A few links

John Holbo at Crooked Timber on Rationalism, Pluralism, and Freedom: “Thinking About Groups”

Eric Schliesser on Rationalism, Pluralism, and Freedom: “On the role of Systematicity in an Impure Theory of a (Pluralistic) Liberalism worth Having” (try saying that three times fast).

Posts on freedom of speech on campus from Joseph Heath and Andrew Potter, both making some use of this old BHL post of mine. See also Sigal Ben-Porath’s excellent new book Free Speech on Campus

The European Journal of Political Theory is promoting my “Contra Politanism” by making it available ungated and free for three months.

The Economist, “The misplaced arguments against Black Lives Matter”

John Quiggin at Crooked Timber, “What’s Left of Libertarianism” on liberaltarianism. He mentions Niskanen but I think BHL is obviously part of the shift he’s describing. I obviously think that the BHL/ Niskanen direction is the right one, and I’m happy to see its distinctiveness noted. And in addition to my general criticisms of right-fusionism I’ve been critical of something like what he refers to as “propertarianism.” That said, I want to concur-in-part, dissent-in-part, because think he’s genuinely unfair to Cato in particular, which is more liberal and more diverse than he recognizes. I’m happily affiliated with both Niskanen and Cato, and while I do a lot more at Niskanen, Cato invited me to speak at its 40th anniversary conference and gave me a chance to talk about some of my running themes: the need to break market liberal politics away from association with white supremacy and nationalism, the particular priority of making progress against the police-and-prison complex of mass incarceration, the sense of market liberalism as being allied with the institutions of constitutional democracy and open global trade, not a “smash everything” anti-institutionalism that easily morphs into nasty kinds of populism.

On the couple of issues where Niskanen and Cato genuinely differ not just on emphasis, tactics, or presentation but on real substance– crucially, climate change and progressive redistribution/ fiscal policy– I’m with Niskanen. And I think those are genuinely important differences. But Niskanen can emphasize those issues partly because the much larger Cato is still out there advancing market-liberal and classical liberal arguments across so much of the policy landscape, from privacy and civil liberties to free trade to immigration and refugees. David Boaz, Cato’s Vice-President and longest-standing public voice, has been a forceful opponent of the racism and nationalism on the right for a very long time, and wasn’t at all shy about naming Trump’s association with it: “Not since George Wallace has there been a presidential candidate who made racial and religious scapegoating so central to his campaign.” Tom Palmer has been documenting and criticizing the “fever swamp” where paleolibertarianism melds with populism, Russophilia, and racism not only since before Trump but since before BHL was a glimmer in Matt Zwolinski’s eye. Yes, I very much want to see Niskanen’s project of taking libertarian ideas in the direction Quiggin notes succeed; but the point of that is not at all to become a rhetorical club with which to whack Cato.

  • From Quiggin:

    More significantly, propertarians haven’t had a new idea in decades. As problems have emerged to which their ideology has no easy answer, they’ve resorted to making up their own facts.


    Engaging with this group is not worth the effort if the hope is to learn anything from the exchange.

    This is the piece to which you are linking favorably, i.e. a piece in which Quiggin doesn’t just have a difference of position from the people he criticizes, but to which he is openly hostile and with whom he demonstrates no desire to actually engage. He then follows that up with a howler: “But, to the extent that any of them can be moved, the liberaltarians are best placed to do it.”

    What could a man who doesn’t even want to engage with “propertarians” possibly know about how they might be convinced to be some other type of person? This reminds me of the time Arnold Kling suggested that Will Wilkinson was really only trolling libertarians:

    I do not believe that either Smith or Wilkinson is sincerely trying to appeal to libertarians. (Of course, with my last-minute decision to write in Paul Ryan on Tuesday, I am in no position to claim to speak for the libertarian movement.) They are not trying to pass an ideological Turing test. Instead, they employ slurs and charges against libertarians that are popular on the left, which suggests to me that the motive is not to offer constructive suggestions to libertarians.


    Kind of sounds like that Quiggin piece to me, actually! But that’s just my opinion. At any rate, here’s to hoping it doesn’t turn into just one more echo chamber populated by libertarians.

    • JohnQuiggin

      “What could a man who doesn’t even want to engage with “propertarians”
      possibly know about how they might be convinced to be some other type of
      person?” Can you explain this? I don’t see the contradiction.

      • Sure. I wasn’t pointing out a contradiction, I was pointing out a failure to understand the other side. Or, as Kling puts it, the failure of an ideological Turing test. Someone who doesn’t think “George” is credible or worth engaging is unlikely to know how to get through to “George” in the first place. I’d take your claims about liberal-tarians more seriously if you hadn’t completely written-off other kinds of libertarians.

        But since you have, I’m not liable to take you seriously as someone who knows how to speak convincingly to non-liberal-tarian libertarians.

      • Compare the following two statements:

        STATEMENT A:
        “John Quiggin just makes shit up and isn’t even worth talking to. But if anyone is able to get through to him, it’s Richard Spencer.”

        STATEMENT B:
        “I’ve had many discussions with John Quiggin over the years. Even though he and I don’t agree on much, I think it’s worth trying to talk to him anyway. In my experience, he responds best to the following kinds of arguments…”

        Neither statement is a contradiction, but one is a lot more credible than the other. Which would you say is the more credible?

  • JohnQuiggin

    Thanks for responding, and for you partial concurrence, Jacob.

    Responding to your partial dissent, Cato do good work on the issues you mention, and there are certainly good people there. I haven’t read much of Palmer or Boaz, but I certainly admire Julian Sanchez.

    My complaint against Cato as a whole, spelt out in the article is that, faced with a Trump Administration that is directly opposed to them on all of the issues you mention, and a massive threat to freedom in general, they have remained firmly aligned with the Republican side of politics. That makes any dissent they offer pretty ineffectual, in my view.

    • Octavian

      This basically sounds like the common leftist argument that Jeff Flake et al. are hypocrites for ‘voting with Trump’ despite their criticism of him.

      But why would disagreeing with Trump’s antics change their ideological position?

      If I support free markets and smaller government, why would Trump being an asshole influence me to change my position and align myself with Fabian socialists? Ditto for Cato.

      • Sean II

        Hard to imagine this being asked of the other side:

        “Oh, if you’re against Clinton’s crime bill and welfare reform then how can you continue to identify with the Democrat side in American politics.”


