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burnsred
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Are Constitutionalists Libertarians?
Nov 7th, 2017 at 8:00am
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Obviously the answer depends entirely on the definition of those two words and anyone is entitled to define them however they want.  So my definition of a libertarian is someone who understands the concept of freedom and how the principal of non-initiation of force goes hand in hand with the concept of freedom.  A more pragmatic working definition of a libertarian is someone who believes that we need more liberty and that growing government is the biggest enemy of that liberty.

So by the first definition, most constitutionalists are not libertarians, but by the second definition, most are.  Barely.  The reason I am skeptical of those constitutionalists in libertarian's clothing is that most of them are more pragmatic constitutionalists.  That is to say their concern for the constitution is actually a concern that certain policies be forwarded and they push those policies with a claim of constitutional purity.

For example on the issue of affirmative action, a constitutionalist would say that the constitution forbids racial discrimination and therefore forbids affirmative action.  A libertarian would say that the consitution has no business forbidding behavior by private citizens since it is supposed to regulate government, not citizens.  A libertarians would say a business has the right to practice as much affirmative action as they want in whatever way they want to define it.

My fear of constitutionalists is that all it will take for them to fall back in the clutches of the two-party behemoth is for a GOP candidate to talk a good game on the constitution.


  
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JW
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Re: Are Constitutionalists Libertarians?
Reply #1 - Nov 7th, 2017 at 11:42am
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burnsred wrote on Nov 7th, 2017 at 8:00am:
A libertarian would say that the consitution has no business forbidding behavior by private citizens since it is supposed to regulate government, not citizens. 


In my state, the "Constitution Party" seems to suggest creating a theocratic Christian state.  Just saying.

Libertarians have inconsistent carvouts.  And I disagree with this one.  One need not have affirmative action to ensure that every person has equal rights.  So suggesting that libertarians are against equal rights is not correct.

Libertarians generally think government should:
a) Provide a court system for tort claims
b) Provide minimal safety and defense
c) Provide registry and support for ownership of real property (land).

Libertarians generally do not think government should:
a) Provide equal rights for everyone.

I never quite understand why libertarians constantly conflate equal rights with affirmative action.  It would be easy to simply say; all people are judged solely by their individual action.  A non-criminal should have equal rights to any government or community benefit, equal taxes, and equal right to benefits of property ownership. 

  
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Don_G
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Re: Are Constitutionalists Libertarians?
Reply #2 - Nov 7th, 2017 at 12:09pm
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burnsred wrote on Nov 7th, 2017 at 8:00am:
Obviously the answer depends entirely on the definition of those two words and anyone is entitled to define them however they want.  So my definition of a libertarian is someone who understands the concept of freedom and how the principal of non-initiation of force goes hand in hand with the concept of freedom.  A more pragmatic working definition of a libertarian is someone who believes that we need more liberty and that growing government is the biggest enemy of that liberty.

So by the first definition, most constitutionalists are not libertarians, but by the second definition, most are.  Barely.  The reason I am skeptical of those constitutionalists in libertarian's clothing is that most of them are more pragmatic constitutionalists.  That is to say their concern for the constitution is actually a concern that certain policies be forwarded and they push those policies with a claim of constitutional purity.

For example on the issue of affirmative action, a constitutionalist would say that the constitution forbids racial discrimination and therefore forbids affirmative action.  A libertarian would say that the consitution has no business forbidding behavior by private citizens since it is supposed to regulate government, not citizens.  A libertarians would say a business has the right to practice as much affirmative action as they want in whatever way they want to define it.

My fear of constitutionalists is that all it will take for them to fall back in the clutches of the two-party behemoth is for a GOP candidate to talk a good game on the constitution.




He/she becomes a libertarian first, then imagines that his constitution supports that which he thinks he is. It doesn't, it's only another loose interpretation of the US constitution that is interpreted in a hundred different ways for the purpose of an agenda.

Yes, your fear is warranted, if in fact it's a real fear you have. A GOP candidate can interpret that constitution to suit his needs, just as easily as a libertarian, a fascist, or a communist can.
  
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Bickeran
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Re: Are Constitutionalists Libertarians?
Reply #3 - Nov 7th, 2017 at 2:11pm
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no cause the constitution can be wrong

look i can make a document that says anything and say "here is how we will do society now" and if it works and makes peeps happy for a long time they will say it's good

but it could still crush rights
  
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burnsred
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Re: Are Constitutionalists Libertarians?
Reply #4 - Nov 7th, 2017 at 2:16pm
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Don_G wrote on Nov 7th, 2017 at 12:09pm:
He/she becomes a libertarian first, then imagines that his constitution supports that which he thinks he is. It doesn't, it's only another loose interpretation of the US constitution that is interpreted in a hundred different ways for the purpose of an agenda.

