Libertarianism Failed African-Americans (and this is from a conservative)
Reading this makes one think some Republicans are not so racist and moonbatty after all, until you read the comments that follow after the blog entry, that is.
Libertarianism Failed African-Americans
Friday, January 25, 2013
Want to feel better about the Republican Party’s problems in minority communities? Spend some time with the Libertarians.
You won’t find a lot of black Libertarians because libertarian theory runs counter to every lesson learned by African-Americans in the real world struggle for civil rights. The long, sad decline of the Republican Party as the primary vehicle of black political expression corresponds closely to the rise of libertarian philosophy as a force in Republican politics. It is a story of unintended consequences and unwelcome alliances that offers crucial lessons for Republicans as we struggle to restore the party’s influence in minority communities.
The proposed Civil Rights Act of 1964 presented the libertarian wing of the conservative movement with a wrenching choice. Libertarians loathed segregation, but breaking Jim Crow would demand a sweeping expansion of Federal power that would intervene deeply into private life. The dilemma was that African Americans repression rose not only from government, but from the culture and personal choices of their white neighbors.
The Civil Rights Acts proposed to do something that libertarian ideology insisted was impossible –expand personal freedom by expanding central government power. Goldwater made a fateful decision to break from the core of the Republican Party and oppose the 1964 Civil Rights Act. His decision alienated the black community and shone a glaring light on a fatal weakness in libertarian theory.
Libertarianism protects personal liberty from being impaired by government. It creates weak states on the assumption that without government intrusion personal freedom will blossom.
The black experience is a living reminder that government is not alone as a potential threat to personal liberty. It is possible, as in the Jim Crow South, to build a government so weak that no one’s personal liberties can be protected.
Our message has potential to appeal to minority audiences, but it will never ring true unless it accounts for some realities that many Republicans are loathe to acknowledge. For example, many hard-working, successful African Americans got their start on the economic ladder with progressive hiring and promotion policies at the Post Office or other Federal agencies. It was a muscular, activist Federal government that gave African-Americans their first opportunities to participate in the American Dream.
In appealing to minority communities, we need a message of small government that is more nuanced than libertarians will tolerate. Smaller government is a better prescription for personal liberty and economic success, but only if it remains strong enough to protect basic civil rights. A government small enough to ‘drown in a bathtub’ turns society into a playground for petty tyrants.