After the election, libertarian Republican Eric Dondero got really mad. He has severed ties with all Democrats—apparently just because his party lost the election. This doesn’t make a lot of sense. If three million more people had voted for Romney, he’d be fine with the 100 million plus Democrats. But because this did not happen, he would not save a Democrat from drowning.
On one level, there is no story here: wackjob Republican says wakjob things. Dog bites man. Nothing to see here.
What I do think is interesting is that Dondero considers himself a libertarian. I think this is another example of just what a sham libertarianism is. In order to flip out because Obama rather than Romney won, you have to care about one-half of the libertarian ideology: economic libertarianism. (Note: this is not how Republicans are, but it is their claim.) You would have to think that the greatest threat to personal liberty is taxation. And how could you? I mean really: in just about every place at just about every time, governments have oppressed people with their military and their police and their secret services. Any oppression due to high taxes has been modest.
This goes right along with my argument—dating back 20 years when I actually was a libertarian—that Ron Paul doesn’t have that many libertarian ideas. Sure, he has a few. But the things that he gets the most credit for are not even particularly libertarian. All the gold standard, abolish the Fed nonsense? That’s a widely held belief system of modern libertarians, but there is nothing fundamentally libertarian about it. It’s just crazy and paranoid. All the isolationist talk? Again, that’s probably more a sign of political naivete than anything. (Not that there isn’t much to like in the idea.)
I’m not claiming that Ron Paul and Eric Dondero are not libertarians. I think they are. And that is one of the big problems with libertarians: they don’t think too seriously about their beliefs. Mostly, libertarianism is just a movement of followers. They like the gold standard because everyone else does and they’ve never heard a serious argument about it. This is why a lot of libertarians are anti-choice. (If you really think a zygote has equal civil rights to an adult woman, then something is seriously wrong with you.) And this is why libertarians almost never even discuss the “barbarian at the gates” argument. Libertarianism only works in the naive with minds that are far, far away.
Update (12 November 2012 4:11 pm)
I was just reading over Dondero’s rant. He writes, “Some may choose to push secession in their state legislatures. Others may choose to leave the U.S. for good (Costa Rica, Switzerland, Italy, Argentina, Hong Kong, Israel).” I thought it was a joke when conservatives claimed they were going to move to Canada to escape Obamacare. But apparently not. All of the countries that Dondero mentions are more liberal (“Communist!”) than the United States. Costa Rica, for example, has a kind of single payer healthcare insurance. Argentina makes more sense, but not because it is conservative; it just has a history of opening its doors to failed fascists.
Update (20 November 2012 1:19 pm)
FJM has written a hilarious take down of this idiot over at Gin and Tacos, Eric Dondero Gets the FJM Treatment But Is Probably Too Busy Hoarding Ammonium Nitrate to Care.