Yes, your fear is warranted, if in fact it's a real fear you have. A GOP candidate can interpret that constitution to suit his needs, just as easily as a libertarian, a fascist, or a communist can.
Well done post, Don.

It's hard to convince people but the U.S. Constitution was not and was not intended to be a libertarian document.  We gave up many rights as individuals and as citizens of individual states when we approved it.

The bill of rights was an afterthought and has been disregarded ever since.

  
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Jeff
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Re: Are Constitutionalists Libertarians?
Reply #5 - Nov 7th, 2017 at 2:17pm
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burnsred wrote on Nov 7th, 2017 at 8:00am:
Obviously the answer depends entirely on the definition of those two words and anyone is entitled to define them however they want.  So my definition of a libertarian is someone who understands the concept of freedom and how the principal of non-initiation of force goes hand in hand with the concept of freedom.  A more pragmatic working definition of a libertarian is someone who believes that we need more liberty and that growing government is the biggest enemy of that liberty.

So by the first definition, most constitutionalists are not libertarians, but by the second definition, most are.  Barely.  The reason I am skeptical of those constitutionalists in libertarian's clothing is that most of them are more pragmatic constitutionalists.  That is to say their concern for the constitution is actually a concern that certain policies be forwarded and they push those policies with a claim of constitutional purity.

For example on the issue of affirmative action, a constitutionalist would say that the constitution forbids racial discrimination and therefore forbids affirmative action.  A libertarian would say that the consitution has no business forbidding behavior by private citizens since it is supposed to regulate government, not citizens.  A libertarians would say a business has the right to practice as much affirmative action as they want in whatever way they want to define it.

My fear of constitutionalists is that all it will take for them to fall back in the clutches of the two-party behemoth is for a GOP candidate to talk a good game on the constitution.


As I've said, my view of the Constitution is in line with those anti-federalists who opposed the addition of a bill of Rights.

Thus, the question of the government passing discriminatory laws comes down to one of "Where is the government granted any power to pass laws that discriminate?".

Anyway, without a constitution to create and limit government, what do you suppose we would have instead?


  
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burnsred
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Re: Are Constitutionalists Libertarians?
Reply #6 - Nov 7th, 2017 at 2:20pm
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Libertarians have inconsistent carvouts.  And I disagree with this one.  One need not have affirmative action to ensure that every person has equal rights.  So suggesting that libertarians are against equal rights is not correct.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not arguing for affirmative action.  I'm saying that in a libertarian system, a business owner has the right to practice or not practice affirmative action in any way they choose.

If an owner of a Chinese restaurant has five Asian and three Hispanic dishwashers and he wants his dish staff to be 70% Asian, he is free to hire Asians until he achieves that. 

Not how I would run my business, but then . . . it ain't my business.

  
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Jeff
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Re: Are Constitutionalists Libertarians?
Reply #7 - Nov 7th, 2017 at 2:20pm
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JW wrote on Nov 7th, 2017 at 11:42am:
In my state, the "Constitution Party" seems to suggest creating a theocratic Christian state.  Just saying.

Libertarians have inconsistent carvouts.  And I disagree with this one.  One need not have affirmative action to ensure that every person has equal rights.  So suggesting that libertarians are against equal rights is not correct.

Libertarians generally think government should:
a) Provide a court system for tort claims
b) Provide minimal safety and defense
c) Provide registry and support for ownership of real property (land).

Libertarians generally do not think government should:
a) Provide equal rights for everyone.

I never quite understand why libertarians constantly conflate equal rights with affirmative action.  It would be easy to simply say; all people are judged solely by their individual action.  A non-criminal should have equal rights to any government or community benefit, equal taxes, and equal right to benefits of property ownership. 

Equal rights under the law is what most libertarians mean by equal rights.
  
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Jeff
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Re: Are Constitutionalists Libertarians?
Reply #8 - Nov 7th, 2017 at 2:26pm
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burnsred wrote on Nov 7th, 2017 at 2:16pm:
It's hard to convince people but the U.S. Constitution was not and was not intended to be a libertarian document.  We gave up many rights as individuals and as citizens of individual states when we approved it.
Have you read the Preamble? Did you miss the part where it says "...and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity"?

Perhaps you could list a few of the individual Rights we gave up by accepting the Constitution... I can't think of any right now.
  
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Jeff
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Re: Are Constitutionalists Libertarians?
Reply #9 - Nov 7th, 2017 at 2:30pm
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Bickeran wrote on Nov 7th, 2017 at 2:11pm:
look i can make a document that says anything and say "here is how we will do society now"
The U.S. Constitution creates a limited government with enumerated powers and specific duties so that people can freely create whatever sorts of civilized societies they prefer. If you don't understand that, you can't converse intelligently about the Constitution.
  
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