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Category Archives: Libertarianism

Tyler Cowen on "State Capacity Libertarianism" I: Is it the Wave of the "Smart" Libertarian Future? – Reason

Posted: January 18, 2020 at 11:19 am

In a much-discussed recent blog post, economist Tyler Cowen advocates what he calls "state capacity libertarianism" (which I will call "SCL" for short). He makes two claims: that "state capacity libertarianism" is the view that "the smart classical liberals and libertarians" are already moving towards even as traditional libertarianism is in decline, and that SCL is the right world-view for libertarians to adopt.

Tyler's mini-manifesto has already attracted insightful responses from David Henderson, John McGinnis, Vincent Geloso and Alex Salter, Nick Gillespie, Henry Olsen of the Washington Post, and John Cochrane. But I think there is more to be said.

In particular, it's important to emphasize that Tyler's normative argument is distinct from his positive claim about what libertarians are actually doing. One can be right even if the other is wrong.

Although I'm a big fan of Tyler's work, I am skeptical about both the normative and the positive aspects of his case for SCL. This post takes up the positive issue. I will cover the normative one in a subsequent piece.

Here's Tyler's positive analysis of where libertarians have been headed over the last few years:

Having tracked the libertarian "movement" for much of my life, I believe it is now pretty much hollowed out, at least in terms of flow. One branch split off into Ron Paul-ism and less savory alt right directions, and another, more establishment branch remains out there in force but not really commanding new adherents. For another, smart people are on the internet, and the internet seems to encourage synthetic and eclectic views, at least among the smart and curious. Unlike the mass culture of the 1970s, it does not tend to breed "capital L Libertarianism." On top of all that, the out-migration from narrowly libertarian views has been severe, most of all from educated women.

Along the way, I believe the smart classical liberals and libertarians have, as if guided by an invisible hand, evolved into a view that I dub with the entirely non-sticky name of State Capacity Libertarianism."

Tyler's definition of state capacity libertarianism is not a simple one. But, in so far as it differs from previous versions of libertarianism, largely boils down to a focus on expanding and improving the quality of government, including performing at least some substantial range of functions that most libertarians have traditionally argued should be left to the private sector.

Both the claim that there is an outmigration from libertarianism and the claim that "smart" libertarians are turning towards SCL strike me as wrong, or at least unsupported by the available evidence. Here's why:

I. Is there an Outmigration from Libertarianism?

Has libertarianism experienced a large outmigration of "alt right directions?" We can certainly find examples of notorious alt rightists who used to be (or at least used to claim to be) libertarians. But none of them were actually at all prominent within the libertarian movement, and there is no indication they are a large group of people (even relative to the total number of libertarians out there).

It is also fair to point out that there have long been some libertarian-leaning people who are sympathetic to various of right-wing nationalism and have tried to make alliances in that quarter. But this is not a new problem, and such people have long been condemned by the majority of the libertarian intellectual community. The issue actually came to public prominence in 2008 and 2012 during the controversy over Ron Paul's 1990s racist newsletters, at which time numerous prominent libertarians condemned them.

The genuinely prominent defectors from libertarianism in recent years, have actually gone not to the right, but to the center and left. The most notable are probably Jerry Taylor, Will Wilkinson, and some of their associates at the Niskanen Center. I took issue with Taylor's rejection of "ideology" here, and Wilkinson's views on democracy and libertarianism here and here. Taylor and Wilkinson are important figures, and we should take their critiques of libertarianism seriously (as I have tried to do). But, so far at least, their shift has not triggered a more general exodus from libertarianism.

Various measures of the number of libertarian-leaning voters in the general public show that their numbers are roughly the same as they were 15-20 years ago (somewhere between 8 and 20 percent, depending on which measures you use). The number of self-conscious, rigorously consistent libertarians is surely much smaller. But the same can be said for adherents of other ideologies. Many studies show that most voters don't take a carefully consistent and rigorous approach to political ideology, and often don't even understand the basics of those world-views.

I don't know of a good measure of the number of libertarians in the intellectual word, such as in academia or policy analysis. Quantitative studies of academic ideology (at least those I am familiar with) fail to differentiate libertarians from other non-left scholars. But my admittedly anecdotal impression is that the percentage is at least as high as a decade or two ago, and perhaps modestly higher. In my own academic field (law), there are more libertarians now than when I started my career in 2003.

Finally, I see no evidence that there has been a "severe" outmigration by "highly educated women." There is no doubt that self-identified libertarians are disproportionately male, and this is a problem for the movement (by contrast libertarians are much more racially and ethnically diverse than many think). But this is not a new problem, and has not gotten worse in recent years than it was before.

If anything, the percentage of women among younger libertarian intellectuals strikes me as higher than that in my own generation and those that came before. This is another point on which we lack systematic data, so I could be wrong. But the percentage of women in groups such as Students For Liberty (I have spoken at several of their conferences) is much higher than that in libertarian groups I saw when I was a student in the 1990s. Ditto for the percentage of women among younger libertarian academics in law, economics, and political science (the fields I am most familiar with).

It's also worth noting that virtually all the prominent defectors from libertarianism in recent years have been men, not women (Taylor and Wilkinson are, again, notable examples). Though, in fairness, that's in substantial part because there were more men in the initial population.

Perhaps Tyler's claim of an exodus can be defended on the ground that it only applies to "narrow" libertarianism, as he puts it. Much depends on what counts, as "narrow." But if that term means categorically rejecting all government intervention beyond the most strictly defined minimal state or endorsing absolute property rights that can never be overcome by any other considerations, then most libertarian thinkers already rejected those views a decade or two ago. That was certainly true of nearly all who were at that time prominent in the academic and intellectual worlds. Perhaps even more have rejected that position since then. But if so, it's not a major trend.

It is, I think, more useful to define libertarianism as the ideology that has a very strong presumption against government intervention in both the "economic" and "social" spheres, and therefore rejects a very high percentage of the activities of modern states. By that definition, there has been no major exodus to speak of.

Thus, Tyler is, I think, wrong to claim that there has been a substantial exodus from libertarianism in recent years. That does not mean libertarians can afford to rest on our (very modest) laurels. Far from it. After all, it is also clear there has been little, if any, significant expansion of the libertarian movement in that time. Our position has also weakened because of the rise of nationalism on the right and "democratic socialism" on the left, both of which are deeply inimical to libertarianism. Even if the number of libertarians has not declined, we face more hostility from adherents of other ideologies than was the case 10-20 years ago.

