Progressives Turn Their Backs on those Most Vulnerable to Expanded Police Powers
By Meg Arnold and Nathan Goodman
In the wake of the tragic mass shooting at Oregon’s Umpqua Community College, many commentators and politicians are calling for stricter gun control.
Hillary Clinton promises to take administrative action if Congress refuses to expand federal background checks to all gun sales. Likewise, Bernie Sanders is sure to upset some of his constituents when he rolls out his new gun policy in response to this tragedy.
But restricting liberties in the wake of a crisis will only cause more harm. Laws passed in reaction to a crisis often provide the impetus for substantial expansions of state power. There is occasionally some retrenchment afterwards, but the state always remains larger and more powerful than it was before.
After 9/11, the US government launched dramatic assaults on privacy, habeas corpus, and other basic civil liberties. Likewise, the Great Depression enabled erosions of economic liberty that we still live with today, including crony-capitalist boondoggles like the Export-Import Bank and farm subsidies.
We shouldn’t allow tragic mass shootings to provide excuses for expanding government power and restricting individual liberties.
Read the full article at the PanAm Post, here.
In my column this week I took libertarians to task for pie-in-the-sky, holistic thinking, for believing that they would make an electoral force that could actually execute policy change. Some will read that as an attack on such holistic thinking of the grassroots. That could not be further from the truth.
While ideological purity may not be valuable for making policy change, policy change is certainly not the only variable in play.
Put simply, the libertarians I want to see making this centrist, good-governance change need to come from somewhere. And that place isn’t traditional bastions of left or right. Grassroots activism, be it through lectures, student activities, op-ed writing, or otherwise, is a great tool for building skills, talent, and networks that can later be used to execute the change that libertarians seek.
Read the rest on the PanAm Post here.
In today’s slow-growth climate, many pundits and politicians are pushing for new solutions to get the economy in a higher gear. A better path forward may be looking to lessons from the past.
New York University law professor Richard Epstein spoke about Nobel Prize-winning economist Friedrich Hayek’s continued relevance to today’s economic and political debate at the Mercatus Center last week. Though Hayek died in 1992, his insights are sorely needed today.
As Epstein made clear, Hayek was a passionate defender of the rule of law. Hayek understood that for a constitutional system to succeed in protecting those whom it governs, there must be both fair and neutral judges and laws that are coherent and understandable by normal citizens–not just lawyers and accountants. The movement away from these principles is where Hayek’s relevance is most-clearly seen today.
Read the rest on Economics 21 here.