libertarian

Don’t Believe The Media Hype About Rand Paul Hypocrisy

rand reporters

The media may be tipping their hand at how they’re going to treat Rand Paul during the 2016 election cycle. Purity testing and alleged hypocrisy.

It started last month when Time.com put out an article on the Kentucky Senator’s proposal to increase defense spending. The piece claims Paul did an “about-face” and a “stunning reversal” from past stances on giving money to the Pentagon.

But that isn’t what Paul did.

He did propose $190-billion in defense spending, but tacked on $212-billion in cuts from other places, including foreign aid, HUD, and the EPA. Paul’s reasoning is simple: if the U.S. is going spend money on something, it needs to be able to pay for it. This is sound policy and certainly better than Florida Senator Marco Rubio’s proposal to increase spending without cuts.

It’s interesting Time didn’t bother getting a quote from Paul’s office. They instead just wrote the office confirmed the amendment was his, without getting context. Both Reason and Huffington Post were willing to get quotes from Paul’s office. That should say something about the context of how Time is treating Paul.

For those who are angry about Paul’s proposal, it’s important to remember he’s in the minority of the majority. He’s a libertarian, who is surrounded by people who aren’t. Paul may want to drastically cut the federal government back to sustainable areas, but he’s one man.

Are Republicans either “freedom conservatives” or “liberty conservatives”? We can do better than that.

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Buzzfeed, not exactly known for its credibility on the right, this week contributed to what has been an ongoing project among our ranks for years now: how to describe and label the different wings of Republicanism. Ben Smith put forth a valiant effort, attempting to simplifying the right into two sides: freedom conservatives and liberty conservatives.

When we write about the right these days, we tend to use a set of dated shorthand, overlapping categories drawn from different eras: neocons and tea partyers, libertarians and hawks, the establishment and the grassroots. …

I propose replacing the messy old terminology with a simple new vocabulary, one that has evolved organically, which has deep and consistent intellectual roots, no pejorative implications, and which political leaders use effortlessly and without reflecting. The division that will define the Republican Party for the next decade is the split between Liberty Conservatives and Freedom Conservatives.

He describes freedom conservatives as those, like Jeb Bush and Chris Christie, who have more moderate views and are comfortable with government expressing power both internationally and domestically to pursue a conservative agenda. Liberty conservatives, on the other hand, like Rand Paul of course, are more rooted in the originalist view of the Constitution limiting the federal government to a few specific powers and a more limited role in foreign affairs.

#IAmUnitedLiberty: Matthew Hurtt’s fight to advance liberty within the GOP

Matthew Hurtt, I Am United Liberty

Note: This is the first in a series of profiles of UL contributors and how they became involved in the “liberty movement.” Share your story on Twitter using the hashtag #IAmUnitedLiberty.

This was actually much harder to write than I imagined.

The goal of this profile and the others we’re going to showcase on UL this week is to show readers the different ways we’ve all gotten involved in the fight for liberty. Everyone comes to this movement with different experiences, from different backgrounds, and with different goals.

Some want to win elections; some want to change the GOP; some want to educate.

I remember always having “weird” political views. Growing up in a conservative Southern Baptist church, I remember being confronted about my opposition to the Iraq War in the early 2000s. I remember voting against the marriage amendment in the 2006 elections in Tennessee. But I didn’t know what the philosophy was.

Two things helped me realize that I am a libertarian.

I ran for local office at age 19 in 2006. While on the campaign trail, a man named Clarence Jaeger gave me a copy of Frederic Bastiat’s The Law, an essay on the role of government. Clarence has since passed away, but I will always be grateful for his gift. It allowed me to define my beliefs as to what I thought the size and scope of government should be.

Awesome: Actor Gary Oldman says he’s a libertarian, and epically takes down Hollywood’s politically correct culture

Gary Oldman has stolen plenty of hearts, but he probably now has a special place in the hearts of liberty lovers. The English actor told Playboy he considered himself a libertarian and took a great shot at Bill Maher in the process.

