A Libertarian shadow cabinet? (was: Re: [LeftLibertarian2] I always thought that stuff was empty rhetoric)

An LP “shadow cabinet” or “shadow government” need not be at odds with the perspective of libertarians who oppose the very existence of the positions comprising it, Jeff. I envision party conventions at which some individuals would run for shadow posts on platforms of abolishing the positions and their respective agencies entirely, while others would run against them on more limited reform agendas. Leading to a healthy debate of ideas, and a chance to see how various perspectives play with the public at large.

I agree with you that some form of organized libertarian resistance is desirable, and that this calls for libertarian institutions, despite the inherent problems of institutions*. But I’m not sure experience in institutions is a plus. While you may be right that it can help one develop a better ear for recognizing bullshit, it may also produce a greater tendency to take bullshit for granted and consider it normal, or even natural and healthy.

Within these institutions (and outside them as well), I think the more people who refuse to compromise in demanding freedom, the better for the cause of freedom. They will help tilt the playing field toward pro-freedom outcomes. L. Neil Smith had an essay called “Lever Action” with some good thoughts on this. History suggests there won’t be any shortage of people advocating compromise – the challenge is not how to get more radical libertarians to compromise, but how to get more compromisers to become uncompromising, radical libertarians.

Love & Liberty,

((( starchild )))

*I’ve become gradually more convinced that institutions, not just government per se, are the problem, and that “government is as government does” (i.e. an institution may act in authoritarian ways without calling itself a government or being recognized as such). Roderick has written good material on this kind of thing. While it is possible to have an institution (especially a relatively small, powerless one) that does not act in authoritarian ways, the bigger, older, and more powerful the institution becomes, the more difficult I think it becomes to avoid the tendency toward authoritarianism, along with related government tendencies like bureaucracy, secrecy, legalism, alienation from the people it purports to serve, taking on a life of its own at odds with the purpose for which it was intended, speaking bullshit, etc.


On Dec 11, 2020, at 11:33 AM, J Olson jlolson53@gmail.com [LeftLibertarian2] wrote:

Well, one obvious problem is the basic unwillingness of libertarians to “shadow” government positions they oppose.

But I think your basic notion - we should have some organized methods for dealing with sociopolitical reality - is a good one. Some form of libertarian “resistance” - and I mean a serious organization that wields real political power - seems advisable. That organization would probably need to include relatively liberty-loving “enlightened” non-libertarians to have real power… I can’t see haters of non-libertarians such as Dan buying into that scheme. It’s always an issue of compromising between reality and idealism for we libertarians. One reason, I suspect, that many libertarians are woefully ignorant of the state of corporate-govenment propaganda and Big Lies: the idea of mass-deception does not play well in their idealistic heavily abstract-thinking minds that eschew practical reality.

I suspect more practical-minded reality-astute libertarians hail from business-oriented lives which fairly thoroughly educate them in the reality of deception and learning to recognize deception. I couldn’t have run a successful business without having an acute ear for bullshit which many libertarians seem to lack. Thus they can’t accept the notion that they’re being lied to (especially now) on a constant and massive basis. You learn to recognize the patterns of bullshit when you’ve run a business for a few decades.

On Fri, Dec 11, 2020 at 2:13 AM Starchild sfdreamer@earthlink.net [LeftLibertarian2] LeftLibertarian2@yahoogroups.com wrote:

I often notice libertarians, including sometimes myself, getting sucked into left/right, liberal/conservative, Democrat/Republican debates like this. Given that the left/right debate and its power players are what most of the media are usually discussing it’s an easy habit to fall into, but I sometimes wonder how much it may be hurting our cause…

Libertarianism seeks a paradigm shift, in Nolan Chart terms, of getting people to look at up versus down, libertarian vs. authoritarian, rather than left vs. right. To the extent libertarians fail to talk this up but instead discuss mainstream politics through the lens of the established left/right paradigm, are we reinforcing that paradigm rather than getting people to rethink it? Playing into the public’s sick infatuation with power and those who hold it?

On the LeftLibertarian list we are essentially talking among ourselves, so to speak, so it’s perhaps reasonable to ask whether it matters here. Do habits of online argument risk becoming ingrained into more concrete action such as actually voting for Democrats or Republicans over Libertarians, or even actual belief? If one starts out as a supporter of X, but spends most of one’s time/energy arguing the case for A against B, or vice-versa, does this have a tendency to make one into a de facto combatant primarily acting in service of whichever “lesser evil” one is customarily arguing for?

One idea I’ve proposed for the Libertarian Party (not that I’m the first to think of it) is for the LP to create a shadow cabinet of individuals (preferably elected by delegates at convention) to fill the roles of Attorney General, Defense Secretary, Health and Human Services Secretary, Secretary of Labor, and so on. Maybe even shadow roles like “coronavirus advisor” or “special prosecutor”. Each member of the shadow cabinet could then appoint titled assistants, advisors, and so on, with the goal of these little offices being to follow the actions and statements of their counterparts holding actual public office and do whatever they could in these roles to push their way into the media spotlight and inject the libertarian alternative into the news of the day involving their respective areas of concern.

Among other benefits, it strikes me that the existence of such shadow officials could provide an angle that libertarians could use to make libertarianism relevant to discussions of current affairs and the doings of officials. E.g., “Yeah, I heard about Bill Barr saying _________ today, but shadow Libertarian attorney general Christina Walsh has a better plan…”

Do you think this would help Libertarians and libertarianism avoid getting sidelined in discussions as their defenders are sucked into siding with one half or the other of the conventional political spectrum? Do you even see people getting sucked into taking sides in the left vs. right conflict as a problem for our movement? If so, any other thoughts/ideas on combating it?

