TCS Daily

From Far Left to Libertarian

By Arnold Kling - September 28, 2006 12:00 AM

The question of how I became a libertarian ultimately is a question about how I changed my mental model of the political system from one of "good guys vs. villains" to one of the importance of limited government, individual liberty, and personal responsibility. I travelled the route from Far Left to libertarian. I think that quite a few libertarians have travelled that route, and yet I cannot think of anyone who has gone the other direction. This leads me to suspect that:

  1. Far Leftists and libertarianism have much in common.
  2. Libertarians know something that Far Leftists do not.

What I believe that Far Leftists and libertarians have in common includes:

  1. A passion for social and political issues. I grew up in a household where the dinner conversation often was politics. Far Leftists and libertarians both care more than the average person about what goes on in public policy.
  2. Frustration with political incumbents. Far Leftists and libertarians both have a tendency to exaggerate the flaws in Presidents while in office and to overstate the virtues of past leaders. For example, Presidents Clinton and Kennedy are much more popular with the Far Left today than when they were in office. Similarly, during his Administration, President Reagan was considered a disappointment by libertarians.
  3. Anti-elitism. Both Far Leftists and libertarians are willing to reject what they see as elitist views among politicians and political pundits.

What I believe that Libertarians have learned is what social psychologists call the Fundamental Attribution Error. The error is to attribute behavior to a person's character when this behavior is in fact based on context. In one classic experiment, the subject is asked to watch a person read a speech that the subject knows that the speaker did not write. Subjects attribute to the person the beliefs contained in the speech.

The Far Left believes that bad policies come from evil motives. In this view, villains, such as powerful corporations, oppose good policies, and political incumbents lack the strength and courage to overcome the villains.

Libertarians believe that context is more important. We believe that government power is inherently corrupting, regardless of who holds leadership positions or how they are influenced. We believe that the market does a relatively good job of channelling self-interest toward socially desirable ends.

In my journey from Far Left to libertarianism, studying economics played an important role. My undergraduate economics professor, the late Bernie Saffran, exposed students to a variety of viewpoints, from Marxist to libertarian. But he revelled in showing us cases where policy intentions conflicted with policy results. The point that self-interest in a market context can lead to good outcomes, while good intentions in government regulation can lead to bad outcomes, was driven home.

I also feel that I was profoundly affected by reading David Halberstam's The Best and the Brightest, which is a history of the Vietnam War. My Far Left activism was mostly geared toward opposition to the war. In high school and college, I assumed that the leaders prosecuting the war were villains. I remember listening to speakers argue that it was the pursuit of markets by American corporations that led us into war.

Although Halberstam's book was strongly anti-war, his narrative of how the United States became involved was far from the simplistic theory of imperialism. Instead, he emphasized hubris, the belief of American elites that they could bend a foreign culture to their will. It showed how people who one might think of as "good guys" were capable of blundering into the Vietnam mess.

Some early experiences working in government helped nudge me along the road to libertarianism. As an intern to Senator Hubert Humphrey in 1973, for part of my sophomore year in college, I saw how poorly-informed he and other Senators were about economics, and how little time and energy they spent on understanding public policy. The Senator's best office space, equipment, and personnel were dedicated to doing constituent service, such as helping veterans navigate the bureaucracy to obtain their benefits. In contrast, the legislative assistants were overworked, poorly-equipped, and often given duties more appropriate to a personal aide, such as helping the Senator get from one meeting to the next.

After graduating Swarthmore College in 1975, my first job was with the newly-formed Congressional Budget Office. I worked on simulations of the macroeconomic implications of different energy policies. At the time, there was a Byzantine system of oil price controls in place, in which "old domestic oil" was held to a lower price than "new domestic oil," which in turn had a different price than imported oil. When you stepped back and thought about it, the oil price control system was reminiscent of the Vietnam War in that it was a mess resulting from the attempted cleverness of the elite. When Ronald Reagan was elected President, early decontrol of oil prices proved to be a triumph of simple economics over elitist management.

I might have remained mostly liberal were it not for two intense experiences in business. From 1986 through 1994, I worked for Freddie Mac, as it made the transition from a government agency to a shareholder-owned, profit-driven corporation. I was involved in several major innovations, including the introduction of credit scoring into mortgage underwriting. These experiences were bittersweet at best. I found myself strongly opposed by the bureaucracy when I tried to persuade senior management to undertake the innovations. Then, when senior management finally agreed to move forward, these same bureaucrats would leap aboard the new project and shove me aside. I came away with very mixed feelings about large corporate organizations. I now say that "You would not be so afraid of large corporations if you had ever worked for one."

