Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Political Spectrum, the Broadcast Spectrum, and the Isle of Man

In yesterday’s (penultimate) Retro-Journal entry (and my guest entry on AlarmingNews linked within it), I mentioned the tricky subject of trying to figure out which if any candidate to support if you’re a libertarian, since they’re almost all awful. Libertarians end up having to pick weird allies sometimes since they have so few from which to choose.

•For instance, Reason recently looked at how Ron Paul, for good or ill, helped inspire a less-libertarian, more-conservative candidate for president, Baldwin of the Constitution Party.

•On the other hand, Jacob Levy points out to me a study by Rasmussen showing that the puny 4% of the U.S. population who arguably qualify as libertarian — or at least “fiscally conservative, socially liberal” (which admittedly may not mean the same thing) — apparently prefer Obama to McCain by a very significant margin (perhaps mainly because of the war, which has become far more important to many libertarians than it is to me, for voting purposes, I mean).

•It’s interesting that in the Rasmussen study, which breaks the populace up into seven major segments depending on whether they are socially liberal-or-conservative and whether they are fiscally liberal-or-conservative, contained so few “fiscally conservative, socially liberal” people — yet contained so few “socially conservative, fiscally liberal” people (a designation that arguably applies to populists Baldwin, Huckabee, and Buchanan in varying ways) that they don’t even rate a mention among the seven major chunks of the electorate…which is probably for the best, much as I sympathize with certain pro-local, decentralizing impulses of the paleoconservatives. There is actually a political category, in short, rarer than libertarian, if you can believe that.

•By contrast, the single largest chunk of the seven (at 24%) was mainstream conservative: “socially conservative, fiscally conservative,” though I’d argue you’d never know it from most of modern public policy. Nonetheless, this is a good argument for appealing to that bloc, as I strive to with the whole “conservatism for punks” philosophy underlying this blog.

•And all such demographic calculations aside, I still favor the basic P.J. O’Rourke argument for preferring right to left, by libertarian standards. In short: being able to smoke pot won’t be much consolation when government has taken over every other aspect of the economy, whereas in a free market, things like pot and sex are pretty difficult to police anyway.

•To all who simply think any sympathy for the right is absurd, that good anti-authoritarians should always sympathize with modern liberals and the left, and that the Republicans must be severely punished again and again for their statist ways, I must ask: Is it also urgent that we punish the Democrats with removal from power for this kind of blatantly totalitarian scheming: favoring a return of the totalitarian Fairness Doctrine?

Or do cool kids only panic over right-wing authoritarianism? No need to answer. I’m afraid I already know.

I wish now I’d spoken to Pelosi’s daughter when I was in her vicinity at a party a couple months ago. The daughter is a documentarian and must have some interesting things to say about her mother’s (and NY Rep. Louise Slaughter’s) belief that the government should force people in media (like her) to broadcast ideas with which they disagree.

Maybe I should be forced to hire a co-blogger who’s leftist, green, anti-free-speech, pro-religion, comic-book-hating, irrational, and above all very, very, very enamored of government — and slavery in general.

•To escape all these modern-sounding political concerns, I’m tempted to visit the Isle of Man. With a population of about 80,000, this rather quaint political entity lies between Britain and Ireland, has as its strange motto “Whithersoever you throw it, it shall stand,” and flies the slightly absurd flag you may have noticed atop this blog entry.

I believe the Isle of Man is currently part of a defense alliance with Strongbadia and the Duchy of Grand Fenwick.

1 comment:

W.C. Varones said...

I wouldn’t be so down about libertarian percentages.

I used to work in a San Francisco tech firm, and while those people would largely describe themselves as Democrat or liberal, if you asked them about the issues they were overwhelmingly libertarian.