Top 10 Letters
Libertarians, Karl Rove, Libertarians, James Bond, and Libertarians.
11:00 PM, Nov 24, 2002
Which Republicans are those? The Republicans who passed the Farm Bill? The Republicans who continue to subsidize corporate interests? The Republicans who enact steel tariffs? The Republicans which plan to use the Homeland Security act to collect and track the personal information, spending habits, movements, finances, and thoughts of every single American citizen? The Republicans who, under George W. Bush have grown the Federal government at a rate surpassing any of his predecessors since World War II?
She is correct in assuming that votes for Libertarian candidates are votes lost by the Republicans. Libertarian voters have realized that the Republicans are fast becoming the party of big government.
As a current registered Libertarian and former registered Republican, I want to comment on a couple points Rachel DiCarlo made in her article.
First, she says that Libertarians believe in an "isolationist" foreign policy. This is absolutely wrong. Libertarians believe in a completely unfettered exchange of goods and ideas between individuals and companies, without regard for where those entities happen to reside. We believe that any country's foreign policy should be based primarily on free trade and open communication. Whatever you might call it, that is certainly not my definition of isolationism. Libertarians also believe in the use of force for self defense, but only when it's absolutely necessary. We certainly don't think that any country should dictate to another country through the use of force or threats of war. It's good to introduce people to the benefits of liberty, but not by putting them at the point of a sword. That is not likely to succeed in many cases.
Second, she says that Republicans believe in "smaller government." Back when I was in the Republican party, when President Reagan was setting the agenda, that statement may have had some truth. It certainly is not true now that Bush and his gang are in charge. The last couple of years have seen a tremendous, really unprecedented increase in the size and scope of the federal government. Not only has it grown larger, it has become vastly more intrusive. Particularly grating to those of us who believe in the worth of the individual are the statements and actions of John Ashcroft, whose persistent attacks on almost every aspect of the Constitution's Bill of Rights (with the notable exception of gun ownership) are the very antithesis of the Libertarian position.
One might argue that the Democrats are even more authoritarian than the Republicans, and it is therefore a mistake for Libertarians to "spoil" Republican victories. But I say, at least we know the Democrats for what they are: outright authoritarians. They, unlike many of the Republicans, aren't lying about their intrusive agenda. So I personally will be more than pleased to "waste my vote" to help Republican victories to be "spoiled" whenever it suits me to do so.
Fred Barnes should also realize that George W. Bush and Karl Rove are triangulating (A Simple Plan). (1) Bush supports strict constructionist judges to keep the right on board while making an appeal to the center, which prefers elected representatives making laws instead of judges. (2) Bush supports education reform with Ted Kennedy and backs a major federal expansion in education. (3) Bush plays easy on immigration and affirmative action to keep the Democratic base in play or at home. Brilliant work Mr. Rove.
Jonathan V Last identifies the basic flaw in the Bond franchise: The movies are superhero flicks, not spy films. And they're not very good superhero flicks at that. But Last, perhaps feeling the effects of the retro-style affectation from which most men of our generation suffer, fails to recognize that this has been true almost from the beginning of the franchise. Only a few of the Bond films--"Dr. No" "Never Say Never Again," for example--even try to be spy movies, and they mostly fail.
Which is too bad. There aren't enough spy flicks, and very few good ones. As John Le Carre has shown, espionage is a genre well suited to exploring Western morality in extremis. And, in fact, many of the best spy movies have been based on Le Carre's work. "The Spy Who Came in from the Cold" and the recent "The Tailor of Panama" stand out as good movies with crowd-pleasing suspense that manage to make important moral points. The latter even starred James Bond himself, Pierce Brosnan, as exactly the kind of British secret agent Bond would be in real life. (Never mind that the producers undercut the author's story by altering the ending so that the United States did not, after all, land its invasion force. Cowards.)