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In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Monday September 01 2008

Like a number of other libertarians (see the comments on this), I would now like McCain to win, and then drop dead, thereby allowing Ms. Palin to be President.

I like what “Anne C” said:

I was much relieved when he chose Palin as his running mate. Aside from the fact that she’s pro-2nd Amendment and an advocate for state’s rights, she knows energy policy and has proposed real-world, long-term solutions. Something we desperately need.

In addition (and most importantly), she delivers on her promises. While running for governor, she promised to take a pay cut, cut/veto pork spending, fight corruption and stand up to oil companies. From all accounts, she has honored her promises: she put the governor’s jet up on e-Bay and deposited the proceeds back to the treasury, has utilized her veto powers on budget proposals, stood up to her corrupt Republican colleagues, fired incompetent/corrupt officials, took a pay cut, sued the fed. govt on absurd environmental bills, aggressively advocated for drilling in ANWAR and tapping into Alaska’s renewable and non-renewable energy sources. She has a reputation for fighting for what she wants and not backing down.

She’s authentic and I like what I’ve seen so far. Apparently, I’m not alone; she enjoys an approval rating of upwards of 80%. McCain, Biden and Obama can only dream of such numbers.

More to the point, these were promises that you would have wanted her to keep.

But Anne C adds an appropriate cautionary note:

However, I wish people (her campaign especially) would stop harping on the fact that she’s 1) a woman (skirt and red high-heels were a pretty good giveaway), got a baby with Down’s Syndrome, 3) a son in the military. It’s pandering and beneath her. I want to vote for the candidate not the sob story.

And, as much as I like her, I wish some Republicans would stop fawning over her as the Democrats do over Obama. She still has yet to be tested on the national stage. She’s not the second coming, she’s a politician. Remain cautiously optimistic but still skeptical.

Indeed.  But she is amazingly like the heroine of an afternoon movie, or of one of those White House soap operas and presumably such a biopic will materialise.  This is, in other words, one hell of a sob story.  See also what Mark Steyn has to say about her.

… it can’t be in Senator Obama’s interest for the punditocracy to spends its time arguing about whether the Republicans’ vice-presidential pick is “even more” inexperienced than the Democrats’ presidential one.

Meanwhile here in the UK, politics is in stasis.  Most people hate Brown, including many of his own party, who mostly wish he would vanish in a puff of smoke.  But they dare not actually depose him, because that would involve taking a chance with some other guy who might be just as bad or even worse, and because it would mean finally admitting a hundred percent that Brown is a wash-out, whom they picked, without even a general election to prove it.  “Okay, we did pick the previous dud.  But this new guy is really really good.  Trust us.”

The thing that disappoints me is that nearly a quarter of Britain’s voters still seem to admire - or at any rate they seem willing to vote for - Mr Brown, out of some vestigial class/party loyalty.  This apparently translates into about 150 Labour MPs after the next election, more than enough to keep the Labour Party staggering on for another century.  This is not nearly the complete Labour wipe-out that I would like to see.

As I understand it not all of Palin’s policies are what most of us would think of as libertarian (e.g. her ‘pro-life’ views, religious views) but she does seem like the least-bad possible president that is currently available.

As for Brown/Labour in the UK, it is deeply wporrying that so many sheople still support them! I guess it simply illustrates what many people are like: They *want* the nanny-state; it makes them feel safe.

Posted by MarkR on 08 September 2008

MarkR: True, though there is no libertarian position on abortion.

By which I mean, both utter permissiveness and something as far to pro-life as the current Republican Party stand can be justified on libertarian philosophical grounds.

Time for a philosophical digression, in parenthesis!

(It depends, of course, on whether or not one grants the foetus status as a Person; if not, then nothing one does to it can be prohibited, as it has no rights and thus the right of the mother to deal with her own body has no challenges and reigns supreme.

If so, on the other hand, the most we could get from a libertarian perspective is a right to remove the foetus as soon as it’s viable outside of the womb, and no right to “terminate” the pregnancy at all, because abortion would count as identical to murder; the unjust initiation of force on another person, and fatal to boot, forbidden by every libertarian worldview I’ve encountered.

[This assumes, arguendo, surety about “when personhood begins”, and places it at conception.

This is, of course, neither sure nor logically or scientifically required - and neither are any of the other places or sets of criteria which could be used.

Indeed, science cannot significantly speak to personhood at all, at the general level, though it can provide information about other statuses that we can use to make arguments about personhood or its lack. Science is, as always, utterly silent on valuations and which are proper.

But adding that debate only makes the issue more complicated, and doesn’t reduce us to a ”the libertarian position on abortion”.]

In practice, we might say that Palin does not agree with the Libertarian Party view, which as far as I know is pro-abortion-rights in effect.

Indeed, glancing at the platform, it says (to paraphrase) “because people disagree a lot about this, government should keep out of it”, which is identical in practical effect to “government should keep it legal”, since staying out of it in a libertarian State is identical to enforcing its legality in our existing State, in terms of outcome.

I’m torn as to whether to consider this refreshingly honest or a cheap cop-out. People disagree about all sorts of things, but that surely isn’t sufficient grounds - even on libertarian principles - to just throw up one’s hands and say “government should not interfere”; in this case, if the anti- half of the two sets is right, the government must interfere just as it must ban murder and robbery.

I can’t blame the LP for not taking a stand, for purely practical reasons, but at the philosophical level it surely has to be addressed at some point.)

Posted by Sigivald on 10 September 2008
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