In 1994, I tried innovating as an entrepreneur, starting one of the first businesses on the World Wide Web,, which provided information to consumers undertaking relocations and made money by connecting them with service providers, such as real estate agents or moving companies. This experience also showed me that small start-ups can compete in an environment with large corporations.

I now believe that entrepreneurship and the process of innovation are central elements in economic performance. I believe that innovations are very difficult to sell to people used to doing things the old way. I believe that governments naturally side with incumbents against disruptive innovators.

I have been writing essays on policy for Internet publications for the past five years. Over this period, I have come to believe that politicians are in the business of "marketing" their product to the public, by exaggerating threats and over-selling government solutions.

My goal as a libertarian is to counter the heavy-handed marketing by politicians of bigger government. I want to constantly remind people that personal responsibility and free markets are more powerful forces for progress than is government. For those people who are still on the Far Left, my advice is to study the consequences of policy, not simply the motives and intentions of those who advocate the policy. Once one understands and corrects for the Fundamental Attribution Error, the passion for better public policy translates into a support for libertarian principles.

The author is a TCS Daily Contributing Editor.



Great article, Arnold
I too have noticed that many erswhile leftists become libertarians (and occasionally conservatives) while the reverse switch is almost unheard of. I have also experienced that sense that there is some sort of deep intellectual scotoma in operation in the worldview of the leftist. Someone who can look at North Korea versus South Korea and still support radical socialism--while not insane--is clearly not apprehending reality in its fullness.

FWIW, this sort of false attribution of evil motives is every bit as active on the Right, if not more so. The vituperation and malice shown toward people like Hilary Clinton is deplorable. Also a lot of right-wingers are plain, old-fashioned racists who are pleased as punch that Islamism seems to give them license to once again hate entire classes of people. If you read the comments on sites like you will regularly see KKK types sneaking in ellipitcal remarks about blacks, Mexicans, etc. Remarks which clearly betray minds more diseased still than that of the radical leftist.

A Possible Example of the Fundamental Attribution Error
I can't find the reference, but if my memory is correct, William Brennan was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Eisenhower at least partly on the basis of a speech he made while the appointment of a new justice was being considered. However, he only delivered the speech. It had been written by a conservative jurist who was unable to attend the meeting and Brennan presented the speech as a favor. As I said, I'm operating from memory so I would appreciate it if anyone could provide references that confirm or contradict this. President Eisenhower was said to consider the appointment of Brennan as one of the biggest mistakes of his presidency.

Same destination, different road
I did my own squatting on the left end of the political continuum. But then experience (wisdom), knowledge (economics, finance, law) and understanding (faith & Bible study) evicted me, recommending that regions to the right would suit me better. But I've got a different (very Biblical) way of putting things.

First, there can be no value (good/evil) without cost (life/death). This statement agrees with both of its possible readings.

Second, time (short-hand for the physical universe's laws) ensures that scarcity & competition maintain this value/cost regime.

Third, politics is a form of competition for scarce and valuable things occurring side by side with economic competition, but often trumping it by redistributing or channeling scarce and valuable things to political winners and from political losers. Perversely, elites are often over-represented in both camps, suggesting that the worst they ever do is a wash while John Q. Public takes it in the shorts year in and year out, which is Public Choice Theory’s accurate conclusion.

Fourth, whatever the outcome a given economic/political competition generates, when compared against an alternate, possible/probable outcome, the whole cost of the two are exactly the same. This means that politics merely shifts the cost/value outcome it affects between the various competitors.

Fifth, with the "whole cost" idea in mind, I asked myself whether there are any political idea systems that (1) look to government to right wrongs and that (2) match up inversely with another such political idea system, thereby rendering both whole. Indeed, there are two: Conservatism and Socialism (AKA "Liberalism"; AKA "Progressivism"). This means that politics' whole cost is a left/right (up/down) political continuum that meets power divestment with opposition tending toward the extremes and power sharing with compromise tending towards the middle. This is exactly what we’re seeing in America right now.

And finally, I couldn’t escape realizing that what I was looking at in American politics is a power cartel between Republicans and Democrats, whose whole enduring cost to John Q. Public is a broken government that will continue to expand in perpetuity and for which there is no fix possible.