A group that was a small minority to begin with needs to more than just maintain its position. It badly needs growth. On that point, I very much agree with Nick Gillespie's response to Tyler's post.

II. Are "Smart" Libertarians Adopting SCL?

What of Tyler's claim that "the smart classical liberals and libertarians" have moved towards SCL? A lot here turns on who qualifies as "smart." If it means those who have the highest IQ or other forms of raw intellectual ability, then we don't have the evidence we need to figure out the answer. Who knows whether the libertarian intellectuals who agree with Tyler's position are smarterin this sensethan those who don't?

It may be more productive to interpret "smart" as referring to the most prominent and successful libertarian thinkers. The quality and reach of thinkers' ideas surely matters more than how high their IQs are.

Consider those American libertarian thinkers whose work has had the biggest mainstream impact over the last decade, as measured by both public and academic attention. The three cases that most stand out are Jason Brennan's work on democratic theory and related issues, Bryan Caplan's work on education and immigration, and Deirdre McCloskey's series of books on the nature and history of liberalism. Little if any of their work focuses on enhancing state capacity. To the contrary, all three emphasize the case for limiting and constraining government power, albeit in quite different ways.

The same is true for nearly all the most notable recent libertarian scholarship in my own field: law. Here too, state capacity is mostly notable by its absence. My impression is that the same is true of recently successful libertarian-leaning scholars in economics, philosophy, and political theory, such as John Cochrane, Casey Mulligan, Michael Huemer, and John Tomasi, among others. As David Henderson points out in his response to Tyler, state capacity is also largely absent from the recent research agendas of the most prominent and influential libertarian think tanks and publications, such as the Cato Institute, the Mercatus Center, and Reason.

With the important exception of Tyler himself, I am hard-pressed to name any prominent libertarian thinker who has found success in recent years by focusing on state capacity. The most plausible exception that comes to my mind is Brink Lindsey, who unlike many of his Niskanen Center colleagues, might still be considered a libertarian, at least in some important respects. His excellent and widely discussed 2017 book, The Captured Economy (coauthored with Steve Teles, who is not a libertarian), does indeed advocate a number of state capacity-focused reforms, which are combined with a more traditional libertarian emphasis on deregulation of licensing and zoning (I assessed the book's arguments here and here). I am not at all sure Lindsey would embrace the SCL label. But he may be the closest thing to an example of the phenomenon of "smart" libertarians moving in an SCL direction.

While I follow libertarian intellectual developments closely and know many people in the movement, I have to admit that Tyler knows more. Perhaps he can point to notable examples of libertarian SCL-ers whom I have missed. I would be happy to post any response to my argument that he cares to make. For the moment, however, the available evidence suggests that there is no significant outmigration from libertarianism, and that very few "smart" libertarians are adopting an SCL perspective.

The fact that SCL seems to have very few adherentseven by comparison with conventional libertarianismdoesn't mean SCL is wrong. Many, perhaps most, great ideas start out with very few supporters. In my next post on this issue, I will take up the question of whether libertarians should embrace SCL, regardless of whether any significant number have done so already.

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Tyler Cowen on "State Capacity Libertarianism" I: Is it the Wave of the "Smart" Libertarian Future? - Reason

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A Conversation with a Libertarian Observed | Mark Shea – Patheos

Posted: at 11:19 am

Heres some of a conversation that happened in my comboxes recently, illustrating what I believe to be one of the core failings of Libertarianism: its essential narcissism.

Reader 1: Why not vote Libertarian? They dont have a clear position on abortion, but wont fund PP, and also oppose the death penalty.

Reader 2: Libertarians tend to be amoral, which is better than immoral, and favor the powerful which can lead to dehumanizing the vulnerable.

Reader 1: I understand your concerns, and this America Magazine writer can answer them here.

Reader 2: The author suggests that Libertarians can learn from and be checked by good will adherence to CST, which I believe is true for all political systems. The problem is that subsidiarity, while always necessary in practice, is always woefully inadequate beyond a very small community. Those I call casserole Christians believe their small and subjective acts of charity, however noble and well intended, will resolve the massive social inequalities and cycles of poverty we face in the US. Subsidiarity can work well in tandem with larger governmental systems of care that should be focused on the common good, but cant replace them. One example in Massachusetts, church-sponsored Take and Eat ministries work in tandem with state/federally funded Meals on Wheels programs to provide weekend meals for the elderly and those with disabilities. Wonderful concept and practice as a supplemental effort, but beyond that is inadequate. And my parish struggles even to find the funding and volunteers to fulfill our once every 6 week commitment.

The notion that a combination of libertarian neutrality and voluntary neighborliness will inspire our consciences to provide for the poor died with the wild west.

Any reasonable assessment of the real world would have to conclude that Reader 2 is simply right about this. Before Social Security, 50% of seniors were poor. Blue states do vastly better economically than red ones do and, what is more, blue states, by their contributions to the federal budget, keep afloat the social programs upon which the poor in red states depend to keep body and soul together. Cultures full of the agitprop about how money will trickle down and spontaneously generous Libertarians will supply what the state need not supply have a name: poverty-stricken.

But Libertarianism is founded on a couple of crippling lies. One of the greatest of these is that property rights trump the right to live. In some extreme cases such as Murray Rothbard, the insanity is so deep that even the claim of a child to deserve care of its parents is denied since the child cannot pay for these goods and services. But even if a Libertarian is not quite that demented, Libertarianism insists that all help given somebody outside the immediate circle of family is charity. That is the other and core falsehood. Why?

Because much of the help we are expected to give, according to the Churchs teaching, is not charity, but justice.

The rich man was not damned because he did not give Lazarus charity, but because he denied him justice. The priest and the Levite were not condemned, nor the Good Samaritan commended, because they did not and the Samaritan did give the beaten man charity, but because they did not (and the Samaritan did) give him justice.

