Tag: small government

Bill Weld Announces 2020 Presidential Run

John Keller | @keller4liberty

Former Governor of Massachusetts Bill Weld announced today he is running for president against Donald Trump, hoping to secure the Republican nomination.

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Privatize Social Security

Garrett Summers | United States

The Federal government’s spending is out of control. The current US debt is $22 trillion and every year we add about another $1 trillion. Shrinking the size of the federal government means shrinking its power. Money is power, so decreasing the amount of money and economy the government controls should be the first place to start. Social Security is the number one expenditure of the federal government. Every year, about $1 trillion dollars of the budget goes towards Social Security. Privatizing Social Security would nearly remove the annual deficit. It would also return the power and responsibility of the individual to manage their own retirement.

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Libertarians Should Support Wisconsin’s Lame Duck Bill

By Jack Parkos | United States

Following the Wisconsin 2018 gubernatorial election, which saw incumbent Governor Scott Walker lose, Republican state legislator officials got to work on a lame duck bill. The bill would limit the powers of Democrat Tony Evers, the Governor-elect of Wisconsin.

Republicans defend the bill as “balancing the powers of the legislative and executive branch”. Democrats are calling foul, claiming that Republicans are only doing it to limit Tony Evers because he is a Democrat. Democrats point out how Republicans never attempted to limit the governor’s power while Walker was in office.

The debate went on until the early hours of the morning but ultimately did pass Tuesday night. Walker, who was attending the Bush funeral, was unable to sign (or veto) the bill. Many Democrats are requesting to meet with Walker to encourage him not to pass the bill.

So it seems clear the position of each party. Majority of Republicans support the bill, while the majority of Democrats do not. Where do libertarians stand? It seems to be a difficult issue to take a stand on, but Libertarians should ultimately support the bill.

Democracy Vs. Liberty

The common attack the Democrats have on the bill is that it “undermines democracy”, which may or may not be true. Assuming this is true, the Libertarian should respond “so what?”. Liberty is paramount to democracy. They claim that because the majority wanted Evers, the bill should be vetoed. Libertarians must not fall for this trap. Ben Franklin said that democracy is no more than two wolves and a lamb voting on what’s for lunch.

This new bill will weaken the power of the new governor (who is by no means a libertarian). If one believes in libertarianism, this is a great idea. Governor-elect Tony Evers plans on making the capital a gun free zone, but the new bill will take away his power to do so.

Limiting the power of a leader is something libertarians support. Thus, they should logically support the bill, even if it is done for political reasons. It still will limit the power of a governor who is no friend to liberty. Those libertarians who may respond “it undermines democracy”, should ask themselves. Is democratic tyranny better than undemocratic liberty?

Obamacare Lawsuit

Wisconsin is part of a coalition of states planning on suing the federal government claiming the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional. This is in direct correlation with the libertarian position. Meanwhile, newly elected Attorney General Josh Kaul plans on pulling Wisconsin out of this lawsuit. The new bill will require legislator support to do such a thing. The current legislation is controlled by Republicans who want to continue the lawsuit. A libertarian would support such a lawsuit that could rule Obamacare regulations unconstitutional. Logically, they should support this collation with the same goal in mind.

Politics is a dirty game. The bill is likely motivated by partisan politics. The bill will balance the power in the state government. It may stop the government from growing bigger, thus it must be seen as a necessary evil. 


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Yes, Libertarians Can Support Trump

By Atilla Sulker | United States

Recently, a fellow writer published a piece which stated that libertarians should not support Donald Trump. The article has some good insights, and it is quite obvious that President Trump is no small government advocate. However, this does not mean that to support him is to betray libertarian principles.

What does it truly mean to “support” someone? Would this mean that one’s policies are nearly or exactly in line with the candidate which they are supporting? Can one loosely back someone in an act of vengeance or in support of the “lesser of two evils”? We must ask these fundamental questions, for ignoring them would lead to confusion.

Murray Rothbard’s Support for Statists

In an attempt to answer these questions, let’s take a look at the political activist life of Murray Rothbard. Rothbard is easily one of the most staunch proponents of decentralization. But from the perspective that it is wrong to support an individual whom we may disagree with on a load of issues, Rothbard can be said to be betraying his principles.

