Social Libertarianism, & The Heart Of Freedom

With the recent discussion created over Amy’s post, Confessions of a Bleeding Heart Libertarian, (the comment thread of which, in my opinion, contained some of the best debate I’ve read on the ALS blog for quite some time – personal abuse notwithstanding!), I thought it would be appropriate to post some thoughts on the precise intersection of political and societal ‘power’ structures, and the appropriate libertarian beliefs on these.

I’ve actually been meaning to write about this for quite some time, but was never able to fully elucidate my views, no doubt a product of the political schizophrenia that characterizes many of my political viewpoints. Fortunate, Reason Magazine came to the rescue the other week, with a debate entitled “Are Property Rights Enough?”, thus saving me from the task of actually writing about it.

Reason poses the question: “Libertarians traditionally have viewed coercion, especially when institutionalized in the form of government, as the main threat to freedom. But cultural pressures outside the state also can restrict people’s ability to live as they please. Is that another limit on liberty worth criticizing, or is it a function of voluntary choices?”

This is the continuation of an earlier debate between Todd Seavey & Keri Howley, which you may read here, here, here and here. Essentially Ms. Howley argued that libertarianism ought be concerned with maximizing freedom and autonomy, and as it is not only the state which impinges on these, but also various social forces, then libertarians ought to be concerned about them. Mr. Seavey, on the other hand, takes the more traditional line, that libertarians ought be concerned with the power of the state alone. Cato’s Will Wilkinson also entered into the debate, stating “If libertarianism is the view that coercion is never social or emotional, and that coercive limits to liberty are justified only in defense of private property, or in the enforcement of contracts, then libertarianism is false, and I am not a libertarian. If libertarianism is the view that human well-being is best promoted by ensuring “that every man may claim the fullest liberty to exercise his faculties compatible with the possession of like liberty to every other man,” then I am a libertarian. If this is a libertarian view, then the goal to minimize or abolish wrongfully liberty-limiting social norms is a libertarian goal.” (There are many other instances in the blogosphere of comments on this debate, particularly regarding the feminist points made, but you can find those for yourself!) I would strongly encourage people to peruse these posts however.

In any event, a few weeks ago Reason commissioned a debate, with Keri Howley, Todd Seavey, and Daniel McCarthy on this topic. Unfortunately, I cannot simply publish the whole thing here, so I strongly urge people hit the link and read the full thing. I will, however, provide some rather lengthy extracts.

Ms. Howley argues that: I call myself a classical liberal in part because I believe that negative liberties… are the best means to acquire positive liberties… I also value the kind of culture that economic freedom produces and within which it thrives: tolerance for human variation, aversion to authoritarianism, and what the libertarian economist F.A. Hayek called “a preparedness to let change run its course even if we cannot predict where it will lead.”

But I am disturbed by an inverse form of state worship I encounter among my fellow skeptics of government power. This is the belief that the only liberty worth caring about is liberty reclaimed from the state; that social pathologies such as patriarchy and nationalism are not the proper concerns of the individualist; that the fight for freedom stops where the reach of government ends. It was tradition, not merely government, that threatened to limit Min’s range of possible lives. To describe the expanded scope of her agency as merely “freedom from state interference” is to deny the extent of what capitalism has achieved in communist China.

As former Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints leader Warren Jeffs can tell you, it’s possible to be an anti-government zealot with no interest whatsoever in individual liberty. If authoritarian fundamentalist compounds are your bag, the words personal agency will hold no magic for you, and Min’s situation will smack of social chaos. But libertarians for whom individualism is important cannot avoid discussions of culture, conformism, and social structure. Not every threat to liberty is backed by a government gun.”

In what I think is a rather solid smack-down on this viewpoint, Mr. Seavey responds:

Kerry Howley accuses property-focused libertarians—which I had hoped meant all libertarians—of having veiled cultural agendas, whereas hers is open, forthright, and beneficial to boot. Quite the contrary: Like countless young “Third Wave” feminists, Howley insists we see the specific, early-21st-century cultural agenda she’s pushing as a neutral blank slate, filled with endless possibilities and with no limitations on individuals and their boundless potential. By contrast, any conventions and cultural norms at odds with that vision are “walls,” like guard towers, seemingly backed by the threatening power of police truncheons…

There’s a vast universe of moral and philosophical judgments beyond libertarianism, and one of the beauties of the philosophy is that it leaves people free to debate those countless other matters without breaking the minimal ground rule of respecting one another’s rights. Trying to cram all of philosophy and culture into the tiny footnote that is libertarianism is precisely the kind of political overreaching that drives people away from radical philosophies, not a form of richness that aids recruitment.