Justice pertains to what is owed. We owe our neighbor his life if he needs saving and we have the power to do it. You arent giving charity when you find somebody lying in a pool of blood and call 911 or find him hungry and give him something to eat. You are giving them simple justice. If you walk past them and do nothing, you are not denying them charity that you didnt owe them. You are being a sinner in grave danger of the fires of hellbecause you selfishly denied what you owed them in justice. And if the best way to get that person help involves food and shelter paid for by the state, somebody who cares about the person in need cares about them getting food and shelter, not about getting the credit for helping them. But Libertarianism has a very different agenda. To wit:

Reader 1: Libertarians dont necessarily believe that government has no place in anything, but rather than its involved in much more than it needs to be. The states duty is to protect the weak from the strong. That does not include mandating a minimum wage that could kill businesses who cant afford it, nor does it include forcing people to pay income tax on the threat of jail. I dont know if youve heard of Andrew Yang, but he actually has better alternatives to these things.

Translation: Im theoretically for the weak and vulnerable being protected against the the strong and powerful, but I dont want to actually pay for it, or do anything about it, or think about it.

Libertarianism is the teenage fantasy that I will be so super-generous that the state will wither awayone of the whimsical notions that Libertarian fantasists share with Communist fantasists. In reality, Libertarianism is the ideology committed to the use of the state against the weak by the strong. It doesnt really want the state to wither away. It wants it to protect the rich from the poor and the powerful from the weak. But that is not the function of the state. The function of the state is to ensure justice. And since justice means treating equals equally and unequals unequally, it is perfectly right and fitting for the state to obey the preferential option for the poor since they have no defender while the rich and powerful have tons of money and armies of lawyers.

Note the rhetorical feint to leftists such as yourself. Reader 2 has not used that term as a self-descriptor. Libertarian Reader 1 chose to do so in order to dismiss the Churchs teaching on the right to a living wage as leftism. Thats because, contrary to his claim, the real and only function of the state for Libertarians is to protect the rich and powerful from the cry of the poor for a just wage. Curiously, the refusal to pay workers a just wage is one of four sins that cry to heaven for vengeance.

Reader 2 to Reader 1: I support a living wage because Im Catholic, kiddo. You can start lecturing me after you earn your first paycheck.

Reader 2 returns the leftist serve with a hard return volley that Libertarian Reader 1 is in no way prepared for, because Reader 1 gets his thinking, not from the teaching of the Magisterium, but from the bits and pieces cannibalized from it by Libertarians. The reply is simple: a living wage is not charity, it is justice. And it is the right and proper duty of the state to ensure justice.

But I digress. Here is where Libertarian Reader 1 gets down to the essential narcissism of the Libertarianand is rightly defeated in clean combat by Catholic Reader 2:

Reader 1 to Reader 2: And if you seriously think libertarians are that selfish, google libertarian disaster relief. Libertarianism isnt about being selfish, its about making sure government isnt your mother or babysitter.

You know, being this young, I should be as left-wing as you, but Im not. You cannot force people to be charitable. That is wrong. That is what government does.

Reader 2 to Reader 1:My point is that being young, you likely havent had the opportunity to experience the hardships people face. There is that no evidence that corporate America or even average citizens would band together to voluntarily provide sustainable systems of care for the working poor, the elderly, the disabled, and in fact much evidence to show that the United States under trump is motivated primarily by greed and self preservation.

No, you cant force charity, which is why basic human needs should not be dependent on charitable whims, but on equitable and just laws and systems of care.

You might benefit from watching this:

Note that the sole concern of Libertarian Reader 1 is not with those in need of help, but with himself. Hes not interested in the question of whether Libertarian charity actually provides sufficient help to those in need, only that Libertarians get the credit for being charitable. Does a family face a choice between living in a tent or getting treatment for their 4 year old with leukemia? The one and only thing that matters is not the family or their need being met, but whether Reader 1 gets the warm fuzzy feeling of being charitable for throwing five bucks in their GoFundMe set up to raise $300,000 (and currently standing at $230).

This is the essential evil of Libertarianism. Because it denies any claim of justice and insists that anything beyond helping ones own family and a small circle of friends is charity it teaches its adherents to take a completely narcissistic view of what we owe to others. Rather than allow a nickel to be taken from his paycheck by the state, the allegedly generous Libertarian would rather make a poor mans family starve to death or freeze in his car than have a system where the state insures universal health carebecause it is not the poor man but the power and vanity of the Libertarian that is all that matters. The Libertarian gets to decide life and death for the poor he deems deserving or undeserving. The Libertarians only real interest is in getting to take credit for his generosity, not in whether Lazarus gets the help he needs.

Libertarianism is essentially narcissistic. It offers nothing good that Catholic teaching does not already offer while it distorts and denies nearly all Catholic teaching about the Common Good and Solidarity. Skip it and stick with Catholic Social Teaching.

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A Conversation with a Libertarian Observed | Mark Shea - Patheos

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The Evolving Libertarianism of Neil Peart – National Review

Posted: at 11:19 am

Rush drummer Neil Peart performs during a sold-out show at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev., July 17, 2004.(Ethan Miller/Reuters)

Like every true rock fan I was saddened to hear of the passing of Neil Peart, the lyricist and virtuoso drummer for the prog group Rush. We all love the bands key albums, the handful culminating in 1981s Moving Pictures, and we inevitably have some opinions about the others too. I absolutely loved their 2007 effort Snakes and Arrows, for example, and I cant stand the really synth-heavy stuff they did in the mid and late 80s. (Before anyone asks, in my definition that includes Power Windows but not Signals.)

We on the right, of course, have a special debt to Peart for being the rare entertainer to espouse political beliefs other than lefty ones. The incredible first side of 2112 is based on Ayn Rands Anthem, and in The Trees, from Hemispheres, Peart makes a point about equality: All trees can be the same height . . . if you cut them all down.

But like a lot of us who had strong libertarian tendencies when we were young, Peart saw his views evolve as he aged. The Larger Bowl (A Pantoum), from the aforementioned Snakes and Arrows, is a heartfelt meditation on the different fortunes and fates human beings find themselves subjected to. And in an interview with Rolling Stone in 2012, Peart identified as a bleeding-heart libertarian rather than the Randian kind:

For me, [the work of Ayn Rand] was an affirmation that its all right to totally believe in something and live for it and not compromise. It was a simple as that. On that 2112 album, again, I was in my early twenties. I was a kid. Now I call myself a bleeding heart libertarian. Because I do believe in the principles of libertarianism as an ideal because Im an idealist. Paul Therouxs definition of a cynic is a disappointed idealist. So as you go through past your twenties, your idealism is going to be disappointed many many times. And so, Ive brought my view and also Ive just realized this libertarianism as I understood it was very good and pure and were all going to be successful and generous to the less fortunate and it was, to me, not dark or cynical. But then I soon saw, of course, the way that it gets twisted by the flaws of humanity. And thats when I evolve now into . . . a bleeding-heart libertarian. Thatll do.