This is a nasty picture of how things work, but I fear it's true. Any Libertarians out there have a similar story?

re smooveB.on the Right
Why mention the Right wingers, they weren't talked about in the article, and they have nothing to do with libertarianism?

re: libertarians
Another difference the author might have mentioned was that the Left believes in controlling people, and libertarians believe people should be freer. But when I talk to guys on the far left they deny that point saying that they do believe in freedom, but that I should just be reasonable and do it their way. Then I tell them that's kinda like when the jihadis say they will kill us we we say islam is not a religion of peace; then they just get mad at me.

THe left doesn't believe in controlling people.
If a Democrate wants to pass a law ti fix a problem, say Education by increasing taxes, they don;t think they are controlling people.

Its not the philosophy involved. I agree that it could be viewed as a side effect, but it is disingengenous (sp?) to assert that "Liberals are controlling people". If you asked a any politition if their primary goal is to control people would they say yes?

Power to Tax
When any government official wants to take my money and give it to someone else, that is controlling people.

And politicians of all stripes want the power to control people with force, not persuasion.

In that sense Islam is not a religion, it is a government.

The Pope reiterated recently that faith cannot be forced but government programs and laws are force.

What does the liberal mayor of New York want to do? Control what you eat for 'your own good' because you are too stupid to choose healthy food.

No, liberals know everything and they must save the world even though they must use the power they so detest.

Taxes & Control
Give me a break. Raising taxes almost never fixes a problem, because its easy to do and fiscal restraint is difficult. Typical leftist pecuniary cult response "if we just raise taxes a little more or once more, life will be grand"

As for your "education issue", homeschoolers have to jump through a million hoops to educate their kids, whereas to send them off to the publiuc reservation is "free", easy and REQUIRED. Try being a private school and getting public money (just like any other private business providing services to the government)-its not going to happen because the NEA likes their cartel.

"Education" or more precisely the cost of keeping the establishment in the style to which its become accustomed, is among the most intractable and durable of our public problems and accompanied by taxes AT ALL LEVELS of government, yet any beltway bureacrat that can gets HIS OR HER kids out of the wonderful public education system.

Time after time the left tries to blunt choice to "fix" a "problem". Outside of education, we would do to remember Hillarycare's provisions to imprison anyone who attempted to accept payment from other than the rube goldberg contraption she and her friends attempted to dream up in Jackson Hole.

Of course they won't admit it. In the same manner the neighbourhood old gossip lady won't say she's a busybody. The same way liberals won't admit they're socialists. The same way, the east germans didn't say they were totalitarian dictaros, but germ. democratic republic. The same way Pol Pot didn't say he was controlling people but rescuing his country. The same way Castro doesn't say he represses his people but is saving them from capitalism. On the contrary libertarians usually actually do advocate more freedom thus don't pretend to save others the way liberals do.

Not the arguement
Let me be clearer, it was stated "was that the Left believes in controlling people".

There is know way you can know what people believe. You can't look into thier minds. You can only judge what they say. If they are not saying they want to control people then you must accept they don't believe that.

What you are saying is, IN FACT they are controlling people. This of course is true.

To clarify
Let me be clearer, it was stated "was that the Left believes in controlling people".

There is know way you can know what people believe. You can't look into thier minds. You can only judge what they say. If they are not saying they want to control people then you must accept they don't believe that.

What you are saying is, IN FACT they are controlling people. This of course is true.

I never said raising taxes fixes anything. You are reading a bit to much into what I said. Relax dude.

No resonable person
Would believe they are control people. When you think you can fix education by taxing. No one think, "I must control the people under my iron boot".

This just doesn't happen.

"..a lot of right-wingers are plain, old fashioned racists.." - what the hell???
You state the above based on some postings at one site? This is your set of data points to draw such a sweeping conclusion? What percentage of posters at the site use racist language?

Using your reasoning skills I could state that "a lot" of libertarians don't know how to make an argument and can only use ad hominem attacks against those they don't agree with.

Have to agree...
Having a great many liberal friends and family members I can say that the great portion of them believe that they are doing a service to people by taking the "hard" choices out of their hands.

I do find it disturbing that a good portion of them are unable to see the inconsistencies in their messages such as a choice for an abortion but not for school vouchers and home schooling. Control over your retirement money over your choice to invest it yourself.

