Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Why Libertarians Should Support John McCain

by Steven Maloney

It appears like the next President of the U.S. will be either John Sidney McCain or Barack Hussein Obama. As good a man as Bob Barr is, he will not become President in 2009 – or any other year.

When it comes down to actually voting, the vast majority of Libertarians will reject the more liberal candidate (Obama) – and vote for the more conservative one (McCain). That’s because Libertarians reject the liberal narrative and generally accept the conservative one.

George Will recently described the liberal narrative as portraying “most Americans [as] victims of this or that sinister elite or impersonal force – and are not content to cope with life’s complexities without government supervision.”


That nanny-state-narrative is completely at variance with the libertarian view of life.

What is the conservative narrative? Here’s how “Lexington,” a super writer for The Economist (and a libertarian) describes it: “American conservatives tend to believe that if you work hard and play by the rules, you can succeed. This makes them more optimistic than liberals, more likely to feel in control of their lives and, therefore, happier.”

Conservative is not exactly the same thing as libertarian, but the two are compatible, as William F. Buckley, Jr. found 50-plus years ago when he staffed the National Review with a combination of economic libertarians and social conservatives. In contrast, liberalism, the friend of Big Government, generally is the polar opposite of libertarianism.

If you listen to Barack Obama (and Hillary Clinton) on the campaign trail, you hear some scary things. They portray “too many Americans’ as one step away from economic and social disaster. They see as people badly in need of major assistance – their assistance.

John McCain, imperfect as he may be, sees a very different America. It’s the same country whose liberties he was willing to give his life for in Viet Nam. We may not agree with him on every issue, but we can’t disagree that a love for liberty is at the central core of this man’s being.

Even Bill Clinton has said of McCain: “He’s given everything he has to his country – except his life.” President Clinton has never spoken truer words.

In contrast to McCain, Obama essentially portrays America as something resembling Matthew Arnold’s “Dover Beach,” where “ignorant armies clash by night.” As “Lexington describes Obama’s world-view, America is “a coalition of groups that define themselves as victims of social and economic forces, and . . . [where] its leaders encourage people to feel helpless and aggrieved . . .”

If Obama becomes President, we would become a society of “victims,” all of us clamoring for the government to bail us out of our misery. That would be a disaster not only for libertarians, but for all Americans.

I hope all libertarians do the right thing: voting for John McCain. Also, ask your friends and family members to do the same thing. The future of liberty in this society depends on free people standing up and supporting a man who has devoted his entire life to defending American values and liberties. John McCain is the right man for our cause.

*Note - Steve Maloney is a writer and political activist living in a small town near Pittsburgh, PA. He’d like to inform Senator Obama that he is not now – and never has been – “bitter.” He blogs at http://stevemaloneygop.blogspot.com. And his blog has become a gathering point of sorts for the still informal group "Libertarians for McCain."


stefan said...

"Libertarians for McCain" How funny and ironic!

Understand he now now facing a lawsuite from the DNC from contravening his of McCain-Feingold Act...

Stephen R. Maloney said...

Eric, thanks for printing my material on libertarians and McCain. Is he a perfect candidate? No -- somehow we never seem to get "perfect" candidates. Is he a far superior candidate to Barack Obama, who would go far toward demolishing most of the things libertarians believe in. McCain-Feingold was certainly not the answer to the problems of wealthy donors (and individuals) basically buying seats in Congress, but to deny there is a problem when Leftist groups are raising $400 million to smear McCain is to ignore some of the sad realities of life. Jay Rockefeller spent $12 million to buy a Senate seat in WV, where $12 million was about the size of the state budget at the time. Somehow I don't believe that was exactly what the Founding Fathers had in mind. Libertarians understand that there are in fact "problems" in life that don't lend themselves to legislative solutions, and that's something I believe John McCain now also understands. The rise of Big Government has intensified the feelings of helplessness that SOME people now have. The answer is for courageous elected officials to undo some of the harm their predecessors have caused. And that's something John McCain is sworn to do. Social conservatives and libertarians can get along together (as they did at National Review), although I agree there should be a ban on either carrying sharp objects. :-)

steve maloney

Jon said...

" President Clinton has never spoken truer words."

Well that ain't saying much.

stefan said...


Ryan said...

Thank you for the eloquent article Mr. Maloney, and thank you for posting it, Eric.

