Last weekend, I attended the 2013 International Students for Liberty Conference. The conference featured a taping of Stossel with opportunities for the attendees to engage the guests with questions.
The most momentous occasion at the Stossel taping was when Ann Coulter called libertarians “pussies.” As anticipated, this elicited a response of jeering. Coulter clarified, saying that libertarians spend too much time sucking up to their liberal friends instead of focusing on the real issues. She mentioned that libertarians can work with conservatives on issues that matter–such as economics–but they instead choose to focus on marijuana in order to appeal to the left. In this statement, Coulter highlighted precisely why the modern libertarian movement is failing.
Instead of creating alliances with fiscal conservatives, libertarians would rather tell people that libertarianism is about “pot and gay marriage” in order to garner the attention of the youth. The result of making libertarianism about social issues is that there are therefore people, who claim to be libertarians, that do not understand the philosophy of libertarianism in the slightest. These individuals who are duped into believing that libertarianism is only about pot and government gay marriage end up not understanding any of the foundational principles of libertarians. As a result, some self-described libertarians even rationalize greater state interventionism on behalf of egalitarianism and economic equity. Generally, no one would consider individuals who support a bigger government to be libertarians; however, these people were told they are libertarians because they like to smoke pot and think gay people are cool. These new libertarians, therefore, do not understand the non-aggression principle, do not understand the importance of voluntary action, and do not understand the power of the market. These self-proclaimed libertarians are a threat to freedom, as they say they act on behalf of liberty while they simultaneously call for greater government.
During the taping, Ann Coulter said that she does not want welfare to go towards someone who is getting high, which is a moderately justifiable reason to be against drug legalization. The audience erupted into loud noise upon hearing Coulter’s answer. Proving her point that libertarians only care about pot, the majority of the questions that followed from Stossel, as well as the audience, were about her views on marijuana. Coulter kept mentioning there are bigger concerns than marijuana, such as ending the welfare state. Libertarians and conservatives should agree that welfare should not go to individuals who use drugs. Libertarians and conservatives should agree that welfare should be abolished. However, there was no such dialogue from the audience about what should happen first. From the minute Coulter walked on stage, the audience decided to act like children and cast her as an enemy rather than someone who can be worked with. For a conference that prides itself on intellectualism, there was no intelligent discussion between the audience and Coulter.
The audience booed Coulter for stating the obvious truths about the travesty of the modern libertarian movement. To demonstrate her point, there was another high-profile guest of an entirely different political persuasion who received applause. When Dennis Kucinich entered the stage, he was applauded. When Kucinich advocated for government regulations in order to save the world from the global warming catastrophe, parts of the audience applauded. When Kucinich mentioned how evil profits were for banks and health-care corporations, parts of the audience applauded.
A woman who has done not much except write opinion columns received a vitriolic response from the audience, while a man who has spent his entire time in Congress campaigning against liberty was cheered. Dennis Kucinich has spent his time in Congress vowing for bigger government. Since Dennis Kucinich is a leftist with politically correct opinions, however, the audience at a “libertarian” conference gave him more respect than a woman who never assaulted anyone’s freedom.
As Coulter so eloquently said:
We’re living in a country that is 70-percent socialist, the government takes 60 percent of your money. They are taking care of your health care, of your pensions. They’re telling you who you can hire, what the regulations will be. And you want to suck up to your little liberal friends and say, ‘Oh, but we want to legalize pot.’ You know, if you were a little more manly you would tell the liberals what your position on employment discrimination is. How about that? But it’s always ‘We want to legalize pot.’
The libertarian movement has, indeed, made it all about kissing up to the left.
I think the author needs to get out more if she can only find libertarians that care about pot only, but to be honest, pot really is a BFD (Big Fucking Deal). Millions of Americans are behind bars, being held as political prisoners, right now, because pot is illegal. Legalizing pot goes way beyond “everyone has the right to get high.” It’s a human rights issue, a civil rights issue, a racial issue, an economic liberty issue.
I’d put it higher up the food chain, personally, than the gay marriage movement, because gay marriage is essentially about begging for permission from the government to marry, rather than asking to be left alone by the government.
Smoking pot is way more than some leftist social issue.
We put 800,000+ Americans in jail each year for simple possession alone. That’s hundreds of thousands of families torn apart, of jobs lost, reputations ruined, future employability damaged beyond repair.
The prohibition of pot and other drugs is the primary cause of drug violence. Banning it creates artificially high prices, which attract amoral operators who will use violence to protect their profits.
The failed drug war might actually be one of the most important issues of our day.
Also, way to go after Dennis Kucinich. He’s the best ambassador there could ever be for the left, because he’s someone who actually talks the talk and walks the walk. He’s certainly better than Ann ‘nuke ’em all’ Coulter. I could give a shit less if Ann Coulter agrees with my economic policy. She wants to murder people. Screw her. And of course libertarians are against the welfare state, but that does not make inhuman the people on welfare.