It’s hard enough to sell people on the idea of property rights already without adding a host of “rich” moral baggage to the idea. Does Howley predict greater success if we tell people they have to give up traditional social norms, gender roles, and religious views at the same time? Do you think the metric system would have been an easier sell in Europe if bureaucrats had said everyone also had to adopt, say, Portuguese cuisine and androgynous clothing?

Most libertarians would say that once the side constraint of property rights adherence is established, people have a right to engage in whatever social patterns they wish to follow so long as the property side constraints are not themselves undermined. Howley mentions “fundamentalist compounds” dismissively, but isn’t the whole point of liberty that people are free to construct fundamentalist compounds, sexist strip clubs, respectable female-run corporations, gender-indifferent science labs, or all-male hunting lodges as they choose, so long as they do so voluntarily?

If not, we can be forgiven for wondering why someone who thinks like Howley would embrace the basic political stance of libertarianism in the strict property-defending sense at all. If people telling you “fat chicks should be shunned” is as oppressive as being hauled off to jail, why not pass laws banning anti-fat-chick discrimination? Why not endorse affirmative action laws? Why not tell Catholic-run charities they must hire gays? The traditional libertarian answer is that rights violations are fundamentally different from behavior that merely strikes you as narrow-minded.

Daniel McCarthy, on the other hand, poses the question:

Must a free society treat those who hold irrational or bigoted opinions the same way it treats those who have enlightened views… Maybe a true culture of liberty has nothing to do with left-wing or right-wing orthodoxies. Rather than taking sides in culture wars over race, religion, sex, and subversion, libertarians —so this line of thinking goes—ought just to affirm a culture that supports property rights… Those who take their cues from John Stuart Mill will argue that expressive liberty is at least as important as property rights. We therefore ought to defend employees with unpopular views against arbitrary dismissal, regardless of whether we find their opinions righteous or repugnant…

The idea that only traditional attitudes, never progressive ones, can be oppressive strikes me as naive. Cultural progressives are as apt as anyone to make the leap from stigmatizing to persecuting their enemies. Scapegoating has been as useful for the authoritarian left as for the authoritarian right: Witness the hysteria about white separatists and right-wing militias that recurs every time a tolerant Democratic administration succeeds an intolerant Republican one. Randy Weaver, no less than Matthew Shepard, can attest to the consequences of demonizing misfits.

Nor do progressive attitudes toward sex and race necessarily lead to a culture of liberty. In the 1920s the Soviet Union was less racist and more sexually open than the United States. Divorce and abortion were legal and readily available, and more than a few Bolsheviks practiced as well as preached free love. Yet that did not make Russia a more fertile soil for liberty. Workers’ orgies were no defense against the power of the Soviet state, which soon revoked the moral license it had granted…

If some libertarians won’t tell you what freedom should look like beyond the absence of the state, don’t assume that these people must subscribe to a crabbed idea of liberty or else are smuggling their values behind a veil of cultural neutrality. These anti-statists may refuse to define the cultural content of libertopia because they believe deeply in the pluripotentiality of freedom—that freedom can mean the freedom to be a Mormon housewife as well as to be a postgendered television personality. Freedom, they realize, may even mean the freedom not to be free. Libertarianism does not demand that everyone subscribe to the same idea of the good life. By extension, libertarianism also should not demand that everyone subscribe to the same idea of liberty…”

Finally, Ms. Howley responds:

Perhaps it would be instructive to consider a hypothetical conversation between Seavey and a potential libertarian.

Potential Libertarian: What’s libertarianism?

Seavey: A philosophy of freedom and property rights.

Potential Libertarian: Oh, right. Freedom like civil rights?

Seavey: No, not that kind of freedom.

Potential Libertarian: Oh. Freedom like the freedom to be openly gay?

Seavey: No. That has nothing to do with liberty.

Potential Libertarian: Oh. Um…

Seavey: Let’s talk about easements!

Again, I would strongly encourage everyone to read the full thing. Really, do. A few excerpts really do not do justice to any of the arguments presented.

