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Libertarianism Lives
The Wall Street Journal ^ | Tuesday, May 28, 2002 | EDWARD H. CRANE and ROGER PILON

Posted on 05/28/2002 7:39:35 AM PDT by TroutStalker

Edited on 04/22/2004 11:46:33 PM PDT by Jim Robinson. [history]

Political fashions come and go, but political principles endure. President Clinton noted some six years ago that the era of big government was over. Yet today, conservatives who should know better see a new fashion. George Will, high on his Hamiltonian horse in the Washington Post last month, seemed delighted that minimal-government conservatism was dead. And on these pages recently, Francis Fukuyama declared1 the libertarianism that followed the Thatcher-Reagan revolution to be in retreat. We're all Keynesians now, apparently.


(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Editorial; Government; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: libertarianism; libertarians
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1 posted on 05/28/2002 7:39:35 AM PDT by TroutStalker
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To: TroutStalker
I really like much of what the Libertarians have to say. Especially the CATO guys. When are they going to get some candidates that have all their teeth and don't grease their hair?
2 posted on 05/28/2002 7:46:52 AM PDT by AdA$tra
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To: TroutStalker
The list could go on, but the point should be clear.

LOL!

In other words, "The list could go on, but then I'd be discussing our REAL agenda, i.e., the legalization of drugs, sodomy, and gay marriage--and genuine conservatives would tune me out."

The man isn't stupid. Disingenuous maybe, but not stupid.

3 posted on 05/28/2002 7:49:19 AM PDT by Kevin Curry
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To: TroutStalker
Great article!!!!

Thanks for posting.

4 posted on 05/28/2002 7:56:38 AM PDT by Kerberos
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To: Kevin Curry
There is no reason to license marriage other than to gain benefits under the tax code. If two gays want to get married, they can in effect get married right now. The only difference is that they don't have a license. There is nothing stopping a preacher from giving them a ceremony and them living as.. well.. whatever they live as. The government has no right to get its foot in the door to make sure that 2 consenting adults aren't having sex "the wrong way." Your love of big government is really showing! Good work pal, your comments are showing your state-worshipping side quite well. I thought you worshipped God, not Big Brother....
5 posted on 05/28/2002 7:57:41 AM PDT by dheretic
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To: dheretic
What the "legislate morality" crowd doesn't get is not only that morality cannot be legislated, but it doesn't NEED to be legislated.

The simple libertarian philosophy of individual freedom and responsibility. Morality is based on thousands of years of trial and error by the human race. Living a moral life has fewer negative and more positive consequences than living an immoral life.

The problem is that our society has increasingly tried to insulate and absorb (make others shoulder) the negative consequences of immorality and poor choices.
Remove the societal absorption (safety net) of negative consequences, and you'll see people (within a generation) living a more moral and responsible life.

6 posted on 05/28/2002 8:09:08 AM PDT by MrB
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To: TroutStalker
...Libertarian principles are here to stay..

Yes, libertarian principles are here to stay. Principles like, support for abortion rights, legalization of drugs and prostitution, open borders and unlimited immigration, and a strong desire to dismantle both America's criminal justice system and military armed forces. The problem is, these principles aren't supported by a majority of conservatives. Conservatives view these major issues that Libertarians support, as fringe political extremism. Even most American's don't want anything to do with such an agenda.

Libertarian politics doesn't have a major following in America and never will. In the last general election for president, the LP candidate, Harry Browne, received less then 400K votes, out of over 100-million total votes cast. That's less the .04%. Even Pat Buchanan received more votes then Browne. That doesn't say much for the future of libertarian politics in America.

7 posted on 05/28/2002 8:15:27 AM PDT by Reagan Man
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To: TroutStalker
No mention is made of Satanic Druids, Illuminatis, armining criminals and crazies, or legalizing all drugs. This story makes Libertarianism sound like a rational political philosophy, once those elements are removed.
8 posted on 05/28/2002 8:20:34 AM PDT by Destructor
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To: Kevin Curry
Hear no evil, see no evil, have lots of fun!
9 posted on 05/28/2002 8:26:19 AM PDT by aspasia
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Comment #10 Removed by Moderator

To: MrB
Living a moral life has fewer negative and more positive consequences than living an immoral life. ... Remove the societal absorption (safety net) of negative consequences, and you'll see people (within a generation) living a more moral and responsible life.

