In the final analysis, there are only two political “philosophies” in the world, comprised, as Robert Heinlein suggested, of “those who think that people should be controlled, and those who do not”. The latter sort are called “individualists” and the former are called “collectivists”.
Naturally, the reason for controlling people is so that whatever they create or earn can be taken from them easily, using a variety of excuses, by those who are capable of creating or earning nothing themselves.
To the individualist, individual rights are the supreme value. Only individuals have rights, and they are not additive in character. Two people, or two thousand people, or two million people have no more rights than a single individual, and to the extent that a society is permitted to exist at all, it is to protect and advance the interests of its basic, indispensable building block, the individual. Every single relationship within such a society must be explicit and totally voluntary.
To collectivists, however, there are no individual rights, and the individual’s interests and opinions count for nothing in the broader, grander, collective scheme of things. Individuals are born with what amounts to an unpayable obligation to society. They are nothing more than worker-ants, whose talents and labor are there to be exploited by the collective. Anybody who objects is anti-social, as both Josef Stalin and Barack Obama would tell us, and most likely insane and in need of confinement.
L. Neil Smith, “Right Wing Socialism”, Libertarian Enterprise, 2013-05-19
May 23, 2013
May 8, 2013
Mark Steyn talks about the spectacle of “bickering genocides” as the Canadian Museum for Human Rights attempts to pay equal attention to all victims of genocide:
My sometime boss the late Izzy Asper was a media magnate whose lifelong dream was a world-class Holocaust memorial in his home town of Winnipeg. For the usual diversity-celebrating reasons, it evolved into a more general “Canadian Museum for Human Rights,” and is now lumbering toward its opening date under the aegis of Izzy’s daughter, Gail. Having been put through the mill by Canada’s “Human Rights” Commissions, I naturally despise any juxtaposition of the words “Canadian” and “human rights.” But if you have to yoke them, this is the place: To paraphrase Justin’s fellow musician Joni Mitchell, they took all the rights and put ‘em in a rights museum, and they charged the people a dollar-and-a-half just to see ‘em.
But I’ve warmed up to what the blogger Scaramouche calls the Canadian Mausoleum for Human Rights. It could have been just the usual sucking maw of public monies had it not descended into an hilarious, er, urinating match of competing victimhoods. For those who thought “human rights” had something to do with freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and so forth, it turns out to be about which guy’s genocide is bigger. The Ukrainian-Canadian Congress was wary of the mausoleum from the get-go, suspicious that it would downplay the Holodomor, Stalin’s enforced famine in the Ukraine 80 years ago. The mausoleum assured them that they were going to go big on the Holodomor, but to guarantee the UCC came onboard offered to throw in a bonus exhibit of Canada’s internment of Ukrainian immigrants during World War I. This would be part of “Canada’s Journey,” a heartwarming historical pageant illustrating how the blood-soaked Canadian state has perpetrated one atrocity after another on native children, Chinese coolies, Japanese internees, Jews, gays, the transgendered, you name it. And, of course, the Ukrainians. Per Izzy’s wishes, the Holocaust would have pride of place in a separate exhibit, because, its dark bloody history notwithstanding, Canada apparently played a minimal role in the murder of six million Jews. However, the Holodomor would be included as a permanent featured genocide in the museum’s “Mass Atrocity Zone.”
Oh, you can laugh at the idea of a “Mass Atrocity Zone” tourist attraction in Winnipeg, but there isn’t an ethnic lobby group that doesn’t want in. The Polish-Canadian Congress complained that lumping all the non-Jew genocides in one Mass Atrocity Zone meant they’d have to be on a rotating schedule, like revolving pies on the lunch counter. The Armenian genocide was felt to be getting short shrift, considering it was the prototype 20th-century genocide. On the other hand, the Rwandan genocide, the last big 20th-century genocide, and the Congolese civil war don’t appear to have got a look-in at all. The Poles wanted room made for the Germans’ ill treatment of the Poles, which did not seem to be a priority of the mausoleum.
May 7, 2013
Andrew Kirell bids an unfond farewell to a show that spent all its time on the air glorifying the police:
After a 25-year run valorizing America’s police forces to the thumping reggae pulse of Inner Circle’s “Bad Boys,” Fox has canceled its weekly reality TV series COPS. To which we should say: good riddance.
