•If you're in the DC area on Sat., Feb. 12 (9:45-10:25am), please come hear me talk about the Tea Party movement and what comes next. I'll be on a stellar panel featuring Murray Sabrin (not to be confused with the recently deceased Joe Sobran), Joe Seehusen (Ron Paul campaign vet), and Chip Tarburton (Tea Party leader) -- moderated by Corie Whalen (not to be confused with Elizabeth Whelan) -- all of it part of the Republican Liberty Caucus convention at the Hilton Arlington (Ballston), 950 N. Stafford (or, y'know, let me know if you wanna have brunch the next day).
The RLC convention, the biggest-ever gathering of avowedly-libertarian Republicans will also feature Randy Barnett, David Boaz, Rep. Justin Amash, NYC's own Thor-worshipping councilman Dan Halloran, petition-happy Paul Jacob, and an array of exciting guest stars (though not legendary funnyman Alan King, who passed away several years ago, striking a decisive blow to monarchy in the U.S.). Sign up now. I will attempt to make a bigger splash than I did with my last panel discussion.
•I'll tell ya this much right now, though: It's too late in the day for any more "stealthy" approaches. Libertarians, including me, spent the past few decades learning how, at various points, to talk like liberals, ally with conservatives, show people we're in some sense moderates, debate with left-anarchists, reassure environmentalists -- even keep the peace with various nutty subsets of libertarians. No more time for that. Cut spending and deregulate radically right now or the whole civilization comes crashing down. That is the one mission that most matters. Anyone claiming to be engaged in something called "politics" without having that as priority #1 is an obstacle.
This mission is too urgent to need any stealthy or proxy labels -- right, left, even "libertarian" if that's too vague a catch-all for some people (including some libertarians) to keep straight. Shrinking government is simply the immediate program for survival, by any name. Like medicine or food production, it need not be "framed," historicized, rendered as part of the dialectic, placed on a "spectrum," contrasted with the Enlightenment, put in a cultural context, or translated into electoral rhetoric. It is just what must be done. All else is armchair nonsense and pageantry.
I'm speaking to Republicans in one week, yes, but at this point I'd say the same thing to Marxists -- and dare hope even they might leave the room convinced on the spot. Sane people of any nominal political tribe must now stand up for economic sense or drag us down to ruin, and even decades of calling oneself a "communitarian" or something are now irrelevant as this yawning economic abyss rushes up to consume all and render abstract, intuited notions of rights and responsibilities moot.
Fascinating careers can be built around indirect approaches to the big issue -- talking about whether religion correlates with success, or how ethnicity affects things, or gender, urbanization, optimism, even punk, what have you. But I think the time for the sophisticated, asymptotic, we'll-get-there-in-a-decade approach has run out. Time to yell "Stop spending!" and "Deregulate!" loudly and often.
•But mentioning rock n' roll dismissively in that paragraph doesn't mean I can't see the potential for making traditionalism hip when a band like Iron & Wine (with Edie Brickell opening) plays Radio City Music Hall, so I'll still go to that tonight.
•In another test of priorities, I will do my part to hold the free-market coalition together by
not insisting that everyone in it be rooting for the Mexican drug gangs who are using catapults to hurl pot over the U.S. border. But you really should be. I mean, what says markets + tradition + science (minus statist worship of arbitrary political borders) better than using a medieval weapon in a new way to bring Americans the drugs they so obviously want and are willing to pay for? Viva la catapulta! (I hope I don't get hit by a flying bag of pot on my trip to Texas in April, though. Beheading rival drug gangs is also uncool.)
•Speaking of vice squad stuff, Berlusconi as Caligula suddenly makes Spitzer look like a piker. Of Berlusconi, I can only say: prostitutes may sound like fun, but must it involve the taxpayers?
•And through it all, remember that the anti-capitalists are the real enemy, as we are reminded by this passage from the Wikipedia entry about a book co-authored by beloved anti-globalization leader and convicted murderer Antonio Negri:
[T]he authors call for autonomous constitutive resistance epitomized by the Wobblies...Empire was criticized in the National Review as a "modern-day Communist Manifesto" and a "virulently anti-American book" that regards Islamist terrorism as being "a spearhead of 'postmodern revolution' against American globalization."
I say three cheers for American globalization, which is no oxymoron.