libertarianism

Libertarianism: Is It Happening?

There’s an idea in mainstream American politics that the two-party system, the elephants and donkeys, the red and the blue, the GOP and the Dems, are — and will always be — the most voters in this country will ever have to choose from. Third parties tend to pop up and then die a quick death in the history of American political preferences.

But something — as young libertarians are fond of saying — is happening to the older conservatism of the GOP. It’s getting a streak of, well, libertarian purple in its gray hair. And this new conservatism may better resemble the original founders ideas about government and leadership better than the conservatism of the last 30 years. And it’s making both young and old excited. So much so that cynical, inside-the-beltway publications as self-assured as Politico are, if they want to stay relevant, forced to address and explain just what is happening on the right — and increasingly the left — side of the aisle.

In a piece entitled, “The Libertarian Surge,” David Boaz, executive vice president of the Cato Institute, writes a primer on just what it is libertarians think and believe — presumably because the demand to know exists:

Libertarianism — the political philosophy that says limited government is the best kind of government — is having its moment. Unfortunately, that’s mostly because government has been expanding in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks and the financial crisis. Somehow government failures lead to even more government.

Today in Liberty: Boehner’s future still up in the air, libertarianism rises

“My thing is personal freedoms, freedoms for the individual to love whom they want, do with what they want. In fact, I want the government out of almost everything.”Rob Lowe

— Boaz on the “libertarian surge”: At Politico Magazine, David Boaz, executive vice president at the Cato Institute, explains why libertarianism is growing in popularity. “Lots of libertarians were involved in the tea party and the opposition to the bailouts, the car company takeovers, the 2009 stimulus bill and the quasi-nationalization of health care. But libertarians were also involved in the movement for gay marriage,” Boaz writes. “Indeed, John Podesta, a top adviser to Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama and founder of the Center for American Progress, noted in 2011 that you probably had to have been a libertarian to have supported gay marriage 15 years earlier. Or take marijuana legalization, which is just now becoming a majority position: Libertarians have been leaders in the opposition to the drug war for many years.” He points out that libertarians “have played a key role in the defense of the right to keep and bear arms over the years.” He also notes that Ron Paul and, more recently, his son, Rand Paul, have sparked interest in the libertarian philosophy.

Today in Liberty: Neocons are gunning for Rand Paul, Big Labor protests Heritage Foundation

“I follow a set of principles. I follow the Constitution. And that’s what I base my votes on; limited government, economic freedom and individual liberty.” — Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI)

— April Fools: Not to take away anybody’s fun, but be careful what you link to, retweet, and like on Facebook today. There’s a good chance that it’s a joke. Don’t be the guy with derp all over his face. That said, we’ve already seen one pretty funny fake news story this morning.

— Obama administration claims original enrollment target in sight: Officials are saying that the Obamacare enrollment could hit the 7 million target, the original projection made by the Congressional Budget Office and touted by the administration. “According to the report, the goal was ‘in sight’ after consumers flooded the federal website and phone system in the final hours of open enrollment,” The Hill notes. “Hitting seven million enrollments would be a major symbolic achievement for the White House after the opening months of the ObamaCare exchanges were plagued by technical glitches that prevented many consumers from completing an application.” We’ll have more on this later today, but the paid numbers matter more than sign-ups. So even if the administration hits the 7 million figure, immediately subtract 20%.

Today in Liberty: North and South Korea trade fire, Obama’s NSA reforms face big hurdles

“I think the impressionable libertarian kids are going to save our nation. The impressionable libertarian kids are saying, wait a second, benevolence is fleeting, and when benevolence is gone, you’re at the mercy of an all-powerful government and it’s too late.”Igor Birman

— North and South Korea exchange fire: North Korea decided to test fire some artillery into the ocean because Kim Jong-un wanted some attention. That led to a response from South Korea, though neither side fired any artillery on land or military installations, according to the AP. “North Korea routinely test-fires artillery and missiles into the ocean but rarely discloses those plans in advance. The announcement was seen as an expression of Pyongyang’s frustration at making little progress in its recent push to win outside aid,” the AP reported this morning. “No shells from either side were fired at any land or military installations, but Kim called the North’s artillery firing a provocation aimed at testing Seoul’s security posture. There was no immediate comment from North Korea.”

Today in Liberty: Senate Dems outline Obamacare “fixes,” growth not keeping up with projections

“The American founders often referred to a ‘Liberty Tree.’ Our generation didn’t plant that tree - we didn’t grow that tree - we were simply handed it by the generations of Americans who came before us….Let us highly resolve not to rest until we have delivered to our sons and daughters a Liberty Tree that is just as healthy, a Constitution that is just as strong; and a nation that is just as free as those that our fathers and mothers gave to us.” — Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA)

— Senate Dems finally rollout Obamacare fixes: After months of talking about the need for fixes to the law, six Senate Democrats have finally offered some specifics on how they plan to address at least some of Americans’ concerns. The biggest proposal is the introduction of a “Copper Plan,” which, they write at Politico Magazine, “will give consumers more control over their own coverage, spur competition and, most importantly, increase affordability.” Two of the Democrats, Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Mark Begich (D-AK), are up for reelection this year and are thought to be among the chamber’s most vulnerable members. Despite the push for fixes, the Heritage Foundation notes that most of the six “didn’t have strong initial reservations about the massive bill when Obama signed it into law in March 2010.”

