Author Topic: Libertarian themes  (Read 165249 times)

Tordislung

  • Frequent Poster
  • **
  • Posts: 60
    • View Profile
Re: Libertarian themes
« Reply #200 on: November 12, 2020, 05:55:18 AM »
The Leftist totalitarian policies are not something any libertarian endorses. Libertarians don't get blamed for the overstepping of either major party, anymore than the Right gets blamed for the Left - as it should be.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2020, 06:30:57 AM by Tordislung »

DougMacG

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 18487
    • View Profile
Re: Libertarian themes
« Reply #201 on: November 12, 2020, 06:32:52 AM »
In my humble view, you do everything you can to stop the takeover of socialism, fascism, totalitarianism in this country or you are complicit. Each get to choose how to fight it, but if you don't do everything you can to stop it, you are complicit, IMHO.

Denial that they (the Left) are burning our country down is a difference of opinion.  "Let it burn" is being complicit.

Two-thirds of those who voted Libertarian for president in 2016 switched to making the binary choice in 2020. 3/4hs of those lean Trump over Biden, Republican over Democrat. By this metric, the "we" that T speaks of, broke for the binary choice.  Only the last 1% did not.  Now it looks like the last 7 states were decided by far less than 1%.

The losing party, Republicans in this presidential race it appears, don't have to worry about how to split up the spoils of victory with the different members of the coalition. That problem goes with the winners, the party of coercive paternalism with central government making what used to be your individual choices for you.  Opposite of libertarian.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2020, 06:35:36 AM by DougMacG »

Tordislung

  • Frequent Poster
  • **
  • Posts: 60
    • View Profile
Re: Libertarian themes
« Reply #202 on: November 12, 2020, 06:52:11 AM »
In my humble view, you do everything you can to stop the takeover of socialism, fascism, totalitarianism in this country or you are complicit. Each get to choose how to fight it, but if you don't do everything you can to stop it, you are complicit, IMHO.

Denial that they (the Left) are burning our country down is a difference of opinion.  "Let it burn" is being complicit.

Two-thirds of those who voted Libertarian for president in 2016 switched to making the binary choice in 2020. 3/4hs of those lean Trump over Biden, Republican over Democrat. By this metric, the "we" that T speaks of, broke for the binary choice.  Only the last 1% did not.  Now it looks like the last 7 states were decided by far less than 1%.

The losing party, Republicans in this presidential race it appears, don't have to worry about how to split up the spoils of victory with the different members of the coalition. That problem goes with the winners, the party of coercive paternalism with central government making what used to be your individual choices for you.  Opposite of libertarian.

Solid point. Will address later today.

DougMacG

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 18487
    • View Profile
Re: Libertarian themes
« Reply #203 on: November 14, 2020, 08:44:00 PM »


Cocaine: Legal.  Plastic straw: Banned.  Too dangerous.  Liberty Democrat style.

G M

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 26643
    • View Profile


Body-by-Guinness

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 2218
    • View Profile
Federalism to the Rescue?
« Reply #206 on: May 30, 2024, 05:30:06 PM »
I’m going to have to do some mulling on this one—a couple of his examples such as sanctuary cities and abortion grate—though I do like the idea of using federalism to make sure liberty remains a tenet of American government and thank we should embrace any tool that allows us to thumb our noses at the federal government:

American Federalism Can Push Back against Executive Overreach
Cato Recent Op-eds / by Ilya Somin / May 29, 2024 at 3:12 PM
Ilya Somin

Since Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 election, “sanctuary” jurisdictions have become a focus of political and legal controversy. Sanctuary policies are adopted by state and local governments that refuse to aid federal officials in enforcing certain federal laws. They can be thought of as attempts to build a type of legal wall around a state or municipality.

,
For example, in Trump’s first term, immigration sanctuaries forbade local law enforcement organizations from helping to enforce some federal immigration laws. Those policies have been imitated by conservative states passing gun‐​sanctuary laws. In the future, especially if Trump returns to power, we may well see controversy over other types of sanctuaries, such as state and local governments seeking to protect abortion rights.

