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2 March 2010
March 2010 / Issue 05
Right Young Things By Daniel McCarthy The revolution begins on campus—but beware of the last generation’s mistakes
How to put the Constitution back in the Oval Office
23 Liberty’s Mad Men
By Jeff Fulcher
Madison Avenue shows us it takes more than good ideas to sell a philosophy
Freedom President By Congressman Ron Paul Soviet U By Philip Christofanelli
25 Pitchfork Time
Freedom lovers should support the masses against the classes
By Kelse Moen
Campus commissars suppress a commemoration of the fall of communism
27 Profiles in Liberty
Antiwar.com founder Eric Garris
14 18 21 31
More Leviathan? By W. James Antle III
By Trent Hill
You can’t “starve the beast”—but that’s no reason to feed it
John Maynard Keynes is still eating policymakers’ brains
Economics of the Living Dead By George Hawley Obama’s Big Rip-Off By Jeremy Lott
29 Consistent Conservatism
It’s individualist, pro-life, and antiwar
By Matt Cockerill
An interview with Obamanomics author Tim Carney
33 Ramparts’ Red Glare By Dylan Hales
Changed America by Peter Richardson
A Bomb in Every Issue: How the Short,
Unruly Life of Ramparts Magazine
Edmund Opitz showed that capitalism and Christianity are not enemies
Minister to Liberty By Norman Horn
Rockin’ in the Free World By John Payne
The top 25 libertarian rock songs
35 The Anti-Roosevelt By Gerald J. Russello
The Political Principles of Robert A. Taft by Russell Kirk and James McClellan
3 Young American Revolution
Roy M. Antoun Art Director
Shane Helm, Anthony Rousseau
W. James Antle III, Dylan Hales, George Hawley, Trent Hill, Jack Hunter, Bonnie Kristian, Jeremy Lott, Kelse Moen, John Payne
Young American Revolution is the official publication of Young Americans for Liberty (www.YALiberty. org). Subscriptions are $50 for one year (4 issues). Checks may be made out to Young Americans for Liberty and sent to PO Box 2751, Arlington, VA 22202. Young American Revolution accepts letters to the editor and freelance submissions. Letters should be between 50 and 300 words. Submissions should be between 700 and 2400 words. Letters and submissions may be edited for length and content. Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or PO Box 2751, Arlington, VA 22202. Young Americans for Liberty is the continuation of Students for Ron Paul (SFP). In less than 8 months, SFP established over 500 college and high school chapters in all 50 states and over 26,000 students joined the Ron Paul 2008 campaign. The mission of Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) is to train, educate, and mobilize youth activists committed to “winning on principle”. Our goal is to cast the leaders of tomorrow and reclaim the policies, candidates, and direction of our government. We welcome limited government conservatives, classical liberals, and libertarians who trust in the creed we set forth. Opinions expressed in Young American Revolution are not necessarily the views of Young Americans for Liberty.
Copyright 2010 Young Americans for Liberty
bama Girl is broken-hearted. In 2008, Amber Lee Ettinger professed undying passion for Barack Obama in a series of YouTube videos that went viral like the swine flu. But now she says the affair is off. Even the president’s former #1 fan thinks he’s just a B- politician. That’s a liberal grade—a conservative one would be something less than a D-. Obama’s first year has been a failure by any measure. Bailouts, stimulus, cash for clunkers, escalation in Afghanistan, and Obamacare have put the president’s approval ratings on track to match the record lows set by George W. Bush. The American people want real change. And so for the first time in four years, Republicans are looking forward to November. It was America’s discontent with Bush and the GOP Congress—not demand for more government in every aspect our lives—that propelled the Democrats into their House and Senate majorities. Obama’s party reaped the benefits of a backlash. Now Republicans hope to do the same. But the people don’t want more of what the Republicans are serving, either. The public uproar against Obamacare is not an endorsement for Romneycare— just the opposite. As the populist tenor of the tea parties suggests, Americans are sick of the establishment in both major parties. But what alternative do they have? Third parties, sure. But ballot-access laws are stacked against them, and most voters, despite their discontent, still identity as either Republicans or Democrats. The problem with politics in this country is not that no one good can be elected on a major-party ticket—Ron Paul would not be in Congress if that were true. Rather, too few righteously angry voters know how to channel their outrage into productive action—indeed, few are even aware that the biggest decisions about who will represent or rule them are made long before November. General elections give voters a choice between Tweedledee and Tweedledum. The primaries that pick the major parties’ nominees in the first place matter more. And even earlier there are other qualifying tests: the so-called money primary, for ex-
ample, which shows whether a candidate can raise enough cash to make a serious run. Incumbent politicians hate nothing more than being challenged in a primary. It forces them to spend money they would otherwise be able to use in the general election (assuming it’s contested) or give to other candidates to spread their influence. And the much smaller voter turnout in primaries creates conditions in which upsets can happen all too easily. There have been instances where incumbents in safe districts have even announced sudden retirements when faced with an unexpectedly serious primary challenger. Long before primary day, who controls a state or local party’s political apparatus can go far toward determining who reaches elected office. Years ago, the old Rockefeller Republican establishment was horrified to see supporters of Pat Robertson—who ran for president in 1988—getting involved in state and county Republican committees. They knew that Christian Coalition voters outnumbered Rockefeller voters; the only thing that had kept the establishment in power for so long was that nobody else knew how politics was really played. Once the religious right learned, the Rockefellers were finished. Will the tea parties do what Robertson’s people did? Will constitutionalists who supported Ron Paul in 2008 overthrow the political establishment with its own weapons? In a few places, this has already happened. But knowing the rules of political warfare is not enough. As the religious right learned, it does not profit anyone to gain the world—or at least elected office—and lose his own soul. Winning is not enough: the goal must be winning on principle. That’s Young Americans for Liberty’s motto, and YAL has an indispensable role to play in the revolution that needs to happen. Young Americans are the vanguard— the rising leaders who will have to avoid the errors of previous generations and keep the flame of principle alive. If you want to support the cause of peace, freedom, and the Constitution and learn what it takes to realize those principles, go to www.yaliberty.org and join YAL today.
4 March 2010
Right Young Things
The revolution begins on campus—but beware of the last generation’s mistakes
of Marxism this side of Pyongyang—but even rank Chodorov was a man with a plan—a in many economics departments, where John 50-year plan, to be exact. He had seen vast Maynard Keynes remains more honored than changes came to the country during his lifetime Ludwig von Mises. Indiana University, for ex(1887-1966). Yet what startled him most was ample, recently refused to host a talk by Mises not “the replacement of the horse and buggy Institute senior scholar Thomas Woods Jr.—a by the automobile” but “the transmutation of Columbia University Ph.D. and author of multhe American character from individualist to tiple New York Times bestsellers, including the recollectivist.” “At the beginning of the century,” cent Meltdown—after the economics faculty dehe recalled, “the tradition of individualism that cided he lacked “sufficient academic credibility.” had held up since the Revolution was still going Qualms about scholarly qualifications did not, strong; by 1950, only the physical composition of course, stop IU from paying former senator of the individual remained, for his character had John Edwards $35,000 for a campus appearbeen well washed out by the caustic of socialance. At colleges around the country, different ism.” standards apply to statists and anti-statists. How had it happened? “The collectivist seed Most faculty and administrators do not think was implanted in the soft and fertile student of themselves as socialists—but what is telling mind forty-odd years ago,” Chodorov wrote. is that they cannot even conceive of an alterna“That’s how it all began. Collectivism is, after Frank Chodorov, individualist tive to the tutelary state. They are collectivists all, an idea, and the usual way of acquiring an by habit rather than conviction. Most students idea is by learning.” From 1905 to 1922, an orare too, including those conservatives who have never been taught ganization called the Intercollegiate Society of Socialists, founded that moral and economic laws do not stop at the water’s edge. by novelist Upton Sinclair, preached the gospel of government Suckered by militarist propaganda, they believe that the U.S. govpower in the service of egalitarianism to campuses across the ernment can do in Iraq or Afghanistan what they know it cannot nation. After the demise of ISS, other groups took up its mission. do at home. “Truth to tell,” Chodorov observed, “those who espoused Since Chodorov’s time collectivism has evolved from a force socialism were among the most imaginative, volatile, and articufor revolution into a force of inertia. It has blended into the nalate students; the fact that they were ignored or derided by their tion’s psychological backdrop, abandoning the foreign face it wore classmates simply added to their ardor.” They carried out an inas the philosophy of Marx and Lenin to take on a more patriotic tellectual revolution—which turned into a cultural and political visage—Abraham Lincoln’s or Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s. Yet revolution. It was time, Chodorov argued, for the other side to the faith in government as an all-powerful force for moral good fight back. He proposed a “Fifty-Year Project,” beginning with remains the same. the creation of a freedom movement on campuses— an intercolSo what ever became of that 50-year project and the intercollegiate society of individualists. legiate society of individualists? They built the conservative moveSixty years after Chodorov made his pitch, the battle for the ment. But conservatives failed to stop the ideological transforstudent soul rages on. Social democrats hold the commanding mation of America because the best traditionalist and libertarian heights, not just in English faculty lounges—the surest redoubts
5 Young American Revolution
minds fell to fighting with one another, which cleared the way for their mutual enemies on the social-democratic left and neo-imperial right to claim total power. Today Chodorov’s plan deserves to be rediscovered—as does the history of why it went awry. Chodorov made his mark in the 1930s as one of the leading exponents of the ideas of Henry George, author of Progress and Poverty. “George is the apostle of liberty,” Chodorov wrote in 1941, “he teaches the ethical basis of private property; he stresses the function of capital in an advancing civilization; he emphasizes the greater productivity of voluntary co-operation in a free market economy, the moral degeneration of a people subjected to state direction and socialistic conformity.” Before Austrian economics came to the United States in the 1940s, Georgism—blended with Jeffersonianism—supplied individualists like Chodorov and his friend Albert Jay Nock with a theoretical foundation for their beliefs. Nock and Chodorov were just two of the many brilliant journalists who battled Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal in magazines small and large. But with American entry into World War II, virtually all criticism of Roosevelt ceased. Only in 1944 did important new channels of dissent begin to emerge—the start of the conservative renaissance. Both Human Events and Chodorov’s newsletter, analysis, launched that year. (And in 1951, they merged.) Chodorov had a great deal in common with Human Events founders Henry Regnery, Frank Hanighen, and Felix Morley—all had opposed the war and the president’s power-grabs. He contributed frequently to their journal, which in September 1950 reprinted his analysis essay “A Fifty-Year Project”—retitled “For Our Children’s Children”—to bring it to a wider readership. The plan would begin with a lecture bureau—speakers “would have to be acquainted with socialistic theory as well as with the literature of individualism” to better “uproot the trend of thought.” The speakers program would be followed up with the organization of Individualistic Clubs and an intercollegiate affiliation. Prizes for essays on individualism would do much to stimulate thought; and a publication offering an outlet for articles would be a necessity. Out of these activities would come an esprit de corps based upon conviction and enthusiasm for a “new” idea. The individual list would become the campus radical, just as the socialist was forty years ago… J. Howard Pew of the Sun Oil Company liked what he read. He wrote Chodorov a check for $1,000—about $9,000 in today’s money. Chodorov had no intention of cashing it; he was a journalist, not a campus organizer. But Frank Hanighen convinced him not to send the money back and instead try to make his vision a reality. In 1952, Chodorov and Hanighen (and Hanighen’s secretary, Patricia Lutz) incorporated the Intercollegiate Society of Individualists—ISI—with a 26-year-old writer named William F. Buckley Jr. as its president. Chodorov, 65, was almost the last of the great old-right libertarians. Buckley, who had published the bestseller God and Man at Yale in 1951, was the rising star of a new right. The young man favored a far more activist U.S. foreign policy against the Soviet Union
than did Chodorov, who remained a staunch noninterventionist. (The older man’s answer to McCarthy-era fears about subversives in government jobs, meanwhile, was elegantly conservative of civil liberties: “just abolish the jobs.”) In other respects, however, Buckley was heir to the tradition of Chodorov and Nock (who had been a friend of WFB’s father). Indeed, Chodorov was something of a mentor, providing editorial guidance on God and Man at Yale. In the book, Buckley consistently referred to his philosophy as individualism. “Conservatism” would come later; it was a word that Chodorov never warmed to. “I will punch anyone who calls me a conservative in the nose,” he insisted in 1956, “I am a radical.” Buckley and Chodorov hit the lecture circuit, in keeping with the 50-year plan. But neither of them wished serve as a fulltime campus organizer or run a national membership program. Chodorov could rely on the Foundation for Economic Education, the first great libertarian think tank, to supply free-market literature to students on ISI’s mailing list. But Chodorov needed someone young and intrepid—and willing to work cheap—to oversee recruitment, manage programs, and raise funds for the group. He quickly found his man: 29-year-old Victor Milione, an intensely faithful Roman Catholic and astonishingly well read for his age—or any other. “In a single conversation,” conservative historian Lee Edwards relates in Educating for Liberty, a history of ISI, “Milione would quote in extenso John Henry Newman, Alexis de Tocqueville, Seneca, Jacob Burckhardt, Ortega y Gasset, James Bryce, and Richard Weaver, his favorite modern conservative writer.” This was no exaggeration, as anyone who worked for ISI before Milione’s death in 2008 could attest. He exemplified the faith and erudition that represented the best in postwar traditionalist conservatism. Milione’s intellectual roots—in religion and history rather than politics and economics—were very different from those of the lifelong agnostic Frank Chodorov. Yet the traditionalist Milione and libertarian Chodorov had more in common than not in the struggle to keep liberal learning alive and constrain the Leviathan state Franklin Roosevelt and succeeding presidents had built. The Intercollegiate Society of Individualists flourished. As Chodorov had planned, the society seeded young minds with anticollectivist knowledge, and alumni in turn led new political and journalistic endeavors. Philosophically energized conservative students pushed to draft Sen. Barry Goldwater for vice president at the 1960 Republican convention. When that failed, they formed a new activist student group, Young Americans for Freedom, to battle left-wingers on campus and force the Republican Party to the right. Four years later, Goldwater was the GOP’s presidential nominee. But something was lost in the transition from philosophy to politics. Too often the activist campus right merely opposed the campus left—which was also burgeoning in the 1960s—and lost sight of original principles. YAF showed little understanding of economics, pouring its energy into boycotting Polish hams and protesting American companies that traded with the Soviet bloc. Young intellectuals, meanwhile, perhaps inspired by the longrunning feud between traditionalist guru Russell Kirk (author of
6 March 2010
The Conservative Mind) and the liberty-minded Cold Warrior Frank tism, ISI changed its name in 1966 to the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. Meyer (National Review’s literary editor), indulged in internecine Cut loose from its philosophical moorings, YAF came to resquabbles, preferring fraction to synthesis. (Ironically, Meyer himsemble more and more the College Republicans, who assumed self tried to be a conciliatory figure—his philosophy, combining greater importance within the increasingly partisan and profesCold War conservatism with classical liberalism, came to be called sionalized conservative movement. Henceforth the main stream “fusionism.”) of the young right would be symbolized not by people like MilA crackup was coming, and it arrived at YAF’s 1969 convention ione or the early Buckley, but by the likes of Karl Rove—who got in St. Louis. The Vietnam War and cultural upheavals of the 1960s his start in national politics as executive director of the College sharply divided libertarians from traditionalists and national-secuRepublican National Committee. rity conservatives. Drug legalization, draft resistance, and the war In some respects, Chodorov’s itself were flashpoints, and as a 50-year plan succeeded all too libertarian YAFer burned a facwell. The intellectual cadres nursimile draft card on the conventured by ISI in turn spawned a tion floor, jeering—“lazy fairpopular movement that changed ies!” was the anticommunists’ the language of American policomeback to libertarian chants tics. By 1996—46 years after of “laissez faire!”—turned to “For Our Children’s Children”— brawling. even a Democratic president, Bill Radical libertarians split from Clinton, felt compelled to say YAF, and just as ISI’s alumni had that the era of big government done before, these young people was over. But rhetoric, political would build a movement of reality, and philosophical subtheir own. Soon libertarian think stance had come apart, so that tanks, magazines, even a politithe Republican president who cal party sprang up. Yet it was all succeeded Clinton, George W. on a far smaller scale than what Bush, could pose as a conservahad been attempted by the contive while increasing the federal servative movement and gained government’s role in education, no political traction at all. In expanding entitlements, and 1980, while conservative rallied launching nation-building wars to Ronald Reagan, the Libertarin Iraq and Central Asia. ian Party fielded a presidential Collectivists on both sides candidate who described his phiof the political spectrum now losophy as “low-tax liberalism.” use the rhetoric of individualNobody cared, least of all the William F. Buckley Jr. (right) and L. Brent Bozell Jr. ism when it suits them—which young. is usually whenever their party Yet traditionalist conservatives—as opposed to young Repubdoesn’t hold occupy the White House. Antiwar liberals, so vociflican careerists—fared no better than the libertarians. All along, erous during the Bush administration, are muted now. And while traditionalists like Russell Kirk had quietly dissented from militatea party protesters now demand smaller government, their real rism and the excesses of anti-communism: as historian George H. test will come during the next Republican administration—will Nash has noted, “In 1944, Kirk predicted that New Dealers would they protest the Patriot Act, or the next incarnation of Real ID? prolong the state of war after the Axis powers’ defeat in order to To fix this mess of philosophical confusion and bipartisan statmaintain prosperity. They would justify keeping men in arms (and ism will require new leadership, of the sort only young Amerioff the job market) by creating an enemy: Russia.” cans—particularly Young Americans for Liberty—can offer. Young libertarians had been more willing than young traditionChodorov’s blueprint, updated to meet today’s needs, works. And alists to voice their doubts—or outright opposition—to the Vietstudents now have the advantage of looking to history to see what nam War and other Cold War crusades. Together, the best minds went wrong the last time. If an effective movement against the of both camps could have put up stiff resistance to the political welfare-warfare state is to be built, it will need libertarians who careerists, militarists, and neoconservatives who overtook movecan understand the language and values of the great number of ment conservatism in the Nixon years. On their own, however, religiously-minded and conservative voters in this country, and traditionalists had little choice but to become passive partners of traditionalists who understand that centralized power is deadly the Nixon right or drop out of politics altogether. to the civilization they cherish. Chodorov’s 50-year plan can sucMilione steered ISI, which had become predominantly tradiceed—with wiser leadership from today’s students. tionalist, away from political entanglements, refusing contributions from donors who wanted the group to engage in partisan Daniel McCarthy [email@example.com] is editorial director of Young activities. Symbolizing both the break with Chodorov’s individualAmerican Revolution and senior editor of The American Conservaism and a refusal to be swallowed wholesale by political conservative (www.amconmag.com).
