Always bet on the come line
Sometimes I think that being a libertarian is a little like the guy shooting craps who goes from betting on the come to the don’t come, and each time he guesses wrong.
Because libertarians share some beliefs that both major U.S. parties maintain—or rather, both the liberals and conservatives hold some beliefs that we maintain—you would think that sometimes we could help with a breakthrough consensus. Instead, it seems that both liberals and conservatives like to emphasis our differences and won’t discuss our common ground. Well, that also cuts the other way, as libertarians have been known to emphasize the differences, rather than the common ground, they have with conservatives and liberals. After all, we are all flowers from the same roots, the Enlightenment and the American Revolution.
That is why Sen. Rand Paul has been called the most interesting man in the Senate. He showed that again when he spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) convention. He spoke about how conservatives believe that government is inept at domestic affairs, but that suddenly they believe government is a force for good internationally. Actually, Joseph Sobran said it best:
“If you want government to intervene domestically, you are a liberal. If you want government to intervene overseas, you are a conservative. If you want government to intervene everywhere, you are a moderate. And, if you don’t want government to intervene anywhere, you are an extremist.”
Barry Goldwater once said, “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.” I hastily add “non-violent” extremism in defense of liberty is no vice.
Sen. Paul also said in his CPAC speech that there should be a “presumption of liberty” in our political affairs. This is a profound statement. When liberals want to intervene in our economic and personal liberty, it is always justified by notions like the “precautionary principle” and “scientific consensus” or their state-centered theories like Marxism, Keynesian economics, and their big government “third way.” It always comes down to the “common good” rather than the rights of individuals.
When conservatives push for foreign adventures, preemptive wars and more police powers, it is almost the same principle at work with a different set of priorities. Now it is national security, vice and crime and drug-abuse punishment, and Americas “credibility,” that define the common good, rather than the rights of individuals.
Somehow, it is always the state—big government—that will protect us. What happened to protecting our rights so we can protect ourselves?
You know what? I am tired of this dance. I want the band to play a different tune. Rather than a dreary re-run between the Bush family dynasty and the Clinton family dynasty, I would like to see a new family, the Paul family, get a shot. I like the Pauls because they believe in both federalism and individual liberty. I do not see liberalism or conservatism giving us a viable way out of our dilemmas. The only consistent philosophy of optimism, peace, and prosperity is the belief in free minds and free markets.
Gov. Sandoval was quoted saying he had to “reluctantly” push for more taxes because businesspeople told him Nevadans are not prepared for the workforce by our schools. If we had a “presumption of liberty,” when business leaders say, “Nevada needs a better educated work force,” why equate that to more government, and more taxes? Why not allow that which consistently gives us more value for less cost—the market—to educate our children and supply the superior workforce Nevada needs?