Tag: Libertarians

The Libertarian Blind Spot on Policing


In my column this week for Defining Ideas from the Hoover Institution, I look at the recent events in Ferguson, Missouri and the reaction they’ve inspired in the press. One of my conclusions: that many libertarians have gone overboard with otherwise legitimate concerns about policing. As I note:

It is not that I entirely part company with modern libertarians on all issues relating to the police. It is that I would like to see libertarians of all stripes slow down their denunciation of public authorities, without whom we cannot enjoy the ordered liberty that we all prize. The correct attitude on the police force is to see it as a regrettable necessity, but a necessity nonetheless. Without police intervention, many cities in this country would turn into Iraqi-style war zones. The point remains true even if it is the case, as it is in Iraq, that most people have a strong desire to live out their lives in peace. So long as some fringe groups are intent on using violence, they can force everyone else to follow suit, until by degrees entire nations can be plunged into chaos and sectarian violence unless there are some organized institutions to protect us.

License to Breed


On the last episode of the Ricochet podcast, our heroes discussed the difficulty of encouraging people — but especially impoverished minorities — to have and raise children under the right circumstances; i.e.,  in wedlock and within stable family structures. James mentioned the hypothetical possibility that we could require people to obtain a “parenthood license” before we permit them to breed. He figured such a thing could never happen. People would be outraged. It would be worse than the voter ID debate.

I’m inclined to differ. I think many liberals would love this idea. In fact, some of them already do, and sadly, some libertarians are happy to join the chorus:

Since Sufficient War is Unrealistic, What is the Best Course of Action?


Libertarians are often accused of being unrealistic or ideological and are forced to give secondary positions, since their ideal is not possible.  They are told: high immigration is unrealistic, getting government out of marriage is unrealistic, and legalizing drugs and such is unrealistic.

That’s fine, but it’s unrealistic to think Americans are willing to engage in the kind of war that stands of chance of obliterating ISIS, or even to engage them enough to reduce the threat.  Yet, pointing this out causes many conservatives to yell all the louder about how dire things are, as if doing so will make things possible. It won’t.

Notes On Libertarians and Responsibility


Not wanting to hijack genferei’s response to Rachel Lu’s article on libertarianism and private morality I thought I’d start a second thread.

First, I wholly agree with Rachel that 1) small government requires private morality among its citizens to work; 2) that bourgeois, Judeo-Christian principles have proven themselves to be an extraordinarily robust, well-tested, and effective means of ensuring that morality; and 3) that some flavors of libertarians don’t appreciate either of the former points.  As she puts it:

Grant Me Freedom and Small Government — But Not Yet


libertinesda mihi castitatem et continentam, sed noli modo — St Augustine

Ricochet contributor Rachel Lu wrote an article in the FEDERALIST yesterday, taking the left-anarchist wing of the libertarian movement to task for wanting to dissolve the bonds of family and community. At least I think that is who she is attacking — it is never quite clear who actually holds the views she disagrees with (although she almost implies it is Ben Domenech). Nevertheless, the core of her argument is that, yes, freedom is great and all, and small government is a fine idea in theory, but until a strong conventional morality is re-established in society they are just too dangerous.

Small government will not succeed unless people have a strong ability to govern their own affairs. That requires a culture that provides people with clear norms and expectations, and replaces the hard and impersonal boundaries of law with the softer forces of social approval and sanction. What we need, in short, are traditional morals.

Hacks and Flacks


Barack ObamaHaving blogged for some time now, I understand that there are partisan divisions in the political blogosphere, and I understand as well that they are here to stay. That having been said, it is worth noting—as James Oliphant does — that port-side bloggers are acting as publicity agents, apologists, and all-around hacks on behalf of the Obama Administration to a degree not seen before. Certainly, the administration of George W. Bush never benefited from the presence of a similar cyber-praetorian guard acting to advance its interests.

Read the following excerpt well, and note that there are a host of “journalists” who act more like one would expect paid White House staffers to behave. And boy, do they get the benefits that come with toeing the line:

When Jay Carney was grilled at length by Jonathan Karl of ABC News over an email outlining administration talking points in the wake of the 2012 Benghazi attack, it was not, by the reckoning of many observers, the White House press secretary’s finest hour. Carney was alternately defensive and dismissive, arguably fueling a bonfire he was trying to tamp down.

Member Post


Does this make you like him even more? [W]hen [Rand Paul] was at the start of his Senate campaign in May 2009, he appeared on the Antiwar Radio show hosted by Scott Horton, who in 2004 was a foreign policy adviser to the Libertarian Party’s presidential candidate. During the interview, Paul repeatedly called the interrogation […]

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