May he rest in peace.

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Why Libertarians Have a Love-hate Relationship With the 10th Amendment – HowStuffWorks

Posted: at 11:19 am


Libertarians just want to get along. They don't want you messing with them, and they won't mess with you. More than anything else, they don't want some suffocating government telling people what they can or cannot do.

That is the heart of the Libertarian Party pitch. Those ideas are neither some crazy everybody-hold-hands socialist dream or some wild-eyed, anarchist, down-with-the-feds manifesto. Libertarians just want everybody to enjoy the liberty to do what they want to do as long as it doesn't infringe on anyone else's rights. And, again, they don't want anybody, especially the federal government, messing with that.

Of course, if life were only that simple.

In their crusade, many Libertarians like every other political party in America, Libertarians don't agree 100 percent on everything point to the 10th Amendment as the constitutional basis for their way of thinking. Added as part of the Bill of Rights in 1789, the 10th Amendment is somewhat striking in its simplicity. It goes like this:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

Of course, if the Constitution were only that simple.

The 10th Amendment, even in those 28 short words, four clauses, three commas and single period, is open to a great deal of interpretation. But let's, for the moment, take it literally: If the Constitution doesn't spell out a certain power or powers to the federal government (the "United States"), those powers belong to the states or the people.

"They [the constitutional framers] didn't want the federal government to be huge," says Honor "Mimi" Robson, the chair of the Libertarian Party of California. "They didn't want the federal government to be involved in the citizens' day-to-day lives."

Some people, both in and out of the Libertarian Party, view the 10th Amendment very narrowly. They contend that many powers that the federal government now claims things represented by, for example, the U.S. Department of Education, or even Supreme Court decisions that allow for things like same-sex marriage throughout the U.S. should not be held by the feds. The U.S. government is infringing on the states' rights to decide how children are taught in their state, for example, or whether same-sex marriage should be allowed. That should be up to the states, they say. Those are states' rights.

Now, you might argue, government is government, whether it's at the state or federal level (or both). And multiple levels of government, some absolutely will argue, is bad.

But most out there understand the need for some government. And government at the state level, close to home, the argument goes, is better than edicts being flung from the feds in Washington. From the Tenth Amendment Center:

People arguably have more control and influence over smaller governmental units. Even if they don't, multiple small power centers make it possible to flee from particularly oppressive jurisdictions and create an environment of "competition" between governments.

Few would suggest that no federal government is needed, either. And, indeed, the Constitution enumerates certain powers solely to the U.S. government, including the ability to tax, to provide for the national defense, to regulate commerce (both within the states and internationally), and to determine who becomes a citizen.

But many Libertarians, and many others, argue that the U.S. government has vastly overstepped those powers enumerated to it and, in doing so, has trampled on the 10th Amendment. The disagreements, inside the Libertarian Party and out of it, are exactly where the line between federal rights and states' rights should be drawn.

"If you look at states' rights as allowing states to do bad things to people to take away their rights, that is absolutely not Libertarian," Robson says. She points to the 1967 Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia, which held that a ban on interracial marriage by the state of Virginia violated the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection Clause. That case provided, in effect, a new enumerated power for the federal government; to protect individuals from states. "States shouldn't be able to say that people who love each other can't get married. Same thing with same-sex marriage.

"I don't believe that that was ever intended to allow states to do bad things to infringe on people's rights just because it's more of a local level," Robson says. "I think that's where some people get kind of confused, in my opinion."

For almost 200 years, the 10th Amendment and its apparently straightforward language was viewed very narrowly. According to the National Constitution Center, when legal questions were raised about the use of some federal power, they didn't center on whether the use of the power was violating someone's rights, but rather if the federal government had the right to use the power in the first place. Was it something granted to the government under the Constitution? If not, it's the states' and the people's.

That has changed, though, in the past several decades as the courts have granted more power to the federal government, powers that are often argued to be implied by the Constitution, if not enumerated. The 10th, now, is regularly rolled out as a defense against an overreaching U.S. government. Some used it as an argument against "Obamacare." Some are citing it as a reason to block President Donald Trump's move to stop a California law declaring it a "sanctuary state."

The struggle, in many ways, is exactly what the writers of the 10th Amendment saw coming. They tried to spell things out. But we're still trying to figure out what they really meant in those 28 simple words.

"I think what we all agree on is that we're looking for a society where there's no government infringement of personal rights. That's what we're looking for," Robson says. She's talking about Libertarians, though she could be speaking for many others. "We want freedom and we want no government coercion, and I believe states can be just as coercive as the federal government when it comes to individual liberties.

"It's the nuances that we aren't quite clear on. To use a train analogy, we're all on this train that's going from point A which is California right now, which is basically socialism to point B or C or X or Y or Z, which is complete non-government intervention, non-government. There's going to be people that get off the train at different places. I'm not going to be on the train all the way to the end, to pure anarchy. But you know what? Right now, we're up on blocks. We're nowhere close. We have to agree on what we agree on and move forward."

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Why Libertarians Have a Love-hate Relationship With the 10th Amendment - HowStuffWorks

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Did Vermin Supreme Win the New Hampshire Libertarian Primary? –

Posted: at 11:19 am

Did Vermin Supreme really just win the New Hampshire Libertarian Partys primary on Saturday, January 11? Yes, he won the state conventions presidential preference poll, but who the New Hampshire delegates actually vote for in the national convention is still up for grabs. Heres what happened.

The Libertarian Party hosts a series of primaries and caucuses where non-binding votes are cast, indicating a state partys preference for its presidential candidate. These preferences are not binding and delegates who are sent to the national convention can vote for whichever candidate they prefer. New Hampshire had the first primary. This self-funded presidential preference primary was actually conducted by mail, with results announced on January 11.