Love & Liberty,

((( starchild )))


On Dec 10, 2020, at 1:04 PM, J Olson jlolson53@gmail.com [LeftLibertarian2] wrote:

Well, your post, as always, illustrates my point, Dan… Yes, there are negative things (and in toto, surely more), but BALANCED/IMPARTIAL analysis is not going on in your posts. I’ve never seen you acknowledge anything positive about people you don’t like - even when they clearly have positive attributes. I mean, NEVER. Ron Paul is a racist, Jesse Ventura supports a minimum wage, and Tucker’s against free borders. Nothing else matters, apparently. In that way, you’re totally “all or none” Juanian in your perspective.

On Thu, Dec 10, 2020 at 2:37 PM Dan TheBookMan danust2012@gmail.com [LeftLibertarian2] LeftLibertarian2@yahoogroups.com wrote:

I guess Prohibition, the Cold War, the War on Drugs, the War on Crime, and the War on Terror were all minor affairs that didn’t erode any liberties much less grow an authoritarian police/carceral state. All that stuff happened in 2020 and the Republicans never supported any of it, right?

And Noem seems to prefer keeping that Drug War going strong. You just plain ignore that again and again because she says stuff you like in the pandemic.

Regarding Trump on the 2nd Amendment, of course you’re not aware of his bump stock ban. That’s so 2019 (though proposed by Trump in 2018). You probably aren’t aware he wanted to raise the age limit on purchasing guns too.

Carlson opposes actual free market policies too, since he’s against free trade. Despite his long time association with the libertarian movement, he seems to have not learned much about what would actually constitute a free market. Nor did he learn about his restraint of trade tends to benefit certain big corporations at the expense of others but also at the expense of everyone else.

On Dec 10, 2020, at 11:38 AM, J Olson jlolson53@gmail.com [LeftLibertarian2] LeftLibertarian2@yahoogroups.com wrote:

The best thing I can say about “conservative values” - and it’s no small thing - is that conservative governors and officials have been FAR more liberty-oriented in dealing with the biggest push for tyranny in American history - that is, the response to the Scamdemic. Just compare the record of Gruesome Newsome or Governor “Godfather” Cuomo to Kristi Noem or other conservative governors. It’s huge.

Democrats are now all-in for authoritarianism. The same can’t be said for Republicans… Of course, favorably comparing anyone to Democrats isn’t saying much.

I’m not aware of Trump being opposed to the 2nd Amendment, and during this manufactured crisis he has been fairly reserved in exercising federal power - said restraint I don’t see happening IF Biden assumes power.

Conservatives also generally oppose coercive aspects of the identity politics as well as the Propaganda Press, to their great credit. Conservatives like Tucker Carlson also oppose Corporatocracy/Elitism, which the Left/Democrats embrace - and libertarians often defend as “free market” (as espoused in Reason magazine, anyway). Conservatives are rightly skeptical of the Climate Change Hoax and the horrendously authoritarian Green New Deal. Conservatives tend to stand up for vaccine rights (the right to refuse them). Conservatives generally support free speech.

Today’s “liberals,” on the other hand, hate free speech, love the Corporatocracy and Agenda 21/Green New Deal/Great Reset, self-medicate with propaganda from CNN, et al, and just generally worship all forms of authoritarianism.

So there’s no contest between so-called “liberals” and “conservatives” these days, in my view… Conservatives don’t match up well with libertarians, obviously, though conservatives seem more skeptical of the PP and Elitism than many libertarians (Reason recently had a piece defending compulsory vaccinations???).

Right now, I say “thank God” for conservatives, because they’re the only ones who are standing up at all to the tsunami of tyranny drowning us. Believing in God/Jesus may be irrational, but as I discuss in my book, it beats worshipping Bill Gates, Fauci, the PP, and the Technocratic Elite. Since religionists already have a god, they don’t need to worship the State. That’s one good thing, anyhow.

On Wed, Dec 9, 2020 at 11:49 PM Dan TheBookMan danust2012@gmail.com [LeftLibertarian2] LeftLibertarian2@yahoogroups.com wrote:

So what remains of “conservative values,” at least the ones they claim to have, after Trump?

Not limited government, obviously. They’ve spent the last 4 years undermining the legitimacy of every restraint on the executive’s power.

Not constitutional government or even state sovereignty, clearly. There are 17 red states currently suing other states for not voting the way they want.

Not gun rights. Trump has been a more anti-gun president than Obama.

Not fiscal responsibility. Under a Republican Senate and White House the debt and deficit have absolutely exploded.

Not free trade or free markets. “The free market has been sorting it out and America has been losing.” - Mike Pence. Trump’s asinine trade wars speak for themselves. And if they don’t then Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders’ echoing of Trump’s rhetoric should tell you the tale.

Not freedom of religion. Muslim Ban.

Not even neoconservatism. Trump has replaced a foreign policy of evangelical imperialism with one of his own personal grudges, aggrandizement, and barbarity. And that includes spitting in the faces, repeatedly, of US allies. Not for any strategic reason but because they make Trump feel insulted.

As best I can tell, the only claimed conservative values that have survived this administration are opposition to abortion rights and and utterly obsequious devotion to the Israeli apartheid state.

Of course there are other de facto conservative values like nativism, Islamophobia, anti-LGBT bigotry, and anti-Blackness that are alive and well, but I’m talking specifically about values that they themselves claim.

How do these people ever open their mouths about any of this stuff again?


I mean the conservatives viewing themselves as for smaller government, markets, and freedom.

Posted by: J Olson jlolson53@gmail.com
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