10 Questions For Libertarian Party Chair Candidate Wayne Root

On March 21 I wrote to Ernest Hancock and Wayne Root:

As a contributor for Independent Political Report, I’m writing to the two of you because in Austin you emerged as the front-runners in the race for Libertarian National Committee Chair. I’ve prepared for each of you a separate set of ten tough but fair questions that should give each of you an opportunity to address some of the issues raised by your respective candidacies for Chair.

Here are my questions for Root and his answers:

1. Un-GOP.  You once wrote a book called “Millionaire Republican”.  Why should libertarian-leaning Republicans follow your example of giving up on the GOP?

I believe I describe it best in my book Conscience of a Libertarian.

[p.41] Today’s Republican leaders have moved away from the limited-government ideals of my heroes Thomas Jefferson, Barry Goldwater, and Ronald Reagan. When it comes to issues like abortion, gay rights, stem cell funding, right to die, online poker, medical marijuana, and censorship of television, the GOP is actually in favor of Big Brother moving into our bedrooms, taking over our televisions and computers, and taking control of our lives.

And when it comes to economic issues, the GOP often talks a good libertarian game, but rarely if ever delivers. Once in power they spend and increase the size of government just like Democrats- only perhaps a little slower. But either way, we are going off a cliff. How soon we get there is not relevant. We need to stop the car and turnaround.

[p.58] Only one party allows voters to be both conservative on economic issues and tolerant on personal issues. Only one party allows voters to rebel against Big Brother in all areas of our lives. Only one party stands for both economic and personal freedom. Only one party stands for personal responsibility and individuality. Only one party believes, as the Constitution clearly demands, that power belongs to the people, not to the politicians and career bureaucrats. That party is the Libertarian Party.

2. Re-GOP.  Under what circumstances, if any, would you ever run for public office with a Republican nomination but without an LP nomination?

Sure, it might be interesting to attempt a Ron-Paul-style campaign within the Republican Party to advance liberty nationally. Afterall didn’t Ron Paul do more for freedom in his 2008 presidential campaign than with all his votes in Congress? But in the end, I don’t believe the Citizen Revolution can happen from within either of the two Big Brother parties. Libertarians need to replace the GOP, not reform it. The latest polls prove the time is ripe- a majority of Americans give more credibility to the Tea Party than to either the GOP or Democrats. And anywhere from 35% to 60% of voters in various polls want a third party Presidential choice in 2012. The window of opportunity is here and now for the LP.

3. Metrics.  You’ve said that your latest plan is to not seek the LP presidential nomination for 2012 because the LP isn’t ready.  Are there any concrete metrics that you would use to decide when the LP is ready?

If the Citizen Revolution really catches fire in the 2012 cycle, and the LP is unified and organized enough to lead it and leverage it, then we could see LP voter registration and sustaining membership increase dramatically, and 50-state ballot access would be within reach. That would be one way to know that the LP is ready for the kind of presidential race I want the LP to run. More likely is that I can lead this party to minor victories on the local and state level, and major improvements in a variety of metrics: fundraising, candidate training, media appearances, brand recognition, ballot access, excitement from college students, etc. If I can help to achieve this kind of slow but steady success for the next 4 to 6 years, this might just provide the perfect window of opportunity for me to run as President in 2016. Until then, I’m thrilled and focused on being the CEO.

4. 2012.  If you are elected Chair and the LP makes more progress than you anticipated, do you promise to resign as Chair as soon as you decide to seek the 2012 nomination?

I’d IMMEDIATELY announce that I’m taking a leave of absence. Obviously it is a conflict of interest to do both.

5. Reagan.  You have occasionally described yourself as a “Reagan Libertarian” and praise Reagan for cutting marginal tax rates from 70% to 28%.  Libertarians know that a tax cut without an equal spending cut is not so much a tax cut as a shift of the tax burden to other people.  Can you cite anything (else) libertarian about Reagan’s record (as opposed to his rhetoric)?

I disagree with the premise that a tax cut is merely a shift of the tax burden to other people.  The government uses additional tax revenues to support larger bond issues.  If the government increases revenues by raising marginal tax rates, they would run an even bigger deficit because prospective bondholders would be more willing to extend credit to the federal government. See the financial disaster in Greece as Exhibit A.

There are many things about Reagan that we as Libertarians should celebrate.

First, Reagan proved that a Presidential candidate can talk like a Libertarian…campaign like a Libertarian…present Libertarian ideas to American voters…and win the White House (in 2 landslides) over big government proponents. I think that bodes well for the right Libertarian Presidential candidate someday.

Second, Reagan said he was going to dramatically cut marginal tax rates and he did. We should give politicians credit when they do what they said they were going to do. More importantly, since Libertarians believe that our money is our property, how can we not celebrate Reagan for dramatically lowering tax rates for every level of taxpayer? Reagan’s cuts were especially beneficial to small businessmen (like me)- the result was this tax cut unleashed the greatest period of job growth and prosperity in the history of civilization. Why would any Libertarian not celebrate that?

Whenever you allow someone to keep more of his or her own money, you give them more than just money. You give them opportunity and freedom. You give them the opportunity to invest and take risks with that money…which can lead to wealth and financial freedom. When the government raises taxes it takes away freedom. It robs us of opportunity. Higher taxes destroy our quality of life and damage opportunities to pursue happiness and enjoy the American Dream. Higher taxes not only punishes the rich, it kills motivation, destroys jobs, and limits opportunity for the poor and middle class to improve their lives. I therefore believe that raising taxes is immoral.

Other major accomplishments: Reagan cut Carter’s 14% inflation to under 4%. Again, by the definition of libertarianism, Reagan therefore protected the assets and property of citizens. He indexed tax brackets to inflation to eliminate bracket creep. He simplified the tax code and eliminated many tax shelters that were distorting investment decisions. In addition to eliminating the income tax for millions of low-income Americans, he cut the marginal corporate income tax from 48% to 34%.  He fired unionized government employees when they violated their contract and went on strike. He solved Carter’s so-called energy crisis by ending oil price and allocation controls after just one week in office. He was the only president to ever successfully resist all increases in the federal minimum wage. He was the only president to ever make a benefit cut in the Social Security pyramid scheme, by extending the retirement age from 65 to 67. He appointed many constitutionalists to the federal judiciary. He deregulated ownership rules in the broadcasting industry and ended the Fairness Doctrine. He signed the INF treaty to eliminate destabilizing intermediate-range nuclear weapons from Europe. Perhaps most importantly, the Cold War was won without firing a shot.

Of course, Ronald Reagan was not perfect. No human being can be.  Reagan campaigned as a libertarian.  I wish he had governed more like one. I wish he had ended the IRS and the Department of Education. I wish he had dramatically cut the size of the federal government. I wish he had cut federal spending dollar for dollar (or more) with his dramatic tax cuts. But we should at least applaud a good start.

A recent nationwide poll demonstrates “Reagan” to be not only the most popular name in politics…but also the only positive brand name in all of American politics. In a cynical world, the name Reagan still brings a tear to the eyes and a smile to the lips of a majority of American voters. Polls prove that the American people love Ronald Reagan- the same voters we need to win over if we are to start winning elections and making a difference.

Are there differences between Reagan and libertarianism?  Absolutely, but you can’t convince someone of our ideas until you are first able to start a conversation.  Everyone in business knows it pays to associate with a popular brand. By embracing the term “Reagan Libertarian” we open the door to conversations with people who like the man.  Polls prove that’s a majority of voters. Once the door is open, we are able to build a bridge that brings people from Reaganism to libertarianism.

The art of politics is finding ways to agree with people and work with them.  It is to our disadvantage to ignore the good things that Reagan did. It’s our job to remind people that Reagan only started the battle.  And we Libertarians are here to complete the job of reducing government, dramatically lowering taxes, and restoring freedom and opportunity in America.

6. Iran. On your blog you’ve described Israel as “our ally” and wrote that Iran is “threatening to join the nuclear club and wipe Israel off the world map”.  In Conscience of a Libertarian (p.136) you mention Iran only to say a war with that nation is “brewing”. Other than an attack by the Iranian government against U.S. soil or citizens, under what specific circumstances, if any, would you not oppose an LNC press release endorsing U.S. military action against Iran?

If Iran sheltered or assisted terrorists who attacked U.S. soil or systematically targeted U.S. citizens, then I would support an LNC press release like the one of Oct. 2001.  It expressed “cautious” support for a constitutionally-declared war on the Taliban that would “target the guilty, spare the innocent, and end as quickly as possible”, but “must not be allowed to turn into an endless, global war against numberless, shadowy targets”.

In the end, I’ve come to understand that wars, foreign aid, and military bases all over the globe are a big mistake. They are costly and eventually lead to the bankruptcy of a hopelessly over-stretched superpower. Wars are to be fought only as a last resort, and then only when we are directly threatened (and only with the approval of Congress and the American people). I am NOT a fan of “nation building” or “spreading Democracy.” I think both the wars we are currently fighting have proven those ideas to be failures and more importantly, unaffordable. Unlike most politicians, I listen to opposing viewpoints and I learn from mistakes. Making a mistake is a part of life, but not learning from it is a sin.

7. Drugs. In the 2008 campaign you said that the Drug War should be “reformed”, and that marijuana should be “decriminalized”.  Your running mate Bob Barr said he “would not vote to legalize heroin and crack.”  If you become LNC Chair, will the LPUS continue to issue press releases calling for the general “repeal of laws that criminalize the medicinal or recreational use of drugs”?

