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Saturday, March 1, 2008

RE: [cal-libs] Ron Paul critics again confusing jurisprudential fact with libertarian theory

Brian Miller wrote:
BM) Your persistent and obstinate refusal to acknowledge the unlibertarian consequences (and genesis) of "states' rights"  (BM
I've consistently said I disagree with Ron Paul that decentralizing protection of individual rights from the federal judiciary to the states is likely to be more liberty-maximizing.  I don't recall you ever asking me to "acknowledge the unlibertarian genesis" of "states' rights", so this "persistent and obstinate refusal" seems hallucinatory.  I don't dispute that the label "states' rights" has been seriously tainted by the issue of slavery, but it would be simply addled to claim that the concept of federalism and decentralism is inherently unlibertarian.  Do you dare so claim, or not?  (Probability of Miller answering: ~3%)
BM) I think it's important for Libertarians to be clear on the fact that we (and our party) agree on the idea that the 14th Amendment applies the protections of the BOR to all levels of government. If Mr. Holtz's position on this issue reflects that of the committee he's a member of, drafting our new platform, I hope it goes down to defeat. (BM
As I've told you multiple times, I agree that the 14th Amendment should be interpreted as applying the BoR to the states, so it's simply laughable for you pretend my "position" is otherwise.
As it happens, the PlatCom's draft platform contains a far stronger endorsement of the constitutional protection of rights from government than any language in the 2004 platform that some of your friends have petitioned us to use as a starting point.  We went all the way back to the original pre-Dallas-Accord 1972 Platform to recycle these two sentences as the heart of the introduction to one of our three sections:
The protection of individual rights is the only proper purpose of government. Government is constitutionally limited so as to prevent the infringement of individual rights by the government itself.
By the way, if you're so impressed with "mainstream" jurisprudence on the 14th Amendment, do you agree with the mainstream opinion that the Due Process clause of Amendment XIV is what applies to the BoR to the states?  I think that line of cases should have used the Privileges and Immunities clause instead.  I also disagree with the opinion of mainstream jurisprudence that growing wheat in my garden for my own personal baking is interstate commerce.  Don't you?
BM) I'd hate to have the "Party of Principle" being an anti-federal government (but pro-state/local government) party (BH
Opposing centralized government authority is simply not the same thing as advocating that local government be as intrusive as it wants to be -- no matter how hard you try to pretend they're the same.
BM) Impassioned defense of Ron Paul also isn't doing the LP any favors.  (BM
I 've long criticized many of Paul's idiosyncratic positions as kooky. As far back as August I approvingly quoted Brian Doherty on Paul:   BD) Paul's concern with immigration is of a piece with his right-populist strains, an obsession with "sovereignty" that feeds his fevered opposition to international trade pacts and the UN. Combined with his strong emphasis on trash-talking the Federal Reserve and advocating a return to gold, it's the sort of thing that strikes many other libertarians as, if not inherently unlibertarian, sort of cranky and kooky, and that led me to note to The New Republic that many libertarians (though not me) think of Paul as a bit of a yokel. (BD 
Throughout January I blogged in detail about the scandal over what I called "more racism and homophobia" in Ron Paul's newsletters.
BM) You might want to divert your attention towards encouraging the platform committee to come up with a platform that doesn't ignore key areas of concern like the Patriot Act, REAL ID, and other significant *policy* issues.  (BM
Thanks for dodging my questions about whether you think the UN should protect individual liberty in America, and whether libertarian judges should always choose an ad hoc libertarian outcome over all other concerns about jurisprudence and the institutional design of government.
Thank you also for your red-herring concern about our draft platform.  As it happens, it includes this:
3.2. Internal Security and Individual Rights
The defense of the country requires that we have adequate intelligence to detect and to counter threats to domestic security. This requirement must not take priority over maintaining the civil liberties of our citizens. The Bill of Rights provides no exceptions for a time of war. Intelligence agencies that legitimately seek to preserve the security of the nation must be subject to oversight and transparency. We oppose the government's use of secret classifications to keep from the public information that it should have, especially that which shows that the government has violated the law.
BM) Because on both this Ron Paul debate, and the broader platform debate, it's all about policy.  (BM
We call ourselves the Party of Principle.  Policy matters, but principle matters even more.