Despite the damage to the nation, President Barack Obama’s presidency has accomplished one thing: More people are embracing libertarian values.
While no one should confuse the tea party with libertarianism, the populist movement does embrace many libertarian values, such as smaller government, fewer taxes and respect for federalism, the very core values of this nation’s founding.
If one were to characterize the predominant political philosophy of the Founders, recognizing, of course, that they did not march in ideological lock step, it would be libertarian.
Under the federalist system they created, the central government only has the powers specifically granted to it by the states through a written constitution.
Most of all, the Founders, all of them, had a profound respect for the rule of law.
Of course, we have strayed far from the way our government is supposed to operate. Today, if you advocate the idea that government should operate within the legal constraints of the Constitution, you are accused of being outside the mainstream, an extremist or a left-wing or right-wing nut.
We have strayed so far that one company, Wilder Publications, is putting a warning label on copies of the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence warning that the documents are a product of their times and do not reflect modern values.
Historically, Americans have been slow to react to an abusive government. Activists complained about the British government for decades before enough colonists left the mainstream and joined the call for action. During the 19th century, calls for secession were heard decades before the Southern independence movement went mainstream.
This nation has long been a libertarian one. It was most certainly libertarian before the War for Southern Independence and vestiges of that libertarian philosophy remained until stomped out by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s.
Today, thanks in large part to Obama and congressional Democrats, mainstream politicians are beginning to adopt libertarian values — and winning.
For example, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, is perhaps the most libertarian member of the U.S. House. He holds the record for single-day fundraising when, on the 234th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, he collected $6.04 million in 24 hours for his presidential campaign.
His son, Rand Paul, won the U.S. Senate Republican primary in Kentucky advocating many libertarian ideas, such as ending the income tax and eliminating the Federal Reserve along with the departments of Education and Energy. He has already raised more than $3 million for his campaign.
In Nevada, Sharron Angle was chosen by the state’s Republicans, much to the chagrin of the party’s leaders, to carry the GOP banner against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. She also advocates many of the same ideas as Rand Paul and, like Paul, is a favorite of the tea party movement. She has publicly called for ending Social Security, another great idea. One poll has her 11 points ahead of Reid in what promises to be the most-watched Senate race in the country.
Another reaction to Obama’s continual constitutional violations, disrespect for the rule of law and his lack of concern for the plight of ordinary Americans is that a majority of state legislatures have passed resolutions demanding the federal government respect the 10th Amendment (which reiterates the constitutional idea that the states hold the power).
Then there are mainstream Republican House candidates, such as Steve Stivers in Ohio and Raul Labrador in Idaho, as well as others who have expressed sympathy with the idea of repealing the 17th Amendment, which was another god-awful “reform” from early 20th century “Progressives” that mandated direct election of senators. Until 1913, senators were chosen by the states rather than through a popular election.
As Tim Bridgewater, one of two tea party candidates who last month unseated Sen. Robert Bennett, R-Utah, said, “If the states elected their senators, legislative monstrosities like Obamacare or (No Child Left Behind), with their burdensome mandates, would never see the light of day.”
There is much to be said for that argument.
While there is still a long way to go to educate more Americans to the evil big-government liberalism has wrought on our once-free nation, it is fitting to thank Obama for helping us open some eyes.