I agree with this. But can't you just hear the screams, "I didn't know it would be like this! Someone help me, save me!!!"

Whatever happened to plain, simple, common sense? For example, there were lots of ads last week about the police enforcing seat belt use. IMO, if someone isn't smart enough to use the seat belt, they deserve the harm they get in a wreck. If they can't take care of themselves, the police shouldn't have to do it. There are lots of other, more serious crimes they should be dealing with, not taking care of some idiot with no common sense.

11 posted on 05/28/2002 8:26:57 AM PDT by serinde
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To: TroutStalker; Kevin Curry
Yet the Founders who created this nation were libertarians. They didn't use that word, of course, nor did they call themselves (classical) liberals or democrats. But they stood for basic libertarian principles: the equal right of all to pursue happiness, free from arbitrary interference, and government dedicated to securing that right. Respect for government's limits is hardly hostility to government in all its manifestations.

If that were only true! These listed principles are hardly arguable. Many conservatives embrace these as well.

As far as I'm concerned Libertarians took several steps back when they showed their anti-American colors in support of Arabs and terrorists. They have it in their warped minds that it's okay to bomb anything American because whatever reasons they have for doing so is justified because America deserves it. They don't see or call the so called 'retailiation' a violent act. Peace is so precious to them but as long as an act of violence is directed at Americans/America then their philosophy quickly changes. It's hypocrisy!

Kevin, talk about disingenious you are always bringing up the same old same old nonsense about drugs, etc with libertarians. The arguement is not that limited.

12 posted on 05/28/2002 8:28:07 AM PDT by Boxsford
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To: Kevin Curry
In other words, "The list could go on, but then I'd be discussing our REAL agenda, i.e., the legalization of drugs, sodomy, and gay marriage--and genuine conservatives would tune me out."

That is an absolutly absurd contention.

13 posted on 05/28/2002 8:28:40 AM PDT by Beenliedto
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To: serinde
if someone isn't smart enough to use the seat belt, they deserve the harm they get in a wreck

Yep, my view is considered heartless. I consider it "tough love". Let those who choose poorly serve as an example to others.
It wouldn't take long. It would cost some lives. But then again, how many lives will socialism destroy?
If socialism is implemented nationwide - freedom is destroyed, and all lives are harmed.

14 posted on 05/28/2002 8:31:21 AM PDT by MrB
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To: Kevin Curry
In other words, "The list could go on, but then I'd be discussing our REAL agenda, i.e., the legalization of drugs, sodomy, and gay marriage--and genuine conservatives would tune me out."

Why don't you critique the article based on what he *does* say instead of what you read into it?

15 posted on 05/28/2002 8:38:38 AM PDT by murdoog
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To: Kevin Curry
Marriage is a covenant between a couple and God (or the God or Gods of their choice, in any case. . . .). Why, pray tell, should the State be involved ?

The whole push for "gay marriage" is about Tax and Fringe benefits. . . .

And as for sodomy, last time I checked, us boring Heterosexuals often practice it too. . .

16 posted on 05/28/2002 8:47:10 AM PDT by Salgak
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To: murdoog
Why don't you critique the article based on what he *does* say instead of what you read into it?

It's okay. Most people go wrong in what they forget to do.

17 posted on 05/28/2002 8:48:28 AM PDT by aspasia
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To: Reagan Man
Libertarian politics doesn't have a major following in America and never will

You fail to distinguish the difference between ideas and elective politics. I agree that the LP is liikely to go nowhere, but it does appear that libertarian ideas are gaining, such as the ones the author listed.

If you try, you will be able to tell the difference. Try.