I concur with your reasoning on why libertarians should support Senator McCain for the presidency. I would just add that McCain has NEVER requested a single earmark during his time in the Senate and in the coming weeks McCain will discuss ideas regarding a flat tax proposal (influnced by his top economic advisor Steve Forbes).Some of his advisors have urged the Senator to call for the abolishment of the IRS and perhaps a "Fair Tax-like" policy to get rid of the income tax once and for all. The Senator is looking into such proposals that could have the potential to please economic-fiscal libertarians. He is listening closely to supporters such as Libertarian Republican Allen Greenspan, flat taxer Steve Forbes, among others. The best reason why libertarians should support Senator McCain? Otherwise, you'll have to swallow the 'bitter' pill of Senator Obama or Senator Clinton. Could there be a better reason for libertarins to support Senator McCain?

*I am a Neolibertarian supporter of Senator McCain, and I am a member of his presidential campaign* ;)

And I, like Mr. Maloney, am NOT 'bitter' because I believe in the second amendment, happen to be a practicing Roman Catholic, and am from a small town.

Eric Dondero said...

Stefan, are you trying to imply that McCain's association with Bush is a negative?

A guy who won two wars, kept our taxes low, and restored our country's faith after the greatest tragedy this Nation has ever faced - 9/11?

I'll take a Bush third term over McCain's Presidency any day of the week!

You're barking up the wrong tree. Many of us view Bush as far more libertarian and acceptable than McCain.

Oh, and did you forget Bush is the one who appointed former Libertarian Party State Chair Gayle Norton to a Cabinet level position?

stefan said...

Oh Eric, we agree! McCain is worse than Bush indeed. In 2000 he was the neocons. ideal candidate.

Well, the guy that you donated 50 usd to on Tuesday has quite a lot of criticim on Bush...

If tho wars were won, (took long time, 5 years!), why not return home after the victory???

Eric Dondero said...

No Stefan, that is an absolutely ridiculous comment you just made.

It DID NOT take "5 years" to win the War in Iraq. It took one year and a half.

The War was won, the very day, the very second in fact, that those two GIs pulled over that dusty rug and found Saddam.

The rest since has just been mop-up no different at all to post-War Germany and Japan.

4000 War dead is equivelant to about 1 hour on the Beaches of Normandy, or 40 minutes at Iwo Jima.

Stop being a Weenie. America is already well-down the path of Feminization of our society. You just lend credence to it, with your whining about "4000 War dead."

I like you too much to call you names. But in this instance, I gotta say, you're treading dangerously close to winning the Girlie Man title.

stefan said...

Actually the war in Iraq took a much shorter time, before Bush announced "mission accomplished". The rest up to now is pure invasion and neocolonialism and "nation-building".
And ever since there is civil war now, with Bush having no idea about the schism between the Kurds, Sunni's and Shiites (before)?

Eric, you argue there was a bit of AL Qaeda Sunni's at the time of Saddam before Iraq invaded. Well most if not all of current Al Qaeda in Iraq are from other countries, like Saudia-Arabia, not from Iraq.
If every country with Al Qaeda's should be attacked, why not attack
the 58 other countries in the world that also have Al Qaeda troops?

Don't be a sissy, kick ass and attack! That is the Bush-doctrine. WHy not follow it through?.(I do think the families of the 4k plus US tropps dead, also how many injured? are not happy at all).

Why not attack countries that are far more despotic than Iraq has ever been, like Zimbabwe, North Korea etc? Note in Iran there are Shiites, no sunni Al Qaeda! Al Sadar in Iraq does not seem to keen witht he US in Iraq... he will fight the US and kill US military as long as there are American troops there, whether 50 to 100 years.

(BTW: did you read about the
police general in Iran that was caught with 6 prostitutes, six! You see what freedoms they have? Sounds very "libertarian". Aren't you jealous, Eric? :-) Ha Ha).

stefan said...

"America is already well-down the path of feminization of our society".

True. When I was mentioning it, Andrew sent me back to the 19th century. To think of it: Maybe it would have been better to live in the 19th century, no feministic women, property rights, much more freedom etc. etc. Add to this the existence of a "desert eagle", a "Sig Sauer" etc., and it would have been heaven on earth! :-)

Jonathan said...

re: McCain and earmarks/Fiscal Conservatism.

a thought, given McCain's political positining with the Center there is a chance he could actually govern to the Right on Economic matters and get away with it politically due to that. Just a thought, although with the Dems gaining seats in Senate again he'll likely just be a buffer keeping them from completely destroying the US.

that said, its very Impressive that McCain is easily the most Powerful Senators in Congress and doesn't take earmarks. I guess the only member that ran for President from congress that was that princpled on the issue.

