Cato’s Policy Handbook, Chapter 13: Immigration

Cato’s Policy Handbook for Policymakers, 8th Edition, is now available. Chapter 13 offers excellent immigration suggestions to move toward a freer labor market.

It’s a reasoned approach in the place of dodgy data and nativist biases. What private individuals believe about these matters is their own concern; policymakers and officials should meet a higher standard, in communities large or small.

Download (PDF, 4.16MB)

Wes Benedict Tries & Fails Again

I’ve been critical of Wes Benedict, executive director of the national Libertarian Party (1 and 2), but I’ll say this for him: he’s an unfailing failure. In an email he sent today, Benedict wrote to party members, in part, that

We are all waiting to see what our new president does. No doubt he’ll do a few things Libertarians like. No doubt he’ll do other things we strongly dislike.

Benedict writes to members of his party as a proper noun (Libertarians rather than libertarians) and as though there hadn’t been a campaign, inauguration, protests, etc.: ‘we are all waiting to see what our new president does.’

Oh, brother. Those of us who love liberty have already seen, for month after month, what Trump does: he lies, foments racial, ethnic, and religious bigotry, and advocates violence against domestic opponents. He’s a combination of mediocrity, bigot, and liar.

Gessen’s right about opposing Trump’s authoritarianism: it is to be met each day with an increasingly formidable response. We’ll learn as we go, matching him more effectively with each month.

Benedict is free to wait so long as he wishes, and so are the members of his party. Genuine, committed libertarians (including from families within that movement long before Benedict was born) have no reason to delay: we’ve more than enough evidence, from Trump and his inner circle, to justify committed opposition.

Wes Benedict Has a Book to Sell

Last month, the Libertarian Party’s executive director (Wes Benedict) sent me a tone-deaf, form email. I posted Libertarianism is Enough: Goodbye to the LP in reply, in which I argued that the Libertarian Party was an unworthy vessel for a liberty-oriented politics:

Imagine, then, after an election in which the LP did poorly, and in which libertarians now face a long struggle against radical populist advocates of state power, the surprise in reading an invitation from Wes Benedict, executive director of the national LP, that

It is time to party…

You are invited to an end of the year

CELEBRATION!

2016 has been a record-breaking year for the Libertarian Party!

Wes Benedict may go to hell, and celebrate there in the outer darkness for so long as he wishes.

Wes wrote again recently, and how touching it is to see that he’s concerned for me:

I see that your Libertarian Party membership has expired.

Any chance you could renew today?

You can renew your membership by clicking here

Or go to LP.org/membership

I hope all is well!

Thanks,

Wes Benedict

P.S. If you want a copy of my book Introduction to the Libertarian Party for renewing, you can renew at the link below for $27.53 or more.

A Trump Administration awaits, and Benedict writes “hope all is well.”  One would think Benedict had been living in a cave these last eighteen months.

Funnier still is Benedict’s offer (for a price) of his book – an introduction to a party of which his recipient had already been a member for many years. 

I’m from a movement family (those who have been liberty-oriented long before there was a party, and even before the term libertarian was coined), and from that vantage Benedict’s emails are instructive but have no emotional impact. If anything, they seem silly, almost absurd.

For one who recently joined, however, and let his or her membership momentarily lapse, Benedict’s message might seem different, as an insult to someone who sought meaning through party membership. 

Odd that he’s too clueless to see how silly his message seems to some, and how insulting it may be to others. 

Benedict’s book? No, the enduring works of the last three thousand years are the ones we’ve need of reading and reading again.

Benedict’s party? We need more than a single, small party now. 

Libertarianism has a long road ahead, and those devoted to it have much work ahead, in a grand coalition with those of different but friendly ideologies, to preserve free institutions in this country.

That may be the task of our time, and membership in the LP contributes nothing to it.

Jennifer Rubin on ‘Four ideas for surviving in the Trump era’

Jennifer Rubin’s a principled conservative, and her writing is both insightful and clear. Rubin’s blog and Twitter feed have been must reading for years (including her posts when she was blogging at Commentary; she’s now at the Washington Post).  In a time when it would be easy to speak lies to power, she’s remained honest.