18 posted on 05/28/2002 8:58:35 AM PDT by RJCogburn
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To: TroutStalker
Excellent article. When Libertarians stop pushing for legalized drugs and prostitution, they may actually find themselves getting elected! If nothing else they ought to have the political wherewithal to keep these two hot button issues on the Q.T. and always "hush hush". For some reason, they don't. They let drugs and hookers dominate the general public's perception of libertarianism, while their strongest arguments and issues are left out to dry. I don't understand it.
19 posted on 05/28/2002 9:00:30 AM PDT by Exnihilo
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To: TroutStalker
Ironically, the 9/11 attacks constituted a massive failure of government to do the main thing libertarians call upon government to do -- protect us.

Obviously, wasting time and resources on trivia will degrade the ability to perform the primary task.

20 posted on 05/28/2002 9:00:40 AM PDT by steve-b
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To: Kevin Curry
LOL! Good call Kevin. Glad to see you're still frequenting these Libertarian threads.
21 posted on 05/28/2002 9:01:15 AM PDT by Exnihilo
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To: MrB
Remove the societal absorption (safety net) of negative consequences, and you'll see people (within a generation) living a more moral and responsible life.

You hope.
22 posted on 05/28/2002 9:02:44 AM PDT by Exnihilo
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To: TroutStalker
Listen to how America's (non) immigration policy is destroying our nation
23 posted on 05/28/2002 9:03:02 AM PDT by Jethro Tull
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To: dheretic
I thought you worshipped God, not Big Brother....

Kevie has never demonstrated any ability to distinguish between God and State. He will probably be offended that I listed them in that order.

24 posted on 05/28/2002 9:03:18 AM PDT by steve-b
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To: Beenliedto
That is an absolutly absurd contention.

It's absolutely true. But, even if it weren't, it's the general consensus among most Americans when you ask them about the top Libertarian issues. The Libertarians have a public relations problem, they just don't realize it, or care to admit it.
25 posted on 05/28/2002 9:05:26 AM PDT by Exnihilo
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To: RJCogburn
The only legitimate vehicle for Libertarian ideas is the Republican Party. The sooner the Libertarians realize this the better off they will be.
26 posted on 05/28/2002 9:06:35 AM PDT by Exnihilo
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To: Exnihilo
Well, I figure I have a duty to smack the libertarian hornets' nest with a 2x4 every so often. The least I could do for them is keep them awake.
27 posted on 05/28/2002 9:08:15 AM PDT by Kevin Curry
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To: Boxsford
As far as I'm concerned Libertarians took several steps back when they showed their anti-American colors in support of Arabs and terrorists. They have it in their warped minds that it's okay to bomb anything American because whatever reasons they have for doing so is justified because America deserves it. They don't see or call the so called 'retailiation' a violent act. Peace is so precious to them but as long as an act of violence is directed at Americans/America then their philosophy quickly changes. It's hypocrisy!

Harry Browne and the Libertarian Party certainly lost almost all my respect since 9/11. The libertarian philosophy of minimal government remains, however.

28 posted on 05/28/2002 9:10:10 AM PDT by Celtjew Libertarian
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To: Exnihilo
I wouldn't call the LP illegitimate, however I would agree that as a vehicle it isn't going anywhere.
29 posted on 05/28/2002 9:11:19 AM PDT by Liberal Classic
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To: Celtjew Libertarian
Harry Browne and the Libertarian Party certainly lost almost all my respect since 9/11. The libertarian philosophy of minimal government remains, however.

Absolutely. Browne and company do not speak for me.

30 posted on 05/28/2002 9:13:06 AM PDT by Liberal Classic
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To: Exnihilo
You hope

Hey, those who make the poor choices won't be around long without the rest of us taking care of them, will they?

31 posted on 05/28/2002 9:21:05 AM PDT by MrB
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To: murdoog
Why don't you critique the article based on what he *does* say instead of what you read into it?

Kevin’s mental violin can only play one note (and not very well.)

