By Scott Galupo, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
Rich Lowry makes a lot of sense when he says, “I’m sympathetic to libertarianism, but it sometimes has a weakness for theoretical exercises removed from reality." But that doesn't go far enough. Sometimes? How about: Libertarianism is a utopian fantasy. It has never existed, and will never exist, outside the confines of academia. Period.
Rand Paul’s troubles bring into sharp relief the kind of fire conservatives play with when they strive for first-principle purity.
Before he found the likes of End the Fed author Ron Paul “entertaining,” George Will was my lodestar. His long-forgotten book Statecraft as Soulcraft: What Government Does probably informs my politics more today than it did when I first read it. [See which industries donated the most to Ron Paul.]
Here’s Will on the issue currently bedeviling Paul and his Tea Party navel-gazers:
The great civil rights legislation of the 1960s was, of course, designed primarily to improve the condition of the descendants of slaves. But it had another purpose. It was supposed to do what it in fact did. It was supposed to alter the operation of the minds of many white Americans. The most admirable achievements of modern liberalism—desegregation, and the civil rights acts—were explicit and successful attempts to change (among other things) individuals’ moral beliefs by compelling them to change their behavior. The theory was that if government compelled people to eat and work and study and play together, government would improve the inner lives of those people.
If your principles preclude you from reconciling yourself to the Civil Rights Act, or crucial parts of it, then you should really think about changing your principles—because they’re not really worth defending.