The title of Rubin’s post is Four ideas for surviving in the Trump era (emphasis mine), but she’s writing not merely about surviving, but about prevailing.

She offers four points:

1.Right and left must end their sworn allegiance to economic determinism…We can reject Trump’s message of xenophobia, sexism and racism and the urge from populists to infantilize white, working-class voters as helpless victims. We are left, however, with an acute need to cultivate a sense of belonging — to nation, community and shared values….

2. Government likely won’t get better, so look elsewhere…. [Trump] presents us with the opportunity not only to rebalance power between the executive and legislative branches and between the federal and state governments, but between the public and private sector. The latter includes philanthropy, civil society and business. We all have looked too frequently to the government for fixes and mandates; now is the time to look to voluntary efforts, persuasion and advocacy aimed directly at business. (One silver lining to Trump’s election: An outpouring of donations and volunteer offers to charitable and public advocacy groups.)….

3. We need massive civic education. If we learned anything in the 2016 election, it is that a slick charismatic figure can trash the First Amendment, threaten all sorts of unconstitutional actions, incite violence and appeal to naked prejudice with nary a peep from the majority of voters. In fact, the more disrespectful of our democratic institutions and civil liberties Trump became, the louder they cheered….

4. The sane center has to be supported. If the left goes the way of democratic socialists and the right in the direction of European national front parties, we are going to need a coalition from center-left to center-right to support democratic norms and reasoned proposals for education, criminal justice and immigration reform….

There’s need for a grand coalition of which libertarians will be one part, and along the way we will have use of inspirational suggestions for opposition, tactical steps one can take (such as Rubin’s), a brief reference guide of renowned writings to which we can refer, and particular techniques to combat Trump’s ceaseless lying and his surrogates’ ceaseless sophistry.

Our success is not in doubt, and we have reason to agree with Rubin that “[w]ould it have been better to elect a prepared, stable and intellectually coherent president? Sure, but in the meantime, there is plenty of good work to be done.”

That’s Not What Libertarian Means

Over at the Washington Post, one reads that In West Virginia coal country, voters are ‘thrilled’ about Donald Trump.  The mayor of Buckhannon (a Republican who voted for Clinton) describes Trump’s appeal:

Trump’s appeal here is stylistic as well as policy-driven, said David McCauley, the mayor of Buckhannon, the county seat, a pretty and bustling town of 5,700. It’s about coal, but also about being ornery and oppositional.

“Trump was just what people here have always been — skeptical of government, almost libertarian,” McCauley said. “He’s a West Virginia pipe dream: He’s going to undo the damage to the coal industry and bring back the jobs, and all of our kids down there in North Carolina are going to come home.”

McCauley is also a professor at a nearby university, and he doubtless knows that Trump’s not ‘almost libertarian’ – McCauley’s describing how people in that town see Trump.

I don’t doubt that there are people, ill-informed or desperate (or both) who think that Trump’s skeptical of government, but such people are as far off the mark as they could be.  Trump’s disposition and political views are closer to authoritarian than libertarian.

It’s a compliment that people see libertarianism as a good, hopeful politics, because of course it is. But it’s a good, hopeful politics not for its stylistic elements but for its fundamental principles:

FREE MARKETS in CAPITAL, LABOR, & GOODS, INDIVIDUAL LIBERTY, LIMITED & OPEN GOVERNMENT, and PEACE

A state-loving, market-meddling, press-hating, expression-restricting, minority-demonizing, foreign autocrat-loving mendacious mediocrity isn’t a libertarian, an almost-libertarian, or anyone libertarians would ever support.

Libertarianism is Enough: Goodbye to the LP

There’s a saying that some libertarians are born and others are made (as a result, tragically, of experiencing misconduct at the hands of the state). Libertarianism of both origins, especially those of us from movement (old) libertarian families, has been around long before the Libertarian Party – the LP – was formed in late 1971. Needless to say, there have been liberty-centric political views long before the term libertarian became popular.