Yes, the show is being picked up by all-things-manly cable network Spike TV, but critics of the increasing militarization of American police should celebrate nevertheless: the long-running series will no longer air its highly-selective take on “policing” to as large an audience as Fox’s Saturday night lineup.
Of all the police reality shows available for viewing today, COPS may actually be the most tolerable. Unlike its cop-shows-on-steroids successors, COPS often did a good job depicting the monotonies of police beat work, and the oddities of dealing with some of the more bizarre domestic disputes. That being said, the show’s legacy is one of glorifying and overlooking abuse through a highly-selective, heavily-edited depiction of “reality.”
As part of its 25-year-long weekly reveling in the humiliation of perps and victims alike, COPS provided a cringe-worthy dose of schadenfreude for those who enjoy hearty laughter at tatted-and-toothless caricatures being taken to task by virtuous, cowboy-like heroes. Viewers with a more skeptical eye, however, might recoil at police officers bragging about “tasing a man” or the weekly knee-in-the-back of a minority teenager for the victimless crime of carrying a bag of marijuana.
Yes, there are many violent crimes broken up by the hardworking police officers shown on COPS, with plenty of gracious victims being helped. But for every breaking up of domestic violence, there are embarrassing displays of arrogance. COPS‘ turning of serious matters into cheap entertainment has often been coupled with the willful neglect of serious issues like police misconduct and civil rights.
May 6, 2013
A Florida county sheriff is being given a million dollars to violate the rights of the people who were stupid enough to put him in office.
According to an article by Palm Beach Post staff writers Dara Kam and Stacey Singer, posted Monday, April 29, Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw has been awarded $1 million by Florida House and Senate budget leaders for a new “violence prevention unit aimed at preventing tragedies like those in Newtown, Connecticut and Aurora, Colorado.
It would be bad enough if this particular jackbooted thug planned only to use this ill-gotten tax money for the usual militarized toys — machineguns or armored personnel carriers — the cops are so crazy about today, but Bradshaw reportedly wants to create “prevention intervention units” consisting of “specially trained deputies, mental health professionals, and caseworkers”. which “will respond to citizen calls to a 24-hour hotline with a knock on the door and a referral to services”.
“We want people to call us if the guy down the street says he hates the government…” the Big-Brotherly Bradshaw bloviated. “What does it hurt to have somebody knock on a door and ask, ‘Hey, is everything OK?’” Since the cops these days do their knocking with a three-foot concrete-filled section of four-inch diameter steel pipe, with welded rebar handles, Bradshaw’s stupid question tends to answer itelf.
L. Neil Smith, “Cutting the Root of Tyranny”, Libertarian Enterprise, 2013-05-06
April 24, 2013
S.M Oliva calls for the abolition of the NFL’s annual offseason TV mega-event in Reason:
The sports draft is an anomaly of the American labor market. In most industries new hires are free to seek employment wherever there’s an opening. Even promising high school athletes may accept a scholarship offer from any college. But the NFL shield has stood resolutely against labor freedom since 1935 when Bert Bell, then the struggling owner of the last-place Philadelphia Eagles, convinced the rest of the nine-team league that poorly performing clubs should be rewarded with first choice of promising college talent. Under this new system, a “drafted” player could only negotiate a contract with a single team.
[. . .]
Regardless of how players come into the league, they are all subject to a salary cap that fixes total compensation as a percentage of football-related revenues. The present collective bargaining agreement further constrains rookie salaries, and roster limits prevent a team from simply stockpiling players. All the draft does is increase the likelihood that the most promising new talent — the players taken at the top of the first round — will go to teams with a demonstrated history of mismanagement.
This should concern the league as it faces a rising tide of concussion-related lawsuits brought by former players. While the NFL tinkers with playing rules in an effort to make the game “safer,” there’s been no effort to question the role of the draft system in promoting unsafe working conditions. Let’s say Player X is a highly touted quarterback prospect drafted by Team A. What if Team A has a poor offensive line and a coach prone to recklessness with his quarterbacks? Player X can’t turn around and negotiate with Team B, which offers a better line and a coach with a stronger record of developing young quarterbacks. Player X is stuck with Team A, and if that means he’s out of football after four years, a record number of sacks and a half-dozen concussions, then so be it.
