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Roger L. Simon

Barack Obama, Libertarian Manufacturing Machine

November 18th, 2013 - 8:32 pm

We should examine how to shuck strategically much of our government to be more streamlined, more futuristic, to give us the opportunity to be entrepreneurial and modern, to solve problems as individuals and companies without government intrusion. Nothing is more weighted down than liberalism, as Obamacare shows clearly. This is a moment people are prepared to see that.

The situation is actually analogous to losing weight and getting into shape. When you do, many things change. You have more energy, more ideas. You are more optimistic.

But I would be remiss in not noting that no matter how small you think the government should be, how libertarian or quasi-libertarian, that ends at the water’s edge. These freedoms, which after all come directly from our Constitution, are the very things that have made our enemies hate us, from Hitler to bin Laden. They are an argument for an even stronger defense. This is where Ron Paul gets it wrong. Libertarianism is great domestic policy. In the foreign policy arena, not so much. There it becomes a license for its own demise.

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How about we attempt to answer the question? In this fantastical thought-experiment, what SHOULD the government be doing?

While by no means exhaustive, my list would start with those specific powers granted by the body of the Constitution: coining of money, regulation of weights and measures, copyrights and patents, resolution of disputes in interstate commerce (certainly NOT the monster the IC clause has grown into!), providing for the common defense, management of foreign affairs. These things were put in for a reason.

But that leaves forests of deadwood that have metastasized onto the federal leviathan. The process started almost immediately and has been accelerating ever since, especially since 1932. Whole departments can and should be eliminated, stakes driven through their hearts to assure they never rise again. Washington can and should return to being the malarial swamp it was when Jefferson and Hamilton fought over the location of the federal city.

We have inverted the governmental pyramid. Instead of local governments having the most direct impact on citizens, they are so compassed about by rules, mandates, and regulations from higher up the food chain that they have almost no discretion. They have lost control of their own school boards, for G-d's sake.

I believe it was Wm F Buckley who pointed out that there is a constant blizzard of money flying back and forth between the states and the feds, with a fair proportion of it sticking on the fed side. What sense is there in states sending money to the feds only to have them turn around and send it back? Chopping it all back would mean that the states could keep it for their own uses. Both federal and state tax liabilities for the productive types who have to pay for it all would decline.

I blame Carrier: if he hadn't invented central air conditioning, Washington would be uninhabitable for at least five months of the year and we wouldn't be in this mess.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"These freedoms, which after all come directly from our Constitution..."--Roger L. Simon

Bzzzt. Wrong. These freedoms are endowed by our Creator. The Constitution is only there to protect them.

Even if ten or twenty others have already pointed this out, pointing the truth about the relationship between the Constitution and our freedoms can't be done too often.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The Ron Paul/LP foreign policy, which Rand campaigned for in at least two nomination tries as Dad's campaign manager, is no foreign intrigue, no foreign bases, no keeping the sea lanes safe for trade except when we are directly attacked and responding directly. Had such a plan been in place from the end of WWII, we would be in Soviet America today. No one would have stopped the Soviet Empire's expansion into Western Europe and the Middle East. No one would stop China in South/Southeast Asia. No one would defend Central and South America against Cuban subversion.

Ron Paul was fond of observing that we had great trade without many problems for the first 150 years of the Republic without policing the seas. True enough - but ONLY because His Majesty's Royal Navy did the job. Now it has fallen to us. If we shrink from it now in isolationist self-involvement, the eventual consequences will be far more bloody and far more costly than performing those patrols that ONLY we can do.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (135)
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Heh, I think there ought to be a new saying:

A conservative is a liberal who's been mugged by reality
the new center-right will consist of those who've been screwed by the reality of BIG government
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
First, our freedoms come from God, not the constitution. Second, if the holes in the Ventura Freeway are not being fixed by the current government, wouldn't you be open to an alternative that might be able to fix the roads on which you drive.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Modern Libertarianism is attractive to the young hedonists because it tells them they need few rules. Unfortunately, Libertarianism, which has been around for decades, is no more mature than the typical male college junior who makes up the bulk of its advocates. The Silicon Valley liber-socialists (who imagine that they are Libertarian) are equally immature - Silicon Valley captures the young technorati and freezes their nascent maturation processes in ice.

Libertarianism's push for the liberal social agenda is a push for the very policies that are crippling the US. Libertine ideas (the social part of libertarianism) work fine for the elite, but they destroy the working class and ethnic minorities. The breakdown of the middle class family is a demographic trend far more damaging to the country than many governmental actions, and libertine ideas about marriage are a major factor. No-fault divorce, and the forced gender equality that came about are the greatest drivers of this.

Another leg of Libertarianism that fails is on foreign policy. You hit on this slightly but it deserves more notice, because Libertarians so far seem to be ideologically driven to isolationism. Their ideology informs them that most government is dangerous (and its true) but it fails to inform them about the need for government, even big government, in a world of other dangers.