7 Young American Revolution
How to put the Constitution back in the Oval Office
Congressman Ron Paul
ince my 2008 campaign for the presitremendous progress simply by changing dency I have often been asked, “How the terms of the negotiations that go on in would a constitutionalist president go Washington regarding the size and scope about dismantling the welfare-warfare state of government. Today, negotiations over and restoring a constitutional republic?” legislation tend to occur between those This is a very important question, because who want a 100 percent increase in fedwithout a clear road map and set of priorieral spending and those who want a 50 ties, such a president runs the risk of havpercent increase. Their compromise is a 75 ing his pro-freedom agenda stymied by the percent increase. With a president serious various vested interests that benefit from about following the Constitution, backed big government. by a substantial block of sympathetic repOf course, just as the welfare-warfare resentatives in Congress, negotiations on state was not constructed in 100 days, it outlays would be between those who want could not be dismantled in the first 100 to keep funding the government programs days of any presidency. While our goal is and those who want to eliminate them outto reduce the size of the state as quickly right—thus a compromise would be a 50 as possible, we should always make sure percent decrease in spending! our immediate proposals minimize social While a president who strictly adheres disruption and human suffering. Thus, to the Constitution would need the conwe should not seek to abolish the social sent of Congress for very large changes safety net overnight because that would in the size of government, such as shutharm those who have grown dependent on ting down cabinet departments, he could government-provided welfare. Instead, we use his constitutional authority as head of would want to give individuals who have Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas). Photography by M. the executive branch and as commander in come to rely on the state time to prepare Holdridge chief to take several significant steps tofor the day when responsibility for providward liberty on his own. The area where ing aide is returned to those organizations best able to administer the modern chief executive has greatest ability to act unilatercompassionate and effective help—churches and private charities. ally is in foreign affairs. Unfortunately, Congress has abdicated Now, this need for a transition period does not apply to all its constitutional authority to declare wars, instead passing vague types of welfare. For example, I would have no problem defund“authorization of force” bills that allow the president to send any ing corporate welfare programs, such as the Export-Import Bank number of troops to almost any part of the world. The legislature or the TARP bank bailouts, right away. I find it difficult to muster does not even effectively use its power of the purse to rein in the much sympathy for the CEO’s of Lockheed Martin and Goldman executive. Instead, Congress serves as little more than a rubber Sachs. stamp for the president’s requests. No matter what the president wants to do, most major changes If the president has the power to order U.S. forces into combat in government programs would require legislation to be passed by on nothing more than his own say-so, then it stands to reason he Congress. Obviously, the election of a constitutionalist president can order troops home. Therefore, on the first day in office, a would signal that our ideas had been accepted by a majority of the constitutionalist can begin the orderly withdrawal of U.S. forces American public and would probably lead to the election of sevfrom Iraq and Afghanistan. He can also begin withdrawing troops eral pro-freedom congressmen and senators. Furthermore, some from other areas of the world. The United States has over 300,000 senators and representatives would become “born again” constitroops stationed in more than 146 countries. Most if not all of tutionalists out of a sense of self-preservation. Yet there would these deployments bear little or no relationship to preserving the still be a fair number of politicians who would try to obstruct our safety of the American people. For example, over 20 years after freedom agenda. Thus, even if a president wanted to eliminate evthe fall of the Berlin Wall, the U.S. still maintains troops in Gerery unconstitutional program in one fell swoop, he would be very many. unlikely to obtain the necessary support in Congress. Domestically, the president can use his authority to set policies Yet a pro-freedom president and his legislative allies could make and procedures for the federal bureaucracy to restore respect for
8 March 2010
the Constitution and individual liberty. For example, today manufederal bureaucracy by refusing to fill vacancies created by retirefacturers of dietary supplements are subject to prosecution by the ments or resignations. This would dramatically reduce the number Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or Federal Trade Comof federal officials wasting our money and taking our liberties. mission (FTC) if they make even truthful statements about the One test to determine if a vacant job needs to be filled is the health benefits of their products without going through the costly “essential employees test.” Whenever D.C. has a severe snowand time-consuming procedures required to gain government apstorm, the federal government orders all “non-essential” federal proval for their claims. A president can put an end to this simply personnel to stay home. If someone is classified as non-essential by ordering the FDA and FTC not to pursue these types of cases for snow-day purposes, the country can probably survive if that unless they have clear evidence that the manufacturer’s claims position is not filled when the jobholder quits or retires. A conare not true. Similarly, the president stitutionalist president should make could order the bureaucracy to stop every day in D.C. like a snow day! prosecuting consumers who wish to A president could also enhance sell raw milk across state lines. the liberties and security of the A crucial policy that a president American people by ordering federal could enact to bring speedy improveagencies to stop snooping on citizens ments to government is ordering when there is no evidence that those the bureaucracy to respect the 10th who are being spied on have comAmendment and refrain from undermitted a crime. Instead, the president mining state laws. We have already should order agencies to refocus on seen a little renewed federalism with the legitimate responsibilities of the the current administration’s policy federal government, such as border of not prosecuting marijuana users security. He should also order the when their use of the drug is conTransportation Security Administrasistent with state medical-marijuana tion to stop strip-searching grandlaws. A constitutionalist administramothers and putting toddlers on the tion would also defer to state laws no-fly list. The way to keep Amerirefusing compliance with the Real cans safe is to focus on real threats ID act and denying federal authorand ensure that someone whose ity over interstate gun transactions. own father warns U.S. officials he’s None of these actions repeals a feda potential terrorist is not allowed to eral law; they all simply recognize a board a Christmas Eve flight to Destate’s primary authority, as protected troit with a one-way ticket. by the 10th Amendment, to set poliPerhaps the most efficient step a cy in these areas. president could take to enhance travel In fact, none of the measures Ron Paul addressing a crowd of over 10,000 people in security is to remove the federal roadMinneapolis, MN I have discussed so far involves reblocks that have frustrated attempts pealing any written law. They can to arm pilots. Congress created provibe accomplished simply by a president exercising his legitimate sions to do just that in response to the attacks of September 11, authority to set priorities for the executive branch. And another 2001. However, the processes for getting a federal firearms license important step he can take toward restoring the balance of poware extremely cumbersome, and as a result very few pilots have ers the Founders intended is repealing unconstitutional executive gotten their licenses. A constitutionalist in the Oval Office would orders issued by his predecessors. want to revise those regulations to make it as easy as possible for Executive orders are a useful management tool for the presipilots to get approval to carry firearms on their planes. dent, who must exercise control over the enormous federal buWhile the president can do a great deal on his own, to really reaucracy. However, in recent years executive orders have been restore the Constitution and cut back on the vast unconstitutionused by presidents to create new federal laws without the conal programs that have sunk roots in Washington over 60 years, sent of Congress. As President Clinton’s adviser Paul Begala inhe will have to work with Congress. The first step in enacting a famously said, “Stroke of the pen. Law of the land. Kinda cool.” pro-freedom legislative agenda is the submission of a budget that No, it is not “kinda cool,” and a conscientious president could go outlines the priorities of the administration. While it has no legal a long way toward getting us back to the Constitution’s division effect, the budget serves as a guideline for the congressional apof powers by ordering his counsel or attorney general to comb propriations process. A constitutionalist president’s budget should through recent executive orders so the president can annul those do the following: that exceed the authority of his office. If the president believed a 1. Reduce overall federal spending particular executive order made a valid change in the law, then he 2. Prioritize cuts in oversize expenditures, especially the should work with Congress to pass legislation making that change. military Only Congress can directly abolish government departments, 3. Prioritize cuts in corporate welfare but the president could use his managerial powers to shrink the
9 Young American Revolution
Traditionally, the battle to reduce the federal role in education has been the toughest one faced by limited-government advocates, as supporters of centralized education have managed to paint constitutionalists as “anti-education.” But who is really antieducation? Those who wish to continue to waste taxpayer money on failed national schemes, or those who want to restore control over education to the local level? When the debate is framed this way, I have no doubt the side of liberty will win. When you think about it, the argument that the federal government needs to control education is incredibly insulting to the American people, for it implies that the people are too stupid or uncaring to educate If Congress failed to produce a budget that was balanced and their children properly. Contrary to those who believe that only moved the country in a pro-liberty direction, a constitutionalthe federal government can ensure children’s education, I predict ist president should veto the bill. Of course, vetoing the budget a renaissance in education when risks a government shutdown. But parents are put back in charge. a serious constitutionalist canThe classroom is not the only not be deterred by cries of “it’s place the federal government irresponsible to shut down the does not belong. We also need government!” Instead, he should to reverse the nationalization of simply say, “I offered a reasonable local police. Federal grants have compromise, which was to graduencouraged the militarization of ally reduce spending, and Conlaw enforcement, which has led gress rejected it, instead choosing to great damage to civil liberties. the extreme path of continuing Like education, law enforcement to jeopardize America’s freedom is inherently a local function, and and prosperity by refusing to tame ending programs such as the Bythe welfare-warfare state. I am the rne Grants is essential not just to moderate; those who believe that reducing federal spending but also America can afford this bloated to restoring Americans’ rights. government are the extremists.” Obviously, a president conUnconstitutional government More than 1,000 people came to listen to Ron Paul at Aricerned with restoring constitutionspending, after all, is doubly an zona State University last year al government and fiscal responsievil: it not only means picking the bility would need to address the taxpayer’s pocket, it also means subverting the system of limited unstable entitlement situation, possibly the one area of governand divided government that the Founders created. Just look at ment activity even more difficult to address than education. Yet it how federal spending has corrupted American education. is simply unfair to continue to force young people to participate Eliminating federal involvement in K-12 education should be in a compulsory retirement program when they could do a much among a constitutionalist president’s top domestic priorities. The better job of preparing for their own retirements. What is more, Constitution makes no provision for federal meddling in educathe government cannot afford the long-term expenses of entitletion. It is hard to think of a function less suited to a centralized, ments, even if we were to reduce all other unconstitutional foreign bureaucratic approach than education. The very idea that a group and domestic programs. of legislators and bureaucrats in D.C. can design a curriculum As I mentioned in the introduction to this article, it would be capable of meeting the needs of every American schoolchild is wrong simply to cut these programs and throw those who are ludicrous. The deteriorating performance of our schools as feddependent on them “into the streets.” After all, the current recipieral control over the classroom has grown shows the folly of givents of these programs have come to rely on them, and many are ing Washington more power over American education. President in a situation where they cannot provide for themselves without Bush’s No Child Left Behind law claimed it would fix education government assistance. The thought of people losing the ability by making public schools “accountable.” However, supporters of to obtain necessities because they were misled into depending on the law failed to realize that making schools more accountable to a government safety net that has been yanked away from them federal agencies, instead of to parents, was just perpetuating the should trouble all of us. However, the simple fact is that if the problem. government does not stop spending money on welfare and warIn the years since No Child Left Behind was passed, I don’t fare, America may soon face an economic crisis that could lead to think I have talked to any parent or teacher who is happy with the people being thrown into the street. law. Therefore, a constitutionalist president looking for ways to Therefore, a transition away from the existing entitlement improve the lives of children should demand that Congress cut scheme is needed. This is why a constitutionalist president should the federal education bureaucracy as a down payment on eventupropose devoting half of the savings from the cuts in wars and ally returning 100 percent of the education dollar to parents. other foreign spending, corporate welfare, and unnecessary and
4. Use 50 percent of the savings from cuts in overseas spending to shore up entitlement programs for those who are dependent on them and the other 50 percent to pay down the debt 5. Provide for reduction in federal bureaucracy and lay out a plan to return responsibility for education to the states 6. Begin transition of entitlement programs from a system where all Americans are forced to participate into one where taxpayers can opt out of the programs and make their own provisions for retirement and medical care
10 March 2010
unconstitutional bureaucracies to shoring up Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid and providing enough money to finance government’s obligations to those who are already stuck in the system and cannot make alternative provisions. This re-routing of spending would allow payroll taxes to be slashed. The eventual goal would be to move to a completely voluntary system where people only pay payroll taxes into Social Security and Medicare if they choose to participate in those programs. Americans who do not want to participate would be free not to do so, but they would forgo any claim to Social Security or Medicare benefits after retirement. Some people raise concerns that talk of transitions is an excuse for indefinitely putting off the end of the welfare state. I understand those concerns, which is why a transition plan must lay out a clear timetable for paying down the debt, eliminating unconstitutional bureaucracies, and setting a firm date for when young people can at last opt out of the entitlement programs. A final area that should be front and center in a constitutionalist’s agenda is monetary policy. The Founders obviously did not intend for the president to have much influence over the nation’s money—in fact, they never intended any part of the federal government to operate monetary policy as it is defined now. However, today a president could play an important role in restoring stability to monetary policy and the value of the dollar. To start, by fighting for serious reductions in spending, a constitutionalist administration would remove one of the major justifications for the Federal Reserve’s inflationary policies: the need to monetize government debt. There are additional steps a pro-freedom president should pursue in his first term to restore sound monetary policy. He should ask Congress to pass two pieces of legislation I have introduced
in the 110th Congress. The first is the Audit the Fed bill, which would allow the American people to learn just how the Federal Reserve has been conducting monetary policy. The other is the Free Competition in Currency Act, which repeals legal tender laws and all taxes on gold and silver. This would introduce competition in currency and put a check on the Federal Reserve by ensuring that people have alternatives to government-produced fiat money. All of these measures will take a lot of work—a lot more than any one person, even the president of the United States, can accomplish by himself. In order to restore the country to the kind of government the Founders meant for us to have, a constitutionalist president would need the support of an active liberty movement. Freedom activists must be ready to pressure wavering legislators to stand up to the special interests and stay the course toward freedom. Thus, when the day comes when someone who shares our beliefs sits in the Oval Office, groups like Young Americans for Liberty and Campaign for Liberty will still have a vital role to play. No matter how many pro-freedom politicians we elect to office, the only way to guarantee constitutional government is through an educated and activist public devoted to the ideals of the liberty. For that reason, the work of Young Americans for Liberty in introducing young people to the freedom philosophy and getting them involved in the freedom movement is vital to the future of our country. I thank all the members and supporters of YAL for their dedication to changing the political debate in this country, so that in the not-too-distant future we actually will have a president and a Congress debating the best ways to shrink the welfare-warfare state and restore the republic. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) is author of End the Fed and The Revolution: A Manifesto.
