In Which I Question Radley Balko’s Sincerity

Sure, Radley Balko has apologized to John Cole. But I don't think he means it.

Sure, Radley Balko has apologized to John Cole. But I don’t think he means it.

FILED UNDER: General
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Ben Wolf says:

    What part of Cole’s post would you call inaccurate? Right libertarians are not libertarians, period. Balko’s tendency to completely lose control when his utter irrelevance to civil liberties is addressed lends Cole’s argument more credence.

  2. Apparently my brain can only handle three levels of recursive sarcasm, because I have no idea if Ben Wolf is serious or not.

  3. mantis says:

    Okay, so the entire package only garnered one line in yet another silly Cole rant, populated with the usual straw men, about how libertarians are horrible, awful people because they favor policies that are different than the policies favored by John Cole.

    Complain about strawmen while simultaneously building one. Nice work, Radley!

    Here’s the problem with libertarians. When you talk about how libertarian policies would really affect people, all they can do is whine that you’re mean to them.

    Cole has praised Balko on his coverage of the widespread overreach of police enforcement and despicable state of our justice incarceration system on many occasions. It’s the rest of the stuff from Reason and the libertarian crowd, which range from priorities-out-of-whack silliness to totally insane. As Cole states right in a post Balko links to:

    However, some libertarians manage to balance some of the inherent contradictions, and really do come across on the side of freedom and individual liberty in almost every case. Radley Balko, who has taken principled stands across the spectrum and who has done incredible work on the drug war, police, and prosecutorial excesses, springs to mind (even though he hates me for pointing out that many of his colleagues are fools).

    And it is the inherent contradictions that cause the problems many of us have with libertarians in general (but not all of you!). Why are clean water, clean air, and healthy school lunches the most fascist things since Hitler, but torture and indefinite incarceration of people who haven’t even been charged with crimes warrant very little protest from Reason and the libertarian crowd in general?

    The reason libertarians are so frustrating to liberals is that we find agreement with them so much on issues of personal freedom and criminal justice and a host of other things, but everything libertarians do works towards empowering Republicans, who are much more interested in restricting freedom than Democrats.

    Anyway, since I’m playing Cole apologist at the moment, I’ll just outsource to him:

    The economic agenda of libertarians and Republicans the last thirty years has radically increased inequality and decreased freedom. From my current perspective, every “success” of libertarians in the past few decades has been at the expense of the majority of the country, and deregulation has led to more government involvement to deal with the cockups from our Galtian geniuses.

    Ayup.

  4. Radley Balko says:

    Why are clean water, clean air, and healthy school lunches the most fascist things since Hitler, but torture and indefinite incarceration of people who haven’t even been charged with crimes warrant very little protest from Reason and the libertarian crowd in general?

    Let’s set aside the caricature of libertarian positions on water, air, and school lunches, and focus on torture and indefinite detention. Did you bother to check the Reason or Cato websites before you posted this?

    Either you didn’t, or you’re being completely disingenuous. It takes about five seconds of Googling to find that both organizations have written reams on both torture and indefinite detention, as well as the myriad other issues associated with the war on terror and executive power. So you both don’t know what the hell you’re talking about, and you’re too lazy to do a cursory web search to verify what you write before you post.

    I don’t expect everyone to agree with libertarians. I do expect serious people to actually address the actual arguments libertarians make, instead of this constant questioning of motivations.

    This, not coincidentally, is also my problem with Cole. Not only are his “Reason/Cato are suspiciously silent on X” attacks ad hominem, they simply aren’t true. And the fact that they aren’t true (and are easily, provably false) doesn’t seem to bother him in the least.

  5. TheColourfield says:

    Cole likely gets under his skin because he points out the absurd economic analysis at Reason by astro-turfing hacks like Suderman and Balko can’t seem to mount any coherent defense besides shouting ad hominem.

    Look up Suderman’s “brilliant” work for Dick Armey for a sample of his talents. .

  6. sam says:

    John replies. The rap is the comments is that Radley was a sop to real libertarianism at Reason (which, the rap goes, has become a bastion of Kochwhores).

    And John does think highly of Radley:

    [S]ome libertarians manage to balance some of the inherent contradictions, and really do come across on the side of freedom and individual liberty in almost every case. Radley Balko, who has taken principled stands across the spectrum and who has done incredible work on the drug war, police, and prosecutorial excesses, springs to mind (even though he hates me for pointing out that many of his colleagues are fools).

  7. Steve Verdon says:

    Of course he doesn’t mean it Cole is a putz.

  8. Steve Verdon says:

    Why are clean water, clean air, and healthy school lunches the most fascist things since Hitler, but torture and indefinite incarceration of people who haven’t even been charged with crimes warrant very little protest from Reason and the libertarian crowd in general?

    Right because libertarians hate clean water, clean air, and health school lunches. We hate them, hate them, hate them. I will not have them in a box, nor with a fox.

    How can I take you seriously when you write such retarded stuff. It isn’t that a libertarian hates these things, but that they are dubious of the claim that government is the only and best way to go about obtaining them.

    Libertarians are people who put a priority on freedom and liberty. Government, by definition, is about force, coercion and violence–the very antithesis of freedom/liberty. So libertarians are more skeptical of the use of government powers than non-libertarians. Shocking. But that does not translate into not wanting clean water, clean air, health school lunches, etc. That is just a load of bullsh!t.

    Regarding torture and Reason, there have been a number of articles on that. In fact, this one should be a bit uncomfortable to the supporters of President Obama.

    The former detainees alleged that Jeppesen Dataplan facilitated their transport to U.S. and foreign prisons, where they were tortured. The Obama Justice Department, like the Bush Justice Department before it, urged the court to dismiss the case on grounds that state secrets would be disclosed in litigation.

    The economic agenda of libertarians and Republicans the last thirty years has radically increased inequality and decreased freedom. From my current perspective, every “success” of libertarians in the past few decades has been at the expense of the majority of the country, and deregulation has led to more government involvement to deal with the cockups from our Galtian geniuses.

    Ayup.

    Anope.

    Libertarians and Republicans are not at all in lock step when it comes to economic policy. Many libertarians, as I have noted, are wary of government power. Both in regards to civil liberties and economic policy. Republicans and Democrats on the other hand are not so wary. Both Democratics and Republicans have been corrupted and captured by Wall Street and other large firms. That is one of the downsides to bigger government with a growing list of discretionary powers.

    Did you bother to check the Reason or Cato websites before you posted this?

    Of course not.

  9. TheColourfield says:

    “Both Democratics and Republicans have been corrupted and captured by Wall Street and other large firms.”

    you forgot to add Freedomworks, Americans for Prosperity, American Legislative Exchange Council, Institute for Energy Research….

  10. sam says:

    @Verdon

    Libertarians are people who put a priority on freedom and liberty. Government, by definition, is about force, coercion and violence–the very antithesis of freedom/liberty.

    That is Sillyibertarianism.