But what do people here think? To what extent libertarianism is a philosophy solely concerned with the role of government and property rights? Ought a libertarian champion greater goals? Once we get rid of the intervention of the state, will everything be all nice and great and good in the world, or will we need to actively work upon ‘improving society’?

Over to you…

31 thoughts on “Social Libertarianism, & The Heart Of Freedom

  1. Thanks for opening up this issue for debate here.

    I would like to refer others to the work of the political scholar Chris Sciabarra. Sciabarra’s excellent trilogy on dialectics in libertarianism, especially Total Freedom: Towards A Dialectical Libertarianism, deals with the issues central to this debate.

  2. “that every man may claim the fullest liberty to exercise his faculties compatible with the possession of like liberty to every other man,”

    Fictional daydreaming. Sentences like the above convey no concrete rational relevance to real world, in the present political discourse and the process of moral reasoning from which all political discourse is derived.

    We have here closet coercive egalitarians declaring the various vague mental utopias put forth and speculated on to be ‘libertarian’. The breaking of eggs to make an omelet mentality is implicit in the background, but couched in rhetoric designed to appeal to those that would otherwise subscribe to anti-coercion, individual rights libertarian political values.

    These fundamental principles are very clear and rationally derived from the nature of reality but socialists will always attempt to twist and pervert because in their minds it is pragmatically necessary within the process of collective political collaboration in explicitly erecting the agreed upon mentally prefabricated utopian world.

  3. Sorry Tim, but I think there a lot of waffle… pie in the sky stuff in a lot of that.

    Libertarianism to me means to be left alone by the state and nanny type intruders. Everything else should be left to how people want to organize themselves and arrange their affairs in ways that don’t adversely affect others.

    You would expect society to thrive in the environment, so I don’t really see what else needs to be done.

    By extension, libertarianism also should not demand that everyone subscribe to the same idea of liberty…”

    That’s just a load of swill. We had two socialists in the other thread telling us group rights offered liberty and our views were just a sham.

    This sort of sentence just clouds things up again.

    Okay , the Soviet Union was liberal in it’s tolerance to sex although I don’t for one minute believe it wasn’t, racist as it was. Furthermore class hatred and taking out entire classes of people was a pretty close ally to racism. Communist states also haven’t really been tolerant toward gays either really, so the tolerance only went so far and it was state sanctioned.

    If you want the positive aspects of libertarianism fully explained one can’t go past Virginia Prostel’s writings such as “The future and its enemies”.

  4. JC – I completely agree with you, but if I only posted things that everyone agreed with it would make for a rather dull blog I feel!

    And I do think this can make for a fun discussion. And do note that the issue here is quite different to what was discussed in the previous post by Amy – whereas that was about how we get to a libertarian state, this is more what happens once we get there. Both topics I think are worth discussing, if only because it’s fun 🙂

  5. Yea than, Andrew.

    I think that we live at a time when everything is so politicized that we tend to not know nor understand what life would be like without a President requiring a 71 car motorcade on a visit to China and we just got on with our lives aay from politics.

  6. I personally define freedom as something similar to the libertarian ideal. That is freedom from violence, coercion, theft and to some degree fraud.

    Beyond that I think a free world requires more than freedom, it requires autonomy. Freedom may allow for someone to sell themselves into slavery but autonomy does not. But I would rely on social institutions to prevent such things rather than political/ legal avenues. Using violence to give people more choices is, as others have said, using a sledgehammer to kill a fly.

    I do think that a society of reason without codified religion would be better than a society with authoritarian religions threatening eternal fire and brimstone. I do think a society with open (yet not excessive) views regarding sex or drugs will be more functional than a society with a closed mind to new experiences. I think a multicultural society will flourish and a nationalist society will fall.

    But I don’t think we should use the state to achieve any of these goals. And they aren’t goals that have anything to do with libertarianism itself. But they are connected. If you believe in the worth of the individual then it follows that you should want individuals to be free from group-think and free to experience life for what it is.

    Libertarianism allows for people to choose conservative lifestyles, but I feel libertarians should actively fight against group-think and fight for a rational society. I think that if we respect individuals we need to push for autonomy as well as freedom.

  7. Shem – why do you think “a society of reason without codified religion would be better than a society with authoritarian religions threatening eternal fire and brimstone”?


    A majority of Americans agreed with President Obama in 2008, that the interests of the community are more important than are the interests of the individual. As a result, a new union organizing movement has begun, creating the Community Voters Union (CVU). Using the popular Card Check Program, community organizers forming the CVU will bring voters into a union, simplifying their community life. When 1% of people in a region sign the CVU card checks given them at shopping malls, places of employment as well as door-to-door, the CVU will officially form. They will be responsible for voting the interests of the community. Voters need never go to the polls again. Union leaders voting the community’s interests block big-money right wing attempts to sway voters. Dues from each voter will pay the costs of this welcomed voter service. The Community Union Councils gather periodically to decide who will hold elected offices as well as new legislation and enforcement procedures. The voters in community will never again have to worry about making those choices. The President encourages voters to take advantage of the CVU so the voting process is more orderly and predictable. Because of his enormous popularity, people are rushing to obtain voting cards to sign up. CVU will usher into American Politics a glorious new day of certainty and peace in voting. Right-wing extremist critics claim the first card checks will have only names from the graveyards to establish CVU supremacy. They claim CVU is patterned after the USSR soviets, regional community voting blocs that transmit community interests to one central presidium or parliament. They are partially correct, in that the American Congress will be changed to a parliament and the Constitution set aside as a historical document only. However, only community interests are important, which assigns to the CVU the control over what was once called “private property” and bank accounts in each of the regions they control. This will assure Americans that the wealth will be spread around, as the President was so well credited in his campaign. There will no longer be term limits assigned to the office of President, only that he receives a periodic vote of confidence from the CVU. Succession falls to the choice of the President when the need arises. This, most Americans agree, is how an orderly government works. For thousands of years, orderly government rested with a sovereign, a chief of state, where family members were trained to take the reins when the need arose, so we can look to having one of Obama’s daughters rise to that leadership position. (Is this really an absurdity?

  9. Central to the right-libertarian conception of liberty, John Humphreys’ brays to the contrary notwithstanding, is unfettered private property rights. This is stated explicitly in several places in LDP literature. Individual liberty comes a distant second.

    Let me explain how this may work to deny an individual liberty in practice. Imagine a young black girl, let’s call her Rosa, commutes to work each day on the only available bus line in town. The owner of the bus company requires black people to sit only at the back of the bus and to stand up whenever a white person is without a seat. Imagine one day young Rosa protests by sitting in the front of the bus. She is ordered off the bus but refuses. Under the right-libertarian conception of liberty, the bus owner could order the Police to drag Rosa off the bus and lock her in a cell. He could then ban Rosa from ever using his bus service again, thus costing Rosa her job.

    Indeed, if the bus owner was so inclined, he could tell Rosa “yes” you may continue riding on my bus, but only if let me f**k you thrice weekly. This would be cool under the right-libertarian conception of liberty, since the bus owner is merely trying to engage Rosa in a legal voluntary contract.

    Most people would could the scenarios above malignant and oppressive, the very antithesis of liberty, yet a right-libertarian would consider it libertarian praxis.

  10. Most people would could (sic) the scenarios above malignant and oppressive,

    (You left out a word here, skull. Just saying)

    Black pea:

    Please explain how refusing someone rights to your property is anti-liberty. You’re now defining liberty to mean anything you want it to mean, which in your example, although reprehensible to most decent people, suggests Rosa Parks liberty was curtailed. It wasn’t. IT’s reprehensible, but she doesn’t.

    What you’re arguing for is state sanctioned authority to intervene and force the bus owner to do the will of an aggrieved group.

    At least it’s nice to see you’ve finally come out of the leftist closet and begun to admit your true affiliations instead of playing that silly game before.

    Are there situations where outcomes are less than ideal from your or anyone’s moral perspective under libertarianism? Of course there would be.

    However state intervention also gave us minority placements in university that weren’t earned through testing and results. It also gave us affirmative action and racial quotas, which i would assume you think are terrific.

    In any event why the focus on the US, Black pea. Last time I tried that you had this to say: (to paraphrase)

    Who gives a shit about US? Nice hypocrisy in display, Champ.

  11. One other thing, Black Pea, the Rosa Parks incident is the opposite of what you think it suggests.

    The draconian racist Jim Crow laws were essentially torn apart by Parks display of disobedience. She didn’t need any laws to tear it apart. All she did was (heroically) refuse to move from her seat and the public outcry was enough to rip down the laws that required blacks to sit at the back of the bus. In other words she’s an inspiration to individual rights.

    That’s a perfect example of individualist type disobedience that every libertarian here would support 100%. In fact it lends itself to our argument more so for one very good freaking reason.

    The Jim Crow laws did exist and they were state sanctioned. So be careful what you wish for when it comes on relying on the state to do your dirty work, Champ.

  12. “The owner of the bus company requires black people to sit only at the back of the bus and to stand up whenever a white person is without a seat.”

    Note that the US Federal Court decision in 1956 overturned a State law, not a private agreement?

    Private arrangements are contentious but competition is how to deal with racism in markets. The taste for discrimination is not profitable.

    “Indeed, if the bus owner was so inclined, he could tell Rosa “yes” you may continue riding on my bus, but only if let me f**k you thrice weekly. This would be cool under the right-libertarian conception of liberty, since the bus owner is merely trying to engage Rosa in a legal voluntary contract.”

    No you dishonest idiot it would be an unconscionable contract.

  13. Mark:

    Skull is basically ignorant of those events and has understood them in a half baked manner. I don’t think he’s even aware that there were laws (Jim Crow) that actually restricted freedoms.

    It’s actually hysterical to see his argument unfold. Rosa Parks actions were an act of defiance against the state. So in a perversely funny way Skull is actually agreeing with libertarians against state sponsored racism and special privileges.

  14. Mark, my scenario is imaginary, that’s why I started it by using the word “imagine”. What is it about the word “imagine” you fail to understand? I’m here to help, so please tell me.

    “No you dishonest idiot it would be an unconscionable contract.”

    LDP policy does not talk about “unconscionable contract” fettering the right of a property owner to negotiate contracts as he sees fit. I’m simply telling you what your policy says.

  15. Skull:

    my scenario is imaginary, that’s why I started it by using the word “imagine”. What is it about the word “imagine” you fail to understand? I’m here to help, so please tell me.

    So then you’re plagiarizing Rosa Parks story? LOl.

  16. @Mark – you believe in the doctrine of unconscionable contract? Hmm. That does surprise me.

    @Skull – There is a difference between liking an outcome, and accepting it as the least possible evil. Trade-offs matter.

  17. Why do you think “a society of reason without codified religion would be better than a society with authoritarian religions threatening eternal fire and brimstone”?

    Well I’m reasonably anti-god in general. I think that rational thought beats out faith every time and that the emotional moral affirmation gained from religion is better gained through critical analysis of philosophical ideas in a god-free context.

    But more importantly I look at the harm organised religion perpetuates through society. Organised fundamentalist religions breed group-think and usually hate. Religion doesn’t respect the individual and teaches that a single moral code can apply to everyone in every situation. It tries to paint a world full of colour as black and white, or at best shades of grey. Religion teaches deference to the authority and respect for group distinctions. I think that seeing the world in terms of “in-groups” and “out-groups” leads to so much discrimination, hate and war. I respect individuals and I think we need to hold the individual as paramount. A truly free society needs to not just have freedom from government but freedom from nationalism, religion, racism and yes even class prejudice.

    If the individual is compromised by group-think in an anarcho-capitalist or libertarian world more than in the current world I’ll be surprised. If we reach that point I might decide that violent action is justified. I do think violence is sometimes justified. By never by the state. The state’s moral role is to minimise violence. But decisions on whether or not violence was justified in a particular case so as to excuse someone from a crime is best decided by the judicial system.

    I think a strong judiciary can minimise the need for written laws. I don’t think the idea of a neutral, objective state setting neutral, objective laws is as actually, really a good thing. I think some subjectivity in law is a good thing. It can better account for the circumstances. Breach of contract, theft, coercion all may be seen as permissible in a court of law under the right circumstances.

  18. Skull,

    Please present to me the omniscient, omnipotent entity that will equalize and render all material outcomes on this planet ‘fair’ in concordance with the sum total of everybody’s subjective estimations of what constitutes ‘fair’ in all possible sequences of human interactions on this planet.

    Is it you? are you the chosen one?

    Picking apart (obviously from our own personal perspectives and biases) all the dis satisfactory imperfections in human conduct that are technically legally legitimate in terms of property and contract is completely redundant in political theory addressing the appropriate use of force.

  19. Right, so notwithstanding Mark Hillsong’s braying, unconscionable contracts and unrestricted property rights are yankee doodle dandy as far as the LDP is concerned.

    Accordingly the LDP would classify the gentleman who was jailed some years ago for fondling his cock and ejaculating semen in front of the kids who cut across his front lawn while on the way home from school a political prisoner. HAHAHAHAHAHA!

  20. Skull- it seems a little you’re arguing in terms of what COULD happen instead of what DOES happen.

    Smaller government historically results in less racism, less sexism, less homophobia and more respect for individuals regardless of differences.

    Smaller government isn’t utopia and it does carry with it risks. But 1984 shows well and good the risks of big government. I’d say big government is a LOT scarier.

    As a friend of mine is fond of saying “the capitalist vision works if people are selfish and works extremely well if people are selfless, the socialist vision may work extremely well if people are selfless but breaks down when they are selfish”.

    If we take the best case scenario (utopia) smaller government is better than bigger government. If we take the worst case scenario smaller government is better than bigger government.

  21. Also Skull the LDP is run by libertarians, sure, but not a single person posting here is part of the LDP executive. Party policy does not equate to personal belief. Agreeing 80% with the LDP still puts it closer to my political beliefs than the other parties. And I encourage people to support the LDP. But that doesn’t mean I think the LDP would lead to perfection. It’d just be better than what we have now.

  22. “Smaller government historically results in less racism, less sexism, less homophobia and more respect for individuals regardless of differences.”

    Show me the evidence with respect to democratic governments.

  23. Show me the evidence with respect to democratic governments

    Repeal of the Jim Crow laws is one example of government becoming less intrusive.

  24. In Skull’s hypothetical, the outcome is indeed bad. Indeed, bad outcomes are guaranteed to occur in a voluntary world, just as they will occur in any world.

    The issue is not “which system creates utopia”, but “which system will generally lead to a relatively better outcome”.

    I believe the system of “human interaction should be voluntary” (libertarianism is not centered on property, all systems involve property) is both more moral in terms of the behaviour and will tend to lead to relatively better outcomes.

    In the case of the black girl on the bus, it is unlikely that a government system would create a better outcome. For the black girl to find a fair outcome in a voluntary world, all she needs is for a minority of people to help her. For the black girl to find a fair outcome in a government world, she needs to convince parliament to help her. Until she convinces the government to help her, they will probably be working against her interests (as was the historical case for black people in western society).

  25. Also, as Shem suggests, this is not the LDP. There are other avenues for commenting on LDP policy — on their website, blog or facebook group. Some people in the ALS are involved in the LDP, but others aren’t… so please don’t let LDP discussion dominate the ALS blog.

  26. Skull, another item of evidence- in Britain, during WW2, laws were very intrusive, with rationing cards, etc. After WW2, these intrusions were repealed. Sometimes, Governments can go backwards.

  27. John,

    You should ban this Skull imbecile. Persistent dishonesty and slander are not good for the debate.


    Unconscionable contract is a valid concept. It doesn’t violate freedom to contract. It also isn’t applied rigidly – just because someone doesn’t get a good deal doesn’t mean it was unconscionable. It may be a modern invention but that doesn’t mean it is intrinsically wrong. It corrects faults with the contract through equity. Likewise, liability law is relatively modern – but the modern twist on proximity and recent legislation has made it less good than it used to be. Previously we had to make claims on a complex chain of contract law, agency law etc. Like liability, unconscionability has common law roots all the way back to the very definition of the field of law it is based in and caselaw much earlier than the seminal cases or relevant legislation in force.

  28. “Most libertarians would say that once the side constraint of property rights adherence is established, people have a right to engage in whatever social patterns they wish to follow so long as the property side constraints are not themselves undermined. ”

    Well at least this article confirms yet again that which John Humphreys seeks to deny, that being an absolutist view of property rights is at the very heart of (right) libertarianism. To deny this point is like denying the Pope is a Catholic.

    In the 1858 debates with Senator Stephen Douglas, Abraham Lincoln said; “[T]here is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.” Keep in mind; Lincoln reflected the Hamilton-Clay interventionist ideals, where the central government and the “superiors” will determine the extent of federal “assistance” to infrastructure and industry in America, certainly opposite the hands-off policies of the 19th century state’s rights Democrats. The 20th century Democrat is closer to Lincoln’s policies than Jefferson’s. Modern Democrats tend to follow the ideals of Rousseau and Marx, where almost everyone, regardless of race, is inferior to the very few superior elite who must rule. Jefferson’s democrats were libertarians, and as such, figured individual freedom and a free market would establish superior and inferior by works and not by government or chains.

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