Yes, the LNC would continue to call for an end to the war on drugs.  Once again, quoting Conscience of a Libertarian:

[p.225] Let’s admit that the war on drugs is a failure. If we can’t stop the flow of drugs into our prisons, how can we stop it on our streets?

[p.45] I’d prefer that no government (local, state or federal) limited the personal freedoms of consenting adults, but I am a realist. Incremental success on the state level, which can lead to full-fledged success on the national level, is preferable to no success at all. And even if the freedoms that are achieved at the state level are never implemented on the national level, it gives citizens a chance to live in the states that allow the most personal freedom that fits their lifestyle.

8. Marriage. In your book (p. 83) you say you “don’t want government defining marriage”, but you also say (p. 18) “we can solve [the gay marriage issue] on the state and local level without federal interference”.  Do you agree with Ron Paul and Bob Barr that the federal government should, through the Defense of Marriage Act, exempt same-sex marriages from the default constitutional requirement that “full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state”?  Or do you instead agree with the LP Platform that “sexual orientation and preference should have no discriminatory impact on the rights of individuals by government, such as in current marriage laws”, and so would have the LPUS issue more press releases demanding repeal of DOMA?

I think the answer is simple: Government should not even be in the business of “licensing marriage.” It is none of the government’s darn business in the first place. Marriage is between you, your religious institution and God. Government has no right to determine who can or cannot be married. That’s the answer. However that is not the case right now. Until it is the case, I’d support a States’ Rights resolution. Once again, I’d argue strongly that incremental success on the state level, which can lead to full-fledged success on the national level, is preferable to no success at all.

9. God. In your book (p. 74) you say that “electing public officials who are religious God-fearing and loving men and women is generally good for the United States because moral people are less likely to bring about a corrupt government”.  Did you mean to suggest that people who don’t believe in any gods are more likely to be immoral or corrupt?

The paragraph you quote began: “Like most people, I am comforted by the idea of our electing public officials who are religious God-fearing …” As Ernest Hancock likes to say, I’m a libertarian because I’m a Christian. However, I of course understand that people can come to the core live-and-let-live principle of libertarian morality by a path other than belief in God.  As long as the overwhelming majority of Americans are Christians, I don’t think that Christian libertarians should hide the torch of their morality under a basket, and not encourage other Christians to seek the same path. Studies prove that 95% or so of Americans believe in God. And a large majority of them are Christians. No election can be won by the LP without winning over these voters. I speak as a Jew turned evangelical Christian in a voice that reassures the large majority of voters that they can and should be comfortable with the LP. Once again, I would argue until we actually win elections and affect the political process, we are doing no favors for Libertarianism. My goal is to build coalitions with groups that can TOGETHER win us not only elections, but a seat at the table.

10. Change party’s name. Have you ever advocated changing the name of the Libertarian Party, such as to the “Tea Party”?

I’ve never advocated any such thing. There are major problems that arise with any name change. There would be huge ballot access challenges, if we were to ever attempt something like this.  In California, for example, there is no legal mechanism for changing a party’s name, so we would have to start from scratch and register close to a 100,000 new voters with the new name just to qualify it for the ballot.  Each state has its own ballot access laws and I don’t know what problems each would present, but I suspect there would be many. Upon initial thought, it’s not something I would want to even spend the time investigating. We need to change our image, not our name.

0 thoughts on “10 Questions For Libertarian Party Chair Candidate Wayne Root

  1. Chuck Moulton

    Brian, you’re pulling your punches.

    Ideological issues are not the problem with Root for Chair.

    Here are a few more relevant questions:

    1. As Chair, to what extent would you rely on counsel from Aaron Starr for administrative decisions of party business (staffing, executive decisions, dealing with LNC business, etc.)?

    2. During media appearances where you will be referred to as Chair of the Libertarian Party, will you be taking the positions listed in the LP platform or your own positions? If the latter, will you make clear to the audience where the Libertarian Party platform differs?

    3. Some have described you as the Sarah Palin of the LP in that you are great at delivering talking points, but when conversations get more substantive you sometimes do not have the deeper insights that come from scholarly study of issues (in stark contrast to Ron Paul, for example). As valedictorian of your high school class and an ivy league graduate, clearly you have the capacity to learn and convey such information. If elected Chair, will you correct this deficiency by getting in depth briefings from Cato scholars on issues of the day and teach yourself the principles and applications of free-market (Austrian) economics by studying Mises, Hayek, and Rothbard?

    4. When you are acting in your personal or business capacity rather than your LP Chair capacity, what steps will you take to separate your pitches as a client for corporations from the Libertarian Party label? In other words, can you be counted on not to be referred to as the 2008 LP Vice-Presidential candidate or the LP Chair when you are producing Internet videos selling products unrelated to the LP?

    5. Why wouldn’t it be a conflict of interest for the person elected Chair in 2010 to run for President in 2012 — even if a “leave of absence” were taken? I believe that Barr’s leave of absence as a LNC member to run for President would be fundamentally different from the Chairman and CEO of the LP taking a leave of office to run for President… why am I wrong?

    6. Why should someone who has never served on the LNC be elected Chair of the LNC?

    7. Why is reaching out only to conservatives a good strategy when Ron Paul made his mark and raised much of his money through his opposition to the Iraq war? Given that many college students lean liberal and the young are the future of the LP and the country, why is outreach to young liberals with free time to volunteer and potential to be lifelong LP supporters more important than outreach to old conservatives with lots of money to donate?

    8. Will you be appearing on MSNBC and CNN, or just Fox News? Will you be able to effectively highlight the Libertarian Party’s liberal positions (anti-war, pro-LGBT rights, etc.) to the appropriate demographics>

    9. Will you be firing Wes Benedict as Executive Director if elected Chair? If so, with whom will you replace him?

    10. You say you changed your religion from Jewish to evangelical Christian and changed your war views from pro-war to anti-war. It would seem that the first change would be an advantage in business and politics, whereas the latter change would be an advantage in earning Libertarian Party votes for internal office and public office nominations. Were these changes genuine, for political advantage, or both? What other changes in your religion and/or ideology would you be willing to make to become more electable? What is a line you would draw in your principles beyond which you would not be willing to sacrifice or compromise for electability?

    Don’t get me wrong from these questions… I like Wayne personally and I would like to see him continue to run for public office as a Libertarian. However, I don’t think Chair is the right position for him and I think he should address the hard questions rather than the easy questions.

  2. Thomas L. Knapp

    Chuck,

    One question and one comment for you:

    Question: Why, in #3, do you specify the Cato Institute as the think tank of choice for policy briefings?

    Comment: With regard to question #8, I’m absolutely certain that Wayne has appeared on MSNBC, and I’m pretty sure that he’s appeared, if not on CNN proper, on one of its satellites (CNN Money or CNN Finance or whatever they call it).

  3. Robert Milnes

    This guy is in the same classification as Barr & Paul et al. Reactionary/counterrevolutionary. We do not want or need that any more. We’re sick of it. We want progressivism/radicalism/revolution.
    I support Prof. Phillies.

  4. Andy

    “By embracing the term ‘Reagan Libertarian’ we open the door to conversations with people who like the man.”

    And you also close the door to conversations with people who did not like the man.

    Ronald Reagan was NOT a libertarian and to claim that he was somehow libertarian is disengenuous.

    The term “Reagan Libertarian” is such a turn off to me that it makes me want to puke. This alone makes me want to vote for somebody other than Root to be the Chair.

  5. Andy

    “Today’s Republican leaders have moved away from the limited-government ideals of my heroes Thomas Jefferson, Barry Goldwater, and Ronald Reagan”

    Limited government ideals of Ronald Reagan?!?!?!?! WTF???

  6. Holtz and Root are Neocons

    Holtz is asking softer questions of Root than of Hancock.

    Pro-war Holtz is clearly a pro-war Root supporter.

  7. Chuck Moulton

    Tom Knapp wrote (@3):

    Question: Why, in #3, do you specify the Cato Institute as the think tank of choice for policy briefings?

    I guess I’m partial to Cato because 1) it’s a libertarian think tank, 2) I worked there for a semester as a law clerk, and 3) I know for a fact that they are willing to help candidates refine their positions.

    Should he be familiar with Mises Institute positions too? Yes. But those flow fairly intuitively from Austrian economics, which I recommend he study extensively.

    There are many single issue think tanks out there which also can be helpful. But Cato is a one stop shop for most every public policy position under the sun — a big time saver. I consider the Cato Handbook for Policymakers to be a great asset to libertarian candidates.

    A libertarian spokesman should be well versed in current events, public policy, the constitution, economics, history, and philosophy at a minimum.

    Tom Knapp wrote (@3):

    Comment: With regard to question #8, I’m absolutely certain that Wayne has appeared on MSNBC, and I’m pretty sure that he’s appeared, if not on CNN proper, on one of its satellites (CNN Money or CNN Finance or whatever they call it).

    Perhaps I shouldn’t’ve phrased the question so black and white. But the fact remains that he appears far more frequently on Fox News. That lopsided allocation of time and energy is what I was referring to.

  8. Brian Holtz Post author

    Ideological issues are not the problem with Root for Chair.

    Up until this interview they were — at least, if you judge by IPR commenters critical of Root, or by the four of your ten questions that are about ideology. 🙂

    Five of your questions (1-4 and 8 ) Root could answer just by saying his past conduct as our VP candidate can be taken as a reasonably reliable guide to future practice. Of the rest, I see only one with the potential to elicit an answer that is both non-obvious and relevant: would he fire Wes?