April 22, 2013
In Techdirt, Mike Masnick explains why this Obama administration innovation should not be perpetuated:
- Suspending basic rights and due process out of fear is exactly the kind of thing that people attacking the US want to see. Showing that we can’t live up to our most basic rights and principles in the face of a terrorist attack gives those who hate us that much more incentive to keep going. It’s not just a sign of weakness, but an encouragement for those who seek to undermine our society. In fact, it takes a step in that very direction by showing that the government is willing to throw out the rules and principles when it gets a little scared by a teenager.
- The slippery slope here is steep and extremely slick. There are no rules on when the DOJ can suddenly ignore Miranda. It gets to decide by itself. This is an organization with a long history of abusing its power, now allowed to wipe out one of the key protections for those they’re arresting, whenever it sees fit. The whole point of the ruling in Miranda is that it should not be up to law enforcement. A person’s rights are their rights.
- The part that really gets me: if anything, this opens up a really, really stupid line of defense for Dzokhar Tsarnaev if he ever faces a criminal trial. His lawyers will undoubtedly claim that the arrest and interrogation was unconstitutional due to the lack of (or delay in) Miranda rights. Why even open up that possibility of a defense for him?
- The guy has lived in the US for many years — chances are he actually knows the fact that he has the right to refuse to speak. So, we’re violating our principles, basic Constitutional due process, and opening up a massive opening for a defense, to avoid telling him something he likely already knows.
It’s been said before and it’ll be said again, but turning ourselves into a paranoid police state without basic rights means that those who attack us are winning. We should be better than that, and it’s a shame that our leaders have no problem confirming for the rest of the world that we’re not. What a shame.
April 18, 2013
David Harsanyi discusses the (limited) mechanisms the US constitution put in place to prevent the whims of temporary majorities being imposed on the country:
To begin with, whether Democrats like it or not, this issue concerns the Constitution — where stuff was written down for a reason. That’s not to say that expanding background checks or banning “assault rifles” would be unconstitutional (though you may believe they both should be). It’s to say that when you begin meddling with protections explicitly laid out in the founding document, a 60-vote threshold that slows down stampeding legislators is the least we deserve.
The Founding Fathers worried that “some common impulse of passion” might lead many to subvert the rights of the few. It’s a rational fear, one that is played out endlessly. Obama, who understands how to utilize public passion better than most, flew some of the Newtown families to Washington for a rally, imploring Americans to put “politics” aside and stop engaging in “political stunts.”
[. . .]
I’m not operating under the delusion that any of this is good national politics for Republicans — though the arguments about obstructionism’s dooming the GOP are probably overblown. No doubt, when the next disaster hits — and it will — Democrats will blame the overlords at the National Rifle Association and Republicans for the act of a madman. That’s life.
But generally speaking, it’d be nice if Congress occasionally challenged the vagaries of American majority “instinct.” Though it might seem antithetical to their very existence, politicians should be less susceptible to the temporary whims, ideological currents and fears of the majority. Theoretically, at least, elected officials’ first concern is the Constitution. And if the need for gun control is predicated chiefly on the polls taken immediately after a traumatic national event, they have a perfectly reasonable justification to slow things down. In fact, if Washington internalizes the 60-vote threshold as a matter of routine, voters should be grateful. Considering Washington’s propensity to politicize everything and its increasingly centralized power (what your health care looks like is now up for national referendums, for instance), this might be the only way left to diffuse democracy.
March 17, 2013
The EFF posted more information about the court decision that National Security Letters violate the constitution:
The controversial NSL provisions EFF challenged on behalf of the unnamed client allow the FBI to issue administrative letters — on its own authority and without court approval — to telecommunications companies demanding information about their customers. The controversial provisions also permit the FBI to permanently gag service providers from revealing anything about the NSLs, including the fact that a demand was made, which prevents providers from notifying either their customers or the public. The limited judicial review provisions essentially write the courts out of the process.
In today’s ruling, the court held that the gag order provisions of the statute violate the First Amendment and that the review procedures violate separation of powers. Because those provisions were not separable from the rest of the statute, the court declared the entire statute unconstitutional. In addressing the concerns of the service provider, the court noted: “Petitioner was adamant about its desire to speak publicly about the fact that it received the NSL at issue to further inform the ongoing public debate.”
