Libertarianism In The Mainstream?: Rand Paul In The Spotlight

Full post here.

Rand Paul is having to answer some questions surrounding civil rights:

‘Republican Senate nominee Rand Paul scrambled to explain his criticism of the landmark U.S. Civil Rights Act, which outlawed racial discrimination, saying he agrees with its goals but questions the federal government imposing its will on businesses.’

Are you comfortable with?:

-The Federal Government enforcing legislation that seeks to protect and extend rights of citizens who were formerly held by the laws in slavery, so that they may have access to public resources and education, and be regarded as equal under the law? Do you think it’s the business of the state?

-Paying your taxes (property, especially) to state, local and federal entities so that they may maintain the schools and roads and law enforcement where you live? What about when they harbor unions?

-The Federal Government overseeing and enforcing legislation that would potentially require every citizen to acquire health insurance, and vastly extending its influence over the private insurers to reach its goal? (I think this is one of Paul Krugman’s key arguments:  the profound inefficiencies, irregularities and inconsistencies of our health care delivery system have led to spiraling costs that can only be corrected by the Federal Government which is the only entity large enough to do it…such an argument has won the day).

-The Federal Government passing and enforcing legislation to influence the economic activity of those who discover, refine, produce and consume fossil fuels due to the threat of the Climate Change interests?


I can be fairly sure that one reason Rand Paul was elected was to counter the liberal direction of the current administration and Congress, as well as the spending spree they’ve gone on, and their aims to increase federal authority.

I don’t know if I’m fully libertarian because I’ve worried that a narrow group of people would suddenly have political power and a lot bad policy at least could be the result.  I don’t find libertarianism necessarily dangerous (any more than any other set of ideas), nor a threat on the merits as many liberals now feel it necessary to claim.   Rather, it just seems that perhaps libertarians are now more mainstream and having to answer to the current mainstream (and there are important issues in the Civil Rights grilling that Paul should have to clarify).

I have noticed that libertarians grow particularly well in the soil of California (with big labor and big government and big business, perhaps less of a sense of fixed place and much more socially liberal attitudes) and I would posit not necessarily as well in the more socially and religiously conservative areas of the country (though Paul is in Kentucky).

I figure many conservatives haven’t moved all that much in worldview, and are still shocked and getting fatigued living under an Obama White House, and find the libertarian message more attractive.

Addition:  I should add that conservatives might be happy to just let the libertarians do what they do in California:  fight against liberalism.

Another Addition:  Is it fighting, arguing, or agreeing?:  David Bernstein at Volokh has more.

Also On This Site:  Liberaltarianism?:  Will Wilkinson And Jonah Goldberg On Bloggingheads: Updating Libertarianism?From Reason’s Hit And Run: What Kind Of Libertarian Are You?

Milton Friedman applies economic libertarianism to education. Trade Unions try and adapt to globalization.

Kant is a major influence on libertarians, from Ayn Rand to Robert Nozick:  A Few Thoughts On Robert Nozick’s “Anarchy, State and Utopia”…Link To An Ayn Rand Paper: The Objectivist Attack On Kant

Can you maintain the virtues of religion without the church…?:  From The City Journal: Roger Scruton On “Forgiveness And Irony”…Are we going soft and “European”… do we need to protect our religious idealism enshrined in the Constitution….with the social sciences?…Charles Murray Lecture At AEI: The Happiness Of People

Nussbaum argues profoundly for more equality, but would this require enshrining ideals in State authority?:  From The Reason Archives: ‘Discussing Disgust’ Julian Sanchez Interviews Martha Nussbaum

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