Funny Definition Of Libertarian You Boys Have Here

Glibertarians crack me up repeatedly.  They’re so awful, they apparently abandon their own candidate because it’s the mavericky thing to do.

The Reason-Rupe September 2012 poll includes our favorite ideological questions to differentiate libertarians from liberals and conservatives. Using three questions, we can define libertarians as respondents who believe “the less government the better,” who prefer the “free market” to handle problems, and who want government to “favor no particular set of values.” These fiscally conservative, socially liberal voters represent 20% of the public in the Reason-Rupe poll, in line with previous estimates.

Among these likely libertarian voters, the presidential horserace currently stands:

Romney 77%
Obama 20%
Other 3%

Romney’s share of the libertarian vote represents a high water mark for Republican presidential candidates in recent elections.

Considering these chuckleheads happily voted for Bush’s re-election in 2004 59%-38% over John Kerry despite Cowboy George getting us to some awesome wars where we dropped all kinds of liberty on people half a world away, I don’t think your definition of “libertarian” actually means what you seem to believe it should.  And this year, once again, they have no intention of voting for the actual libertarian candidate.

Now, if you define “libertarian” as “Hypocritical Randian austerity-loving misery junkie war pigs” then yes, you have a point.  But let’s be honest, these guys are really just plain old garden variety Country Club Repubs and have been since the Reagan years.

Self-hating Republicans, the lot of them.  Just switch the faith of choice from Talibangelical to Church Of The Invisible Hand Dropping Bombs, and that’s the only difference.

39 replies
  1. 1
    General Stuck says:

    Libertarians are why we have OTC acne meds.

  2. 2
    Matt McIrvin says:

    Eh, the whole multi-blog Conor Friedersdorf flamewar is over the argument that antiwar Democrats are doing exactly the same thing, so I can’t feel too superior. Presumably these people’s priorities are such that they feel that Romney is the superior candidate with a chance of winning, and they’re perfectly aware that voting for Gary Johnson just gets Obama in. I can see that as rational behavior.

  3. 3
    Zandar says:

    @Matt McIrvin: Romney wants to bring back torture apparently. Not too much logic in libertarians going for that guy in such overwhelming numbers if there’s not a dime’s worth of difference.

  4. 4
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    I sent this to DougJ, but it fits with this post, so I’ll just drop it here: Libertarians Do Too Have Morals: Just Different (Better) Ones From Those of Liberals and Conservatives
    My favorite finding:

    3) On relationships: Libertarians are the most individualistic; they report the weakest ties to other people. They score lowest of the three groups on many traits related to sociability, including extroversion, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. They have a morality that matches their sociability – one that emphasizes independence, rather than altruism or patriotism.

    explains a lot.

  5. 5
    c u n d gulag says:

    They don’t want all of the Jesus, but they do want all of the tax cuts and wars and misogyny – AND POT!

  6. 6
    Wag says:

    “Hypocritical Randian austerity-loving misery junkie war pigs”

    This deserves to be enshrined along with “technically true…” and “gastritis broke…” as one of the best one liners live ever read on these pages. You madey morning.

  7. 7
    DiTurno says:

    Look, we all know that the two big Libertarian goals are lower taxes for the wealthy and less government regulation of businesses. They’ll get a lot more of that from Romney than Obama, so I don’t see any real inconsistency here.

  8. 8
    jibeaux says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: That’s a positive spin on being a cranky cheeto-encrusted loser with no friends…

  9. 9
    Alex S. says:

    Libertarians have convictions with the force of a wet sponge. It wouldn’t surprise me if Wolf Blitzer was a libertarian.

  10. 10
    dr. bloor says:

    @Matt McIrvin: Yep. Pragmatism: both sides do it.

  11. 11
    Cermet says:

    What an utter asswipe – Libertarians are NOT, and NEVER have been 20% of the voting population! No way, no how, not even close. This asshole has zero knowledge and is typical of all the stupid talking heads – make up numbers then write a post justifying the need for the falsified data – what a true thug.

  12. 12
    I_am_a_lead_pencil says:

    @dr. bloor: yep

  13. 13
    Regnad Kcin says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: Aspergertarians?

  14. 14
    Linda Featheringill says:

    Hypocritical Randian austerity-loving misery junkie war pigs

    Yes. Very apt.