“The First Amendment prevents the government from silencing people and stopping them from criticizing its use of executive surveillance power,” said EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn. “The NSL statute has long been a concern of many Americans, and this small step should help restore balance between liberty and security.”
March 16, 2013
The “most transparent administration” may be forced to be a bit more transparent after a US federal judge declared National Security Letters to be unconstitutional:
Ultra-secret national security letters that come with a gag order on the recipient are an unconstitutional impingement on free speech, a federal judge in California ruled in a decision released Friday.
U.S. District Judge Susan Illston ordered the government to stop issuing so-called NSLs across the board, in a stunning defeat for the Obama administration’s surveillance practices. She also ordered the government to cease enforcing the gag provision in any other cases. However, she stayed her order for 90 days to give the government a chance to appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
“We are very pleased that the Court recognized the fatal constitutional shortcomings of the NSL statute,” said Matt Zimmerman, senior staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which filed a challenge to NSLs on behalf of an unknown telecom that received an NSL in 2011. “The government’s gags have truncated the public debate on these controversial surveillance tools. Our client looks forward to the day when it can publicly discuss its experience.”
[. . .]
NSLs are written demands from the FBI that compel internet service providers, credit companies, financial institutions and others to hand over confidential records about their customers, such as subscriber information, phone numbers and e-mail addresses, websites visited and more.
NSLs are a powerful tool because they do not require court approval, and they come with a built-in gag order, preventing recipients from disclosing to anyone that they have even received an NSL. An FBI agent looking into a possible anti-terrorism case can self-issue an NSL to a credit bureau, ISP or phone company with only the sign-off of the Special Agent in Charge of their office. The FBI has to merely assert that the information is “relevant” to an investigation into international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities.
March 10, 2013
It’s not a declared aim — yet — but when a senior government minister even mentions this as an option, you have to assume it’s being discussed:
The Conservatives would consider leaving the European Convention on Human Rights if they won the 2015 election, the home secretary has said.
Theresa May told an event organised by the ConservativeHome site the party would also scrap the Human Rights Act.
She said it restricted the UK’s ability “to act in the national interest”.
A private poll by ex-party treasurer Lord Ashcroft, meanwhile, suggested the party would lose 93 marginal seats to Labour if the election was held now.
The BBC understands Mrs May was putting forward ideas for the next Conservative manifesto, and such a move was not current government policy.
[. . .]
Mrs May told the gathering she was sceptical whether the convention limited human rights abuses in other countries and suggested it restricted Britain’s ability to act in its own interests.
“When Strasbourg constantly moves the goalposts and prevents the deportation of dangerous men like Abu Qatada, we have to ask ourselves, to what end are we signatories to the convention?” she said.
“Are we really limiting human rights abuses in other countries? I’m sceptical.”
She said that “by 2015, we’ll need a plan for dealing with the European Court of Human Rights”.
“And yes, I want to be clear that all options — including leaving the convention altogether — should be on the table.”
March 9, 2013
In many cases, DRM can be get kind of silly, and it can completely shape the way you use the digital media you purchase. DRM might make you think twice about how many devices you can still add your iTunes Library to, or which computer will get a shiny new version of image editing software.
Luckily there’s no DRM on any physical objects like a cup paired to one person’s mouth. That is, there wasn’t until a group of hackers put together a chair that self-destructs after eight uses.
February 28, 2013
“All rights guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms are subject to reasonable limitations”
The Supreme Court of Canada demonstrated a lack of belief in the value of free speech in yesterday’s Whatcott ruling:
The very first line in the Supreme Court’s calamitous decision in the case of Saskatchewan (Human Rights Commission) v. Whatcott gives a clue to where it is going. “All rights guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” it declares, “are subject to reasonable limitations.”
This is a legal truism, but as always it is as important what the Court did not say. It did not choose to begin a ruling on an important freedom of speech case with a ringing affirmation of the importance of free speech, or what an extraordinary thing it is to place restrictions upon it.
Indeed, in its haste to get on with the limiting, it did not even pause to properly quote the section of the Charter that grants the state such authority. The Charter “guarantees” the rights set out in it, Section 1 declares, “subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.” The limits don’t just have to be reasonable. They have to be “demonstrably justified.”
