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October 10th, 2003 · No Comments

So, Will’s right that most of the libertarians quoted in this TAP article are friends. But I think Virginia Postrel’s a little hard on it as a result: Whatever you want to say about the sourcing of this particular piece, I’ve heard similar sentiments expressed by plenty of libertarians who I don’t know socially. There is, for instance, the Libertarians for Dean weblog, and it’s not like the conservative media hasn’t also written plenty on the disenchantment of minimal government folks with Bush. Postrel also, bizarrely, writes that “Real Dean voters don’t like Jeff Flake. (I do.)” Well, so do I… and there’s no reason to think the quoted claim is at all true unless you adhere to the Crossfire-style politics-as-tribal-identity model… something I scarcely expected to see from VP. Political candidates and parties are means to an end, not some sort of team you’re supposed to root for consistently. Right now, I think our best bet is a Democratic president checked by a Republican Congress: If you don’t buy into the left/right polar model, why should there be anything unusual or contradictory about this?

Also, I’ll note that I’m at least moderately sympathetic to what happened with Noah’s piece here, because I don’t know that it could have been entirely avoided. The truth is, any group of youngish, politically active, moderately visible libertarians he’d quoted would almost certainly have overlapped, at the very least, with my circle of acquaintances. Hell, I’ll bet that if you went through similar articles about trends in liberal or conservative circles, many of the folks quoted would be, if not good friends, then at least on friendly social terms. Washington is just like that: Politically engaged people tend to know each other, especially if they’re ideologically aligned. Since there are relatively far fewer of us libertarians, I imagine it’s even more the case on our end. Will may have called attention to this instance, but I’d wager that it’s far more the rule than the exception.

Also, anyone else do a double take at Instapundit’s postscript to his link? The Blogfather says: “Guess I’m not one of the “in” crowd. But then, I never seem to be.” So, lemme get this straight… I live with Gene and hang out with Will and Radley, so I’m an insider. But a law professor with an MSNBC column and more ferociously loyal readers than most newspapers, who’s routinely quoted in major media, is an outsider? Isn’t that the kind of claim we giggle at when it comes from career politicians running on a “buck the establishment and fight the special interests” platform?

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