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Campus commissars suppress a commemoration of the fall of communism
arly in the morning on a “There are a lot of people who cool day last November, sevsympathize with socialist and comeral young activists gathered at munist ideas on campus,” he said. a loading dock on the campus “We are trying to show that socialof Washington University in St. ism inevitably leads to commuLouis. Twenty years earlier, across nism, which inevitably leads to this, the world in Berlin, like-minded because any kind of large statist young people had joined forces government can’t allow dissenters.” to tear down a wall that had sepGroups of angry professors bearated markets from planning, gan to gather around the perimeter self-expression from regulation, of the gulag. One was overheard freedom from tyranny. Now a Utelling a student, “Don’t worry; Haul backed into the dock and we’ll get this shut down. I’ll make quickly eight advocates of liberty some calls.” began carting wood structures to Sure enough, it was not long the center of the heavily trafficked before the first university bureaucampus. Within 30 minutes, a large YAL member dressed as Soviet guard crat waddled out to the scene and prison camp had been erected on began asking questions. He prothe once serene lawn of this Midclaimed himself the Washington western university. University Safety Supervisor and insisted that the protesters show Men dressed as Soviet guards began to patrol the structure. him their papers. Having seen in a movie how this sort of situaWeary students in prisoners’ uniforms languished inside the camp, tion ends, Dirk quickly provided him with the group’s identificaforced to listen to Soviet propaganda and songs of national greattion and documentation. Dirk had been sure to acquire all the necness. essary permits to use the space on campus, and he was confident “What has the Fatherland provided for you?” the guard yelled that all requirements had been met. The bureaucrat waddled away, in a thick Russian accent. undoubtedly disappointed that his life would remain uneventful “Everything!” replied the prisoners. that day. “Back to work!” he shouted. The professors, still firm in their resolve despite this first failure, began to take a more extreme approach to ending the display. Crowds of onlookers began to gather around the camp. “What An hour or so later, a police officer arrived stating that she had is this?” they asked. An indignant student approached. been called to investigate the gulag by a Washington University “Is this about healthcare?” he asked angrily. “Obama is trying employee. She went on to say that as long as the protesters were to save our country, you know!” he insisted. “He’s providing us not being violent, she was powerless to remove the camp. The with jobs!” sign on the gulag reading “Peaceful Social Re-Education Center” He stormed off, never bothering to learn about the purpose of seemed to indicate quite clearly that no violence was intended. the display. His outburst spoke volumes about what first comes to Nevertheless, Dirk had to convince the officer that his friends mind when someone sees a Soviet-style gulag. were not instigating any sort of rebellion. A student with flyers came by. “These are the results of SocialPresent at the event was the controversial James O’Keefe, masism!” he announced. termind of the ACORN undercover interviews (and who would The flyers discussed the plight of those who suffered in the be arrested in New Orleans two months later while investigatprison camps of the Soviet Union. One flyer noted that socialism th ing Sen. Mary Landrieu). With his signature tie-camera, O’Keefe had killed over 200 million people in the 20 century. Historical posed as a disgruntled student and asked several administrators information was provided on the lives of prisoners in the gulags what they planned to do about the display. and the victims of socialism in Soviet Russia. “We’ll get it shut down,” one said in true bureaucrat-speak, KMOX, the local radio station, arrived on the scene. They “They’ve got amplified sound. They’re past the amplified-sound began to interview Dirk Doebler, president of the Washington time and they were never in an amplified sound location.” University Young Americans for Liberty.
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“Sergeant Mark is on the way,” said the to be the response of the community at large. Several descendents of gulag victims contactother. ed YAL to thank them for the display. Former “Oh excellent!” another replied haughtily. Washington University professor Dr. Gregory Before long, two administrators walked up Nikiforovich, who lived in the Soviet Union to the camp flanked by two armed police offifor many decades, was so grateful for the event cers. They instructed Dirk to come speak with that he offered to give a lecture on the tyranny them, and he complied. of socialism to any who wanted to attend. The “You’re going to have to take this down” gulag was discussed on many local media outsaid the administrator. lets and the front pages of websites such as She went on to cite several policy violaCampaign for Liberty and Andrew Breitbart’s tions, such as the use of unapproved power Big Government. The evidence seems to sugtools and the erection of structures without gest that the offended parties were not former safety helmets. Soviet citizens, but rather, American socialists The second administrator said, “There’s a who disliked the frank portrayal of a statist new policy on campus that they did not inideology. form you of. There’s a process you need to go The moral of this story is that despite through.” Washington University’s antagonism, YAL “Where can one find this process?” Dirk came out the victors. Yes, the administration asked. shut down the event, but it took their bureau“It’s on the … that’s the problem, and that cracy so long to do so that the event was pracmay be the reason you didn’t get it … it’s on … A poster displayed on the YAL Gulag tically over anyway. In an irony of unintended it’s called the, um, the art installation policy,” consequences, the campus administration’s athe replied hesitantly. tempts at stifling free speech only resulted in more publicity for Dirk instructed the group to begin to take down the camp as YAL and the gulag. As always, freedom triumphed over intervendirected, with the same unapproved power tools and without heltionism, and YAL’s message was heard. mets. The irony was that the university’s bureaucratic system took so long to figure out what to do that by the time they acted, the Philip Christofanelli is a student of Political Science at Washington Unievent was essentially over. versity in St. Louis. His other writings can be found at www.liberty-2day. The situation faced by Washington University’s Young Ameriblogspot.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. cans for Liberty reveals an unfortunate truth about the state of academic freedom in our nation’s universities. Between the heckling bureaucrats, the armed inspectors, the citation of obscure regulations, and the stifling of free expression, the administration of Washington University could not have done a better job of behaving like the government of Soviet Russia. While it is sad that students cannot be provided with an open environment to express their ideas, the bias with which Washington University and other colleges implement their policies is worse. Only those with right-of-center views seem to fall prey to the “new policies” which Washington University invents on a regular basis. When leftists on campus constructed an Iraqi graveyard to greet Karl Rove, they seemed to be unaffected by the “art installation policy.” When students recreated Abu Ghraib in response to a visit by Alberto Gonzales, they were not harassed by campus police. Only those who seek to protest socialism seem to be held to every rule and regulation the administration can contrive. Washington University is a private institution. Its administrators were well within their rights to ask YAL to leave. Yet it is important to recognize that just because an institution can do something does not mean that it should—especially when said institution, nominally private, is always first in line to snatch up any public funds it can get its hands on. Washington University should respect the same rights of freedom of expression which the government must observe in the public sphere. Universities should be examples to the world of the benefits of free expression, not models of tyrannical governments. While many students proclaimed that YAL’s display was offensive to people who suffered in Soviet gulags, this did not seem
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14“Destruction of Leviathan”. 1865 engraving by Gustave Doré. March 2010
You can’t “starve the beast”—but that’s no reason to feed it
W. James Antle III
n a classic “Saturday Night Live” skit, Christopher Walken plays a record producer helping the rock band Blue Oyster Cult cut their blockbuster hit “Don’t Fear the Reaper.” Walken’s solution to every problem in the recording session is to increase the volume of the cowbell, no matter how loudly it is already clanging in the background, to the consternation of the band members playing the other instruments. “I’ve got a fever,” Walken memorably declared, “and the only cure is more cowbell.” Similarly, no matter how much selfdescribed conservative Republicans grew the federal government and ballooned the national debt under George W. Bush, when the GOP came upon hard times at the ballot box the wise men who write magazine articles and op-ed pieces assured us that there was only one cure: more government. Sam Tanenhaus may have been exaggerating when he titled his book last year The Death of Conservatism, but he did believe that conservatism had a fever: “Today, conservatives seem in a position closer to the one they occupied during the New Deal,” Tanenhaus told Newsweek. “The epithets so many on the right now hurl at Obama—‘socialist,’ ‘fascist’—precisely echo the accusations Herbert Hoover and ‘Old Right’ made against FDR in 1936.” The reader can guess as to the fever’s only cure. Never mind that the conservatives who had just lost power created the biggest new entitlement program since the Great Society, expanded the federal role in education, rolled back the reductions in farm subsidies that had been among the greatest Republican achievements of the 1990s, and launched two unfunded wars. The conservatism of George W. Bush and its Sarah Palin-ized aftermath was, according to Tanenhaus, indistinguishable from that of the Old Right. It is the sort of political analysis that, well, deserves to be analogized to a “Saturday Night Live” skit. A little over a year into the big-government liberal presidency of Barack Obama, this analysis also seems spectacularly wrong. With the tea parties and revivified Internet activism, a much more antistatist right now buzzes with the energy conservatism so conspicuously lacked during the sclerotic Bush years, save for the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on American soil.
Vocal opposition to “socialism” and “fascism,” however imprecisely those terms have been defined, doesn’t seem to have alienated sensitive swing voters. If anything, it has galvanized them. At the ballot box, the right and center have joined forces against trillion-dollar bailouts and government takeovers. They have said no to a federal takeover of the American health care system that seems designed to prove P.J. O’Rourke’s quip, “If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it’s free.” They first balked at the stimulus package’s $787 billion price tag—really $1.2 trillion once the added interest on the national debt is factored in—and then became even angrier when this massive borrowing didn’t even stimulate. This is not to say that the Republicans who have been elected as a result of these outrages are themselves principled antistatists. Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown all have their faults, to put it mildly. One of the Republicans’ favorite arguments against the Democratic health care plan is that it would cut Medicare spending, pitting one entitlement against another. Brown contended that Massachusetts didn’t need universal health care from the federal government because the commonwealth already had it courtesy of Romneycare. But when Republicans can win elections in Virginia, New Jersey, and “Taxachusetts” by running, however inconsistently, against big government, it falsifies the argument that such a strategy is a political loser. To be sure, other issues—and the candidates’ own personalities and campaigns—played a role in each of these races. Nevertheless, no more vibrant constituency exists for a conservative political revival than the hard-working Americans who have been quietly paying their bills, raising their families, collecting few benefits from the welfare-warfare state—and who are now fed up with being screwed. It’s true: cutting taxes is more popular than cutting government spending, just as promising “free” government-provided health care is more popular than raising taxes to pay for it. But at some point government programs must be paid for; at some point taxes must either rise or fall to the level of government provided.
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Liberals are willing to bet Democratic majorities on “tax, spend, and elect.” Conservative boosters of the GOP seem less confident a tax-cutting party could survive commensurate reductions in government. That’s why post-New Deal Democrats enjoyed such a substantial advantage over their Republican counterparts: the Democrats were handing out new federal benefits while the Republicans were preoccupied with paying for them. It was austerity versus redistribution. Newt Gingrich summed up the political problem well when he memorably dismissed his tax-raising GOP colleague Bob Dole as a “tax collector for the welfare state.” The context of the Gingrich-Dole spat was an intraparty debate between “supply-siders” and “deficit hawks.” From a political as opposed to economic perspective, the former wanted to emphasize growing the economy through reductions in marginal tax rates while the latter wanted to keep the focus on balanced budgets. “My feeling is that if you have a contest between Scrooge— pure budget-cutting—versus Santa Claus, which is what the Left offers, Scrooge loses,” the late supply-sider Jack Kemp told author David Frum back in the 1990s. “My view is that growth is the only political model that can compete with the Santa Claus of the Left.” Ironically, the most sophisticated exponent of reorienting conservatism toward paying liberalism’s bills was an early supply-side theorist and former congressional aide to Kemp (and, even earlier, to Ron Paul). Bruce Bartlett was a rare conservative critic of excessive federal spending back when George W. Bush and the Republicans were in power. His most recent book, The New American Economy: The Failure of Reaganomics and a New Way Forward, urges conservative Republicans to eschew government-cutting and instead seek to “design a new tax system better able to raise higher revenues at the least possible cost in terms of economic growth and political freedom.” Of course, Bartlett’s book isn’t really about the “failure of Reaganomics”—he argues that Ronald Reagan’s economic program worked just fine in the context of its time. Nor is the following argument he advances really a “new way forward”: “In the end, the welfare state is not going away, and it will be paid for one way or another,” Bartlett concludes. “The sooner Republicans accept that fact, the sooner they will regain political power.” Bartlett does get to the nub of why the supply-siders failed conservatives, however: They misapplied supply-side theory to a very different set of economic circumstances than those of the Reagan era, and even in Reagan’s time they had begun coming up with contradictory justifications for tax cuts unmatched by spend-
ing reductions. Want to cut taxes? Well, it will inevitably increase revenues, no matter where marginal rates lie on the Laffer Curve, so tax cuts pay for themselves. Want to cut spending? Fine, we’ll pass the same tax cut and reduce revenues, thereby “starving the beast.” Christopher Walken has returned. This time he has a fever and the only cure is more tax cuts. Unfortunately, neither “starve the beast” nor the idea that all tax cuts increase revenues has the benefit of being true. The GOP’s fiscal policy was thus reduced to borrow-and-spend economics, little different from what the Democrats practice when they lack the courage to tax and spend. Bartlett’s prescription may be more intellectually honest than the “tax cuts + war + high spending + low interest rates = prosperity” equation of the modern GOP. Politically, however, taxand-spend conservatives are no more viable than budget-cutters. Much less so, in fact: tax cuts and jobs-producing economic growth are what make a conservative agenda of limited government politically attractive. Balanced budgets and spending control are what make it mathematically possible. The supply-siders and deficit hawks are both partially correct. Offering spending cuts without tax reductions is like raising taxes without providing government benefits—a sure political loser. (The fact that the costs of the Senate Democrats’ health care plan take effect before the benefits kick in is a major contributor to the legislation’s unpopularity.) It is self-defeating in other ways: Though “starve the beast” is false, its opposite is mostly true: arming a government with new revenues will inevitably tempt it into more spending. No matter what the Sam Tanenhauses and David Brookses say, high-tax conservatism has no larger constituency than a Libertarian Party advocating low-tax liberalism. A strategy of limiting government must feature less taxes, less spending, less borrowing, and less inflating of the money supply. Pace Mitt Romney, that is the four-legged stool upon which a sound conservatism must rest. That’s not to say the task of cutting the federal government back down to constitutional size will be easy, or that genuine antistatists are anything close to a majority in this country. The essayist Joseph Sobran wisely joked that if a president tried to obey his oath of office by following the Constitution, he would probably be impeached. But even this challenge is politically more feasible—and surely more valuable—than becoming tax collectors of the welfare state. W. James Antle III is associate editor of The American Spectator.