  15. 15
    J.D. Rhoades says:


    So, what you’re saying is, they’re selfish assholes. Who knew?

  16. 16
    Dennis SGMM says:

    Libertarians love to make noises about government while knowing that they’re safe from actually having any of their ideas actually carried out.

  17. 17
    beltane says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: What a convoluted way of trying to make themselves feel superior over the fact they are celibate by necessity.

  18. 18
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Why not define libertarians as a subset of Republicans, no different than T’Baggers? If they vote for Republicans overwhelmingly (which they do), then they are Republicans.

  19. 19
    Dennis SGMM says:

    Libertarians always evoke the the comic book guy from The Simpsons for me.

  20. 20
    Shawn in ShowMe says:

    If Libertarians are 20% of the electorate, then they should have plenty of folks in the House of Representatives by now. Oh, you have to organize to participate in government. Whoops.

  21. 21
    RSA says:

    It’s not clear to me whether libertarians understand the word “values”. Here’s one of the questions they ask:

    Some people think the government should promote traditional values in our society. Others think the government should not favor any particular set of values. Which comes closer to your own view?

    So it’s either traditional values or no particular set of values at all. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Forget it, I guess. As for me, I’d like a government that does something to prevent people from killing or enslaving others, or generally making their lives miserable.

  22. 22
    Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937 says:

    I could be persuaded to believe the libertarian horse pucky too if someone was sending me a check to do so.

  23. 23
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @beltane: Nah, a Libertarian is what a Republican man who wants to get laid calls himself.

  24. 24
    Scott S. says:

    @Bobby Thomson: I call shenanigans. Is there any evidence that Libertarians have ever gotten laid?

  25. 25
    greylocks says:

    Libertarian is just another word for angry white male.

    Libertarianism is a pseudo-intellectual fig leaf for racism and other resentments.

  26. 26
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    Are@Scott S.: are you saying gillespie’s leather jacket doesn’t work?

  27. 27
    What Have The Romans Ever Done for Us? (formerly MarkJ) says:

    I dunno, these aren’t self-registered or self-identified libertarians. They’re libertarians as defined by three polling questions. Most of them are probably registered as Republicans, so it makes sense that they’d vote Republican instead of libertarian. If the Fonzi of Freedom says he’s voting for Romney then I’m perfectly comfortable piling on the criticism and mockery.

  28. 28
    rikyrah says:

    libertarians do not live in the real world. fuck them

  29. 29
    Xboxershorts says:

    I would like to see how that voting trend was prior to 1980 (This was the year David Koch was the Libertarian Party VP pick along with Ed Clark who runs Reason Foundation)

    It really strikes me as odd that self identified Progressive voters tend to vote more for citizen’s financial liberty and citizen’s social liberty in greater force.

    When the individual is financially liberated from the abuses of Market Dominating corporate interests the whole nation grows wealthier. i.e. – Anti trust laws are enforced, FIRE sector regulations prevent excessive fees and rent seeking. Wages across the board increase and unions are accepted as part of the labor landscape. In other words, Financial Liberty means there is some semblance of balance between labor and capital.

    Social liberty implies (to me, at least) that the state cannot define how you “pursue happiness” as long as your pursuit doesn’t impinge on other’s rights. As in, whom you can partner with, how you privately enjoy your home life…that means an end to the Drug war and the State Security apparatus that grew up around it. An acceptance of civil partnerships regardless of how your faith or religion might renounce it….

    The influence of the KOCH family on the Libertarian Party values has made this voting sector little more than republican/corporate sock puppets and it’s really hurt the republic in very dangerous ways. Remember, David Koch was booted from the Libertarian party after their disastrous showing in the 1980 elections. David’s and Charles’ wild Bircher Paranoia was a major turnoff back then too….

    Progressive voters are more libertarian than today’s faux Koch bought off libertarians.

  30. 30
    Lee says:


    That is a great comment.

    People forget that just like Republicans and Democrats there are a variety of libertarians. There are those that follow the Koch brand of libertarianism that is all about the free market. There are those (very much now in the minority) that are far more concerned with civil liberties and that you can also lose your liberties under the free market.

  31. 31
    Cacti says:

    Libertarian = Republican who wants to smoke pot and/or get laid.

  32. 32
    Chris says:

    Self-hating Republicans, the lot of them.

