my simplistic exaggerations are far more precise and informative than your simplistic exaggerations.

  • Mason

    Respectfully,

    I could see taking marijuana down to a lesser crime (which has already happened de facto). We are going to regret marijuana legalization, though. Whether people should have the freedom to make bad choices is always a difficult problem.

    It's de facto decriminalized in some states and legalized in a couple others, but for a huge majority of Americans it is still a reason for the police to jack someone up and violate civil rights and liberties. I would not for one second regret total legalization of marijuana. Regulate quality, generate tax revenue, undermine the black market, and stop throwing kids in jails and prisons for trafficking in a damned plant.

    People should absolutely and unconditionally have the freedom to make bad choices. If those choices lead to injury of some kind to others, then there is a legal system to deal with it. Otherwise, no victim, no crime.

    The bathroom bill is *pro* freedom. It is about allowing people to not have the government force who uses what bathroom. It is also frigging common sense - the idea of putting biological men into women's bathrooms, by government edict, is beyond stupid.

    The bathroom bill is nothing but red meat for people who are prejudiced against transgendered folks. It is a solution in search of a problem. Is there some kind of new trend of biological but transgendered men assaulting women in the bathroom? No? I didn't think so. As the father of two daughters, fear of an assault by a trans person in or out of a bathroom is below that of death by lightning strike, plane crash, or dinosaur bite infection. As the friend of a few trans folks, all they want to do is pee and poop and be left alone like everybody else.

    Book banning? Yeah, as if banning books was high on the list of republican priorities!! Jeez, are you frigging serious? BTW, most book banning these days is by public school and public library librarians.

    You asked for examples of social issues, and this is one of them. It's a small one but it's a perfect example of the Ms. Grundy of the Republican party. While I don't intend to appeal to authority, I worked for the Texas State Library for some time and this issue is one that is of particular interest to me. I believe you will find that librarians are overwhelmingly against any kind of censorship, left or right. I'd also recommend you check out chalenged or banned books. While a few are challenged on a left-leaning basis, the majority are from a right-leaning perspective.

    I consider any books making this list mandatory reading for my kids: http://www.ala.org/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/top10

    So, if those three are a reason not to vote Republican, then they must rank awfully high - over, say, all the freedoms republicans protect that democrats try to suppress, starting with freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to not have your country and your life invaded by people from cultures inimical to freedom, and freedom of self defense.

    Ultimately, this is why I describe myself as a right-leaning libertarian. I find that I can ignore / disregard more of the ways that Republicans might want to impact my freeedoms while embracing the ways in which they do protect them. I am particularly worried about first amendment freedoms with the recent suge in "hate speech != free speech" attitude of the left.

    Parting thought:

    C.S. Lewis: Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

  • Mason

    I originally thought about mentioning all three of these in my previous post, but figured I'd leave well enough alone for a few reasons. Since they're in play now, and this is a good respectful discussion...

    It's my contention that Republicans are generally much more pro law enforcement over their Democrat friends, including topics such as civil asset forfeiture, DUI checkpoints, and border patrol checkpoints not on the border. If you have a few well sourced links to Republicans in general being against these things (particularly civil asset forfeiture as that's what's on the table) I'll gladly eat crow.

    Abortion is a topic I've mostly decided to avoid (and yet..). I'll say that I'm personally "pro-life" but that it's not my perogative to tell other potential parents and their doctors what choices they can make. I'll also say that abortions will happen, in considerable numbers, no matter the law. I'd rather see legal, safe, rare, with various support options over the alternative.

    Gay marriage is a done deal. It would be my contention that Republicans are generally against it, but there you are. I'd rather see the state out of the marriage business altogether.

  • John Moore

    Okay, so you are a libertarian absolutist. Good luck getting anyone to listen to you other than other absolutists.

    My point about the bad choices is that, in the case of marijuana, those freedoms *are* leading to bad choices. Auto insurance rates are going up in states with legalized recreational marijuana because of the dramatic increase in accidents. I used to be for legalization, which no doubt will shock you. But now I am not for sure.

    But hey, never let facts get in the way of libertarian "absolute and unconditional" ideology.

    Clearly you lack the empathy to understand the bathroom bill, preferring to frame everything in the world where anything the right wants is motivated by pure political meanness. You don't understand that the whole transgender bathroom thing isn't about freedom - it is about Orwellian political correctness.

