The Spectacle Blog

Andrew Sullivanism vs. Libertarianism

By on 10.24.06 | 4:42PM

Glenn Reynolds cast an early vote in Tennessee the other day. It wasn't clear from reading Instapundit over the past couple months who he was supporting in the Senate race -- he'd been criticized from the right for being too nice to Harold Ford, Jr. -- until he revealed that he'd voted for Bob Corker:

I liked Harold Ford, Jr. when we interviewed him, and I wouldn't shed any tears if he were elected; he'd raise the caliber of the Democrats in the Senate. But when push came to shove, I voted for Corker. I liked him, too, and ultimately the combination of Ford's "F" rating on gun rights and the sleazy "outing" behavior of the Democrats was such that I just felt I had to vote Republican in this race. (In our interview, Corker said he'd look favorably on federal legislation to require states to recognize each others' gun-carry permits.)
Andrew Sullivan took this opportunity to call Glenn a GOP stooge and question his libertarianism. Glenn responded by pointing out that on most of the social issues that Andrew cares about, Ford isn't even vaguely libertarian. Andrew's response:
So is Reynolds saying that Corker is more libertarian than Ford on these issues? That's the only relevant question when picking between the two of them on libertarian grounds, and Reynolds ducks it again.
Well, no. If a libertarian sees no meaningful difference between the candidates on those issues, he looks at other issues. Andrew has either forgotten or is deliberately ignoring how the exchange began, with Glenn citing "Ford's 'F' rating on gun rights." Andrew might not care about this issue, or even bother to attempt to understand it, but it is generally important to libertarians. (While we're on the subject, libertarians also usually don't like estate taxes, gasoline taxes, and over-the-top anti-drug rhetoric.)
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