[T]he Democratic Party still considers Thomas Jefferson...to be their [sic] founder.That's nice, but what have you done for me lately? Oh, this:
There have been libertarian traditions within the Democratic Party.... The Cleveland Democrats (a.k.a. "Gold Democrats"), beginning with the leaders of the Free Trade, anti-Tariff, hard Gold movement from the 1870's through the early 1930's, were a dominant group within the Democratic Party....The Cleveland Democrats were the last significant libertarian force within the Democratic Party. Their final major accomplishments were the anti-Prohibitionist movement in the 1920's and the 1932 Democratic Party Platform, which Franklin Delano Roosevelt infamously ran on--and promptly forgot once he was elected....So much for the long-defunct (and hardly libertarian) Cleveland Democrats. Instead we got FDR's New Deal (a.k.a. fascism in America) and, later, LBJ's Great Society (a.k.a. socialism in America). (Read this to understand the immense cost of those ventures.) I have seen no evidence that today's Democrats are any less committed to the "ideals" of the New Deal and Great Society than were Democrats of the 1930s and 1960s.
I thought Renzulli was trying to woo libertarians, but he switches gears:
There have been conservative Democrats which were fairly pro-freedom, but they mostly died out in the 1950's. Nevada Senator Pat McCarran (McCarran Airport in Las Vegas is named after him) was, what would be called in today's terminology, a paleoconservative. He was pretty closely connected with Senator Joseph McCarthy in his anti-communist crusade, as were other conservative and states-rights Democrats.But the Demos still have Bobby Byrd. I guess that ought to attract a lot of libertarians.
Oh, here's the argument for libertarians:
It was not the Republican Party who [sic] has been the libertarian political party in American politics, it was the Demcorats.The Republican Party of the 1920s through 1960s was far closer to being libertarian than was the Democrat Party of the same era. Since then, of course, the GOP has had a taste of power and has compromised its old limited-government principles to hold onto that power. But regardless of the GOP's sins, the Dems' sins are greater. The GOP is still "home" for conservatives who adhere to the principle of limited government. Where are the Democrats on limited government? Nowhere, unless you count the Dems rather adolescent posturing on abortion and support of "progressive" eugenics.
What about those newly profligate Republicans?
With the recent budget being proposed by Bush and Congress, admittedly Republicans and Democrats, to spend $3 TRILLION....It is abundantly clear that in recent years the leadership of the Republican and Libertarian Parties are not interested in upholding the Jeffersonian ideals of simple, frugal government as much as the present leadership of the Democrats.Renzulli admits that the Democrats are party to the present reign of profligacy in Washington, as they are -- willingly. But Renzulli then tries to suggest that the Dems' present leadership is interested in "simple, frugal" government. Hah! The Dems pay lip service to a balanced budget, not because they want to cut spending but because they want to raise taxes in order to finance latter-day versions of the New Deal and Great Society.
The Dems are more likely to be anti-war and against war-related "infringements" of civil liberties (e.g., peeking at your reading list if you otherwise seem to be engaged in suspicious behavior). But being anti-war isn't the same as being pro-liberty, unless you adhere to the idiotic, paleolibertarian dogma of last-ditch self defense. (Aha! Maybe Renzulli is appealing to paleos. Good luck.) As for civil liberties, would you rather have the federal government peeking at your reading list or regimenting your entire life through regulation and taxation? The latter, of course, is what happens when Dems are in charge.
The Sun may burn out and Hell may freeze over, but this libertarian will never join forces with the Demo(n)crats.
Libertarian Conservative or Conservative Libertarian? (07/29/04)
"The Party of the Little People" ? (08/03/04)
Does Libertarian-Conservative Fusion Have a Future? (08/19/04)
Hobbesian Libertarianism (10/08/04)
What Realignment? (12/05/04)
What's a Libertarian to Do? (12/05/04)
Libertarianism and Conservatism (12/05/04)
Judeo-Christian Values and Liberty (02/20/05)
Where Conservatism and (Sensible) Libertarianism Come Together (04/14/05)
Conservatism, Libertarianism, and Public Morality (04/25/05)
Redeeming the Promise of Liberty (05/06/05)
Technorati tag: Political Philosophy