Sanctuary policies have their flaws and limitations. But they have strong constitutional grounding and are a useful check on federal power, especially on overreaching presidents of both parties. So it is worth exploring how sanctuary policies work and their constitutional foundations.

What Sanctuary Policies Are
Sanctuary policies are laws and regulations adopted by state and local governments that deny assistance to federal officials seeking to enforce particular federal laws. Currently, the most widespread sanctuary policies are left‐​liberal immigration sanctuaries. Over the last 20 years, numerous liberal “sanctuary cities” and “sanctuary states” have adopted policies barring their law enforcement agencies from assisting in the deportation of many categories of undocumented immigrants—usually those not convicted of serious crimes. Depending on how we count, there are either 11 or 12 immigration “sanctuary states,” and dozens of local governments with similar policies.

In recent years, left‐​wing immigration sanctuaries have been imitated by conservative gun sanctuaries, beginning with Montana. Gun sanctuary laws—or “Second Amendment Protection Acts,” as advocates like to call them—deny cooperation with enforcement of a variety of federal gun control laws. Three states—Idaho, Missouri, and Wyoming—have full‐​blown gun sanctuary laws, thereby earning a “gold” rating from Gun Owners of America (a pro‐​gun rights advocacy group). Seven other red states have more limited legislation.

Sanctuary laws are often analogized to “nullification”—the idea that states can render federal laws null and void within their territory. Nullification, of course, has a terrible reputation because of its association with southern states’ defense of slavery and (later) segregation. But there is an important distinction between sanctuary laws and nullification.

Nullificationists argue that the federal laws in question are completely void, and that states have the right to actively impede their enforcement on their territory. By contrast, sanctuary jurisdictions do not necessarily claim the laws in question are void. They merely deny them the assistance of state and local governments, particularly law enforcement agencies. For example, they refuse to help enforce the relevant laws themselves, or to provide information to federal law enforcement agencies engaged in enforcement efforts. But the feds remain free to try to enforce these laws using only their own resources and personnel.

In this respect, sanctuary jurisdictions are not actually complete sanctuaries. Undocumented immigrants protected by immigration sanctuaries may still be caught and deported by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or other federal agencies. Gun owners protected by gun sanctuaries may, similarly, be apprehended by federal law enforcement agencies, such as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Federal prosecutors remain free to charge violators of these laws in federal court.

Nonetheless, sanctuary jurisdictions’ denial of state and local assistance to federal law enforcement makes a difference. In the U.S. federal system, some 90% of law enforcement personnel are state and local government employees; only about 10% work for the federal government. Because of this imbalance, federal law enforcement agencies are heavily dependent on state and local cooperation to effectuate enforcement of most federal laws. When states and localities deny such assistance, it becomes extremely difficult for federal law enforcement to catch more than a small fraction of violators. This is particularly true of laws—including both immigration and gun laws—where the number of violators is very large. For example, there are some 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country. For these reasons, sanctuary policies significantly reduce the enforcement of federal laws they target, even if they cannot eliminate such enforcement entirely.

Abortion: A Potential New Sanctuary Frontier
While immigration and gun laws have been the main focus of sanctuary policies over the last decade or so, that could change. In the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (2022), overturning Roe v. Wade, several liberal states have enacted “abortion shield” laws that protect medical providers and others who perform abortions for women from states with laws banning or severely restricting abortions. They also protect providers of abortion pills and related services.

While these laws primarily bar state cooperation with law enforcement by other states (in this case, states with abortion bans), they could also be used or expanded to bar cooperation with federal law enforcement as well.

Many Republicans advocate a national abortion ban, possibly one focused on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. While Donald Trump (probably fearing adverse electoral consequences) has thrown some cold water on the notion, it could easily be resuscitated if he wins the presidency and the GOP also has control of both houses of Congress. Other conservatives involved in planning a potential new Trump administration want to use the archaic 1873 Comstock Act as a tool to ban shipment of all abortion‐​related equipment and medications, thus potentially leveraging that law into a nation‐​wide abortion ban. Whether courts would accept such a gambit is uncertain.