Some of us have been both libertarians and members of the LP.  Now, however, after a contentious major-party election in which the LP did poorly, and more significantly after which libertarians now face an incoming administration that promises to increase vastly state intrusion into all parts of civil society, one may soundly contend that the Libertarian Party is of no use to libertarians.

I cannot imagine joining one of the two major parties, now or ever.  Still, there are votes to be cast, and we will have to choose from among the principal choices before us.  Those of us with views far older than the LP need no party membership to make our way in this country, or in traveling anywhere else in the world.

The recent obsessive pride with how long some people have been on this continent – so common among the radical populist right – is both wrong and futile: it’s wrong because the past confers not entitlement but obligation, and futile because most of this ilk are themselves relative newcomers by the measure of settlement on these shores.  They are fanatical, destructive, and obdurate.

When one recalls one’s past, it is in reply to those few nativists who believe that the past means only what they believe it means.   They are wrong, of course, but it is just as important to remember that they are not to be underestimated: they show delight and pleasure in the wrong.

Imagine, then, after an election in which the LP did poorly, and in which libertarians now face a long struggle against radical populist advocates of state power, the surprise in reading an invitation from Wes Benedict, executive director of the national LP, that

It is time to party…

You are invited to an end of the year

CELEBRATION!

2016 has been a record-breaking year for the Libertarian Party!

Wes Benedict may go to hell, and celebrate there in the outer darkness for so long as he wishes.

Others of us, libertarians by birth or circumstance, inheritors of the freedom philosophy, have work to do: an authoritarianism has ruined one great political party, crippled another, and seeks to direct the lives of hundreds of millions across a continent.  Some of our fellow citizens will yield from ignorance, others from misplaced hope, and a few from selfish opportunity.

We’ve work, not celebration, ahead.  Our views, and not a party that so carelessly and indolently represents them, is all we need.

Where Libertarians Stand on the Presidential Race

Libertarians have a political philosophy, and may also be members of a political party using that same name.  For those of us who are both ideologically libertarian and members of the national party (as I am), the statement yesterday from Libertarian vice presidential candidate Bill Weld (a former Republican governor of Massachusetts), summaries nicely our views on the 2016 presidential race.

I’ve reproduced Gov. Weld’s full statement below, and I’d not quibble with a single word of it:

“It is a privilege and an honor to participate in this year’s national election campaign. I am grateful to Governor Gary Johnson for the opportunity to do so. Under Governor Johnson’s leadership the Libertarian Party has made great strides in this election cycle. Gary and I will carry our message of fiscal responsibility, social inclusion, and smaller government through November 8, and I hope that this election cycle will secure for the Libertarian Party a permanent place in our national political dialogue.

“We are making strides toward breaking the two party monopoly, and America will be stronger when we do, but given the position of the Commission on Presidential Debates, the deck is still stacked against even a credible third party ticket with two proven former Governors.

“Against that backdrop, I would like to address myself to all those in the electorate who remain torn between two so-called major party candidates whom they cannot enthusiastically support. I’m speaking particularly to those Republicans who feel that our President should exhibit commonly accepted standards of decency and discipline.

“I would not have stepped out of the swirl of the campaign to make this statement if I did not fear for our country, as I do.

“A President of the United States operates every day under a great deal of pressure — from all sides, and in furtherance of many different agendas. With that pressure comes constant criticism.

“After careful observation and reflection, I have come to believe that Donald Trump, if elected President of the United States, would not be able to stand up to this pressure and this criticism without becoming unhinged and unable to perform competently the duties of his office.

“Mr. Trump has some charisma and panache, and intellectual quickness. These qualities can be entertaining. Yet more than charisma, more even than intellectual ability, is required of a serious candidate for this country’s highest office. A serious candidate for the Presidency of the United States must be stable, and Donald Trump is not stable.

