Is a Libertarian/Leftist Anti-War Coalition Forming?
Regular Picket Line readers will know that from time
to time I indulge a fantasy in which anti-war progressives and their
libertarian counterparts come to be less mutually suspicious and more united
I think both camps have a lot to learn from each other. The more leftish sorts
have a long history and folklore of coordinated protest and activism which
could give a lot more punch to the less-activist libertarians. And the
libertarians have a more-consistent and well-integrated critique of the
government than the progressives, who should know that government is always a
tool to take from the people who don’t have power and give it to people who
already have more than their share, but who can’t seem to resist the
temptation to think they can shake hands with this devil and make it serve the
cause of good.
So today I’ll note a couple of encouraging signs of dialogue:
With its foam-flecked denunciations of the United States for “the evil of
imperialism, the immorality of enslaving a foreign people, the malice of
colonialism, and the intolerable brutality of authoritarianism,” its
paranoiac allusions to a dissent-crushing “state,” and its unelaborated call
for “resistance,” Rockwell’s speech could have been given by any of the more
literate ringleaders of the anti-war left.
Libertarian Stephen Gordon was at the rally, and publishes a picture
on his blog of two protesters holding signs reading
“Libertarians ♥ ☮” and “Make Money Not War”. He writes:
The point of greatest applause may have been when one of the speakers (not
Rockwell) spoke about tax resistance. Thoreau was the obvious topic of
conversation I had with many leftists attending the rally following this
comment. The ensuing conversations certainly opened the door to at least some
liberals and progressives reconsidering their devotion to big government.
I’m happy to see that Sheehan is going to be helping to build this
progressive/libertarian bridge from the other side by speaking at
a fundraiser for
Speaking of LewRockwell.com… they recently put
on-line Murray Rothbard’s tale of one of the earliest tax resistance campaigns
in the United States, which was more successful than many historians give it
credit for — The
Here’s another sign that libertarians — even the traditionally
Republican-leaning paleocon variety — may be turning their backs on the
Republican Party and its Dubya Squad and looking for alliances elsewhere. I
never thought I’d hear anything like
the Cato Institute (and certainly not from the Heritage Foundation):
Economists at an tax reform
forum at the National Press Club in Washington said that because
GOP leadership in Washington has belied its
“smaller government” rhetoric, consideration of fundamental revenue changes
necessary to address serious fiscal challenges will likely take place when
Democrats are in charge.
At a roundtable discussion on whether the tax reform debate should be
broadened to address overall government financing, panelists from the Cato
Institute and the Heritage Foundation, two groups with strong conservative
ties, criticized Republican leadership for increasing the size of government.…
According to panelist Bill Niskanen, chair of the Cato Institute, the debate
over increasing revenues to address long-term fiscal challenges should not
take place , “when Democrats control
one house of Congress, or , when they’re
very likely to be elected president.”…
“I think the current Bush administration is one of the worst administrations
in my adult lifetime,” Niskanen said.…
Panelist Dan Mitchell, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, agreed
that GOP leaders have not stuck to their
fiscally conservative roots, and he was pessimistic there would be
fundamental reform anytime soon.
“Having complete Republican control has not been a good thing,” he said.
The national emblem is on my cap
And the motherland is in my heart.
We are glorious tax workers.
A sacred responsibility is on our shoulders:
To struggle for the administration of taxes according to law,
To stand at our post in order to see that policies are strictly followed.
We have a thousand stratagems
For stopping tax evasion;
We have a thousand stratagems
For stopping tax evasion.
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