[Miami, Florida] Now that Governor DeSantis has declared Florida to be where woke goes to die, many conservative and libertarian groups have made pilgrimages to convene in Miami. This weekend LibertyCon was held in downtown Miami, organized by Students for Liberty, with support from the Grassroots Leadership Academy of Americans for Prosperity (a Koch Brothers operation) and the Libertarian Party.
There were around 500 people in attendance, most of them college and university students from around the world, and discussion topics included: the ethos of capitalism; philosophy for freedom fighters; time to end the war on drugs; why Congress is broken; the human cost of the Ukrainian war; socialism in Latin America; finding truth amid disinformation; and free speech on campus.
Speakers included: (1) John Mackey, co-founder and retired CEO of Whole Foods from Austin, Texas; (2) Justin Amash, former Tea Party Republican Congressman from Grand Rapids, Michigan, and a Never Trumper who switched to the Libertarian Party in 2020; and (3) Joe Walsh, another former Tea Party Congressman, but from Illinois, and also a Never Trumper.
Congressman Amash thinks that Congress is broken because it no longer engages in deliberation and legislation. He does not seem to realize that this is because Congressmen have delegated their legislative duty to the administrative state, to be done through regulations, so that they can escape accountability, and instead focus on what really matters to them - - fundraising! Congressman Walsh has descended to heading a PAC supporting Democrat Senator Mark Kelly in Arizona, Democrat Congressman Tim Ryan running for Senator in Ohio, and Democrat-supported independent Egg McMuffin running against Republican Senator Mike Lee in Utah. McMuffin is also supported by Senator Mittens Romney, aka Pierre Delecto.
John Mackey, on the other hand, made the case for free-market capitalism. He gained national prominence in 2009 when he published an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal. There he opposed the government-run health care proposed by President Obama, quoting Margaret Thatcher: “The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.” He opposed a massive new health care entitlement, with new unfunded deficits, and representing a government takeover that destroys individual empowerment.
Instead, he proposed health savings accounts, purchasing health insurance across state lines, and giving the same tax status to insurance purchases by individuals as by employers. He especially rejected any intrinsic right to health care, but supported health care reforms that are financially responsible, allow individuals to choose their own doctors and health care services, and make everyone responsible for their own lives and health.
Our health is to a large extent determined by our lifestyle choices, which is what interested Mackey in the grocery business after college. Many of our health care problems are self-inflicted, and are preventable through a proper diet, regular exercise, not smoking, moderate drinking and other healthy choices. Mackey prescribes fresh vegetables and organic produce, and avoids processed foods and sweets.
In a recent interview, the retiring CEO of Whole Foods remarked that we are in the throes of a socialist revolution, with takeovers of all institutions such as education, corporations and the military. He also observed that young people today don’t seem like they want to work, and should not expect meaningful work right away. They are going to have to earn it over time.
The libertarian branch of the conservative movement misses the insight that National Conservatism understands - - that only a conservative society and culture can sustain liberal politics and economics. Liberal in the sense of classical liberalism, the rule of law and free market capitalism; conservative in the sense of embracing faith, family and community. Only a virtuous people can be a free people.
The most effective libertarian politician has been Ron Paul, and he retired after serving as a Republican Congressman from Texas. His son Rand Paul continues the family tradition as a Republican Senator from Kentucky. He has led the conservative movement against the totalitarian tyranny of the public health technocracy, and in a recent Senate hearing, he exposed the lies, corruption and impunity of Doctor Fauci, the American Mengele.
Maybe some day libertarians will grow up, and find their roots in faith, family and community, but for now most of them remain the misfit toys of the conservative movement.