A libertarian Democrat?

Markos Moulitsas thinks such a thing exists, and apparently so does CATO. Here is my favorite charge that Kos levels against conservatives in his CATO essay:

They want to dictate when life begins, when life ends, and which consenting adults can marry.

Riiiiiiiiiight…Conservatives, not rabidly pro-abortion liberals, are the ones who want to dictate when life begins.

You see silly reader, it is conservatives who insist on an objective beginning point for life — conception — and an objective end point — physical death — who are the ones “dictating” when life begins and ends. It is not pro-abortion liberals who insist that a fully formed fetus who could survive on its own outside the womb is not a human being unless its head is outside of the birth canal…no, no, no. They are not the ones dictating the beginning and end of life. Nor is it the liberals in academia lead by people like Princeton’s Peter Singer who insists on an after birth waiting period until an infant has an awareness of its surroundings before it is “really human.” No, it is not Singer and his fellow intelligentsia nor is it the abortion on demand crowd…Kos saith, it is the conservatives.

9 Responses to “A libertarian Democrat?”

  1. AJMac Says:

    When you have nothing of value to say, call your opponents names. That seems to be the MO for the Party of Death and Sterility.

  2. Feline11105 Says:

    You mean the Republican party? Yes, they excel at name-calling. That’s correct.

  3. Pot Says:


    Pot? Meet Kettle. Unless you can somehow demonstrate how calling democrats the “Party of Death and Sterility” is not “call[ing] your opponents names”.

  4. kyle8 Says:

    As a libertarian/conservative, I find the idea of a libertarian/leftist to be a bit silly. Now there are civil libertarians who are concerned about some things which government do, but they never question just why it is that government has to be doing so many different things in the first place.

    Ultimately, the Democratic party is a socialist party, and the party of big centralized government. They are not compatible with Libertarianism.

  5. MJL Says:

    First of all, Cato is not an acronym and should not be in all caps. Second, I think Kos is both right and wrong.

    He’s right in that the Republican party has left its libertarian wing behind. George W. Bush is essentially the anti-libertarian. He’s a social conservative, a fiscal moderate/liberal (with the exception of tax cuts), and a foreign policy interventionist. At least Democrats would represent libertarian interests on social and foreign policy. Yes, their big-government socialism puts them at odds with libertarians, but no more so than Republicans’ big-government conservatism puts THEM at odds with libertarians.

    But Kos is wrong in that his definition of a libertarian Democrat is pure silliness. He basically argues that a libertarian Democrat supports better, more efficient big government, as opposed to the traditional libertarian notion of smaller government. EVERYBODY supports better, more efficient government. If we go by that criterion alone, then every political persuasion should be united.

    But real libertarians understand that, beyond obvious institutional reforms, there’s no such thing as better, more efficient big government. When you have flawed individuals making decisions about how other people can/should live their lives, you will necessarily have waste, ineptitude, and less freedom. This leads to the libertarian belief in a small government that does only what the Constitution says it can.

    Kos talked a good game until he began describing what a libertarian Democrat believes in. That description included all sorts of bigger-government programs. When that happened, it ceased to be libertarian at all.

  6. Tim Says:

    I am fully aware that Cato is not an acronym, no offense meant to the Cato folks. For some reason when typing yesterday I felt like using all caps I guess…

    Good points on the Kos essay MJL. Markos’ plea to the libertarians I suspect will fall on many deaf ears. There is no THERE there for him to appeal to other than a disgust with the current Administration.

  7. Pot Says:

    “Ultimately, the Democratic party is a socialist party, and the party of big centralized government. They are not compatible with Libertarianism.”

    And ultimately, the current Republican party is a party of limited personal freedom, and the party of big, intrusive government. I don’t see how the current Republican party is any more compatible with Libertarianism than the Democratic party, unless you define personal liberty out of the equation of what makes Libertarianism. It comes down to how an individual Libertarian values personal liberty against economic (for lack of a better term) freedom.

    Personally, I value being generally left alone over a (relatively) few dollars, therefore, my libertarianism pushes me toward generally voting for democrats. As I live in Chicago, this fall I will be voting for a number of republicans, as the corruption of and ridiculous overlegislation imposed on us by Illinois and Cook County democrats has overwhelmed any hesitation I have with the social conservative streak of a number of the republican candidates.

    Now, if my choice were between the grafting, stupid democrats we have and, for example, Alan Keyes, there is no question I would take the stupid grafters. Tell me that means I am not a libertarian and I will tell you that you don’t really care about liberty. Kos, with his bleeding heart and his partisan street cred, is the wrong messenger, but the message is not as absurd as many have made it out to be. Kos is no less a libertarian than many current republican office holders, including Mr. Bush.

    P.S. Tim–I know you know this, but just because Cato publishes something doesn’t mean that it’s their “official” position. Making such statements does imply that you believe that to be the case, when it simply isn’t. Sure, no one who you work with (and quite possibly no one you know) would interpret your post that way, but believe me, there are many people who can in fact read who would make that mistake, either deliberately or as a result of their inability to properly parse your meaning. If you think that Cato shouldn’t have given Kos a forum, you can do better than gross, misleading insults of Cato.

  8. David Earney Says:


    Explain to the rest of us how the Party that brought us intervention in Somalia, Haiti, the Balkans, Rwanda, and elsewhere would meet the Libertarian foreign policy goal of non-interventionism?

    The rest of your comment being sound, I have to side with you, but I really don’t see the Dems establishing a serious non-interventionist foreign policy future based on a very interventionist past.

    Kennedy, Johnson, and Clinton have convinced me otherwise.

  9. Tim Says:


    Of course this silly Kos essay is not Cato’s official position. I should have been more careful in my statement above, it is misleading, you are correct (I typed it without thinking too much about it). I don’t mean to insult Cato, I know many of the fine folks who work over there and I think highly of them and their institution.

    I do think allowing Kos to have the forum over there bestows a smidgeon of legitimacy on this essay that it does not deserve. But that is Cato’s decision.

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