Ron is right!

Ron Paul, on this day that domestic news is dominated by the Democratic House’s surrender of its already scarcely serious efforts to end the occupation of Iraq, reminds me why I will take a libertarian (the genuine article, that is), whether of the right or left, over an authoritarian of any political stripe.

Rep. Paul:

We currently live in the most difficult of times for guarding against an expanding central government with a steady erosion of our freedoms. We are continually being reminded that 9/11 has changed everything.

Unfortunately, the policy that needed most to be changed, that is, our policy of foreign interventionism, has only been expanded. There is no pretense any longer that a policy of humility in foreign affairs, without being the world’s policemen and engaging in nation building, is worthy of consideration.

We now live in a post-9/11 America where our government is going to make us safe no matter what it takes. We are expected to grin and bear it and adjust to every loss of our liberties in the name of patriotism and security.

I can’t endorse everything Rep. Paul says at that link or elsewhere–far from it. I am a left-libertarian, after all, and he is a right-libertarian. But in his clear articulation of liberty and genuine patriotism over statism and imperialism, Ron is right indeed.

He has no more chance at the Republican nomination than the leading libertarian in the Democratic Party has of getting his party’s nomination. (Another reminder, if one were necessary, of why we need institutions that promote multiparty politics, so these relatively lone voices can be amplified in Congress by the votes of those of us outside their safe districts.) For standing up to the authoritarians of his own party, Mr Paul deserves encouragement.

No Senate Intel Committee investigation of warrantless wiretapping

I don’t know which is less shocking in today’s news, that Bonds reportedly used steroids, or that the Party of Power is closing ranks to avoid accountability for their warrantless wiretaps.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller, the senior Democrat on the committee:

This committee is basically under control of the White House.

Yes, that is how Parties of Power operate.

The partisan components of presidential approval

Highly recommended: Political Arithmetik’s graph and analysis of presidential approval among copartisans, the opposition, and independents. The graph shows low point of overall approval against low point within each partisan component of the electorate.

Just a few observations from my interocular test of the data:

G.W. Bush currently has both the highest approval in the series among partisans and the second lowest among the opposition. (Lowest among opposition was Truman’s amazing 4.5%; Truman, unlike Bush, also fell quite low among copartisans, though not as low as Carter, who holds the copartisan low-approval record by far.)

Opposition approval has little correlation with overall, while approval among independents is almost 1:1 with the overall. The latter, in particular, is perhaps not surprising, given that independents tend to be in the middle, but the near-exact correspondence to overall is striking. There is, however, one data point that is notably off the trend for independents: G.W. Bush. He has a level of approval among independents that is “too low” for his overall approval.

Approval by copartisans is highly correlated, and the slope is quite steep. Naturally, the current president’s defiance of the trend line for independents is a direct result of his also being “too high” among copartisans–in other words, a result of the near imperviousness of Republicans to the contempt with which the rest of their fellow citizens hold their leader.

Just reflecting…

…on a week when I could hardly help thinking that maybe Sam Huntington is right after all. And that, almost by definition, is a pretty bad week.

Update: See the more optimistic assessment propagated by Miguel, with which I tend to agree. Alas, the “reformation” process he refers to is likely to be quite difficult, to say the least.

I also should note that I am about out of that lingonberry spread. It is really good. I need to get some more. And, yes, it is from Denmark.