What Does Cathy Young Really Think?

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Tom, someone at some point decided to dub Cathy Young a libertarian, and the moniker is a main source of credibility. Yet it is obvious from her “review” of your book that she knows zip about the history of ideas or the war and or that every libertarian from Acton to Spooner to Mencken to Chodorov to Morley to Rothbard to (James) Buchanan opposed the military conquest of the South; indeed, the whole of the liberal tradition has affirmed the right to secede (whether slaves from their ‘owners’ or smaller governmental units from larger ones).

It is instructive to recall too that Ms. Young, the supposed libertarian, wrote a hymn to tyranny on September 24, 2001, at the very time that libertarians who were so much in need to bring sanity to the public square:

…a free society is not a suicide pact.

We will undoubtedly have to put up with tougher security at airports. The movements of foreign visitors will be scrutinized more closely. Perhaps most alarming to many civil libertarians, it’s likely that the government will expand its ability to monitor electronic mail, which has been a controversial issue for some time.

Do I like the idea of the government intercepting e-mail? No. But, as long as there’s judicial oversight and due process, that’s no different from its longstanding power to intercept regular mail.

Do I like the idea of people being able to encrypt electronic communications so that they are beyond surveillance? Frankly, I found it scary even before Sept. 11 – precisely because of the threat of terrorism.

It is said that there are no atheists in foxholes; perhaps there are no true libertarians in times of terrorist attacks.

Even in the Declaration of Independence, the right to liberty is preceded by the right to life.

Almost every word is a moral outrage. Just when she was needed the most, Young signed up as a cheerleader for the worst aspects of the regime. In any case, there must be a special place in Hell reserved for those libertarians who, in those days and following 9-11, repudiated their supposed principles, and lent their voices to the cause of despotism. She ought to be doing penance, not smearing and trashing the work of real scholars.

3:26 pm on February 21, 2005