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

“All government, in its essence, is organized exploitation, and in virtually all of its existing forms it is the implacable enemy of every industrious and well-disposed man.”     H. L. Mencken

January 21, 2009

Change Libertarians Can Believe In?

by Stephen Littau

There’s no secret that most of the Obama Administration agenda is at odds with the Lockean rights of life, liberty, and property at almost every turn. Obama’s views on freedom are more along the lines of FDR’s so-called “Four Freedoms”. As disturbing as this agenda is, I thought it would be important to identify policies which actually do promote liberty based on the more traditional Lockean model.

These agenda items are the only ones I can at this point say I am comfortable with. There are probably more items I could support but without knowing the details of many of Obama’s policies, I’m hesitant to do so (mostly due to his reliance on doublespeak, i.e. redefining welfare as tax cuts). The two most promising policies I have found so far are in the areas of civil rights and ethics.

Civil Rights:

Eliminate Sentencing Disparities Between Crack and Powder-Based Cocaine

Expand the use of drug courts for first-time non-violent drug offenders

Equal Rights for LGBT couples

Repeal the Defense of Marriage Act

Repeal “Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell”

Ethics:

A More Open and Transparent Federal Government (complete with searchable internet databases)

“Sunlight Before Signing” – Five days for the general public to review “non-emergency”* legislation before bills are signed into law.

The Transparency and Integrity in Earmarks Act – A law which would name names of legislators and the earmarks they request, require written justification for the earmark, and require 72 hours for the full senate to review and approve the earmark.

Make all White House Regulatory Communications Public and Release Presidential Records

Protect Whistleblowers

Eliminate Inefficient Government Programs and Slash Earmarks**

Libertarians, myself included, may be disappointed that these libertarian friendly policies do not go nearly far enough. Having said that, I do believe we should encourage these changes even if they are mere baby steps in the right direction.

*Yeah I know, these days just about any legislation can be considered “emergency” legislation. It will be interesting to see how well President Obama will follow this policy.

**I’ll believe that when I see it!

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1 Comment

  1. “Sunlight Before Signing” – Five days for the general public to review “non-emergency”* legislation before bills are signed into law.

    I like the idea, but the govt now considers even inaugurations “emergencies.”

    Comment by Stephen Gordon — January 21, 2009 @ 7:20 pm

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