Down With Power Audiobook!

L. Neil Smith's
Number 803, January 4, 2015

The marvelous civilization of antiquity
perished because it did not adjust its
moral code and its legal system to the
requirements of the market economy.

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Over the last few years, use of the acronym RINO ("Republican In Name Only") seems to have picked up quite a bit of currency in the libertarian movement. Perhaps that has something to do with Ron Paul's two presidential candidacies.

I won't say I've NEVER heard it used by libertarians to refer to Republicans who don't "lean [a very, very little] libertarian," but until recently I've USUALLY heard it used by social conservatives who think a Republican politician isn't anti-abortion or anti-gay enough, or by War Party Republicans (but I mostly repeat myself) who think a Republican politician is developing a weak stomach vis a vis how high the pyramids of skulls are getting.

Recently, I've seen it used in a number of L. Neil Smith's pieces at TLE, and that confuses me, because the examples he cites (Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Bob Dole) are anything but RINOs. They are sterling examples of what the Republican Party is and always has been. A "libertarian Republican" who is actually a libertarian is by definition a "Republican In Name Only."

Not that I like the Democrats any better, mind you. They're usually A party of big government ... but the Republicans are, and always have been, THE party of big government.

While it's true that one major plank of the GOP's platform at its founding was preventing the extension/expansion of chattel slavery, the two other major early planks are telling: The Republican Party stood for 1) major public works programs, 2) financed by protective tariffs.

And while it's true that some leaders of the early Republican Party (Abraham Lincoln in particular) had cut their teeth on opposition to US imperialism (opposing the Mexican War), the War Between the States brought a quick end to such nonsense and the last half of the 19th century—dominated by Republicans—was a period of constant warfare versus the natives in the west, culminating in the annexation of Hawaii (opposed by Democrats, including Grover Cleveland) and, finally, in the birthing of "the American century" with the Spanish-American war, the suppression of the Philippines Insurrection, US intervention in World War I and the "banana wars" in Latin America.

Theodore Roosevelt and Howard Taft ushered in "progressivism"—it was a Republican-majority Congress which sent the 16th Amendment to the states and largely Republican-majority state legislatures who ratified it.

Republican president Herbert Hoover's response to the first pangs of the Great Depression pre-saged the New Deal. In fact, Franklin Delano Roosevelt ran as the "small government" candidate in the 1932 presidential election, pledging to cut federal spending by 25% and balance the budget while Hoover ran on expanded public works and welfare statism.

Then in the post-WWII era, the "new" Republican Party followed William F. Buckley's Cold War prescription: "Big Government for the duration."

Yes, RINO Barry Goldwater managed to secure the GOP's 1964 presidential nomination. And even though he lost, he pumped new life into the GOP—life which the real Republicans who'd done their damnedest to stop him promptly sucked right back out of it.

There is no way to "restore" the GOP to its imaginary stature as a libertarian political party. It's never been one, and every attempt to make it into one has failed miserably. Mitch McConnell and John Boehner are the beating heart and black soul of the Republican Party. They are what it has always been, they are what it is now, and they are what it always will be.

I don't know, to any high degree of certainty, where the future of the freedom movement might be found. But I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that that future will not be found in the project of trying to turn the GOP sow's ear into a libertarian silk purse.

Thomas Knapp

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From the Border

El Paso, Texas finished the year2014 with 21 murders. While higher than the ten or so suffered last year (2013), it is still a bit below average for a city El Paso's size (Compare to DC, New Orleans, or Austin). Two of the murders were bizarre, in another the victim died protecting a woman from an abusive husband. In fact, domestic abuse seems to have been the single most common factor in EPT's murders this year, and to be honest I would have been happy if two other murders, the jail house killing of two males who murdered toddlers, had raised the toll.

Certain liberal groups make a fuss about the need to do something about about domestic violence, and this year events in El Paso Texas supports their thesis. It is important that as lovers of freedom that includes rejection of any philosophy based on the assumption that other people are property, even of spouses, parents, lovers or whatever, as part of their discourse and dealings with others.

If we can't address this problem without appealing to the state or tolerating gross violations of the ZAP like murder we need to rethink what we're doing.

To my knowledge only one of these killings could have been prevented by a ban on firearms (hero who was shot through door sheltering woman from abusive husband), and even in that case the killer could (and probably would) have waited and killed his intended victim and her kids with knives, clubs, or even his bare hands.

A reminder that gun control doesn't work.

A.X. Perez

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