“Throughout this campaign, Mr. Trump has demonstrated an inability to handle criticism or blame well. His first instinct is to lash out at others. When challenged, he often responds as a child might. He makes a sour face, he calls people by insulting names, he waves his arms, he impatiently interrupts. Most families would not allow their children to remain at the dinner table if they behaved as Mr. Trump does. He has not exhibited the self-control, the discipline, or the emotional depth necessary to function credibly as a President of the United States.

“From the beginning of his campaign, Mr. Trump has conjured up enemies. First it was eleven million criminals in our midst, all bent on obtaining the benefits of citizenship, at our expense. Over time, the enemies became any trading partner of the United States. He says they are nothing but foreigners seeking to threaten our livelihoods. Now we have reached the point where his idea of America’s enemies includes almost anyone who talks or looks different from him. The goal of the Trump campaign, from the outset, has been to stir up envy, resentment, and group hatred.

“This is the worst of American politics. I fear for our cohesion as a nation, and for our place in the world, if this man who is unwilling to say he will abide by the result of our national election becomes our President.

“This great nation has weathered policy differences throughout our history, and we will do so again. Not in my lifetime, though, has there been a candidate for President who actually makes me fear for the ultimate well-being of the country, a candidate who might in fact put at risk the solid foundation of America that allows us to endure even ill-advised policies and the normal ebb and flow of politics.

“In the final days of this very close race, every citizen must be aware of the power and responsibility of each individual vote. This is not the time to cast a jocular or feel-good vote for a man whom you may have briefly found entertaining. Donald Trump should not, cannot, and must not be elected President of the United States.”

Via STATEMENT BY GOV. BILL WELD REGARDING THE FINAL WEEKS OF THIS ELECTION @ Johnson-Weld 2016.

Johnson-Weld 2016

Occasionally, someone will ask me how I’ll be voting this fall. I’m a libertarian, from an old libertarian family, and it’s an easy choice for me: Johnson-Weld 2016.

Here’s a video in which Gov. Johnson and Gov. Weld introduce themselves. They offer America a principled alternative, and would assure us a government, among other things, without private email servers or (worse) a repulsive wall-builder. Govs. Johnson & Weld would be a good choice in any season; they’re an excellent choice this year.

On Libertarianism

In an essay from 2013, Aaron Ross Powell describes libertarianism, succinctly and well:

In medical ethics, there’s the principle primum non nocere. “First, do no harm.” It’s one libertarians keep very much in mind when approaching politics. Most government “solutions” don’t simply not work. They actually make things worse than if they hadn’t been enacted at all. Thus standing in opposition to expanded government isn’t motivated by an uncaring attitude about America’s problems. Instead, it’s motivated by a well-founded understanding of how often government is the cause of those problems….

What we offer is not some powerful man in Washington directing the country, but freedom. Which means freedom for Americans to do unpredictable things. Our solutions are based in the knowledge that many of those unpredictable things (many of the outcomes of unleashed market forces, for example) will radically improve the lives of nearly everyone touched by them….

Libertarianism is an ideology of respect—for people, for their choices, for their values and desires. It is an ideology of hope, one that sees a path to a much better future. Even if that path isn’t as precisely drawn as some might like.

See, in full, First, Do No Harm @ Libertarianism.org.

The Well Runs Dry

As expected, a weak economy, despite four years of talk about spending to create jobs, jobs, jobs means that Wisconsin can expect no additional state revenue to lessen the impact of cuts to education, etc. 

In fact, revenue projections are below estimates.

Here’s the news from the Journal Sentinel this morning (emphasis added):

Madison — State lawmakers can’t count on any additional money to bail them out of budget cuts proposed by Gov. Scott Walker, the Legislature’s nonpartisan budget office reported Wednesday.

For months, the GOP governor and Republicans who run the Legislature have said they believed the state would take in more money over the next two years than originally projected, allowing them to prevent or mitigate cuts proposed by Walker for K-12 schools and the University of Wisconsin System.

But the Legislative Fiscal Bureau reported Wednesday that it believed the initial estimates would hold.

In a memo to lawmakers, Bob Lang, the veteran head of the Legislature’s nonpartisan budget office, said that tax revenues for this fiscal year are actually running slightly behind projections.