If either new federal legislation or the Comstock Act are used to impose nationwide abortion restrictions, we are likely to see abortion sanctuaries comparable to immigration and gun sanctuaries. Many blue states would almost certainly refuse to assist with enforcement of such laws. Adverse federal action on marijuana legalization or other issues could also potentially trigger state resistance through sanctuary policies.

The Constitutional Basis for Sanctuary Laws
Constitutional protection for sanctuary jurisdictions rests on a series of Supreme Court decisions holding that the 10th Amendment—which states that “powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States … or to the people”—bans federal “commandeering” of state governments. The leading decisions to that effect are New York v. United States (1992), and Printz v. United States (1997). They hold, among other things, that state and local governments cannot be compelled to help enforce federal law. The anti‐​commandeering doctrine was further extended in Murphy v. NCAA (2018), which held that the federal government cannot issue orders to state legislatures and thereby force states to enact legislation or to refrain from repealing state laws.

Critics often claim that the Supreme Court’s anti‐​commandeering jurisprudence has no basis in the text and original meaning of the Constitution. But, as legal scholar Michael Rappaport showed in an important 1999 article, the anti‐​commandeering decisions have a basis in the Founding‐​era understanding of the word “state,” which implied a sovereign authority that the federal government could not undercut by seizing control over the state’s government apparatus.

Printz and New York were decided by mostly conservative Supreme Court justices over vociferous dissents by the Court’s liberals. The law at issue in Printz required local officials to enforce a new federal background check gun law opposed by conservatives. Murphy was a 7–2 decision authored by conservative Justice Samuel Alito, with two liberal justices in dissent.

Ironically, these conservative decisions have been most extensively used by liberal immigration sanctuaries to successfully fend off Trump administration efforts to force them to aid the deportation of undocumented migrants. In the Trump era, liberal states and migrant‐​rights activists learned to love—or at least make use of—conservative federalism precedents they had previously opposed.

During Trump’s term in office, his administration reviled sanctuary cities and sought to bring them to heel as much as possible. The anti‐​commandeering rule precluded efforts at direct coercion. It led courts to largely reject a Trump lawsuit seeking to overturn California’s “sanctuary state” law.

The extension of the doctrine in Murphy prevented the administration from making effective use of 8 USC Section 1373, a federal law barring state and local governments from instructing their employees to refuse to share information on undocumented immigrants with federal law enforcement agencies. Multiple lower court decisions ruled that Murphy either required the invalidation of Section 1373 or compelled judges to interpret it very narrowly, rendering the law essentially ineffective. While Murphy struck down a federal law restricting states’ abilities to legalize sports gambling, its biggest practical impact was to give legal support to the idea of liberal immigration sanctuaries.

The Trump administration also tried to pressure sanctuary cities by threatening to cut off federal grants. A 2017 executive order tried to withhold nearly all federal funds to states and localities that refused to obey Section 1373. Later, the Department of Justice attempted to deny certain law enforcement grants to jurisdictions that refused to meet several immigration‐​enforcement‐​related conditions.

Both policies were struck down by federal courts because they violated Supreme Court precedent limiting the use of the spending power to coerce state and local governments. The Court had previously held that grant conditions must be clearly spelled out in the relevant statute; they must be related to the purpose of the grant and could not be so sweeping as to be “coercive.” Thus, for example, the federal government couldn’t withdraw all education funding to get states to enforce its immigration laws—that would be both non‐​related and coercive. The Trump policies were held to violate the requirement of clarity; indeed, they effectively sought to usurp Congress’s power over federal spending by imposing new conditions created by the executive branch. Courts also ruled that the executive order violated the anti‐​coercion rule because it covered such a vast range of grants. Some court decisions further concluded that Trump’s conditions violated the “relatedness” requirement.

Like the anti‐​commandeering rule, precedents limiting the use of the federal spending power had been pioneered by conservative justices and opposed by many liberals (though not as uniformly). But the sanctuary cases shifted their ideological valence.