According to the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire (LPNH), ballots were mailed to all members who were eligible to vote at the convention, and their votes had to be received by 5 p.m. on January 10 in order to be counted in the LPNHs annual convention on January 11. Delegates chose their first and second choices and used approval voting for other candidates. The results were announced at the annual convention.

As the LPNH website states: The results of this Presidential Preference Primary will not bind 2020 LP Convention delegate votes in any way, it will inform delegates of the bodys preferences. LP National Bylaws prohibit the binding of delegate votes to a choice.

So the voting of Vermin Supreme was a statement of preference, but it does not bind the delegates when they vote at the national convention on May 21-25, 2020 in Austin, Texas.

The Libertarian Party of New Hampshire announced the results on January 11.

According to the partys announcement, 44 votes were cast out of 110 eligible primary voters. Of those, 26 voted for Vermin Supreme. The next highest was 22 voting for Kim Ruff. Jo Jorgensen got 17 votes, Dan Taxation is Theft Behrman got 13. Jacob Hornberger got 9, NOTA got 13 (which stands for None of the Above), Sam Robb got 8 votes, Arvin Vohra got 6, Mark Whitney got 6, Lincoln Chafee got 4, and then 16 got under 10 percent of the votes and werent listed.

The national delegates who will ultimately decide who receives New Hampshires vote were also chosen.

One of the delegates, Caleb Dyer, emphasized on Facebook that the preference poll has no bearing on how many of New Hampshires delegates will support any given candidate.

Of course, news spread fast on social media about Vermin Supreme winning the nomination in New Hampshire. Here are some things that people have had to say about it.

You can even update your Facebook profile picture to show that you support Vermin for the Libertarian nomination.

Caleb Riker had a long comment about the win. He said, in part: Oh no, Vermin Supreme is going to make the Libertarian Party a joke! Weve been taken so seriously for so long, and we cant throw it all away. For decades, democrats and republicans, on critical matters of policy have stopped to say, Wait, lets ask the libertarians. Were so seriously considered that were constantly invited to presidential debates, and given hours of free airtime by the unbiased media giants. I remember how they asked Gary Johnson, How would you have reacted to the crisis in Aleppo, Syria? knowing that to phrase it otherwise would be tantamount to a hit, and respecting both his and Governor Bill Welds significantly greater executive experience than their competitors We cant tarnish the respectable politics with promises of ponies, satire that means nothing when our government doesnt throw money away on meaningless endeavors meant to buy the votes of the masses. We cant allow him to lampoon a government that doesnt make empty promises to classes theyve rendered dependent, or offer all the wars that you can eat

You can see his full comment below.

Meanwhile, Robert J. Bentley of The Liberty Herald had a different take. He wrote, in part: This is exactly what is wrong with our party. The Libertarians in this country dont take winning elections seriously and instead tout this nonsense that they are an inclusive party. Yes, they are inclusive and this is what we get. We get the ridiculousness that comes with Supreme and when the national cameras are pointed at us we become the laughing stock of national politics. Members of the Libertarian Party, particularly in New Hampshire, should be ashamed of themselves.

Here are some more comments on social media about Vermin Supremes win.

The next primaries and caucuses for the Libertarian Party will be on the following dates:

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Did Vermin Supreme Win the New Hampshire Libertarian Primary? -

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Last of the Hollywood libertarians: why the outrage over Vince Vaughn’s handshake with Trump? – The Telegraph

Posted: at 11:19 am

Another year, another upset after a major Hollywood star was spotted socialising with President Trump and his wife Melania.

Butpap shots of, say, Ellen Degeneres cosying up to George W Bush or Kanye West donning a MAGA cap are doubly powerful because the political allegiances of such celebrities are usually kept fairly quiet. However, that Vince Vaughn should be sympathetic to the right shouldn't come as a massive surprise.

The actor, who reached the peak of his powers in the Noughties with goofball romcoms such as Wedding Crashers and The Break-Up (during which, ironically,he met his most famous A-lister former beau Jennifer Aniston), has long used his profile to discuss his libertarian views on gun control, drugs and taxes.

On Monday night, Twitter was sent a-flutter after photographs and video footage showed Vaughn enthusiastically catching up with President Trump and the First Lady at a college football game in New Orleans. Vaughnwas spotted shaking hands and briefly sitting next to the Trumps to engage in an animated conversation, before carrying on with his evening.

When video taken byUS journalist Timothy Burke made its way to Twitter, with thecaption, "I'm very sorry to have to share this video with you. All of it, every part of it", it swiftly gained thousands of views and such a polarised response it was difficult to know who was serious, who was mocking, and which side of the spectrum those involved occupied.

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Elizabeth Warrens evasions and other commentary – New York Post

Posted: at 11:19 am

Eye on 2020: Warrens Evasions

The New York Times editorial boards interview last month with Elizabeth Warren leaves the reader with one nagging conclusion, quips Commentarys Noah Rothman: She doesnt think youre very bright. Among many examples: She snapped at Times editors for asking how shed get her plans through Congress, asking if they want [to] just give up? and telling one questioner to give me a break. And she gave an embarrassingly tautological response when asked how shed do away with the Electoral College. Warren clearly thinks interviewers and readers might not be sharp enough to notice her evasions. If the members of the Times board have some measure of self-respect, theyll respond to her obvious loathing for their intelligence by refusing to endorse her.

Schools beat: The Principle Booker Stuck With

Youve got to hand it to Sen. Cory Booker, cheers schools expert Marcus A. Winters at The Wall Street Journal. The former mayor of Newark, NJ, refused to be bullied when it comes to charter schools. That earned him the ire of teachers unions and contributed to the failure of his presidential candidacy. It didnt matter that Newarks citywide graduation rate rose to 77 percent in 2018 thanks to his reforms. In a new study for the Manhattan Institute, Winters found that attending a Newark charter school that participates in the citys common enrollment system leads to large improvements in math and reading scores. Newarks charters are among the most extensive and inventive in the nation, enrolling about a third of the citys roughly 55,000 public-school students. Sadly, the current mayor, Ras Baraka, has called for halting or even reversing the expansion of the citys charters.