PLAYBOY: How would you describe your politics?

OLDMAN: I would say that I’m probably a libertarian if I had to put myself in any category. But you don’t come out and talk about these things, for obvious reasons.

PLAYBOY: But there are a ton of conservatives in Hollywood, and libertarians too. Bill Maher has called himself a libertarian.

OLDMAN: I think he would fail the test. Anyway, unlike Bill Maher, conservatives in Hollywood don’t have a podium.

Oldman is right in saying conservatives (and libertarians) don’t have a real podium in Hollywood. There isn’t really a “conservative/libertarian Bill Maher or Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert” unless you count Greg Gutfeld and Andy Levy from Fox’s Red Eye. It’s a shame, because there are some really funny liberty lovers out there like Stephen Kruiser.

But Oldman has some interesting comments regarding drug legalization and personal responsibility.

PLAYBOY: What’s your take on legalizing marijuana?

OLDMAN: It’s silly to me. I’m not for it. Drugs were never my bag. I mean, I tried it once and it wasn’t for me, though, unlike Bill Clinton, I did inhale. To me, the problem is driving. People in Colorado are driving high and getting DUIs. That’s what I worry about. Listen, if you want to do cocaine, heroin, smoke marijuana, that’s fine by me. It’s just that I worry about kids behind the wheel of a car more than anything.

Obama talks income inequality, blames the GOP

What used to be a value even to the Democratic Party has now become a forgotten lesson: it’s impossible to control the economy by decree.

According to President Barack Obama, he is perfectly capable to, as a president, fight income inequality and actually stop it. Leaving things alone, President Obama said during ABC’s Sunday “This Week” program, can “accelerate these trends (growing income inequality).” The President was also quick to note that technology, globalization and the GOP’s opposition to his personal agenda are all responsible for the growing income gap between the wealthiest and the poorest Americans.

For Obama, the government must intervene in the economy during the recovery in order to promote income equality and ensure the poorest among us have an easier time climbing the income ladder. The President highlighted his goals, which include increase funding for research, education and infrastructure. He also reported to be interested in reforming the tax code in order to keep companies from leaving the country.

Justice Anthony Kennedy is not a libertarian

Anthony Kennedy

Over the last few years, there has been much discussion about the philosophical leanings of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. Long considered a moderate on the High Court, Kennedy has been the deciding vote in many 5 to 4 decisions, leading John Tabin of The American Spectator to note that “[i]t’s Anthony Kennedy’s world; we’re just living in it.”

Some legal scholars have surmised that the Supreme Court may be in some sort of “libertarian moment,” thanks in part to Kennedy. This is not necessarily a new theory. Shortly after the Court issued its decision in Lawrence v. Texas (2003), a ruling that struck down sodomy laws in 13 states based concerns over privacy, Randy Barnett praised Kennedy’s “presumption of liberty” approach.

Kennedy’s ideology was again the topic of discussion in 2012 after he sided with the minorty in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, in which the majority upheld the individual mandate in ObamaCare.

After the Court’s decision last month in United States v. Windsor, which struck down the federal provisions in the Defense of Marriage Act, Kennedy’s ideological views are, once again, being discussed by legal scholars.

Glenn Beck’s new “libertarian” network is a good thing

Glenn Beck

When I first heard that Glenn Beck was going to relaunch his “The Blaze” as a libertarian-focused network, I was skeptical as I’m sure a lot of libertarians were.  While Beck has called himself a libertarian for some time, he has spent the last few years peddling in conspiracy theories and general looniness that has served to be quite an embarassment.  I used to listen to his radio show and watched his Fox News program for about a year before I became tired of his antics.  So when his show was canceled and he moved to a pay-per-view format, I was glad to see him go.