And you know what? Yeah. You should be able to be on welfare and get high on pot. Just like you should be allowed to be on welfare and still get together with your buddies and drink a beer. Jesus. What moralizing pricks libertarians who agree with the whole ‘no drugs while on welfare’ are.
You say that Ashley needs to ‘get out more’ because…. she can only find libertarians that care only about pot.
…and then, you spend the rest of your comment about… pot.
Golly… are you Libertarian as well?
I’m happy to converse on any topic imaginable. And no, I’m not a libertarian.
Can you tell us about your opinion on heart surgery too?
Don’t be pedantic.
Well, you do know alot about pot…
can’t end the welfare state without first ending cannabis prohibition
“can’t end the welfare state without first ending cannabis prohibition”
I really, really hope this is sarcasm.
Pingback: Religio-Political Talk (RPT) In Defense of Ann Coulter ~ Ashley Rae Goldenberg
My message to Ann Coulter: Spare me (and other Libertarians) your lectures on fiscal conservatism.
She might save her criticism for Republicans. After all, didn’t these self-styled conservatives support Pres. George W. Bush and his “Compassionate Conservatism” (translation: Republican progressivism): Medicare Part D, steel tariffs, the biggest expansion of domestic spending since Lyndon Johnson, doubling the budget of the Department of Education, etc.? Shouldn’t she save her lectures on fiscal responsibility for Republicans? Isn’t she aware that conservatism is a lot more than personal loyalty to George Bush, Mitt Romney and the rest of the “conservatives” in the GOP?
Even, today, while Republicans no longer have the White House and talk is cheap, GOP leadership can’t help themselves in revealing their big spending urges. Speaker John Boehner, for example, referred to the tiny sequestration cuts – $44 billion out of $3.8 trillion in fiscal 2013 – as “ugly and dangerous”. Sen. John McCain claimed that these cuts are a “devastating” threat to national security.
Ann gives us a clue about how she and other “conservatives” in the Bush Cult so easily discarded their principles of fiscal conservatism (and with them their consciences) in stating her “reason” for endorsing drug prohibition: the “public health” canard: Because the State picks up the tab for our health care costs, it can and should outlaw things It thinks a detrimental to our health – in this case, illicit drugs.
Maybe, it escaped her attention that modern liberals routinely use the same rationalization – the “public health” canard – to justify their entire nanny state agenda: Mayor Bloomberg’s ban on large sodas, etc.
Finally, I get it. You HATE the Left. But isn’t the point to LOVE liberty?
I find it sadly ironic you make this statement: “These new libertarians, therefore, do not understand the non-aggression principle, do not understand the importance of voluntary action, and do not understand the power of the market.” and then go on to defend the War on Drugs. Nothing could be more libertarian than opposing the War on Drugs. Billions of dollars have been wasted (you know all that tax money Coulter complains about the government spending), and millions of lives forever ruined because people want to decide for themselves what substances to put in their bodies, or to voluntarily buy and sell something the state has banned. The drug war is horrendous precisely because it directly violates the NAP, goes against voluntary exchange, and ignores the laws of economics. Yes people are focused on pot, but that is because its clear the tide is turning, public opinion is changing, and some form of legalization is a realistic achievable objective. Rolling back any part of the War on Drugs is a win for libertarianism. As far as gay marriage, maybe its just me, but I have yet to meet one libertarian who places this as their #1 issue. True, the pure libertarian position is that government shouldn’t be involved in marriage at all, but I dont see it as hypocritical for libertarians to say as long as marriage is a State controlled institution it should be made more libertarian. Letting same sex couples marry is not really creating new laws or making the State bigger, its simply modifying existing laws to make them a little more libertarian. Since most libertarians place a great deal of importance on the NAP and self ownership then gay marriage fits right into this as its the State telling two consenting adults (who are not violating the NAP in any way) what they can do. Like pot maybe the focus on gay marriage for some is because it seems like an achievable goal, public opinion is changing and laws are being to change. Maybe someday this can lead to the State being out of marriage altogether.
Ann Coulter is a disgusting hypocrite. She feigns support for liberty and freedom, but then unapologetically (and even enthusiastically) supports the War on Terror and the War on Drugs. She is concerned about government taxation but has no problems with the trillions spend on war and the police state. She is against socialism and welfare, but has no problem with the Socialism and corporate welfare of the Military Industrial Complex. She will selectively decry the Nanny State when it fits her agenda, but as this article makes clear she is all in favor of the State telling someone they cant smoke a plant. Its absolutely no different than “conservatives” getting uptight about liberal busy bodies trying to ban salt, or trans fat, or happy meals.
First of all, liberals have been in anti-libertarian outrage mode for the past four years, so the notion that libertarians are trying to suck up to liberals is absurd.
While I do feel that too many libertarians are preoccupied with pot, one can’t really expect them to find common cause with Republicans on economic freedom and fiscal restraint when the GOP is dreadful on both (as Mr. Binkley pointed out as well).
Pingback: Immigration: A Response | Liberty Without Apologies