    Prejudice against transgendered? Nope, again you lack the empathic skills to understand why people might just not want business owners forced to remove the Men and Women signs and other transgressions for the trasngendered. If people have delusions about their gender, then fine, let us not hurt them more than they are hurting themselves. But that isn't what this is about - this is about intentionally crushing one more social norm, and not through freedom, but through the use of brute government force. Bathroom bills are an attempt to slow the procession of this new Cultural Revolution.

    So you call yourself a libertarian, and yet are happy with the left forcing its cultural values, through the rule of law and lawsuits on the rest of us because hey, you don't mind if perverts masquerading as transgenders go in and watch your daughters.

    Libertarian my ass - you are enabling the Red Guard by your insistence on seeing the right as prudes rather than seeing the bathroom crusade for what it is.

    And stuff your Lewis quote. What do you think the tyranny against religion is, the tyranny enacted in the name of LGBTQ rights? The tyranny that takes a good cause - ending persecution of people because of their sexual characteristics - and turns it into an excuse for exactly, precisely what Lewis warned about.

    That is what is going on in our society. The right has some people with *minor* infringements on your liberties compared to what the progressive left is up to. Why not redirect your scorn agains the real threats to liberty?

    You are an example of why I left the Libertarian party. It is all about singing about liberty, while doing nothing effective about it, and while letting the most horrible attacks on liberty go unchallenged - such as bathroom bills or, far worse, the killing of unborn citizens - the ultimate taking of liberty.

  • John Moore

    We are more pro law enforcement. However, civil asset forfeiture has been condemned, repeatedly, in mainstream conservative magazines, especially recently. DUI checkpoints I have no problem with. My problem with border patrol checkpoints is that we should be stopping people at the border, not inside.

    But.. these are really minor infringements on freedom (other than civil asset forfeiture). How can you compare this to a baker being run out of business by a government for the secular sin of refusing to cater to a gay wedding, even though they have no problem serving gay customers? How can you compare these to the use of government to shut down Catholic Charities - an express of Catholic religion, not just a charity, because they don't adopt kids out to gay couples?

    As for abortion... sorry, but your attitude is little different from saying "it's not my perigatuve to tell potential gang members whether they can kill innocent people or not." Almost all libertarians ignore, utterly, the liberty rights of the unborn child, turning a blind eye because "hey, not my business." They do so without even considering that at a minimum, there is some sort of rights conflict between the woman and the unborn child. And, they usually completely ignore the rights of the father, who has no legal say over abortion, but who is forced by law to pay child support should the mother choose not to abort.

    I am against gay marriage, even as I have long been for civil unions for gays. Put that into a simple ideological filter, eh?

  • Mason

    My point about the bad choices is that, in the case of marijuana, those freedoms *are* leading to bad choices. Auto insurance rates are going up in states with legalized recreational marijuana because of the dramatic increase in accidents. I used to be for legalization, which no doubt will shock you. But now I am not for sure.

    I spent a few minutes looking into insurance rates on google, particularly with an eye on Colorado. I didn't see anything about dope being a root cause of increasing insurance rates. Most pages cited increasing population density, increasing miles per driver (cheaper gas, fewer flights, more roadtrips), fancier and more expensive cars, and an increase in fatalities.

    Representative article: http://denver.cbslocal.com/2016/06/20/spiking-auto-insurance-costs/

    What I can offer, partly due to poor choices as a wayward teenager, is that people driving under the influence of pot are rarely going to be the cause of a fatal accident. They drive S-L-O-W.

    Bottom line for me is that the harm of criminilizaztion far, far, outweighs the harm of legalization for both individuals and society as a whole. Come back to me the day we can keep drugs out of prison and I might re-examine my axioms.

    You are preferring to frame everything in the world where anything the right wants is motivated by pure political meanness or bigotry or whatever. The whole transgender bathroom thing isn't about freedom - it is about Orwellian political correctness. The number of actual transgenders in the population is microscopic, and is only growing now as people start playing with the delusion that gender is a social construct.

    Prejudice against transgendered? You need to understand why people might just not want business owners forced to remove the Men and Women signs and other transgressions for the transgendered. If people have delusions about their gender (and with the exception of people with odd biology, that's what it is), then fine, let us not hurt them more than they are hurting themselves. But that isn't what this is about - this is about intentionally crushing one more social norm, and not through freedom, but through the use of brute government force. Bathroom bills are an attempt to slow the procession of this new Cultural Revolution. The transgender "rights" push, as such and not as a cultural revolution stalking horse, is about as reasonable as saying that if you identify as Napoleon, we should issue you an army.

