Sunday, May 13, 2012

Libertarians are Useless: Part Infinity

Someday this war's gonna end....

--Spoken with sadness by Lt. Col. Kilgore in Apocalypse Now right after his "I love the smell of napalm in the morning" speech
Part of me feels bad for culture warriors.  I imagine it's much like the sympathy Jesus felt for his Roman torturers while he hung on the cross.  "Forgive them, father, they know not what they do."

Are they really looking forward to the day when they win the culture wars?  When we're all listening to the same family-friendly music and watching the same family-friendly movies, when we're all homogenous heterosexuals who don't smoke, cuss, drink, or watch pornography?

Some are, the authoritarian moralists who puke out sermons every Sunday, but I really do think that most of the right's culture warriors would recognize such a society as not only undesirable but dangerous, too.  And yet, the culture warriors fight on.

Not because they genuinely want the US to be a Christian version of Taliban-occupied Afghanistan, but because they've declared loyalty to the tribe that makes various culture-war noises from time to time for electoral advantage.

Which brings to all the nonsense I've read from right-leaning commentators concerned about Obama's newly stated support for gay marriage.  They're not concerned about whether the stance is right or wrong.  From Radley Balko's concern over its federalism implications to this horrible Daily Caller op-ed, the cynicism is as obvious as it is pervasive:
In other words, the president believes that states should not be able to set their own laws with respect to health care, immigration, and drug prohibition … but marriage is up to the states. This is essentially a conservative, or federalist, stance on marriage — apparently the only issue where Obama does not support a robust federal override of states’ rights. How can marriage equality activists possibly be satisfied with that?
Here's how: The supposedly "conservative" federalists have been fighting tooth and nail for decades to make sure that marriage equality doesn't happen. Our previous president spent considerable effort trying to ban gay marriage nationally, but I don't recall any conservatives too worried about federalism. Nope, they were too busy trying to "save traditional marriage," equal protection under the law be damned.

And here comes this Democrat, who also happens to be the current president, declaring his support. How can marriage equality activists NOT be satisfied with that? It's unlikely that they'll say, "Well, we got the president on our side. Guess we won." Because they didn't win. Because there are places in this country where gay relationships have no legal protection. Because Mitt Romney doesn't believe in marriage equality and the party he represents is still openly hostile to gay rights.

Still, gotta love it when Libertarians all but declare their irrelevance. More from the Daily Caller piece:
Frank Bruni wrote: “Hooray for President Obama, who indeed risked something today.”

What risk? About half the country supports gay marriage, as does a majority of independent voters. Gay marriage is supported by liberals, libertarians like myself, and even young conservatives. Many New York Republicans backed gay marriage. So did former Republican and current Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson. A gay conservative group called GOProud exists. Gay marriage is gaining ground every year, in every opinion poll, among every group.
It just makes you want to pull your hair out.

"About half the country supports gay marriage..." Yeah, thanks to the sustained effort to ban it. Surprise surprise that reasonable people are starting to say, "Alright, man, this is getting ridiculous. Stop it."

Gay marriage is supported by liberals, libertarians like myself, and even young conservatives. Well, yeah, but who's done the heavy lifting on gay rights issues these past few decades? Libertarians care far more about taxes and their general distaste for government. The social issues are lower priorities, and if you dangle a tax cut in front of them or promise to close a government agency, it's not even a priority at all.

Many New York Republicans... So what? A Texas Republican sees a New York Republican and mistakes him for a liberal. Many San Francisco Democrats go to church. Big deal.

So did former Republican and current Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson. Oh man, I'm so sick of hearing about Gary Johnson as this paragon of Libertarian thought and politics. A year ago, Gary Johnson was a Republican. He only became a Libertarian because the Republicans didn't want anything to do with him. And yes, he's always had a libertarian streak, which is nice, and he does support gay marriage, which is also nice, but the guy was a member of a party openly hostile to gay rights for years and left, not because he couldn't take the overt anti-gay hostility, but because they didn't nominate him for president. He's not a solution. He's part of the problem!

A gay conservative group called GOProud exists. This made me laugh out loud. In an op-ed complaining about the low expectations of gay rights activists, we get this. A gay conservative group exists. And where does this group fit within the conservative movement? Well, they were invited to their biggest conference in 2010, CPAC, and what happened? A few people welcomed them with open arms. And a few organizations, from the Family Research Council to the National Organization for Women, mounted boycotts.

So yes, GOProud most definitely "exists." They also experience the same intolerance from the right wing that other existing gay people experience. Big deal.

GOProud can exist all day, but it still took President Obama to end DADT. There is no contest here.

My advice to these complaining Libertarians? Vote for Gary Johnson. Do it for real this time. Don't do what you normally do and vote for the Republican because you know the Libertarian is only going to get 3% of the vote and you really want the tax cut.

Help the rest of us out for once.

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