Sen. Rand Paul has introduced a proposed constitutional amendment which specifies that our elected officials are subject to the same laws that rule us plebeians. How could a libertarian — or, really, anybody — possibly object to that?
John Glaser has managed to do it, I’m afraid.
Glaser says “The government is constantly breaking the law and taking actions that are clearly illegal for ordinary citizens to take.” Well, uh, yes — that’s precisely what the amendment aims to end.
Glaser goes through a long and tiresome litany of how the system of unequal treatment before the law benefits the politically connected — apparently without realizing that he’s undermining his own case. Which is odd.
What Glaser is really arguing, however, is that it would be impossible to put an end to this system: apparently, according to the Glaserite view, it makes no sense to try to limit the power and privileges of government officials. Passage of the amendment will only be “symbolic,” he avers.
Really? Why is that necessarily so? Glaser doesn’t say.
And even if the amendment isn’t enforced, the process of having it encoded in law would in itself score a victory for liberty. The reason is because it highlights the libertarian class analysis of society: that is, it dramatizes the privileged status of the political class — and the subjection of the rest of us.
Glaser’s blithe dismissal of Sen. Paul “throwing red meat to his libertarian and Tea Party populist followers” is, frankly, weird: isn’t it about time somebody threw us libertarians some red meat? For years politicians have been throwing red meat to warmongers, Prohibitionists, professional busybodies, free-lunchers, and you-name-it: isn’t it our turn? Isn’t this the Libertarian Moment? Or don’t we get to have a Moment?
Glaser’s holier-than-thou approach to Paul’s admirable effort is baffling: what’s wrong with putting on a “political show,” anyway? Are we trying to convince people and win them to our cause, or must we be content to sit on the sidelines writing clever little blog posts and sniffing disdainfully at any constructive effort to effect real social change?
Far from being sneered at, Sen. Paul should be commended and supported — and it’s really kind of appalling that I have to point this out.