After Trump’s 2020 defeat, Joe Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland put an end to most of Trump’s anti‐​immigration‐​sanctuary policies. But the new administration was hostile to conservative gun sanctuaries. While it did not launch an extensive campaign against them on the scale of Trump’s effort to coerce immigration sanctuaries, the Biden DOJ did file a dubious lawsuit challenging the Missouri gun sanctuary law. In March 2023, a federal district court issued a badly flawed decision, ruling against the Missouri law. The judge recognized that the federal government cannot force Missouri to aid in the enforcement of federal gun laws but wrongly argued that the state law went beyond merely withholding assistance. In reality, the Missouri law does no such thing; hopefully, the ruling will be reversed on appeal.

,
The Constitution fully allows expanding the sanctuary concept to protect individual rights.

,
While sanctuary policies enable states to deny assistance to federal efforts to enforce laws against private parties, it is important to recognize that they do not empower states to violate federal laws themselves. States cannot use such policies to prevent the federal government from, for example, suing them for violating citizens’ constitutional rights. Nor can they use sanctuary laws to eliminate constitutional rights directly.

Legal and political conflict over sanctuary laws is likely to continue in the future. Should Trump prevail in the 2024 election, a second Trump administration plans to engage in a massive deportations of undocumented immigrants and would almost certainly make a renewed effort to coerce immigration sanctuaries. Hopefully, these will run afoul of the same constraints that undermined first term efforts.

If Trump is backed by GOP majorities in both houses of Congress, the Republicans could also try to enact new laws trying to use the spending power to pressure sanctuaries—for example, by tying a wide range of federal grants to immigration enforcement. Depending on how such laws are structured, they might run afoul of constitutional constraints.

As already discussed, a GOP administration might also clash with blue states over abortion. If a Republican president tries to use the Comstock Act to impose nationwide abortion restrictions, or new restrictions are enacted by Congress, blue states are likely to use “shield” laws to deny cooperation. The same applies if Congress were to enact a federal law restricting interstate travel to get an abortion.

Should President Biden be reelected, the Department of Justice case against the Missouri gun sanctuary law is likely to continue. The administration might also target other gun sanctuaries. More generally, both red and blue states might, in the future, try to use sanctuary laws against federal regulations on various issues. Immigration, guns, and abortion are far from the only situations where states might want to refuse to help enforce federal laws they object to.

Sanctuaries as a Check on Authoritarianism
Politicians’ and activists’ positions on sanctuary laws often reek of “fair weather federalism.” Their stances depend on whose ox is being gored. Supporters of immigration sanctuaries oppose gun sanctuaries, and vice versa, even though the constitutional issues in the two types of cases are very similar.

But there are good reasons to support state and local rights to adopt sanctuary policies that go beyond one’s specific policy preferences. If the federal government has broad power to force states to do its bidding, that power could easily be abused—especially in an era where there is severe ideological polarization, and many on both sides of the political spectrum are eager to coerce their adversaries.

The danger is heightened by the ways in which such power is likely to be concentrated in the hands of the executive. If the president can use vaguely worded laws to attach new conditions to federal grants, as Trump tried to do, he could easily use that to consolidate power and impose his own preferences on unwilling states and localities.

The case for sanctuary policies is even stronger if you fear that Trump—or some other potential future president—has authoritarian tendencies. Sanctuary jurisdictions can make such authoritarian aspirations harder to realize by giving refuge to the would‐​be dictator’s opponents.

Even when there is no authoritarian threat looming, sanctuary policies play a valuable role in preserving diversity in our federal system. In a highly diverse nation like the U.S., federally imposed uniformity would deny millions of people the opportunity to live under policies they prefer.

Sanctuary policies also help empower people to “vote with their feet” for the policies they prefer. People who dislike their home state’s policies on immigration, guns, or some other issue, have the opportunity to relocate to a more congenial jurisdiction. Where authority devolves to local governments, foot‐​voting opportunities are even greater, as it is often cheaper and easier to move between local governments than between states.

Foot voters generally make better‐​informed decisions than ballot‐​box voters do. In addition, the former can exercise greater freedom of choice than the latter, because their decisions are far more likely to decisively determine what laws they live under. In most elections, a ballot‐​box voter has only an infinitesimally small chance of decisively affecting the outcome (about 1 in 60 million in a presidential election, for example). Foot voters have much greater leverage.