        “Hey, if you don’t like Obama’s betrayed promise to end the wars on Drugs and Terror, why don’t you stop working with Democrats?”

        It’s stupid because the reply is so obvious: “Because on the issues I care most about, the alternative is worse.”

        It’s a level one Turing Test failure.

        • Cassiodorus

          The analogy doesn’t work, because if a person thinks welfare reform was too punitive or the government still goes too vigorously after drug addicts, it doesn’t make sense to then support people who would make all of those problems worse.

          The criticisms of Flake are unfair to the extent they attack him for voting his ideology, but they’re completely fair to the extent they show he’s a hypocrite. For example, he talks about racism then votes to confirm a Birther to a life-time appointment.

          • A. Alexander Minsky

            Presumably one could genuinely believe that Obama was born in Kenya while still being a proponent of racial egalitarianism. As absurd as conservative arguments about “Dems being the real racists” tend to be, I think we should recognize that at least some rightists make these arguments in good faith.

          • Sean II

            True. The idea that birtherism was inherently racist is silly.

            Had McCain beat Obama in 08, there would have been a birther movement of lefties dredging the Panama Canal Zone for John’s old pacifier to prove HE was ineligible.

          • JohnQuiggin

            This hypothetical accusation doesn’t work, and the case proves the opposite of what was intended. If the Dems had been willing to go infor birtherism, they would have done so when it was useful (before the 2008 election) rather than afterwards.

          • Sean II

            Didn’t need to. They had Palin to kick around, and except for a weird couple weeks in September McCain was drawing dead the whole time.

            But let’s not get lost in the details:

            Partisans gonna party. That’s what they do. And that includes having kooky fringes that get stuck on silver bullet fantasies like… impeach Obama for not being born here, arrest Bush and Cheney for international war crimes, overturn Trump’s upset because of Russian hacking, get rid of the Clinton’s with Whitewater or other white fluids, etc.

            It’s a time honored tradition – “we don’t need to defeat this guy’s policies because we can just defeat HIM” – and birtherism is part of it.

          • Peter from Oz

            ”It’s a time honored tradition …”
            It’s the old quest for the ”Gotcha moment” which appeals to many of us.

          • King Goat

            It’s perfect, isn’t it?

            The Right engaged in Birtherism before Obama was elected. Not only did the Left *decline* to do the same with McCain, the rumbling about his citzenship was *primarily from the Right*!

            But that can be dismissed as not threatening the ‘Both Sides Do It!’ narrative (necessary here because of the messy empirical record) because of a proposed Alternate Future (“Had McCain beat Obama in 08, there would have been a birther movement of lefties dredging the Panama Canal Zone for John’s old pacifier to prove HE was ineligible”) which we can assume would be the case if we accept the originally disputed idea in the first place (it surely would have happened, because, after all, Both Sides Do It!). Nothing can falsify it.

          • Octavian

            Wouldn’t the right worrying about McCain’s birth location contradict the notion that such concerns are motivated by racism?

          • King Goat

            One didn’t catch on much compared to the other, right?

          • Octavian

            Why would it? Once the primaries were over McCain’s alleged foreignness was no longer an asset.

          • Sean II

            Man, this sub-thread got Goated in the worst way.

            The proposition under debate is: are the two parties different or similar, in the sense of having a fringe that seizes onto conspiracy theories to avoid more complicated discussions?

            The answer is: they’re very similar.

            If one doesn’t quite buy my McCain analogy, fine. There are plenty of others. The Russian hack fantasy is a nice equivalent to the mad dream of the birthers.

            “This one weird trick can rid you of your most hated political opponent.”

            Every group has a fringe that gets lost in such hopes. That’s what this is about.

          • Man, this sub-thread got goated in the worst way.

            The past tense of the verb you’re looking for here is “goatsed.”

          • King Goat

            “The Russian hack fantasy is a nice equivalent to the mad dream of the birthers.”

            The ‘Russian hack fantasy’ of course being endorsed by all of our major intelligence agencies, whose non-public briefings were so convincing that I can’t recall a single *Republican* Senator who has denied them following them. But yeah, that’s on the same level as that Obama was secretly born in Indonesia and his birth certificate is a forgery.

          • Sean II

            “As absurd as conservative arguments about “Dems being the real racists” …”

            The fact that memesters have attacked this often enough to require shortening to “DR3” is a testament to the extent of inter-generational conflict on the right.

        • A. Alexander Minsky

          It really isn’t that hard to imagine. Greens, Trotskyites, and assorted Marxist-Leninist sects ask the questions you posed all the time. I do agree this all but inevitably turns into a debate replete with stale and overused responses.

          • Sean II

            Criticizing Dems from the left does not equal ceasing to “identify with” them in all the ways that count.

            In a two party system no one much abandons their side for the sake of mere principle.

            But to the extent it happens at all, righties are more likely to do it than lefties. Compare Johnson and Stein in the last election.

          • A. Alexander Minsky

            Compare Nader to the late Harry Browne in 2000. And if righties were more likely than lefties to abandon the two party duopoly, I’m sure the Constitution Party would have gotten off the ground by now.

          • Sean II

            More likely does not = likely enough.

            The fact that 3% isn’t enough to matter doesn’t change the fact that 3% is more than 1%.

          • King Goat

            “But to the extent it happens at all, righties are more likely to do it than lefties. Compare Johnson and Stein in the last election.”

            Johnson’s appeal was to the left. Exit polls show that more Johnson voters said they would have voted for Clinton than said they would have voted for Trump sans Johnson in the race….


          • Octavian

            ‘Johnson’s appeal was to the left…’
            That’s debatable; Johnson was a favored third option for right of center voters who hated Trump but didn’t want to vote for Clinton, but would’ve done so absent Johnson.

          • King Goat

            “Johnson was a favored third option for right of center voters ”

            who would have voted for the ‘Fabian socialist’ otherwise?

          • Octavian

            Why not?

          • Sean II

            That was one of the weirdest lines of bullshit to come out of 2016.

            All the sudden people were willing to forget 50 years of evidence linking libertarians to the political right, to make convoluted arguments about who was drawing votes away from whom.

            Meanwhile one need only glance at the demographics to see what’s really going on.

            Setting aside those ridiculous pre game polls that had him at 9%, the 3% he actually GOT came from the usual suspects of whiteness.

            Which means: they came from Republicans and right-leaning independents.

            I have no idea why people feel it’s important to kid themselves on this point. Some of the morning after “what if” models found it plausible to reassign half of Johnson’s votes to Hilary. Which is of course utterly ridiculous.