Libertarian: Abandoning Amash

FreedomWorks, an influential libertarian/conservative advocacy group, backed ex-Republican Rep. Justin Amash in each of his first eight years in Congress. Yet, reports Reasons Matt Welch, the group doesnt have any plans to help him this time around. In 2018, Amash bolted from the libertarian congressional Freedom Caucus, which he co-founded, and from the Republican Party, largely because he supported impeaching President Trump. That triggered an epidemic of cold shoulders from outfits that used to back him, including the fiscally conservative Club for Growth and the influential DeVos family though hes still the same anti-spending hawk as ever. Which shows, sighs Welch, how advocacy groups commitment to principle is actually party-dependent and pragmatic a flaw that may result in their own future regret.

Culture watch: A Missed Message on Marriage

At National Review, W. Bradford Wilcox and Wendy Wang cite their new research, which shows a split between the way Hollywood portrays marriages and how families there actually live. They note that Marriage Story, about a couple that lands in divorce court, is but the latest from an industry that shies away from depicting stably married families in a positive light. Yet they found that, in the heart of Hollywood, there were virtually no single parents. And in the best neighborhoods in Southern California, fewer than 20% of kids live in single-parent families. Films arent sending messages about the realities of modern-day marriage and the better outcomes for kids in two-parent families. As a result, many Americans dont know the new truth: Most marriages end up happily ever after, even in Hollywood.

Energy desk: Solar Plants Wasted Billion

Back in 2011, SolarReserve, the $1 billion Crescent Dunes, was to be the biggest solar-plant project of its kind, and it looked like the future of renewable power. Now, report Bloombergs Chris Martin and Nic Querolo, SolarReserve is mired in litigation and accusations of mismanagement at Crescent Dunes, where taxpayers remain on the hook for $737 million in loan guarantees. And late last year, Crescent Dunes lost its only customer, NV Energy Inc. The plant is dead, snarks the manager of a nearby hotel. Real pretty, though. You can see it for miles. Expect it to become a Trump administration talking point if the White House proposes to eliminate federal subsidies for renewable power.

Compiled by The Post Editorial Board

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Elizabeth Warrens evasions and other commentary - New York Post

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State Election Board releases official 2020 voter registration statistics – Claremore Daily Progress

Posted: at 11:19 am

(Oklahoma City) Official Oklahoma voter registration statistics released yesterday show 2,090,107 Oklahomans are registered to vote heading into the 2020 election cycle. Oklahomas official voter registration statistics are counted every year on January 15.

"These statistics continue a decades-long trend of growth for Independents and Republicans as a share of the Oklahoma electorate," said State Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax. "And although they are relatively small in overall numbers, Libertarians now have more than 11,000 voters for the first time in state history."

The largest number of Oklahoma's voters are Republicans, who make up more than 48.3% of registered voters. Two years ago, Republicans accounted for 46.8% of registered voters.

Democrats are the second-largest party at 35.3% of registered voters, down from 38.2% in January 2018. Democrats had long been the largest political party in Oklahoma, but were passed by Republicans in January 2015.

Independents, or "no party" voters, are now 15.9% of Oklahoma voters, up from 14.8% two years ago.

The Libertarian Party, which gained recognition in 2016, now has 11,171 registered voters, more than double the number in January 2018.

Oklahomas registered voters:

JAN. 15, 2020 JAN. 15, 2018

DEMOCRATS 738,256.35.3% 769,772.38.2%

REPUBLICANS 1,008,569.48.3% 942,621.46.7%

LIBERTARIANS 11,171.less than 1% 4,897.less than 1%

INDEPENDENTS 332,111.15.9% 298,867.14.8%

TOTAL 2,090,107 2,016,157


The State Election Board began recording statewide voter registration statistics by party in 1960.


1960 82.0% 17.6% 0.4% N/A

1980 75.8% 22.8% 1.4% N/A

2000* 56.7% 35.0% 8.3% *

2020* 35.3% 48.2% 15.8% *

*Minor parties account for less than 1 percent of voters in Oklahoma.

View voter registration statistics at: Audio is available at:,%202020.mp3.

For more information contact Misha Mohr, Public Information Officer, Oklahoma State Election Board, (405) 522-6624 or

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Liberty and Death – Splice Today

Posted: at 11:19 am

Meeting the warm and wise anarchist law professor Butler Shaffer back in the late-1990s, when I was a young libertarian, was a nice glimpse of the future for me. His complete disillusionment with mainstream politics, even mainstream politics with a superficially libertarian gloss, struck me then as likely the most realistic attitude toward the world, but despite my strong suspicion he was right, I figured Id give optimism a try for another decade or so. Shaffer passed away last month, well after my hopes for mainstream politics had died.

Shaffer, a law professor at Southwestern Law School in L.A., pretty much gave up on voting and politicians several years before I was born, citing his time working on Goldwaters 1964 presidential campaign, which I still tend to think of as one of the more principled campaigns in U.S. history. Like many an eager political activist, Shaffer asked one of his colleagues on the campaign which reforms he expected to be put in place first if their man won the race, to which the colleague replied that all that talk about reforms and policies in a political campaign is just hot air to get the volunteers and voters stirred up, and none of it should be expected to come to fruition.

Not even the Goldwater crowd had high hopes? I realize to many people, that campaign is now remembered mainly for losing, but among free-marketeers, at least, I figured itd be looked back upon as a very noble try. But Shaffer ended up an anarchist, if by that we mean in part someone who looks to private behavior and individual changes of heart for hope instead of elections and political slogans. Oh, and he wanted to abolish government, like all good-hearted people. (A surprising number of sellout libertarians are not onboard with this program, Ive learned during my own long, disillusioning journey.)He wrote, among other things, the bookCalculated Chaos, arguing not merely that government is a bad institution (as one might expect a libertarian to believe) but, more radically, that all institutionseven market-based, scientific, or religious onesshould be expected to engage in selfish, often parasitic, self-perpetuating behavior, requiring us to be skeptical about them. Instead, people are filled with anxiety when things dont fit into the usual rules and categories.

One of his favorite examples was a hippopotamus on the loosein Orange County, California in 1978 after escaping from a zoo. The urgent desire to recapture Bubbles, though shed done no harm, led to her being shot with powerful tranquilizer darts and dying, amidst a media circus. Hippos can be very dangerous, but would it have been so wrong to let Bubbles roam a bit longer, defying the control grid as it were, until she could be more carefully corralledor even allowed to keep roaming if she could be kept away from potential victims?