Worth the Trade‐​Off
Sanctuary policies do have the downside that they could potentially be used to weaken enforcement of valuable federal laws. But this danger is readily outweighed by the benefits of checking federal power, preserving diversity, and empowering people to vote with their feet.

Some might argue that sanctuary policies are objectionable because they impede effective enforcement of many federal laws. That violates the seeming principle that every duly enacted law must be fully enforced. But we already have far more laws—and law-breakers—than any enforcement apparatus can hope to deal with. The majority of adult Americans have violated federal criminal law at some point in their lives, to say nothing of state law and civil law.

In such circumstances, government officials inevitably exercise extensive discretion over which laws to enforce and to what degree. It makes sense to allow some of that discretion to be used to deny state assistance for the enforcement of federal laws that the state and its people disapprove of. That puts a check on federal power, promotes diversity, and empowers more people to vote with their feet.

Ideally, we should reduce law‐​enforcement discretion by cutting back on the number of laws. But unless and until that happens, sanctuary policies are a good way to use some of the discretion that unavoidably exists.

https://www.cato.org/commentary/american-federalism-can-push-back-against-executive-overreach

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 69979
    • View Profile
Re: Libertarian themes
« Reply #207 on: May 31, 2024, 05:48:15 AM »
Good discussion of the themes; worthy of posting in the Tenth Amendment thread as well:

https://firehydrantoffreedom.com/index.php?topic=1818.msg25775#msg25775

Body-by-Guinness

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 2218
    • View Profile
Boaz’s Last Speech
« Reply #208 on: June 09, 2024, 02:44:50 PM »
I find little in this speech (in italics) to disagree with:

[Ilya Somin] David Boaz's Final Speech: "The Rise of Illiberalism in the Shadow of Liberal Triumph"

The Volokh Conspiracy / by Ilya Somin / Jun 9, 2024 at 4:51 PM

David Boaz | Cato Institute

[In a speech given in February, the late great libertarian intellectual leader made important points about the past, present, and future of liberty.]

Longtime Cato Institute vice president David Boaz passed away on June 7. He was one of the most effective and principled advocates for libertarianism in our time. In his last major public speech, delivered at a Students for Liberty conference in February, David cautioned us against excessive pessimism, but also warned about the dangerous rise of illiberal nationalism as a major threat to freedom around the world. The speech was transcribed by Andy Craig, and is reprinted here with permission:

Too often, libertarians (and also conservatives) believe that we are actually on the road to serfdom. I want to give you a more optimistic view along with a warning and a challenge. I'm going to start with some history.

For millennia, with few exceptions, the world was marked by despotism, slavery, hierarchy, rigid class privilege, and literally no increase in the standard of living over hundreds of years. And then, the Western world experienced the Enlightenment, a new perspective on the world based on reason, science, a belief in progress, and freedom.

And the ideas about freedom eventually came to be known as liberalism. Human rights, markets, property rights, religious toleration, the value of commerce, the dignity of the individual. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Peace, human flourishing.

That brought about what Deirdre McCloskey calls the Great Fact of human history, the enormous and unprecedented growth in living standards, starting around 1800 in the Western world. And these ideas spread to more aspects of society and more parts of the world. They gave Europe a century of peace and progress, from roughly 1815 to 1914. The Great Fact spread from Northwestern Europe and America to the rest of Europe, to Latin America, to parts of Asia.

Liberal ideas were never perfectly realized. When they faded in the late 19th century, we got World War I, trade war, the Great Depression, and World War II, and some countries endured the horrors of communism and national socialism. Mercantilism, cronyism, bigotry and discrimination, political murders, authoritarianism, plagued and still plague parts of the world.

Even in our own country, in my own lifetime—and the interesting thing is most of these things are no longer true in your lifetime—but in my country, in my lifetime, we lived with military conscription, 90% marginal income tax rates, wage and price controls, restricted entry to transportation and communications, indecency laws, and Jim Crow.

It's a lot of change. Progress has been happening. After World War II, a renewed commitment to free trade, international rule of law, and constitutional liberal democracy brought about another long period of great power peace and prosperity. And the spread of property rights and market institutions to China, India, Latin, America, and even Africa has brought more than a billion people out of extreme poverty in just 25 years.