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Economics of the Living Dead
John Maynard Keynes is still eating policymakers’ brains
deas have consequences. Unfortuinevitably fail. nately, ideas are not always conseDouglas E. French, president of quential in proportion to their cogenthe Mises Institute, began the procy. This is perhaps best demonstrated gram by pointing out recent failures by the continuing influence of John of Keynesian economics. Although Maynard Keynes (1883-1946). In an Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Berera of government bailouts, deficit nanke, Time’s “Person of the Year,” spending, and all-but-nonexistent inis hailed as an economic genius and terest rates, there can be little doubt savior of the world economy, his rethat Keynes is the intellectual godfasponse to America’s financial crisis ther of our world’s economic policybears a striking resemblance to anothmakers. Unfortunately, the influence er effort to reverse an economic colof Keynesianism is inversely related lapse. When the Japanese asset bubble to its perspicacity; Keynesian thinking finally popped in the early 1990s, the has repeatedly led to laughably erroneJapanese responded with stimulus ous predictions and terrible economic packages, interest rate cuts, and new outcomes. government spending. The result was Distilled to its essence, Keynesianmore than 17 years of economic stagism holds that free-market economies nation. Obama and Bernanke are now inevitably trend toward underemployfollowing the same playbook, which ment and underinvestment. Without will only lead to similar results. the deft management of economic Thomas E. Woods, author of the experts, Keynesians say, interest rates recent New York Times bestseller Meltwill typically be too high and investdown, pointed out the terrible track ment will be too low. According to this record of Keynesian economists view, depressions result from a lack of when it comes to economic forecastaggregate demand. It is therefore the ing. Most notable were the hysterical government’s job to stimulate that John Maynard Keynes (right) and Harry Dexter White Keynesian predictions that the end of demand by cutting interest rates and at the Bretton Woods Conference. the Second World War would inevitaincreasing spending. It is easy to see bly result in a return of Depressionwhy members of our political class—who view themselves as the era economic conditions and the stubborn insistence of Keynessaviors of mankind—find Keynesianism so alluring. Unfortunateians that the Soviet Union was economically sound and would ly, the basic premises of Keynesianism are simply wrong. As the inevitably overtake the United States as the world’s largest, most great economist Henry Hazlitt said in regard to Keynes’s General robust economy—Arthur Okun, for example, stood by this preTheory of Employment, Interest and Money: “In spite of the incredible diction as late as 1989. reputation of the book, I could not find in it a single important In the face of resurgent Keynesianism, education is perhaps doctrine that was both true and original. What is original in the the most important task of antistatists. As Congressman Ron Paul book is not true; and what is true is not original.” noted in his address, “Congress eventually will follow when we Left unchallenged, bad ideas can long maintain intellectual hebecome the dominant philosophy.” This first requires us to read gemony. Fortunately, a group of tenacious scholars are working and understand the main critiques of Keynesian economics. To tirelessly to expose the errors of Keynesian economics. “The Failfurther that end, David Gordon, a senior fellow at the Mises Inure of the Keynesian State” was the subject of the recent Mises stitute, provided an indispensable reading list for all who seek the Circle meeting in Houston, sponsored by the Ludwig von Mises intellectual firepower needed to refute Keynesian economics. Institute. At this sold-out event, 600 people from 16 states met Gordon provided a short list of books that provide freeat the Hilton Houston Post Oak to hear some of the finest livmarket refutations of Keynesian arguments. Where Keynes Went ing economic minds refute the premises of Keynesian economWrong (2009), by Hunter Lewis, provides an excellent introducics and explain why Keynesian solutions to economic downturns tion to the subject and explains how Keynes earned a reputation
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for brilliance despite his tendency to write try, more and more people are becoming utter nonsense. Gordon also recommended receptive to Austrian insights. Rejecting The Failure of the New Economics (1959) by conventional wisdom, unprecedented Henry Hazlitt. This book examines all of numbers of individuals are recognizing Keynes’s main arguments and systematically that economic downturns are a result of takes them apart. Critics of Keynesian Ecomalinvestments stemming from easy credit. nomics (1960), which was edited by Hazlitt, They are accepting the premise that interprovides some of the finest anti-Keynesian est rates should be set by the unhampered essays ever written. Gordon advised readmarket rather than arbitrarily lowered by ers to give special attention to the essays by the government. They are recognizing that Jean-Baptiste Say and Ludwig von Mises. any growth spurred by government stimuRounding out Gordon’s list were The Keyneslus is ephemeral at best. ian Episode (1979) by W.H. Hutt and Man, Despite his many errors, dethroning Economy, and State (1962) by Murray RothKeynes as the world’s most influential bard. economist will be no easy task. Educating Quoting Charles Mackay, Douglas ourselves is the first step we must take in French noted, “Men think in herds, go order to achieve that goal. To that end, all mad in herds, but recover their senses one freedom-loving individuals should familiarby one.” Despite its failures, Keynesianism ize themselves with the Ludwig von Mises remains the dominant economic ideology Institute and its many scholars. Education in the world today. The Mises Circle, howis not sufficient, however, if we wish to reever, provided reason to hope that this may gain our liberties. At the close of the Housbe changing. One by one, many people are ton Mises Circle, Lew Rockwell, founder regaining their senses. Attendance at the Henry Hazlitt, outspoken critic of Keynes and chairman of the institute, disclosed the Mises Circle more than doubled from the second crucial step: “Never miss an opporprevious year’s Houston meeting. As Dr. tunity to tell the truth.” If we follow this Paul stressed, an increasing number of young people are expressadvice, a revolution is possible. ing interest in Austrian economics and non-statist solutions to societal problems. George Hawley [email@example.com] is a graduate student at the UniverWe face a real opportunity for change. Throughout the counsity of Houston.
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20 March 2010
Obama’s big Rip-Off
An interview with Obamanomics author Tim Carney
in the power of government. I think Bush ery few people are better at showing us was just really bad at being a limited-govhow D.C. really works than the Washernment president. I think Obama is a Big ington Examiner’s K Street editor, Timothy Government guy to the core. P. Carney. Twice a week in his columns and regularly on the paper’s blog, he follows the Why did Obama push for a stimulus bill money to show readers how companies, before he tried to reform health care? lobbyists, and politicians of both parties collude to fleece American taxpayers and The stimulus, unlike climate legislation limit our choices—often in the name of or health care overhaul, was easy to pass some greater good. Carney’s first book was because the only people who are hurt by it appropriately titled The Big Ripoff: How Big are future taxpayers and future borrowers. Business and Big Government Steal Your Money. As far as the special interests go, everyone It won the 2008 Templeton Enterprise won from the stimulus. Hi-tech guys: here’s Award. a broadband slush fund. Bricks and mortar Carney learned how to think differentguys: roads and buildings, galore. Green enly about politics from his mentor, the late ergy companies: all you can eat buffet. Coal Robert Novak, who wrote in the introducguys, you’re not left out, either: a billiontion to The Big Ripoff that the author was dollar earmark—just call it “clean coal.” perhaps “the best political reporter out of The stimulus was Obama’s chance to be the outstanding young men and women Santa Claus to the entrenched interests, and, who worked for me,” a “fabulous political of course, the lobbyists loved it, too. It’s like handicapper” with formidable “skills as an when a guy is dating a widower or divorcee investigative reporter” who had produced K Street muckraker Tim Carney with children, and the first time he meets an “extraordinary book.” the kids, he gives them candy. Ron Paul penned the introduction to When you say “future taxpayers” I hear Carney’s recently released sophomore effort, Obamanomics: How “young people”—the same voters who went for Obama in Barack Obama Is Bankrupting You and Enriching His Wall Street Friends, huge numbers in 2008. Why did the kids prove so eager to Corporate Lobbyists, and Union Bosses. He praised it as an exposé of vote for a politician who would only put them much, much corporatism in our time and a necessary reality check. “Every libdeeper in debt? ertarian and free market conservative who still believes that large corporations are trusted allies in the battle for economic liberty,” I think much of Obama’s appeal to the youth was the openDr. Paul wrote, “needs to read this book.” I spoke with Carney in government, reformer talk—which is exactly the talk he belies January about bailouts, tea parties, and Obama’s cozy relationship with his backroom PhRMA deals, his labor-union carve outs, and with corporate America. his corporatism. It will take quite an effort for Democrats to reYou’re not a fan of George W. Bush in this book. If it wasn’t so much of a tongue twister, it could almost be called Bushobamanomics. Bushobamanomics would be a great title. I think Bush’s bailouts were something of an economic blueprint for Obama—not just Big Government, but government interventions previously unimaginable; and of course, it was to the benefit of Big Business, but pitched as being crucial for the whole economy. How is Obama’s approach to government different from Bush’s approach? Obama is more thorough and more aggressive in his belief capture that enthusiasm. Did you expect Scott Brown to win in Massachusetts? I did not. I was not surprised, however, to see the lobbyist cash, PAC cash, and drug-industry cash flow in to save Martha Coakley once she got in trouble. I think the K Street-PhRMA push to save Coakley, health care reform’s 60th vote [in the Senate], makes it clear as day that “reform” was a corporatist turd-burger. Is health care reform finally dead? No. Health care reform could come back in a more modest incarnation.
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How modest? Not too modest. They might stick to the deal offered by the health insurers: health insurers can’t reject customers for pre-existing conditions, and they can’t discriminate too much on price. In exchange, everyone would be forced to buy health insurance. How cynical is Obama? In my books, columns, and interviews, I avoid claiming knowledge of anyone’s intentions or desires. I just read the actions. That said, whenever I watch Obama talk, I understand perfectly the impulse that drove Rep. Joe Wilson back in September. Has covering efforts to lobby his administration and Congress for the Washington Examiner made you more cynical? I’m a bit more skeptical than a year ago, but working for Bob Novak helped turn my heart into a dark abyss at a young age, so I didn’t have too far to go. Together with my good friend and colleague David Freddoso, I formed a rule of understanding Washington: the most corrupt possible explanation is probably correct. With Obama, the big difference is that so many people believed he was a real reformer. They should have read Freddoso’s book, The Case Against Barack Obama. I hope Obama makes the whole country as cynical about politics as I am. Obama claims to be an enemy of corporate interests. Is he? Ha! You pointed out early on that Obama claimed to be against the insurance companies when in fact the insurance companies were pretty happy with the version of health care reform that he endorsed. Let me put it this way: The drug companies were in bed with ObamaCare. As far as the insurers and ObamaCare, I think their Facebook status would be “It’s Complicated.” Obama originally opposed the individual mandate and supported a public option. Then he flipped on both of those, coming around to the insurers’ side. Insurers still had problems with the bill that passed the Senate, but the independent analyses I read all said that the subsidies, mandates, and barriers to entry in the Senate bill would have meant more profits for insurers. Liberals like to scoff at the tea party movement, but it seems to be having a real effect on American politics. How has such a diverse group of people with little political experience managed to muscle its way into the debate? The tea parties are a manifestation of anger at the elites. They have had some impact because they have been independent from either political party and from any politicians. They scare Republicans while making some liberals realize that the left no longer owns populist outrage. To what extent do you think the tea partiers built on Ron Paul’s 2008 presidential campaign? I don’t know. But this much is common between the tea par-
tiers and Paulistas: They both channeled anti-elite, anti-government passion, and they both lacked logical coherence. Ron Paul’s followers included people of all stripes politically, often united more by a feeling—disenfranchisement and distrust—than by shared goals or principles. Several mainstream Republican politicians are seeking to co-opt the tea party movement. Do you think they’ll succeed? Yes, in a sense. All institutions and movements get co-opted and exploited by those with money and power. Thankfully, the tea parties are more movement than institution, and so they will probably be destroyed by the co-optation. The politicians will sink the ship by boarding it. The Supreme Court recently gutted many campaign finance laws. What effects might that have on lobbying? The ruling is bad for K Street. Lobbyists, PACs, parties, and politicians are all indirect ways for business to influence politics. After the ruling, businesses enter politics more directly. All told, though, I think the impact will be minimal. How long did you work for Bob Novak? I worked on Novak’s staff for three years, covering the 2002 and 2004 elections. Then a few months after the 2006 elections, I returned to writing the Evans-Novak Political Report as a contractor of sorts, and I covered the 2008 elections. When he got sick and had to retire in the summer of 2008, I took over the newsletter full time, and we folded it two months after the election. Did his conversion to Catholicism influence you? Yes. I was heading towards Catholicism when I began working for him, and he put me in touch with a priest, with whom I began meeting regularly. My faith was bolstered by the fact that a majority of the peers, bosses, mentors, and role models I was finding in D.C. were Catholic—with many being converts, like Novak. Your educational background is odd for a political reporter. You attended the classics-heavy St. John’s College. How did that help prepare you for Washington, D.C.? St. John’s gave me an excellent liberal-arts education that helped hone my critical-thinking skills, foster a deep curiosity, and give me the skills and confidence to take on any subject matter. One of professional journalism’s endemic flaws is that writers have little or no expertise in an area, and they don’t even try to gain it. That’s related to the He-Said/She-Said formula that acts as if actual facts are just matters of opinion. I’ve “scooped” the mainstream many times by doing actual math, or learning a tiny bit of actual science. I think my liberal arts training helped convince me that (a) a journalist can understand some math, science, and history; and (b) truth is attainable. I think that makes me a better political reporter. Jeremy Lott is an editor at Capital Research Center and author of The Warm Bucket Brigade: The Story of the American Vice Presidency.
22 March 2010
LibeRty’s mad men
Madison Avenue shows us it takes more than good ideas to sell a philosophy
ighting for liberty can be a frustrathappiness is? Happiness is the smell of ing thing. Years of history have a new car. It’s freedom from fear. It’s a proved our economic theories correct. billboard on the side of the road that We have thousands of books that outscreams with reassurance that whatever line the necessity and mechanics of you’re doing is ok. You are ok.” a free society. The libertarian Hall of Advocates of freedom must tap Fame is filled with Nobel Prizes, awardinto that emotional side. We need to rewinning novels, and the ashes of many a assure people it is ok to be for liberty. failed statist government. Yet still there That our free society will take care of are people out there who aren’t with us. their children. That, at the end of the I’m going to suggest something a day, freedom will keep them secure, put little radical: Maybe we need a little less money in their pockets, and let them Milton Freidman and a little more Don live the best possible life. But we can’t Draper. access the emotional side if all we focus For those of you out of the loop, on are theories and statistics. “Mad Men” is AMC’s hit show about We know the features of our phithe self-destructive glamour of 1960s losophy. Some of us can recite Rand, Madison Avenue. It’s sort of like Hayek, and Friedman as if all our lives “Leave it to Beaver” meets “Desperate we’ve been preparing to debut them Housewives.” It’s where fortunes are at Carnegie Hall. But when we lay our built and destroyed on one good pitch, thesis in front of our would-be recruits, where words and ego make the sell. At their eyes glaze over. The reason most the center of every smoke-filled scene people don’t fall head over heels when is Don Draper, the best ad man in the we share our ideas with them is simple: business. They. Don’t. Care. We can do without all the rampant They don’t care how the Fed’s monwomanizing and ego, but the liberty etary policy drives inflation. They don’t movement needs to embrace what Madison Avenue, New York City, looking north from care that the Constitution doesn’t proMadison Avenue has known for a long 41st street. Photography by Leif Knutsen vide for government bailouts. They time: people make decisions emotiondon’t care that there are 700 American ally, they only justify them rationally. military bases around the globe. What People don’t go to McDonald’s because it has the best hamthey do care about is how all those things actually intersect with burger. Nobody buys Nike shoes because they provide the best their daily experience and make their lives better. We often focus value. And few Americans vote for a politician because of the on the details of liberty. We talk about the mechanics and theories specifics of his platform. Don’t get me wrong here—you’ll hear of freedom. But we leave out how those pieces come together to talk about the issues and specifics. But the decision to chose one benefit the person we’re trying to bring into the fold. product over another is much more guttural. A benefit is user-focused. It gives the buyer a reason to get People don’t buy shoes, they buy a lifestyle, and Nike knows it. excited about the product. It reaches into a person’s emotional That’s why they spend millions on Kobe and LeBron. You’re not center. But it is rarely ever about the product itself—the benefit is buying a shoe. You’re being like Mike. You’re living the life of a about what the product represents. sports star. You’re cooler than everyone else. People don’t buy drills. They buy holes. The drill is just the Selling a product—and liberty is as much a product as hamway to get what they want. In the same way, people don’t vote burgers—is all about tapping into the emotional needs of your for policies and theories. They vote for security, prosperity, and audience, making them feel safe, valued, and important. Advertishappiness. Our challenge is translating the specifics of liberty into ers define lifestyles with that simple idea. We need to take their a benefit. techniques and apply them to the ways we sell liberty. There’s an old advertising mantra: “Tell me about my grass, As Draper reminds us in the first episode of the series, “Adnot your seed.” You might sell seeds that will grow the greenest vertising is based on one thing: happiness. And do you know what grass in the world, but people don’t buy grass because it’s green.