During this fiscal year ending on June 30, tax revenues were expected to grow by 3.7% and so far they are growing at a rate of 3.4%, the fiscal bureau reported.

This year may yet pick up slightly but meanwhile the national economy now appears set to grow at a slower rate than expected over the 2015-’17 budget, leaving no reason to look for more money, Lang reported.

That means lawmakers will have to stick with Walker’s cuts or find others, raise taxes or fees or use borrowing and accounting tricks or some combination of those things. Republican leaders have stood firmly against raising taxes, leaving them few sustainable options except to make cuts….

This is a problem for Wisconsin all around: (1) less for what’s most needed, (2) no appetite among state leaders for reducing what they have mistakenly prioritized, and (3) a climate in which any cuts are stigmatized as bad cuts.

That’s where big-government conservatism has left this state: a stagnant economy, a continuing state fiscal mess, spending and cutting priorities that most residents reject, and no certainty of much better next year, either.

For those who genuinely want smaller government, and who would have cut hundreds of millions in big-ticket road-building, who would have eliminated the WEDC, who would have reduced the size of the state workforce rather than shift costs locally, these are frustrating times. 

This budget could have been balanced differently.  Yet here we are.

To each and every big-government conservative, to each and every Republican who has been more like Nixon than Goldwater, to every proud so-called conservative in Whitewater who’s extended his clammy hands for another treat, gobbling whatever he could find: you have only yourselves to blame for this. You betrayed better principles for nothing more than a few lying headlines in an unread local paper.

Handed a golden opportunity after Gov. Doyle, these few have thrown it away on big spending of a different kind. 

Those of us, libertarians and others who have never been under the sway of a major political party, who have always believed truly and sincerely in smaller, limited government, will be here long after this mediocre class of self-promoters and self-dealers finds all its work consigned to the trash. 

On the Whitewater Schools

Today is the first of a series of posts about the upcoming, contested WUSD board elections.  Three candidates are running for two seats: Kelly Davis, Dan McCrea, and Jim Stewart.  In today’s post, I’ll summarize some of my own views.

(I’ve been direct these last several years; it makes sense to state one’s convictions plainly, so that readers will know my perspective.) 

Each of the candidates responded to an election survey, and my remarks will mostly follow the ten questions the candidates received.  It’s easier to compare everyone’s views if there’s a similar order to their remarks.  (The candidates’ replies may be found online at lwvwhitewater.org/elections.html.)

One’s Motivation.  Writing is one of many diverse social obligations from which someone may choose.  It is its own thing, neither prelude nor postscript to other activities. 

To write occasionally about education is not to write about it enough; that one spends less time than one might hope on the subject shouldn’t preclude writing as often as one can. 

Philosophy of the School Board’s Role.  It is enough to oversee the daily work of a broader curriculum diligent and fairly.  This can be done without exaggeration, and where the main subjects of discussion are students over adults, teachers over principals, principals over administration, and administration over the board. 

A good rule by which to live: The higher the position, the greater the obligation, and the lower the entitlement.

There is no virtue in ceaselessly announcing oneself.  It’s a vulgar, disgusting habit.

School Board’s Relationship to the Community.  Treat all people as equals.  We are in a community with vast numbers of very sharp people, as is true in any community. 

It’s a proud delusion to believe that only a few are capable.  Delusion makes for poor policy; pride is a sin.

Some people are disadvantaged, and rightly deserve special consideration. Policymakers and commentators are not among them; they’ve no claim to special needs or entitlement.   

Experience with Budgets.  Libertarians (as I am) believe in less spending not as an end in itself, but as a path to smaller government.  We don’t want less for the sake of penny-pinching – we want less government so that there may be more liberty (believing as we do that a large government makes little room for liberty).

It’s individual liberty that matters to us, and to protect it we seek less of government; to seek less of government is to feed it less. 

Some programs, however, are more worthy than others.  To believe in less overall is not to doubt the need for priorities.