    You're misunderstanding my position here. I don't want to see business owners make any changes. I don't want to cater to political correctness of any kind. Period.

    My position: Trans folks have been and are using bathrooms that conform to their gender "identity." Most people are oblivious to trans people in bathrooms. Trans folks are not currently assaulting people in bathrooms. Trans folks just want to do their business like everybody else. Therefore, there is no need whatsoever for any laws to be passed. There is no problem to solve and no need to bring government into the picture. So why bring government into the picture?

    So you call yourself a libertarian, and yet are happy with the left forcing its cultural values, through the rule of law and lawsuits on the rest of us because hey, you don't mind if perverts masquerading as transgenders go in and watch your daughters.

    Wrong, and I think my previous point on the first amendment would validate that. But since you brought it up:

    - I don't believe there are perverts posing as trans in order to watch my daughters in the bathroom.

    - I don't believe there are perverts posing as trans for much of any reason at all. Perverts are going to have a much easier time with other methods.

    - The trans people I personally know are decent people. They are, for the most part, normal, outside of believing they are women stuck in mens bodies. (I don't personally know any female -> male trans folks).

    - I don't personally care what or how trans people identify or believe since I am unlikely to have a sexual relationship with such a person. Outside of that, why would I care one way or the other?

    You are enabling the Red Guard by your insistence on seeing the right as prudes rather than seeing the bathroom crusade for what it is.

    I believe some of the right are prudes. Politically speaking, the right cares more about what goes on in a given bedroom than the left. As long as it is consensual, who the hell am I to care? Much less back my belief up with the force of government?

    And stuff your Lewis quote. What do you think the tyranny against religion is, the tyranny enacted in the name of LGBTQ rights? T - do you really imagine that I am unaware of the quote, or the fact that it is very much correct? The tyranny that takes a good cause - ending persecution of people because of their sexual characteristics - and turns it into an excuse for exactly, precisely what Lewis warned about.

    That is what is going on in our society. The right has some people with *minor* infringements on your liberties compared to what the progressive left is up to. Why not redirect your scorn agains the real threats to liberty?

    I spend considerable time and money fighting against the nanny state left. Doesn't mean that I don't recognize when the right does the same.

    This is why I left the Libertarian party. It is all about singing about liberty, while doing nothing effective about it, and while letting the most horrible attacks on liberty go unchallenged - such as bathroom bills or, far worse, the killing of unborn citizens - the ultimate taking of liberty.

    I've used the small-l label libertarian to describe myself. I also recognize that I'm in the minority of folks, but I do what I can.

    Not that I want to end this post on the topic, but some final words about abortion:

    - Do I believe an embryo/fetus is life? Yes
    - Do I believe that the embryo/fetus is a potential human life? Yes
    - Do I believe that the rights of the mother outweigh the rights of the potential human inside her? Yes

    The reason I normally avoid this particular topic is that there is no reconciling of opposing axioms. I intend to never personally be in the position to have to worry about it one way or the other.

  • Mason

    Don't want to get too cross-posted here. Think I've addressed most of your points in my last post. I will say that I find using the force of government (as with ANY government action: Ultimately up to and including deadly force) to put religious bakers or religious charities out of business to be abhorrent.

    I don't see a problem or ideological conflict with being against gay marriage but pro civil union. One is a religious exercise, the other is not. As previously stated, I'd prefer to see the state out of marriage altogether. Want a religious ceremony? Cool. Want a contract to merge property and other rights? Go for it.

  • John Moore

    "people driving under the influence of pot are rarely going to be the cause of a fatal accident. They drive S-L-O-W."

    You may. Others do not. Also, slow drivers cause a lot of accidents - in fact, drivers at different speeds cause a lot more accidents than excessive speed.

    You misunderstand my view on trans. When I said a pervert, I did *not* mean a trans.

    As for "prudes" - maybe so. People on the left are prudes in different ways - in fact, I'd suspect you could find a form of prudishness among lots of people. But, just because *you* disapprove of "prudes" does not justify the government coercing people. Again, again: freedom.

    "Politically speaking, the right cares more about what goes on in a given bedroom than the left" - that was true in 1979. It is far, fare less true today, at least politically. I think you are dating yourself.

    "Do I believe that the rights of the mother outweigh the rights of the potential human inside her? Yes"

    The problem with this descent is that it leads you to a fundamental problem: my granddaughter.

