Anyone who’s read my columns over the years recognizes that The Articles of Confederation are my kind of founding documents; the US Constitution, not so much. To the extent the Constitution comports with the natural law it is good; to the extent it doesn’t, it is bad, in my book. Simple. That has always been my position.
Personally, I have a healthy contempt for most politicians too, even the libertarian ones—all the more so in view of the kind of empire builders they all ultimately prove to be: They see nothing wrong in using their fame and the public dime to flog their “products” and wares.
Some politicians are less sickening than others, but all fit snugly on The Sick-Making Scale.
And the people—at least those of us who’ve never fed from the “public” trough, unlike every single politician and his aide—are always morally superior to the politicians.
The reason I argue from the classical liberal vantage point, and not from anarchism, is because one is better and more logically able to wrestle with reality from the first philosophical perspective. This is not to say that I would not prefer a government-free universe than the one we currently inhabit; I would. Again, anyone who’s read my columns over the years recognizes that.
However, the paleolibertarian (at least) has to use a philosophical device that helps to anchor his reasoning in reality and in “the nit and the grit of the history and culture from which it emerged.”
Unless remarkably sophisticated and brilliant (as Hans-Hermann Hoppe indubitably is), the anarchist invariably falls into sloth. Forever suspended between what is and what ought to be, he settles on a non-committal (and idle) incoherence, spitting venom like a cobra at those who do the work he won’t or cannot do.
This specimen has nothing to say about policy and politics for fear of compromising precious libertarian purity.
Suspended as he is in the arid arena of pure thought, this species of libertarian will settle for nothing other than the immediate and absolute application and acceptance of the non-aggression axiomatic ideal. And since utopia will never be upon us, he opts to live in perpetual sin: THE SIN OF ABSTRACTION.
This mindset is not only lazy but—dare I say?—un-Rothbaridan.
Murray Rothbard did not sit on the fence reveling in his immaculate ideological purity; he dove right into “the nit and the grit of the issues,” and got dirty.
You’re not going to like what I’ve got to say, but Jack Kerwick’s “Romney or Obama: A Choice Between Two Evils?” is arguably written in this vigorous, Rothbardian tradition.
Sadly, it has been quite some time—arguably a century-and-a-half—since America has had anything even remotely approximating a federal government of the scope and size delineated by our Constitution. So, Paul supporters know—or at least should know—that if such a lost governmental structure is ever to be restored, it is not going to happen over the next four to eight years—regardless of whether our President over this time is named Obama, Romney, or Paul.
We must judge matters from where we are at. In other words, ignorance of our reality—ignorance of the immensity of our national government, say, and ignorance of the sheer powerlessness of any one person or even group of persons to scale it back to so much as a shadow of its counterpart from the eighteenth century—is inexcusable. To make a decision regarding something as momentous as the future of our country on the basis of this sort of ignorance—even if it accords with one’s conscience—is to condemn oneself. …
While I disagree with Jack’s conclusion in this column; I wholeheartedly agree with and admire his method.
UPDATED I: I don’t vote. And, although eligible, I have chosen not to become a citizen of Police State USA. There you have it. I guess that’s “radical.” Moreover, as Loren E. Lomasky observed, “As electorates increase in size, the probability that one’s vote will swing the election approaches zero” … “[I]n large-number electorates, there is a vanishingly small probability that an individual’s vote (or voice) will swing an election … [F]or citizens of large-scale democracies, voting is inconsequential.” So obviously, I’m not with Jack on the lesser evil thing.
Also, given that Romney will take us to war at the drop of a hat, I do not know that he’ll reduce the size of the state. As I put it the other day, “Make no mistake; should he succeed in vanquishing Obama, come Nov. 6, Romney’s brand of ‘repeal-and-replace statism’—not to mention maniacal militarism and Sinophobia—will be no victory for liberty.”
I am with Jack, however, in that he is in there “mixing it up,” arguing the issues (rather than adopt the attitude described here).
In fact, some left-libertarians argue for Obama. At least they are not intellectually lazy and are arguing the issues, which is what Rothbard did. That’s my point.
UPDATE II: THOSE who refuse to “mix it up”; to get down and dirty and debate the issues, will also typically be unprepared to admit to nuance in the personalities involved. What do I mean? Recognizing that Romney may be wrong on almost all issues of policy should not prevent one from acknowledging that he’s a lovely man. As a person, he has way more merit than Obama.
Ann Romney, herself a delightful lady, is a lucky woman. Romney is a great provider, fabulously devoted to family and church, consistently generous and charitable to all those around him, and brilliant in all endeavors, academic and other. Unlike those of Obama, Romney’s university transcripts will stand scrutiny.
As I see him, Barack Obama belongs to an alien species hostile to life on earth.
UPDATE III: Mining Men are some of the most heroic workers, tied in the literary mind to great works such as Richard Llewellyn’s 1939 classic “How Green Was My Valley” (your children should have read it). It depicts the reality of mining men in an achingly beautiful way. The book haunted me for years after I had read it, as a kid. “Margaret’s Museum” achieves a good deal on celluloid.
So you read about these miners whom BHO, that alien who is hostile to life on earth, thwarts. And you wonder: Could Romney perhaps save their proud livelihood? The key being that you wonder … you wrestle with the issues.