Jonah Goldberg

If You Want Real “Social Justice,” Support Free Markets and Small Government

Originally posted at Mitchell’s blog International Liberty.

 

Since almost everybody wants a society that is just, that presumably means we all favor “social justice.”

But in the American political system, the phrase has been adopted by those who favor bigger government and more intervention. Sort of the way “solidarity” and “social” are code words for statism in Europe.

Leftists think that this phrase gives them the moral high ground, but shouldn’t we judge “social justice” by outcomes rather than intentions?

Is statism really compassionate if it actually winds up lining the pockets of wealthy insiders?

Is statism really compassionate when it gives people an excuse to be stingy, as we see in Europe?

Is statism really compassionate when it means less long-run growth and lower living standards for ordinary people?

The answers to those questions probably depend on one’s definition of a just society.

Everyone’s ideas are racist except mine

There are a few ways that a policy gets to be called racist: it is intended to negatively affect one race over another, it results in a negative affect on one race over another regardless of intent, or it has historically been used to negatively affect one race over another regardless of present intent or eventual result.

The first two are justifiably used to disqualify certain policies; of course we shouldn’t enact things that are intended to or serve to foster racial discrimination. But the latter is used as a fallacious smear tactic almost exclusively against conservative and libertarian policies. If that’s how we’re going to debate, it’s long past time the historically racist origins of certain liberal policies got considered too.

Federalism gets a bad rap obviously because of slavery and Jim Crow laws. The mantle of states’ rights was used for a long time as a means to get away with any number of heinous injustices and atrocities. That is almost never the case today, yet one risks being labeled racist for suggesting it, whether the issue to which federalism is to be applied has anything to do with race or not.

Well, if the putative federalist in question is a Republican, that is. Democrats are free to cling to states’ rights when it is convenient without having to worry about similar ad hominem attacks. Even after President Obama’s hailed conversion on the issue of gay marriage, he maintains that states should be free to decide the issue themselves.

This is effectively the same position as most elected Republicans, yet he doesn’t get called names because of it. Even the President’s signature health insurance reform grants states tremendous discretion in how much of the law’s new bureaucracy to implement themselves. Has anyone called Obamacare racist?

Electoral Vote: Romney still trailing Obama in campaign’s final hours

Obama and Romney debate

We’re coming down to the final hours of this electoral cycle. By late Tuesday night or perhaps even Wednesday morning, we’ll know whether voters will trust President Barack Obama with another term in office or if they’ll elect a different direction with Mitt Romney.

National polls are showing an incredibly close race, but those polls mean little when it comes down it. And though there are are many states considered to be part of the electoral battleground, those that will determine the election — Colorado, Florida, Ohio, and Virginia — were made clear weeks ago. Early voting is considered to be a key part of success either candidate hopes to have in these states. And while it appears that Obama has a lead over Romney in early voting, Molly Ball reports that Republicans are performing better at this aspect of the election than they did four years ago.

Is Libertarianism Part of the Conservative Movement?

Last night I attended a debate held at the American Enterprise Institute between Jonah Goldberg of National Review Online (and the Institute itself), author of Liberal Fascism and other notable works, and Matt Welch, of reason fame and the author of The Declaration of Independents. The question posed by the debate has been argued over ever since Franklin Delano Roosevelt began the New Deal, and conservatives and libertarians—then known as “classical liberals”—allied in order to present a unified front to keeping the massive new nanny state at bay. It was reinforced in the fifties when William Buckley formed National Review, and presented his argument for a “fusionist” political movement. It’s been going on for a long time, and it will continue to go on long into the future. Despite the jokes about it, the debate did not solve the question for most people. I, however, left convinced more than ever that libertarianism and conservatism do not mix.

Tax Hike Mike Huckabee plans 2016 bid

Mike Huckabee

Mike Huckabee announced on Friday that he has quit his syndicated radio gig in what some are calling a clear sign that he is planning a bid for Republican presidential nomination in 2016, telling followers on his Facebook page to “[s]tay tuned” for announcements on his “new endeavors.”

Huckabee, who served as Governor of Arkansas from 1996 to 2007, has been talking like a candidate for some time. Supporters have been pushing polling out of early primary states — Iowa and South Carolina, where social conservatives tend to do well — that shows him ahead of other potential Republican candidates.

But even as Huckabee, an unsuccessful candidate for the GOP nomination in 2008, begins making moves toward a 2016 bid, some conservatives are raising awareness to his record, which is checkered with tax hikes, spending increases, and support for nanny state policies. These policies earned Huckabee the nickname, “Tax Hike Mike.”

The Club for Growth, a conservative group that advances pro-growth economic policies, sent out an email blast to reporters on Friday in which they called attention to a 2007 white paper on Huckabee’s fiscal record.

