Libertarian Beliefs About the Liberty Movement

From a representative dicussing FreedomFest 2017 and presenting Libertarian Party beliefs, explaining libertarian views on the subject. The application of the philosophy as expressed by the Libertarian Party or others may or may not universally represent what is a libertarian view on the topic for all adherents.

While Hollywood actor William Shatner, TV commentator John Stossel, documentary movie maker Dinesh D’Souza, economist Steve Moore, political philosopher George Gilder, and entrepreneur John Mackey, among others, were all well-received at the 10th anniversary of Freedom Fest in Las Vegas last week, the favorite of the 2,100 libertarians assembled was Steve Forbes—magazine publisher, best-selling author, two-time presidential candidate, Heritage Foundation trustee, and homely philosopher.

Following the off-key but spirited rendition of “Happy Birthday, Dear Steve,” Forbes thanked the crowd for their best wishes on his 70th birthday and proceeded to extoll the many virtues of capitalism. He praised capitalism for being entrepreneurial, creative, innovative, and “a force for good.” (He is no Randian apostle of radical egoism.)

Firmly pro-life as well as being a libertarian, Forbes remarked: “Our founders understood well: First life, then liberty, then the pursuit of happiness.”

Like F. A. Hayek, Forbes acknowledges the importance of traditional morality.

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“Free markets are moral,” Forbes once told an interviewer, “because they’re fundamentally about meeting the real-world needs and wants of others. … Economic freedom is moral because it does the best job of any system in channeling our self-interest into positive, productive activities that benefit all of society.”

The Steve Forbes’ celebration was an apt ending to Freedom Fest, which was smoothly organized as usual by the economist and classical liberal Mark Skousen. He builds a bigger tent each year, both for libertarians and for conservatives like myself who are curious about the current mindset of our liberty-loving colleagues.

This year, we were treated to far fewer predictions of an imminent great depression and a stock market crash.

Instead, we heard ringmaster Skousen point out that “we were in the second-longest bull market in history,” that capitalism had “enhanced the lives of all peoples” from China to Chile, and that under President Donald Trump the national debt was slowing.

He warned, however, that if Trump did not get tax reform—including a tax cut—through Congress, he would be “through politically.”

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Reps. Justin Amash, R-Mich.; Andy Biggs, R-Ariz.; and Thomas Massie, R-Ky., offered mostly bad, but some good, news from Washington, D.C. They described their place of business as a very deep swamp that is exceedingly difficult to drain, and their congressional colleagues as “zombies.”

The “good” news, they said, was that even “the evil people” do not have a plan and are just repeating mechanically what they have been doing for years. “We can use that [automatic pilot] to our advantage.”

They praised Trump for his anti-regulation campaign, pointing out that he has cancelled 15 regulations for every new regulation issued.

Trump’s enthusiastic use of executive power has had an unexpected consequence—some Democrats are calling for more state, local, and individual action to counter the president’s “imperial” presidency. As a result, conservative Republicans are reaching out to liberal Democrats and suggesting ways to work together to reduce the role of the federal government.

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