Rudy Giuliani: “Freedom is About Authority” and The Authoritarian “Libertarians for Giuliani”

Hat tip to Andrew Sullivan for digging up this quote:

“We look upon authority too often and focus over and over again, for 30 or 40 or 50 years, as if there is something wrong with authority. We see only the oppressive side of authority. Maybe it comes out of our history and our background. What we don’t see is that freedom is not a concept in which people can do anything they want, be anything they can be. Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do,” – Rudy Giuliani, March 1994.

This is being interpreted in different ways by different bloggers. Even if we concede, as Matthew Yglesias does, advantages of ceding some discretion to authority, this is hardly a satisfactory view of what freedom means, especially in light of Giuliani’s poor reputation with regards to civil liberties.

Those who have been following some of the discussions on Rudy Giuliani here, such as in the comments to this post, may view Giuliani and his alleged libertarian support in a new light. As is noted from the comments of Eric Dondero, who bills himself as Acting Chairman of Libertarians for Giuliani (as well as leading a number of other “libertarian” organizations which I suspect represent groups of one), this is a strange variant of libertariansm. Giuliani’s top “libertarian” supporter dreams of what would amount to a military dictatorship in which only “Military Guys and Military Veterans” have rights and no dissent from “leftists,” “wusses,” or “girlie-men” (i.e. anyone who disagrees with him) will be allowed.

Obviously Giuliani cannot be blamed for the views of his more crazed supporters, but it is impossible to read this quote and not see this all fitting together. We have Rudy Giuliani who advocates faux-freedom supported by a well known faux-libertarian. (In fairness to libertarians, it should also be noted that Dondero and his “organizations” are not considered to be libertarian by many libertarians and he is seen as a laughing stock on many libertarian blogs and discussion boards so his authoritarian views should not be construed as representing libertarian thought.)

Related Posts:

New Yorkers Prefer Bloomberg to Giuliani
Sorry Rudy, The Republicans Are Not The Party of Freedom
More Signs That Rudy’s No Libertarian

Libertarians And The Abandoment of George Bush
Finding The Libertarian Democrat

The Delusion of Republican Libertarians

Republican Principles and The New Social Conservativism
Rudy Giuliani’s Vulnerabilities

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  1. 1
    Eric Dondero says:

    You all think Chusid is a “little tender” about his non-Service in the Military?

    Ya think maybe he’s just a tad bit touchy about it? You think maybe there’s a feeling of guilt on his part that he never fullfilled his manly duties? Maybe a tiny devil or angel on his shoulder whispering in his ear in hushed tones: “girlie man, girlie man, girlie man…”

    Ron, you’re probably too old to join now. So, you’re just going to have to live with the guilt for the rest of your life.

    What a horrible thought, to be an American male, and to know that you never bravely served in the US Armed Forces. I wouldn’t want to live with that for the rest of my life. Fortunately, I do not have to.

    But YOU DO!!

    Bahh ha, ha, hah, hah!!! LOL

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    No Eric, it is you who expose the fool you are by having to resort to such insults.

    Only a person with no real arguments on their side would resort to meaningless insults.

    Only a person with serious questions about their own masculinity would run around calling people a “girlie man.” No real man would do so. When Arnold did it, it was self-parody in light of his movie roles, When a loser like you does it, it just shows how pathetic you are.

    When you drag the military into it, you are a disgrace to the United States Armed Forces.

  3. 3
    ME says:

    I’ve always said that Giuliani’s first step in office will be to make the trains run on time, and everyone will really appreciate it.

    What happens after that…I donb’t want to find out.

  4. 4
    Ron Chusid says:


    Worst case scenario for what comes after that: Giuliani/Brownback Brownshirts like Dondero start gangs of goons to attack those “girlie men” who don’t agree with thier views of the new “libertarian” paradise under Giuliani.

    (For those who missed the previous thread, Eric Dondero considers Brownback to be the second most libertarian candidate running and is considerilng him for VP. If nothing else, that should clinch the argument that Dondero is no libertarian.)

  5. 5
    eddie says:

    As one who lived under the “authority” of Mr. Giuliani, I am highly shocked that anyone would think the Mr. Giuliani has anything to do with “libertarianism.”

    Being a “liberal” idealist, however, I am not completely blind to the power of the philosophic underpinnings of the statement that “freedom is about authority”, however, whatever else may be said, authority must always remain in the community.

    Having spent good deal of time in Singapore, I was at first struck by how all these disparate ethnic and religious groups lived “in harmony”. I was “impressed” by the fact that one could leave a bicycle unlocked in downtown, enter a building and return many minutes later and still find one’s bicycle. In one sense that does define a certain kind of “freedom”. However, when one read the local papers, the only “news” that was worth reading were the sports pages. Even the business news had to be somewhat circumspect of any constructive criticism.

    What Giuliani seems not to understand is that authority does not exist in some type of vacuum and is some sort of absolute rosetta stone/ ten commandments. Interesting how absent from the ten commandments is a prohibition on slavery. Authority that is unquestioned by the source of that authority (namely the people themselves) is simply blind fealty and surrender to a higher power and a ceding of all responsibility to that authority. Yes, it is comforting in its certainty and the only thing you have to worry about is falling on the wrong side of that authority. But free individual do not shirk from making the tough decisions. Free men believe that a community can only survive if each of the individuals surrenders to the common good, a common good that cannot tolerate subjugation.

    And yes, Mr. Giuliani turned Times Square from a funky area into Disneyland. But in the real world, I go to Disneyland for an escape, not for reality, not for fullfilment and certainly not to express any concept of freedom. Freedom is the ability to sacrifice oneself for another–not the power to defeat.

