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Old 02-03-2016, 10:57 AM   #1
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Why are Libertarians electoral kryponite?

So I see that Rand Paul has jacked it in today. Why is it that Libertarian (or Libertarian-leaning) candidates have such a poor standing amongst the US electorate? There is a strong tradition of Libertarian outlier candidates in US presidential elections and they seemingly all fall flat on their faces - barely troubling the polls. On paper, small government, privacy and freedom for citizens and a less interventionist foreign policy seems to be an attractive proposition - it's clearly not however and I was wondering why that is?
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Old 02-03-2016, 11:08 AM   #2
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establishment needs to maintain the status quo, libertarians rock the boat.
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Old 02-03-2016, 11:14 AM   #3
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establishment needs to maintain the status quo, libertarians rock the boat.
This +1
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Old 02-03-2016, 12:07 PM   #4
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So I see that Rand Paul has jacked it in today. Why is it that Libertarian (or Libertarian-leaning) candidates have such a poor standing amongst the US electorate? There is a strong tradition of Libertarian outlier candidates in US presidential elections and they seemingly all fall flat on their faces - barely troubling the polls. On paper, small government, privacy and freedom for citizens and a less interventionist foreign policy seems to be an attractive proposition - it's clearly not however and I was wondering why that is?
It's not only unpopular here in the US, this is pretty much the only country where a libertarian party exists at all.
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Old 02-03-2016, 12:23 PM   #5
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freedom scares people
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Old 02-03-2016, 05:57 PM   #6
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freedom scares people
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Old 02-03-2016, 07:01 PM   #7
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freedom scares people
Yeah, people had the freedom of the jungle for hundreds of thousands of years, then civilization came and ruined it all.

Seriously though, I think the real problem with Libertarianism is that, ultimately, it's a utopian abstract.

One could readily list all the successful libertarian countries on the fingers of one foot.

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Old 02-04-2016, 03:04 AM   #8
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Because it makes too much sense.
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Old 02-04-2016, 06:44 AM   #9
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If I had to guess, people are biased, complacent, stubborn, and willing to maintain the status quo while continually complaining about the state of American politics and government.
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Old 02-04-2016, 08:32 AM   #10
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Yeah, people had the freedom of the jungle for hundreds of thousands of years, then civilization came and ruined it all.

Seriously though, I think the real problem with Libertarianism is that, ultimately, it's a utopian abstract.

One could readily list all the successful libertarian countries on the fingers of one foot.
Ah, I see you are repeating the oft-regurgitated "libertarianism = anarchy" meme. How insightful, perhaps you should mention Somalia as an example of libertarianism in action? That's never been done

Amazing to hear a dyed in the wool leftist slander another ideology as a "utopian abstract"
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Old 02-04-2016, 09:06 AM   #11
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Ah, I see you are repeating the oft-regurgitated "libertarianism = anarchy" meme. How insightful, perhaps you should mention Somalia as an example of libertarianism in action? That's never been done

Amazing to hear a dyed in the wool leftist slander another ideology as a "utopian abstract"
Please share your examples of successful Libertarian countries.

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Old 02-04-2016, 11:09 AM   #12
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Please share your examples of successful Libertarian countries.
I will as soon as you share an example of an unsuccessful one. Amazingly, I can show you many examples of unsuccessful communist and socialist countries. Crazy right?

Politicians like power. Libertarianism does not seek the kind of power that politicians need. As such, most politicians (left, right, center) will shun the libertarian.
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Old 02-04-2016, 12:55 PM   #13
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I will as soon as you share an example of an unsuccessful one. Amazingly, I can show you many examples of unsuccessful communist and socialist countries. Crazy right?
Well, there are no Libertarian countries, which probably says a lot right there. However, historically, I tend to find countries with very weak governments and rule-of-law to not be terribly successful. The Somalia example might be a bit extreme, if not wholly irrelevant, but history is littered with the remains of countries with weak, decentralized governments.

An interesting historical example would be, ironically, the U.S. itself during the 7-8 years or so it was functioning, or not, under the Articles of Confederation. Those involved a much looser, weaker Federal government (there was no president, no executive agencies, no judiciary and no tax base, etc...) and was, basically, a disaster that quickly lead to the adoption of a current U.S. Constitution that instituted a much stronger Federal government role.

Another example might be the fall of Rome, a large and powerful central government. I'm not sure the period that followed, where a vast number of people were freed of the power of the Roman state, was an improvement nor were those "liberated" people particularly better off. That's why we call them the Dark Ages.

There are, of course many examples of failed communist and socialist countries, which is why I don't think that extreme is a very good course either.

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Politicians like power. Libertarianism does not seek the kind of power that politicians need. As such, most politicians (left, right, center) will shun the libertarian.
So do corporations, plutocrats, militias, and a host of other people and entities like power, nothing new under the sun there. There are many centers of power in a society, not just the government, which is why a proper balancing of those powers (debatable as to what's "proper" obviously) under the rule of law is important. Simply severely reducing government power alone may in fact simply set the stage for other centers of power to fill that void, perhaps in even worse, less fair and democratic ways.

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Old 02-04-2016, 08:14 PM   #14
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Well, there are no Libertarian countries, which probably says a lot right there. However, historically, I tend to find countries with very weak governments and rule-of-law to not be terribly successful. The Somalia example might be a bit extreme, if not wholly irrelevant, but history is littered with the remains of countries with weak, decentralized governments.