    Andy, if you’re not familiar with the limited-government rhetoric of Reagan that I referenced in question 5, see http://libertarianintelligence.com/2010/02/reagan-libertarianism.html.

    Ron Paul is not the first libertarian TV commentator I think of when I hear the phrase “deeper insights that come from scholarly study of issues”. For example:

  9. Chuck Moulton

    Brian Holtz wrote:

    5. Reagan. You have occasionally described yourself as a “Reagan Libertarian” and praise Reagan for cutting marginal tax rates from 70% to 28%. Libertarians know that a tax cut without an equal spending cut is not so much a tax cut as a shift of the tax burden to other people.

    The second sentence here is factually incorrect. Root did a good job of picking it apart.

    Cutting tax rates does not necessarily shift the tax burden. Cutting tax revenues does shift the tax burden. The distinction is that cuts in tax rates may not decrease tax revenues — they may even increase tax revenues due to changed incentives. Even focusing on short term cuts in tax revenues can be a mistake because tax cuts can increase growth rates leading to long term increases in tax revenues offsetting short term losses.

    As shown with the Laffer Curve, cuts in marginal tax rates can lead to increases in tax revenue because it increases motivation to substitute work for leisure and to invest capital in business ventures. This also sparks innovation and higher growth rates, which increases future tax revenue ceteris paribus.

  10. Chuck Moulton

    Chuck Moulton wrote (@2):

    Ideological issues are not the problem with Root for Chair.

    Brian Holtz wrote (@9):

    Up until this interview they were — at least, if you judge by IPR commenters critical of Root, or by the four of your ten questions that are about ideology. 🙂

    Well, I personally believe Wayne Root is a pure enough libertarian ideologically to run for public office or serve in internal party office. (I realize many other Libertarians may disagree with me on that assessment.) That confidence in his ideology is part of the reason I voted for him for President. Then and now we didn’t agree 100% on issues, but I don’t have a 100% litmus test. I’m a big tent libertarian, as you well know.

    Ideology is distinct from strategy though. If someone says he is only going to reach out to conservatives, that is an issue that concerns me — regardless of whether he’s a 100% pure libertarian, a conservative leaning libertarian, or a liberal leaning libertarian. Don’t confuse ideology with strategy.

    Similarly, my question about whether he would highlight our platform in media appearances is not an indictment of his ideology, but rather an inquiry as to how he would represent the party.

    Bill Redpath is anti-gun; however, in every media appearance of Bill’s I have seen he was careful to give the LP platform position rather than his own. That deference is important in my opinion. I don’t fault Bill for minor deviations from orthodox libertarian ideology. But I would have criticized him if he had misrepresented the LP’s position — which as I said he did not.

    Brian Holtz wrote (@9):

    Five of your questions (1-4 and 8 ) Root could answer just by saying his past conduct as our VP candidate can be taken as a reasonably reliable guide to future practice. Of the rest, I see only one with the potential to elicit an answer that is both non-obvious and relevant: would he fire Wes?

    If he plans to dodge the questions by citing past conduct (not learning from any of his past mistakes), that’s a pretty good reason not to vote for him.

    Brian Holtz wrote (@9):

    Ron Paul is not the first libertarian TV commentator I think of when I hear the phrase “deeper insights that come from scholarly study of issues”. For example:

    I disagree with Ron Paul on immigration. Clearly he is not as well studied on that issue as others. But listen to Dr. Paul talk about the war or monetary policy and it is clear he is quite versed on those issues.

  11. Brian Holtz Post author

    I disagree. Ron Paul routinely says that our “empire” is only made possible by fiat money, when in fact seigniorage (revenue from creating money) is insignificant these days. By contrast, one quarter of the cost of WWII was covered by seigniorage, and that probably explains the fiat-money-finances-empire mantra of the septuagenarian Paul.

    Brian Doherty nails it, writing in Reason: Paul’s concern with immigration is of a piece with his right-populist strains, an obsession with “sovereignty” that feeds his fevered opposition to international trade pacts and the UN. Combined with his strong emphasis on trash-talking the Federal Reserve and advocating a return to gold, it’s the sort of thing that strikes many other libertarians as, if not inherently unlibertarian, sort of cranky and kooky, and that led me to note to The New Republic that many libertarians (though not me) think of Paul as a bit of a yokel.

    For “deeper insights that come from scholarly study of issues” among LP Chair/POTUS candidates, I’d say George Phillies is head and shoulders above the pack.

  12. Chuck Moulton

    Brian Holtz wrote (@12):

    Ron Paul routinely says that our “empire” is only made possible by fiat money, when in fact seigniorage (revenue from creating money) is insignificant these days. By contrast, one quarter of the cost of WWII was covered by seigniorage, and that probably explains the fiat-money-finances-empire mantra of the septuagenarian Paul.

    Fiat money is responsible for more than just seigniorage. (Note that part of the reason seigniorage is becoming less significant is that the federal reserve now pays interest on reserves.)

    The federal reserve holds a huge quantity of treasury securities. It’s not just the interest earned (and the unused portion rebated) from those treasury securities that is interesting, but also that government can have more debt with such a willing borrower. Therefore the portion of the wars financed by borrowing is also influenced by fiat money.

    In addition, fiat money allows for inflation. Inflation reduces the real value of the debt, which again means debt can be higher. Borrowing helps finance wars.

    You’d be hard pressed to find economic historians who don’t believe fiat money helped finance war in the past and present.

    To be clear: I’m not a gold bug myself. I’m for free banking.

    Brian Holtz wrote (@12):

    For “deeper insights that come from scholarly study of issues” among LP Chair/POTUS candidates, I’d say George Phillies is head and shoulders above the pack.

    I agree. Though I don’t always agree with his conclusions (pro- fiat money and subscribes to global warming hysteria).

    An ideal media guy would adept at both the 15 second sound bite and the in depth discussion. Root has mastered the former. Phillies is more suited to the latter.

  13. Chuck Moulton

    but also that government can have more debt with such a willing borrower

    Oops… I meant “lender”.

    but also that government can have more debt with such a willing borrower lender

  14. Oh puleeeeeeeeeeze .......... Lake

    Brian Holtz // Apr 7, 2010:
    “I disagree. I’d say George Phillies is head and shoulders above the pack……….”

    And he still thinks the Libs are the only 21st Century American Peace Party ??????????? Oh brother, good luck BH!

  15. Andy

    “Andy, if you’re not familiar with the limited-government rhetoric of Reagan that I referenced in question 5, see ”

    I’m familiar with the limited government “rhetoric” of Ronald Reagan, I just call it bullshit instead of rhetoric, because that’s what it was.

    Also, there were several issues where Reagan didn’t even pretend to be a libertarian, such as his hardcore pro-drug war stance.

    I don’t think that the Libertarian Party should have a Chairman who distorts history by claiming that Ronald Reagan was somehow a libertarian.

  16. Andy

    “Bill Redpath is anti-gun; however, in every media appearance of Bill’s I have seen he was careful to give the LP platform position rather than his own.”

    I don’t agree with Bill Redpath’s position on gun rights, however, I didn’t think he was actually anti-gun. Somebody correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t his position that he favors background checks before people can purchase guns?

    I disagree with background checks because real criminals will just purchase guns on the black market or steal them. Background checks just create unnecessary bureaucracy which also creates room for abuse of the stated objective of keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals, as in it leads to people being denied gun purchases over petty offenses, some of which would not even be considered to be crimes in a libertarian society.

  17. Robert Milnes

    Andy, right. To “fail” a background check is to be denied one’s Constitutional right to bear arms. The Supreme Court has ruled it is a Constitutional right. Personally I have never been involved in violence or gun offenses. However I do have one conviction & entanglement in the mental health system due to depression. Also I contend FBI meddling. Yet I would probably fail a background check. Also I personally am not a gun fancier, collector or target practice person. I believe in an ideal society in which guns & weapons are relics at worst, gone at best. But as it stands I would be willing to carry a gun, target practice & safety train & challenge a background check failure in court. i.e. strongly support the Second Amendment.

  18. AroundtheblockAFT

    How did Root advance the Citizen Revolution idea and the LP in his Searchlight, NV speech?

    Should the LP Chair be an executive with leadership skills and capabilities to help define and carry out LP strategy or should he be a wonk who can explain every nuance of a Cato white paper?

    The LP’s strategy for the next two years should be solid growth, encouraging state and local organizations to become visible in their communities, and rising above the puddle of fringe poser third parties.

  19. Brian Holtz Post author

    Chuck, do you agree with people (like Ron Paul and Ernest Hancock?) who claim that there has been a government conspiracy to fabricate the low inflation statistics that have been reported since the early 1980s?

    The amount of federal debt held by the Fed actually declined over the first six years of the Iraq war — from $640B in March 2003 to $492B in March 2009.

    How is the fiat-money-maintains-the-empire meme anything more than an urban legend? Is there any economist at the Cato Institute who buys into that idea?

    Andy, Root cites about a dozen major pro-liberty accomplishments of Reagan. Are you saying that some of them were made up, or that some weren’t really pro-liberty?

  20. Robert Capozzi

    war: Until it is the case, I’d support a States’ Rights resolution.

    me: I’d lose this terminology in a NY minute. Unlike abortion, federalism for marriage has some challenges, since marriages are in part contracts, and contracts are binding across state lines. A same-gender couple could get married in one state, then move to one that doesn’t allow same-gender marriage and challenge the law immediately, I do believe.

    Sorry, but this almost has to be a federal issue, near as I can tell. I suggest that Ls be pro national civil unions and be done with the dancing around the subject. It gets government out of marriage and allows same-gender couples the legal rights that opposite-gender couples currently enjoy.