The white paper (below) outlines how Huckabee repeatedly raised sales and excise taxes and increase spending by 65.3%, triple the rate of inflation. The number of state workers increased by 20% on his watch and Arkansas’ debt obligations rose by $1 billion. He also supported and signed a minimum wage increase into law.

Fusionism is a Necessity: Winning Minds Requires a Conservative/Libertarian Alliance

There has been much debate in recent weeks over fusionism inside the liberty movement, especially now that Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has become a prominent national political figure. This debate has been raging for years, but has really taken off for a number of reasons.

Writing yesterday at National Review, Jonah Goldberg, author of The Tyranny of Cliches: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas, noted that conservatives and libertarians have always shared a core belief in economics, making us natural allies:

What often gets left out in discussions of the American Right is that fusionism isn’t merely an alliance, it is an alloy. Fusionism runs through the conservative heart. William F. Buckley, the founder of the conservative movement, often called himself a “libertarian journalist.” Asked about that in a 1993 interview, he told C-SPAN’s Brian Lamb that the question “Does this augment or diminish human liberty?” informed most of what he wrote.

Most pure libertarians and the tiny number of truly statist social conservatives live along the outer edge of the Venn diagram that is the American Right. Most self-identified conservatives reside in the vast overlapping terrain between the two sides.

Just look at where libertarianism has had its greatest impact: economics. There simply isn’t a conservative economics that is distinct from a libertarian one. Adam Smith, Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, Henry Hazlitt, Ludwig von Mises, James M. Buchanan & Co. are gods of the libertarian and conservative pantheons alike. When Pat Buchanan wanted to move America towards protectionism and statism, he had to leave the party to do it.

Jonah Goldberg: “Cheer Up, The Worst Is Yet To Come”

Jonah Goldberg

I had the great fortune of attending AEI’s reception Tuesday night featuring Jonah Goldberg, giving his talk titled “Cheer Up, The Worst Is Yet To Come.” As Mr. Goldberg is a very funny man, and the video of the speech is now available, I thought it would only be fair to share it with you all. Especially since you didn’t get the AEI goody bag at the end of the talk. Or the fist-sized shrimp.

Mike Huckabee for Vice President?

As he comes closer to securing the Republican presidential nomination, Ron Paul’s delegate strategy notwithstanding, Mitt Romney is no doubt weighing the various names that could partner with him on the ticket. There are a few safe picks that would appease conservatives, but not many that would appeal to independent voters; at least not without a proper rollout and a lot of selling.

But yesterday at the National Review, Robert Costa floated our old friend, Tax Hike Mike Huckabee, someone that has been under radar when it comes to a possible vice presidential pick:

[A]ccording to several sources close to the Romney campaign, who insisted on anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the vice-presidential search, the 56-year-old Arkansan may be included in the veep mix.
[…]
To many Republicans, a ticket with a Mormon bishop and a Baptist preacher isn’t far-fetched. “In a way, it’s almost a dream ticket,” says Ed Rollins, the chairman of Huckabee’s 2008 presidential campaign. “He’s substantive and knows domestic policy, and his personality wouldn’t overshadow Romney’s.”

For now, it isn’t clear whether Huckabee is going to be vetted, or that he’s anywhere near Romney’s short list. But he is, at the very least, being discussed. As one Romney ally puts it, tapping Huckabee would energize tea-party conservatives, evangelicals, and related voters who soured on Romney during the GOP primaries. He’s also not a sweat-inducing pick, since he was vetted by the Beltway press during his presidential run four years ago.

CPAC: Day 3

Welcome to the third, and final day of CPAC 2011. Among today’s speakers are Andrew Breitbart, David Horowitz, Rep. Connie Mack, John Bolton, Ann Coulter and Jonah Goldberg. Also, straw poll results will be announced later today.

Don’t worry about the Constitution, that’s someone else’s job

I’ve heard some pretty bizarre things passing for logic in my time, but the oddest is some of the criticism leveled at one point in the Republican Party’s Pledge to America. That “controversial” statement is the idea that members of Congress should look at the constitutionality of proposed legislation before deciding to vote on it. A radical notion, to be sure.

Apparently, there is a whole school of that that says Congress shouldn’t worry about the constitutionality of a bill because that’s the Supreme Court’s job. They say this despite there being no actual language in the Constitution (you know, that document they ignore because it’s someone else’s job to look at?) that specifically outlines the Supreme Court is to conduct judicial review. Nada. This is a power that SCOTUS has taken on itself, and it needs to be done. Obviously, Congress can’t be trusted to weigh the constitution in its decisions.

I’m not the only one who finds it bizarre either. Jonah Goldberg over at Townhall.com seems to as well. He throws out some examples of some real radicals who made a stand on the constitutionality of things who weren’t even close to being on the Supreme Court:

George Washington vetoed an apportionment bill in 1792 because it was unconstitutional. What was he thinking? If only he had a Ben Adler around to tell him what a fool he was.


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