In this community, for example, I’d rather see money for schools than a single dime for some dishonest WEDC white-collar program.   (We’re wasting hundreds of thousands – millions in total – on those projects, as we did on the East Gate project, or any number of other unneeded schemes.)

That’s not our choice, now: these education cuts are statewide in scope.  It’s not if,  but how.  

A consistent philosophy shapes budgets, and assures fidelity to fundamental principles. The fragile deserve protection over the robust, and leaders should take less before workers take less.  I’ll advance particular suggestions when the district budget team issues its proposals.

Attracting Teachers.  It’s a market economy – one will have to stay at the market rate.  That sounds trite, but it’s anything but: no one in this community can counteract the broad competitive forces that draw teachers to one place over another.  Prospective employees are not children – they’ll take their best opportunities. 

(I would never have curtailed public-sector unionization, by the way – anyone should be able to organize peacefully against government.  To the extent that Act 10 has made employees less satisfied, we’ve reduced freedom of association, burdened public employers with a less motivated workforce, and made ourselves less attractive compared to public employers in other states.)

Conflict Resolution.  Whitewater’s key problem isn’t conflict, but rather an imposed, mediocre consensus.   Our forebears did not found this beautiful republic so that we might become a country of quivering mice. 

No one wants a brawl; everyone deserves more than a mediocre go-along-nice-and-quietly consensus.  We should be as talented as the country in which we happily live. 

Most Important Issue.  The budget looms largest, but we should be honest with ourselves that we are not an affluent community.  There are many struggling families with children in Whitewater.  We simply can’t budget the way that Cedarburg does, for example.  We have more children in need by percentage in Whitewater than an affluent community would.

Losing sight of this plain truth would be wrong. 

One’s Strengths.  It’s enough to work hard each day, assessing where improvement can and should be made.  One should be one’s hardest critic.  There’s no time for selling oneself. 

Common Core.  I’ve mentioned a need to discuss the curriculum, but that’s not a criticism of Common Core.  I’ve no objections to it; it seems plain to me that teaching is more than adopting Common Core or an alternative. 

Keep Common Core (by whatever name), but recognize that a set of standards is only useful if embraced with relish, with a taste and commitment and excitement.   Learning’s not a syllabus, nor even a book.  It’s the teaching of the book, so to speak, with understanding and excitement. 

The obsession with testing and measuring every last part of teaching does not impress.  It’s an ignorant person’s idea of being learned, by substituting crude measurement for deeper comprehension.

Be clear, though: there’s every reason to be critical of the flacking of scores, such as ACT scores, for political or economic gain.  A properly-educated person does not owe others their manipulations, exaggerations, or schemes for political advantage.  Funny, that it might happen concerning a school system, a place that should advance the honest use of data.

Education is more than a shabby PR scheme.  Those who take that course deserve not deference, but a rigorous critique.

An agenda, a set of testing standards, even a book is a poor substitute for being well-read, for being properly educated. 

Our Charter School. I’m a strong supporter of our charter school, and charter schools generally.  An inquiry school, for example, can offer a good education for children. 

There we are.

Tomorrow: On School Board Candidate Kelly Davis.    

If Universities Want Federal Money…

If universities want federal money (and they want as much as they can get), then it’s wrong for them to shirk federal legal standards for reporting assault and for proper treatment of those alleging assault. 

(Make no mistake: I’d contend that universities have a duty to manage campuses well and fairly even if there were no federal laws.  Ethical obligations of this kind are prior to law, and exist independently of it.)

Here, though, there’s a despicable hypocrisy: university officials gulp as much federal money as they can get, but of federal procedural standards for victims there may be not even a drop of support.

This libertarian has argued against any number of federal, state, or local governmental intrusions; I’ve argued against as many federal, state, and local expenditures. 

It’s impossible to respect university administrators who seek federal money while simultaneously concealing & mishandling assault claims, or trivializing federal or state standards about assault reporting.   

Administrators of that ilk want to promote themselves at taxpayers’ expense, and then hide their own misconduct from any and all. 