Where the Court’s view of such limits is expansive and approving, the Charter is grudging (“only”) and cautious (“demonstrably”). That’s as it should be. If we accept the bedrock premise of a free society, that government is its servant and not its master, then it is up to the state, always, to ask the citizens’ permission before it intrudes on their liberty, and to prove its necessity: it is never the citizen’s obligation to show why he may remain unmolested. That spirit is lamentably absent from the Court’s reasoning.
February 19, 2013
A glum day for civil liberties:
Today the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that “a court can presume” an alert by a drug-sniffing dog provides probable cause for a search “if a bona fide organization has certified a dog after testing his reliability in a controlled setting” or “if the dog has recently and successfully completed a training program that evaluated his proficiency in locating drugs.” The justices overturned a 2011 decision in which the Florida Supreme Court said police must do more than assert that a dog has been properly trained. They deemed that court’s evidentiary requirements too “rigid” for the “totality of the circumstances” test used to determine when a search is constitutional. In particular, the Court said it was not appropriate to demand evidence of a dog’s performance in the field, as opposed to its performance on tests by police. While the Court’s decision in Florida v. Harris leaves open the possibility that defense attorneys can contest the adequacy of a dog’s training or testing and present evidence that the animal is prone to false alerts, this ruling will encourage judges to accept self-interested proclamations about a canine’s capabilities, reinforcing the use of dogs to transform hunches into probable cause.
Writing for the Court, Justice Elena Kagan accepts several myths that allow drug dogs to function as “search warrants on leashes” even though their error rates are far higher than commonly believed
February 11, 2013
Jacob Sullum on how credulous courts have granted police dogs the power to circumvent Americans’ right to be free from intrusive search and seizure by police officers on fishing expeditions:
The deputy and another officer who arrived during the stop nevertheless went through Burns’ truck for half an hour or so, reaching up into the boat, perusing his cargo, looking under the seats and the hood, examining the gas tank and the undercarriage. They found no trace of drugs, although they did come across the loaded pistol that Burns mentioned to them once it was clear they planned to search the truck.
“They were cool with the gun,” Burns says. “If it had been California, God knows what would have happened.” He was so relieved that he barely minded the delay and inconvenience, which stretched a brief traffic stop into more than an hour. “I’m not a lawyer, and I’m not a super-libertarian,” Burns says. “Once I realized that the pistol was not going to be an issue, man, they could have spent all day going over that car and under that car. My only concern was that one of the guys might have slipped something in to cover up for the fact that they didn’t find anything.”
That’s one way of looking at it. But even if you are neither a lawyer nor a super-libertarian, you might wonder 1) how often this sort of thing happens, 2) how it came to be that police can get permission from a dog to rifle an innocent man’s belongings, and 3) whether that state of affairs is consistent with the Fourth Amendment’s guarantee against “unreasonable searches and seizures.” The answers, in brief, are 1) fruitless searches based on dog alerts happen a lot more often than commonly believed, 2) dogs acquired this authority with the blessing of credulous courts mesmerized by their superhuman olfactory talents, and 3) this dog license is hard to square with the Fourth Amendment, unless it is reasonable to trust every officer’s unsubstantiated claim about how an animal of undetermined reliability reacted to a person, a suitcase, a car, or a house.
All of these issues come together in two cases the U.S. Supreme Court heard a few weeks after Bob Burns was pulled over. Florida v. Harris raises the question of how a judge knows that a dog’s alert is reliable enough to justify a search. Florida v. Jardines asks whether police need a warrant to use a drug-sniffing dog at the doorstep of a home. These cases, which will be decided by this summer, give the Supreme Court an opportunity to reconsider its heretofore unshaken faith in dogs, or at least limit the damage caused by the amazing canine ability to transform hunches into probable cause.
February 8, 2013
Charles does a good job of explaining why our representative democracies in the west seem to have all become bland, indistinguishable minor variants of one another:
For a while I’ve had the unwelcome feeling that we’re living under occupation by Martian invaders. (Not just here in the UK, but everyone, everywhere on the planet.) Something has gone wrong with our political processes, on a global scale. But what? It’s obviously subtle — we haven’t been on the receiving end of a bunch of jack-booted fascists or their communist equivalents organizing putsches. But we’ve somehow slid into a developed-world global-scale quasi-police state, with drone strikes and extraordinary rendition and unquestioned but insane austerity policies being rammed down our throats, government services being outsourced, peaceful protesters being pepper-sprayed, tased, or even killed, police spying on political dissidents becoming normal, and so on. What’s happening?