            Here again, the simple explanation is the one which makes sense: GJ did as well as he did only because Trump was a uniquely odious candidate who chased off some of the libertublicans who like to vote R without admitting it.

          • King Goat

            “All the sudden people were willing to forget 50 years of evidence linking libertarians to the political right”

            Except to anyone paying attention, Johnson (and let’s not forget his running mate, Weld) was an especially left leaning LP candidate (on many libertarian sites this was often noted, in disgust, by the more right leaning libertarians). And he especially ‘sold’ his 2016 campaign that way.

            “Most of all it’s funny to see people touting “but the polls!” even after a crazy election that famously blew up the polling industry.”

            This is such an overplayed line. Most polls said Clinton would win, but by a margin *within their margin of error* (and she did win the popular vote, which is what these polls were measuring). Polling wasn’t ‘blown up;’ you can safely bet even the most right-wing politician who can will pay good money for an industry pollster in every upcoming election.

            But Sean II has to down the polls, because they constitute some actual social scientific evidence that runs counter to his evidence-less, ‘false consciousness’ theory.

            “the 3% Gary actually GOT came from the usual suspects of whiteness”

            What makes this especially laughable is that it’s equally applicable to Stein voters.

      • Cassiodorus

        John said they have substantive policy disagreements with Trump. That’s not an issue of “antics.”

        • Octavian

          Which they’ve aired. They also have substantive policy disagreements with Democrats. Why should they align with the former?

          If the argument is that common ground with the left is more valuable than common ground with the right, he should make that argument instead of pretending Cato is somehow being disingenuous by focusing on what they think is most important even though it mainly (in his opinion) puts them at odds with the left rather than the right.

          • Exactly right.

            See, the thing is, the further to the left libertarians move, the more praise they’ll get from the left. (Surprise, surprise.) I think this is a bad deal for libertarians, and to see why I think so, all we have to do is analyze how well it worked out when libertarians started building a paleo-conservative case for libertarianism. 30 years later, they made the shocking (SHOCKING!) discovery that the paleo-conservatives they brought into the libertarian tent were more interested in pushing a paleo-conservative agenda than pushing libertarianism.

            But this time it’s different! This time, libertarians will make a progressive case for libertarianism, and can rest assured that at no point in the future will the chickens ever come home to roost, at no point will any of those progressives become more interested in pushing a progressive agenda than a libertarian one.

            And the reason we know this is because, as the links above amply demonstrate, “propertarians” just make stuff up and aren’t worth engaging, whereas people on the left never do that and aren’t like that.

            Seems legit.

          • Sean II

            “the further to the left libertarians move, the more praise they’ll get from the left…”

            I’m not even sure it works up to that point. Seems like even the most dedicated ass-kissers end up wearing the same smears when their number comes up.

            You see these guys who can’t utter a libertarian thought without making sure it’s preceded by 12 Trump Denouncements, 11 Sessions Rebukes, 10 I’m Not Racists, etc. …and a Trans Partridge in a Non-Binary Pear Tree.

            One can’t help but notice how little protection they’re buying for all that trouble. The minute they push back on anything that counts, all their kowtowing is quickly forgotten, and everyone suddenly notices they’re white dudes pushing a white dude ideology in a white dude sort of way.

            Buchanan’s Law, we might call it.

            Anyway what do these “just pay the ransom” boys think? They’re gonna fare better than actual leftists like Bret Weinstein, the Christiakises, etc when trouble comes to call?

            That’s not how holiness spirals and signaling races work. The safe thing you said today may become a punishable heresy tomorrow. The solid pro-minority policy you favor your whole career may be forgotten thanks to a careless remark.

            Quick, what’s Ron Paul famous for?

            A. Years of consistent opposition to the wars on terror and drugs.

            B. Writing a racist newsletter article that, before the Streisand Effect signal boosted it, was read by maybe 100,000 people.

            To answer this question is to grasp the futility of the libertarian left.

          • Peter from Oz

            Surely ”left-libertarian” is an oxymoron?

          • Sean II

            Well, it’s one of those things.

          • Peter from Oz

            Paying danegeld to the left like a libertarian Aethelred the Unready will not bring lasting peace. Nor will it bring peace in our time.
            What was it Churchill said about Chamberlin at Munich?
            “You were given the choice between war and dishonour. You chose dishonour and you will have war.”

          • King Goat

            Both sides do it (and by it, I mean something awful that really dismays Ryan, and is especially dismaying when the left side does it)!

  • DST

    To left-libertarians tut-tutting right- and center-libertarians for their reaction to Trump: do you remember 2009? As left-libertarians, did you feel included in conversations being had by progressives at that time? Did you think that your makeshift alliance with Democrats to oppose the Bush Administration held up well during that period? Were you being taken seriously by your fellow leftists as the Democratic Party was pouring money down the ARRA-hole, running Cash for Clunkers, subsidizing failing green energy providers, strengthening regulatory capture through new financial regulation, increasing troop levels in Afghanistan, and attempting to institute a government monopoly on health care funding?

    I understand the desire to scold right-libertarians for being too easily misled by Trump, but if your memory can’t reach back eight years, it’s no surprise that your analysis fails, as Quiggin’s does.

  • Sean II

    The failure of Niskannennism-as-outreach has been well covered, on this board and elsewhere.

    But that discussion shouldn’t be allowed to distract us from the more pressing problem: it’s ideas are wrong.

    Levy’s attempted defense of BLM above is a perfect example.

    This is a movement that directly inspired at least a dozen murders that we know of, along with countless other crimes. Indirectly it’s responsible for reversing two decades of downtrend in violent crime, with a spike that started in fall 2014, heavily centered on inner cities, which now costs just under 1,000 extra violent deaths per year.

    The toll is highly selective. Most of the directly inspired BLM murder victims are cops. Most of the excess murder victims are blacks. None of the victims are poncy white boys.

    That might be tolerable, if the cause was just. But it isn’t. BLM is wrong much more often than it is right. Most of the shootings it protests are eventually cleared.

    That might be forgiven, if the the general argument was valid. But it isn’t. Statistical disparities in the justice system, including those around police use of force, and thoroughly explained by disparities in criminal participation rates, especially rates of violent crime. Anyone who doesn’t know this simply hasn’t studied the wider subject.