32 posted on 05/28/2002 9:22:35 AM PDT by dead
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To: RJCogburn
I don't agree with you, that certain ideas mentioned in this article are based in a libertarian philosophy. The conservative movement, has always supported tax reductions/reform and a smaller, less intrusive federal government. In addition, this has been the ultimate agenda of the Republican Party.

Libertarian's want people to believe that American individualism and our love for freedom and liberty was founded on contemporary libertarian principle, or equally created by the Libertraian Platform. That's simply not true and to mislead people and distort the truth, in such a manner, is wrong. Period!

There has been a conservaive movement in this country since the 1950`s. Modern conservatism was placed into politics and presented to the American electorate, starting in the 1960`s. Subsequently, conservatism took hold in America, with the election of Ronald Reagan as President, in 1980. It isn't what the LP platfrom, or the libertarian philosophy may have in common with conservatism, that bothers most conservatives. It's where the differences exist and those specific differences are numerous. I highlighted just a few of the most important political and philisophical differences, that conservatism has with libertarianism.

33 posted on 05/28/2002 9:28:27 AM PDT by Reagan Man
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To: Reagan Man
Unfortunatly Reagan Man, and a few others, your statements are only partial truths.

Most libertarians are not for "abortion rights" though a few are. Most are for making it illegal in each of their states. However, our contention is that it is NOT a FEDERAL ISSUE, and the SCOTUS does not have the right to legislate from the bench on what a State can or can not do in its sovereign capacity.

As far as legalisation of drugs (of any kind) under what section of the constitution does it say that they can limit what substance I put in my body. Just like anything, their are good and bad purposes for almost ALL drugs/chemical useage, and the big brother should not be determining how and when I use them. Haven't we learned anything about the prohibition? Legislation in that capacity does not limit crime, it creates it in an exponential fashion and makes stupid things (like drug use) the COOL thing to do. Start your own campaign, and I'll donate money to it in the private sector, and explain to everyone in commercials, flyers, etc... that drugs use for recreational use is bad for you and can kill you. But don't have big brother stop me from making higher grade clothes out of hemp becuase they say someone might get high on smoking their new well built pants.

Libertarians, generally, are not for unlimited immigration, just like most republicans are against abortion, but factions do support abortion. We are for free trade and individuals from outside, as long as they are not under investigation should be free to come here in trade just as we should be able to go elsewhere and trade without interference by anyone. It is your and my right to conduct our trade of choice without (or with very very limited) intervention by government. Bush is the one refusing to lock down our borders and allow the illegal immigration and pushing for amnesty for a bunch of criminals not the libertarians.

The notion of dismantling the criminal justice system is also absurd. We are for a much stronger criminal justice system, but only for CRIMES (abridgement of another persons life, liberty, or pursuit of happiness) not for not wearing your seatbelt or for some bonehead smoking a bong on his living room. Here is the difference between your philosophy and mine.

You are for, if your in possession of some drugs (of whatever type), go to jail for whatever amount of time or probation, whatever. Even if they haven't done anything. The response to your version of criminals is that it is either 1)The cool thing to do to rebel and to fit in showing your contempt of "authority" 2) An escape from "reality"

I am for if you want to smoke your bong or crack pipe, or whatever, thats fine. If your dumb enough to do it just becuase then thats your problem. Now if your in my house stealing a doller becuase it is so cheap now that it is not illegal to get your drugs, then you get either shot or arrested.

Either way someone who wants to drugs is going to do them. Making it illegal, just like the prohibition, makes the end users have to steal to get enough money to but the expensive stuff, and puts them in jail just for having it. But then it creates an upper class distributer market of criminal, that buys police and police departments, politicians, etc.. Creates an undue burden on the judiciary etc...

I would much rather deal with the consequences of to much liberty than to little.
34 posted on 05/28/2002 9:32:05 AM PDT by borntodiefree
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To: Reagan Man
The conservative movement, has always supported tax reductions/reform and a smaller, less intrusive federal government. In addition, this has been the ultimate agenda of the Republican Party.

