Those dirty, filthy libertarians!
"I became a conservative by being around liberals, and I became a libertarian by being around conservatives."

So says Greg Gutfeld, host of Red Eye on Fox News and former editor of Men's Health magazine in a free-ranging interview Sean Kinsell describes as "a hilarious conversation" with "a lot to say about health-related nanny-state-ism, tiresome moralizing, and keeping your toaster away from meth addicts."

It's not every day I hear a journalist with a media microphone maintain that smoking is good for you, that global warming is "the biggest scam ever devised,"
or explain how the Tea Party movement was deliberately made to look like a joke, but there's all that and more.

Very, very entertaining.

However, for those who are easily offended, I should repeat Reason's warning:

Warning for viewers prone to high-blood pressure, heart palpitations, and sour-puss syndrome: Gutfeld mixes humor, outrage and language salty enough to cure a side of bacon. Proceed at your own caution.


No wonder certain Republicans consider libertarianism a "dirty word."

MORE: If you thought the wars on cigarettes, drugs, and exhaled air were bad, get ready for the coming war on soda.

Clayton Cramer links a Wall Street Journal piece, and says,

The May 12, 2009 Wall Street Journal reports that "Senate leaders are considering new federal taxes on soda and other sugary drinks to help pay for an overhaul of the nation's health-care system." The motivation isn't just money; the article quotes "Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest" a Ralph Nader affiliate, that, "Soda is clearly one of the most harmful products in the food supply, and it's something government should discourage the consumption of." Gadzooks! I thought it was beautifully marbled steaks, or Big Macs, or hot fudge sundaes!
Not to give anyone ideas, but I'm surprised they haven't also gone after the soda industry because of the links to the deadly CO2 gas that's killing the planet.

How can libertarians defend such filth?

MORE: In light the question of whether libertarianism is becoming a dirty word, a related question might be whether "gay conservative" has become an oxymoron.

In a post Glenn Reynolds linked yesterday, Gay Patriot discusses the military's "Don't Ask Don't Tell" and the limits of political labels:

While supporting repeal of DADT marks me "liberal" on that issue, I don't see the ban itself as a conservative policy. It just doesn't advance the ideals of the modern American conservative movement, the basic tenets of which are limited government, a strong national defense and judicial restraint.
If conservatism means limited government, a strong national defense and judicial restraint, then by all means I'm a conservative. But if conservatism means fighting DADT, I guess I'm a "liberal" on that one.

What are the consequences? Depends on how you define yourself. If you self-define as a libertarian, then opposing DADT is without consequence. If OTOH, you self-define as conservative while opposing DADT, others may attack your self-definition.

Which means it's probably easier for non-conforming conservatives to self-define as libertarian.

I never gave it much thought, but I now find myself wondering how many "libertarians" might be simply non-conforming conservatives afraid of taking ideological flak.

Egad! Here's something else: I'd hate to think that any conservative might be so cowardly as to call himself a libertarian in order to feel more comfortable at liberal cocktail parties..... And what about the inverse? Might there also be libertarians in conservative drag?

You can't be too careful!

posted by Eric on 05.19.09 at 08:58 AM


I was having a similar discussion over at Power and Control with a Conservative who claimed conservatives are misunderstood.

I told him that he was mostly being done in by politicians who adopt the conservative mantle. He agreed.

I suggested that conservatives complain loud and long to and about such politicians so that the public didn't get the wrong idea.

M. Simon   ·  May 19, 2009 2:37 PM

BTW I love the Tone Loc theme music on Reason TV.

Funky Cold Medina

M. Simon   ·  May 19, 2009 3:03 PM

Thanks for the link, Eric.

Sean Kinsell   ·  May 19, 2009 3:49 PM

Gutfeld is very funny and insightful.

I've always been fairly conservative and have certainly drifted towards libertarian positions over the years. I've seen too much BS and corruption over the years to trust anything to government.

Bram   ·  May 19, 2009 10:13 PM

Libertarianism? The governing classes think Liberty is a dirty word.

Brett   ·  May 20, 2009 7:33 AM

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