    Here’s a case when gradualism really doesn’t work, IMO.

  21. Robert Capozzi

    bh, yes, historically many Ls have been rather “liberal” in connecting dots that don’t seem at all connected. Fiat money probably does foster State expansion in some indirect ways, but the State mostly has gotten bigger because the pols want it that way. The State could be larger than it is today with a gold standard, for ex.

    And the State could be smaller yet we could still have an “Empire,” i.e., troops deployed across the globe.

    I’d strongly suggest we lose this Rothbardian analysis, as it is simply not true.

    Fiat money might be a bad thing and might enable the growth of the State, but overstatement undermines L credibility.

  22. Michael H. Wilson

    re 21 Brian there has been other work to show that the government has changed the method they use for calculating inflation so that it comes in lower. I’ll see what I can dig up later.

    Most important though would be to ask similar question of all five of the candidates. Austin is a long ways from convention. Let’s be fair.

  23. JT

    Brian: “Andy, Root cites about a dozen major pro-liberty accomplishments of Reagan. Are you saying that some of them were made up, or that some weren’t really pro-liberty?”

    Where does he cite them? I’m aware of maybe three. Of course, I could probably find three things that Bill Clinton did over the course of his presidency that were pro-liberty also (such as backing a reduction in the capital gains tax). And don’t tell me that Ronald Reagan destroyed the Soviet Union.

  24. Chuck Moulton

    Brian Holtz wrote (@21):

    Chuck, do you agree with people (like Ron Paul and Ernest Hancock?) who claim that there has been a government conspiracy to fabricate the low inflation statistics that have been reported since the early 1980s?

    No. I’m not a conspiracy theorist.

    Inflation is hard to measure. It is possible that government is under-reporting inflation and there are public choice incentives for government officials to be biased in a downward direction; however, I would not consider it a “conspiracy” and I would not act as if any definitive conclusions could be reached.

    Brian Holtz wrote (@21):

    The amount of federal debt held by the Fed actually declined over the first six years of the Iraq war — from $640B in March 2003 to $492B in March 2009.

    Interesting.

    Brian Holtz wrote (@21):

    How is the fiat-money-maintains-the-empire meme anything more than an urban legend? Is there any economist at the Cato Institute who buys into that idea?

    The meme certainly had more veracity in the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, WWI, WWII, etc. than in our most recent war. Historically graphs of inflation show very clear spikes in periods of war.

    Robert Higgs has done significant scholarship on war spending, the ratchet effect, and financing wars. He is a Mises adjunct fellow, but also an adjunct scholar with Cato (his main affiliation is with the Independent Institute).

  25. Brian Holtz Post author

    As I said above, fiat money had a lot to do with WWII, but I still see no evidence that the current “empire” could not exist without it, as Ron Paul maintains. Such statements do as much for Paul’s credibility as Root’s global-warming denialism do for Root’s credibility. (Like the Cato Institute, I say AGW is real, but its impact will be modest, hard to prevent, and hard to predict as net negative or positive.)

    JT, for Reagan’s pro-liberty accomplishments, re-read answer 5 above.

    Bob, I agree in opposing “state’s rights” on gay marriage. This is a winning issue, and a parade we need to get in front of.

    Michael, I don’t know enough about Myers to come up with ten zingers for him. I only have about 3 zingers for Phillies: http://libertarianintelligence.com/2009/12/questions-for-george-phillies.html. I bet Marc Montoni could come up with some more. If people send suggested questions to contact.ipr@gmail.com, we can synthesize them into question lists for Hinkle, Phillies, and Myers.

  26. Cut Everything to the Bone

    People missed the whole point on tax cuts, that bein’ the shift to others happens when the spending cuts don’t come with the tax cuts, because the spending just goes deficit or borrowed (same thing, really), and kicks the can down the road for our kids to deal with.

  27. Cut Everything to the Bone

    I guess what I’m sayin’ is that everyone in their answers & comments forgot about the spending cuts part of the question.

  28. Andy

    “Robert Milnes // Apr 7, 2010 at 7:21 am

    Andy, right. To ‘fail’ a background check is to be denied one’s Constitutional right to bear arms.”

    I agree. My point was that while his stance is not completely pro-gun rights, it is not completely anti-gun rights either.

  29. James Oaksun

    My experience is that the LGBT community has a not-insignificant number of libertarians and “left leaning freedom lovers” (to borrow Carl Milsted’s phrase) who know they are not welcome in the GOP and are onto the “Gay-TM” game the Dems play with them every cycle.

    “States rights” is not the approach to take there IMO. However, that expression is a signaling phrase to at least 3 of the groups Wayne says he is targeting (i.e., conservatives, “Christians” (by which he doesn’t mean Episcopalians and UCC members) and home school parents).

  30. JT

    Brian: “JT, for Reagan’s pro-liberty accomplishments, re-read answer 5 above.”

    You’re right; I skipped over some of that. IMO, some of your points were valid and some weren’t. I’m not going to engage in an extended debate about Ronald Reagan, but I’ll make a few comments here.

    I’d count Reagan’s cutting income tax rates as one pro-liberty accomplishment. You’re right about energy price controls, the minimum wage, and the Fairness Doctrine.

    As for Social Security, in 1983 Reagan hugely increased SS taxes. For more of Reagan’s overall tax record, see http://old.nationalreview.com/nrof_bartlett/bartlett200310290853.asp.

    As for appointing “many constitutionalists” to the federal judiciary, I’d qualify Antonin Scalia as the only one Reagan appointed, though even he isn’t perfect.

    Of course, Reagan ratcheted up the Drug War and ordered federal prosecutors (including Bob Barr at the time) to imprison more nonviolent drug users.

    He brought the Moral Majority into his administration and appointed the Meese Commission to go after adult pornography.

    His foreign policy (such as the Lebanon disaster) wasn’t good from a libertarian standpoint. I won’t even address the oft-cited claim by conservatives that Reagan won the Cold War because he condemned the Soviet Union and increased military spending.

    And, of course, Reagan didn’t get rid of a single federal department during presidency, despite campaigning on doing so.

  31. Robert Capozzi

    bh, I go further: I’d always advise a L to NEVER use the term “states’ rights.” Substantively and rhetorically, the term goes to deeply dysfunctional places. It’s exactly the wrong positioning for forward-thinking Lism.

  32. Oh puleeeeeeeeeeze .......... Lake

    [33] JT // Apr 7, 2010: ……….. Reagan didn’t get rid of a single federal department during presidency, despite campaigning on doing so. [and, previously, Nixon added to the cabinet!]

    [Is JT going to add to my reply of his previous undocumented snarkie attack ?????]

  33. Very lacking

    People who have all this time on his hand to show their intelligent insulting the person who can actually do something about the party, I guess can’t help that they don’t realize they are that mentally incompetent.

  34. Andy

    If Root is going to grasp at straws to find reasons to call Ronald Reagan a libertarian how about if somebody were to do that with other well known figures? How about a John F. Kennedy libertarian? Or how about a Martin Luther King Jr. libertarian?

    I mean who cares about being historically accurate, let’s just latch on to any name from the past that’s got popularity today – even if there are people who also dislike whatever figure we latch on to – and claim that that person was a libertarian. Facts be damned.

  35. Andy

    How about a Ted Kennedy libertarian? Somebody ought to go through Ted Kennedy’s record and see how many times he voted in a libertarian direction. Here are a few that I can think of off hand:

    Voted against the proposed anti-flag burning amendment.

    Voted against the Patriot Act.

    Voted against the war in Iraq.

    Nevermind the fact that most of what Ted Kennedy did was in favor of big government, he had a “libertarian streak” every once in a while so we ought to latch on to that and proclaim ourselves as Ted Kennedy Libertarians. Just think of all of the Democrats who will vote for us if we do this! (SARCASM)

  36. Green Party Conservative

    This really was a fun enjoyable read.

    Thanks to all contributors…

    And in the upbeat Green Party spirit of the good humor displayed…

    The exciting election across the big pond in the U.K. was just called yesterday. It must occur in 30 days.

    A record number of libertarian Green Party candidates are running…as the Guardian reports..

    The Green Party announced today that it would for the first time put forward a full slate of candidates for London seats and is riding high in the polls in Brighton and Cambridge with a genuine chance of securing its first parliamentary seat.

    Meanwhile, insiders have suggested that Ed Miliband’s role as Labour’s manifesto co-ordinator could result in many of the low carbon policies he has pioneered at the Department of Energy and Climate Change being adopted as part of the manifesto.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/apr/07/greenpolitics-general-election-2010

  37. JT

    Andy @ 39: You’re right. You can take almost any politician who has been in Congress or who has been President and find a few things they did that were obviously pro-liberty. In fact, it’s very difficult to be in office for many years and support nothing at all that Libertarians would agree with. Unfortunately, the portrayals of Ronald Reagan as a freedom-fighter is widespread today. The Libertarian Party needs to proclaim what freedom really means, because most people don’t clearly grasp the concept.

  38. Brian Holtz Post author

    Andy, if the dozen facts Root gave aren’t enough for you, then here’s a fact from Reagan’s interview in Reason magazine. He said: “You ask is this government protecting us from ourselves or is this government protecting us from each other. I don’t believe in a government that protects us from ourselves.”

    Can you quote Ted Kennedy ever saying something like that?

    As Root said: “Are there differences between Reagan and libertarianism? Absolutely, but you can’t convince someone of our ideas until you are first able to start a conversation. Once the door is open, we are able to build a bridge that brings people from Reaganism to libertarianism.”

