THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 575, June 20, 2010
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There are some problems with Bob Wallace's article.
The first thing that bothers me is this concept of "the common good of all". I as an individual have at least some clue what is good for me. I have less knowledge what is good for my wife or son, very little what is good for my neighbor, almost none what is good for the guy in the next town or state. The "common good" is unknowable, and being unknowable, one has to ask if it can exist at all. Even if one grants there is such a thing, the question is, who gets to determine what that good is? The obvious answer is, "the government". And so it is no surprise that pretty much all governments of all types claim to work for the common good. This latter point makes an argument for the common good pretty worthless, since it was satisfied by even Mao's China.
There are more reliable things to hang one's hat on, politically -- such as no initiation of force.
Bob writes, "The smallest government possible is the best, since it allows the largest amount of liberty and the free market." That does not follow. It is perfectly possible for very small governments to be awful and overbearing. The violence of gangs (which is what governments are) is not strongly correlated with their size. I agree that the smallest government is the best, but for another reason. If this country consisted of nothing but town governments, then people would not have to put up with "one size fits all" government, and could live in a town where the government suited them. Even anarchists could be happy, alongside happy communists and happy fascists (in neighboring communities).
I had to laugh, too, at the observation that "under every 'conservative' there is an anarchist". In my experience, under every conservative is a believer in the government religion.
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Finally, as always, feel free to forward this e- mail to anybody you think would be interested.
In the Wind
The National Rifle Association has managed to get everybody angry. On the one hand they have drawn the ire of leftists by essentially negotiating an exemption for themselves from HR 5175 (the Disclose Act). On the other hand they have drawn negative attention from at least one group that claims to support gun rights (they shall remain nameless because I distrust them but I could be wrong.) because they negotiated for themselves an exemption from HR 5175.
Last winter the Supreme Court ruled that laws restricting corporate bodies and interest groups in the making of broadcasts of a political nature violated the Constitution. Many leftists, and a lot of moderates, are concerned that this would allow big business to buy elections. Other politicians of all stripes fear that grass root groups that don't want to knuckle under to "the Program" (whatever that is, I sometimes think even the politicos have lost track.) could gain enough support to gum up the works. Thus HR 5175.
The NRA convinced Congress members to exempt groups with a certain minimum membership which spent x amount of money to participate in politics, ostensibly to promote their members' interests, from the Disclose Act. Many other groups, including some pro gun groups, were not covered by this exemption. Actually, the only group with the right number of members and contributing the right amount of money is, hold your expressions of amazement, the NRA. The NRA has therefor shut up about opposing HR 5175.
So... Who geeked? According to the left, the NRA bought or browbeat enough Members of Congress to get it's exemption (for what it's worth, The Brady Victim Disarmament Gang doesn't qualify for the exemption). Nameless pro gun group is angry that the NRA didn't get all pro gun groups and other right wing organizations an exemption. Did the Congressmen sell out or did the NRA?
Other groups are free to negotiate their own exemptions of course. On the other hand, it would be easier if the NRA had made common cause with other pro gun and Conservative groups (and even left wing groups that sometimes join forces with the NRA to defend the right to lobby) to get a favorable deal.
This writer is not sure. The NRA is supposed to defend its members right to lobby, making a good deal on their own even if it means cutting out on other groups arguably constitutes meeting that obligation. On the other hand "bare is back without brother," or in other words the NRA may find itself without allies when it and its members need them.
The NRA may have left itself standing alone in the wind. Whether this was necessary or right only time will tell.
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