Friday, January 21, 2011

All-American Libertarianism

Jeffrey O. Nelson's post on "one of America’s most provocative political movements" — Politics’ Crazy Uncle — links to Christopher Beam's critical but not unsympathetic article — The Trouble With Liberty. "Libertarians, of both left and right, haven’t been this close to power since 1776." [Hurrah!] "But do we want to live in their world?" [Why not? Could it be worse than having statist ideologues of the left or right legislate their moralities on us?]

Mr Beam writes that "libertarianism is still considered the crazy uncle of American politics: loud and cocky and occasionally profound but always a bit unhinged." [We Americans are by our nature "loud and cocky and occasionally profound but always a bit unhinged," are we not?] "There’s never been a better time to be a libertarian than now," the author suggests, going on to say also that "there’s no idea more fundamental to our country’s history." He writes:
    Every political group claims the Founders as its own, but libertarians have more purchase than most. The American Revolution was a libertarian movement, rejecting overweening government power. The Constitution was a libertarian document that limited the role of the state to society’s most basic needs, like a legislature to pass laws, a court system to interpret them, and a military to protect them. (Though some Founders, like John Adams and Alexander Hamilton, wanted to centralize power.) All the government-run trappings that came after—the Fed, highways, public schools, a $1.5 trillion-a-year entitlement system— were arguably departures from our country’s hard libertarian core.

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Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.