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They buy it because it is greener than their neighbors’. They are buying all the compliments and envy of having the best lawn on the block. Your seed might be strong and sturdy, but people don’t buy sturdy grass. They buy the convenience, money, and time that come with not having to drag a sprinkler back and forth all summer. As we sell liberty, it is essential we remember people don’t buy lower taxes, military non-intervention, civil liberties, or health care. Their desires are more personal, more emotional. Psychologists tell us human beings are motivated primarily by the need for security, the need for acceptance, and the need to feel important. People don’t care about the specifics of privatizing Social Security. They want to know they can live that fulfilled retired life they see in commercials. As evangelists for liberty we have to make sure we satisfy the public’s needs instead of running off frustrated that our “idiot” classmates refuse to accept the finer points of monetary policy. Even the flashiest advertisements won’t sell a bad product. Luckily for us, liberty is a great one. But even the best product doesn’t sell itself. Someone has to take it to the public and show them why they can’t live without it. You don’t have to be a harddrinking 1960s ad man to sell liberty. You just have to make sure to focus on how liberty makes your audience’s life better. Give them the benefits, not the features. Jeff Fulcher is the Director of Programs at the Advocates for Self-Government. He rocks a pocket square like nobody’s business.
24 March 2010
Freedom lovers should support the masses against the classes
n modern society there are three of course, is a tool that the Federal economic classes: the rich, the very Reserve has recently used to bail out poor, and everyone else. The rich are its friends in the financial sector. those with insider access to centers The political and economic interof political power and the ability to ests of the vast majority stand against weather almost any economic depresthose of a small minority. Naturally, sion. The very poor are those who live these groups are not monolithic ideowithout knowing where their means logical blocs. The individuals within of subsistence will come from and them will have non-material, philowhose lives are to a great extent desophical beliefs regarding the proper termined by macroeconomic factors role of government. But from a pureoutside their own control. “Everyone ly material standpoint, it makes sense else” is just that. that the rich and the very poor are The fourth key player in modern naturally allied with big government society is the leviathan state: the inand that the middle group should Times have changed since the French Revolution trusive, redistributionist entity that stand against it. Since this middle has taken upon itself to regiment as group represents a clear majority of much of our daily lives as it can get the country, and since the people who away with. Ceteris paribus, the rich and the very poor will be friends make it up are distinguished chiefly by their ordinariness, we can of the state. The very poor will not have time to worry about call their interests populist. Likewise, we can call the interests of abstract concepts like the loss of liberty that goes along with big the others elitist, since they either promote the economic intergovernment, nor will they have the luxury of looking to long-term ests of the rich or the intellectual predispositions of fashionable consequences like increased inflation and debt. Their needs are modern philosophes—predispositions such as those toward univermaterial and immediate, so it makes sense for them to support any sal healthcare, public schooling, and social-welfare schemes. Many entity that promises quick relief, as the modern state does. On the of these programs are touted by intellectual servants of the rich other hand, the rich see in the state the opportunity to make themas being for the benefit of the poor; in practice, everyone else selves even richer. Wall Street financiers who can rely on federal pays the bill. bailouts if they make too many bad loans are getting a pretty great From this preliminary analysis, it might seem that the obvious deal: if their business plans succeed, they reap huge profits, but if ally for the defender of liberty is the populist common man. But they fail the federal government will cover the damage, and their historically this has not been the case. In an essay in Capitalism: The business is no worse off than it was to begin with. Then there are Unknown Ideal, Ayn Rand called the businessman—by whom she the companies that get awarded no-bid contracts (i.e., the governmeant the steel tycoon and the captain of industry, not the Main ment awards a contract to a favored business without allowing any Street storeowner—“America’s most oppressed minority.” The competition) to rebuild places like Iraq—places that other wellbusinessman, who rises by his own hard work and intelligence connected businessmen made billions of dollars manufacturing without recourse to coercion, is weighted down, Rand argued, by bombs to blow apart. mountains of onerous regulations created by mediocre bureauThese two classes make up a very small segment of society. crats who could never come close to duplicating his achievements. “Everyone else” is the much larger group. It is also the group that This might be a tough idea to accept in 2010. When we look at the pays the most for big government and benefits from it the least. auto, newspaper, and banking industries—to name only the most It pays the greatest amount of taxes in proportion to its income. obvious—we see a lot of Wesley Mouchs but no Hank Reardens. It is most vulnerable to inflation; not politically well connected, it (For those who haven’t read Atlas Shrugged, we see a lot of paradoes not have initial access to newly printed money, but only gets sites but no individualists.) I haven’t heard of any business leader new money after the bank notes have been trickling through the who accepted the meltdown with the stoic detachment of a Raneconomy and prices have correspondingly increased. Worse, as dian hero, admitting that he made bad decisions and now had to a fiscally prudent, “saver” class, in an inflationary economy this face the consequences. But there were plenty who were willing to group will be faced with the choice of either spending without rego to Washington, hat in hand, to plead for just a few billion dolstraint or seeing its savings vaporized. Inflating the money supply, lars and to promise they would never make those same mistakes
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again. Rand is not the only libertarian to side with the elites against the masses. Quite the contrary, elitism has historically played a central role in libertarian philosophy, most notably in the works of such writers as Albert Jay Nock, H.L. Mencken, and Herbert Spencer. And libertarian elitism is also wholeheartedly endorsed by statists and social democrats. It plays into their caricature of the capitalist as the rich, obese bon vivant with a human chessboard outside his estate. (It does not help that Ayn Rand wrote a book called The Virtue of Selfishness.) In the propaganda of the social democrats, it is they who, in creating the intrusive, redistributionist state, demonstrate their concern for the interests of the common man, whereas the capitalists and the libertarians would allow him to starve. Thus, Franklin Roosevelt extolled the virtues of “the forgotten man,” left behind in a heartless, laissez-faire world—one which the New Deal government would instill with a new dignity and sense of purpose. Ironically, the term “forgotten man” was coined by the late 19th-century libertarian and Yale sociology professor William Graham Sumner. He coined it in reference to an archetype mentioned earlier in this essay: the ubiquitous blue-collar worker extorted into paying for the elites’ “philanthropic” welfare programs. Maybe Roosevelt’s speechwriters had never heard of Sumner. But if they had—which seems more likely—they were certainly dishonest in stealing his terminology in order to claim that laissez-faire libertarians were opposed to the populist mindset that Sumner used that very term to support. A good rule of thumb is that it is always safe to believe the opposite of whatever Franklin Roosevelt believed. That goes even for dating advice—lest we forget, Franklin did marry his cousin. So when he claims that populist ends can best be served by drastically expanding the scope of the central government—the very government whose expansion will harm the masses of forgotten men—I am disinclined to believe him. Of course, the libertarian elitists did not adopt elitism because the social democrats had already taken populism. They foresaw the attraction that populist ideals promoted through government power could exert over the masses. They knew that any demagogue could drastically increase his power by promising the masses heaven on earth, all without any discernible price tag. The masses would be too dumb to understand that the real cost—in debt, inflation, and loss of liberty—comes later. In this respect, the libertarian elitists were very prescient. Roosevelt and his later incarnations in Kennedy, Johnson, and Obama were able to elicit strong support from the masses by doing just that. The Yankee Roosevelt was even able to find a strong base of support in the agrarian South—a region that, still remembering the Civil War and Reconstruction, had little trust for northern politicians—by shifting the tax burden to the manufacturing sector in the North and using those revenues to pay for new jobs programs in the South. Nevertheless, in today’s world, the masses are much less dangerous than the elites. The reason is not that the masses now read—or have ever heard of—Murray Rothbard or because they are somehow predisposed to libertarianism. They are not. But with the power structure as it exists, more and more of the regular, forgotten inhabitants of fly-over country are realizing that, as far as Washington is concerned, they don’t matter and the plethora
of new government programs that emanate from Washington will do nothing to help them—in most cases, those programs will actively harm them. As long as the masses understand this, they should be our allies. In Democracy: The God That Failed, Hans-Hermann Hoppe wrote that a critical problem with democracy is that it gives everyone the illusion that he owns a share of government, meaning people will be much more tolerant of an intrusive state, since they consider themselves part of the system. Of course, they really aren’t a part, but believing the contrary will keep them placated. Hoppe further wrote that monarchy—though bad for other reasons—is actually preferable to democracy because, the line between rulers and ruled being explicitly delineated, everyone realizes exactly where his interests lie. The commoners will be far more willing to fight back when the king tries to encroach on their liberty and property. This keeps government power in check. America is increasingly actualizing these benefits of monarchy. With the growth of the Internet, the masses are more educated than ever about the conflict between their interests and those of the state. You don’t need an Ivy League education to get exposed to monetary theory anymore; now there is LewRockwell.com and Mises.org. Ordinary citizens are less likely to be bought off by short-term perks today; they are much more aware of the insidious long-term effects of inflation and debt. And despite their tendency to regress into partisan Republican-boosting, the tea parties and the 9/12 March on Washington indicate that the masses are awakening to the fact that they are the losers in a statist system. We might some day say that Barack Obama was the best thing that ever happened for decentralist libertarians. As a walking caricature of the sanctimonious liberal statist, he plays the part of the medieval king and dispels any illusions about the predatory nature of the state. Before the modern state emerged, it was probably advisable to be an elitist—back when religion and tradition were more potent ideas than the curative impulses of a few central planners, one could very well dismiss anyone who wanted to overturn society for some abstract good. But that world is gone. The ideas that first motivated the 18th-century revolutionaries—Enlightenment rationalism, egalitarianism, statism—triumphed over the ancien regime and became the system itself. Centuries later, we are living in the brutal world those revolutionary ideals created. The revolutionaries have cleaned up a lot; now they have well-funded think tanks and endowed chairs at Harvard and Yale. But they are still, to paraphrase Victor Hugo, the “civilized men of barbarism.” How else to describe a group that writes cavalier position papers advocating an invasion of some sovereign country, or who calmly appear on C-SPAN to explain the government’s need for more of your income, which ultimately will be extorted from you at gunpoint? Today’s masses might be primarily motivated by self-interest, but at least they see that their self-interest pits them against these men of barbarism. The masses might want a weaker central government and more powerful localities because that would benefit themselves—yet at least they want decentralization. No side is perfect, but in the choice between the populists and the elites, any 21stcentury libertarian’s response should be, “Where’s my pitchfork?” Kelse Moen is a recent graduate of Emory University.
26 March 2010
Profiles in Liberty
from some of the movement’s most recognize members of the liberty movement able names. Ballot-Access.org, meanwhile, often criticize “the media” for various is the website of Richard Winger, nationally reasons, including the fact that our more prorenowned ballot-access expert. Though this liberty viewpoints do not often get a hearing. website is much less frequented than the other But what would you say if there was one man projects Garris works on, it has been of vital whose three pro-liberty websites had topped importance to keeping political third parties 10.5 million pageviews last month? The story on ballots around the country. Garris called of Eric Garris is a picture-perfect account of a what Winger does to advance fair election libertarian who has used the Internet to spread laws “heroic and thankless.” One might apply the message. He is the longtime webmaster of similar words to Garris’s efforts. two of the most well-read pro-liberty websites The San Francisco-based webmaster on the Internet: LewRockwell.com and Antiwould demur with humility if someone were war.com, as well as the less visited, but no less to call him a luminary or leader of the freeimportant, Ballot-Access.org. dom movement, but that he certainly is. In Garris founded, and is now the managfact, Eric Garris has been in the forefront ing editor of, Antiwar.com. This is easily the of the libertarian movement since the early most popular and influential antiwar website ’70s. Living in California, Eric worked for the on the Internet. Each day the site aggregates presidential campaign of Benjamin Spock, a a number of links concerning wars, conflicts, pediatrician, author, and explicitly socialist and military events from all over the world. Peace and Freedom Party nominee. Garris got At Antiwar.com, one can get a perspective on Antiwar.com founder Eric Garris involved in the antiwar movement, where he conflicts ranging from Indonesia to Ireland, soon came into contact with libertarians who Sri Lanka to El Salvador, Mexico to Mongowere also against the war and were able to lia—all in the space of minutes. Add to this convert him to a more pro-liberty point of view. Among the peothe hard-hitting, sardonic, original commentary of Justin Raimonple who were most influential on Garris in those early days were do, the site’s editorial director, and you have a recipe for success. Gene Berkman, owner of Renaissance Books, and Willis Stone, To hear Garris talk about Antiwar.com, you’d think the struggle the founder and director of the Liberty Amendment Commitagainst war was already won. His enthusiasm for peace is palpable tee. It was around this time that he realized, “the way to stop war and contagious—I found myself willing conflicts to an abrupt end isn’t more government, it is much, much less government.” His when he spoke against them, both with force and passion. This conviction that “economic and personal freedom are inseparable” optimism for the future was, however, at times tempered with a led him to thinkers like Murray Rothbard. However, his time in pragmatic recognition of history. He repeatedly pointed to the the Peace and Freedom Party was not yet over—in 1974 he and Vietnam era as one that galvanized pro-peace forces, but he laa group of similarly converted members took over the party and mented the fact that a war had to be claiming the lives of Amerirewrote the platform to reflect their libertarian views. This demcan boys in order for Americans to strive for peace. onstrates the two sides of Garris’s nature: he is both a principled Antiwar.com was founded in 1995, but at first resembled a ideas-man and an individual upon whom the liberty movement hobby more than a vital source of breaking news. For the first can depend on for action. years of its existence, the site was updated sporadically. It is no Garris was a leader in Students for a Libertarian Society in the coincidence that the site became a more serious endeavor in 1999, ’70s. He recognized early on the importance of student organizawhen President Clinton rashly involved America in the Kosovo tions like Young Americans for Liberty. He was an alliance-builder War. It was then that the site began updating daily, as well as from the start. In 1986 he helped to found the Libertarian Repubbreaking stories on the conflict. Garris and his website were fealican Organizing Committee. This was meant to be a vehicle by tured on PBS and in the Washington Post, which resulted in a surge which libertarians could run in elections as Republicans. Of this in popularity. effort, Garris said, “We won a lot of primaries and were able to LewRockwell.com is a website most people in the liberty get a lot of our candidates running as Republicans.” It could be movement are at least familiar with. Garris is a webmaster and said that this was a precursor to the Ron Paul movement, which occasional blogger there, too. This site has the largest audience of is now in the process of doing the same thing. When asked about any of his projects, as well as a constant stream of original content
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the Ron Paul presidential campaign he remarked enthusiastically that it was “the most successful libertarian movement that I have seen in my lifetime. Ron Paul is so unique in electoral politics.” Garris has known Ron Paul since the ’70s, but is still every bit as impressed with him as the day he met him. As my conversation with him was burgeoning on two hours already, Garris began to describe to me how much he appreciated the leadership of Ron Paul and what set him apart from every other elected official. His faith, he says, is not put in “particular people or politicians,” but in ideas and alliances. This makes a great deal of success, too, if one examines Garris’s history. He ran for office several times and never made significant headway, but he served as director of Republicans for Proposition 215, a medical-marijuana initiative that passed in 1996. Similarly, his alliance-building efforts through Antiwar.com and idea-disseminating endeavors with LewRockwell. com and Students for a Libertarian Society were quite successful. LewRockwell.com is host to an article by Garris called The Internet vs. the State. It begins with an anecdote in which Timothy Leary, the famous guru of hallucinogenic substances, speaks to a Libertarian Party convention and tells them about “something called the Internet.” Virtually everyone in the room, Garris said in his retelling of the story, was doubtful about the positive influence this “Internet” could have on the pro-liberty movement. Garris now admits that it has done what Leary said it would and much more. Although he was skeptical, and Justin Raimondo called it “a passing fad,” Garris is certainly glad it exists now: The Internet really is the destined home for libertarianism, and our greatest hope for freedom. On it we see the free market of ideas and services flourish even as the politicians try to stamp out civil society in real space. On it we see the truth win out over the political and media establishment. On
it we see the spirit of liberty. The state cannot catch up to, it cannot match, and it cannot begin to comprehend the full power of the Internet. Politicians are baffled by it because it doesn’t conform to their assumptions about the world, about human organization, about the need for central planning. The glorious Internet is a major source of confusion for all with a statist mindset. The net is revolutionizing society, all toward more voluntary, civil, and efficient methods of organization. It has given us all a way to participate in speaking the truth and standing up to the state. The Internet is ours—it belongs to the people and especially the friends of freedom and peace who feel so at home online because it is so free and so much the way we’d like to see the rest of the world. Garris is right, the Internet functions as a microcosm of the type of world we liberty activists envision: it is without (much) government intervention and thrives as a constant example of the spontaneous order that arises when men are left to deal with each other. Though Garris has long worked in the background of the movement, he should be held aloft as an example. He is both intelligent and active, humble and accomplished, assertive and tolerant. Though he has worked on hundreds of campaigns since his teenage years, he says, “I feel like the work I am doing now is the most important I’ve done in my life.” While his reputation may not match his accomplishments, because of his discomfort with the spotlight, Eric Garris is anything but a minor character in the history, and future, of the liberty movement in America—as well as the antiwar movement worldwide. Trent Hill [firstname.lastname@example.org] is a history major at Louisiana State University and the editor of IndependentPoliticalReport.com.