Rothbard notably supported the efforts of the infamous Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy. McCarthy was the epitome of the danger of government violating our Fourth Amendment and First Amendment rights. Rothbard also backed protectionist Ross Perot and Democrat Adlai Stevenson, among others. So, why exactly did Rothbard support all of these individuals, whose visions for the country differed greatly from his own?

Anti-Establishment Sympathy

Regarding McCarthy, while Rothbard strongly opposed the use of propaganda to frame individuals as communists, he also loved the fact that McCarthy was mainly targeting the establishment. Though Rothbard admits that he later saw the connection between McCarthyism and the shift of the right towards an imperialist foreign policy, he nevertheless had good reason to support him at the time.

Foreign Policy Justification

The phenomena of supporting Adlai Stevenson and Ross Perot show a more developed Rothbard. He supported these candidates, as he saw their opponents as much more volatile in regards to foreign policy. One will see that foreign policy was a very big issue to Rothbard. Likewise, it should be for all proponents of decentralization.

What we now see is that Rothbard supported those whom he viewed as being against the establishment, even if their policy proposals were drastically different from his. He would have supported the anti-establishment progressive over the establishment, imperialist conservative.

Rothbard embodied true maverick qualities, unlike the phony doctrine of McCainism. What makes the latter phony is the fact that individuals such as John McCain were anchored in the establishment. So, to cross aisles is not significant if both parties embody nearly the same principles. Rothbard, on the other hand, searched for allies who he believed would not sell out on their principles, even if he did not agree with the principles themselves.

Libertarians for Trump

It is important to make the connection between this sort of Rothbardian way of thinking and libertarians who support Trump. Libertarians must always criticize Trump for his shortcomings. However, they must always remember that Trump constitutes a much greater threat to the Washington cesspool than a moderate establishment figure or even a beltway libertarian such as Gary Johnson.

Of course, candidate Trump was quite different from President Trump. But regardless of how much of his anti-establishment sentiment Trump has followed, we must always remember that supporting such individuals does not constitute a betrayal to libertarian principles.

A Chance for Libertarians

The realm of activism is quite different from the realm of developing and staying true to your ideas. In order for decentralization to come about, we must fight the establishment, the ultimate centralizers. Ideas in favor of small government render useless if they are not also attached to fighting the establishment. This is what has led to the phenomenon of the “sellout libertarian”, not supporting individuals such as Trump.

Rothbard acknowledged the importance of populism in fighting the establishment. Before nitpicking over what specific policies to implement, we must drain the swamp and clean the mess in Washington, while still remaining true to our principles. Only then will we win this battle. This is why supporting Trump for “some good things” is different from supporting Obama or Bush for “some good things”. I am not a Trump supporter in the traditional sense. But when the deep state is in panic mode, libertarians have the opportunity to take back control.


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Barry Goldwater is Only Popular Today Because He Lost

By Ryan Lau | @agorisms

The liberty movement today does not have many elected officials to look up to. Considering that a large percentage of it doesn’t believe in electing officials at all, this is not surprising. Two main theories exist in regards to why those in power often are corrupt. As philosopher John Acton puts it, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” The American presidency, of course, is nearly absolute power, and thus, lends itself to a whole lot of corruption.

Scientist David Brin, on the other hand, offers a much different theory. He says, “It is said that power corrupts, but actually it’s more true that power attracts the corruptible. The sane are usually attracted by other things than power.” This idea, of course, recognizes that power does not change people much, but rather, only corrupt people seek it.

Both of these quotes, though, share a very similar critical concept. Regardless of the nature of power, and whether it is the cause of corruption, there is a strong correlation between power and corruption. Even though those in power may not have started corrupt, they quickly become that way when the opportunity presents itself.

The Actor-Turned-Corrupted Official

One of the greatest examples of this quick change is Ronald Reagan. The former actor served as both California’s governor and POTUS, in the 1960s and 1980s, respectively. Both times, he campaigned on promises of limited government leading to a thriving economy. But both times, he failed to live up to this promise.

