Skip to comments.Libertarianism Lives
Posted on 05/28/2002 7:39:35 AM PDT by TroutStalkerEdited 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 ...
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.
Yeah, but what do we call such an ideology?
Certainly privatization of social security and school choice are small l libertarian ideas well before the republicans and/or conservatives embraced them.
HA! If the truth were known- you may be right! LOL!!
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.
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.
Unfortunately, the people who do not care about liberty are the ones running the govt. The Dems that are members of socialist orgs. may phrase their ideas in terms deemed more acceptable by Americans, but they are still applying those ideas with full force. And the Repubs in Congress are going along with it. Thus, I do not agree that socialism (of any sort) is down for the count. Instead, it has more of a foothold here than anywhere else.
So I can admit that I am convinced and supportive of a lot of libertarian principles. Not all, but quite a lot.
That said, I don't have a problem with libertarianism. But I do have a problem with libertarians (small or capital 'L' doesn't matter). They are the absolute worse ambassadors for their cause. You'd figure that since they don't have the numbers, they would be more accommodating and inviting. You wouldn't expect a new car salesman to be successful by insulting potential customers, would you?
Of course not.
But this lesson is lost on the average libertarian that you come across on these boards.
Pay attention. I'm not attacking libertarian principles at all, yet it will be perceived as an attack by some. Watch...
First of all, pro-life libertarians have left the LP and joined the Liberty Caucus, which is a side-wing of the Republican Party. To simply consider abortion, a states rights issue, is to overlook the serious nature of this crucial issue, that directly relates to life itself. Abortion is the killing of innocent unborn humans. The primary responsibility of the federal government, is to serve, protect and defend all Americans and that includes, Americans developeing in their mothers womb too! A right to life amendment, is part of the Republican Platform and is overwhelmingly supported by conservatives. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is meant for all American's, born or unborn!
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.</i.
Not everything is specifically spelled out in the Constitution, you should know that. But the Constitution gives Congress the power to legislate and the USSC, judicial power that extends to all cases, in law and equity, arising under our Constitution. The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 and the 1991, Supreme Court ruling, Touby v. US, are the legislative and legal decisions that made our national drug control policy the law of the land. If that law bothers you, or upsets you,(it seems to do both in your case), get it changed through the legisaltive process.
Libertarians, generally, are not for unlimited immigration...
That's incorrect. Read the LP platform.
We therefore call for the elimination of all restrictions on immigration, the abolition of the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the Border Patrol, and a declaration of full amnesty for all people who have entered the country illegally.
The notion of dismantling the criminal justice system is also absurd.
The LP platform states:
We advocate the repeal of laws prohibiting the production, sale, or use of drugs; the repeal of laws restricting the use of alcohol; the repeal of laws regarding consensual sexual relations, including prostitution, and the cessation of state harassment of homosexuals; the repeal of laws prohibiting the distribution of sexually explicit material; the repeal of laws regulating gambling; the repeal of anti-racketeering statutes, the repeal of laws interfering with the right to commit suicide.
Source: National Platform of the Libertarian Party Jul 2, 2000
Absurd? NOT AT ALL!!! I'd call that a good start, on the road to dismantling America's criminal justice system. Most rational people call such policy, chaos and anarchy!
You forgot to address the Libertarian platform stance on the US military. The Libertarian platform is clearly, anti-military. Here's what a certain libertarian said back in 2000.
If the US were to pursue a policy of defending its own borders while avoiding foreign intervention, we could realistically reduce our defense budget to as little as $125 billion over the next five years.
Source: Libertarian Solutions; Michael Tanner on LP Web site Nov 7, 2000
This will not work in todays complicated world. The US has many real and pressing interests around the globe and American interests must be placed before we follow a policy of, non-involvement and military isolationism.
I know many libertarians don't like to associate themselves with the Libertarian Party platform. But that's like saying, we can talk about philosophy, but lets not put it in the context of politics. Why? Reality must come into play, when we talk politics. I happen to relate political philosophy with party politics. Without party politics and without winning elections, you're political agenda, has no chance of ever being realized.
Is anyone under the illusion, why Libertarians/libertarians never get elected to public office?
Oh, give me a break with your Mark Twain quotes. Try them out on someone who cares. I get these ludicrous facts right from libertarians themselves. There is no talking to them. They hate Israel and think Arabs and the terroists are poor mistreated souls at the hands of us dirty Americans.
I am reminded of this every time I am called a government-loving statist by some libertarian. I certianly have some strong leanings in that direction, but there's the sense that if you're not "pure" (whatever that means) you're not one. This is totally contradictory and self-defeating coming from the supposed party of principle and consistancy. So, I'd have to say I'm in strong agreement with your post. That having been said, I am not very forgiving of the Republican Party for moving in the squishy direction, either.
Some of them think that.
I personally couldn't care less about Israel or the Arabs and their thousand year old fight. I just don't want us involved in it one way or another. It's none of our business and we aren't their mommies. And it makes me angry that our government gives OUR money to any of these countries, while we're running a huge deficit. If we've got extra money to give them, then its time for a tax cut.
It is delusional pure conceit to think we can keep them from killing each other. Let 'em at it, and let's tend to our own problems, which we've got no shortage of, starting with ridding this country of socialism.
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