    Libertarianism isn’t about how much you hate Obama or Bush or Reagan. It’s about how much you want to share your love of liberty. Both Root and his critics need to keep this in mind.

  39. Whats the harm?

    What is the harm in finding aspects of people you like and identifying those aspects as “libertarian”.

    If you concentrate on the positive, only the positive is concentrated on. Spending a lot of time complaining that, “So-and-so is not a libertarian because…” does nothing constructive.

    Which statement do you think would sell a neutral person on libertarianism more:

    Bob Barr is not a libertarian because he authored DOMA.

    Bob Barr’s work on decriminalizing marijuana is beneficial to the libertarian cause.

    OR

    Ron Paul is a traitor and a Republican sell-out.

    Ron Paul is a lifetime member of the Libertarian Party.

    OR

    WAR is a war mongering zionist.

    WAR wrote “Conscience of a Libertarian”

    I am sometimes at a loss why some choose the battles they do. Especially when the tactics they seem to favor are to charge the enemy cavalry with archers; stop short and turn 180 to fire at their own lines.

  40. Robert Capozzi

    ans: The narcissism of small differences. Being “right” while others are “wrong” is an addiction, a VERY unhealthy one.

  41. Andy

    Brian Holtz quoting Ronald Reagan: “He said: ‘You ask is this government protecting us from ourselves or is this government protecting us from each other. I don’t believe in a government that protects us from ourselves.'”

    Yes, and then Reagan ratchted up the drug war. Ronald Reagan obviously did not believe his own rhetoric.

    “Can you quote Ted Kennedy ever saying something like that?”

    I remember one summer when I was in high school I took a trip to Washington DC and a friend and I went to the Capital to watch the US Senate in session. During this session Ted Kennedy got up gave a speech in support of freedom of speech and expression and against a proposed amendment to criminalize burning an American flag. I didn’t know what libertarianism or the Libertarian Party was back then but even so I was already a strong supporter of free speech and freedom of expression so at the time I thought that Ted Kennedy was a good guy because he opposed the flag burning amendment (little did I know that he was anti-liberty on many other issues).

  42. Eric Dondero

    Wayne’s view on the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are a bit troubling.

    Afghanistan, perhaps. But how in the world does one in any stretch of the imagination describe Iraq’s burgeoning democracy a “failure”?

    I luv Wayne, but his answer begs the question, would we be better off if Saddam Hussein was still there, rather than Maliki or Alawi? My gosh, those two guys aren’t perfect, but at least they’re not putting people in hot oil baths, mutilating and raping women, and throwing political opponents off of buildings with their hands tied behind their backs.

  43. Eric Dondero

    You know, Wayne criticizes “nation building.” But if we had stuck with it, in Vietnam, and actually helped the South Vietnamese to build a true democracy, not the corrupto-cracy that LBJ and the Democrats promoted, perhaps then 1 million South Vietnamese lives would have been spared, along with nearly 2 million Cambodians who died at the hands of the Communist Khmer Rouge.

    Lefties can blast “nation building” all they want. But in most cases, the alternative is massive human genocide.

    I fear Wayne is becomming under the spell of too many Leftist Anti-War Libertarians.

    A real shame.

  44. Tom Blanton

    W.A.R. opines:

    In a cynical world, the name Reagan still brings a tear to the eyes and a smile to the lips of a majority of American voters.

    The phrase “Reagan Libertarian” brings a churning sensation in my lower bowels and the taste of vomit to my lips. Then I get pissed off for not manufacturing a combination bobble-head Reagan bust/air freshener for pick-up trucks. I could have been a rich white guy.

    But, my Sarah Palin inflatable tea party dolls with no orifices for Christian conservatives that practice abstinence might make a few bucks.

    Speaking of idiots, only a fool believes government figures for inflation and unemployment. If you believe that crap, you’d believe any of the excuses to go to war the imperialists dream up.

  45. Andy

    Eric Dondero said: “But in most cases, the alternative is massive human genocide.”

    You mean like the genocide that the US government has committed by murdering one million Iraqis, not too mention all of those who have been maimed by the US government.

  46. Tom Blanton

    We’ve been doing the nation building thing in Iraq using a foundation of depleted uranium and everything has turned out great there.

    You sure can’t judge the success American exceptionalism brings based on a few million homeless Iraqis and a crippled economy there. There are a lot more important things than that stuff. Like the chuckles real men get when they waste a Reuters photographer or that warm feeling one gets looking at baby’s with extra appendages.

    I fear Wayne is becomming under the spell of too many Leftist Anti-War Libertarians.

    Yeah, what if he turns soft on islamofascism and turns his back on Israel? Wayne might end up as a gay pot head that wants the terrorists to win.

  47. Tom Blanton

    I luv Wayne, but his answer begs the question, would we be better off if Saddam Hussein was still there, rather than Maliki or Alawi?

    Actually, we would be better off if Saddam was still there, assuming we weren’t there.

  48. Steven R Linnabary

    Afghanistan, perhaps. But how in the world does one in any stretch of the imagination describe Iraq’s burgeoning democracy a “failure”?

    Try Google:

    Results 1 – 10 of about 6,460,000 for iraqi elections + fraud. (0.28 seconds)

    Fairly well documented.

    PEACE

  49. Root's Still a War-Monger at Heart

    Dondero: “I fear Wayne is becomming under the spell of too many Leftist Anti-War Libertarians. “

    Don’t worry, Eric. I’m sure that Root is still a war-mongering Zionist at heart.

    But until Root wins the LP Chair race, he has to soft-peddle his war streak.

    Don’t forget. Root became a born-again non-interventionist months before the 2008 LP convention. Then after he won the LP nomination, he called for an Aghan surge.

    Root’s war-mania will resurface after the 2010 LP convention.

  50. WAR will destroy the LP

    Wayne Allyn Root is still a racist. Still hasn’t gotten an apology for his hit piece on Reason Hit N Run claiming that Barack Obama got into Columbia because of racial quotas. He has NO evidence of this what-so-ever and thinks all blacks that get into a good university aren’t smart enough to get in based on merit, just quotas!

  51. Dennis

    @ 57,
    I vaguely remember Root asking Obama to release the transcripts of his grades. I don’t know if he ever did, but he could very well have squashed Root’s theory.

  52. JT

    Dennis, do you really think a U.S. President is going to order the release of the transcripts of his college grades from 30 years ago because Wayne Root challenges him? Come on. Okay, Root doesn’t remember Obama at Columbia. Did anyone who went to a university know everyone who graduated in their class? It’s absurd.

  53. David F. Nolan

    Root most likely claims Reagan as one of his heroes because a recent survey showed that most Americans presently view Reagan positively. But he was no libertarian. In his book “Recarving Rushmore,” published by the Independent Institute, Ivan Eland ranked Reagan #34 among U.S. Presidents in terms of advancing “peace, prosperity and liberty.” That’s just one historian’s opinion, to be sure, but it’s worth noting.

  54. paulie

    a recent survey showed that most Americans presently view Reagan positively.

    It did not mention any other presidents.

    Reagan was never libertarian even in rhetoric on social issues or foreign policy/military spending. He campaigned and governed as an anti-liberty politician on these issues.

    His libertarian rhetoric on economic issues was not matched by reality.

    The federal budget grew greatly under Reagan. His proposed budgets were bigger in some years and nearly as big in others as those proposed by the Democratic leadership in congress.

    The debt accumulated under Reagan’s watch is a tax, even if the tax was not paid during his administratioon – it contributed to taxes which have been paid since then, to this day and for the foreseeable future.

    It has already been mentioned that he raised FICA taxes. Most blue collar and working poor people pay more FICA than income taxes, so claiming that he reduced taxes on all income levels is not accurate.

    The S&L bailout (ripoff) was another government forced transfer of wealth upwards and a precedent for the Bush and Obama “bailouts” to come.

    It is absolutely ridiculous to say that Reagan was some kind of libertarian icon.

    Opposition to Reagan’s drug war and Reagan’s military fetish were the main reasons I became politically active in the first place, and the realization that the Democrats opposed these only in rhetoric made me a Libertarian.

    Echoing Chuck’s question…

    7. Why is reaching out only to conservatives a good strategy when Ron Paul made his mark and raised much of his money through his opposition to the Iraq war? Given that many college students lean liberal and the young are the future of the LP and the country, why is outreach to young liberals with free time to volunteer and potential to be lifelong LP supporters more important than outreach to old conservatives with lots of money to donate?

    (I think Chuck meant to say isn’t rather than is in the last sentence above).

    I think that really boils things down to their essence.

    The OPH scores for all college students cluster at about 80 social, 50 economic, with many openly admitting that they don’t know much about economic issues. If we can’t find ways to turn that to our advantage, who else do we have to blame for not being further along as a political movement/party?

  55. paulie

    fevered opposition to international trade pacts and the UN.

    What’s fevered about opposing globally managed trade and world government?

    Combined with his strong emphasis on trash-talking the Federal Reserve […] it’s the sort of thing that strikes many other libertarians as, if not inherently unlibertarian, sort of cranky and kooky

    Huh?!

    Aside from George Phillies and co., I can’t think of many libertarian fans of the federal reserve.

    Or the UN, for that matter.