Two possibilities:

1. This isn't the conservative/Rupublican agenda.

2. It really is the conservative/Republican agenda, and they have failed miserably at achieving it.

35 posted on 05/28/2002 9:33:51 AM PDT by freeeee
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To: Reagan Man
Yes, libertarian principles are here to stay. Principles like, support for abortion rights, legalization of drugs and prostitution, open borders and unlimited immigration, and a strong desire to dismantle both America's criminal justice system and military armed forces.

Many of these aren't libertarian principles. Many libertarians are pro-life on the basis of when they believe a fetus becomes a human with full rights (in my case, I oppose abortion after viability, i.e., approx. 23 weeks).

Definitely most libertarians have no desire to dismantle the justice system or military. Protection of citizens from criminals within and enemies without are considered, by all but the most anarchist of libertarians to be legitimate roles of the government. Personally, I have a rather less isolationist view than the LP with regard to foreign policy.

36 posted on 05/28/2002 9:38:44 AM PDT by Celtjew Libertarian
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To: Destructor
No mention is made of Satanic Druids, Illuminatis, arming criminals and crazies, or legalizing all drugs. This story makes Libertarianism sound like a rational political philosophy, once those elements are removed.

I can't understand why he forgot to mention the Satanic Druids
aren't they the core constituency of Libertarians
37 posted on 05/28/2002 9:41:25 AM PDT by palo verde
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To: Boxsford
"They have it in their warped minds that it's okay to bomb anything American because whatever reasons they have for doing so is justified because America deserves it. They don't see or call the so called 'retailiation' a violent act. Peace is so precious to them but as long as an act of violence is directed at Americans/America then their philosophy quickly changes. "

Where are you coming up with such ludicrous ideas?

The problem is not that people know to little, it's that they know too much that ain't so - Mark Twain

38 posted on 05/28/2002 9:47:20 AM PDT by Kerberos
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To: TroutStalker
Hi TS
thanks for posting this article
I am libertarian
(seems to me the libertarian movement is growing by leaps and bounds)
I think stopping the war on drugs is top priority now
(and if we get rid of income tax, government will no longer spend our tax dollars funding it)
Love, Palo
39 posted on 05/28/2002 9:48:55 AM PDT by palo verde
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To: freeeee
Why do Republicans constantly spit at us while we deliver them election after election? I have seen many on these boards critisize the democrats for intolerance of dissent, while they are practising the same thing. I have always worried about wasting a vote that could have kept a democrat out of office, but now I'm thinking about voting libertarian every chance I get. When I can't do that, I would vote against the incumbant. I would save my Republican votes for only the opponents of the most dangerous democrats. Is this what Republicans want? My vote is good, but my ideas and dreams of freedom make me reprehensable? It is strange, because I have a similar religious upbringing. I just don't want the state mandating morality.
40 posted on 05/28/2002 9:49:43 AM PDT by mysterio
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To: TroutStalker
Gee, an entire article on Libertarianism, and no mention of drugs? But I thought that was the only thing the "libertine idealogues" were concerned about.
41 posted on 05/28/2002 9:51:59 AM PDT by ActionNewsBill
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To: TroutStalker
I think many Americans find a libertarian philosophy in domestic affairs to be somewhat attractive, but I think the libertarian "non-intervention" foriegn policy is not a winner.

After 9-11, many libertarian commentators were sounding rather "fringe", and utopian, with their alternate histories. Although the author tries to make a distinction between non-intervention and isolationism, the two are quite intertwined. Unfortunately we live in a world where even if you don't want trouble, trouble will come looking for you.

Yes, libertarianism will live on, but for our own sakes, hopefully it will only have influence in domestic policy, in the never ending battle of government power versus individual rights.

42 posted on 05/28/2002 9:53:36 AM PDT by TheDon
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To: TheDon
Yes, libertarianism will live on, but for our own sakes, hopefully it will only have influence in domestic policy, in the never ending battle of government power versus individual rights.

Yeah, but what do we call such an ideology?

43 posted on 05/28/2002 9:58:37 AM PDT by Celtjew Libertarian
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To: Reagan Man
Thanks for your reply.

