So I have these Republicans in my life. I know, I know. It's okay, we muddle through. Anyway, they're financially successful to the tune of a big paid-off house in an affluent suburb and one parent not working so's to spend more time with the kids. They got this way, mostly, by being relatively frugal and extremely hard-working (and of course with all the benefits of being born white and middle-class in the Midwest, college educations, etc). Nobody should begrudge them their success; it absolutely is a product of all the folksy aphorisms in the book. They're crazy Republican, though, because of what they see as "tax-and-spend" liberals taking all the hard-workin' folks money and handing it out willy-nilly to welfare queens, drifters, homos, and assorted other Others. The root of this, I think, is revealed in how they constantly refer to the government as spending "our money" on things that they either don't see a direct benefit from or are ideologically opposed to. The thing is, I don't know how to engage that. I would like to, because frankly I'm a hell of a lot more politically literate than they are in terms of current affairs and how the government actually works and I wish I could get them to see my point of view. As far as I can tell, they see everything from first principles: They got where they were with hard work (true) and nobody gave them nothin' (LOL) and why should we be taxed to help out those lazy layabouts in the Inner City (aka my neighbors, because working long hours as a taxi driver and raising a family when you struggle with the language and are super sub-Saharan black in Minneapolis is a fucking rose garden obviously). I guess I don't see taxes as some kind of fundamental evil in the libertarian hand-waving sense of the government using its monopoly on force to coerce me into giving up my money. Some amount of money contributed by everyone to the common good seems entirely right and proper to me. Addressing tragedies of the commons, regulating externalities, compensating for the tendency of capitalism to concentrate wealth -- these all seem like absolutely vital activities for a government to engage in. Well shit, maybe that's the tack I need to take. I guess I just needed to approach the problem in a medium I'm more skilled at (writing vs. off-the-cuff speaking). Anyway, am I missing something in the philosophical underpinnings of the strain of American libertarianism that I'm engaging here? It's not like I studied it or anything.