Here is my initial disclosure: I am a dues-paying member of the Campaign for Liberty. Bob Barr was my top choice for president in 2008. I once attended a tea party. I am a libertarian.
I have come at the behest of my evil masters to mislead and ensnare you innocent progressives. Follow me as I lure you into my trap...
So now that you are reading, I want to point a few things out. I have been posting here since the beginning of summer I think, I can't really remember. I know I wrote my first diary in July. I don't consider myself a troll here.
I came here for a couple reasons. First, I had been lurking for awhile and found the discourse quite compelling. Sure, I think government is inherently coercive like any other good libertarian. However I feel compelled then to address the question of how much government is allowed. Libertarians provide one alternative, but I hate reading only one source. Neo-conservatives, seem to me to provide arguments that don't seem very compelling. And social conservatism, when imposed at the barrel of a government gun, seems quite unsatisfactory for one who values freedom.
That is when I came to Daily Kos, which I was already lurking for the great political discussion and to discuss foreign war and civil liberties. I was already friendly enough because I also watch third party newsites like Independent Political Report, and love the interactions with Greens.
So I can see the liberal egalitarian side to arguments. And I feel the interaction is a two-way street. One great example is the Audit the Fed movement. Today, it was successfully inserted as an amendment into President Obama's financial overhaul legislation. In addition, efforts continue to push for an independent vote on the legislation on the floor of the house and Senate. However, we must look at something. Of course, I think Alan Grayson and other liberals were critical in ensuring the passage of HR 1207 in its original form (as opposed to how Mel Watts wanted to corrupt it). However, I don't think Grayson could have swayed every single member of the Republican house delegation to co-sponsor, or the numbers of Republicans who have cosponsored in the Senate like Jim Demint. Instead, that could be attributed to the grassroots work of libertarians and Paulistas with the Campaign for Liberty, who lit up the phonelines of their congress-critters for weeks. In this case, Audit the Fed passed because two sides found common ground. Grayson without Paul or Paul without Grayson could not have gotten it to fly through the house.
But the alliance has another effect. When we work with another side, you are forced to see the human side of those we interact with. Sure, Grover Norquist could have a dark side to his work. Newt Gingrich is probably not the most savoury chap. However, that does not mean that every member of their organization has similar problems. When you work with an organization, you are working with the members as much as the leaders. Yet all too often we see only a figurehead or see one person who embodies the "evil" person.
For example, Nancy Pelosi is not my favorite congresswoman by any stretch of the mind, but I know all Democrats are not like that. Similarly, Mitch McConnell is a pretty horrible Senator, but he doesn't represent every single Repbulican. Instead, we must recognize individuals, whether they are a progressive, moderate, tea partier, or libertarian, have ideas and that it is the individual you must sway.
However, we can never sway these individuals by staying trapped within an echo chamber, whether the echo chamber is as large as the Democratic Party or the progressive movement or as small as Ron Paul Forums. And I have been encouraged. Even with myself, I am much more open to certain reforms than I would have been if I never came here. Today, I acknowledge that certain forms of welfare must be maintained, a far stretch from the man who once almost became an anarcho-capitalist.
Yet it was because I came here first to make contact and talk about civil liberties and foreign war that I was exposed to another viewpoint like this. I can say I feel more enriched for coming to the DKos community than had I remained in a tiny libertarian echo chamber.
So I'll end on this note. I may be an evil libertarian, but some of my favorite Senators are Russ Feingold and Bernie Sanders. I respect Alan Grayson for much of what he has done. One of my biggest choices in 2010 is which Democrat to vote for in the Texas Ag Commissioner's race. I may be a libertarian but I'm willing to work with progressives on crucial issues facing our world.