This was around the same time California was becoming a model for the world, in a bad way, of how to do things like use helicopters to raid hippie compounds that might be engaged in other rules-defying behavior, such as pot-growing. Maybe both the hippo and the hippies should be allowed to do their own thing, as much as was compatible with the safety of neighbors.

Shaffer was a member of the Greatest Generation, though he certainly wouldnt have agreed that that cohort enduring the Depression and World War II were much evidence of greatness. The Boomers also gave us a freedom-lover who passed away in recent weeks, though: drummer and lyricist Neil Peart from Canadian prog rock band Rush. Songs like Subdivisions, about the conformist mindset of the suburbs, are a reminder that although Peart went through an Ayn Rand-influenced libertarian phase, he wasnt interested solely in economic arguments. The deeper battle is psychological, and its fought in narrow-minded high school cliques as much as in formal political debates between authoritarian candidates.

I think the suburbs often get a bad rap and actually provide a pretty good model for orderly liberty, one that in the fairly optimistic and civil late-20th century had room for both private property and creative daydreaming, as I argued in the essay Conservatism for Punks10 years ago. But Im not the one eager to engineer the culture, mainly just a defender of property rights, willing to let the chips fall where they may, willing to let institutions evolve.

Peart worried more, I think, that the masses would get it wrong without some steering, and he gradually moved away from libertarianism toward (as he put it himself) Bleeding Heart Libertarianism, with its fairly casual and mushy acceptance of some level of government, then (as so often happens when people are lured down the BHL road) on to environmentalism and a cautious endorsement (from a Canadian vantage point) of the U.S. Democratic Party. He will be missed regardless.

I honestly dont expect philosophical precision from people who are busy being entertaining, usually a more productive activity than politicking. So Ill also pause to mourn a Gen Xer we lost this month, author Elizabeth Wurtzel. I didnt know her but had more than one mutual acquaintance with this woman wholl likely be remembered for being a high-profile crazy chick, or rather a chronicler of her own depression and anti-depressants use in the bookProzac Nation. However, she also wrote the bookCreatocracy, about the way intellectual property rights shaped Americas whole cultural history of strange, daring, individualistic, andproprietaryideas.

Libertarians are divided on whether property rights should apply to the intellectual (as opposed to the merely physical) realm, butin much the way I have to respect someone in a field like rock n roll for singing about something as unhip as the perils of enforced egalitarianismI was just pleased to see Ivy League liberal hipster Wurtzel writing about something as rational and stodgy, as conservative in a sense, as property rights influence on creative types, acknowledging that economic incentives matter and that good things dont just flow from the governmental center, nor undifferentiated mass movements of non-owners.

Living in the suburbs on Prozac with hippos on the loose may sound like a nightmare to some people, but given the historical alternatives, Im grateful to have lived in an era so cushyand so easily tailored to individual tastes and needsthat those threats were among our biggest worries, and I am grateful this trio of thinkers influenced that era.

Todd Seavey is the author ofLibertarianism for Beginners and is on Twitter at @ToddSeavey.

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Lincoln Chafee on SS Privatization, Drugs, and When Taxation is Theft – The Libertarian Republic

Posted: at 11:19 am

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to talk with Lincoln Chafee about his Presidential run and overall philosophy. Im not sure I have to pass much judgment on how it went, because his words really do speak for themselves.

TLR: This is Gary Doan talking to Lincoln Chafee, former Governor, US senator and Mayor, former Democrat, Republican and Independent. Currently hes a Libertarian lifetime member and the highest profile libertarian seeking the presidential nomination. Thanks for talking with me.

LC: My pleasure, Gary, how you doing?

TLR: Im doing peachy keen. Id like to start off with issues you dont seem to have said much about in previous parties but that animate some sectors of the libertarian base. What is your overall philosophy concerning monetary policy and the Federal Reserve?

LC: Well, Im anti-deficit and all my 30 years in public service have my votes and actions support that. Certainly as a mayor, required to balance a budget Governor, required to balance a budget. As Senator, yes, I voted against all those tax cuts, because I did not see the commensurate cuts in spending. And thats exactly what happened with reduction of our revenue and soaring expenditures on wars and entitlement programs. And then, of course, natural disasters such as Katrina.

TLR: Speaking of entitlements, youve supported privatization of social security in the past. The program recently started paying out more than its taking in and the so-called trust fund is widely forecasted to be depleted in the early to mid 2030s. Do you see any appetite for addressing this crisis from either major party? Or do you think theyll just continue to kick the can down the road until its too late?

LC: One thing I do want to correct. I believe you said that I have in the past supported privatization?

TLR: Yeah?

LC: No, no, thats incorrect. I never did. And I think somebody put that on my Facebook or on Wikipedia, because Ive been asked that question before. And thats, thats inaccurate. I looked at programs where we could make improvements such as raising the age of eligibility, which already is being done means testing other programs, but was never was in favor of privatization.

Okay. To answer your question, do you see any appetite from either party? There is no doubt a demographic tsunami coming with the baby boomers coming into Medicare and Social Security. So, yes, at some point. And we, back when I was in the Senate, President Bush, President George W. Bush, suggested privatization that didnt go anywhere. And at that time, both parties were raising the priority of reforming Social Security, but then it went away.

TLR: Most of the country outside of Joe Biden has come around to supporting the legalization of marijuana. However, do you think our culture is ready for a broader conversation about the legalization of other drugs? Or is that conversation likely to turn away voters?

LC: No, I think the success of the states that have legalized marijuana are going to lead to further discussions on other drugs, particularly plant medicines, and the veterans are leading the way on this. The Iraq veterans and Afghanistan veterans that are coming back, and theyre saying some of these plant medicines do work and they want them want to be legal.

TLR: Regardless of party affiliation, youve been pretty consistently pro trade. What are the problems with Trumps protectionism? And do you see any Democrats running as supportive of free trade principles?

LC: No, I dont see any Democrats running in favor of free trade. And in my brief time in the Democratic Party, it was certainly a third rail to be in favor of free trade, which I was, and I was proud of it. But in particularly in the base, the Democratic base, that is a third rail. And I just believe that in the freedom of the of commerce and the market, lets give the freedom to the markets.

TLR: Um, as governor of Rhode Island, you made certain government grants available to farmers and seafood businesses. As such, do you support the agricultural subsidies Trump is using to offset the negative effects of its trade war on American farmers?