An interesting historical example would be, ironically, the U.S. itself during the 7-8 years or so it was functioning, or not, under the Articles of Confederation. Those involved a much looser, weaker Federal government (there was no president, no executive agencies, no judiciary and no tax base, etc...) and was, basically, a disaster that quickly lead to the adoption of a current U.S. Constitution that instituted a much stronger Federal government role.

Another example might be the fall of Rome, a large and powerful central government. I'm not sure the period that followed, where a vast number of people were freed of the power of the Roman state, was an improvement nor were those "liberated" people particularly better off. That's why we call them the Dark Ages.

There are, of course many examples of failed communist and socialist countries, which is why I don't think that extreme is a very good course either.


So do corporations, plutocrats, militias, and a host of other people and entities like power, nothing new under the sun there. There are many centers of power in a society, not just the government, which is why a proper balancing of those powers (debatable as to what's "proper" obviously) under the rule of law is important. Simply severely reducing government power alone may in fact simply set the stage for other centers of power to fill that void, perhaps in even worse, less fair and democratic ways.
Well, taking say Somalia or Liberia (countries with barely any government)....the libertarian mindset is that the government DOES have a role, secure borders, sound currency, enforcement of laws and contracts, and protect against enemies. If you have those 4 down on lock, the rest gets taken care of by the people. Those 4 encompass normal societal structure...something Somalia or Liberia don't have.
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Old 02-04-2016, 10:30 PM   #15
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Well, taking say Somalia or Liberia (countries with barely any government)....the libertarian mindset is that the government DOES have a role, secure borders, sound currency, enforcement of laws and contracts, and protect against enemies. If you have those 4 down on lock, the rest gets taken care of by the people. Those 4 encompass normal societal structure...something Somalia or Liberia don't have.
Then what is a successful libertarian country we could benchmark off of? There's gotta be at least just one, right?

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Old 02-04-2016, 10:40 PM   #16
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Then what is a successful libertarian country we could benchmark off of? There's gotta be at least just one, right?

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TEchnically no, they all have one flaw...humans. Humans in power are never content, they always want more. So what started as sort of a libertarian society (basically founding fathers) has turned into the insane regulation fest that we have today. Humans can't leave something be.
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Old 02-04-2016, 11:00 PM   #17
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TEchnically no, they all have one flaw...humans. Humans in power are never content, they always want more. So what started as sort of a libertarian society (basically founding fathers) has turned into the insane regulation fest that we have today. Humans can't leave something be.
Which strikes me as the basic flaw in libertarianism, that it is an idealistic system that doesn't adequately account for human nature.

You're absolutely correct that our country started along more libertarian lines, but that didn't last even ten years before collapsing. Our far less libertarian government that followed has survived and prospered for well over 200 years.

Maybe there's a lesson there.

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Old 02-04-2016, 11:05 PM   #18
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Which strikes me as the basic flaw in libertarianism, that it is an idealistic system that doesn't adequately account for human nature.

You're absolutely correct that our country started along more libertarian lines, but that didn't last even ten years before collapsing. Our far less libertarian government that followed has survived and prospered for well over 200 years.

Maybe there's a lesson there.

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There is, an important one....problems WILL happen, but the government can't fix them, and generally, only makes the problem worse, and Im not even talking about party lines here. The human desire to "fix" is the basic flaw. If your daughter ran around the house and knocked over a vase, you would tell her, hey be careful, but you also realize that these things happen. Kids will break stuff. Kids will get hurt. THIS IS LIFE. People understand this. But for some reason, when it comes to government, people all the sudden have this need to "fix" something, as if it could be fixed. People smoking some grass? Gotta fix it. People getting drunk? Gotta fix it. People turning gay? Gotta fix it. People shooting each other? Gotta fix it. On and on, for 300 years, and you end up with the lunacy we have today. A million pages of cryptic law no one understands, a bunch of tax code god himself can't decipher, a bunch of idiots in washington working 100 day years, and a bunch of lousy t shirts. Once people realize the government only creates problems (broken window syndrome) then we might actually get somewhere.
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Old 02-04-2016, 11:09 PM   #19
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There is, an important one....problems WILL happen, but the government can't fix them, and generally, only makes the problem worse, and Im not even talking about party lines here. The human desire to "fix" is the basic flaw. If your daughter ran around the house and knocked over a vase, you would tell her, hey be careful, but you also realize that these things happen. Kids will break stuff. Kids will get hurt. THIS IS LIFE. People understand this. But for some reason, when it comes to government, people all the sudden have this need to "fix" something, as if it could be fixed. People smoking some grass? Gotta fix it. People getting drunk? Gotta fix it. People turning gay? Gotta fix it. People shooting each other? Gotta fix it. On and on, for 300 years, and you end up with the lunacy we have today. A million pages of cryptic law no one understands, a bunch of tax code god himself can't decipher, a bunch of idiots in washington working 100 day years, and a bunch of lousy t shirts. Once people realize the government only creates problems (broken window syndrome) then we might actually get somewhere.
Guess we just should have stuck with Feudalism rather than trying to fix it with liberal democracy and screwing everything up. No need for all those bothersome laws and rules when the king's decree was the law and rule.

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Old 02-04-2016, 11:21 PM   #20
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Well, be can start with the constitution and the bill of rights, and maybe leave it at that? Maybe we can try that?
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