  56. Brian Holtz

    Just because Phillies doesn’t think the Fed is controlled by a conspiracy of international Jewry, that doesn’t necessarily make him a “fan” of it. I doubt you can quote Phillies disagreeing with any part of the LP 2.5 Money and Financial Markets plank: “We favor free-market banking, with unrestricted competition among banks and depository institutions of all types. Individuals engaged in voluntary exchange should be free to use as money any mutually agreeable commodity or item. We support a halt to inflationary monetary policies, the repeal of legal tender laws and compulsory governmental units of account.”

    In the 50 years after the GATT was signed in 1947, average world tariff rates for manufactured goods declined from 37.5% to about 4%. Here’s a 2007 article from the Cato Institute about the GATT:

    GATT Turns 60

    by Douglas A. Irwin

    Douglas Irwin, an economics professor at Dartmouth, is author of “Free Trade Under Fire” (Princeton, 2005).

    Monday, April 9, 2007

    Sixty years ago this week (April 10, 1947) at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, representatives from 23 nations opened a conference that attracted little attention at the time, but had far-reaching consequences for the world economy. The conferees met to negotiate tariff reductions and finalize the text of a General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). They sought to create an open world trading system, one in which trade would flow relatively freely between countries with the understanding that new trade barriers would not be erected to impede this flow. In the 60 years since then, world trade and prosperity have flourished to a degree well beyond the hopes of the founders of the GATT, a result that can be attributed in part to their sage actions half a century ago.

    The origins of the GATT can be found in the economic disaster of the interwar period. After World War I, the United States turned its back on the League of Nations and international economic cooperation. World leaders failed to put the world trade and payments system, which had been severely disrupted by the war, on a functional basis after the war.

    On top of this came the Great Depression, and with it a dramatic contraction of world trade. The U.S. imposed the protectionist Smoot-Hawley tariff in 1930. Two years later, Britain abandoned its traditional free trade policy by imposing a General Tariff and signing the Ottawa agreements with its former colonies, creating a preferential trading bloc that discriminated against nonmembers. Germany strong-armed countries in southeastern Europe into special bilateral trading arrangements with the Reich. Japan created the Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere to siphon off Asian trade for its own benefit. Although the world economy recovered slowly from the depression, the spread of high tariffs, import quotas, discriminatory practices and foreign exchange restrictions meant that world trade remained stagnant and compartmentalized throughout the 1930s.

    The tragic economic and political consequences of that “low dishonest decade” spurred some officials to think about a new economic framework. Marked by the bitter experience after World War I, Cordell Hull — FDR’s Secretary of State — came to believe that “unhampered trade dovetail[s] with peace; high tariffs, trade barriers and unfair economic competition, with war.” As he declared, “I will never falter in my belief that enduring peace and the welfare of nations are indissolubly connected with friendliness, fairness, equality and the maximum practicable degree of freedom in international trade.” Due to Hull’s guidance and persistence, Congress enacted the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act of 1934, which gave the executive branch the authority to undertake bilateral negotiations to reduce tariffs. Although the trade agreements negotiated during the 1930s had a limited effect, it marked a significant departure from the old non-negotiable high tariffs enacted by Congress, and set the stage for a new era in U.S. trade policy.

    World War II provided the opportunity for Anglo-American cooperation on postwar commercial policy. While the Americans envisioned expanding the bilateral approach it had taken in the 1930s, the British advocated a much more ambitious multilateral approach. In 1942, James Meade, then a U.K. civil servant and later a professor and Nobel laureate in economics, drafted a plan for an International Commercial Union, the trade counterpart to John Maynard Keynes’s proposal for an International Clearing Union for postwar finance. After the War Cabinet endorsed Meade’s plan, British and American officials began informal discussions about the shape of the postwar trading system.

    These informal meetings eventually led to the 1947 GATT conference in Geneva. The U.S. and Britain, along with other countries, exchanged tariff reductions and finalized the provisions of the GATT. Although the Anglo-American delegates agreed on the overriding objective of freeing trade, the negotiations were difficult and required many compromises.

    The U.S. insisted that the most-favored nation (MFN) clause — ensuring nondiscrimination in trade — be the Article I cornerstone of the GATT because it wanted to prevent the spread of Imperial preferences that discriminated against its exports. Fearful of its postwar financial situation, Britain demanded large American tariff cuts in exchange for a reduction in preferences and wanted the freedom to impose quantitative restrictions on imports in case of balance of payments difficulties, something that became Article XII of the GATT.

    Initially, the tariff reductions negotiated in Geneva had a limited impact on international trade because wartime exchange controls and quantitative restrictions remained in place. However, as these controls were phased out during the 1950s, the lower tariffs allowed world trade to grow rapidly. The expansion of world trade promoted the rapid economic recovery of Europe and Japan. In turn, the spread of economic growth allowed democracy to become firmly established in a way that had failed dismally during the interwar period.

    By the 1960s, the flourishing world economy gave the GATT participants the confidence to build on this early success and reduce tariffs and non-tariff barriers even more. Thus followed the Kennedy Round in the 1960s, the Tokyo Round in the 1970s, and the Uruguay Round in the late 1980s and early 1990s, each of which chipped away at the protectionist walls blocking world trade. In 1995, the World Trade Organization (WTO) was established in recognition of the fact that world trade rules had been extended to services, intellectual property and other new areas of trade.

    Over its 60-year history, the GATT has had many shortcomings. Agricultural trade has largely eluded liberalization. The current spread of preferential trade arrangements, in the form of bilateral and regional so-called free trade agreements, have reintroduced discriminatory trade practices in a way that weakens the multilateral system built on the MFN clause.

    The GATT has also gone through many difficult phases. The world economy went through a particularly dangerous period in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when sluggish growth and painful structural adjustments led many countries to ignore the GATT rules altogether. Trade barriers in the form of voluntary export restraints and orderly marketing arrangements proliferated, restricting trade in sectors such as automobiles, steel and textiles. In this environment, the prospect for new trade negotiations seemed so dismal that some suggested “the GATT is dead.”

    Despite these shortcomings and difficulties, the GATT framework has survived as a durable code of conduct for commercial policy and dispute resolution. Tariffs have been ratcheted down, the penchant for voluntary trade restrictions has been put to rest, and potential trade wars have been peacefully defused. The relevance of the GATT is reflected in the WTO’s ever-growing membership, now up to 150 countries.

    The prosperity of the world economy over the past half century owes a great deal to the growth of world trade which, in turn, is partly the result of farsighted officials who created the GATT. They established a set of procedures giving stability to the trade-policy environment and thereby facilitating the rapid growth of world trade. With the long run in view, the original GATT conferees helped put the world economy on a sound foundation and thereby improved the livelihood of hundreds of millions of people around the world.

    The task for statesmen today is to look beyond short-term political considerations, arising from the complaints of special interests that fear market competition and the parsing of subsidies, and bring the ongoing Doha Round to a successful conclusion. If immediate steps cannot be taken to liberalize trade, then the phasing in of reforms and the phasing out of subsidies over many years is perfectly consistent with the long-term objectives of the GATT. We should remind ourselves how much poorer the world would be today without the politically courageous decisions made by visionary diplomats meeting in Geneva 60 years ago this month.

    Even as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund struggle to rethink their role in the modern world economy, the role of the GATT and WTO is secure. The postwar expansion of world trade fostered by the GATT has made a lasting contribution to world prosperity and, as Cordell Hull suggested, to world peace as well.

  57. paulie

    Just because Phillies doesn’t think the Fed is controlled by a conspiracy of international Jewry, that doesn’t necessarily make him a “fan” of it.

    Brian, why the red herring? I’m of mostly Jewish ancestry myself, and have never said or insinuated that the Fed is a “conspiracy of international Jewry.” Nor do the vast majority of libertarian critics of the Fed hold such a position.

    On the other hand, Dr. Phillies is on record saying that the federal reserve saved the economy. I’m not sufficiently motivated to find the original quote right now, but I’ve seen it before.

    For starters, we can ask him, since he reads/posts here fairly frequently.

    I doubt you can quote Phillies disagreeing with any part of the LP 2.5 Money and Financial Markets plank: “We favor free-market banking, with unrestricted competition among banks and depository institutions of all types. Individuals engaged in voluntary exchange should be free to use as money any mutually agreeable commodity or item. We support a halt to inflationary monetary policies, the repeal of legal tender laws and compulsory governmental units of account.”

    Can you quote him agreeing with it?

    Better yet, instead of speculations, we can ask him.

    Dr. Phillies, what is your position on the plank quoted above – complete agreement, complete disagreement, or partial agreement? If the latter, which parts do you agree with and which parts do you disagree with?

  58. paulie

    See http://www.lewrockwell.com/rockwell/protectionism.html

    Quoting in part:

    Let’s consider the linguistic categories that govern the great trade debates of our time – NAFTA and GATT. The media and the government have successfully created a political split of Manichean proportions. On one side we have the representatives of pure light – multinational corporations, every executive branch agency, the leaders of both parties of both houses of Congress, the media, all the ex-Presidents, respected public intellectuals, Beltway think tanks, professors at every top university. They are called the free traders. On the other side, we have almost everyone else. Public opinion has been solidly against both NAFTA and GATT at least before it has been shaped by those on the other side. We can add to the public a handful of columnists and academics who have actually bothered to look at the documents in question. The people of light say that this latter group represents the forces of darkness – isolationists, reactionary opponents of free trade and progress.

    Let’s look at how reality changes this conventional grouping. NAFTA established a trade block primarily to benefit government-connected corporations and banking interests. It invested new powers in the Executive to interfere with trade from non-North American nations. It’s a natural consequence of NAFTA that the US government would threaten trade war with Japan. It’s a natural consequence of NAFTA that the US would set up a multibillion dollar fund to support the Mexican peso. It’s a natural consequence of NAFTA that unprecedented levels of foreign aid would flow to Mexico City.

