Tag Archive: libertarian


Byron Williams wrote about something I couldn’t really put my finger in the my two posts on Rand Paul and the Civil Rights Act:

Paul’s remarks, consider this coming in 2010, bear stark similarity to Southern segregationists who opposed the civil rights legislation. Do such beliefs make Paul a racist or at least guilty of latent racism? No.

But Paul’s statement does reveal the disconnect that exists whenever an individual is strictly beholden to an ideology, there will inevitably come a point where that philosophy is unable to confront reality.

If you believe our understanding of the Constitution cannot change along with society, you provide no way to legally deal with issues the framers of the Constitution could never have anticipated.  They provide no alternative but a sad nostalgia for the past.

Williams talks about adherence to strict principles in a more general sense, and goes on to say:

Fundamentalist thinking is also popular among those who advocate for “strict constructionists” to serve on our courts. They claim to oppose judges who “legislate from the bench.”

This assumes the Constitution is frozen in time. Whatever the words meant when the Constitution was ratified in the 18th century is what it must mean today. Strict constructionism is a nice, neat, and convenient thought but hardly realistic in a world that is constantly evolving.

Thanks, Mr. Williams.

So, Rand Paul spouted off with some extreme statements, and I felt the need to put my two cents in.  Good enough.  Why not?  Everybody’s doing it!

Still, why did Rand Paul’s words become something I felt worth responding to? People say crap I don’t agree with all the time.  I sit silently, in terms of writing about it, for most of it – why this?  Why did the blogosphere and webnews and talk-radio and talk-teevee all feel the need to respond?

That’s been the subject of some of the response, and I find resonance with my fellow observers:  Paul’s statements matter because he articulates something a) a lot of libertarians and others believe, and b) has farther reaching implications (see the Ezra Klein quote in the previous post) than simply the subject of this particular statement.

It matters to me because this guy would tear down what I think of as the fabric of our American community:  how we pool together while respecting differences, and how our Constitution and our state and local governments are structured to assist with our mutual needs.  Local and state governments do it at the local level, and because we … ya know… as a nation… through our elected representatives, have decided certain things should be coordinated at a higher level. 

Yes indeed, corruption and influence peddling may exist.  But we as a nation have steered our society toward greater federal oversight and support, because it made sense to us.  It was more likely to help than hinder us to, for example, provide social security, health services, a national educational system, a well funded military, etc etc etc.  We elected people, sent them to DC to implement this very stuff, and thwarted though our reps may be, we occasionally move forward and create an even better nation than we had before.  That’s why we tried George Bush’s way, and when it didn’t work out, or rather, when the disastrous results began to play out, we booted him and his GOP cronies out.  We did it from a moderate to left citizenry, and the non-intervention attitudes of libertarianism were really no where in the picture.

As in:  we had a vote.  You lost.  We’re going to use government to straighten this thing out.  Reagan was wrong. Get with the program.

Like a lot of folks, Rand Paul isn’t with the program.  He, the tea partiers, and a whole lot of other people have a dreamy-eyed optimism about the free market.  It’s an almost diametrically opposed view compared to, say, Anarchy or Communism, but all three share the same dream-filtered gloss of political philosophy, ignores how things work in the practical world. 

I like to employ a phrase more typically applied to a plate of cream-puffs, or an open bar:  All Things in Moderation.  I think that goes for politics too. 

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