Constitutionalism can mean Statism.

I generally agree with YAL exec Jeff Frazee’s assertion that it is silly to get caught up in wedge debates. We are a movement espousing peace and liberty, and shouldn’t be squandering our creative energy on debating road privatization and other such divisive topics (Anyway, such a task is best relegated to super-nerds like the heroic Walter Block).


That being said, I think some debate on the often-unchallenged asserrtion that the US Constitution = freedom would be healthy for the libertarian movement. To be sure, siding with the Constitution usually means siding with liberty, especially in a time where government power is so federalized. But we must remember that  consistent Constitutionalism also means defending the “right” of state governments to enact all sorts of evil laws empowering cops to throw people into cages  for nonviolent bad habits.


If liberty is our gold standard, the libertarian should judge every proposed political measure on this basis. Take, for example, the recent debate over the unenforced “anti-adultery” statute in New Hampshire. Contrary to the protests of big-government legal scholar Jonathan Turley, there is clearly no “right” to adultery in the Constitution. But still, isn’t it libertarian to support repealing the sort of laws struck down by the ruling of Laurence V. Texas, even if done by activist judges with little regard for the original intent?


It doesn’t matter if the state or federal government is the one doing the dirty work: aggressing against the innocent is wrong, and this is the standard to which we ought to hold political leaders.

Published in

Post a comment