Liberty and Equality

In the times of the Greek democracy, the Roman republic, the American founding, and most of American history, liberty and equality were thought to go together.  That changed, says Danielle Allen, author of a book on the Declaration of Independence

First, Karl Marx taught that individual liberty must be sacrificed for the greater  goal of social equality.  Then, in the Cold War, conservatives and libertarians taught the opposite, that equality must give way to individual liberty.  Today, she says, Democrats are stressing the ideals of equality while Republicans are stressing the ideals of liberty.  She argues that we need to recapture the sense in which the two go together, as set forth in the Declaration of Independence.

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Great Britain will decentralize its government

In response to the near secession of Scotland from the United Kingdom, the British government is promising to decentralize, giving more power to regional and local governments.  (Not just Scotland but Wales and Northern Ireland already have their own parliaments.  England hasn’t, being content to rule all of the others, but now England itself may become more like a state in the larger United Kingdom.)

The desire for weaker central governments seems to be a world-wide phenomenon and is exactly what American conservatives have been calling for.  But the British have always put on the best Tea Parties. [Read more…]

The mother of all attack ads

I was 12 years old when I watched Lyndon Johnson’s campaign ad that showed a little girl picking daisies followed by the mushroom cloud of a nuclear blast.  Even at the time, I understood the message:  Don’t vote for that extremist Barry Goldwater!  He will start a nuclear war!

Yes, the ad, if you thought about it was utterably lame (a little girl? daisies?), but it had to have contributed to LBJ’s landslide victory.  Drew Babb analyzes the political commercial, which aired as a paid advertisement one time only on September 7, 1964 (after that, it was endlessly re-run by the three networks who covered the ad itself as a piece of news).  He calls it the “mother of all attack ads.” [Read more…]

The space between the individual and the state

Rep. Paul Ryan (R, Wisconsin), in his new book entitled The Way Forward, discusses “the space between the individual and the state” and says that Progressives keep wanting to fill that space with the government. [Read more…]

Obama delays amnesty until after the elections

President Obama had said that since Congress won’t pass immigration reform, he will push it through using executive action.  Though he had said he would do so by the end of the summer, he has decided to wait until after the midterm elections in November.   He and other Democrats are worried that if he grants some kind of amnesty to illegal immigrants, which he is apparently planning to do, the public outcry would be so great that it would hurt Democrats in the elections.

But if they think the American people are going to react that way, why are they still going to do it?  And do they really think the public is so stupid that voters who would be up in arms over this issue would vote for Democrats, knowing their post-election plans?  And if the President is doing this in the name of a noble principle, why doesn’t he just do it, instead of playing politics with the issue?  Isn’t this an embarrassingly cynical political game?  Interestingly, now even immigration activists feel betrayed. [Read more…]

Rand Paul’s foreign policy

The one “dove” among the current presidential contenders has been the libertarian, tea-party favorite Republican Senator Rand Paul.  A few weeks ago, he published  an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that criticized both the Democrats and his fellow Republicans for their “interventionist” foreign policies.  He said that those who wanted to intervene  against the Assad regime in Syria would have been helping ISIS, which was originally one of the rebel factions that they wanted to help.  He says that President Obama, Hillary Clinton, and the “hawkish members of my own party” lack both foresight and hindsight.  And yet, Senator Paul is now saying that America must respond to the atrocities of ISIS by using force against them.  After the jump, read from both his op-ed piece on Syria and his latest pronouncements against ISIS.

You Randians, libertarians, and non-interventionists, does this change your view of him?  Or do you agree?

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