    That might be forgotten, if BLM had any kind of endgame or constructive agenda. But it doesn’t. The movement famously took two years to release an absurd list of demands. These were of such a vague and childish nature as to shame any serious ally: 1. End the war on black people. 2. Reparations, 3. Invest-Divest, 4. Economic Justice, 5. Community Control, 6. Economic Power.

    Notice, please, that this list bears no resemblance to the vision Levy wishes upon BLM. This is not a sophisticated plan for de-militarization, property and privacy rights, and a switch to harm-reduction drug policy. It’s one part meaningless slogan (item #1), one part blanket demand for de-policing which makes no distinction between violent and non-violent crime (item #), and four parts plain old welfare state transfer-payment seeking (items #2, 4, 5, & 6).

    Also, it’s the kind of movement that didn’t even notice how redundant it’s own list was. “Dodge, Duck, Dip, Dodge, Dodge, and Dodge.” Less funny if you do it four times.

    In sum, it’s a fact-resistant movement that proceeds from a false premise, kills people in numbers greater than the problem it’s trying to solve, with no practical plan for improving anything except the size of the welfare state.

    Libertarians should want nothing to do with it.

    • Peter from Oz

      In 1955 the average black family had 58% of the income of the average white family. Today it’s 55%. In that time there have been masses of left-wing policies put in place by government to assist balck people. In addition, there has been a massive social shift towards anti-racism in academia and the media.
      But the position of black people has become worse as measured against white people.
      You can bet that the activities of the BLM and the concommitant agitation by the media in favour of ”anti-racism” will ensure that the same trend continues.

      • Sean II

        “In addition, there has been a massive social shift towards anti-racism in academia and the media.”

        It’s a pretty reliable rule here: the whiter, the woker.

        There’s a conspicuous gap between the way anti-racists talk, and the way they live. Devotion goes up as practical diversity goes down.

        The academy (especially the verbal side) and the media are very white.

        • Peter from Oz

          I agree. The upper middle classes have always been quite cosmopolitan. Our ancestors have for centuries mingled with and interbred with foreigners of their own class. That makes many of us feel quite satisfied that we are not unused to foreign peoples and cultures. But the foreign elites with whom we mingle are Asian, European or from the Americas. Very few are from SUb-Saharan Africa. Academia and the media are ”very white” because of class rather than race. That means they can, without blanching, be as ”woke” as they like.

      • King Goat

        In 1959 55% of blacks lived below the poverty line. By 2001, that was 22%.


        Table 2

        • Octavian

          I’m curious what you think that demonstrates. That the US has overall been getting more prosperous since 1959? I don’t think that’s disputed.

          The fact that a low-income group (blacks) has seen lower income growth than a higher income group is what’s anomalous. It’s practically an Irish McKay rule of economics that in the long run the lower the income of a country or state, the higher its growth will be relative to everyone else’s

          • King Goat

            Notice that almost all that poverty reduction occurred by 1969.

          • Octavian

            Um, ok, your point would be?

          • King Goat

            That’s a really anomalous drop in a ten year period! What do you think was going on there?

            “The fact that a low-income group (blacks) has seen lower income growth than a higher income group is what’s anomalous.”

            Is it?
            Take two puppies, from different breeds. Give one lots of love, social interaction, play. Give the other neither, near total neglect. After two years, stop, and give them both equal amounts of love, etc. Would any sane person who has owned both types of dogs think the second dog would gain on the first in sociability and related behaviors? One got shot out of a cannon while the other was restrained, and then later, released.

          • Rob Gressis

            That’s a good story, but it’s not clearly analogous (nor is it dis-analogous). I think Octavian’s point was this:

            If 2017 China (low income) had a 4% growth rate, that would be a disaster.
            If the USA (high income) had a 4% growth rate, that would be a miracle.

            So the question is: when an economy is growing, should we expect greater growth rate of income from people near the bottom (after all, it’s much easier to double 2 than it is to double 100), or from people near the top (after all, if you already have 100, then it’s easier to get 100 more than it is to get 2 more if you only have 2)?

            Obviously, the answer to the question is: it depends. I don’t know enough about economics to know whether we should expect low income people to grow their incomes more or less easily than high income people in times of economic growth.

          • Peter from Oz

            Good point. So it was clear that while activists were overcoming real racism, real levels of poverty went down. But when the left tried to keep the ball rolling by finding racism in just about every place imaginable it all went pear shaped.

    • alzhu4

      Without agreeing or disagreeing with your stance on this question, it’s worth considering that drawing conclusions from revealed preference is highly problematic when not correctly accounting for the specific menu of available choices that the revealed preference experiment offers.

      In other words, what were the options the subjects of the experiment had, as determined by law, culture and norms at the local, state and federal levels? (I acknowledge some amount of redundancy, as well as mutual reinforcement, between those three influences, of course.)

  • JohnQuiggin

    It’s striking that, even though neither my post didn’t mention race, and Jacob did so only in passing, it’s a central theme of the comments below, most of which are (to be charitable) anti-anti-racist. This is a much more central issue in the collapse of US propertarianism than I realised even a couple of weeks ago.

    • Christopher Ritchie

      That’s been pretty obvious to anyone who has paid attention to the ways in which ‘Libertarian’ discourse has operated over the last two decades. Rarely in other political spaces supposedly devoted to ‘freedom’ does one see defenses of Chattel slavery appear for example. The way in which psuedo-intellectualizing about Black Inferiority sprouts almost unbidden is incredibly telling.

      That Trump, a candidate spouting Anti-Free Trade, Protectionist Merchantilism policies, along with typical ‘Law and Order’ type authoritarianism and platitudes to the usual anti-drug, anti-sex moralizers, was able to gain so much Libertarian support(and to be fair, there were plenty of Libertarians who were rightly aghast at the election) would seem bizarre if one took Libertarian claims regarding ‘Freedom’ seriously. That one can witness Libertarians complaining about Blue-Haired College students as the greatest danger to Free-Speech in America is almost comical.

      To be blunt; That one could support Racist policies and object to Black Civil participation was a feature of Libertarianism in the US for many people. When it became ‘OK’ to say overtly racist things and support overt White Supremacy, plenty of previous ‘Libertarians’ turned out to not really care that much about abstractions over ‘Liberty’.

      The use of much Libertarian language by the ‘Alt-right’ and members of the ‘Dark Enlightenment’ and all that isn’t accidental.