As the governor of California, Reagan actually signed off on the largest tax increase in the state’s history. This, of course, is highly antithetical to everything that he ran on. Despite this, Americans still elected him president in 1980 with a huge margin of victory.

However, Reagan, as president, once more abandoned his alleged virtues of limited government. Though he did cut the income tax considerably, he was, in other ways, not true to his word. Admittedly, some of this was due to resistance in a Democratic Congress. But still, much of the blame falls solely on the former president. From 1981 to 1989, the national debt increased by 186%. Deficit spending increased, and the budget increased. In fact, he even raised military spending by an alarming 35% in only eight years.

For these reasons, it is impossible to view Reagan as a supporter of small government without some pretty strong rose colored glasses. Upon entering positions of power, both times, he betrayed his alleged principles. This trait is not unique to Reagan though. In fact, due to the similarity of his campaign to Barry Goldwater, it is highly likely that Goldwater would have done the same, if elected.

Barry Goldwater: The Unproven Failure

In 1964, Lyndon B. Johnson handed Barry Goldwater one of the most crippling defeats in political history. After Kennedy’s assassination, there was little to no chance that the man would have been able to win. But what if he did?

Much like Reagan, Goldwater campaigned on promises of limited government intervention in the economy. He opposed FDR’s New Deal as a form of strong government overreach into the private sector, and is famous for also opposing a government strong enough to supply the citizens’ every need. Despite this strong personal position, his message would simply not have survived well in the tense political climate.

Differing from Reagan a bit, Barry Goldwater did have a track record of living up to his ideals. In his two terms as an Arizona senator, he retained most of his principles. But this is much more difficult to do as a president, especially when your ideas do not have a lot of support in the legislative body.

In 1965, Congress was heavily Democratic, with a majority in both the House and the Senate. These legislators overwhelmingly supported LBJ’s Great Society, and thus, would have fervently opposed the deregulation that Goldwater promised. So, even if he did adhere to his economic principles, it is highly unlikely that very many of them would have passed. Of course, Goldwater could have always passed some via executive order. But in doing so, he would have immediately violated his firmly held belief that a government should have very limited executive power. Thus, none of his economic ideas would come to fruition without abandoning the underlying principle behind them.

A Hypocritical Foreign Policy

Throughout the 1964 campaign, Barry Goldwater attacked LBJ relentlessly for his actions in Vietnam. Of course, it is true that Johnson lied to the American people about Vietnam, as well as needlessly brought the United States into the war. Goldwater was quick to point both of these things out, as well as call the war itself “Johnson’s war”. This all came after Johnson promised that he sought “no wider war” in Vietnam. Of course, this was not to be the case, as Johnson escalated the war and caused countless losses of American and foreign lives.

Conversely, Goldwater himself also had a very firm stance on opposing communism. Though Johnson’s allegations in the popular campaign ad “Daisy”, among others, that Goldwater would drop nuclear bombs on the North Vietnamese people were untrue, it is true that the conservative senator strongly supported action against communist regimes.

In July of 1964, Goldwater gave a speech in which he called for increased action to oppose communism. In fact, he called it “the principal disturber of peace in the world today”. He even went so far as to say that communist regimes were “enemies of every man on earth who is or wants to be free”, before referencing that America should become a beacon of freedom.

Without a doubt, these anti-communist sentiments imply a desire to spend considerable money opposing communist countries. Though Barry Goldwater may not have furthered the war as much as LBJ, his hawkish rhetoric suggests that any notion of small government would be crippled by increased military spending and presence throughout the world.

A Popular Loser

So, whether indirectly or directly, it appears Barry Goldwater would not have entirely lived up to his principles as president. Much like Reagan, corruption and bureaucracy would have crippled his ability to carry out limited government principles. American government, in a position of ultimate power, does not generally limit itself, hence the near-perpetual growth since its dawn.

Goldwater, a reasonably consistent voice for smaller government, would not have been an exception. His lack of success in 1964 ensured he could never go back on his own word, though, preserving his integrity and allowing him to become a role model for limited government advocates of today.


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