Jonathan said...

Shia Iran is also funding Al-Qaeda in Iraq, which is Sunni. Those divisions are blown out of proportion.

Eric, you should take a look at Michael yon's new book coming out and especially the special commnet from the publisher about it.

Andrew said...

Yep stefan, the 19th century was wonderful.

Women had no legal rights

African-Americans were slaves till 1985 then Black Codes and Jim Crow in the latter part of the century

Child labor

Avergae Life expectancy was somewhere between 38-43 years of age

As for the working class, historan Roy Potter wrote of 19th Britain,

"For millions, entire lives - albeit often very short ones - were passed in new industrial cities of dreadful night with an all too typical socio-pathology: foul housing, often in flooded cellars, gross overcrowding, atmospheric and water-supply pollution, overflowing cesspools, contaminated pumps; poverty, hunger, fatigue and abjection everywhere. Such conditions, comparable to today's Third World shanty towns or refugee camps, bred rampant sickness of every kind. Appalling neo-natal, infant and child mortality accompanied the abomination of child labour in mines and factories; life expectations were exceedingly low - often under twenty years among the working classes - and everywhere sickness precipitated family breakdown, pauperization and social crisis. The squalor of the slums was exposed time and again by social reformers, novelists, newsmen, and clergymen appalled to find hell at the heart of civilization"

stefan said...

Jonathan: the bigger than the vatican US embassy and the war is the biggest single earmark that has been approved by McCain and many others, but not by Paul and a few other R & D politicians. SO that more than cancels all out. And what about all McCain's connections with lobbyists?

Andrew: Hmm seem to me you have real nostalgia towards the 19th century! Just kidding. Yes, of course it was not a perfect society, far from it in certain respects as you indicated, but there were almost no wars either. Each society and time framework has its own problems..today there is not only war, but also many gangs, civil strife etc. etc. I take the view that there are always positive issues in history one can relate to (proudly), also negative things one can be ashamed of. Human nature does not really change, there will always be greed etc.

stefan said...

Wonderful info on John McCain:

Andrew said...

Well. stefan. As my grandfather used to say when asked about the "good ol' days" of the 1940's and 1950's, his answer was "We are living through the good ole' days right now". But your right there was a lot od good during that peroid but it was also rife with imperalism and wars. British, French, German, Beliguim colonialism in Africa, Asia and India. Napoleon's conquests of Europe. The American Civil War that killed 500,000 Americans between 1861-1865. Not a peaceful century at all.

stefan said...

Yes Andrew true, I know there were regional wars, like in other centuries also, but yet no world wide war and much less lives lost than in the 20th century. Probably more people than now died of sickness or starvation faster than now.
Nietzsche predicted "prophetically" the emergency of ideologies that would lead to war, and we had facsism and communism after and during colonianism. We still have colonialism to a certain extent. Certain mistakes can almost never be corrected again, like for instance
the borders of African states during the colonialization time. Ethnic groups were separated from each other in two or more countries, living together with other ethnic groups, and they often wage war against one another. IMHO the French have generally doen a better job than the English. Till today they have much better relationships with
their ex-colonies than the British. Iraq was of course also a colonial state where different groups were pushed together and the Kurds separated between Turkey and Iraq. Very problematical situation...

You still have you grandfather (and grandmother?), if so, very lucky and fortunate.

Andrew said...

stefan, what is your take on Nietszche? Honestly, I have only read "Beyond Good and Evil" and have a copy of Will Durant's "History of Philosophy" from my college days which has a long chapter on Nietzsche. As you know the late Allen Bloom(a neocon intellectutal) was a big Niestzche fan and always claimed he was misunderstood. From what little I know, he probably would have found himself in Dachau during the Nazi regime, he did think antisemitism and blind nationalism was moronic. Unlike Dawkins, Sam Harris and unfortunatly Christopher Hitchens, Nietzche was more intellectually honest about the death of God. He saw the nihilism it would produce

stefan said...

