I don't like libertarianism -- apologies to that earnest-looking youth I saw in the "Google Ron Paul" shirt while I was away last week, but I think child labor laws and the Pure Food and Drug Act are actually good things, not tyrannical infringements on my liberties. But yes, I can conceive of an America in which libertarianism has a positive influence on our lives. I'd like more discussion of the excesses of the drug war. I'd like us to reconsider the bloated military budget.
But is that the way libertarianism is headed? It doesn't seem that way. It seems to me that the loudest libbies combine the worst of Ron Paul with the worst of Fox News Republicanism.
Take Frank Szabo:
A Republican candidate for Hillsborough County Sheriff said Wednesday that he believes elective abortions are unlawful and he wouldn't reject the use of deadly force to stop them.Here's the political philosophy that leads Szabo to believe that this is reasonable, as stated in a guest post he wrote for the right-wing New Hampshire site Granite Grok:
... Szabo may have inflamed the issue further when asked if he would use deadly force to prevent an abortion.
"I would respond specifically by saying that if someone is under threat, a full-grown human being, if they're under threat, what should the sheriff do? Everything in their power to prevent them from being harmed," he said.
When pressed about what he would do if he learned that a doctor was about to perform an elective abortion, Szabo replied he would do what it took to prevent that from happening.
"Absolutely," he said. "Well, I would hope that it wouldn't come to that, as with any situation where someone is in danger, but again, specifically talking about elective abortions and late-term abortions, that is an act that needs to be stopped..."
Our government was created by the people, for the people. After the American Revolution, the Citizens became the sovereigns. As Sovereign Citizens, We The People created local and state governments to ensure peace and prosperity. The state governments then created the federal government to further ensure those goals. Nowhere in the formation documents (constitution) is there authority for the creature to direct -- or control -- its master. Also, the federal government was never intended to have any direct contact with Citizens....(Emphasis in original.)
Historical documents and court cases confirm that the Sheriff is the Chief Law Enforcement Officer in the county and has no superior. The Sheriff is elected by the people and is answerable to them alone. No federal or state agency has authority in the county unless the Sheriff permits it. If, in the Sheriff's opinion, a proposed action is unconstitutional, the Sheriff is duty-bound, and authorized, to block it.
Here's Szabo in a campaign appearance last month:
... No federal agency can tell the county sheriff what to do. Day One, Sheriff Szabo: every single federal agency will be notified, "You do not come into Hillsborough County unless you come through the office of the county sheriff." And if I determine that it is unlawful, it will not happen. That is the authority of the county sheriff. Anybody here worried about Obamacare? It will not happen if you have a constitutional sheriff. They have that authority. Whether you're talking about the IRS, the ATF -- it doesn't matter. The county sheriff has that authority....Go here to watch a video of Szabo (a Pennsylvania native) speaking in 2009 at a Tea Party rally in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. In that video, he looks forward to something called the Continental Congress 2009, organized by the We the People Foundation. This foundation does believe -- yes, Glenn Greenwald -- that "The Iraq and Afghan wars are NOT authorized as mandated by the Constitution." It also opposes bailouts of big banks and the use of voting machines (hello, Brad Friedman).
But that's not what the group focuses on. That's not what Szabo focuses on. We the People was founded by Robert L. Schultz, a long-time tax protester who argues that the income tax is illegal. The foundation ran a full-page ad in the Chicago Tribune in December 2008 arguing that Barack Obama is ineligible to be president because he was born in Kenya. And Szabo, in the video posted above, is identified as a believer in right-wing voter fraud theories. (In the Lancaster video, he talks approvingly of Glenn Beck's 9-12 movement.)
This is what we've got now -- a horrible hybrid of fringe wingnuttery, Fox News wingnuttery, and Paulbot wingnuttery. It takes the worst of all three and downplays or discards the rest.
It's weird to me that libertarians should even be anti-abortion -- you'd think that Ron and Rand Paul would be anomalous in that. But look at Szabo.
Charlie Pierce has more on the "sovereign citizens" notion here. As he says, believers think they can kill people who stand in the way of what they see as their liberties. And that's terrifying.