Van Jones: These libertarians certainly are extreme

Via Mediaite, enjoy as an anchor for Russia Today, which is bankrolled by the Kremlin, has to play voice of reason on the set. This is the second time in a week that he’s singled out libertarians for special contempt — the last time was even nastier — and I’m not sure why. Yeah, their economic philosophy is 180 from his, but most leftists seem to prefer libertarians to mainstream conservatives because they’re socially liberal, anti-war, and much less of a threat at the ballot box. When the left’s rhetorical gloves come off, it’s usually for the Romney/Santorum/Gingrich voters, not the Ron Paul crowd. Not Jones, though.

Could be that he really is so focused on redistributive “economic justice” that he sees libertarians as his archenemy notwithstanding their common ground in other areas of policy. Or, per his comments here about MLK, could be that the one-two punch of Ron Paul’s old newsletters and Rand Paul’s rhetorical tapdancing about the Civil Rights Act during the 2010 Senate campaign have left him suspicious about libertarian views on civil rights. That’s understandable given their stature as the two most prominent libertarians in the country, but (a) however naive Rand might have been about ending discrimination through private boycotts instead of federal action, I don’t think he’s ever suggested that it shouldn’t have ended, and (b) the Reason gang, who as far as I know are fairly representative of libertarian thought, are usually robust when it comes to defending civil rights. In fact, here’s what an indignant Mike Riggs threw at Jones last week when he first attacked:

I’m going to have to mic check you there, Mr. Jones. You’re not talking about so-called libertarians, but your former boss and current president. See, it’s Barack Obama who supports “traditional marriage”; Barack Obama who supports a drug war that sends an alarming number of black men to prison and destroys their employment prospects; Barack Obama who supports a foreign policy that kills children; Barack Obama who supports regulatory barriers that require the poorest of the poor to borrow their way into the workforce; Barack Obama who supports an immigration strategy that rips apart families and sees the children of undocumented workers put up for adoption.

Even weirder: Since when, as he suggests here, do most libertarians claim some sort of monopoly on patriotism? He’s alluding, I take it, to the feeling among Ron Paul’s fans that he’s the only man who can save America, the only candidate who cares about the Constitution, etc, but I think as often as not libertarians are demagogued as being unpatriotic for their agenda. They get it from the left for wanting to roll back entitlements, which of course are the glory of post-solvent modern America, and they get it from the right for opposing foreign interventions. And incidentally, why is a guy who recently dismissed tea partiers as “cheap” patriots compared to the “deep” patriots in Guy Fawkes masks at Zuccotti Park complaining about anyone claiming a monopoly on patriotism?

Two clips here, both from Mediaite: One of Jones and the other of “Red Eye” having fun with him for his anti-libertarian comments last week.

Jazz Shaw Jun 22, 2021 6:01 PM ET