      • Octavian

        It’s it’s absurd to pretend that Clinton would be decidedly more pro-free market than Trump. And to many people, that’s a central issue. There was also good reason to believe she would be worse on foreign policy.

        Also, it’s a pure fabrication that anything Trump said during the campaign was ‘overtly white supremacist.’ I could see the argument going either way as to which would be more conducive to the most libertarian outcome. The fact that you can’t is more indicative of your bias, imo.

        And no, I didn’t vote for him.

        • Christopher Ritchie

          Perhaps you didn’t watch the same campaign I did. Trumps opposition to Free Trade and his Mercantilist notion of economics(We are getting Bad Deals, Our Trade Deficit with China is a disaster, etc.) were central to his campaign. Clinton wasn’t going to pull out of NAFTA, and her opposition to the TPP was half-heated and belated, something she was rightly criticized for. Trump advocated for propping up not merely certain segments of the US economy, but particular businesses. You can argue a lot of things, but that Trump was the obviously more pro-free market Candidate is absurd. Clinton represented a continuation of the old mixed-market approach, which one can’t deny is not a Libertarian ideal, but Trump verbally rejected Laisez-faire economics as an act of incompetence and betrayal.

          He also showed throughout the campaign an intense support for ‘Law and Order’ of the authoritarian brand. He praised international strong-men, opposed the free press, talked about utilizing libel laws to silence the press and allied with people who had already done so.

          One watched as various Libertarian forces did reject trump, or pull away from the election entirely, and yet so many others didn’t. Trumps election can be read as many things, but a demonstration of the irrelevance of Libertarian idea’s in the American right is an obvious one. You can say you support Trump because say, he pisses off Lefties or what ever, but not that you seriously thought he would advance Libertarian values. I mean maybe I might give some-one of the ‘Well I was hoping he’d tear down the system’ variety the benefit of the doubt, but others are asking me to believe either that they are terribly stupid or I must conclude what they claim about their beliefs is just outright lies.

          You’ll note my claim was that Trump enabled overt Racism and White supremacy, and that is pretty much undeniable. Unless you believe White Supremacists are lying when they say he is ‘their’ president?

          • You’ll note my claim was that Trump enabled overt Racism and White supremacy, and that is pretty much undeniable.

            I don’t know about “undeniable,” but it seems to me that your claim hinges entirely on your meaning of the word “enabled.” You will surely admit that overt racism and white supremacy already existed prior to the 2016 election cycle, so “enable” must not mean “bring into existence racism and white supremacy that would not otherwise have existed.” Unless of course you can find some empirical evidence that Trump himself is directly responsible for that. Can you?

            Otherwise, you must mean something else by “enable;” but what?

          • Sean II

            Weird because it’s so obviously the other way around.

            The only reason why his campgain got off the ground is because he said the M word in regard to immigration.

            So one would more accurately say that racism (in the sense of white people not wanting to become a minority) enabled Trump.

            You wouldn’t say he enabled it.

          • Peter from Oz

            But the left always care more about the right saying bad things than doing bad things. That’s because the right doesn’t do that many bad things.

          • King Goat

            “so “enable” must not mean “bring into existence racism and white supremacy that would not otherwise have existed.”

            How odd. Of course that’s not what ‘enable’ means.


          • Sean II

            Your missing something big here.

            Some of us figured out (for it wasn’t hard) that Trump was gonna be a political impotent, penned in by establishment repubs on one side and by the plain old establishment on all others.

            It doesn’t mean libertarians like Trump, and it especially doesn’t mean they support his stated agenda.

            It just means some of us have figured out that a Trump who can’t do much is better – in some respects – than a highly effective Hilary with her fearsome lobbying machine and a unified media behind her.

          • D Hampton

            Trump instead of Clinton, also meant Gorsuch instead of Garland – on which he delivered, and which was a win for liberty and constitutionality for potentially decades to come, right?

          • Sean II

            Wish I could remember where I saw this, but there was a widely read law blog post written in anticipation of a court shaped by Hilary appointees, which argued for blatant weaponizing of the judiciary, abandoning the pretense of legality in the law, etc.

            I remember it sounded like a progressive confession of the “Flight 93 Election” premise. Here was a man of the Left saying: “Get ready fuckos. The charade is over. No more procedural niceties. We know what’s right and we’re gonna do it…to you!”

            Refreshingly honest, really. He said what a lot of progs were thinking, and what even more are probably thinking now.

          • Octavian

            You’re referring I think to Mark Tunchin’s article (I think that’s his last name at least). I saw that too. Forget where though.

          • Sean II

            That’s the one!

          • Rob Gressis

            If you guys ever find it, please link to it.

          • Sean II

            The piece was called “Abandoning Defensive Crouch Liberal Constitutionalism”, author Mark Tushnet.

            May take more than one read to let the enormity of what he’s saying sink in: that law’s really just another instrument of policy, that any pretense to the contrary has been purely pragmatic, a way to sneak things past stodgy old reactionaries, that this pretense can now be abandoned since the partisan numbers are turning, and that the thing to do with naked power is…exercise it, nakedly.

            None of which shocks me, of course. I’ve thought con law was a charade for some time now (although I’m not entirely closed to the possibility it’s a useful one – e.g. maybe the extra step of having to fake up a legal argument works to slow down political spasms, etc.).

            But the amazing part is: most people usually pretend otherwise. They’ll twist themselves into hilarious pretzels trying to claim that it’s not politics, but text, interpretation, and precedent that’s guiding these courts. Left and right, most respectable people are still publicly committed to the mythology of con law.

            So it’s really interesting what dog failed to bark here. If most liberals believe in constitutionalism at heart, but merely differ on a set of specific interpretations, they should have denounced Tushnet on the spot.

            If, on the other hand, he merely said what most leftos were thinking anyway, he’d get a reaction pretty much like the nodding approval he got.

            There’s a big lesson in here for Niskanenites and other fans of left-libertarian outreach. Tushnet clearly rejects their favorite argument. Libertarians are forever trying to give leftists pause by saying “Careful! If you give the state power X to achieve liberal policy Y, power X may be used against you later on.”

            Tushnet’s reply is: “Fuck you. We don’t plan on losing, so we’ll wield power as we like. And if we do lose, we don’t mind being hypocrites in opposition. Once you understand the Leninist nature of politics, there’s nothing troubling about begrudging the other side powers which yesterday you demanded for your own. Indeed, it’s not even hypocrisy. Our position simply is that people like Obama and Hillary can be trusted with war power (or whatever), while people like Bush or Trump cannot. So sue us. And besides, even if we did lose, and even if we don’t get away with double standards, it’s all worth the risk. What we’re trying to do REQUIRES power. If we’re serious, we have to go out and get it without worrying about who or what might seize it later. No bullshit failure contingencies; our plan is to win, and keep winning.”