The problem with liberals is that they really do think the masses need their wisdom in their everyday lives and that those masses should give greater portions of their earnings in order to fund these "life-enriching" programs.

But no, a great majority do not consciously see themselves as controllers and manipulators. They see themselves as saviours. Which makes their thinking that much more dangerous.

I became a libertarian after working for the state one summer vacation.
I became a libertarian after working for the state one summer vacation. Working for the state it seemed that the state could never work efficiently.
I must admit also that libertarianism appeals to my shy, introspective, non-violent nature.
I have slowly become more and more libertarian in my beliefs.
One of the problems with attracting non-political people to libertarian ideas is they lack the knowledge and imagination to see how things might work without so much Government intervention. For example they buy the politicians marketing that says without a war on drugs the people near them will become much more crazy and violent, but sociologist who study the subject come to a different conclusion. The average person is shocked to find out that drugs where legal until the early 1930’s.
An economic example it they cannot imagine people not starving in the streets without the food stamps and other welfare.

On energy the politicians have convinced people that it is too important to be left to the “market”. Ironic since even the Communist countries came to the conclution that food prodcution was too important to left to the Government.

Yes this is bad.
Trouble is in a lot of cases they are right. It is better save money then to gamble. It is better not to smoke then to light up. It is better to eat healthy then not.

I think what should be the line is Gov. should incourage good behavour not require.

well said thank you.

You use the same "Flame On" language when you talk about "Most Liberals".

Sounds like you are both wrong.

I would say a great many...
liberals are racists by simply looking at the positions they take.

Voter ID: Blacks and minorities will not vote if you make them show the same ID required to buy liquor and smokes.

College admissions: Blacks and minorities can't get into schools unless you dumb down the tests and lower the requirements.

Government contracts: Blacks and minorities can't get them based on the quality of their product and services.

The simple racism of low expectations. It is liberal policies that have contributed to the current state of minority communities. Liberals love minorities because they keep white, liberal politicians in power.

without understanding is the root of our problems.

Most of our elected representatives have no profession other than politics. They are not economists, scientists, engineers, medical doctors, accountants, etc. If anything, they are lawyers. (Arguably, allowing lawyers to make law is a for of incest.)

Much of the legislation voted on by our elected representatives has not been read by our elected representatives before they vote, no less understood by them. A simple requirement that legislators have read every word of any bill before they are allowed to vote on it combined with a requirement that a majority of sitting legislators be thus qualified to vote before a vote could occur would produce amazing results, including a dramatic reduction in the number of bills passed into law. A requirement that legislators pass an objective test on the content and intent of the bills would accomplish even more.

Individual legislators' staff personnel are typically very bright young college graduates with minimal life experience. Leadership staff has typically "dried" behind the ears. Committee staff, especially in today's Congress, is the reservoir of knowledge and experience. Committee staff shapes the law. Regulatory staff interprets and administers the law.

A prime concern for Libertarians is that the law is so massive, so complex and so arcane that it is no longer possible for the average citizen to know what the law is, no less how to live within it. (I offer up federal income tax law as only one of myriad examples. The existence of specialized lawyers and courts is another.)

Lets keep it simple
I believe Arnold has the right idea, but I see a more simple formulation. The left thinks there is something wrong with the way the world works, but they are almost completely wrong about what and how to fix it. Libertarians know there is something wrong too, but they do have a sniff about what that may be, and how to fix it.

I have made a similar journey. In 1972 I was an enthusiastic McGovern supporter. I was a 14 year old Canadian, so my enthusiasm only went so far, but I have the campaign buttons to prove my devotion at the time. I knew something was wrong with the world and the way it worked, and the left seemed to be saying the same thing. Little did I know, the ideas that animated the left (and the right) were the problems.

My epiphany came with seeing the movie, The Fountainhead on late night tv when I was 16 or 17. I am not an Ayn Rand cultist - I am an Objectivist. I do subscribe to her philosophy because it is logical, well thought out and fits reality and the nature of human beings. I believe libertarianism is an intellectual and moral dead-end, although many of the adherents are groping in the right direction.

Something is wrong with the world and the way it works, but libertarianism, will not be the way out of our mess. Libertarianism is really based on the idea that most children subscibe to when arguing a point with a parent:"you're not the boss of me!" We need more than that to beat the people who would control or kill us.

