An update to this previous post, Playing the Kevin Bacon Game within the Libertarian Movement.
Ames’ and Levine’s article didn’t directly call Tyner a plant, and they didn’t say that he was funded by the Koch brothers. Nonetheless, their article gave that impression–by placing Tyner in the article’s lead and by using a generally disparaging tone to refer to him. The article also used innuendo to cast doubt on Tyner’s motives, and when Tyner denied any connections to lobbyists and to Koch-funded organizations in an interview, we printed his denial–but we didn’t press hard enough to get clarity on his actions and intentions. We should have stopped and done just that, and if Tyner’s story checked out, we should have removed him from the piece.
Citizens from across the political spectrum are right to call out the TSA’s invasive procedures and the threat to civil liberties they represent. We have long opposed, and exposed, the continuing encroachments of the national security state, though we also think that those who applauded each sacrifice of liberty for security under the Bush administration should expect to be regarded with skepticism if the presence of a Democrat in the White House suddenly prompts libertarian concerns. As John Tyner pointed out, this issue “isn’t Republican and it isn’t Democratic.” It is also simply a fact that the backlash against TSA procedures has led to calls for racial profiling and for the privatization of the agency.
vanden Heuvel, however, fails to apologize to George Donnelly, Pete Eyre or Meg McLain. Each has subsequently penned a response to The Nation’s accusations of being a Koch stoogie.
vanden Heuvel is correct in pointing out it is legitimate to critically vet those “who applauded each sacrifice of liberty for security under the Bush administration should expect to be regarded with skepticism if the presence of a Democrat in the White House suddenly prompts libertarian concerns.” And it certainly is valid to point out there are those who are using the TSA outrage as a pretext to forward their own profiling or privatization schemes. However, neither hypocrisy nor opportunism characterizes the broad libertarian movement in regard to TSA or the larger context of the National Security State. But it is certainly clear that Ames and Levine, and in particular, Ames, has a crawl up his ass via vis libertarianism which has produced a stenchy egg for The Nation when it decided to publish this opinion journalism masquerading as investigative journalism.