The Final Word on Liber-al-tarianism

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Mark of New Jersey

Mark is a Founding Editor of The League of Ordinary Gentlemen, the predecessor of Ordinary Times.

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10 Responses

  1. Avatar Cascadian says:

    I’m much more of a constitutional paleocon than a libertarian. To me, small or limited government is a statement solely about the Federal Government and makes no claims on what individual states can enact. An example I left at Will’s is that of a living community, whether it be a condo or gated community. These communities often have very restrictive bylaws. Are libertarians willing to fight these semi-consensual restrictions as over reaching government on the small scale as well? I’d hope not. The same is true for States. Limited government means the Feds will not intrude on the states ability to form different systems which the populus can choose. Some might be anarchist dreams, some won’t. That’s an ultimate freedom of choice.Report

  2. Avatar Dave says:

    These communities often have very restrictive bylaws. Are libertarians willing to fight these semi-consensual restrictions as over reaching government on the small scale as well?

    I think this is setting up a 14th Amendment debate.

    I’m a constitutional originalist and I believe that the 14th Amendment’s restrictions on what states can and can’t do are wholly consistent with the original meaning of the text. If anything, it’s underenforced.

    Something that I will probably always disagree with conservatives on is that decentralization is only legitimate to the point that decentralization protects individual rights (not a community’s collective right to self-govern over others per se). Otherwise, I find the whole enterprise illegitimate.Report

  3. Avatar Cascadian says:

    “I’m a constitutional originalist and I believe that the 14th Amendment’s restrictions on what states can and can’t do are wholly consistent with the original meaning of the text. If anything, it’s underenforced.”

    I’d love a fourteenth debate. How exactly does an originalist deal with its creation and enactment?Report

  4. Cascadian and Dave – thanks for reminding me that we need a discussion on the 14th. One of these days I may even get around to it (I really do mean to). Of course, as much as I enjoy ConLaw, I think it’s an issue that is separate and apart from the normative issues of what government should and should not do.
    That said, I’m entirely in favor of allowing greater decision-making on the local level; what worries me is when that decision-making, as Dave suggests, starts to infringe on some clear individual rights.Report

  5. Avatar Cascadian says:

    “I think it’s an issue that is separate and apart from the normative issues of what government should and should not do.”

    Ultimately, that’s local as well. That’s the whole point. Rod is going to want something similar to myself, and yet quite different. You won’t be able to accommodate either of us by gaming a system so that Will is happy wherever he chooses to live. It’s not that I don’t believe that the bill of rights applies to individuals under the Constitution, it’s just that I think those rights are extremely limited and don’t actually work without a division of powers, and yes, the right to secession if it doesn’t work out.Report

  6. Avatar Dave says:

    Good question. I know Cato’s Gene Healy wrote a paper (I think while in law school) that addressed this (questioning its legitimacy) as well as criticized the “libertarian centralism” of people like Randy Barnett and Clint Bolick (I’d put Richard Epstein in there also).

    At this point, leaving the answer at “ignore the circumstances” since its in the document and the document is the Supreme Law of the Land (it seems Randy Barnett did this in his book) is the only answer I can give at the moment. That said, I don’t want to let it go and I think a further exploration could be fun.

    Maybe it’s not the best answer but it’s the only one I can give on the spot.Report

  7. Avatar Cascadian says:

    I’d deny that it’s actually properly in the document. It doesn’t meet the requirement for consistency. Good fodder for debate though.Report

  8. Avatar Joseph F M says:

    It’s funny, but this is kind of what has always struck me as being as being the actual goal of the Republican party: not limited government, but a small-yet-restrictive government that functions exactly as Will says, low taxes and little to no safety net, but lots of monopolizing subsidies (especially to agriculture, military contractors, and religious institutions), lots of anti-drug, anti-sex “moral conduct” regulation, and little oversight of whatever spending there is. This seems to me to be exactly what the last 8 years have been trying to create.Report