Steve G.

1787: A Year to Remember

In Libertarian on September 17, 2008 at 4:15 pm

And, yes, that reference to the signing of the U.S. Constitution is deliberately ambiguous.

Whether you think the Constitution was a step toward a new and better type of governance or a step back from the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation, you probably will agree that a government that follows the U.S. Constitution is a durn sight better than anything we’ve got going now.

At the very least it’s a good excuse for a Constitution Day picnic!

But Constitution Day presents another great opportunity. If you’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed politically (and/or otherwise) lately, and haven’t been able to get as much activism accomplished as you’d like to have gotten accomplished, today is Your Day.

Here’s how the memory of the Constitution can make even an anarchist happy:

  • The Constitution was signed in 1787.
  • You want to help your favorite candidate or libertarian cause.
  • You’re working too hard at your job to drive to NH and knock on doors with Morey Straus, or fly to NC and hang out at the XYZ County Fair with Mike Munger. That makes you sad.
  • BUT…
  • Since you’re working so hard, you can easily enough afford $17.87. Heck, maybe you can even afford $178.70, or $1,787.00.
  • Giving the money to a favorite candidate or libertarian cause will make you feel better. Happy, even! Take-my-word-for-it, I Know These Things. But it won’t cure your acne, so save some coins for the chemical stuff.

Pick a good one, so you won’t have buyer’s remorse! In case anyone is interested and wants a suggestion or three, my current favorites for giving are (in no particular order – and focusing on candidates because it’s That Time of Year):

Mike Munger – Libertarian for Governor in NC. Mike’s campaign is teaching the LPNC folks incredible things about organizing.

Paul Elledge – County Commission in NC. Paul’s got the message, man! And he’s taking it to the County Fair!

Morey Straus – Libertarian for State House in NH. Morey’s busting ass for the Side of Right! You’ve heard he is, and you can believe every word of it! That man wins the Sore Feets for Freedom Award!

And, OK, one non-candidate cause I can’t resist – for all you determined apolitical political activsits out there (oh, the moral travails of the anarchist activist… I do feel your pain, comrades!):

Rational Review News Digest (check out the funky fund-o-meter!)

I’m sticking with these, because I don’t want to dilute the message. There are many others! So off with you. And, err, off with me, because I’ve just remembered I haven’t yet sent Paul the $17.87!

  1. Munger favors tax-financed school vouchers, which even Bob Barr doesn’t explicitly endorse. Susan, I’m extremely impressed with how sensible and responsible you’ve been since Denver, while I’m having to deal with all kinds of radical impulses welling up from somewhere inside me. I suspect some kind of partial Vulcan mind-switch may have occurred that one time we met at the convention.ūüôā

    Anyone who hasn’t seen it should check out Morey’s commercial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__fQBgCQ-44. It’s exactly the message we need to put in front of voters.

  2. Brian,

    Please don’t make a bad day worse by praising me. And not in _public_, by any means. Cripes, I’ve got a rep to keep up.

    Bob Barr explicitly endorses *nothing*. That’s his trademark. I disagree with Mike on more than a few things, but at least I darn well know where he stands. And, dammit, he’s too charming by half. I’m a sucker for that.

    And please don’t suggest any weird sort of psyche-swapping thing. I’m still full of bitter hatred for the state, just so you don’t get any wrong ideas about me. But I don’t mind if some salutary radicalism has rubbed off on you.

  3. susan, perhaps you missed this:

    http://www.bobbarr2008.com/issues/

    barr may well not hold the banner quite high enough for your tastes, but to say he stands for nothing seems a stretch. (but, in the spirit of the Seinfeld episode in which George conceives of the “show about nothing,” “nothing” seems to be getting a bad rapūüėČ )

  4. It’s a good thing Barr doesn’t endorse vouchers, since the federal government has no constitutional authority to be involved in education. States, unfortunately, do, and Munger should know better than to advocate the government takeover of private schools.

  5. Takeover?

    Hmm.

    Step 1. Get kids out of public schools (indoctrination camps), with vouchers if necessary.

    Step 2. Reduce taxes.

    Step 3. Eliminate vouchers.

  6. Vouchers are an incremental step towards ending public education.

    There is nothing wrong, and much good, with taking incremental steps, if taking big steps is out of the question.

    I want to end public education, but if there is not enough support for that, I will push for vouchers instead.

    It’s strategic thinking.

  7. From someone in the public school system, I don’t see a ground swelling of people advocating there destruction. Hell, with the choice, most people would probably stay in the public schools.

  8. I love the emphasis of Michael Munger’s site on economics — Coase Theorem, rent-seeking, externalities, the theory of the firm, the role of the price system, etc. I love statements like this:

    * There are also some truly “public” public goods that government can legitimately and effectively provide. But only great vigilance can ensure that the scope of government power does not expand beyond its legitimate ambit.
    * The main tasks of government is to banish fraud and coercion from human interactions.
    * The truth is that education in economics‚ÄĒas opposed to trade studies in business or marketing, or the applied mathematics taught as “economics” in universities‚ÄĒis nearly nonexistent. So, citizens have a correct but inchoate intuition that something is wrong. Since they have no way of perceiving the real problem of unrealistic expectations, we reform endlessly. We spend huge resources appointing task forces and study groups, and trying to get the right people in government to write the right legislation.

    However, I don’t think I would say the following (which is somewhat at odds with the last statement above):

    * The reason I want to run for Governor of North Carolina as a Libertarian is that I want to restore good government to our great state.

    And I would drop the first of these two sentences:

    * I do not advocate the legalization of all, or even most, drugs. But I would favor decriminalizing most drug possession, and most other victimless crimes including prostitution.

    The following language is excellent:

    * The ideal setting for human flourishing is a society of free and responsible individuals. Responsible individuals are sovereign over their own lives, subject only to the laws of space and time, and only those additional laws they give their consent to. No one should be coerced into sacrificing his or her values for the benefit of others. As a responsible individual I must accept the consequences of my choices, and refuse to use political means to coerce others into sacrificing their values to compensate for my bad choices.

    It’s really awesome that we have an EconLib contributor running as one of our flagship candidates. His campaign will definitely be getting a contribution from me.

  9. I don’t agree.

    Vouchers are an incremental step to nationalizing education and abolishing private schools.

    Give schools money and you control them. That’s why there are only two private colleges left in the United States.

    Why don’t we have vouchers for health care, cars, gasoline, cell phones, cable TV, etc., while we’re at it?

  10. Yes, Munger is too moderate even for Brian Holtz.

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