Dale at Q&O this morning gives some voice to his frustrations over the discussion that’s developed over the last several days between the libertarian Purists, and the rest of us. He nails it, here:

I object to being called unprincipled.

Because the principles we hold are, in our view, extremely important ones: Always increase personal liberty to the maximum extent possible; Always reduce the size and scope of government to the extent possible.

I guess I should say that unless you’re following some of the threads here at Q&O and elsewhere, you won’t really understand what I’m talking about. I’d urge you to look there for some backfill if you need it.

Anyway, Dale goes on to make the argument I’ve made here on several occasions… That change is a slow process.

We advocate political pragmatism in furtherance of a set of principles: Increased personal liberty and smaller?much smaller?government being chief among them. What would be the point of compromising those principles in the name of pragmatism? The pragmatism is merely a means to reach the ends specified by those principles. It is a recognition that the path back to a free society will be reached through incremental steps, not through a revolutionary change in politics.

But change is made at the margins. In politics, you usually don?t have the opportunity to implement all 100 points of your personal political manifesto. The traditional libertarian response to this fact of life is to bitch and complain at how stupid the average person is not to understand the intellectual clarity of the libertarian Party, pick up their marbles, and go home, having accomplished nothing.

Such has been the effect so far. The purist libertarians have been running the play as Dale describes it, for at least the last half century.  Nearly as long as the Marxists and Stalinists have been running THEIR play. Both seem to be making the claim that the problem is they’d not run the play correctly yet. Give ’em both credit for trying, but damned little for practical smarts; It seems to me about as productive as flushing money down the crapper in the hopes that they’ll get rich. As evidence to the validity of the action, they point to the fact that every once in a while, some of the money floats back up. I daresay the comparison would be an offense to each, but, alas, that the comparison fits all too well.

Perhaps the best way to address this issue is to ask a simple question: Are not others, allowed to be principled in this society? Or is it that to be really free, one must needs be in lockstep with YOUR established principals? Sounds rather big brotherish, to me.

There seem many in this discussion who are willing to toss around the idea that people who don’t share their views are “unprincipled”. I’ve had the charge tossed at ME often enough… mostly in the last two weeks. Of course, that concept ought to be a laugher for anyone who’s read my stuff for longer than those last two weeks.

As I said in a different thread over at Q&O:

A free society or even a marginally free one…tends not to move in any direction all at once. We got to this juncture in our nation’s history because of a continuing effort by the left over the last century towards the situation we have today…. and because of a lack of involvement in the process by people who have refused to take part in the process of turning those losses around… in short abandoning the dream, while claiming to be fighting for it. I am resigned to a fight I may or may not never see come to anything like victory.

But I’m DAMNED sure we’re never going to get where we want to be, in my lifetime or afterward, if we don’t start pushing in the other direction, within the existing system. (Interesting; I’ve been preached at, both in E-mail and in my comments section about “why we can’t wait”… yet such people seem perfectly willing to fritter away another 50 years waiting for a miracle instead of working toward it.

To that end of working toward it, I have been outspoken in my support of the President, and of a goodly portion of the Republicans… not because I hold any affinity with them because they?re Republicans, but because I see them, on the whole, as working toward the end of the reduction of government to it’s original purposes… at the moment. At the moment, they are going the direction we need to go. When I see someone come along that has a better change of providing what I seek, at that point THEY will have my support.

Removing one’s self from the system is not the answer. The last number of years should reveal that.

There are a few immutable facts involved in all of this. The first is that for whatever faults that have developed in the American system since it’s inception, it still was and remains the place where the greatest amount of freedom on the planet exists, bar none.

The other immutable fact is that the “all or nothing libertarianism’ crowd has accomplished NOTHING.. no forward gains at all, over the last 50 years. Indeed; such efforts have managed to label those people as outright flakes. Thus, the aggregate movement because of their principals and their application of them, is not toward the goal of reduced government, or even the elimination of it, but away from that goal.

Re-running however many times that play isn’t going to help; It made it worse the last 700 times it’s been tried… one more will make it 701 failures. I say it’s time we started doing what we can to actually attain the goal.

Who’s with me?