July 21, 2013

DAVID BERNSTEIN ON why some libertarians sympathize with the Confederacy. This follows up on several other posts on this rather odd fringe, but I’ve said most of what I have to say on the subject here. See this, too. And this. And, for that matter, this.

I think, however, that while the following may be an accurate description of why some libertarians might wish the Confederacy had won, it’s also stupid: “If you believe that the United States government has been a massive force for evil in the world, and also object to much of the government’s domestic policy, it’s only natural to wish that the government’s ability to do the damage it wrought had been nipped in the bud. And the most plausible way this could have happened historically would have been for the South to have successfully seceded from the North, leaving a much smaller and weaker central government that would likely have faced further secessionist challenges in the future.”

The most likely outcome of a Confederate victory would have been another war, or wars, down the line: “A generation of madness,” as described in one Harry Turtledove series about just that. And the likely outcome of such a path wouldn’t have been smaller government or more liberty.

In truth, the single greatest blow the South could have struck for liberty and small government would have been not to secede. Unfortunate that things didn’t work out that way.

As for James Webb’s Confederate enthusiasms, well, let’s just put that down to martial romance.

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