28 March 2010
It’s individualist, pro-life, and antiwar
“It is strangely absurd to suppose that a milized nonviolent speech on the pretext lion human beings, collected together, are not of promoting national unity and preunder the same moral laws which bind each of venting “sedition” or any revolutionthem separately.” ary attempt “to oppose any measure So said Thomas Jefferson, in words or measures of the government of that demonstrate his belief that govthe United States.” Under the guise ernment is not above the moral law. of “Protection to American Industry,” That principle lies at the heart of the the Morrill Tariffs of the Buchanan American tradition—a tradition of and Lincoln presidencies obstructed individualism. The Constitution’s prothe right of individuals to trade freely. tections for such fundamental liberties Indeed, President Lincoln, who knew as freedom of speech, freedom of rethat slavery was an inexcusable evil, ligion, the right to assemble peaceably, justified continuing this gravest of all and the right to keep and bear arms are violations of individual rights for dewell known. But the Bill of Rights also cades on a collectivist moral basis, aracknowledges—in its crowning glory, guing in his 1852 eulogy to Henry Clay the Ninth Amendment—an overall that “a greater evil, even to the cause presumption of liberty, declaring, “The of human liberty itself,” would come enumeration in the Constitution, of from slavery’s abolition. certain rights, shall not be construed to Immoral policies carried out by our deny or disparage others retained by the government today are justified with a Pay heed to Thomas Jefferson people.” similar collectivist ideology. In pracThe Framers believed that those tice, our leaders have rejected the prinrights came naturally to everyone beciple of inalienable rights in favor of a cause of our shared humanity. They are not granted by king, parspecial standard for themselves which includes privileges ordinary liament, or any other sort of government institution. Indeed, to citizens will never see. They believe that they can violate the rights deprive any individual of these rights unduly would be criminalof regular people as long as good results are likely to come from ity on the part of the government. After all, if an individual has doing so—the ends justify the means. no right to use violence to stop his neighbor from expressing his That left-wing statists employ this logic should not be surprisopinion, why should a group of individuals acting through the ing. But it is disheartening to see conservatives also accept these government have the right to censor nonviolent speech? premises. What kind of principled argument for economic liberty Conservatism is properly defined in the American context as a can be made when one is simultaneously advocating the use of movement seeking to “conserve” the Constitution and our foundforce to crack down on nonviolent personal habits, such as drug ing principles of individual rights. But the political leaders of the use, allegedly for the offender’s “own good”? Slogans about small modern conservative movement have frequently failed to protect government and individual rights are rendered meaningless when the individual rights they claim to support. Only in rhetoric have conservatives encourage the state to violate the natural law bindthey dissented from the openly collectivist left. Too many consering human behavior. That law says force may only be used defenvatives have internalized a collectivist ideology that puts governsively, to protect rights. ment above the people and allows the state to commit acts that Following the implications of natural law and the natural rights would be considered criminal if carried out by private individuals. outlined in the Constitution to their logical end will lead to conThese inconsistent conservatives permit government to behave clusions some on the right might find unpleasant. The philosophy in a manner that directly violates the moral law binding the rest of individual rights affirms the things conservatives hold most of society. dear, including the sanctity of life and of personal property. But To be sure, collectivism and statism—the opposites of indiconsistent individualism leaves no room for the War on the Drugs vidualism and constitutionalism—have a long history. Politicians or the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. have since time immemorial tried to justify their violations of To understand what it means to uphold individualism conthe people’s rights by claiming their actions are for the collective sistently, conservatives need look no further than the arguments good. As early as 1798, The Alien and Sedition Acts criminalthey employ against legalized abortion. The fact that abortion is
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subsidized and sanctioned by the U.S. government doesn’t make it morally permissible. Nor does the claim in the 2005 bestseller Freakonomics that abortion reduces the crime rate tilt the scales in its favor. That abortion is state-sanctioned and is claimed by some as a net gain to society is irrelevant; abortion is murder. Period. Conservative Rep. Ron Paul has taken the pro-life argument and applied it consistently, thereby deriving a truly antiwar position. Paul, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, has written, “whether it is war or abortion, we conceal the reality of violent acts through linguistic contrivances meant to devalue human lives we find inconvenient.” Innocent civilians killed as a direct result of modern warfare, which cannot pinpoint legitimate aggressors, are “rationalized away on the Leninist grounds that to make an omelet you have to break some eggs.” Again, the government is held to a different standard than the rest of society. If someone were to launch an “anti-crime” bombing of an American city that killed several violent criminals as well as a few innocent bystanders, all of private society would consider that vigilante a criminal. Neither his motives nor even the prospect that his action may have wound up saving more innocent lives than it took would matter a whit. Yet when the military does the same thing and innocents are killed in the so-called War on Terror, inconsistent conservatives shrug their shoulders and call that “collateral damage.” This double standard is readily swallowed by the likes of Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, and John Hagee, who while harshly condemning many other government programs apparently believe that the Pentagon should be held to a different moral standard than the rest of humanity. Regarding these ideologically muddled “pro-lifers for murder,” devout Catholic and bestselling conservative author Tom Woods quips, “And these are the people who lecture the world about moral relativism!” By dismissing the deaths of innocent people as necessary sacrifices for the collective good, supporters of aggressive wars perpetuate moral relativism and reject the sanctity of human life. I refuse to do that, and I expect you do too, in practice if not in rhetoric. If you regard your life, the memories that have touched and changed you, and the loved ones that keep you motivated to be of limited value—able to be quantified and culled like sheep or cattle—then why bother living at all? Conservatives ought to fight for peace because it is the philosophically consistent and morally right thing to do. Individual rights ought to be defended on the basis of a deep and abiding principle; we cannot quantify the value of an individual. Contemporary conservative “hawks” who nonetheless pay lip-service to a pro-life position demonstrate a deep intellectual inconsistency by supporting the War on Terror. They betray their principles through their mindless disregard of the thousands innocent men,
women, and children this big-government venture has maimed or killed. Those on the right who oppose withdrawing from Iraq and Afghanistan and the legalization of “victimless crimes” (or more properly understood, the outlawing of government violence against nonaggressors) are looking at these matters the wrong way. This confusion is partly attributable to our political culture, which regards virtually no area of life as outside the realm of government. In these times, upholding liberty and opposing all non-defensive violence seem almost irrelevant. But it should not be so—at least, not for people who take our traditions of respect for rights, liberty, and limited government seriously. Unfortunately, many proponents of withdrawal from Iraq or of decriminalization of marijuana are unfriendly to liberty as a general goal. They would just as readily launch an aggressive invasion of Darfur under the banner of “humanitarianism” or tax legalized drugs to fund their preferred social cause. Conservatives are right to be skeptical of such political agendas. But conservatives must realize that just as valuing freedom of religion does not mean endorsing every religion, promoting freedom to drink beer or smoke cannabis does not mean endorsing either practice. To argue for the legalization of victimless crimes and for a noninterventionist foreign policy does not mean one is a counterculture pacifist. An antiwar, pro-freedom position upholds traditional American values, rooted in the Judeo-Christian ethic, which emphasize the inalienable rights and infinite value of each and every person. To provide a consistent, credible alternative to the openly collectivist left, the conservative movement must uphold individualism—consistently, coherently, and unashamedly—and apply this principle to every political issue. Today this means opposing socialism at home and President Obama’s wars—and yes, they are his wars now—abroad. Young people have a leading role to play in returning conservatism to consistent indivdiualist principle. Just as a previous generation of students brought about the end of conscription and segregation, ours can work to force the agents of the state to respect the inalienable rights and infinite value of every human being. The idealism latent in every young person is more powerful than any conventional political tool. This idealism has fallen into a slumber of cynicism of pragmatism because of partisan, unprincipled, and inconsistent conservative leaders. But as resistance to Obama mounts and the lessons of Bush’s failures sink in, young Americans are returning to the true individualist path of Jefferson. Matt Cockerill [MatthewCockerill@Creighton.edu] is a student of philosophy and economics at Creighton University.
30 March 2010
Minister to Liberty
Edmund Opitz showed that capitalism and Christianity are not enemies
f a patron saint for the libertarian movement were to be chosen, at the top of the list would be Rev. Edmund A. Opitz, minister and theologian for liberty. He was a good friend of Murray Rothbard and many others in the freedom movement—he was present from the beginning and knew almost everyone. From the 1950s through the 1990s, Opitz called the church to an integrated understanding of religion, economics, and individual liberty. He passed away in 2006, creating a void yet to be filled but leaving this world much better than he had found it. Opitz trained for Christian ministry at Andover Seminary and initially ministered in the Unitarian Church. But during his early years of ministry Unitarianism became more and more influenced by liberal Protestantism and the social gospel, whereas Opitz consistently grew more theologically conservative. He eventually left the Unitarian Church for the Congregationalist denomination and continued to promote conservative values and a thoroughly freemarket outlook upon social life. Religion, Opitz would say, is far more than an academic exercise in one subject among many others; rather it is the fundamental way one approaches, understands, and evaluates all subjects. One’s religion, or worldview, makes all the difference in how one interacts with the world. Opitz’s Christian faith led him to the realization that liberty was the only reasonable organizing principle for society. Liberty and faith are not merely compatible—they are inseparable. “Liberty rests upon the belief that all proper authority for man’s relationships with his fellow men comes from a source higher than man—from the Creator … . Each person has a relation to his Maker with which no other person, not even the ruler, has any right to interfere.” Reciprocally, Opitz believed a philosophy of liberty presupposed a background of Christian philosophy. Whether or not one accepts this notion, certainly Western civilization is indebted to Christendom for the understanding that natural law provides an absolute rather than relative standard—that there is something higher than the whims of men. Opitz understood this philosophy of liberty as the true meaning of individualism. He repeatedly emphasized the importance of individual liberty in religious conviction: “Men must be free in
society because each person has a destiny beyond society which he can work out only under the conditions of liberty.” The concept of individualism is often lost in the modern church. One frequently hears in religious circles that “individualism has no place in the life of the church,” but this constitutes a misunderstanding of the word itself. At its core, individualism means the individual is responsible for his own actions, in particular before God, and thus individual liberty is necessary for living out the dictates of conscience. Opitz would agree that one cannot be in Christ (Galatians 3:28) without the body of Christ—the church—but many Christians take this much too far and find themselves promoting collectivism rather than community. Individualism is not social atomism: “We have no inclination to be hermits; we are social creatures, and we achieve our full humanity only in association, in mutuality, and in community.” Voluntary action is the very essence of community, and thus the collectivist is actually acting against the spirit of community he seeks to promote. The natural outgrowth of holding a consistent philosophy of political liberty is supporting a free-market economy. Opitz understood that the free market was absolutely essential to maintaining a free society. “Economic freedom is to be cherished for itself, just as we cherish every one of our liberties. But economic freedom is doubly important because it sustains all the rest… . Economic freedom represents our livelihood, and whoever controls our livelihood has acquired critical leverage over every other aspect of our lives as well.” In this insight, Opitz recognized that Christianity, which mandates a free society where individuals can peacefully fulfill their responsibilities before God, and capitalism, which supports and maintains the free society, are not enemies in the least. Rather, they are critical allies, the best of friends. Opitz elaborates upon this topic at length in his appropriately titled book, Religion and Capitalism: Allies, Not Enemies. But how can individual freedom be protected from tyranny? The solution, according to Opitz, lies in returning to classicalliberal political ideals. “There is a place for government in the affairs of men, and our Declaration of Independence tells us precisely what that place is. The role of government is to protect
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individuals in their God-given individual rights. Freedom is the natural birthright of man, but all that government can do in behalf of freedom is to let the individual alone, and it should secure him in his rights by making others let him alone.” Thus, if government is to have any purpose at all, it is only to secure the rights of individuals in their persons and property. Anything else is nothing short of criminal, for the standard of morality does not change when one dons a government uniform. Opitz saw the American governmental system as a unique solution in the history of man that had yet to be matched. To him, minimal government was the best way to restrain tyranny. With these principles in mind, it is no surprise that Opitz was patently opposed to the so-called “social gospel” that was popular in the church for much of the 20th century. The central tenet of the social gospel was that the chief function of the church was to provide for the physical needs of the destitute by all possible means. Though charity is indeed a great part of the Christian way of life, social-gospel activists in effect renounced charity and condoned the use of force to achieve their meta-goals of social and economic equality through government programs and wealth transfer. Opitz’s keen outlook on history and philosophy led him to write scathing critiques of the actions of social-gospel proponents, and in many respects he single-handedly turned much of the tide against this deviant theological point of view. (See his book The Libertarian Theology of Freedom for an excellent history of the social gospel.) Opitz’s strong belief in freedom was coupled with action. Early in his career, he helped form and manage a group called Spiritual Mobilization, which disseminated newsletters promoting free-market ideas to over 20,000 ministers nationwide. Following the dissolution of Spiritual Mobilization, Opitz joined the Foun-
dation for Economic Education (FEE) as a senior staff member (and resident theologian). While at FEE, he founded the Nockian Society, which helped keep Albert Jay Nock’s writings in print, and “the Remnant,” a small fellowship of conservative and libertarian ministers named after the theme of Nock’s essay “Isaiah’s Job.” He spent 37 years at FEE, retiring in 1992. He made a great impact upon the freedom movement through his writing. The paper trail of his thoughts is voluminous. While a part of Spiritual Mobilization, Opitz was a frequent contributor to the magazine Faith and Freedom. He left an indelible mark upon FEE’s publication, The Freeman, with his numerous book reviews and articles. Religion and Capitalism is considered a classic text in both economics and theology. His manner of writing matched his manner of person—gentlemanly, persuasive, and humble—worthy traits that all friends of liberty should emulate. Opitz could see the ramifications of the war of ideas that has been fought for centuries between liberty and tyranny. He saw the trajectories of the prominent ideas of his day—social gospel, collectivism, socialistic economic policy—and he used his abilities to promote what was good and right. “With how little wisdom do we organize our lives, especially in the areas of government and the economy. We’ve been going by dead reckoning for too long, and our dumb luck has just about run out,” he wrote in the August 1992 Freeman. Libertarian Christians should remember that Opitz helped pave the way for us to make a difference. Let us honor his legacy by telling Christians in America that the answer to the problems society faces is not the State, but rather liberty and faith. Norman Horn is a graduate research assistant in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin.
