A Renewed, Libertarian America: What Must Be Done

Source: Mises Institute.

Not a bad laundry list.

Some items I would delete:

  • Term limits.
  • Abolishment of the State Department and its embassies.
  • Repeal of tariffs and impediments to trade.
  • Legalization of prostitution.

Some items I would add:

  • Repeal of the 16th and 17th amendments.
  • A constitutional amendment to require sunset clauses in federal legislation.

13 thoughts on “A Renewed, Libertarian America: What Must Be Done

  1. This is indeed an interesting list. There are a few of the things that libertarians get right that would be beneficial to society–drastic cuts to police, restricting advertising of gambling and lotteries in poor areas, etc. But for the most part, they’re advocating status quo antebellum.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. RE: “But for the most part, they’re advocating status quo antebellum.”

      Assuming you mean the pre-Civil War status quo, I wouldn’t go that far.

      Some libertarians (like the author of the laundry list) make a mistake that liberals often make. They take a position based on some moral principle without considering all the relevant practicalities.

      Take prostitution, for example. You can make a strong moral argument that prostitution should be legal because people own themselves. As a practical matter, however, it is relevant to ask how a proper legal system would go about handling disputes that arise in a sexual free market.

      Abraham Lincoln presents a similar puzzle. From a strict libertarian point of view, Lincoln must be regarded as a dictator. As a practical matter, not so much.


      1. I’m not taking a moral position at all. It would take much too long to list all the ways most of those changes would offend my conscience.

        I’m making an observation that nearly all those changes would severely curtail the powers and responsibilities of the federal government, resulting in a situation not unlike pre-Civil War America. It was disastrous then and would almost certainly be so now.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Wanting to and providing explanations for curtailing the powers and responsibilities of the federal government is the area where libertarians shine most, in my view.


  2. I’d agree with your first 2 deletions, Term limits are best achieved by eliminating Congressional pensions. That way they can only serve a while before getting hones work.

    I disagree on tariffs. Free trade is our best protection against monopolies.

    I strongly disagree on legalizing prostitution. There is no more direct attack on personal autonomy.

    Nearly everything harmful about prostitution is the result of it being illegal

    The additions I agree but I would add a Constitutional Amendment requiring bills have a single purpose, much like the requirement in Virginia. Too many wasteful measures are passed based on swapping raids on the public treasury.


    1. RE: “I would add a Constitutional Amendment requiring bills have a single purpose.”

      That’s a good one.

      On prostitution I agree that the argument from personal autonomy is very strong. I also agree that nearly everything harmful about prostitution may be the result of it being illegal. I wonder, though, why prostitution is illegal to begin with. As best I can tell, this is a very recent development, historically.


      1. Prostitution was generally legal in the US prior to 1920, when married women became active in politics. Then, they acted to ensure their monopoly on sexual gratification. 🙂


      2. That’s a theory. I have also read that while prostitution per se was not illegal in many common law jurisdictions, other laws were often used to prosecute sex workers. As far back as the 1600s, for example, prostitutes in England could be thrown in jail for vagrancy.

        It is curious to me that “legal” prostitution and the “illegal” vagrancy would be conflated in such a way. It suggests that the law as an institution was unwilling to address complex issues related to human sexual behavior.


          1. It really is a relatively recent, Puritanical development. I’ve been listening to a podcast lately by a professor of medieval history, and even in super-Catholic medieval Europe, prostitution was generally tolerated as a necessary means of allowing single men to…blow off steam (sorry). The obsession with chastity was mostly reserved for noble women. Nobody really cared what the peasants were getting up to.

            Liked by 1 person

  3. WRT to the 17th Amendment, I disagree with repealing it because it would return the power to state legislatures, that in some cases are majority-minority. Meaning that a minority of voters have chosen a majority of the legislature. Gerrymandering, regardless of which party does it, is the bane of true representative democracy.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree. State legislators already pick the House representatives through gerrymandering. At least the people still have a choice with direct statewide election of their Senators.

      Liked by 2 people

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