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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

[cal-libs] Miller fails to "embrace limitations on government", as predicted

Brian Miller wrote:
BM) Simply put, Mr. Holtz, if you cannot tell the difference  (BM
I'm just applying your own logic of what constitutes libertarian-ness, and testing my suspicion that it's ad hoc and tailored to your personal political agenda.
BM) between the United Nations (a multinational, undemocratic treaty-driven organization with no accountability to the citizenry) and the Constitution of the United States of America (the most liberating political and legal document in human history, imposing restraints on every level of government to ensure the perpetual liberty of US citizens),  (BM
When the U.S. was 60 years old like the U.N. is, it was arguably a multi-state undemocratic treaty-driven organization too.  The Presidency was determined by an electoral college, and the Senate was elected by the legislatures of the states who were treaty signatories.  Only one half of one of the three branches of government was subject to direct popular election, and even then the franchise was almost exclusively restricted to property-owning white males.  (I wouldn't be surprised if there had been religious restrictions on franchise in some places, too.  And I'll let you educate me about how easy it was for openly gay people to vote.)  At any rate, true libertarians know that democracy is not necessarily any great friend of liberty.
Oh, and there was the small matter of the Constitution explicitly condoning the existence of chattel slavery.
When the Constitution was 60 years old, it did not significantly "impose restraints on every level of government" against infringements of individual liberty.  That didn't really begin to happen until the Constitution was 79 years old -- right around the time that the aforementioned (and other) defects in the Constitution enabled a cataclysmic civil war that slaughtered fully 2% of our population.  Scaled up to the current constituency of the U.N., that would be 134 million people dead.  The U.N. hasn't dropped the ball nearly that badly, even over its entire existence.
BM) If your plan to grow the Libertarian Party  (BM
Don't worry about "my plan", just check the LP's own decades-old Preamble to our Platform.  It says "As Libertarians, we seek a world of liberty [...] Our goal is nothing more nor less than a world set free in our lifetime".  The changes that the LP seeks to make to the U.S. federal government are many orders of magnitude greater than it would take to allow the U.N.'s International Court of Justice to hear appeals by U.S. citizens against any level of American government for violations of articles 1-21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  
You told us "Libertarians have no problem enthusiastically embracing limitations on government."  So why wouldn't you enthusiastically embrace the prospect of such a limitation?  After all, that's a prospect much more practical than much of the anarchotopian daydreaming in which the LP Platform has traditionally indulged.
BM) and change our platform is to compare our present federal system of checks and balances and Constitutional order that protects the rights of all individual citizens to the corrupt and unaccountable United Nations  (BM
Are you certifying the U.S. federal government as a paragon of accountability and incorruptibility?  That's not what Libertarians usually do.  I'm glad to see I'm not the only Libertarian who defends the U.S. government, for all its criminal policies and shameful deeds, as the single institution that has done more to advance the cause of liberty than any other in human history.
As it happens, there are very good reasons for preferring that individual rights in early 21st-century America should be protected at the level of the federal judiciary, rather than at the level of state governments or at the level of the U.N.  However, as your groping response would suggest, those reasons are empirical matters of historical contingency, and have vanishingly little to do with the abstract libertarian principle of "embracing limitations on government".   Seventy years ago, when the federal government was just as bad as the various states on civil liberties, and was leading the assault on our economic liberties, it would indeed have been preferable to limit federal jurisdiction as much as possible in precisely the way that 72-year-old Ron Paul suggests.  Seventy years from now, it's just possible to imagine that the American experiment in limited government will have finished collapsing into a total nanny/chaperone state, and that technology-driven policy competition among ~200 nation-states will have made the U.N. a better advocate of liberty than the U.S. federal government.
The bottom line remains: you are taking an empirical and contingent Ron Paul judgment about the current institutional design of our government, and mendaciously trying to claim it as evidence that Ron Paul desires an entire suite of chaperone-state policies that you can't quote him endorsing and that I quote him condemning -- and doing it out of spite because Paul's judgment doesn't serve your own political agenda.
That's simply reprehensible -- and it's why nobody here has been speaking up in agreement with you.
Meanwhile, even as a non-candidate for the LP nomination, Ron Paul tied for second place in the straw poll at the LPCA convention, and got 50% more first-place votes than the one candidate (Phillies) who has echoed your attacks on Paul.  (Oh, and one of Phillies' first-place votes came from somebody who I happen to know disagrees with those attacks.)   Thus fully 75% of the first-place votes in San Diego were for either Ron Paul or candidates who embrace Ron Paul, which tends to confirm the analysis that Ron Paul won the LPCA Super Tuesday primary via all those uncounted write-ins
Or do you think they were for Gibby the Cat?