Right Question

Asking the right question is usually more productive than trying to prove the right answer.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Why Do They Hate Us? Libertarians, that is.

A guy could start to get a complex.

First there was this piece in the American Conservative, titled "Marxism of the Right". (Thanks to Mark Coffey at Decision '08 for pointing this one out.) Robert Locke presents an extreme parody of libertarians, defends it by claiming it's what every libertarian secretly believes, and then proceeds to pummel this strawman roundly about the head. For a good laugh, skip down to the last few paragraphs where he pokes fun at his strawman's naivete in not understanding the role of government in securing our rights.

One silly article lampooning the small-government contingent of the GOP's big tent isn't that shocking -- particularly coming in such a conservative rag. Republicans were returned to power last fall, and it's natural there'd be some jockeying between the different wings of the party. We can't do everything at once -- the government was deliberately set up that way.

But now we have this piece at Opinion Journal. It's playfully titled, "Party On! Do Libertarians have more fun?" Perhaps I'm just primed by Locke's piece a couple of weeks ago, but the relentless picture of the selfish, hedonistic b*stard painted in this piece seems rather extreme. Unlike Locke's piece, this one is clearly at least somewhat tongue-in-cheek. Nonetheless, I did a triple-take at the description of the libertarian as "A conservative with an unhealthy preoccupation with sex." I think most Americans given that description would expect a discussion of the religious right. Julia Gorin goes on with a few more descriptions: "A Republican with a wild side." -- "An amoral Republican" -- "Someone who thinks he should get a medal for being home in time for dinner and helping the kids with homework regardless of what the lower part of his anatomy was doing earlier in the day."

I don't want to read too much into what was certainly meant to be humorous (and at times, was), however, she goes on to cite several bloggers with similarly dismissive attitudes towards small-government conservatives.

So, finally, the question is: Is this just jockeying for position with the Big Tent, or could this be the beginning of a rightward lurch that could spell disaster for the GOP in the midterms next year?


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