Andrew, interesting and important question, we're off topic now. Eric may not be so impressed.
Here is a video for him:

Would you like me to email you? Yes I know about Alan Bloom, Closing of the American Mind" from college days also. Very interesting. In read Nietzsche in German also, aphoristic, not systematic like Hegel. As you know Catholic theologians and some Protestants and atheist consider him an atheist with the "death of God" expression. But as a protestant and also my German professors consider him an eminent and fundamental christian thinker. Nietzsche has - like many Protestants - more a historic than a metaphysical approach. He is the father of an existentialist understanding of being, e.g. emotions also play an important role. He is a radical thinker: You can understand the apostle Paul much better
via Nietsche than reading x amount of exegetical and academic commentaries. Nietsche saw the death of God in the metaphysical sense, not in an actual/being sense, and he basically foresaw the secularism, that lead to nihilism at the end.
Bloom's take on Nietsche is interesting, normally Nietsche is seen as a prelude to "fascism" by some and he was highly regarded by Nazi philosophers.
Personally I do not think Nieztsche would be classified on the fascist side, nor on the communist or the "Dachau side". I do not think he would have been an activist on either side during the Nazi time.
I would sort him more on the "rightwing" side politically, but not extreme rightwing in the Nazi sense. Of course you know Von Mises saw fascism actually with communism as "left-wing". One could debate about this, but there are analogical structure between fascism and communism: both absolutist state being where the individual does not have much right. You know the winner writes the history, which would be another example of Nietzsche's "Wille zur Macht", will to power. I like Carl Schmitt
also. In Germany of course anathema to refer to him positively, but they are very much ideologically blindsighted IMHO. Philosophically I find myself liking the German tradition of "neoconservatives" "Neukonservativen", which has nothing to do with the American "neoconservatives". You know even to call your son Adolf is not allowed in Germany after 1945, which is crazy IMHO. Hitler's was in any case from Austria and his original name was "Alois", not "Adolf". A writer is often interpreted differently.

Andrew said...

sure....ajm@yahoo.com. Although Eric didn't bust Jonthan and my ass about talking evolution yesterday so we either slipped one by him or he is getting more tolerant of "off topic" stuff in his old age.

Jonathan said...

nazi-ism was extreme Left wing, not right. they were to the left of American liberals. See Jonah Goldbergs book on the subject, which I'm reading. Its very detailed, especially if into the philosophy and what not behind everything.

stefan said...

Thanks, Andrew. I believe in creatio ex nihilio by God, and also the evolutionary progress. The Darwinists and others still believe in a big-bang, so where/hpw did the big-bang originate? Religious belief is a-scientific but not un/anti-scientific.

Jonathan: I indicated there there is difference of opinion regarding whether to describe Nazism as a rightwing or leftwing ideology. This difference of opinion may continue to exist. There are huge differences between nazism and communism, but also similarities.

Wow, just found something really eye-cathing and interesting (suspicious?):
a Libertarian National Socialist Green Party
Never seen it before. Sounds like a fusion of many political ideologies...

Jonathan said...

the biggest difference between the Soviets and the Nazi's is the Soviets were Internationalist Socialist/commies and the Nazi's were Nationalist Socialist. they opposed each other much the same way that Catholics and Protestants oppose each other.

that said I'm very familar with what Academia has done to try and make it into a Right wing thing, starting in the 1960's propaganda.

I recommend Goldbergs book highly from what I've read so far, it sets much of the record straight.

stefan said...

So Jonah Goldberg is the new prophet and his views cannot be questioned. Very academic!

Back to McCain, and specifically Cindy McCain


LOL Publishing a cookbook that someone else has actually written for her, and then taking it off from the net. Just goes to show how much you can trust a McCain!

Can rather try out a real cook/caker, Carol Paul's recipes.

Andrew said...

Jonathan, national socialism wasn't socialistic, only in name. It was nihilistic and the first people Hitler went after were the labour unions and the Social Democrats. Trotsky had it right, National Socialism was Germany "vomiting undigested barbarism". How appropriate, one could also as that al-Quada, Hamas, Whabbism is also the Muslim world puking out it's undigest barbarism as well.

stefan said...

Andrew: The treaty of Versailles after WW1 and the weak Weimar government (first democracy) also had to do for the understandable earning for the rise of a strong party that would be patriotic and promote pride. I would not formulate it in communist Trotshy's words, would rather say Germany was in the "Sturm und Drang" phase,which lead to the raise of the Nazi's as the "salvation" and Hitler as the saviour and prophet. They fulfilled people with idealism, not nihilistic as such, more militant nationalistic and expansionist later, very much like certain countries today, that are arrogant, think they are the best and can prescribe to everybody else how to live.