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Great post, Eric. This is something I've noticed as I've dealt with a number of these folks in the last few months, but haven't quite been able to put it in writing as well as you have. While we in the Campaign for Liberty and RLC agree with some of these folks on much (today), their views and actions seem to be based far more on partisanship than on principle--or else it's a newfound principle, because they sure weren't saying anything before, were they?

While many of these groups have a slightly bi-partisan nature to them (at least here in Nebraska), they are predominantly Republicans, and they are far more interested in putting pressure on Ben Nelson (one of our Senators, the only Democrat in our Congressional delegation) than on any of the Republicans. It's a social conservatism that still sees America as "protector of the World" but wants to be a little isolationist at the same time.

These folks are, though, waking up to something. I view their current disgust with government in Washington as something that we can use to help educate them. They're only with us today because the "liberal Democrats" are in charge. But maybe tomorrow they'll look with a cynical eye at the other party as well.

"The state is, after all, merely a gun which inevitably goes from being pointed BY you, with all your good intentions, to being pointed AT you, by other well-intentioned folk... That’s the epiphanous moment when you realize the true nature of that big bad gun and how, no matter your perception, you never really controlled it. It was doing its own bidding the whole time."

That is a brilliant analogy and accurate in so many ways. Wow!

Laura, I still hold by my belief that the GOP will pick up tons of seats all over the country in 2010 (more than even I orignially thought). The question is can they possibly really have changed? Are Republicans now really republican?

Although there is definitely a movement, my great fear is that the 'tribalism' of dems vs. reps will dominate any new found strains of liberty with the voters/activists. If there is a watershed election in 2010 and then 2012, is that enough time to convince voters/party activists to not use the state for authoritarian purposes?

I know what I think but I'm pulling for what I hope the answer is.

I think you're right, Eric, that Republicans will pick up a lot of seats next year--possibly even re-take at least the House (which would mean a HUGE turnover). But, your question: "Are Republicans now really republican?" is a good one. I, too, think there has been movement, but I'm not sure that it's enough, or that those who have been "transplanted" a bit have sunk in roots yet.

Those of us working within the party structure will have to continue to serve as the "conscience" of the party, and keep reminding them what it was that got them into so much trouble before. Eternal vigilance!

Could it be that we are seeing the old guard (sort of brought along and educated by an oligarchy of centrist conservatives) being replaced by the new guard (individuals with an internet-supplied autodidactic understanding of natural rights as it relates to politics at home, abroad, and in the economy)? I think it could be so and I think that the new guard is comprised of people of all demographics.

If so, the new republican group from the upcoming midterm elections may not all be libertarian leaning, but they may be led by those C4l/RLC type candidates who get into office. Then, we watch them like hawks like Laura suggests.

The question remains whether there is enough robustness within this movement to enable an actual reduction in government rather than just a slowing of its growth.

"The question remains whether there is enough robustness within this movement to enable an actual reduction in government rather than just a slowing of its growth."

Yep, that's the $64,000,000,000 question (adjusted for inflation). I sometimes think of it like a trip from Omaha to Kearney on I-80 (in Nebraska--check the map). We've been driving down the road so fast, chatting up a storm, following the flow of traffic, and all of a sudden we realize that we're past the Elm Creek Exit, and almost to Lexington. Somehow, we've got to get back to a Kearney exit, but there's no good place to turn around, and slamming your brakes on and driving across the median to try and get back on the east bound lanes is not all that safe and could cause even more problems.

So you try to slow down, keep your eyes open, and make that turn around at the next opportunity--probably at Lexington. We've gone further than we wanted to go, but what's immediately important is that you put a plan in place to slow down and start paying attention to where you're going--so that you don't end up in North Platte, or Sidney, or Cheyenne. Once you've slowed down and started paying attention, then you can think about making that turn.

That's a good analogy, but, whenever you try to slow the car down, someone spots a bear or an tank coming down the road behind you - prompting you to speed up. Or you spot a billboard that reads, "Utopia Just Ahead." So you keep driving just a little farther to see what it looks like. It's as if the car can not slow down due to either irrational fears or irrational hopes.

The only time the car seems likely to stop is when the engine finally goes. That would be a circumstance we would all wish to avoid if possible.

We've got to figure out how to apply the brakes. Can the constitution still muster itself?

You've never seen Nebraska drivers. They pay no attention to what's behind them--tanks, bears, other cars--they just keep driving along...

Nebraskan Sandhills, Nebraskan drivers ... one of these days I'm really going to have to get out that way and check it out.

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