Two Visions

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Harvard University educator Jeffrey A. Miron and Congressman Ron Paul have written two new books which outline their contrasting visions of libertarianism.

Cato Institute senior fellow Miron’s book is entitled Libertarianism, From A to Z. His vision is consequentialist, cost-benefit analysis, rather than rights-based. As an orthodox Catonian, Miron supports multinational managed trade agreements (NAFTA) and voucher plans for government schooling. Judging from the first GOP presidential debate recently held in South Carolina, I suspect it is the campaign playbook for former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson’s presidential campaign on how to approach public-policy issues via the Cato Institute.

Holding with strict Cato policy, the principal intellectual driving force of the modern libertarian movement, Murray N. Rothbard, is not discussed. Imagine libertarianism without The Ethics of Liberty. This is comparable to writing about the history of the automotive industry without mentioning Henry Ford or Alfred Sloan, or discussing the motion picture industry without Thomas A. Edison, D. W. Griffith, the Warner Brothers, Adolph Zukor, Cecil B. DeMille, or Steven Spielberg. In other words, all sterile, soulless utilitarian style; no substance grounded in principle — much like the Gary Johnson versus Ron Paul GOP presidential primary race.

Twelve term Texas Congressman Paul has authored the New York Times best-seller, Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues That Affect Our Freedom. It is also an A to Z analysis of crucial issues, from Abortion to Zionism. Paul’s vision of libertarianism is natural rights based and firmly grounded in first principles, of the Constitution and Austrian economics. Always the humble gentleman, in his dedication Ron Paul graciously acknowledges his intellectual debt to Ludwig von Mises, F. A. Hayek, Leonard E. Read, Murray N. Rothbard, and Hans F. Sennholz. This book is the culmination of a lifetime’s dedicated study of freedom and economics, and will definitely be the ideological centerpiece of a 2012 Paul presidential victory.

6:05 pm on May 9, 2011