More and more of the world is respecting equal rights for people regardless of color, gender, religion, sexuality or language. Equal rights based on our common humanity. It was our liberal ideas that brought that about, and we should take pride in that. Of course, now we're more likely to call those liberal ideas libertarian, but our job is not done. We face the rise of illiberalism on both left and right in the United States and around the world with threats to liberty, democracy, trade, growth, and peace.

And so it remains to us to defend the constitutional order of our republic, to remind people over and over of the wonders that America has produced, how rare freedom and abundance have been in the world and the rules that are essential to their continuance.

There was a book some years ago called All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten. Well, everything you need to know about politics, in a way, you learn in kindergarten, the fundamentals of freedom, the fundamentals of civilization: Don't hit other people, don't take their stuff, and keep your promises. If you apply those rules, you'll have a prosperous and peaceful society.

One more idea you wouldn't think needed to be said, is we libertarians, like most of us Americans, are liberals. Liberalism is a universal creed. We believe that all people are endowed with inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Not just some people. That idea is incompatible with political ideas based on 'blood and soil' or treating people differently because of race or religion.

So when you see self-proclaimed freedom advocates talking about blood and soil or helping a would-be autocrat overturn an election, or talking about LGBT equality as degeneracy, or saying we shouldn't care about government racism against Black people, or defending the Confederacy and the cause of the South, or joining right-wing culture wars and supporting politicians who want to use the state to fight their enemies, or posting Holocaust jokes and death threats on Twitter, recognize that for what it is. Speak up, fight back, tell people that's not America and it's certainly not libertarianism.

And while it's not actually un-libertarian to be anti-vaccine, it's stupid, and I'd rather recruit smart people. Can you believe that there are people who think an environmental extremist, tax-hiking, gun-grabbing, big spender who's also an anti-vaccine crank, would make a good Libertarian Party candidate? Meanwhile, before I move on, I just want to remind you, taxation is theft.

We libertarians spend a lot of time talking about what we're against, high taxes, unnecessary wars, crony capitalism, over-criminalization, treating people unequally because of who they are. And we should talk more about what we're for. As our Cato Institute mission statement says, individual rights, limited government, free markets and peace. But more than that, we're for those things because they help us achieve abundance and social harmony and human dignity and human flourishing. We want everyone to flourish, to be free, to pursue happiness in his or her or their own way.

I'm always happy to quote George Washington's letter to the Newport Synagogue. It's a little bit of archaic language. "It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For happily, the government of the United States gives to bigotry, no sanction to persecution, no assistance."

Libertarian ideas are radical, yet deeply rooted in Western tradition, and we have a record to be proud of. We've been fighting ignorance, superstition, privilege and power for several centuries, and it is to those ideas and that struggle that we owe the best parts of our civilization. More often than libertarians often recognize, we live in a world of freedom and progress, imperfect freedom and imperfect progress to be sure, but real. We have extended the promises of the Declaration of Independence, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — I say that a lot, I like that phrase — to people to whom they had long been denied.

Around the world, more people in more countries than ever before in history enjoy religious freedom, personal freedom, democratic governance, the freedom to own and trade property, the chance to start a business, equal rights, civility, respect, a higher standard of living, and a longer life expectancy, and it is libertarian ideas and libertarian-minded people who have made that happen. We need to fight for those gains, especially here in America where the right and the left are battling over who gets to do the most to destroy liberty.

I was asked once by some skeptics what the most important libertarian accomplishment ever was. I thought for a moment and said the abolition of slavery. "Okay," they conceded. "Name another." Now, I thought if you had the abolition of slavery on your resume, you're ready to meet your maker. That's pretty good.

But I thought more carefully, and I said, bringing power under the rule of law. That was a revolutionary achievement. Constitutions, divided powers, consent of the governed, all of those things helped to constrain the natural human instinct to gain power over others. And constraining that instinct for power is our revolutionary achievement, but it's still incomplete.