Today in Liberty: HHS official warned of Obamacare “disarray,” Ghostbusters and libertarianism

“The great and abiding lesson of American history, particularly the cold war, is that the engine of capitalism, the individual, is mightier than any collective.” — Rand Paul

— Small businesses to see health premiums rise: An actuarial report from the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services finds that 65% of small businesses — affecting 11 million people — will see health insurance premiums rise thanks to Obamacare. These are firms with 50 or fewer employees, those exempted from the individual mandate.

— Obamacare exchanges in disarray months before rollout: The Washington Examiner reports this morning that a senior Department of Health and Human Services official warned in May of serious problems with the Obamacare exchanges. “A senior Health and Human Services official was so frustrated last May over the White House’s ‘disarray’ on health care before the launch of Obamacare insurance exchanges that he warned of needing a ‘come to Jesus meeting’ with his counterparts,” reports the Examiner. “The comment from Anton Gunn, then-HHS director of external affairs, came in an email exchange with Anne Filipic, the president of the outside group Enroll America, a nonprofit with close ties to the White House that was formed to promote the fall Obamacare rollout and boost enrollment — an effort the two were working on closely.”

Eric Cantor swings and misses in foreign policy speech

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) took aim at President Barack Obama’s foreign policy yesterday in a speech at the Virginia Military Institute (VMI), leveling criticism at the administration over its handling of the situation in Syria.

“Months into Syrian dictator Bashar Assad’s brutal suppression of a nation-wide protest movement, momentum appeared to be with the protesters. President Obama – sensing perhaps that Assad’s fall was inevitable – called for the dictator to go,” Cantor told cadets on Presidents Day, adding that the White House’s inability to follow through on the threats to intervene in the bloody conflict have “weakened our credibility.”

Along with House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Cantor backed President Obama’s push for military intervention in Syria. Most members of Congress, however, were poised to vote against an authorization for the use of force against Assad’s regime and polls found that a majority of Americans opposed the prospect of another war.

President Obama eventually backed down from his threat against Assad, though hawkish Republicans heavily criticized him.

Today in Liberty: Rand Paul’s revolution, Obama to raise emissions standards for trucks

“Maybe I’ll do a real horror record and talk about the Obama administration.”Glenn Danzig

— Rand Paul and the next Republican revolution: There’s a great read over at Politico this morning about Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and how he, with his libertarian-leanings, is leading a new Republican revolution. “Facing his own primary challenge from the right next month, [Sen. John] Cornyn let everyone know he’s in sync with the Cruzes and Pauls of the Senate. ‘Every day, Ted and Rand and I wake up, get outta bed and push back on the Obama agenda,’ Cornyn said in introducing Paul, whom he called ‘one of the brightest new stars in the Republican Party, someone with courage, intelligence and principles who can help us win elections and reclaim our country,’” wrote Katie Glueck. “The gushing words underscored Paul’s remarkable trajectory within his party: from insurgent challenger four years ago, to headache for Senate leadership, to having the Senate whip himself offer Paul’s warm-up act.”

Today in Liberty: NSA reforms stalled, Amash on conservatism and libertarianism, Mike Lee on Obamacare’s lawlessness

“Our system, with its unhealthy, unconstitutional concentration of power, feeds on the atavistic tendency to see the chief magistrate as our national father or mother, responsible for our economic well-being, our physical safety, and even our sense of belonging. Relimiting the presidency depends on freeing ourselves from a mind-set one century in the making.” — Gene Healy

— It’s Presidents Day: Rather than embellishing the office of the executive and the power its welds, you should pick up Gene Healy’s e-books — The Cult of the Presidency: America’s Dangerous Devotion to Executive Power (free) and False Idol: Barack Obama and the Continuing Cult of the Presidency ($3.03). Trust us, these two e-books are well worth the time it takes to read them.

— Another big Obamacare change could be coming: This would one be pretty significant, not to mention costly. The Washington Examiner reports this morning that the insurance industry and the Obama administration are discussing the extension of the transitional “risk corridors” provision (also known as the Obamacare bailout provision). We’ll have a little more on this later this morning.

George Will’s Libertarian Evolution: Q&A on Obama, Syria, & the Power of Choice

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Nick Gillespie and Reason TV chat with George Will, a conservative journalist, about his transformation to libertarianism.

 


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