Americans for Limited Government

…win Grand Prize for Most Un-Self-Aware Hypocrites: Send out letter to neighborhoods, exposing the voting habits of their next-door neighbors. The Cato Institute sez they are “an incredibly effective force in advancing the cause of freedom”–if by “freedom” you mean “a nosy police state in which strangers report on you to your neighbors”. Talk about mission creep.

Libertarianism: For relief from symptoms of Nanny Statism, take in extremely small quantities only under supervision from a Doctor (of the Church).

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  • Actually that could be a great demonstration of their principles. “Hey guys, guess what’s public record! Gee, don’t you wish the government was more limited now.” So what do you have a problem with? The public record or the use of it?

    And where does the Cato institute come in? The link just goes to ALG website. Is your LDS (libertarian derangement syndrome) acting up again?

    • ivan_the_mad

      Appreciate the effort I undertook to spend two seconds with Google on your behalf:

      • You mean the quote from “Ed Crane, Founder/President, Cato Institute”?

        Oh look, here’s another quote from “Tom Coburn US Senate (R-OK)” so that must mean the Senate supports ALG huh?

        So it’s not ok to lie/twist words in support of pro-life causes but it is to besmirch libertarians?

        • ivan_the_mad

          I’m addressing this: “And where does the Cato institute come in? The link just goes to ALG website. Is your LDS (libertarian derangement syndrome) acting up again?”

          I don’t care about the aptness of the Crane’s quote to the blog post. You clearly didn’t make an effort to see why Cato was mentioned in regard to the ALG and made a snarky comment from that ignorance, and were then corrected. Why don’t you recognize that instead of trying to argue about something else?

          • So let me get this straight,

            If I quote “We base our support for access to reproductive health services on the long-standing traditions within Catholicism.” as Catholic Church now in favor of birth control, you would agree that I’m technically correct because the author of that quote has “president, catholic” after their name. You just don’t believe in context do you?

            “I don’t care about … effort to see … ignorance … corrected.” -Ivan_the_mad

            Man ivan, why don’t you care about fixing ignorance? And remember, any attempt to correct the distortion is “trying to argue about something else”. 😉

            • ivan_the_mad

              I really have no idea what you’re talking about.

              • Exactly.
                “Americans for Limited Government can be an incredibly effective force in advancing the cause of freedom.” -[Ed Crane, Founder/President,] Cato Institute
                Shea cuts out the part in brackets yet you find it technically correct. Reminder you said:
                “You clearly didn’t make an effort to see why Cato was mentioned in regard to the ALG and made a snarky comment from that ignorance”

                Yes, fine, the words “cato” and “institute” are mentioned somewhere on the site yet apparently you find no need for any further context. I merely took your words and pointed out that technically, you’re in favor of ignorance. After all, context apparently doesn’t matter to you.

                • ivan_the_mad

                  “And where does the Cato institute come in?” I answered a simple question, with “Here, in this link”. Further discussion has been entirely one-sided on your part.

                  • Like I said, the words “cato” and “institute” yes technically appear on the website. “Senate” also appears on the website so does the Senate support ALG? I pointed out that in an article promoting birth control, the words “Catholic Church” appear. And in your post the word “ignorance” appears. Therefore, the Catholic Church supports birth control and you support ignorance and the Senate endorses ALG.

                    Either just the appearance & presence of words matters or context has some value.

                    • ivan_the_mad

                      You know you’re arguing about context and the rest with yourself, right? All I did was say, “Here is where Cato occurs”. If you have a problem with the fitness of the quote, your issue is with Mark’s blog post, not with me. Don’t be obtuse.

                    • You’re right. I assumed I was dealing with a human being possessing common sense. That was my mistake, I apologize. Thank you, Clippy for your technically correct but totally useless answer.

    • Phil

      Maybe that would be a good point if their letter said something about, “we just wanted to warn you what is publicly available information by the government.” But no, they are just giving a friendly helping hand for you to spy on your neighbors(and vice versa I assumme). By the way, the info on the letter I got from them wasn’t even accurate.

      • Good point and that is sad. (This is why gamers should be more in charge of stuff. 😉 We know how to properly exploit things.)

        Though they could be just legend, haven’t there been rumors of leftist organizations doing the same? Could be a real life example of He who Fight Monsters.

