Jonah Goldberg: Freedom: the unfolding revolution
In a much-discussed essay for Salon magazine, Michael Lind asks: "If libertarians are correct in claiming that they understand how best to organize a modern society, how is it that not a single country in the world in the early twenty-first century is organized along libertarian lines?"
Definitions vary, but broadly speaking, libertarianism is the idea that people should be as free as possible from state coercion so long as they don't harm anyone. The job of the state is limited to fighting crime, providing for the common defense, and protecting the rights and contracts of citizens. The individual is sovereign, he is the captain of himself.
In the old Soviet Union, Mao's China, Pol Pot's Cambodia and today's North Korea, they tried to move toward the ideal communist system. Combined, they killed about 100 million of their own people. That's a hefty moral distinction right there: When freedom-lovers move society toward their ideal, mistakes may be made, but people tend to flourish. When the hard left is given free reign, millions are murdered and enslaved. Which ideal would you like to move toward?
What's so striking about the Lind standard is how thoroughly conservative it is.
Pick a date in the past, and you can imagine someone asking similar questions. "Why should women have equal rights?" some court intellectual surely asked. "Show me anywhere in the world where that has been tried." Before that, "Give the peasants the right to vote? Unheard of!"
It's a little bizarre how the left has always conflated statism with modernity and progress. The idea that rulers — be they chieftains, kings, priests, politburos or wonkish bureaucrats — are enlightened or smart enough to tell others how to live is older than the written word. And the idea that someone stronger, with better weapons, has the right to take what is yours predates man's discovery of fire by millennia. And yet, we're always told that the latest rationalization for increased state power is the "wave of the future."
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Deroy Murdock: Hillary's Benghazi-Whitewater connection? - 0
- George Will: Obama needs Congress to approve this war - 0
- Jonah Goldberg: Obama is rushing into war against Islamic State - 1
- Another View -- Bill Duncan: What did the NH Supreme Court really say about private school funding? - 6
- Charles Arlinghaus: NH's job problem needs more than one fix - 5
- Pat Buchanan: In Scotland, it's economic man vs. tribal man - 0
- Another View -- Sharon Day: The Democrats' claim to be the party for women is just not believable - 64
- Deroy Murdock: Stuff the Obama lunch tax - 2
- David Harsanyi: The senators who really threaten America - 1
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Roger Brown's First and 10: Answers forthcoming - 0
- NHMS chief Gappens is on board with the Chase changes - 0
- Another View -- Ben Rose: How NH's John Stark helped defeat the British at Saratoga - 0
- Celebrating Claremont: A 250th birthday party - 0
- Trashed lunches: Brownies, broccoli and bucks - 0
- Hampstead's Suess ready for Whelen Modified race - 0
- College Football: Big Green kick off season vs. Cent. Connecticut - 0
- Son says shooting of mom during DEA raid was a mistake - 2
- Londonderry Rotary to host forum next week - 0
Mark Hayward's City Matters: Dean Kamen is a genius inventor, and he's pretty good at oratory, too
Casino gambles: Hopes dashed all over