LC: As Governor, those were mostly federal pass-through dollars, they were not state dollars. And no, Ive always been very conservative, if you will, about taxpayer dollars going to certain sectors. And theres all sorts of powerful lobbies out there the sugar lobby, the corn lobby, and and they just get a disproportionate amount of power and federal policys then dictated by that, and Im more conservative about the taxpayer dollars.

TLR: In the 2016 cycle, you were the most anti-war Democrat running. You were the only Republican Senator to vote against the Iraq war. From a libertarian perspective, you seem rock solid on issues. War and peace. Americas foreign policy, however, has been far removed from such a vision for quite some time under both parties. Do you see any hope of a genuine pullback from our oversea adventurism? And what are the most important steps the country could take to get there?

LC: Im very depressed about the mainstream medias role in the escalation of these conflicts. And in even an initiation rather than escalation. We wouldnt be in Iraq if the mainstream media hadnt been part and parcel of it. And as weve talked about my membership in other parties, I have been looking for an anti-war party. And thats why I became a Libertarian. And its going to be enough uphill battle of trying to get these points out to the American people because the mainstream media dont want to hear it. They like these wars there. They wouldnt be happening without the support of the mainstream media.

TLR: You brought up the medias role in some of the warfare state. But when it comes down to it, I mean, who deserves more blame for the modern warfare state modern Presidents or Congress for effectively conceding their power on that front to the Executive?

LC: Oh, theres lots of blame to go around, thats for sure. After the turn of the century here, we had what one European Prime Minister called the lasting peace for our children. Thats before September 11, there was a lasting peace stretching before us. The Soviet Union had disintegrated. We were getting along with all the countries around the world. And then after September 11, you have to, I would put most of the blame on the George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, neocon administration, and then the falling in line by the mainstream media, the falling in line by the Democratic Party and that thats why were in this endless military stranglehold on our country.

TLR: Ive noticed youve talked a lot about deficits. And in Rhode Island, you oversaw an increase in state sales tax while decreasing the state corporate tax. At the federal level, if you could lower some specific form of taxation while raising another form in a revenue neutral way, what would you increase and what would you decrease?

LC: Well, I proposed when I did run in the 2016 cycle. I proposed another high, another tier of tax for the wealthy and that and to be revenue neutral that went to the every penny that was generated from that higher tier tax went to the write-off. The middle class write-off. And it was revenue neutral dollar for dollar and shifted the money from the wealthy to the middle class.

TLR: In the New Hampshire delegates survey last weekend, you came in essentially last place. Why do you think that was? And what is your strategy for getting the support of more delegates moving forward?

LC: Well, Ive been successful in politics by going door to door and standing in front of supermarkets and meeting people. And this is no different. Ive been to the Libertarian meeting in Miami, a meeting in Denver, meeting in New Hampshire, in Nashville, and just continue to get out there and listen and share my thoughts on the direction of the country.

TLR: The winner of that survey was Vermin Supreme. What do you believe would be the effect if it happened? A Vermin Supreme presidential nomination on the Libertarian Party?

LC: Well, I think the American people I mean, in 2016, the Libertarian Party was the third party. And they back even in 2016, after Donald Trump was nominated, and Hillary Clinton was nominated, the American people were looking for an alternative. And the Libertarian Party did the best that theyd ever done in any national election. And they had two candidates that had held elective office. So I think that as Libertarians look at who they want to nominate, theyll probably be looking to the past and seeing what has given them the best success. And what happened in New Hampshire was non binding. But nonetheless, I think when the by the time the Austin convention rolls around, the delegates want to have a serious candidate with, with ideas that are going to appeal broadly appeal, to the American people.

TLR: Ive heard you supported the Patriot Act and the assault weapons ban. Do you regret doing so? And assuming you do what changed your mind on those two issues?

LC: Yes, times do change, and especially on the Second Amendment, and Ive seen it change with all the lies that our government has told us. Weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the Afghanistan papers that came out that said, theres no end in sight. The generals know it. The Pentagon knows it. Yet were still there. There is no hope of success in Afghanistan. And the lies that the government told us about trampling on our fourth amendment that Edward Snowden revealed, proved that our government is untrustworthy. And I do believe that the authors of our constitution wrote the Second Amendment, First Amendment, the Fourth Amendment for times when the people dont trust the government. And legitimately, people across the country have less trust in our government. I see it, more than when I made those votes.

TLR: So do you regret supporting the assault weapons ban?

LC: At that time, it was different. And this time now, where we are now is greater distrust of government. And thats why the authors wrote that second amendment for this distrusted government. Back then I had greater trust in our government. I didnt think theyd lied to us to the extent that they have on weapons of mass destruction, on fourth amendment warrantless wiretapping. And, so these are different times.

TLR: If I had to guess, the average Libertarian Republic reader likely favors Hornberger at this point. Why, in your view, are you a better option? And what are his strengths and weaknesses compared to yours?

LC: Well, Im a new Libertarian, so I know that theres going to be natural apprehension about someone that comes in new to the party. And many of the other candidates running have been very active in the party for a long time. And I respect that. And theres a long path to the convention at the end of May in Austin. And were all putting our ideas out there and Ill be Ive always worked hard for Ive always been out-spent in all my political campaigns but Ive never been outworked, and I dont think this will be any different. And Ill give it my best shot. And I know my strong points for Libertarians are anti-war, anti-deficit, pro-personal liberties, and that I will always tell the truth, and Ill take that to the delegates.

TLR: Regardless of how necessary taxation may be, do you believe that taxation is theft?

LC: Its theft when it goes to an endless war that is counterproductive to American best interests. I certainly believe that. And that is whats happening. And thats the, thats the lions share of our tax dollars right now. Look at the pieces of the pie of the federal budget. Look at that Defense Department. Andty, theyre counterproductive. Theyre not in our best interest, all those dollars going into these wars that dont help our childrens future, in my view.

TLR: So similar to Tulsis answer, um

On a lighter note, do you know what they call a quarter-pounder with cheese in France?

LC: Sorry, Gary?

TLR: Just, you know, light-hearted metric humor. All right. Um, thanks for talking with me. I really appreciate it. And I wish you the best of luck.

LC: Youre very welcome. Good to talk with you.

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