Libertarian Litmus Test

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Rothbard famously asked “Do you hate the state?” when attempting to come up with a standard which might be used to determine whether or not one has the proper philosophical starting point in approaching the state. If one’s “libertarianism” is about making states more efficient, or “better” (if by “better” one means something other than “smaller” or “weaker”) then one is likely not a libertarian. At least philosophically.

So now let’s come up with a practical policy-based standard for determining if one is or is not a libertarian. I would submit that anyone who is in favor of raising taxes or increasing government revenue in any way is not a libertarian. Justin Amash’s recent comment that raising taxes or increasing government revenues is all something he could be convinced to support, is absolutely un-libertarian. Raising taxes is not “Fabianism in reverse” or libertarian incrementalism at all. It is, purely and simply, making the government larger and stronger. Giving more resources to the government, even without actually raising tax rates themselves, is making government bigger. This is not a complicated argument.

“Starve the Beast” used to a position of mainline conservatives who didn’t even pretend to be libertarian. Justin Amash can’t even live up the professed standards of 1980s Republicans. I’m not sure if Amash has ever actually claimed to be a libertarian, but he’s not even a “conservative” by the standards of that movement as used in the 1960s and 1970s.

Nevertheless, many insist on calling Amash a libertarian, and now, for this “libertarian,” tax increases are “on the table.” This is “Fabianism in reverse” in reverse.

10:37 am on December 10, 2012
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