Saturday, January 1, 2011


There's not a lot of common ground between Dave Frum & I these days, it seems, so it is with genuine pleasure that I present his most excellent three-part series on the political philosophies and sentiments of the Founding Fathers. Frum writes partly in response to an article by Christopher Beam in New York magazine, who argues that today’s libertarians are closer to power than in any other period since 1776.

But were our Founding Fathers really libertarians?

David writes:

Let me toss in my 5 cents worth on the question of whether the Founders were “libertarians.”

This seems to me a question approximately as meaningful as asking whether the Founders would have preferred Macs or PCs: it exports back into the past an entirely alien mental category.

Libertarianism fuses two ideas, one political, one psychological. The political idea is that the central state should be confined within the narrowest possible limits. The psychological idea is that each person should enjoy the widest possible scope to live as he or she thinks best.

Libertarians see these two ideas as very consistent. But . . .

. . . back in the 18th century, each on its own would have been inaccessible, never mind both together.

Read the rest of this incredible piece in its entirety HERE


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