“…American politics is a power cartel between Republicans and Democrats, whose whole enduring cost to John Q. Public is a broken government that will continue to expand in perpetuity and for which there is no fix possible. “

1) Role of Government…There are costs and benefits to social order founded on anarchy and tyranny. In both cases, the costs greatly exceed the benefits. Social order via law should be based on optimizing the equation between the costs and benefits of government. Because of the untended consequences of all government action, the burden of proof must be upon those onto those who advocate changed or expanded government. Optimizing government is a dynamic process…some new law is necessary and some must be repealed. The problem is that we keep adding and very little is repealed. For this reason, I believe all law should come with a SUNSET provision.

2) Right-Sizing Government…Given the current political realities, it appears the perpetual expansion of government is inevitable. Humans struggle with their desire to be free and their desire to be secure. Advocates of expanding government often play to the security impulse, without regard to real consequences or cost/benefit. If the majority of US citizens prefer the security of “BIG” government, then they will surely have it. The brakes on big government comes from the freedom impulse. While government it always about the balance between freedom and security, Optimal government provides the best of both. I believe that American Politics is in long term search mode for the “sweet spot”…that just right role of government that optimizes liberty and the pursuit of happiness at the same time. Libertarianism is the movement most adept at guiding our civilization in establishing optimized government. I have adopted a hopeful view, even if real results seem far, far away.

Some know it
Why do you think are ditching 'liberal' and pushing 'progressive'?

Certainly the party leaders know they are trying to pull the masses' strings. Which is why they were so up in arms when Rush started calling them what they were 10 years ago.

With blogs and talk radio, liberals have to do battle on their ideas, and they are losing.

Libertarians aren't doing much better in the PR department. They need to tell the pot heads to stand in the back and let the economic libertarians lead the charge.

Jury nullification
Libertarians can and should promote jury nullification and for PR purposes, push the idea that lawyers should not be elected because of conflict of interest.

"good guys vs. villains"
As a libertarian, I still view the situation as good guys vs. villians.

The villian in this case is government power.

If the Dems started leaning libertarian, they might not be a joke anymore.
I too have travelled the path from far left to libertarian and will never go back. That said, I strongly believe that if enough Democratic candidates their supporters took note of that path and started courting the libertarian electorate that has been forgotten by the GOP, they could take the Republicans down. Or at least be competitive and not embarrass themselves.

I sense that many such liberal-to-libertarian people as well as principled conservatives would come out of the woodwork and embrace the brave Democrat that trumpeted the values of individual liberty and limited government.

No, I am not holding my breath.

I know a lot of libertarians who are former rightists as well.
I know a number of former libertarians who have returned to the right because of the libertarians isolationist streak.

rightists are racists
Care to back up your statement with some evidence?
I have never met a rightist who is also a racist.
All of the racists that I have known were also big fans of govt intervention into everything. IE, liberals.

I am the boss of myself, not any government.
"Libertarianism is really based on the idea that most children subscibe to when arguing a point with a parent:"you're not the boss of me!"

That is not how I define libertarianism.

Children, like liberals don't understand responsibility and create a nanny state to protect people from themselves.

Liberty is not libertinism. Liberty is also being held accountable for your actions.

Children learn very early that nature 'rules' when they discover what gravity can do. Actions have consequences.

taxes are control, but so are the billions of pages of regulations that get passed every year

there is no difference
between saying the left believes in controlling people, and saying the left believes in forcing people to behave in ways that they (the leftists) want.

then explain the left's love of regulations
and laws that ban every behavior the left doesn't like?

What isolation?
The Libertarain party wants open borders!

And I partly agree.

Who is the most prominant isolationist? Pat Buchanan, no Libertarian he.

all of the racists on this side swing to the left, usually the far left.

The evils of Big Business are possible because of Big Government
Provided that liberals were aware of the unholy alliance of Big Biz and Big Gov, you'd think that for all the animosity that liberals have towards big business, they'd agree that a limited gov't would limit a company like Wal-Mart's power, influence, and hated corporate welfare.

Corporations can't have what they can't buy. Don't liberals know that the "bad guys" can easily avoid THEIR regulations and that the Mom & Pops can't?!?

look how they argue that arabs and other non-white people just can't handle self-rule.

Back at you
Or all the laws the religious conservatives promote to control behaviour?
Both parties have those who want to force others to live the way they want.