32 March 2010
RampaRts’ Red gLaRe
riting a history of Ramparts is no easy task. Starting with a staff that was an eclectic combination of anti-communist associates of the John Birch Society and traditionalist opponents of the modern world, the magazine eventually morphed into a defiant opponent of America’s core institutions, run by self-proclaimed “revolutionaries.” In its relatively short life as a periodical (with an at times truly “periodical” distribution schedule) Ramparts hosted symposiums on smut literature, exposed numerous cases of CIA malfeasance, employed and promoted Black Panthers, and defended the firebombing of banks. Helmed by spendthrifts and publicity-seekers, the journal featured some of the hardest-hitting reporting in American history, but ultimately collapsed when their financiers got fed up with the fast-living, devil-may-care attitude that defined Ramparts for most of its existence. Peter Richardson’s A Bomb In Every Issue is a well-written account of all of the above and then some. When Ramparts began in 1962 as a highbrow Catholic journal its sole founding father was California businessman Edward Keating. Early issues specialized in a sort of prudish cultural criticism. Sporadically published and heavily reliant on the personal inheritance of Keating’s wife, the upstart magazine narrowly averted death many times over the years and only averted irrelevance when Keating hired a one-eyed alcoholic named Warren Hinckle. If Keating was a caricature of a ’50s Catholic convert, Hinckle was a caricature of the eccentric reporter. A hard-drinking selfpromoter with a flare for the dramatic, Hinckle would eventually be responsible in some form for most of the journalistic coups that the magazine was able to pull off. Within months of his first Ramparts article Hinckle was making waves in a multitude of ways and was quickly brought on as an executive editor. His first duty was to secure money, a task Hinckle would prove to be up to. Unfortunately for Ramparts, he was even better at spending it. But before the bankruptcy there was the bombast. Jet-setting the country while carelessly burning fuel and cash is not a model for publishing longevity, but it proved an exceptional approach for developing readership. With a new layout and new mission, the Hinckle-directed Ramparts became the premier muckraking magazine of the New Left. It was Ramparts that first took on the CIA and its involvement in funding various student groups and publications as a perverse Cold War tactic. At the time the CIA was still regarded as a trusty
A Bomb in Every Issue: How the Short, Unruly Life of Ramparts Magazine Changed America Peter Richardson, The New Press, 272 pages
weapon in the war against the Red Menace; Beltway insiders and political outsiders alike viewed it as the “liberal” wing of the foreignpolicy establishment. Ramparts revealed that the agency was funding the National Student Association, a confederation of student governments on American college campuses. Although the CIA may have been more concerned about international conferences members of the association attended—such events were good recruiting grounds for foreign sources—the exposure of agency’s involvement in a domestic group raised troubling questions about espionage activities at home. The agency’s “outing” at the hands of Ramparts proved to be the first of many exposés that would ultimately cast the CIA in a more suspicious light. Building on the success of the CIA stories, Ramparts branched out even further, becoming a vehicle for a radical cultural criticism and political critique that was drastically at odds with its own religious roots. Inspired by the revolutions in Cuba and China, Ramparts staffers wound up becoming some of the most trenchant critics of the American empire. Perhaps the most hard-nosed of all was Robert Scheer. The quintessential “street fighting man” of leftist lore, Scheer had a take-no-prisoners style that was well suited for the always confrontational Ramparts. Having visited both Vietnam and Cuba, Scheer was uncompromising in his criticisms of American involvement in both regions. This ultimately led Scheer to run as a decidedly antiwar Democratic candidate for Congress, a race he nearly won. Openly and uncritically aligned with the enemies of the warfare state, Scheer became the public face of the magazine, even appearing on William F. Buckley’s show “Firing Line” in one of the most contentious episodes in the program’s 33-year history. Though the magazine was accused of being sexist and narrow in its coverage of the burgeoning counterculture, it was one the first major publications to do a feature on women’s issues, and it regularly featured essays and commentary on sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll. Uncovering the government’s role in the creation of LSD, the magazine kept the trippy world of Haight Asbury at arms length, but it was clear whose side they were on. After all, straightlaced publications don’t have pet monkeys in the newsroom or future High Times writers on the payroll. By the end of the 1960s, Ramparts had become a virtual propaganda arm of the Black Panther Party (led by ex-con and Ramparts staffer Eldridge Cleaver), a consistent opponent of the Vietnam
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War years before it was “cool,” and the only major periodical to Unfortunately, this evenhandedness and careful cultivation have any active presence at the bloody Democratic Convention of sources produces some blind spots, primarily in Richardson’s of 1968. Taking a unique approach to the coverage of the “potreatment of the broader New Left. The Black Panthers are porlice riot” at the convention in Chicago, Hinckle and company retrayed as violent race hucksters with absolutely no redeeming leased daily double-sided “posters” chronicling the events of the value. Though attempts to paint the Panthers as a misunderstood, day. Activists on the ground who also acted as contributors to peace-loving bunch are equally absurd, the almost entirely negathe fact-sheet placed the “newspaper” deep within the maelstrom. tive portrait painted by Richardson is at odds with much of the They were making the news they were reporting on—the vanavailable literature on the group. Not surprisingly, it does closely guardists of journalistic revolution were now doubling as political mirror the views and reporting of neoconservative David Horowvanguardists. After Chicago, the direction of the New Left and itz, who in his radical days was a Ramparts editor; Horowitz serves Ramparts would never be same. as a primary source for Richardson’s account. In many ways the radicalizaSuch cavils should not dissuade tion of Ramparts closely paralone from reading the book. As a lels the radicalization of the New history of an extremely influential Left. Originally rooted in a someAmerican periodical, A Bomb In Evwhat utopian American liberalism, ery Issue is both valuable and unique. both Ramparts and the activists of Though it is a relatively small book, the New Left steadily but surely it is hard to imagine a longer volume evolved into harsh parodies of the being any better. In fact, if not for authoritarian Left. Hedonistic to a the tireless efforts of Richardson it fault and uneconomical in almost is doubtful the history of Ramparts every sense of the term, the New would ever have been written at all. Left in general and Ramparts in parThe publication of Che Gueticular settled into a rigid uniforvara’s diaries in Ramparts and the mity and ideological orthodoxy that magazine’s role as a launching pad rendered the revolutionary fervor for Eldridge Cleaver would prove they represented totally irrelevant to be the beginning of the end for to most Americans. But however Hinckle’s experiment. As it grew dispiriting the destination proved to too radical to draw advertisers and be, in the Ramparts story the stops remained too independent to conalong the way are where one finds form to the dictates of donors, the real value. A tale more of ups and unprofitable became the impractical downs than departure and destinaand the impractical ultimately betion, A Bomb In Every Issue is a gripcame extinct. Most revolutions end ping account of an exceptionally badly, and Ramparts was no excepturbulent environment. tion. Perhaps the most remarkable Though it died a slow death, thing about A Bomb In Every Issue Ramparts left behind a large legacy. is its tone. While there have been The New Left took an increasingly violent turn after 1968 It was the Velvet Underground of many books written about magazines, magazines and inspired numerous almost all of them have been written by editors or owners of pubwriters and editors. Both Rolling Stone and Mother Jones were direct lications looking to toot their own horns, or else by ex-employees offshoots founded by former Ramparts staffers, and the style Ramwith axes to grind. Richardson’s neutrality, coupled with ability to parts came to exemplify would become a staple for later reporters convey the exuberant style exemplified by Ramparts, results in a and polemicists. A home to both the godfather of gonzo Hunter spirited and evenhanded account. S. Thompson and the future neoconservative publishing kingpin This approach pays off greatly when outlining the many twists Peter Collier, the depth of the influence Ramparts had on the inteland turns the magazine took over the years. Richardson went to lectual class in America has been woefully underappreciated. great lengths to track down many of the key players involved— Though not a template for a successful magazine, the feroat times a laborious task. Even in a book filled with the exploits cious spirit that defined Ramparts is an example that should be of drug-addled reporters and revolutionary hijinks, some of the followed by writers, critics, and commentators of all political permore amusing passages are stories Richardson tells about attemptsuasions. For young readers, A Bomb In Every Issue serves as food ing to locate various figures associated with Ramparts. Journalistic for thought and as both a blueprint and a warning of sorts for objectivity is largely a myth, but Richardson’s success in staying authentic radicals interested in using the power of the pen to roll above the fray and conveying a compelling story is remarkable. back the power of the State. His willingness to go the extra mile to retrieve the obscure and seemingly inane from the dustbin of history is even more impresDylan Hales is a writer in Charleston, South Carolina. sive.
34 March 2010
Gerald J. Russello
he Republican Party today is in a situation similar to the one it experienced in the 1930s, when the Depression caused a nation to turn to Franklin Delano Roosevelt as its savior and the GOP was saddled with the image of causing the national economic collapse. As in 1932, the presidential election of 2008 brought a supposed savior to the presidency. Barack Obama is doing the same things that Roosevelt did, but on a scale that even FDR could not have imagined: with a Democratic majority in Congress, Obama seems set to extend the reach of government power in every field imaginable, from health care to the capitalist bastions of Wall Street. And as in Roosevelt’s time, there are some in the president’s cabinet and Congress who would go even further. Republicans deserve much of the blame. Too often, they share the unspoken premise that the purpose of government is to alleviate any perceived suffering, no matter the cost in dollars or liberties lost. And while the frenzy surrounding the election of Obama was unique, Republicans too have suffered from presidential hero-worship. When government programs are deemed inefficient or corrupt, the disappointing answer from the GOP is too often not to end the programs but to make them “better.” This is arguing on liberalism’s own turf, and fails to offer a legitimate conservative alternative to the centralized welfare state. This lack of an alternative is especially evident in foreign policy, where Republicans since September 11, 2001 have been vociferous supporters of government power in the name of “protecting the homeland” or “preserving democracy.” George W. Bush had campaigned for the White House as an opponent of nationbuilding and an advocate of a “humble foreign policy,” but in the wake of the terrorist attacks he adopted an interventionist mentality that continues to split conservatives. Even now, some Republicans speak of expanding into new “theaters” of the War on Terror, adding to their targets countries such as Yemen that pose no real strategic threat and without heed to the economic and human costs of military operations. The Republicans’ endless overseas adventures, either against “terror” or to impose democracy, differ only in rhetoric from the worst leftist excesses. The interventions in Bosnia, Somalia, Kuwait, Afghanistan, and Iraq all are shrouded in the same language of exporting the American way of life and making the world safe for democracy—language descended from the rhetoric of one of the most centralizing presidents of the 20th
The Political Principles of Robert A. Taft Russell Kirk and James McClellan, Transaction Publishers, 243 pages
century, Woodrow Wilson. There is another way, however, one that was charted out in the 1940s and 1950s by that era’s greatest Republican opponent of big government: Sen. Robert A. Taft of Ohio. Taft’s name has appeared on the fringes of recent conversations over the future of the Republican Party, as well it should. More than any other Republican statesman, Taft articulated the profound skepticism toward national government power that is rooted in the American political tradition, a tradition the elites— of both the left and right—would have us forget. Now Transaction Books has published a new edition of the classic 1967 study of Taft by Russell Kirk, author of The Conservative Mind, and political scientist James McClellan. Its appearance should cause conservatives to reassess their recent past and chart a new way forward to the 2010 elections and beyond. Taft (1889-1953) was the scion of a prominent political family that had been rooted in Ohio, but whose influence eventually reached nation’s capital. Taft’s father, William Howard Taft, was the 27th president of the United States and later became chief justice of the Supreme Court. Robert served in the United States Senate from 1939 through 1953, after terms as a state legislator and a career as a lawyer in Ohio. He became Senate majority leader in 1951, only to die two years later. Throughout his career in the Senate, Taft battled Democrats and Republicans alike who would compromise constitutional principles for political expediency. (Perhaps this is why he lost bids for the Republican presidential nominations in 1940, 1948, and 1952.) In his time, Taft was widely recognized as one of the great American legislative leaders, whose influence, even before he became Senate majority leader, was substantial. He was also the most noted conservative of his time—even earning the nickname “Mr. Republican.” Taft is a name that once was used as metaphor for a range of Republican positions that seem alien in today’s post-September 11 world. His principles, which built the conservative wing of the GOP, are in need of rediscovery. This may not be easy. American political culture before the 1960s is hard to reconstruct. Before truly national television networks, before the Internet, before Reagan, before Gingrich, before Coulter and Rush, the nation had distinct political regions that brought different concerns and perspectives to politics in Washington, D.C. Even with blogs and social networks, that varied political culture of old, based on local differences, history, and ethnic or religious communities, is difficult to replicate. The great
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dislocations caused by World War and McClellan explain in their II were only partially eased by the book, through deep analysis of supposedly placid 1950s. The fedthe actual legislation before Coneral leviathan in D.C. had grown gress, knowledge of parliamentary great during the 1930s and 1940s, procedures, and, most important, and the nation was becoming aca guiding set of principles, Senator customed to turning toward the Taft crafted a real alternative to the Potomac for orders. By the 1960s, liberal view of government. Withsocial upheavals and technologiout rejecting government action in cal innovations acted together to the abstract, Taft held government shape a new nation with very difto strict standards of efficacy and ferent mores and attitudes than adherence to the principle of prothose of the previous generation. tecting liberty. Too often, legislaFor the Republican Party after tion is passed to make a statement World War II, there were at least or to express some passing poputwo important regional continlar emotion. Such action is not, on gents. The first was the RepubliTaft’s view, consistent with American establishment, the supporters can traditions of self-government. of Thomas Dewey and Wendell Taft faced the twin threats to Willkie, which was aligned with liberty of government growth at home and the use of foreign the great financial interests of the threats—in his day, international East Coast. The second continCommunism—as excuses for gent was a Midwest conservatism, expanding government power of which Taft was the outstandabroad. In judging legislation, Taft ing exemplar. This Midwestern asked the most crucial question: conservatism shared certain of does it preserve or increase the the principles embodied by what Robert A. Taft, conservative mastermind liberty of Americans? Taft saw that writer Bill Kauffman has called the increased government spending, of “front porch republic,” an American any kind, would work to enrich the state to the detriment of the political culture dating back to the Founding. It is defined by popeople. This is as true in domestic spending as in defense. They litical humility, a reliance on local communities, and a suspicion are different sides of the same coin, and must be analyzed acboth of national politics and the financial interests that influence cording to the same measure. A policy wonk before the term was national politics. Later on, Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan invented, Taft began a full-fledged assault on the New Deal beginwere to add the Sunbelt states to the originally Midwestern conning in the mid-1930s by poring over the legislation and pointing servative coalition. out its absurdities and excessive costs. While he lost these indiTaft was no political philosopher, but as Kirk and McClellan vidual battles more often than he won (the labor legislation known explain, he was a great party leader. He saw the futility of liberal as the Taft-Hartley Act, which restricted the coercive power of Republicanism on the national stage, and he did not think conserunions, being a major exception), he set the stage for a principled vative Republicans had made their principles clear (sound familRepublican opposition that still had life in it as late as 1980 and iar?). But it is important to note what this meant for Taft. For him, the election of Reagan. party government should be government through principles, not Foreign policy and defense are areas traditionally close to the through interest groups or ideology. Indeed, Taft recognized early Republican heart, yet even they must be considered in light of the on that big government creates the interest groups that feed off principles of federalism and liberty. His 1951 book, A Foreign Poliof it, doling out special privileges in return for financial support, cy for Americans, explains Taft’s view of America’s role in the world. with the result that voters fade in importance. How many voters In its major themes, the book is a direct descendant of President today read or understand the health care bills? For that matter, George Washington’s directive to avoid foreign entanglements. It how many congressmen read them? is simply not the job of the United States to impose democracy Taft was unusual even in his own time for closely reading legisabroad or improve living standards or do anything other than prolation before it was voted upon. He saw clearly that in the absence tect American interests. The cost in lives and treasure is simply too of an engaged and disciplined electorate, interest groups fill the great for anything more than that. Taft acted repeatedly on this vacuum in Washington. The effect, he said, is to “reduce the effect belief, almost single-handedly defeating a plan by President Truof political principles as a force for the determination of public man to impose universal military training on American citizens. policy. … Perhaps the people have lost their sense of moral integThis proposal was supported by polite opinion, Democrat and rity because their leaders have lost it, but I don’t think so. … Most Republican alike, but Taft saw it for the threat that it was. people have a sense of hopelessness in trying to change what Taft is often called a representative of the “isolationist” tradiseems to have become government’s accepted practices.” As Kirk tion in American foreign policy. This is misleading: Taft was not
