The Silver Lining to the 2016 Election | Jeff Deist



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Recorded at “The End of Politics”—the Dallas-Ft. Worth Mises Circle—on 5 November 2016.

America appears more divided than any time since the Vietnam War, by race, class, faith, sex, sexuality, education, political party, and zip code. And thanks to social media, we are utterly aware of those divisions. No matter who wins the nasty contest between Clinton and Trump, millions of Americans—perhaps 100 million or more—will consider themselves disenfranchised and unrepresented in Washington.

Government and politicians won’t go away anytime soon, to be sure. But are we approaching the limits of what can be done politically in America? The federal government faces serious structural problems involving debt, spending, entitlements, regulations, taxes, civil liberties, and foreign policy. Congress can’t even pass a budget, much less decide the great issues of the day. Gridlock—a positive development for libertarians—is now an entrenched feature of the political landscape in DC.

As politics breaks down, will the myth of democratic consensus be exposed? Will the great social, economic, and cultural matters of our time increasingly not be decided by politicians? And will America turn to markets and civil society for answers to the seemingly intractable problems government can’t solve? Is the future necessarily more authoritarian and statist, or does the breakdown of politics provide an opportunity for us to make the case for pragmatic, non-political solutions to social and economic problems?

22 thoughts on “The Silver Lining to the 2016 Election | Jeff Deist

  1. Jeff points out why Libertarian Party will always be marginal. The Lib Party is doing a disservice to freedom, wasting time and money and giving democrats an edge.If you are a true libertarian then the only successful mission would be the infiltration and take over the GOP. Ron Paul was successful because he infiltrated the Republican party.

  2. As an "Old Right" small 'c' conservative, this is a fantastic speech!
    “Let’s promote a different vision of liberty. A robust, muscular, pragmatic vision that accords with reality and human nature. One that is not at war with culture or tradition, family, religion, community – one that fits the world as it is – hardboiled, pragmatic, results-oriented, focused on issues and market solutions. We should be proudly pro-property, pro-ownership, pro-opportunity, pro-trade, and anti-welfarism. We should be unapologetically anti-state, even when it feels uncomfortable to be so. We should be anti-Fed, anti-globalist, and maybe most importantly we should be anti-war. We should be supportive of decentralization and secession and localist movements. We should be unafraid to appeal to populism and bourgeois materialism and we should be welcoming to religion, tradition, and family. In other words, we should rebrand libertarianism to fit the world as it is.”

    Amen to that!

  3. I agree but would replace the word "progressive" with "liberal." The Bernie voters are a mix of libertarian and progressive policies. To me, progressive is what I call the Bernie type people; liberals are the Clintonian imperial lapdogs and SJW you speak of.

  4. Great speech. If you like this guy, I recommend Paul Gottfried. I binge read most of his books in 2 weeks, and they finally turned me off from neoconservatism. His book "Conservatism in America" was the most brutal thing I've read about the modern conservative movement. It was all the more hard-hitting because he attacked from the right, with deep understanding of ideological history, and personal experience of being kicked off the bus, or rather thrown under it, along with people like Rothbard and other old school anti-interventionist anti-New Deal conservatives. After which neocons basically surrendered to multicultural/PC ideology, and then started pretending it was their idea to begin with.

  5. The main error is being "unapologetically anti-state". Why? Bastiat and Mises were minarchists. Why? Because this Rothbardian assertion that things can actually be "illegal" (including property laws) without a state requires twisting definitions and language in ways that… yes, don't work in practical reality. When you talk about "people coming together", one way they can come together is in various collaborative governmental structures, which are a form of state (if we are using normal English definitions instead of radical Rothbardian ones).

    That is my view, as someone who first called himself a libertarian in 1977, was a member of the original LP starting in 1979, and no longer call myself a libertarian due to how muddy the entire realm has become. Again, in my view, largely due to radical views that are, as you so brilliantly identified, too out-of-sync with reality to be much more than destructive.

  6. Jeff hits the nail on the head. Ron Paul won over millions with his shockingly pure anarcho-capitalist campaign. Gary and the traitor Weld are embarrassing us.

    People are restless and hungry for change. And if is isn't libertarian change, it will be Trumpish protectionism or Progressivism. It's time to take the gloves off and just go for it.

  7. All of my acquaintances are now pretending to realize the faults of Democracy and politics. They'll neither act on it, nor remember it after the elections are over. The conclusions I draw are that this is either a general defect of humanity or that a generation once indoctrinated is lost forever. A Libertarian world now seems as realistic as the Socialist Internationalist dream.
    Brexit has left some with overly positive impressions. The movement for it was a lot more Nationalist than Libertarian in kind. More of a "nobody rules me, but my own master" kind of response. It firmly stopped after the referendum. Ethnic tension rose up as well.
     I'll make sure to secure my own liberty first before concerning myself with any kind of populist movement. Maybe the path to individual liberty is not collective.

  8. Just to reiterate what he said at the end:

    “Let’s promote a different vision of liberty. A robust, muscular, pragmatic vision that accords with reality and human nature. One that is not at war with culture or tradition, family, religion, community – one that fits the world as it is – hardboiled, pragmatic, results-oriented, focused on issues and market solutions. We should be proudly pro-property, pro-ownership, pro-opportunity, pro-trade, and anti-welfarism. We should be unapologetically anti-state, even when it feels uncomfortable to be so. We should be anti-Fed, anti-globalist, and maybe most importantly we should be anti-war. We should be supportive of decentralization and secession and localist movements. We should be unafraid to appeal to populism and bourgeois materialism and we should be welcoming to religion, tradition, and family. In other words, we should rebrand libertarianism to fit the world as it is.”

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