Liberals are socialists
They don't trust customers, they trust victims.

No Subject
"there is no difference between saying the left believes in controlling people, and saying the left believes in forcing people to behave in ways that they (the leftists) want."

I think there is a difference in the sense of how you address that. If you really believe all liberals are out to control you the way say Stalin or Hitler wanted control, then there is no response available except resistance.

If a liberal has goal of say "healthcare for the poor" and says that the only way to do that is with a giant government entity then perhaps you can argue for alternative approach.

Not the isolationism of locking the world out, but rather the belief that if we ignored the world, the world would ignore us.

That might be true in a perfect world. But we don't live in a perfect world. We live in a world, in which, regardless of reason, the Islamists want us converted, or dead.
It may be, as some claim, the result of US actions over the last few decades, or more likely it's the result of their interpretation of their religion.

Regardless, they won't ignore us, no matter how much we ignore them.

The Libertarian party has taken a pacifist view when it comes to the war on terror.

I have voted Libertarian whenever there was a Libertarian candidate for 20 years.

I will have to think long and hard about doing so again as long as the Libertarian party believes we should surrender in the WOT, or until that war is won.

Control is their middle name
If a person eats 6000 calories a day and sits around watching tv all day, they can say they don't want to be fat, but I would argue that they are just trying to fool themselves. No one else should believe them. Eating and weight are personal decisions, but both liberals and conservatives and most in between love to control people. They love to tell them what they can and cannot do and they back it up with the state and its laws - ultimately the point of a gun as they cart you off to jail.

Now of course they are controlling us for our own good or for the good of "society", but please identify their actions if not their motives although the latter are just as bad in many cases.

Liberals and conservatives both agree that control or telling people what to do are good - they just argue about the details.

Go to any college campus
If you really want to see how dangerous and repressive the left really is. Some of these places resemble 1936 Germany,more than 2006 America.

I'm disgusted with the Libertarian Party, too.
Liberty is good for me but not for thee?

The reason people don't often go the other way
Is simply because Liberals don't make any sense. Once you start thinking logically, there is no turning back!

Your words
If a Democrate wants to pass a law ti fix a problem, say Education by increasing taxes, they don;t think they are controlling people.

Ends justify means?
"If a liberal has goal of say "healthcare for the poor" and says that the only way to do that is with a giant government entity then perhaps you can argue for alternative approach."

A 'giant government entity' needs force to exist.

What is to negotiate?

I agree, but you must defend it on philosophical grounds.
I am being simplistic. I would agree with many libertarians and I would agree with many libertarian ideas and positions. There are however, some wacky contradictory positions held by some who reside under the libertarian tent. Some libertarians are practically anarchists.

And these problems are present because basically libertarianism has no underlying philosophical ideas behind it. Libertarians themselves may have ideas that underly their political positions, but the movement as a whole does not. It will never succeed until it does. Ideas matter.

Growing Pains
Churchill said it best "Show me a young conservative and I'll show you someone with no heart. Show me an old liberal and I'll show you someone with no brains."

Churchill was a young liberal.

I believe that a person matures into conservative mindset...and for most of us…cynical. How's that for hubris?

I do think the libertarians have more in common with conservatives than liberals. The mindset is a little more aligned. My own opinion is maybe as a liberal mind grows and matures and hating the neo-cons...refuses to fall into that class. And find themselves libertarians instead.

For the record, Regan was also a young Democrat. "I didn't leave the party, the party left me!"

For the record, I was also a young liberal. Now just an old cynic.


Smoove, You are an ASS Hate is the petroleum of leftist politics
Hateful "Isms" is rampant in the left, whether its antiCatholicism, resurgent Jew Hatred (hymie town) or nmyriad of other deragotary crap (extra chromosome crowd)that is levelled on political enemies

The worst is the left is hypocritical, Trent Lott is pilloried for making ceremonial comments, amn authentic KKK member famous for his "ni**er" freudian slip is the "conscience of the Senate".

Since there is no intellectual underpinning to leftist policies, just utopian fantasies doomed to failure, it must subsist on emotion. The easiest emotions to uncork ares hate, greed, envy and the like- so it is the blogosphere is full of rabid lunatics and the Democratic party is increasingly driven by people like Howard Dean, whose oratory, replete with conspiracy, hyperbole and frantic gesticulations, looks like something delivered at Nuremberg in the 1930's.

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