            The honesty is as refreshing as the implications are dire.

          • Rob Gressis

            Oh. That’s just legal realism. Leiter and Posner have been saying that for a while now.

            What’s weirder to me is the people who act as though they believe legal realism but don’t realize that about themselves.

          • Sean II

            Well, Tushnet certainly seemed to think he was saying something new, and something more than just an endorsement of legal realism.

          • Rob Gressis

            After I wrote–but before I posted–my original comment, I thought, “eh, actually, that’s not right.” But, I had to go to church with my kid so I just posted it.

            Here’s what I should have said:
            This is like legal realism; legal realists say that, as a matter of fact, judges decide cases on the basis of what they think the best consequences are. However, there are two important differences between this and legal realism. First, legal realism purports to be a descriptive theory; judges *do* this. But what Tushnet is offering is a prescriptive theory; judges *should* start doing this. Second, Tushnet appears to think that legal realism is false; judges *don’t* do this, but they *should*. So, yes, it’s different from legal realism.

            Interestingly, a legal realist who agreed with Tushnet about what good consequences are should push back on Tushnet: “Dammit, Mark, judges are *already* doing this, plus, they don’t even realize they’re doing it, so their denials that they’re being nakedly political are actually plausible! Why are you trying to overturn the apple cart??”

            But I suspect that Tushnet is right that judges don’t really act like legal realists, at least, not as often as Tushnet would like. I also think, though, that Tushnet’s strategy wouldn’t work as well as he thinks. If judges out and out said, “well, free speech should be legal, but only for left-wing views”, or “cops aren’t allowed to use force on black people, but they are on white people” or “Democratic presidents are entitled to powers X, Y, and Z, but Republican presidents aren’t” — well, I think if they did that there would be some pushback, probably quite large pushback.

          • Rob Gressis

            According to Randy Barnett, Tushnet is a legal realist (see here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2016/12/12/abandoning-defensive-crouch-conservative-constitutionalism/?utm_term=.749380fa9b42).

            So it looks like I just don’t know what the hell I’m talking about. Nothing new there!

          • Rob Gressis

            Who figured that out? I don’t recall people pushing the line, “When Trump gets in, he won’t be able to accomplish anything”. Do you have any people to cite? And even if you do, is there any reason to think that they got it right on the basis of evidence instead of just getting lucky?

          • Sean II

            Well, I figured it out pretty quick. How unique can I be?

            Key thing to remember is: none of us had a Trump take pre-election, because we all thought he was gonna lose.

            But when I started thinking hard about it in the early morning hours of November 9th, one of the first thoughts that occurred to me was: “This guy is the opposite of LBJ. He won’t be able to pass a kidney stone in this system. He doesn’t know shit.”

            Wrote as much in the comments here, and for what it’s worth I also predicted he’ll resign out of sheer frustration before finishing his term.

          • Rob Gressis

            I’ll have to look up your comments around November 9, then.

          • Sean II

            Actually, I sold myself a bit short. The thread I was thinking of was from last October 18th – an Andrew Cohen post titled “Against thinking independent voters must vote for your candidate”.

            Somebody named Beth wrote: “Trump scares the shit of out me.”

            I responded: “Well, he shouldn’t. Even if he somehow managed to win, the entire establishment will spring into action to make sure his presidency is born in shackles. He’d have about as much real power as Kalinin. Dude would probably end up signing an amnesty bill at the end of his first year, and a resignation letter at the end of his second.”

            Lengthy thread after that. Check it out.

            I’ve made some bad calls and some good ones. This is looking like one of the good ones.

          • Rob Gressis

            Yup. I found other comments of yours, too:

            November 9: “The markets are recovering rapidly.
            Probably because they realize what I’ve been saying all along: that the Presidency is already constrained by public choice factors that make a ruinous FDR style policy tumult very unlikely.”

            November 11: “What I said about Trump is not “he can’t do any harm” but only “he can’t do much harm the establishment doesn’t want him to do”. Big difference. Obvious difference.”

            Looks like you predicted that. But in fairness to me, I misread your original comment. I thought you’d said that Trump was too incompetent to get anything done, not that the establishment (sorry King Goat) would prevent him from doing so. But you didn’t say that, and so you were 100% right, even in October. Good on ya!

          • Sean II

            I also think he’s incompetent, of course, especially in the sense of “incompetent to navigate the political process”.

            I knew a guy once who retired from a successful military career and tried to make the jump into business. He entered at a pretty high level, because people thought being a general had something to do with management in industry. Dude got eaten alive. All his experience came from a setting where people couldn’t quit, and he had no practice controlling costs. Torched his way through a year’s worth of discretionary payroll in about six weeks. One tiny little crisis came along and he said: “Everyone works round the clock until this gets fixed. Pay whatever overtime it takes.” When the execs gathered at the next quarterly meeting, the others were bragging about their efficiencies, their percentages under budget, etc. He tried to brag about the high state of “morale” in his division, and the inspiring way his team had come together to face that crisis. Couldn’t understand the uncomfortable glances people were exchanging, not to mention the hard questions that came rolling in after.

            The funny part is: he didn’t learn anything. “What’s the point of a budget if I’m not allowed to spend it?” “How else am I supposed to motivate these guys?” That sort of thinking. Nothing close to an overarching lesson could get through.

            Shit dragged on like that for another few months, and it was painful. This guy had heard he was superstar leader since the Citadel. For 25 years he’d known nothing but praise and promotion. As far as he knew everything he did was, to use his favorite word, “outstanding”. Now he was playing the clown in one humiliation after another, dealt out by the kind of Jodys who make appointments for haircuts.

            He quit one step ahead of the axe.

            Trump’s like that guy. He has a set of habits that served him well enough in another context, but which are killing him here. Just has no idea what game he’s in, and isn’t learning how to play it. I believe he’s setting records in the discordance of SP500 to presidential approval rating. If the market crashes, Pennsylvania Avenue will look like Prague 1989.

          • Rob Gressis

            So you’re predicting Trump to resign just before the axe? The axe being … impeachment? Or getting voted out? And when do you predict he’ll go?