Here’s a hypothesis: Representative democracy is what’s happening. Unfortunately, democracy is broken. There’s a hidden failure mode, we’ve landed in it, and we probably won’t be able to vote ourselves out of it.
[. . .] Parties are bureaucratic institutions with the usual power dynamic of self-preservation, as per Michels’s iron law of oligarchy: the purpose of the organization is to (a) continue to exist, and (b) to gain and hold power. We can see this in Scotland with the SNP (Scottish National Party) — originally founded with the goal of obtaining independence for Scotland and then disbanding, the disbanding bit is now nowhere to be seen in their constitution.
Per Michels, political parties have an unspoken survival drive. And they act as filters on the pool of available candidates. You can’t easily run for election — especially at national level — unless you get a party’s support, with the activists and election agents and assistance and funding that goes with it. (Or you can, but you then have to build your own machinery.) Existing incumbent representatives have an incentive to weed out potential candidates who are loose cannons and might jeopardize their ability to win re-election and maintain a career. Parties therefore tend to be self-stabilizing.
[. . .]
So, here’s my hypothesis:
- Institutional survival pressure within organizations — namely political parties — causes them to systematically ignore or repel candidates for political office who are disinclined to support the status quo or who don’t conform to the dominant paradigm in the practice of politics.
- The status quo has emerged by consensus between politicians of opposite parties, who have converged on a set of policies that they deem least likely to lose them an election — whether by generating media hostility, corporate/business sector hostility, or by provoking public hostility. In other words, the status quo isn’t an explicit ideology, it’s the combined set of policies that were historically least likely to rock the boat (for such boat-rocking is evaluated in Bayesian terms — “did this policy get some poor bastard kicked in the nuts at the last election? If so, it’s off the table”).
- The news cycle is dominated by large media organizations and the interests of the corporate sector. While moral panics serve a useful function in alienating or enraging the public against a representative or party who have become inconveniently uncooperative, for the most part a climate of apathetic disengagement is preferred — why get involved when trustworthy, reassuringly beige nobodies can do a safe job of looking after us?
- The range of choices available at the democratic buffet table have therefore narrowed until they’re indistinguishable. (“You can have Chicken Kiev, Chicken Chasseur, or Chicken Korma.” “But I’m vegan!”) Indeed, we have about as much choice as citizens in any one-party state used to have.
- Protests against the range of choices available have become conflated with protests against the constitutional framework, i.e. dissent has been perceived as subversion/treason.
- Occasionally cultural shifts take place: over decades, they sometimes reach a level of popular consensus that, when not opposed by corporate stakeholders, leads to actual change. Marriage equality is a fundamentally socially conservative issue, but reflects the long-term reduction in prejudice against non-heteronormative groups. Nobody (except moral entrepreneurs attempting to build a platform among various reactionary religious institutions) stands to lose money or status by permitting it, so it gets the nod. Decriminalization of drug use, on the other hand, would be catastrophic for the budget of policing organizations and the prison-industrial complex: it might be popular in some circles, but the people who count the money won’t let it pass without a fight.
Overall, the nature of the problem seems to be that our representative democratic institutions have been captured by meta-institutions that implement the iron law of oligarchy by systematically reducing the risk of change.
It’s not just your imagination that the last presidential election hinged far more on trivia than on actual policy differences — because Mitt Romney was offering only a slight variation of policy choices than what Barack Obama had been doing (heated rhetoric and animated posturing aside). “Conservatives” and “Liberals” in Canada became almost interchangeable (except on foreign policy and military matters). “Conservatives” and “Liberal Democrats” have been able to form and hold a coalition government together in the UK relatively amicably (once again, aside from the meaningless noise and fury at the margins).
Party politics requires parties that want to achieve power to more closely resemble the party that already holds power (look at Canada’s NDP for evidence of that: the more similar to the Liberal party they became, the more popular they became, to the point they completely eclipsed the Liberals in the last federal election).