    Like Hamilton’s domestic policy, NAFTA is statist to the core. It tells us that we cannot reduce regulations on labor and the environment to attract investment. Not only that, the congressional research service tells us that under NAFTA we cannot reduce regulation on labor or the environment even to retain investment. The labor side tells us that we are to have equal wages between men and women, which not even Hamilton would have favored imposing by executive fiat. The NAFTA-ites tell us that we retain our sovereignty under NAFTA. It is partially true. We retain our sovereignty to increase our restrictions on business, to increase labor and environmental regulations, but we do not retain our rights to reduce them without monetary and trade penalties from tri-national secretariats.

    NAFTA is imperialist. It preaches to other countries about what kinds of laws and regulations they should have – the social democratic mixed economy that is impoverishing us. NAFTA is, of course, not the free trade of Jefferson, Randolph, Taylor and Calhoun. It is trade for the few and not the many, for the particular interests and not the general interest.

    What about GATT and the World Trade Organization it proposes to establish? Same is true. It is sold as free trade, yet it represents something else entirely. It enshrines the principle of manipulating economies by demand-side management. It embraces so-called sustainable development, which is code word for the entire environmentalist agenda. The World Trade Organization comes complete with a new ministerial conference, a director general, a secretariat plethora of committees, councils, and review bodies, and a bunch of new, fancy office buildings in Geneva. WTO’s mission will not be the lowering of trade barriers, but rather its stated goal of “achieving greater coherence in global economic policy making.” As US trade representative Mickey Kantor was toasting the end of the GATT negotiations in December, The New York Times hailed the WTO as the trade equivalent of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

    Jefferson, Taylor, Randolph, and Calhoun were right. Centralized government is the tyrant, we are its serfs. These free trade revolutionaries found the remedy of tyranny as serfdom and a love of liberty and a willingness to fight for independence. Like Mises writing in his 1919 work Nation, State and Economy, they believed that “no people or part of a people should be held against its will in a political association that it does not want.”

    For Jefferson, Randolph, Taylor, and Calhoun, the cause of independence was the force powerful enough to rally the public against distant rulers. But their desire for independence was not, of course, directed against any other country, and free trade was a key to this. As Calhoun said when he wrote to the Manchester Anti-Corn Law League in 1845, “I regard free trade as involving considerations far higher than mere commercial advantages as great as they are. It is, in my opinion, emphatically the cause of civilization and peace.”

    But, civilization and peace are threatened. In Jefferson’s day the tyranny was centered in the British Crown. In our day the tyranny is centered in Washington, DC, and in New York and in Geneva. We are surrounded by DC bureaucrats, NAFTA bureaucrats, UN bureaucrats, bureaucrats with the World Bank and the IMF, and assorted scalawags on the pay of the governing elites. If we are to restore liberty, limited and local government, free enterprise, and, yes, free trade, we must begin by understanding the power that a legitimate regionalism and an old-fashioned devotion to independence will have in uniting us against the forces of central control.

  59. FED Aligned

    I can think of one other on the Phillies slate that has ties to the Federal Reserve.

  60. Alexander S. Peak

    REAGAN

    If I had to define what a “Reagan libertarian” is, I would define it as such: “One who is a libertarian in rhetoric only.”

    For example, Reagan said some really interesting stuff at the 1984 GOP national convention. He presented a political spectrum in the shape of a circle at that convention. And, of course, as Mr. Holtz’s link indicates, Reagan described libertarianism as the heart and soul of conservatism. (Never mind my absolute disagreement with that statement.)

    Despite some good rhetoric, however, Reagan categorically failed to move the country in a libertarian direction. Government grew under Reagan quicker than Jack’s bean stalk. In fact, our most successful presidential candidate ever was an opponent of Reagan in the 1980 election.

    Harry Browne wrote an article descrribing Reagan as the quintessential politician. This was not a compliment, of course, since Browne refused to ever call himself a politician. To Browne, politician was a dirty word—as it ought to be.

    Rothbard also had unflattering things to say about Reagan, naturally. As far as Rothbard was concerned, Reagan hurt the libertarian movement by inspiring faith in big government.

    Reagan had some rather impressive rhetoric, I will admit. But by no means was he a libertarian.

    Root does get something right, I must admit. He reiterates Browne’s position that Reagan proved that libertarian rhetoric has buying power with the American public. While this does not make Reagan a libertarian, it does bode well for a libertarian future, as Root says.

    While Root is probably correct that the label “Reagan” is viewed favourably by the voting public, I would feel dishonest by adopting the name “Reagan” as a label to describe libertarian views (whether minarchist or anarchist), and I would feel disgusted by actually changing my views to become more Reagan-esque. Quite honestly, I don’t want people associating me or my party with Reagan, regardless of the fact that Mr. Root is probably correct.

    In so far as libertarians do bring up Reagan in conversation, I believe it important to present the man accurately. If you wish to point out that the man did some good, that’s fine, as long as we do not sugar-coat Reaganism and pretend that the man did not do many unlibertarian things. It’s also important to be honest that Reagan did not end the Cold War—state socialism did.

    There’s nothing wrong in finding areas of agreement with people. In fact, I think building bridges is a very good thing. But we must be willing to build bridges with modern “liberals” and with conservatives. We also must remain honest. While I will happily work with “liberals” for drug reform, I’d never tell them that I see merit to gun control. That would simply be a lie. Likewise, while I’d be happy to work with conservatives on tax reform, I’d never tell them that I see merit to immigration control. (Not to imply that Root is arguing in favour of lying or intentional deception, of course.)

    IRAN

    I am pleased to see a more libertarian orientation from Root on the matter of war. It sounds as though Root is now in the same boat as Ron Paul on the issue. If so, good!

    MARRIAGE

    I always find myself troubled by the term “states’ rights.” (1) Governments cannot possess rights; only individuals can possess rights. (2) The tenth amendment refers correctly to state “powers,” not state “rights.”

    I would reject having any plank call for states rights. I would not object, however, to a plank calling for general decentralisation or general devolution of power.

    DOMA is of course unconstitutional. Paul and Barr are absolutely wrong to support it. I think Mr. Root’s response was vague on his position regarding DOMA, and I find this troubling. Hopefully he can clarify his position.

    Naturally, I agree that marriage should not be licensed. And, naturally, I don’t support getting the federal government to tell the states what policy they can set, despite my obvious desire to see the states set a policy of separating marriage from state.

    GOD

    I think Root should be very clear that his theism is his personal position, just as I would hope that atheists would make it clear that their atheism is their personal position. Theism and atheism are valid ideas to discuss when trying to convert someone to the libertarian position, but it’s essential that we do not mislead anyone into thinking that theism or atheism are cornerstones for our party.

    I think Mr. Root may inadvertantly turn some people off by giving God equal billing in the title of his book, which is of course unfortunate. Let’s compare this to Ron Paul’s The Revolution. Although Paul is a devout Christian, I don’t recall him even mentioning God in his book, and if he did, it was likely not discussed in any great detail.

    If Mr. Root were to write a book specifically about his view on the unity between theism and his political views, it might be a rather interesting book, and one worth reading. But I would not put much about faith in a book titled The Conscience of a Libertarian.

    MOULTON

    I like many of Mr. Moulton’s questions.

    I also think Mr. Moulton makes a great deal of sense in his comments in #11.

    MILNES

    I would not describe Ron Paul as a reactionary or even as a conservative. While I disagree with him on immigration and DOMA and abortion and anarchism, I think he’s far more libertarian than, say, Bob Barr.

    I would also not call Dr. Phillies a radical. He didn’t even support, if I recall correctly, the common sense position of abolishing the federal reserve system.

    ANDY

    I share Andy’s distaste for the phrase “Reagan libertarian.” See above.

    I think Andy makes a very good point in #38 as well.

    HOLTZ

    I like many of those bumper stickers. 🙂

    #43

    “Bob Barr is not a libertarian because he authored DOMA.”

    “Bob Barr’s work on decriminalizing marijuana is beneficial to the libertarian cause.”

    I think we should say both. Both are true. And we paint a more accurate picture when we try to present the good and the bad about a person. Yes, it is good that Barr is working toward reforming the marijuana laws. It’s also the case that Barr is unfortunately not a libertarian, but that he’s slowly becoming more libertarian than he once was. Maybe one day, he’ll actually oppose the entire war on drugs. Maybe one day, he’ll actually become a libertarian. In the mean time, he’s still a libertarian-leaning man who works with us on various issues where we agree. 🙂

    DONDERO

    You pose an interesting thought.

    Would I be better off is the many innocent Iraqis who have died because of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq were still alive?

    Would I?

    I don’t know. Maybe I would be, maybe I wouldn’t be.

    It’s an interesting thought, but ultimately an irrelevant one. The murder (intentional or unintentional) of even a single innocent person is absolutely evil. The phrase “collateral damage” is a euphamism for unjust injury, unjust destruction of justly-acquired property, and murder.

    If you want to assassinate thugs like Hussein, more power to you. But the moment you harm even one innocent person in the process, I can no longer condone your actions.

    Best to all,
    Alex Peak

  61. Brian Holtz Post author

    Reagan categorically failed to move the country in a libertarian direction. Government grew under Reagan quicker than Jack’s bean stalk.

    Hand-waving. What modern president has even half as many major liberty-increasing accomplishments as the dozen that Root listed for Reagan?