It's what the Levellers and John Locke and the American Founders fought for, and the abolitionists. It's what the protesters in 1989 against communism fought for. It's what our friends in Russia and China and Egypt and Ukraine and Hong Kong fight for in challenging circumstances that we never face. It's what we fight for.

But nothing is guaranteed. Ideas we thought were dead are back. Socialism, protectionism, ethnic nationalism, anti-semitism. In what was once Ronald Reagan's party, we see people advocating something called national conservatism, which is old-fashioned, big government dressed up in new clothes. Protectionism, control of private enterprise, scapegoating of minorities.

They denounce the Enlightenment and liberalism. Some of them even advocate imposing a national religion. And that's why our job is not done. We now confront the rise of illiberalism on both left and right with threats to peace, liberty, democracy, trade and growth.

Our ancestors have faced similar challenges. Imagine the American Revolutionaries who thought they could take on the most powerful military in the world, and yet they dared and they won. Then they wrote a Declaration of Independence that is the most eloquent piece of libertarian writing in history, and they wrote a Constitution that did the things I'm talking about, putting constraints on power, dividing it between the three branches, dividing it between the two houses of Congress, dividing it between the states and the federal government. All of those kinds of things are classical liberal ideas that were first really brought forth here in America, and that's our heritage and that's our legacy.

But it keeps coming back. We also had the abolitionists who had to fight tyranny as well. There are some people who disparage talking about slavery. It's over, that's good, we should be proud of that. But we should also remember that when some people talk about the good old days, as if there was more freedom in the 19th century, when four million Americans were held in chattel slavery, held in bonds before the Civil War. So it was not exactly what you'd call a free society. And we could go through a lot of other things too, the restrictions on women's rights. God knows restrictions on gay rights wasn't even something people thought of, but people who were gay knew damn well they should keep it quiet.

Closer to our own time, in the 1940s, in the darkest days of war and a growing welfare state, three remarkable women stood up to challenge the establishment. Isabel Paterson, Rose Wilder Lane, and Ayn Rand, warned Americans that we were losing our founding values and freedoms, and they launched a movement. And some writers have said, "Why was it women who stood up? Where were the men? What were they doing?" Well, there were men. All three of those women wrote a book in 1943. In 1944, Hayek wrote The Road to Serfdom. So it wasn't just women, but we did have three founding mothers of the modern libertarian movement, and I think we don't make enough of that. We should have their pictures on everything.

I just read Tim Sandefur's book, Freedom's Furies, about these three women, and one of the things I kept noticing was everything he quotes from Isabel Paterson, it's like things we say today about big government. She anticipated it all, or maybe we got it all from her even though we don't know it. So that happened in the 1940s and they started a movement. In the 1970s, in the face of the government's three great accomplishments, Vietnam, Watergate, and stagflation, great scholars like Hayek and Friedman criticized the government's economic policies.

And along with some younger scholars, some of whom are now older scholars whose names you've heard, they changed them, and they launched another movement that restored a lot of American economic freedom. Not all of it, and some bad things kept happening, but we did make a lot of progress over the few years after that in repealing a lot of bad economic restrictions.

And now it's your turn to pick up the banner of liberty. Don't let it go. Fight illiberalism and authoritarianism wherever you find it. Extend liberty to more parts of the world and more parts of life. And make the 21st century the most liberal century yet. Thank you very much and good luck.


I don't fully agree with every point here. It's probably impossible to cover so much ground in so short a time without some oversimplification. But the core message is sound, and well-worth heeding.

Although we lack David's eloquence, Cato Institute scholar Alex Nowrasteh and I explained why the rise of nationalism is a major menace to liberty in somewhat greater detail in our recent National Affairs article, "The Case Against Nationalism."

No one person can replace David Boaz. But we can, as he said, "pick up the banner of liberty" and work to raise it to new heights.

The post David Boaz's Final Speech: "The Rise of Illiberalism in the Shadow of Liberal Triumph" appeared first on Reason.com.

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 69979
    • View Profile
Re: Libertarian themes
« Reply #209 on: June 10, 2024, 06:00:51 AM »
Good stuff-- so how do we apply it to our current geopolitical/macro economic fustercluck?