  • Will

    But you know that TheLibertarians are a hive mind, just like TheVatican!
    At least this time he didn’t repeat the mantra “Ayn Rand!” and expect all of us to go “Eek! The boogeywoman!”

  • Jamie R

    Strictly speaking, there’s no conflict. The government didn’t send out those letters. A private entity did. Your rights as against the government should be protected by limits being placed on the government. Your rights as against private entities are set by contract, and, to a lesser extent, tort.

    • Steve P

      But is there good reason for government to even maintain those records? And should they be available to be accessed and publically distributed by a government entity, private organization or individual citizen?

      I think that’s the irony/hypocrisy Mark is trying to highlight.

      • Adam L

        Well, you would want the government to keep track of who was voting so as to prevent voter fraud, although it would probably be a good idea to not have the government maintain them for some set amount of time, say five years.

        On the other hand, from a libertarian perspective, I don’t see how anyone can claim to have a right to keep the fact that they went to vote in a certain election a secret. Granted it’s somewhat antisocial and a little creepy, but I don’t see how this proves anything about libertarianism per se.

    • Phil

      I got one of these letters, but I don’t remember signing any contract with “Americans for Limited Government”.

      • Adam L

        Again, I don’t see how you can claim that you have a right to keep the fact that you voted in an election a secret. What if I happened to see you going into a polling place at an election two years ago?

        Also, if the government is indeed keeping such records, would you rather that they keep that a secret?

  • ivan_the_mad

    It’s about time we had some good news on that front!

    • ivan_the_mad

      Whoops, that’s supposed to be on the HHS news …

  • Kirt Higdon

    The secret ballot is one of the most loathsome aspects of democracy. It enables the voter to secretly make decisions which impact, however slightly, the fortunes and even lives of his neighbors. It empowers cowardice and irresponsibility. Secrecy, lack of accountability, and impunity permeate the government from top to bottom. I’m reminded of when the prophet Nathan, speaking in the name of the Lord, called David to account for his secret sins of adultery and murder. David’s sins would remain secret but the terrible punishments for them would be public. “What you did, you did in secret. What I (the Lord) do will be in broad daylight before all of Israel.”

    • Mark Shea


  • c matt

    I suppose it is a little ironic, but then voting is a public act, even if the particulars of for whom (or what) you voted are not. Not sure how useful such info is to your neighbors.

  • Ted Seeber

    I’ve known this information has been available for 10 years. It is the reason why I try to vote as soon as possible, to stop the robocalls waking me up at night.

  • My wife got a piece of mail earlier this week from Americans for Limited Government that purports to give a VOTE HISTORY AUDIT of us and five of our neighbors. I do not appreciate my vote history being broadcast, particularly since it is INCORRECT!!!! I have to assume that the alleged information was randomly generated. Broadcasting people’s voting history, whether correct or incorrect, seems somehow inconsistent with limited government.

    • Ted Seeber

      Take it up with your local elections board, which in most of the country sells this information to help fund the cost of elections. Major buyers are of course campaigns for the major political parties and news outlets, who then cross index with contact lists.

  • Gale Boulware

    I do not appreciate the invasion of my privacy by ANY organization. I don’t care what your intent or excuses are. You vote when and if you want to and leave that right to me. The very idea to arrive home to find in my mailbox a letter telling neighbors if and when I voted. I don’t care if they voted and I’m sure they feel the same. The information on my letter was also incorrect. If you are going to relay info, at least, relay correct info. This type of communication is unacceptable and pointless. Just what do you intend to accomplish????

  • G.Belts

    I do not apreciate the fact that you think you have the right to print my name,address and
    voteing record to all in the neighborhood. This is not limited goverment.

  • alan altman


  • Andy

    My daughter who is in England for a semester abroad just received notice that she had not voted in the past election, – she was 16. Although true, it calls in to question the intelligence or sanity of these folks. I looked at ALG -if they are non-partisan, then they have a new definition of non-parisan. THey looked like a typical right wing anti-democratic group.

  • Genius

    To all concerned: they(alg) are getting exactly what they want…a rise out of mail recepients. Do just like I and the rest of my neighbors do and toss it in the garbage where it belongs ! After all who the hell cares but the shallow minded!