Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”     Benjamin Franklin

December 19, 2006

That’s Exactly The Point

by Doug Mataconis

Barbara O’Brien, a liberal who blogs at The Mahablog, distills, quite unknowingly, the essence of libertarianism:

I still say that libertarianism and “limited government” ideology is essentially anti-democratic. It deprives We, the People of the ability to use government in our own interests. Certainly the powers of government must be limited — the power to censor, the power to search and seize property, the power to intrude on citizens’ private lives generally — but placing artificial limits on the size and functions of government doesn’t restrict government as must as it restricts the will of the people.

And what’s so wrong about that ? What makes the “will of the people” any more valid than the Divine Right of Kings ? Even in a democratic society, government needs to be limited precisely because unfettered power in the hands of the majority will, inevitably, lead to oppression of some minority somewhere. My rights should not be subject to your vote.

Does Ms. O’Brien really believe that there shouldn’t be any limits on the will of the people ? If she does, then we’ve got to toss out most of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, because that’s precisely what they do.

Then, again, maybe that’s precisely what she and her progressive allies want.

H/T: The QandO Blog

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3 Comments

  1. [...] I noticed this trackback to the last post. It proves my point about the general fuzzy-headedness of the “limited government” argument. Even though I specifically (and clearly, I think) wrote that government must be restricted from abusing civil liberties, the blogger wrote, Does Ms. O’Brien really believe that there shouldn’t be any limits on the will of the people ? If she does, then we’ve got to toss out most of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, because that’s precisely what they do. [...]

    Pingback by The Mahablog » Another Rightie Who Can’t Read — December 19, 2006 @ 5:37 am
  2. [...] Libertarianism isn’t anti-Democracy. In fact, the statement itself is nonsensical. Libertarianism is a moral system, valuing individual liberty as it’s highest ideal. Democracy is a form of government, consisting of majority rule. Or, to make it more plain, liberty is an end, democracy is a means to an end. But unfortunately, it’s not that simple. You hear many quotes from Libertarians deriding democracy. Doug said it yesterday. Thomas Jefferson was the one who said “A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.” Libertarians are fearful of democracy. If a statement that libertarianism is anti-democratic is nonsense, why do so many libertarians make these types of statements about democracy? [...]

    Pingback by The Liberty Papers»Blog Archive » Libertarianism and Democracy — December 19, 2006 @ 6:28 pm
  3. [...] As both Adam and Brad have noted, I stirred up quite a little hornet’s nest with my post earlier today addressing a liberal leftist who didn’t really seem to understand (or respect) libertarian thought. [...]

    Pingback by The Liberty Papers»Blog Archive » The Tyranny Of The Majority — December 19, 2006 @ 8:22 pm

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