Certainly privatization of social security and school choice are small l libertarian ideas well before the republicans and/or conservatives embraced them.

44 posted on 05/28/2002 10:02:04 AM PDT by RJCogburn
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To: mysterio
mysterio, beautiful post (#40)
Love, Palo
45 posted on 05/28/2002 10:25:56 AM PDT by palo verde
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To: palo verde
"I can't understand why he forgot to mention the Satanic Druids aren't they the core constituency of Libertarians"

HA! If the truth were known- you may be right! LOL!!

46 posted on 05/28/2002 10:26:37 AM PDT by Destructor
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To: mysterio
I will vote Libertarian from now on
it is my solution for frustration with choices GOP is making
also an opportunity to vote for what I really want
47 posted on 05/28/2002 10:28:53 AM PDT by palo verde
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To: Destructor
rofl Destructor, your posts made me giggle
Love, Palo
48 posted on 05/28/2002 10:30:26 AM PDT by palo verde
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To: palo verde
"I will vote Libertarian from now on"

I'm right behind you Palo.

I use to think that by voting Republican, I was making a vote for smaller government, less taxes, etc. Nowadays there is no way a getting around the truth that the only difference between Republicans and Democrats is what flavor of socialism do you prefer.

49 posted on 05/28/2002 10:35:23 AM PDT by Kerberos
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To: TroutStalker
The Founders believed in individual liberty and limited government. They were very far from being modern-day socialists or social democrats but I'm not convinced they were libertarians in the modern sense of the word.

The Revolution wasn't against government, but rather against what were viewed as illegitimate usurpations by the British government. After the war, the Framers were shocked by the chaos of government under the Articles of Confederation and resolved to create a stronger federal government. You can find quotations by Washington, Adams, Hamilton and Madison expressing fear of anarchy as well as of tyranny or demagogery. Anti-federalists may be more to the liking of today's libertarians. But even among the Anti-federalists, someone like Sam Adams with his affection for a tight little "Christian Sparta" of pious, virtuous and self-governing New Englanders wouldn't fit in well at 21st century libertarian gatherings.

Among people today you will find many who hate Hitler and Stalin and the world portrayed in Orwell's 1984. They defend freedom in areas that matter to them and oppose excessive government or taxation or intrusive bureaucracy. But they would not call themselves libertarians and would oppose planks of the libertarian platform. Many of these people are Republicans, others Independents or supporters of third parties. Some may even be Democrats. Counting them as Libertarians or libertarians would be a mistake. I suspect the same is true of the Founders or Framers.

What the founders were looking for was balance and a middle way between the world's dangers. One could make a case that that is what classical liberalism was or at least intended to be. It would be much harder to make that same point about many of today's libertarians.

Imagine reading Hayek in 1950 or 1970 and being taken by his sensible arguments against new socialist proposals. Or reading Madison, or Montesquiou on limited government or Mill or Acton on liberty in previous centuries. Then imagine that you read today's "Reason" or "lewrockwell.com" or "antistate.com" What possible reason would you have for hanging around that crowd? If the important battles against tyranny are won, why bother with the movement to crush the state? Having defeated dangerous utopians, why throw in with another utopian movement?

Is this a new libertarian age? Clearly communism and classical socialism are down for the count. More and more people care about and want liberty. But I suspect that people will still want some checks on the power of the global market and the homogenization it brings.

The globalist future means ever greater power for those who can master money and the techniques of increasing it, technology and media. Maybe such people do show the great competence essential for making the modern world work. And yet, those who lack such skills also have interests that should be represented.

The weakness of libertarianism isn't that it's so wildly, daringly and dangerously different from other theories of government. It's the similarities that are the problem. In time libertarianism comes to be seen as similar to other political ideologies, a way for one group to use the law to promote its own interests and block threats to those interests. Other groups behave similarly and make their own cases heard. If things are managed well and people keep their heads there's no tragedy in that.

50 posted on 05/28/2002 10:40:20 AM PDT by x
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