Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Catch of the Day

So much to choose from for some reason today.  This oneThis one?  Both good, but...

I think I'll go (via Chait) with John Vecchione over at Frum Forum, who points out that "The Founders Were No Libertarians" (correcting Christopher Beam).  I'll just direct you over there, and note: good catch!


  1. True, but Beam's broadside aimed at libertarianism is really veers from hitting the nail on the head to hyperbolic nonsense and back again in every paragrpah.

  2. Wish I had a nickel for every time I've heard some state's-rights conservative say, "The Constitution was written to limit the power of the federal government." The Constitution, of course, was written to CREATE the power of the federal government, specifically in order to limit and overrule the states (which were doing things the Framers objected to, like passing laws for debt relief that disadvantaged the bondholder class).

    It would be an interesting study in political history to figure out how this upside-down meme developed. I mean, why wouldn't conservatives LIKE the fact that national power exists to protect the interests of Big Money? My rough guess is that at some point, that protection came to be taken for granted, while the modern federal interventions against states and localities that was most dramatic and visible were things like civil-rights protections, court-ordered desegration, federal troops escorting children to their classrooms while state governors stood in the schoolhouse door, etc. So, the conservative line became that federal power is oppressive, not protective (conservatives being, of course, typically of the non-black persuasion, and therefore not particularly attentive to definitions of liberty that include the right to go to school or buy a house).

    The new wrinkle in all this is the Tea Party hysteria over how the use of federal power to rescue the financial system is "socialism" and a betrayal of everything America stands for (as opposed to a fairly clear-cut application of the Framers' principles today). Then again, the yahoos associate that policy with a black president, and according to polls, are generally not aware that a white conservative president actually started it. So perhaps the Grand Unifying Theory is not really too hard to guess at here.


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