Libertarianism is a useful check to keep conservatism from going off the rails. But big-L Libertarians are too idealistic and too focused on their own freedoms to make or vote for mature policy decisions.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Meso;
No Libertarian has ever held high office. The social problems you describe were not caused by Liberatarians. Get a grip.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Another conservative goosestepper that conflates libertarianism with anarchism and nihilism.

Dolt!, Madison, Jefferson and most of the Founders were Classical Liberals, what today we call libertarians.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
That is an incredibly nasty reply to an honest post. I suppose that I'm just another "conservative goosestepper"- I get the Nazi insult, but it makes zero sense; however, two of Meso's points are well founded. Much of the "Libertarian" commentary I see is radically isolationist, and a lot more of it, including, I suspect, yours, sounds like rich yuppies who want to keep their libertinism and their money.
By the by, Classic Liberalism, by which I assume you mean small "l" liberalism, meaning an open and generous mind and heart, does not in any way mean "libertarian". Indeed, I doubt you can find two self-identified libertarians who can agree in any detail on what Libertarian means.

I think Mr. Simon is right about Obama recruiting a lot of so-called libertarians. The problem is that most of the ones Obama's creating are disillusioned lefties who can finally see the disaster he, and they, have been leading us to since Wilson. They're worried about the financial collapse we seem to be headed for, but can't really stand the idea of taking personal responsibility for fixing it as part of a community, a nation. They prefer radical "freedom"-not the same as liberty.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You think that is nasty, yet you're the one calling people who have the balls to take your principles to their logical conclusions "isolationists". If people value the endless policing of the world the US does, they'd be willing to pay for it. Last I checked, South Korea, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Germany, Israel, and probably several others, were perfectly capable of taking care of themselves, so why are people who want to let them do just that "isolationists"?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Just a few years ago it was Bush 41 and Bush 43, and the SocCons that had that distinction.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
These freedoms, which after all come directly from our Constitution... you might want to clarify that...
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
micha elyi...do you have a phone # or E-mail for this elusive god????


libertarianism and their isolationism policies are not very good, as the world has become to small for this...and Ron Paul is as big danger to freedom as Obumbles is, just that he would destroy it in a different manner!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Hey I'm very offended! Ron Paul is truly well-intentioned patriot who wants to see this country succeed! What he wants is the US is being less involved with world affairs which don't concern us. I don't agree necessarily with some of his views, but comparing him to Barack Obama is just stupid.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Obama: We are the ones we've been waiting for.
Klaven: "Coulter" We are the conservatives we've been waiting for.
Simon: We are the libertarians we've been waiting for.
Plagiarize much?
Or are you just too cute to be original?







1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Obama changed my life for the better.

In the Bush years I just had a little .22 rifle and 20 gauge shotgun. Now I have—well a lot more than that.
I used to think libertarians were lost somewhere between some wishful fairyland and crazy. Now I tend to call myself one.
I used to barely have a vague grasp of the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers, Thomas Paine, and the like, now I've just described the books and documents I've recently read.
So Obama changed my life for the better. Thanks Obama! I'm now your opposite.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Clinton inspired my procurement. .22 .223 .44 .45 & 9mm
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Marry all this with the insights of George Gilder in Knowledge and Power and there is a strong case to be made that once government is tamed and gets out of the way, which it must, we have a new golden age ahead of us.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
George Gilder is way too idealistic to be taken seriously. He grabs onto decent ideas, inflates them into minor gods, and then worships them.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Ironic that the premise of this article, that we should decide now what the Federal Government should do, is essentially another form of central planning. The main beauty of the Federal Government laid out in the constitution was that there would be 3 equal branches, each constantly seeking to keep the other 2 in check. Yes, it ultimately failed but it did better than anything else could.

If we are to rebuild the nation, the structure must include competition at a higher level. There should be two Federal Governments, you could think of them as blue and red. The blue side could have as much regulation and central planning as they want. The red side would be for those who don't want that. Red and blue would have a common military and separate currencies. They should be independent in every other way.

Another alternative is to greatly strengthen the power of the individual states, starting with giving them the power to decide what is constitutional, rather than letting the Federal Government (SCOTUS) judge itself. Funding should come directly from the states and the Federal Government should never be allowed to touch the individual, including income tax. The Federal Government should have to request and justify funding from the state governors who could decide if they'd rather do it themselves. Federal regulations would not exist, the Federal Government would make recommendations and states could implement them as state laws if they agree.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Back to the Articles of Confederation, which nearly strangled the Nation in it's birth? The Constitution was written to replace that document. We are a Nation, one country- not 50 (or 57:)- countries.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Something like Mark Levin's "Liberty Amendments" would be a good way to go—they give states more say over federal laws and rulings without going back to the Articles of Confederacy. To simplify some of Levin's proposed amendments, if a super-majority of states dislike, disagree or disapprove a federal law, ruling or mandate, the states can "veto" it.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Interesting idea, though I would posit that if California could decide how much to contribute to the national defense, it would likely contribute $0.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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