    I believe it important to present the man accurately. […] Don’t pretend that the man did not do many unlibertarian things

    Root was at least as accurate as you were. Don’t pretend that the man did not do many pro-liberty things. I wouldn’t use the term “Reagan libertarian”, but there was a lengthy period in my pre-LP libertarian journey in which that phrase would definitely have resonated with me. Do you not want more people like me in the LP? (No wait, don’t answer that.)

    Re: God — I’m a fundamentalist atheist and a published author at infidels.org, the web’s leading atheism web site. My question asked about the only theism problem I found in Root’s book, and he answered it well. There is an excellent section in Root’s book where he explains to Christian conservatives why they should not want to empower government to legislate morality.

    If Bob Barr is “not a libertarian” because of DOMA, then Ron Paul isn’t either. Being a federalist on marriage is not the libertarian position, but it shouldn’t disqualify you from being a libertarian. Barr’s greater heresy was his apparent willingness to replace the federal drug war with 50 state drug wars. Still, he’s at least an 80/90 in Nolan space, and that’s clearly libertarian. Are there any other single-issue litmus tests you apply from my test below?

    If you rule out all possibility of harming innocents in war, then you’re advocating either pacificism or omniscience. I don’t see any other choices.

  62. Alexander S. Peak

    Mr. Holtz,

    My view on the party is complicated.

    On the one hand, I ultimately don’t believe we will achieve liberty directly through the party. But on the other, I do believe it is important to keep the party active.

    The state has its power because its subjects do not resist, and its subjects do not resist for multiple reasons. Many have been indoctrinated to believe that their own enslavement to the state is somehow legitimate. There are plenty who recognise that there is no natural principle legitimising their servitude to the state, but who yield in every way to leviathan because they believe society would collapse without due respect for statutory “law and order.” Then there are even those who recognise that law and order need not originate within the hands of the state, but whom still submit because individual nonviolent civil disobedience is not as likely to succeed as mass nonviolent civil disobedience, and because they recognise that the masses aren’t there yet. (I largely put myself into this group.)

    I predict that we will only achieve freedom through education and mass nonviolent civil disobedience.

    But this does not mean the party is useless. The agorists have not yet convinced me to reject voting, although Harry Browne convinced me years ago to respect the right of nonvoters to not vote. Although I respect the agorists’ promotion of counter-economics, the party is extremely useful, because it can (1) sway the major parties toward positions marginally more libertarian than they’d otherwise support and (2) bring people into the libertarian movement, from where they can begin educating themselves on the history of liberal thought.

    Does this mean we should not be concerned, as a party, with electing libertarian candidates? Of course not. Electing libertarian candidates is an important part of the equation, and there’s nobody who will be happier than I to see someone like Michael Badnarik elected to Congress.

    It is my position that minarchists and anarchists both play an important role in the movement, and until we actually reach minarchy, we should not part ways. And although I do not know your positions intimately, I do not think I would be inclined to vote against you if you were a candidate in my district. So, I think that answers the question of whether I want you in the LP.

    I tend to think of Harry Browne as the perfect model of a libertarian candidate. He had radical positions, and presented them in a way that makes sense to the majority of Americans. Moreover, he was a tremendous speaker.

    I don’t believe Browne would ever have used the term “Reagan libertarian.” He would have recognised that such a term would drive away people like me, people who saw themselves as hardcore liberals.

    The problem with the term isn’t that it would attract you. The problem is that it would repel me.

    Whenever Browne spoke about issues, he would always mention liberal-oriented ones and conservative-oriented ones at the same time (except when he spoke at length about a specific issue).

    This might sound surprising, but I’m actually inclined to agree with Christopher Hitchens that Carter was the least bad recent president. (But I hasten to add that I did not live through a single Carter year, so what do I know.) Nevertheless, I would despise the term “Carter libertarian,” and for the same reason I dislike the term “Reagan libertarian.” I’m sure Browne would eschew both terms.

    There are people out there who were like me, who didn’t know the word “libertarian,” who favoured social programmes but with reservations, and who assumed that Reagan was pure evil simply because they saw the “good” people talking bad about Reagan and the “bad” people praising him.

    There was a point in high school when I actually claimed that all Republicans were racists. That’s who I was. I would have been willing to listen if someone were to list Reagan’s flaws along with his good qualities, because I would have seen such a person as trying to be objective. But I probably would have stuck my fingers in my ears (not literally, just figuratively) if someone were to only list good things about Reagan, because I would have assumed this person to be closed-minded and thus unworthy of my time.

    I find myself today believing that our best approach to handling Reagan is to say that Reagan had some great pro-freedom rhetoric, but that his policies failed to uphold a truly pro-freedom agenda. This is the best way to handle Reagan because (1) it is accurate, (2) it doesn’t scare away “liberals” who might otherwise eventually become libertarians, and (3) it is not a repitition of the tired old “liberal” mantra about Reagan that conservatives have heard a million times and rejected a million times (in fact, conservatives could interpret our position as “more Reagan than Reagan,” even though I would never describe it as such myself).

    I hope this clarifies my position on the Reagan question.

    As for Mr. Barr, I do not consider him a non-libertarian merely because he voted for DOMA. He also supported creating a national sales tax; said it would be insane for states to end their own drug wars; supported immigration control (Ron Paul also takes this unlibertarian position); defended his unconstitutional vote in favour of the USA PATIOT Act, when he should have apologised for it and called it a mistake; did not support abolishing the Federal Reserve Act; and said over and over again during the campaign that he didn’t leave his ideology, that the Republican party left him, thereby implying that he was still big-government enough to support all of the big-government stuff the GOP supported back in 1992 when he first ran for Congress.

    While I went ahead and voted for our 2008 presidential candidate, I now regret doing do.

    I rule out the legitimacy of harming innocents in war. Anything is possible, but not everything is legitimate. By this I mean I support the punishment of those who do harm innocents in war. If you kill someone who turns out to have been innocent, then perhaps you should receive the death penalty. If all you do is knock down someone’s fence, you should be required to fix it out of your own pocket. In short, an eye for an eye. This is definitely not a pacifistic position, nor does it require omniscience (although it does require what we could call “proof beyond a reasonable doubt”).

    Again, I hope this clarifies my positions.

    Best,
    Alex Peak

  63. Bill Van Allen, Jr.

    I am gratified to see the depth of the discussion about WAR’s positions (with the exception of #57’s attempt at character assassination), but I’m also somewhat alarmed by the post in #4 where Robert Milnes states “we want progressivism/radicalism/revolution.” And then he says he supports Prof. Phillies. That any libertarian would advocate for progressivism exhibits the same degree of philosophical confusion that one of my 2002 campaign’s activists showed when he declined to support me in 2004 because he considered himself a “libertarian-socialist.” Socialism and libertarianism are diametrically opposed at their foundations, because socialism requires a huge and powerful central government that can only exist at the expense of individual liberty. However, it does validate the political calculation that the early 20th century socialists like Teddy Roosevelt made when they dropped references to socialism and became “progressives.” After all, who could be against progress? I suspect Dr. Phillies would blanch at being called a progressive, even though he does seem to be blind (from the comments here) to the “anthropogenic global warming” hoax.
    Several posters noted Libertarians’ tendency to self-destruct over small differences when we should be uniting over the larger similarities. Alex Peak makes the point better than anyone I’ve heard thus far about the philosophical foundation for minarchists and anarchists working together, rather than rending the party over that particular disagreement. He says “until we actually reach minarchy, we should not part ways.” I wholeheartedly agree, and would also note that the U.S. Constitution is a well-regarded popular reference point that the LP should use to achieve minarchy. Only after we elect a minarchist government and do away with most government spending does it make sense to introduce an issue that would divide the anarchists from the minarchists and undermine our political numbers.
    Mr. Peak makes another observation that every LP candidate should take to heart, whether for party or public office, and that is Harry Browne’s lesson in speaking of liberal-oriented and conservative-oriented positions. The LP is neither “Republican-lite” nor “Neo-Progressively Democrat” and we should be able to draw the disctinctions that will take votes away from both major parties, and provide a political home for the idealist youth in America.
    I agree with Robert Capozzi in #22 that the LP should take a staunch pro-civil-union stand on a national basis, since I believe that the problems he noted with federalism on the issue require it. It is possible to author a Civil Union stand that both religious leaders and GLBT can agree with; in fact my county LP organization did just that in 2004, I believe it was. Leave marriage to the religious organizations that sanction male-female unions, and civil unions that protect the right of inheritance and insurance benefits et al for everyone else, including atheists. That protects the concept of equal rights for all while also preventing the contravention of the First Amendment by government forcing gay marriage upon religious institutions that oppose it.
    Chuck Moulton makes many good points thoughout this thread, and presents them thoughtfully and with the authority of someone who has, as they say “been there.” I wonder if anyone has started a “Draft Chuck for Chair” movement yet.

  64. paulie

    socialism requires a huge and powerful central government that can only exist at the expense of individual liberty.

    This is a common misunderstanding. Socialism is worker control over means of production. State-socialists believe a powerful central government is the only way that can happen. Libertarian socialists support workers power through non-monopoly government means.

    Libertarianism is not necessarily a preference for any type of economic system, it is a preference for keeping government out of determining our economic system, social interactions, etc., as much as possible while allowing for a relatively peaceful social order.

    Some libertarians believe that this can be achieved entirely without monopoly government, whereas others see a continued role for a smaller state. Likewise, some libertarians believe a free market system will result in the absence of excessive government, but there are others who believe a voluntary cooperative system is more likely to emerge and/or more preferable.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *