Monday, April 20, 2015

A Challenge to Walter Block

By Robert Wenzel

As we all know, Professor Walter Block has endorsed Rand Paul, even to the point of urging supporters to send Rand camapign donations.

As part of his endorsement, he writes:
Previously, I gave Rand a mark of 70 on my own personal libertarian-o-meter. For comparison purposes, I gave myself a 100 (hey, I have to do so, since this metric measures conformity with my own views), Ron Paul and Murray Rothbard 97s (since I disagree with each of them on only a very few issues), and Gary Johnson, the likely standard bearer of the Libertarian Party in 2016, also a 70. But, thanks to Rand’s changes of policy, typically in a direction away from libertarian purity, I have demoted him to a 60. 
How exactly does Rand end up anywhere above 30 on the scale of 100? Here is my challenge to Dr. Block: Dr Block, can you name one  libertarian position that Rand holds, just one?

I can not think of any.

Rand has called for replacing the income tax with a Fair Tax, i.e. a national sales tax. How is that a libertarian position?  The libertarian position is to eliminate taxes not switch the method of collecting them.

Rand has called for "economic zones." As Joseph Sobran argued in Dr. Block's compilation, I Choose Liberty this is "principle dodging gimmickry." Further, such zones will be useless for those with limited skills, as long as the minimum wage is not eliminated. It is putting lipstick on a government produced pig. Rand is no Ludwig Erhard, here. But, further, as Murray Rothbard has pointed out, neocons love these kind of proposals, they are very easy to co-opt.

Rand's calls for budget cuts are typical political posturing. His 2012 budget plan called for $500 billion in cuts. Is this somehow a libertarian budget, when government spending is in the trillions?

Rand calls for increasing immigration with welfare benefits for those who legally immigrate. How is that libertarian?

Rand is against mass phone record acquisition by the NSA, but is not against the NSA itself. Indeed, during his announcement of the launch his presidential campaign he said,  "I believe we can have liberty and security. " What the hell does that mean? How are we going to have both from a government? Every operation of the NSA is a violation of liberty. Such a sliver cut from the NSA is a distraction that governments love. It changes the focus from the question of why there is an NSA in the first place. The libertarian idea is not some idiotic micromanaging of evil government agencies, but the elimination of such agencies. Does any one seriously think that micromanaging one tiny aspect of NSA monitoring is somehow going to stop the growth of the NSA and that the NSA won't be bigger next year, and even bigger the year after?

Rand has flipped flop his position on the Civil Rights Act.

He has called for military action against ISIS and has called for an increase in the military budget! How is this libertarian?

And he has thrown a great libertarian under the bus, as though the libertarian was 10 day old roadkill.

I feel like DiogeRand with lamp in hand trying to find a place that Rand, without shuck and jive, is libertarian on any position.

I challenge Dr. Block to point me to where Rand holds a libertarian position, any libertarian position. I barely see anywhere where Rand has a position that advances liberty at all. He looks to me like a typical politician, with his special  branding being that he is libertariansih,  which seems to suggest that he will accept campaign donations from libertarians, but that is about as libertarian as he will get.

Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher at and at Target Liberty. He is also author of The Fed Flunks: My Speech at the New York Federal Reserve Bank. Follow him on twitter:@wenzeleconomics

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