No, and no again: no one’s entitled to that. 

Message Independence

Look at Whitewater, and one sees scores of groups with press releases, community announcements, or political viewpoints to publicize.  Even much smaller communities have similar conditions: a dozen people are likely to have more than a dozen views. 

Each day, and especially in an election year, it helps to have the independence to offer views one truly supports, rather than what others expect or want to published.  In this, there’s an advantage in being an independent commentator, aided even more by being a libertarian, a member of a third party. 

Honest to goodness, it’s a blessing to act independently, from a position of strength, without need to please, cater, or oblige. 

Even in more placid times, it’s not worth flacking whatever comes along.  A man or woman should be his or her own man or woman. 

In these times, with schemers near and far looking for someone to push any nutty contention that they’ve concocted for the occasion, it’s even better to stand away from that mud pit. 

That’s Pretty Darn Funny, Actually

I’ve heard that some Republicans, including radio host Charlie Sykes, are upset that a few Democrats tweeted suggestions for good things Mary Burke might have said about Scott Walker in the first gubernatorial debate. 

Among those tweets was a suggestion from Lori Compas, formerly a state senate candidate, and currently a photographer and leader of a business group (the Wisconsin Business Alliance).

Here’s what Mrs. Compas wrote:

No one on the Right has a sense of humor? 

Honest to goodness that’s funny – it’s well & tersely expressed. 

I’m a libertarian, not a major-party supporter, but have Republicans (and Democrats in other circumstances) lost any appreciation for a well-delivered remark? 

I don’t know Lori Compas, but I did post a few times on her senate campaign

Less than a generation ago, politicians would often appreciate rivals’ or opponents’ jokes. 

It’s all so serious – too serious – now.

By the way, like almost all libertarians from old, movement families, I’ve no fondness for Charles & David Koch.  They walked away from our party and movement, trying unsuccessfully to gain control of the libertarian Cato Institute along the way.  They’ve now a seemingly unquenchable thirst for major-party influence.

Gov. Walker, Mary Burke, the Koch Brothers, etc., and their respective supporters should be able to take a joke with equanimity.

Especially, I’d think, a clever one. 

Friday Poll: Libertarian v. Libertarian on the NSA Surveillance Scandal

One might think that all libertarians would be equally outraged over revelations (for some, long-suspected) of the National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance, but it’s not true.

In the video below, libertarian John Stossel contends that the surveillance isn’t as troubling as other government actions, including the Drug War. In reply, libertarian Andrew Napolitano contends that NSA domestic surveillance is particularly alarming.

I’ll declare my view: while there are many examples of destructive and wasteful government overreach (among which the Drug War is a case), I agree with Napolitano that the NSA’s domestic spying is a special threat to civil liberties.

What do you think?


Now More Than Ever

LIBERTY. It’s a simple idea, but it’s also the linchpin of a complex system of values and practices: justice, prosperity, responsibility, toleration, cooperation, and peace. Many people believe that liberty is the core political value of modern civilization itself, the one that gives substance and form to all the other values of social life.

THEY’RE CALLED LIBERTARIANS.

Immigration as Voluntary Exchange

It’s not only markets in capital and goods that should be free. It’s markets in labor, too. What’s immigration, at bottom? It’s a voluntary and peaceful transaction between employer and employee. Government interference in these many transactions is presumptuous, oppressive of individuals, and stifling of economic growth.

One hears, more often since Gov. Romney’s defeat, that the GOP regrets its recent, strident anti-immigration views. (Funny, too, that Reagan and Kemp, among others, would have rejected policies even half so restrictive as the ones that Romney and Santorum advocated in 2012.)

Whatever the motivation, it’s to America’s benefit if Republicans abandon their anti-market opposition to immigration.

For it all, libertarians can say that we were right a generation ago, right last year, and that we’re right now: free immigration is both morally and productively better than restrictive alternatives. If all the world were to declare otherwise tomorrow, we’d not be disproved.

We’d just have more work to do to show otherwise.

Posted also at Daily Adams.