Sunday, April 18, 2010

Who can't tell the difference between anti-government and anti-big-government?

'For the past several years, especially since the Oklahoma City bombing, the national media have focused a lot of attention on “anti-government” extremists. Libertarians, who are critical of a great deal that government does, have unfortunately but perhaps understandably been tossed into the “anti-government” camp by many journalists.

There are two problems with this identification. The first and most obvious is that many of the so-called anti-government groups are racist or violent or both, and being identified with them verges on libel.

The second and ultimately more important problem is that libertarians are not, in any serious sense, “anti-government.” It’s understandable that journalists might refer to people who often criticize both incumbent officeholders and government programs as “anti-government,” but the term is misleading.

A government is a set of institutions through which we adjudicate our disputes, defend our rights, and provide for certain common needs. It derives its authority, at some level and in some way, from the consent of the governed.' [Hat Tip: Instapundit]

For me, this CATO editorial is just too wiffly. This is a very easy point to clarify. Libertarians don't hate government; they hate big, tyrannical government. See how easy that was?

Only idiots and anarchists believe it is possible to have civilisation without government. And libertarians are neither of the above. Lumping libertarians in with idiots and anarchists is called 'politics', and can be dealt with quite handily through the use of more 'politics'.

And the trouble for the soi-disant arbiters of normality in northern Virginia and Washington DC is that a huge chunk of Americans now associate themselves with the core of libertarianism. It is almost as if it were their birthright...

The left in American politics have always had such an unpromising future that desperate lying had to be utilised to give them even a little bit of go-forward. And give them their due, desperate lying over a hundred years has put them into pole position in US politics eventually. But the trouble with lying is if the sun comes out and reveals the lies to be lies.

'Vote Democrat and get paid much more than you should, for much poorer quality work than you do now, have your job guarunteed for life, and be protected from all external reality' has gotten them an awful long way.

But do Americans really want to live in the inevitable aftermath of that philosophy? Have Americans finally put two and two together, and associated Democrat policies with the depressing failure and terrible outcomes all around?

I think so. Many observers of the political realm have a sense of a watershed being reached; a final Rubicon being crossed; of the electorate rising as one to smite down the snake oil salesmen and their terrible tinctures.

Not because they hate government. They hate these governors, which is both highly reassuring, and terrible, terrible news if you are an incumbent, or the soiled handgoods of one.

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