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opposed to foreign actions or joining alliances, as long as such actions were taken in the defense of American interests. Too often, however, American leaders confused interests with ideology, or dreamy self-projection of beneficence, a tendency encouraged by the liberal press. As Kirk writes, “[i]n international affairs, Taft declared, the New Dealers forever tilted, like so may Quixotes, against windmills. Their objects never well defined even in their own minds, they talked of perpetual peace and the ‘Four Freedoms;’ they dreamed of universal democratic order on the American model; they conjured up stereotypes of nations, and sought to make alliance with—or wars upon—those simulacra.” Those New Dealers remain with us still, in both parties. Conservatism favors peace, for the conservative knows that war is, in Kirk’s words, “the enemy of constitution, liberty, economic security, and the cake of custom.” Permanent military commitments have no place in the Constitution, and the prospect of a “garrison state,” in which empire abroad is matched by decreased liberty at home, was not the aim of Taft’s Republicanism. Even when he voted for military spending or foreign interventions, Taft maintained it was a congressional duty to keep a strict watch over executive actions, a monitoring that has become even more important in the 21st century. The ability of the state spy on its citizens, to infringe on their liberty, or to secretly maintain military engagements abroad, is greater then ever. Republicans would be smart to place Congress at the center of their attention, as the necessary institutional check on executive power. Presidential plans to make the world perfectly safe and democratic always translate into lesser liberty back home. Railing against the Roosevelt administration, Taft warned that “[i]n our efforts to protect the freedom of this country against aggression from without, we are in a situation today where we must constantly be on guard against the suppression of freedom in the United States itself ….” This lesson is even more important today, when the threat of terrorism—which by its nature can occur any time, anywhere—provides a convenient excuse to curtail our liberties. Taft would have resisted both Obama’s health care “reform” and the Patriot Act, to say nothing of the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. Taft waged a battle against the health care “reform” in his day, another lesson, if another were needed, that government overreach is always a real danger. Taft was not opposed to government action to help the needy, but he understood grand proposals for reform for what they were: an effort to exert centralized control over the actions of free people out of an ideological devotion to an abstract equality. The next election cycle is shaping up to have great potential for Republicans to take back many seats in the Congress. But to what end? Winning seats to continue the same policies of big government that the last GOP Congress enacted—like the prescription drug plan for Medicare and the Iraq War—is not worth a candle, and will lead simply to more voter disillusionment. Republicans must, in Kirk’s words, “offer the people a reasoned defense of the American heritage; and its principles must reflect love of American traditions.” Taft provides the outline of such a defense, one young conservatives would be wise to follow. Gerald J. Russello is the author of The Postmodern Imagination of Russell Kirk.
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Rockin’ in the Free World
The top 25 libertarian rock songs
n the summer of 2006, National Review published a list by John J. Miller of the top 50 conservative songs. It was a fun article that generated a great deal of discussion and criticism in the blogosphere during what must have been a slow news week. I intended to join that discussion by writing up a list of the most libertarian rock songs, without borrowing any of Miller’s choices. Now, three and a half years later, here is your libertarian countdown: 25. “Sweet Cherry Wine” by Tommy James and the Shondells. One of the ultimate pop bands of the 1960s try their hands at writing an antiwar song and knock it out of the park. The lyrics place a very libertarian emphasis on the inviolability of human life, declaring, “Only God has the right/ To decide who’s to live and die.” 24. “Copperhead Road” by Steve Earle. This classic of the country rock genre tells the story of three generations of outlaws trying to make a living in defiance of the nanny state. The protagonist’s (John Lee Pettimore’s) father and grandfather make moonshine before their still burns. Because they “draft the white trash first,” Pettimore volunteers for the Army, and later applies the skills he learns flying choppers in Vietnam to smuggle contraband into the country. 23. “Open up the Border” by Clutch. Although you should never take the lyrics to a Clutch song too seriously, the stoner rock group seems to be celebrating the numerous possibilities offered by free trade. The protagonist travels around the world trading incessantly, and the song’s metal rumble makes
trade sound like an unstoppable force of nature. 22. “Big Brother” by Stevie Wonder. The song sounds sweet enough—and what doesn’t with Stevie’s mellifluous voice in the mix?—but it is actually a vituperative attack on politicians who use the disadvantaged to advance their careers with no intention of actually changing things for the better. 21. “Breaking the Law” by Judas Priest. It’s no treatise on Austrian economics or the nonaggression axiom, but the good old-fashioned visceral disrespect for authority this metal classic conjures up is just what every libertarian needs sometimes. 20. “Prison Song” by System of a Down. This is one of the few songs of any genre that tackles the rapid growth of America’s prison population, due in large part to the War on Drugs. The song suggests that by imprisoning so many of our people, we are turning our whole society into a prison. 19. “Gasoline Dreams” by Outkast. Probably the closest Outkast comes to a traditional rock song with its cutting electric guitar, “Gasoline Dreams” describes a collapsed American Dream, in part ruined by the government. Andre and Big Boi rap about relatives in prison on drug offenses, hating their taxes, and young people who have rightfully lost respect for the law. 18. “Long Haired Country Boy” by Charlie Daniels. Daniels sings about a person cultural warriors on both the left and right would have you believe doesn’t exist: a potsmoking redneck skeptical of preachers. The longhaired country boy provides for himself
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and only asks to be left alone—a true libertarian archetype. 17. “If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out” by Cat Stevens. Long before it was in annoying phone commercials, this song was featured in the 1971 dark comedy “Harold and Maude.” The film and song give the lesson that there are “a million ways to go” and each can be a path to happiness for a different person, so we should all respect individual choices. 16. “Anarchy in the UK” by the Sex Pistols. No, the anarchy advocated in this early punk anthem is not some deeply pondered free-market philosophy, but still the song is a powerful call to antiauthoritarians of all stripes. Remember when Johnny Rotten waved to Ron Paul on “The Tonight Show”? Maybe his anarchism has matured after all these years. 15. “Mom and Dad” by Frank Zappa. This song was written in 1968, but it eerily anticipates the Kent State shootings of 1970. Zappa takes aim at an establishment that wantonly kills young people for protesting and looking weird. The parents also earn Zappa’s ire as they silently acquiesce to the murders and encourage their children to conform so as not to rock the boat. 14. “Going Mobile” by The Who. Set to a jaunty Pete Townshend riff, this cut off Who’s Next defines the pure freedom of travel. Most of Townshend’s lyrics concern being free of obligations and the worries of life, but he also sticks his thumb in the eye of officious government agents when he promises to make “the police and the taxman miss me.” 13. “With God on Our Side” by Bob Dylan. In his early days, Dylan wrote a number of antiwar songs; this remains one of his finest. The song details many of America’s wars, all fought in the firm belief that God supported America. Of course, believing that God supports their cause could spur America’s leaders to end war once and for all through nuclear annihilation. Dylan, however, sings that if God is truly on our side, he will “stop the next war.” 12. “The Guns of Brixton” by The Clash. This deep cut from the seminal London Calling is one of The Clash’s best blends of reggae into punk, and it minces no words about the right and necessity of self-defense, even against your own government. “When they kick at your front door/ How you gonna come/ With your hands on your head or on
the trigger of your gun?” Joe Strummer sings, leaving little doubt as to which he thought was right. 11. “Into the Void” by Black Sabbath. Even for a legendary guitarist like Tony Iommi, who seems to be composed of nothing but awesome metal riffs, the lead-in to this song is a real bone-cruncher. After a full minute, Iommi’s sludge riff finally gives way to a faster, choppier one, and Ozzy Osbourne bursts onto the scene to tell the tale of an intrepid band of space travelers fleeing a ruined Earth for a “world where freedom waits.” 10. “Freewill” by Rush. “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.” That pretty well sums up this song by the great Canadian power trio. Drummer and lyricist Neil Peart is a well-known fan of Ayn Rand, and it shows here as he encourages people to take responsibility for their own lives instead of blaming bad outcomes on fate or God. 9. “Support Your Local Emperor” by Blues Traveler. Although John Popper’s libertarian politics did not become a subject of conversation until much later in his career, this 1991 song makes them abundantly clear. Popper sings of politicians as small, vain people, constantly in need of praise despite the fact that they are completely ineffectual. 8. “Politician” by Cream. From the moment Jack Bruce’s menacing bass line hits, you know that whatever this song is about, it is evil, unsavory, and downright sleazy. The lyrics tell of a powerful politician driving around in a “big black car” seducing young women. Of course, the politician has no principles, as he supports the left but leans to the right. 6. “It’s My Life” by The Animals. Libertarianism has never been summed up in song as quickly as this: “It’s my life, and I’ll do what I want. It’s my mind, and I’ll think what I want.” 7. “Riki Tiki Tavi” by Donovan. This song by the British answer to Bob Dylan (who of course is not actually a question) begins with some undeniably upbeat guitar strumming, and although Donovan never loses his cheerful tone, he proceeds to attack every social institution in existence. He tells us, “the United Nations ain’t really united/ And the organization ain’t really organized.” Those who believe institutions like government will solve the problems in their lives are no more mature than someone who believes the fictional Riki Tiki Tavi will kill snakes.
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5. “Symphony of Destruction” by Megadeth. This song is not quite as beautifully simplistic as Lord Acton’s maxim about absolute power corrupting absolutely, but it’s close. “You take a mortal man/ And put him in control/ Watch him become a god/ Watch people’s heads-a-roll,” sings Dave Mustaine as he churns out an almost perfectly simple metal riff. In the end, Mustaine envisions world powers falling and peaceful men reasserting their prerogative. 4. “Granite State Destroyer” by Scissorfight. Few people outside of New England have heard of Scissorfight—although I bet a lot of you Free Staters out there are big fans—but if you have not heard them and you are at all a fan of stoner metal, you are missing out. This song is about survivalists with the battle cry “Live free or die” in the wilderness of New Hampshire. The opening lyrics give you a pretty good idea of where they are coming from: “Weed, guns, and axes/ We don’t pay our taxes.” And it just gets better from there! 3. “Eye of the Beholder” by Metallica. Many of Metallica’s early songs have a libertarian bent, but it was never as direct as on this song from their classic 1988 album …And Justice for All. The song begins with a slowly building riff that sounds like horses galloping in from the open plains. Soon James Hetfield is imploring us “To look inside/to each his own” and hungering “after independence” to “lengthen freedom’s ring.” 2. “2112” by Rush. For this to be a list of top libertarian songs and feature only two Rush songs is pretty good, so I don’t want to hear any complaints about redundancy here. This song is over 20 minutes long and takes up the entire first side of the album of the same name. It is essentially a rock-opera version of the Ayn Rand novel Anthem except instead of a light bulb the protagonist discovers a guitar. After becoming almost instantly proficient, our hero takes his discovery to the Priests of the Temple of Syrinx, who run the society. Naturally, they declare it to be upsetting to the equality of society and smash the guitar to bits. Is the whole premise kind of hokey and ridiculous? Of course. But it is musically transfixing and emotionally moving even for all its absurdity. 1. “Political World” by Bob Dylan. It should come as no surprise that the best songwriter of the last half-century tops this list, even if he is not commonly known as a libertarian hero. The guitar plucking at the beginning of the song has a haunting quality—it gives the feeling of something being deeply wrong, but you can’t be sure exactly what. As Dylan unfurls his complaints about our overly politicized world, it becomes clear that politics has ruined everything. In this world peace is “put up against the wall,” “mercy walks the plank,” and “wisdom is thrown into jail.” Not only could the next day be your last, but even if you try to call out God’s name “you’re never sure what it is.” Politics isn’t just ruining our lives; it has corrupted our souls. John Payne is a writer in St. Louis, Missouri, and blogs at www.rougholboy.com.
Bob Dylan in November 1963
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This much is true: You are being lied to
Don’t Weep for Me, America-How Democracy In America Became the Prince (While We Slept)
Abraham Lincoln’s Prediction-1864
“I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country...corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.” “THIS BOOK IS THE RED PILL” –Michael Wolsey
The American public is, overall, completely ignorant of their true history. Practically everything they know about their country is a systematic, orchestrated falsehood. “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.” –William Casey, former CIA Director, said in 1981 We are there. What makes this book different from other books out there is the weaving in and out throughout the story of the methods of deception used to fool the public and keep them under control, such as George Orwell’s 1984 and Plato’s Cave. The American founders knew our republic would not last. Machiavelli would have predicted as much. Tocqueville knew it. The reason why the American Republic didn’t last is given by Abraham Lincoln in 1864: Ultimately, “...all wealth is aggregated in a few hands”! Chillingly, in this provocative book, Machiavelli, Tocqueville, Orwell all come together to provide an accurate picture of America today! Written for the heart that yearns for freedom, This must-read book is essential reading and available from the publisher, Dorrance Publishing at: http://www.dorrancebookstore.com/doweformeamh.html or by calling 800-788-7654. Quantities are limited.
ORDER YOUR COPY TODAY!
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