    No, just Republicans who want to get laid.

    Most “libertarians” I’ve known were just garden variety Republicans or Democrats, who just like to think they’re above all the messiness that comes with being a real party engaged in actual governance. I’ve met very, very few people who actually fulfill the “government out of my bedroom, out of my pocketbooks, out of my phone lines, everywhere” definition of libertarian. Most of them are all for big government in some places and not in others – and where they want it usually corresponds 90% or more to where one of the two existing parties wants it.

    (More Republicans than Democrats, as you point out).

  33. 33
    Chris says:


    People forget that just like Republicans and Democrats there are a variety of libertarians. There are those that follow the Koch brand of libertarianism that is all about the free market. There are those (very much now in the minority) that are far more concerned with civil liberties and that you can also lose your liberties under the free market.

    This. But the former way outnumber the latter.

    I had a brief attraction to libertarianism in the mid-2000s after deciding I didn’t like the Republican Party, because in the era of warrantless wiretapping, torture and all that shit, an ideology based on individual rights and opposition to big government seemed like a good thing. Didn’t take me that long to realize that the only “rights” the libertarian movement gave a shit about were the rights of billionaires to go on stepping all over everyone else’s, and that if I really gave a shit about civil liberties, regular old liberalism would get me farther along that route that those pricks.

  34. 34
    Seanly says:


    Shorter for that #3 – They’re a bunch of antisocial jerks.

  35. 35
    Cargo says:

    Just about everyone I know in my age cohort (gen x) calls themselves “socially liberal, fiscally conservative” Just to fuck with people I call myself socially authoritarian and fiscally profligate.

    Libertarianism as a self contained ideology is dead on arrival and about as likely as maoism in american politics, but the Repubs pick and choose elements they like and that’s ace with most libertarians. Somehow they never get around to the ‘socially liberal’ part (except they’re generally cool with gay people and anti-drug-war).

  36. 36
    Chris says:


    (except they’re generally cool with gay people and anti-drug-war).

    Yeah, but they don’t actually put any of the effort into, say, repealing DADT or DOMA or passing gay marriage. No, they keep voting for Ron Paul and Rand Paul and trust those of us on the other side of the aisle to do all the work for them on that count.

  37. 37
    Sandra Dee says:

    This and are why I would never vote for either Obama or Romney, even if there was no viable third candidate option. I will be voting for Gary Johnson. This rap-boxing-economics video describes the dualing economic policies, and why I side with Hayek.

  38. 38
    Sandra Dee says:

    Libertarians are socially liberal because what that means is putting each individual’s conscience before either corporate OR government/majority interests. It means treating every single person with dignity and respect, even if they disagree about something that is core to your own belief system. (Why is that person so much more hate-worthy than someone who commits an actual crime? Go figure.) Live and let live is the most social liberal policy. There will always be jerks.

    I believe that I have a moral obligation to nod and smile and then politely explain why I disagree. I believe that a person is more than a single idea, or even the sum of their ideas. A person cannot be wrong. Only an idea can be wrong. People are worthy of respect and dignity EVEN WHEN I disagree with them. It makes it more likely that they will change their minds, and less likely they will pass the view on to their children. That is why my tolerance of even the most hateful views is more liberal than those of my censoring, anti-Christian, anti-South, anti-republican friends, who discriminate freely on some bases but not others.

    Finally, the classical liberal thought is above all about “reason.” What that means is – utter humility about where society is going. Just because we think we know right from wrong, doesn’t mean that some of our views will be considered totally evil and backwards in the future. We must accept views that are ridiculous in order to allow for the free evolution of thought. Every human being deserves to speak, even if they do not deserve to be heard.

  39. 39
    Sandra Dee says:

    I am a mother. I was a Democrat up until about one year ago, I canvassed for Obama. I have been active in politics for gay rights. I also embraced the Unitarian church, which believes there are more similarities between religions than differences within them. I am the furthest from anti-social you can get – I am so bleeding heart, that I kept looking for “answers” until I found some unconventional ones.

    Please do not stereotype any group of people. I believe there are civil, decent, interesting, thoughtful, moral, and social people who belong to EVERY large group of people by religion or ideology. If you don’t, look harder! You are not smarter than the smartest Republican, or kinder, or less selfish, etc.

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