But Beck has proven he knows what he is doing.  He has been able to create a successful business outside the cable world.  He is reaching a sizable audience, largely of the young folks that need to be won to the libertarian cause.  These folks might already be leaning that way and would benefit greatly from hearing more libertarian viewpoints and analysis.  And there are many more who simply never hear this perspective who might be getting it for the first time, or the first time by actual libertarians instead of cartoonish versions given by the regular media.

Profiles in Liberty: Dr. Robert Lawson of Southern Methodist University

Dr. Robert Lawson is the Jerome M. Fullinwider Chair in Economic Freedom in the O’Neil Center for Global Markets and Freedom at the Southern Methodist University Cox School of Business. Also, Lawson is co-author of the Fraser Institute’s Economic Freedom of the World annual report, which provides a widely-cited economic freedom index for over 140 countries. The CATO Institute has been partners in its publication since 1996.

As my former academic advisor, Dr. Lawson is a mentor and friend who introduced me to libertarian philosophy. A happy warrior with a dry sense of humor, his love of economics and freedom is inspiring.

Lawson is a member of the prestigious Mont Pelerin Society. He also writes at the popular economics blog, Division of Labour, which you should subscribe to.

bob lawson

Matt Naugle: How did you become a libertarian?

Robert Lawson: I actually wrote about this in a little book that Walter Block edited titled, I Chose Liberty: Autobiographies of Contemporary Libertarians. As with most people, I can trace this to a couple of influential teachers. First, Mr. Eaton at Princeton High School (Cincinnati) who gave me my first copy of The Freeman. Second, Richard Vedder at Ohio University.

Republicans Seem To Be Afraid Of Gary Johnson And Other Libertarians

Gary Johnson

Many of my conversations with Republicans regarding the Presidential race and the fact that I intend to vote for Gary Johnson usually end up in one of two categories. First, there are the people who tell me that by voting for Johnson, I’m voting for President Obama. As I’ve noted before, this an absurd argument largely because it assumes that Mitt Romney is entitled to my vote as a libertarian, an argument which I don’t accept. The other argument I frequently hear is one that basically says that my vote is wasted because Gary Johnson isn’t going to have any impact on the race. I’ve always thought that the two arguments are mutually contradictory. After all, if my vote for Johnson is going to hurt Romney then it obviously will have some impact on the race, and if it isn’t going to have any impact on the race then it isn’t going to hurt Mitt Romney. You really can’t make both arguments at the same time.

I’ve always thought, though, that the best way to judge what people really think is to look at how they act, and based on their actions, Republicans really seem to be concerned about Gary Johnson’s potential impact on the Presidential race:

When he was running for the Republican presidential nomination last year, Gary Johnson, the former two-term Republican governor of New Mexico, drew ridicule from mainstream party members as he advocated legalized marijuana and a 43 percent cut in military spending.

A Libertarian Case for Romney

House Fire

When firefighters are putting out a home blaze, do they carefully cover up all the furniture and belongings so they aren’t harmed by water damage? After a horrific car crash, do the EMT’s carefully disrobe a critically injured patient so as to protect their clothing? No. There is a crisis, a risk to life and property. After the crisis is dealt with - the fire’s put out, a pulse is restored - there is an opportunity to assess the damage and rebuild in a thoughtful, methodical way.

Our country faces crises in the financial and civil liberties sectors. I don’t need to outline the scope here, especially for libertarians.  Though we are antsy to achieve the government and society that will ensure and promote civil liberties and free market economic policies, first, in 2012, we need to restore the pulse of the economy before rebuilding the society that’s been systematically taken apart since the New Deal days.

Obama’s plan for the economy involves over-regulation, effectively banning new domestic gas or oil production, and tax increases of unparalleled scope beginning January 1, 2013. Beyond that, there’s not much of a plan - Harry Reid has failed to get a budget passed in well over 1,000 days.

The Romney/Ryan plan leaves much to be desired both in its scope and timing, but it is a beginning.  Negotiations can go from there. Even if passed in its current form, it puts water on the fire.


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