Wednesday, December 14, 2011

How the Other Half Thinks

You know how humans have a tendency to listen to people who agree with us? Well, John Scalzi busted that today by asking his readers who consider themselves to be Republicans to post what they're thinking about the field of candidates they have to choose from in the upcoming primaries and caucuses. (Scalzi clearly has identified himself as a non-Republican on a number of occasions.)

Over a hundred people responded, and it is a mannerly, thoughtful bunch of writing.

What I learned from it:

  • There are lots of libertarian-leaning people who read Scalzi's blog. Probably not super-surprising given that he's a science fiction writer who attracts geek readers, and the libertarian force runs strong in geekdom.
  • Lots of those same libertarian-leaners think Ron Paul is a bit too much. (Too socially conservative, too isolationist, too unable to do anything realistic if he got elected, what have you.)
  • Scalzi's readers are not representative of the evangelical wing of the Republican Party. They generally are economic conservatives and civil libertarians.
  • There's a guy named Gary Johnson, whom I've barely heard of, who's running for the Republican nomination.
  • An alarming number of people seem to think Newt Gingrich is very intelligent.
One commenter named Joshua Herring posted this neat analysis of the state of the Republican party:
I’m a Libertarian with Republican leanings, but more out of expediency than sympathy. I think the Republican Party has long been an uneasy, mutually antagonistic coalition of three wings (fascist, theocratic, free-market fundamentalist), and the antagonism was papered over by being the perpetual minority party. Now that they’ve had some back-to-back majorities in Congress, the cracks are starting to show, the discipline that goes with being a perpetual minority party is fading, and the coalition is starting to break up. (The Democrats manage it because their disagreements are mostly about degree, not fundamentals. They’re an ideologically more unified, but less disciplined party. But the ideological unity counts for a lot.)

Since the Republican Party is breaking up, now is the time for the libertarian branch of the three to start asserting itself and negotiating for better terms. So, I would vote for Gary Johnson in the Republican primary (and I will be volunteering for his campaign if he seeks and gets the LP nomination), regardless of his chances of winning, on the theory that the more votes he polls, the more cards the libertarian wing has in its hand. I’m not motivated by who wins this time around (since I think a Republican winning the big election is probably not in the stars this time around anyway) but rather what direction the party takes from here. Preferably a more libertarian one.
Worth a read.

No comments: