First, thanks to everyone who wanted me to write something; I wasn’t expecting that.
As far as analysis, I cannot improve upon Will Wilkinson, Randy Barnett, Johnathan Chait, Greg Sargent, Megan McArdle, Andrew Koppelman, George Will, Michael Cannon, and Peter Suderman.
Anyway, three links that I think are important to remember:
- Obama claimed, and Democrats defended, that the mandate was not a tax.
- Isaiah’s Job by Albert Jay Nock.
- Why I am Not a Conservative by F.A. Hayek.
Stop worrying and start loving the bomb. The ruling should not have surprised anyone; such optimistic was unwarranted.
More important, libertarians shouldn’t care. We don’t carry the burden of proof; we’re such a political minority, it’s amazing how much influence we already have. The world will burn, but it will be the fault of Democrats (and Republicans for not legitimately opposing government expansion). We’ll probably get the blame regardless, but such is politics.
If anything, the decision should motivate libertarians to engage in local anti-poverty programs, create mutual-aid societies, and live their lives as they see fit. The best way to diminish the harm of government action and strengthen local communities does not reside in the political system.
We’ll hear more demands from conservatives that libertarians MUST vote for Romney in November. I believe most of my politically inclined followers have reblogged a conservative berating libertarians about that earlier. The argument is inane to the point of eliciting pity, but it’s important to remind them of Hayek’s insight:
Let me now state what seems to me the decisive objection to any conservatism which deserves to be called such. It is that by its very nature it cannot offer an alternative to the direction in which we are moving. It may succeed by its resistance to current tendencies in slowing down undesirable developments, but, since it does not indicate another direction, it cannot prevent their continuance. It has, for this reason, invariably been the fate of conservatism to be dragged along a path not of its own choosing. The tug of war between conservatives and progressives can only affect the speed, not the direction, of contemporary developments. But, though there is a need for a “brake on the vehicle of progress,” I personally cannot be content with simply helping to apply the brake. What the liberal must ask, first of all, is not how fast or how far we should move, but where we should move. In fact, he differs much more from the collectivist radical of today than does the conservative. While the last generally holds merely a mild and moderate version of the prejudices of his time, the liberal today must more positively oppose some of the basic conceptions which most conservatives share with the socialists.
Within 20 years or fewer, most conservatives will defend the policies they hysterically oppose today. As Nate mentioned when we talked earlier, that has already happened with conservative foreign policy. Conservatives usually remain steadfast in their morality stances, but they’re fluid with the question of political philosophy. Until libertarians and limited-government conservatives refuse to support the alleged “lesser of two evils,” no progress will be made. The Democrat will expand his pet programs, and the Republican will expand the military, oppose social security, medicare, and medicaid reform, and abuse libertarian rhetoric.
Take heart. In 10 years, remind conservatives what they used to frantically revile. In four to eight years, remind liberals about the frightening increase in executive power and barrier to government transparency their party developed.
Libertarians shouldn’t appear reactionary, hatefully reject liberal and conservative ideas, or get bothered by legislation. Disregard short-term politics, acquire a long-term free society.