TCS Daily


Needed: A Liberty Candidate

By Katy Delay - February 18, 2005 12:00 AM

The Constitution and the Bill of Rights are together one of the most effective efforts to date to preserve certain human freedoms; yet in spite of it, we Americans have walked a good way down Hayek's Road to Serfdom. In spite of Republican rhetoric, we have become a socialized nation, if not a socialist one. We are still looking to the government for management of our retirement welfare, unemployment stipends, subsidized education, low-cost home ownership, corporate and employment oversight, currency management, pension and banking insurance, catastrophe compensation, an end to world-wide tyranny, and medical care for the poor and the elderly, to name just a few.

The truth of the matter is that power originates not in government, but in our hands as governed. We have given power over all of these domains to our central government, and so we are responsible for our own dependency -- and anyone who believes our economic freedom will reappear in the next four years is dreaming. John Kerry might have helped push us out of our comfortable bed; but as it is, even with Bush, the path to the equivalent of 1776 liberty is still a long and arduous one. There are simply too many entrenched special interest coffers at stake at this point, including those of the politicians themselves. One wonders if even a Republican majority can ever find the courage to reduce spending, taking away their own power and committing the equivalent of political suicide.

One encouraging sign is that, over the last few years, media output has evolved. Certain newspapers, radio networks and cable channels have seemed to buck the mainstream trend to bring us another side of the story. Surely this is a finger to the wind of public opinion. Even daylight-shy Libertarians are beginning to get a platform. We have the likes of Tibor Machan at the Orange County Register, in California of all places, Larry Elder and Al Rantel on nationally syndicated radio, and Walter Williams around and about. Larrys even got his own TV show on CBS every morning, 9:00 a.m. in Los Angeles. This is a step in the right direction.

Another encouraging development is the appearance of what we might call Liberty Tools. TABOR, the Taxpayers Bill of Rights is one effort to revolt against wild government overspending of the taxpayers' money. A Constitutional amendment providing for a line-item veto is another. Although the Supreme Court has decided that a presidential line-item veto would be unconstitutional because it diminishes the people's power as represented by the Congress, there's nothing preventing the people from forming something like a Pork-Eliminating Oversight Panel against Legislative Excess (PEOPLE), which would work something like jury duty and would allow the people a final say in all spending, based on the theory that if Congress can't keep its hands out of the candy jar, then we adults will just have to take it away from them.

The Liberty Index compiled by Professor Clifford Theis and William Westmiller, put forth by the Republican Liberty Caucus at their website, is an excellent tool to evaluate our legislators record with regard to the maintenance of our freedoms. There's also the tireless work of Grandfather Michael Hodges, who has turned economic statistics into easily understandable visuals at http://mwhodges.home.att.net/. Millions of ordinary citizens and academics are using his graphs and commentary to good effect. Of course, TCS, Mises.org, Aier.org, and others, including many bloggers and writers, are breaching the gap between wonkish obscurantism and limpid logic on many topics including politics, economics, and even climate.

What we need now is for a politically viable person to come along, someone with charisma, but who also has wisdom, a loud voice, a transparent soul, and faith in a clear vision of the road back to sanity. This person must touch enough minds and hearts to create a market for his or her ideas, at which point he or she will automatically acquire that "special something," that pheromone that attracts the attention and pocketbooks of the financiers who will allow him or her to be heard and seen on a national scale.

Don't laugh. It's been done before. There have been several cases in history where an exceptional individual has fallen into the most powerful position of the land and does the improbable: govern out of pure, altruistic concern for the people's welfare. There must be someone in this land of almost 300,000,000 people -- we only need one. Charm, wit, clarity and common sense should be able to combat the efforts of some of today's more powerful freedom-hating politicos and the money that backs them.

The only problem is, to date there is still no such person's silhouette on the horizon. No Thomas Jefferson; No George Washington. Where is the political equivalent of Star Search when you need it?

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