          • Sean II

            Can’t guess at the details, of course. Impeachment is highly implausible – even the biggest Trump hating Republicans must know it would shatter the GOP. Maybe, maybe, maybe if the Dems win big in the midterms.

            But I really do think pre-term resignation is likely. He could save a little face by spinning it as a health decision.

            “Sick Hillary’s Revenge”, bloggers will call it. “You pretended she was ill to get into the White House. Then pretended you were, to escape it!”

          • King Goat
          • Rob Gressis

            Not great evidence that the media wasn’t pro-Hillary.

          • King Goat

            A predominant focus on the ’email scandal’ which was ultimately not deemed even worth consideration of bringing charges, exponentially more coverage of it than potential illegalities by Trump re sexual assault, fraud,? Is that behavior of ‘a unified media behind her?’

          • Rob Gressis

            Just because the media wrote a lot of sentences about the email scandal doesn’t mean that all those sentences were negative. It’s consistent with that evidence that some of those sentences were of the “the email scandal is not really a scandal” variety.

            Also, I’d like to know more about the source. Who counted these sentences? Were these sentences in print or also uttered by people? if they don’t count the latter, that seems significant to me.

            Also, who counts as “the media”? Does Breitbart count? Does everything on the Internet count (surely not; there would be vastly more than 70,000 sentences about Hilary’s email issue)? If places like National Review and Breitbart count, I’m not sure this gives us a clear picture of “the media”‘s stance vis-a-vis Clinton; if ABC, CBS, NBC, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and CNN all have significantly more eyes on their product than the Washington Examiner does, should we count a New York Times sentences as being of equal weight to an Examiner sentence?

            Finally, this post by Glenn Greenwald seems apt: https://theintercept.com/2016/09/06/the-unrelenting-pundit-led-effort-to-delegitimize-all-negative-reporting-about-hillary-clinton/

            All I’m saying is why I don’t consider the evidence you’ve provided above to be *good* evidence. For all that, it could be true that the 96% voting-for-Hillary journalists* were nonetheless more critical of her than of Trump.

            *–according to the Center for Public Integrity**; they looked at the campaign donations of 430 journalists, news anchors, etc.
            **–described as “liberal”, “progressive”, or “nonpartisan” on Wikipedia.

          • King Goat

            You think publicizing a scandal more than anything else about the person = unified behind her?

            Ask yourself, if you were Hillary’s campaign manager and you had a magic monkey’s paw that allowed you to dictate what the media would write about Hillary, would you have them write ten times more about the email scandal than anything else? Methinks I’d want them to *ignore it.*

            I mean, if I were Trump’s manager I wouldn’t wish ‘please, please, let them write almost exclusively about Trump’s current court case for fraud regarding his ‘university,’ but let them write in a way that tends to minimize the fraud!’

          • Rob Gressis

            Well, I am predisposed to think that the media was far more pro-Hillary than pro-Trump. Here’s why: the Center for Public Integrity said that 96% of surveyed journalists donated money to Hillary. That suggests to me that they would prefer that she win over Trump. It’s not ironclad evidence, but I think it’s very good.

            Second, assuming I’m right about their preferences, I think this would have an effect on how they would report and interpret evidence. I don’t have any studies backing me up about this, so this is a weak point of my argument (at least, it’s a weak point if you put lots of faith in social science and very little faith in armchair psychology). Nevertheless, I still think this general point is very plausible: if you badly want X to happen, then this will, on average affect the way you interpret evidence related to whether X happens.

            Consequently, my a priori belief is that the mainstream, credentialed media (MCM) would report in a pro-Hillary way. That’s why I didn’t question Sean II’s claim. I do admit, though, that he didn’t provide any evidence for it.

            Now, as to your claim, which I’m paraphrasing as, “if the MCM were really pro-Hillary, then they would report on her in such a way as to maximize her chances of winning”, well, not necessarily.

            I agree with you that if the MCM just ignored the Hillary email scandal, then that would have helped her. But I think one could reasonably disagree with that assertion. For instance, the following could be the case: (1) most people who read the MCM lean or are Democrats, and relatively informed ones at that; (2) reporting on the email scandal won’t alienate them from her; (3) not reporting on the email scandal would be seized upon by Republican operatives and be used to effectively discredit the MSM; (4) discrediting the MSM effectively could be used to alienate people who are on the fence; (5) therefore, reporting on the email scandal will help Hillary.

            But I don’t think the MCM thinks this way. I don’t think that they think of themselves, at least not too often, as people whose job it is to elect the Democratic candidate. I think most of them actually think that if a story is newsworthy, then it should be reported. What they think is and isn’t newsworthy will be affected by their biases. That said, even a consciously pro-Hillary reporter will think the email story is newsworthy; she was, after all, under investigation by the FBI for it.

            Unless I missed something, I don’t think you addressed my criticisms of the study.

          • King Goat

            “That said, even a consciously pro-Hillary reporter will think the email story is newsworthy; she was, after all, under investigation by the FBI for it.”

            So they have integrity, it just doesn’t go far enough, just enough to fit with the facts with the narrative here ;). So if they would have ignored the story, it’s plain they were pro-Hillary. But the fact they reported on it a lot, that’s not evidence they were not pro-Hillary, because they had enough integrity to know they had to report on it, but we can assume in a pro-Hillary way!

            “the Center for Public Integrity said that 96% of surveyed journalists donated money to Hillary. ”

            I don’t think this proves as much as it might. Let me illustrate with a story: at my kid’s recent game, one of the referees was actually the sister of one of my kid’s teammates. We thought we’d get the better of the calls, right? But we didn’t. In referee school these kids are taught how important it is to rise above one’s biases and *appear* impartial. The team played this time was really foul prone, but the sister, knowing she was the sister of one on one team, felt the need to demonstrate her impartiality especially. And so she went out of her way to ‘equalize’ her infraction calls, even though the other side really committed far more. FWIW, this is the ethos journalism schools push, and of course the Right has been relentlessly ‘playing the refs’ for decades now.

            “I don’t think you addressed my criticisms of the study”

            Hmm. I think I did. An analogy: I pointed out ‘this guy couldn’t have fled the scene, because it’s odd that there’s no footprints out the doorway!’ You seemed to respond ‘yes, but while there’s no evidence for it, the guy could have gone out the window, right?’

          • Peter from Oz

            Exactly right, both in a political sense and a factual sense.

