Just in time for Christmas, my book, Libertarianism Today, is available for its lowest price ever: just $22.47 for the hardcover!
Get this price while you still can by ordering direct from the publisher online or by calling 800-368-6868. Sale ends January 15.
Recent reviews of Libertarianism Today:
- “It should appeal to all readers, from the most well-informed libertarian to those new to the radical theory.” — Alex Willemyns, Policy
Several years ago, I wrote a review of The Dirty Dozen: How Twelve Supreme Court Cases Radically Expanded Government and Eroded Freedom by Cato Institute chairman Robert A. Levy and Institute for Justice co-founder William Mellor. As its subtitle suggests, the book criticizes twelve U.S. Supreme Court decisions that are especially offensive from a libertarian perspective, such as Wickard v. Filburn, Korematsu v. U.S., and Kelo v. City of New London.
Because I’m a libertarian myself, I agreed with most of their criticisms of the twelve decisions.
I had reservations, though, about their proposed remedy: “judicial engagement” on liberty’s behalf — that is, getting judges on board with (for example) the idea that Congress’s powers under the Commerce Clause are much narrower than the Supreme Court has said they are since the New Deal era. This struck me as naive. Judges, after all, are part of the federal government, and the President and Congress both try to ensure that the people they put on the bench believe in maximum executive and legislative power. Judges haven’t increased government power because libertarian lawyers didn’t put the right arguments in front of them; they’ve increased government power because that’s what they were put on the bench to do.
In a response to my review, Levy and Mellor claimed that I was “far too cynical” — which only cemented my view that, for self-described libertarians, these two gentlemen weren’t nearly cynical enough about the federal courts. In fact, they seemed to have a faith in “good government” that is antithetical to libertarianism.
Lately, however, I’ve come to think that, whatever Levy and Mellor’s personal attitudes may be (it’s possible that I misread them), favoring “judicial engagement” for liberty does not require one to be naive about government and therefore is not contrary to the spirit of libertarianism.
I love this article by Paul Craig Roberts on the “true cost” of the Iraq war and think everyone should read it.
But there’s one sentence in this otherwise-outstanding piece to which I take exception. Roberts writes: “The fascist Republican Federalist Society has put enough federal judges in the judiciary to rule that the president is above the law.”
This is nonsense.
First, let’s tackle the claim that the Federalist Society is “fascist” and “Republican.”
The Federalist Society was formed by law students who were frustrated by the left’s dominance at law schools. They created the organization to provide a forum for alternative voices: namely, those of conservatives and libertarians.
Here’s how the Federalist Society functions. There’s a national headquarters in Washington (a red flag, I’ll grant you), there are student chapters in almost every law school, and there are lawyers’ chapters in various cities.
The student and lawyers’ chapters generally do one thing: host lectures and debates. These events feature speakers ranging all the way from people Roberts would probably call “fascist” to anarcho-capitalist libertarians such as Randy Barnett and Walter Block. One frequent Federalist speaker is Roberts’s fellow columnist at Antiwar.com, Doug Bandow, whose lecture topics include the American Empire.
Who decides who will speak at these events? Each chapter’s members. If the members tend to be more conservative, they may bring in more conservative speakers. If the members tend to be more libertarian, they may bring in more libertarian speakers.
Today LewRockwell.com offers another excerpt from my book. This one is about why government-funded school vouchers aren’t compatible with libertarianism. (Yesterday, LRC ran an excerpt about Ronald Reagan.)
I do understand why some libertarians like vouchers: they rightly feel bad for the actual, real-world children who are forced by law to attend horrible government schools, whose parents can’t afford other alternatives. If the government is going to coerce people, it’s understandable to want to minimize the harm done.
But as I argue in the book, vouchers would do more harm than good. Even if we can’t abolish government schools anytime soon, the best way to rescue as many kids as possible is through private, voluntary means.
Here are two more articles I’ve written on this topic:
(Cross posted at my blog.)
At the beginning of his show this morning, Glenn Beck started ripping into the imam that all the talk-radio hosts love to hate, because the imam has (correctly) pointed out that the U.S. has killed many more innocent non-Muslims than al-Qaeda has.
Beck went on to defend the U.S. embargo against Iraq that killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people during the 1990s, argued that we should have fought the Iraq war “full on” from the beginning (meaning we shouldn’t have been so squeamish — as if “we” were — about killing innocent people), and claimed that the current U.S. government is the only one in the history of the world that has ever fought wars in a manner that avoided killing civilians.
Last year, Beck promoted a rally in Washington to protest the federal government’s taxing and spending. This year, he’s holding a rally to glorify the U.S. military. Can there be any doubt that by the time the Republicans regain control in Washington, Beck and his many followers will be right back where all the conservatives were during the George W. Bush years? Only it will be much worse, because they’ll have much bigger, more powerful government at their disposal, which they will not reduce one bit. And one shudders to think of what the apparent growing extreme, irrational hatred of Muslims may lead to.
Unless, that is, Ron Paul and other true libertarians can steer the Tea Party movement onto the right track before it’s too late.
As a good first step, it’s time for everyone — including some people who should know better — to stop suggesting that Glenn Beck is any sort of libertarian.
(Cross-posted at LRC and my blog.)