    Was she a potential human life when I held her in my arms? She was certainly at an age of gestation where she could have been legally killed, had she not been born. So, did my daughter have a right to an abortion the day before my granddaughter was born, for any reason she might choose? Seriously?

    I believe that, for practical legislative purposes, the rights of the mother outweigh that of the unborn child at an early age. I say that as a Catholic who believes that killing an embryo is murder, but also as one who recognizes that such a view should not be imposed by law. But... I also believe that society has a fundamental duty to fight murder, and in the case of pregnancy, the definition is not as simple politically as pro life, but a definition that is the current law is an utter abomination.

    There is no more certain justification for giving government the powers of coercion than the protection of the lives of innocents. None.

    After all, we are talking in your absolutist sense about the right of inconvenience vs. the right to not be killed! A simple "rights of X > rights of Y" is facile unless you talk about what sort of rights. If we were to talk about the right of a mother to abort in order to save her own life, that would be a different discussion. Or, the right of a mother to abort a baby resulting from rape. How about the right of a mother to abort a baby to piss off her lover? How about the right of a mother to abort a baby because she doesn't like her appearance when pregnant? Today, all of those reasons is sufficient for the US - in fact, we have the most liberal abortion laws of western nations.

    What I see here, and in much of society, is a dumbing down of the argument. It is setting it up as a very simple rights of mother vs rights of child, without any nuance as to which right. This works nicely for those who are absolutists, but it has resulted in an appalling death toll.

  • John Moore

    We agree on these.

  • John Moore

    I don't understand why people fuss with this stuff in a country with only two effective political parties. Figure out which one is best for you (or least worst) and vote for them. Don't vote for third parties unless you want to make a statement, recognizing that in doing so you are automatically taking responsibility for whoever got elected out of the only two parties which can possibly win.

    So, in Arizona, I vote Libertarian for the State Mine Inspector, and Republican for all the rest.

    And yes, foreign policy is very important, and libertarians in particular ignore it and seem to wish it would just go away. It is as if they imagine that everyone outside our borders is a libertarian, so "what, me worry?"

  • Hewitt Rose

    I agree with you on the futility of voting for a third party but recognise there are sub-parties within parties. Your primary vote counts! It is nothing short of a miracle that the Republican party functions as one party given how much the sub-parties hate each other.

    I also agree that the Libertarians have a naive view of foreign policy. "Don't get involved until the foreign soldiers knock on your door" just does not work.

  • John Moore

    While there is hate between factions, I think more of it is just disagreement. The left are the ones really into hating. They talk about haters all the time, which is pure psychological projection of their own feelings.

    And yeah, the foreign policy was the main thing that drove me away from the libertarians. Today, also, the open borders madness adds to that, although it is really a foreign policy / national defense issue even if libertarians insist is is a liberty issue.

  • Hewitt Rose

    We disagree on politics but here I am trying to be objective and descriptive. When I compare Republican and Democractic primaries and intra-party propaganda, I see a lot more division and hatred among the Republicans.

  • John Moore

    The Democrats are much faster to burn the heretics in their midst, because their new composition is driven by ideological zealots. Hence they tend to speak with one voice. But watch what happens when one steps out of line - the same sorts of rhetorical excess normally leveled at Republicans is aimed at their own.

    I don't see much *hatred* among Republicans. I just don't. I see disagreement, sometimes strong. About the only hatred I see is of the #NeverTrump'ers - Republican establishment types like McCain who have a visceral hatred of Trump and anyone who dares to not attack him. Other than that, I don't see hatred.

  • Peabody

    I'm not sure why you replied as your statement doesn't really have much to do with mine. I'm guessing that you interpreted my statement to mean that Obamacare is the "government in charge of healthcare". I neither stated that nor believe that. My statement regarding the left was that "they want the government in charge of healthcare as much as possible", which in general, I think is pretty accurate.

    Though I will disagree with your contention regarding "rob(bing) the poor to feed the rich". If x amount is historically forcibly taken from the rich of which some goes to poor, and now 90% of x is now forcibly taken from the rich, this is not robbing the poor. This is "less robbing" the rich. Unfortunately this sort of nonsense terminology is common in politics. Just arguing on the merits of a particular position is sadly out of vogue.

  • Peabody

    While you can continue to further sub-divide, it is impossible to properly categorize everyone. Opinions and beliefs are so varied and for so many different reasons that while it interesting to consider sub-groups and categorizations, it doesn't fit reality vary cleanly. As you stated yourself, "you sound like a Religious Right Republican with Tea Party sympathies" and the "anarchist wing of Libertarians".