          • Octavian

            1) I never said Trump was economically libertarian, merely that there was no clear winner in who was worse, him or Clinton. Clinton likely would be about as bad on trade, and the deregulation weve seen with Trump probably wouldn’t have happened.

            2) Don’t try to infer that I supported him when I clearly said I didn’t.

            3) You’re wrong: what the election proves is the irrelevance of libertarian ideas in politics in general. You’re delusional if you think this election saw the left get more libertarian while the right got less. The whole political spectrum took a lurch toward statism.

            4) If white supremacists liking Trump makes him a white supremacist, I guess the Communist Party supporting Obama and Clinton make them communists, right?
            See, people aren’t responsible for who supports them.

          • MARK_D_FRIEDMAN

            How very odd that you make no mention of the Supreme Court, as if that were a trivial political consideration. Now, which set of appointees would be more likely to embrace libertarian-friendly principles? This would give some right leaning libertarians a completely non-racist reason to vote for him. I would also add that you have produced no empirical evidence that Trump received much of his support from self-identified libertarians. In fact, Johnson/Weld, offering a rather tame, leftist version of libertarianism, tripled the percentage vote ever previously received by any earlier LP candidate, which cuts against your claim.

    • Sean II

      “…didn’t mention race, and Jacob did so only in passing…”

      That’s simply not true. This is a “links” post. One of the links was about race specifically. Another was about the safe space debate, which is clearly inseparable from race.

      Understandable if you focused on the link with you in it, but that was only one among many.

      • You’re giving him too much credit here. Two thirds of the posts on BHL when you hit the homepage are either completely or in part about race. Two thirds of the commentators in this thread said nothing about race (and, NB: Quiggin didn’t really respond to those points).

        IOW, Quiggin is receding into the race thing because he doesn’t want to respond directly to the tougher, more substantive points that were raised against his article.

        • Sean II

          Well, I was trying to moderate my first reaction, which started out more like: “Why, you passive aggressive little…”

          There’s an old actor-observer joke I can’t quite remember, about a guy who goes to see a Freudian.

          The analyst asks him a series of questions, which are supposed to be the height of cleverly disguised interrogation, but which are in fact clumsily and obviously focused on psychosexual development – snake dreams, Oedipus, castration, etc.

          After awhile the patient tires of the charade, and says: “Doc, if you wanna know about sex, just ask for chrissakes!”

          Calm as you like, the analyst clears his throat: “Interesting you should bring that subject up. What made you think of it.”

          • King Goat

            I always love it when the guy who will tell you that ‘sub-Saharans’ are constitutionally less intelligent and crime prone and should be limited in immigration, that ‘MENA’ (Middle East North African) populations have constitutional infirmities that warrant the same treatment, that stop-and-frisk aimed at blacks is totes justified because 1 out of 19 of them are criminals, etc., complains about anti-anti-racists today going to far.

    • King Goat

      Dude, you don’t know the half of it unless you’ve hung out here for a while. For many of these ‘libertarians,’ anti-racism is the chief horror-show of our age, while people with guns rounding up peaceable people, separating them from their families, *literally* putting them into camps until they can be transferred across the border is a-ok because, pseudo-communitarian theory!!!!

      • Octavian

        I suppose if we call Stalinism ‘anti-fascism’ you’d say libertarians are duty-bound to support that as well.

        • King Goat

          No, but I’d say ‘let’s embrace fascism’ is more than odd.

          • Octavian

            And who exactly is saying that?

          • King Goat

            Who’s in charge now in the US?
            If ‘Both Sides Do It!’ but the GOP is in full control and ‘libertarians’ are sitting around talking about how terrible Hillary is….

          • Octavian

            Ah, so the ‘Trump is a fascist’ contention (or assumption, I should call it).

            And Trump being president doesn’t mitigate anyone else’s horribleness. Nor is it the case that people can only discuss one during the course of a four year period. I expect, of course, that you were irate with the Daily Show for spending 98% of their time pillorying Republicans back when Democrats had the presidency and both houses of Congress?

          • King Goat

            “Nor is it the case that people can only discuss one during the course of a four year period.”


            Look, if Both Sides really Do It, but you sit around complaining about Side One, which is not and will not be in power for years, while ignoring Side Two, which *is and will be* in power for years, then you’re really not into Both Sides Do It at all. You’re doing some kind of Ryan Longish song-and-dance, where you’re worried more about One Side. Just be honest about it.

    • Octavian

      Maybe instead of making cowardly innuendos, you could point out which comments (and why) are racist, as that is clearly what you’re trying to suggest.

      • JohnQuiggin

        Your comment directly above this one fits the bill pretty well as an example of anti-anti-racism, which is what I referred to.

        • Rob Gressis

          I thought you said that calling those comments anti-anti-racist was you being charitable? I figured a non-charitable view was simply “racist”? Which do you think is more *accurate*, though? Racist, or anti-anti-racist?

          • Octavian

            My suspicion is Quiggin has a warped view of the definition of racism. Someone who is ‘anti’ white racism and hates white people is someone I would describe as racist; perhaps he would describe such a person as anti-racist? Perhaps both descriptors are accurate. But the point is, being opposed to racism in one manifestation does not mean one isn’t racist oneself.

            There are plenty of ‘anti-racist’ groups that clearly harbor sentiments themselves (e.g. BLM)

            I consider ‘affirmative action’to be racist, for example. I wouldn’t be surprised if most purported ‘anti-racists’ supported affirmative action, I.e. racism. If anti-racism means opposing racism against one race and supporting it against another, then such a sentiment absolutely deserves to be opposed, and instead we should support… not being racist against any race! Crazy idea, I know.

        • Octavian

          My comment in response King Groat on the income disparity over time?

          I’m curious what you imagine you gleaned from it. Do spell it out.

          And as you can clearly see, I didn’t bring up race, for starters, so no it doesn’t fit the bill. In fact it doesn’t seem very much related to whatever you were talking about.

          • JohnQuiggin

            Threading made this obscure. The comment to which I referred is “I suppose if we call Stalinism ‘anti-fascism’ you’d say libertarians are duty-bound to support that as well.”

          • Octavian

            Yes, in response to someone else talking about ‘anti-racism.’

            And my point was perfectly valid was it not? If someone tells you: “I oppose the Bourbon monarchy!” And you’re s republican (small r), you most certainly should not assume your interlocutor is your ally. They could oppose the Bourbon monarchy because they support the Habsburg monarchy, in which case they’re just as much an opponent in principle.