    And that’s the rub–freedom is hard; peace is hard; and sacrificing oneself is the hardest. The easy way out is to give someone else the gun and tell them to protect you and make all your decisions. That is not freedom; it’s idolatry.

  6. 6
    Eric Dondero says:

    Nah, I’m not a libertarian Ron. I only support Pro-Choice, Drug Legalization, Legalized Prostitution and Gambling, Repeal of Seat Belt Laws, Lowered Drinking Age, Abolishing the IRS, severe Spending Cuts across the Board, Drilling at ANWR, complete Gun Rights, Free Market economics of the variety of Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman, Hayek, Mises and Hazlitt, Opposing the Military Draft in any form, Ending Foreign Aid, and pulling out of the United Nations.

    Nah, those aren’t libertarian posititions.

    What did you call them? Oh yeah, that’s right. Such positions are “faux libertarian views.”

  7. 7
    Eric Dondero says:

    Eddie, let’s recap shall we:

    In the last few weeks the following major media publications have called Rudy Giuliani either a “libertarian” or a “libertarian conservative.”

    London Times-Herald, NY Sun, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, Washington Post, Washington Times, National Review Magazine, Insight and American Spectator.

    In 1999 the NY Times said of Rudy Giuliani: He’s a “privatizing, budget cutting Ayn Randian.”

    Now, who should we believe? All those Liberal AND Conservative publications, or you?

    No offense Dude, but I’m going with the overwhelming amount of media outlets on this one.

    I mean, when you consider that one of those publications is FRIGGIN’ 300 YEARS OLD!!! The London Times-Herald. I do believe they know a little something about proper political labeling, don’t you?

  8. 8
    Ron Chusid says:


    We’ve already established that you are a right wing conservative with views inconsistent with libertarianism in previoius threads. Among non-libertarian stands you’ve taken is support for the Iraq war, support for the Patriot Act, support for Brownback who you call the second most libertarian candidate running, and belief that “Military Guys” and “Veterans” have a right to beat up people for acts of expression of political dissent. You’ve also listed a number of right wingers as “libertarians” further indicating your lack of understanding of libertariansm, while you claimed that a leading libertarian such as Murray Rothbard doesn’t count as a libertarian.

    I see that you resort to your usual specious arguments in your response to Eddie. The libertarian label is frequently used by mainstream journalists in a variety of ways which have nothing to do with the libertarian viewpoint. Having Giuliani be called a libertarian by such publications is meaningless.

    What matters is the positions he has taken. There have already been a few posts here showing that Giuliani is hardly a libertarian. This isn’t just Eddie taking a viewpoint. It is the view taken by libertarians and others who have acutally looked at Giuliani.

  9. 9
    Ron Chusid says:

    Gomer Pyle here seems to think he is superior to everyone because of his military service. (I bet he’s read Starship Troopers thirty times, but is unaware that Heinlein also wrote The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and Stranger in a Strange Land. Second thought, reading this might be beyond him–I bet he just watched the movie version of Starship Troopers.)

    I just had a thought. If I had decided to have the US Government pay for med school (instead of taking the more libertarian course of paying for my education myself), I would have entered the military as an officer, outranking Dondero.

  10. 10
    Eric Dondero says:

    So, I’m a “Rightwing Republican,” even though I’m hardcore Pro-Choice, Pro-Prostitution, Gambling, Drug Legalization, and opposed to the Military Draft?

    I dare say, with those views I wouldn’t be invited into a Pat Robertson or James Dobson “Right-wing Republican Fest.”

    Perhaps you just can’t swallow the fact that the really consistent position is to be opposed to Islamo-Fascism and be a libertarian.


  11. 11
    Ron Chusid says:


    We already have gone thru this many times.

    We’ve already seen many signs that you are an extremist right wing Republican who opposes indlvidual liberty. You might have differences of opinion with Pat Robertson and James Dobson, but your views also differ tremendous from libertarianism.

    You support the war, which undermines our national security. You support the Patriot Act. You oppose freedom of expression and other basic civil liberties. Like a typical right wing extremist you repeatedly express bigotry, and even quote propaganda from the right wing media as fact.

  12. 12
    Eric Dondero says:

    I “might have differences with Pat Robertson and James Dobson…”

    Are you fucking kidding me??!!! I “might” have differences with them???????????

    I’d say it’s more like we’re on two entirely different planets.

    The civil liberties you talk of are arcane, unimportant, boring ass issues that no Americans care about.

    You want to talk important civil liberties issues:




    Pro-Drug Legalization, Prostitution, Gambling, Ending Seat Belt Laws, eliminating those Goddamned Red Light Cameras spying on us peaceful citizens in downtowns, STOPPING COPS FROM MESSING WITH SWINGERS CLUBS AND TITTY BARS, and Repealing all Laws that outlaw smoking in bars and bingo halls.

    Those issues matter. The issues you raise are issues that put people to sleep and that nobody cares about.

    But then again, you’re not a real American, so how the fuck would you know.

  13. 13
    Ron Chusid says:


    Prochoice? Then why do you back Giuliani who has promised the religious right to appoint judges who will support them in overturning Row v. Wade?

    If your main priority is topless bars and swingers clubs, then Giuliani is definately not your man. He’s the one who was shutting such places down in New York.

    I realize that you have no interest in civil liberties and prefer a military dictatorship over freedom and democracy, but the issues which you say “put people to sleep” are important issues.

    Typical of you fanatic right wingers who don’t recognize freedom of speech as something important to claim that anyone who disagrees with you is not a “real American.”

  14. 14
    Jimmy says:

    War is Peace. Ignorance is Strength. Freedom is Slavery.

    No thanks Rudy. I think i’ll vote for Ron Paul instead.

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