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Monday, July 24, 2017

FEE Featured on CNN

The news network came to FreedomFest to find out who these strange creatures are.

I was pleased to be interviewed by CNN over the weekend, but even more pleased that my words and thoughts weren’t distorted to serve an agenda. The entire report on CNN, as it turns out, was relatively “fair and balanced,” as they say.

There were two big questions that the reporter sought to answer. What is FreedomFest? And what do people who generally regard themselves as libertarians think of Trump and the Trump administration?

Of course this line of thinking frustrates those of us who work in the educational and not the political business. It’s our conviction that the path of history is ultimately decided not by power holders but by the ideas alive in the culture concerning human rights and freedoms. A people who are courageous and convicted in believing and acting on the liberties they believe they have will resist every form of despotism. If that idea gains currency, politics will take care of itself.The only real solution to the human problem lies with liberty itself.

However, politics is much more interesting for reporters, and probably for viewers. So I was happy to provide a broader interpretative lens. I was asked about how libertarians regard current politics and was happy to reassert the old wisdom in my circles which is still somewhat surprising for every generation. It is this: neither the left nor the right offers all the answers. The only real solution to the human problem lies with liberty itself.

There are aspects of the Trump agenda that should be cheered and some that are worth severe criticism. This puts libertarians in the interesting position of being objective critics who can actually speak with a nonpartisan outlook and perhaps even make some sense in the midst of such divisive times.

Here is how the interview turned out. And note the FEE banner in the background!

In addition, here is the news time in print form. I’m quoted as saying “Everything he says is against everything we believe,” but know the context: this was from Trump’s July 2015 speech that focussed entirely on shutting the borders to trade and people. The issues of deregulation and tax cuts – the good stuff – came later in the campaign. 

Of course, there is so much more to say, particularly concerning how much more important is the intellectual battle than the political one. And this is precisely the role of FEE, to help shape the culture of ideas over the long run.

I cannot resist quoting my own personal credo written by Ludwig von Mises.

Liberalism is no religion, no worldview, no party of special interests. It is no religion because it demands neither faith nor devotion, because there is nothing mystical about it, and because it has no dogmas. It is no worldview because it does not try to explain the cosmos, and because it says nothing and does not seek to say anything about the meaning and purpose of human existence. It is no party of special interests because it does not provide or seek to provide any special advantage whatsoever to any individual or any group. It is something entirely different. It is an ideology, a doctrine of the mutual relationship among the members of society and, at the same time, the application of this doctrine to the conduct of men in actual society. It promises nothing that exceeds what can be accomplished in society and through society. It seeks to give men only one thing: the peaceful, undisturbed development of material well-being for all, in order thereby to shield them from the external causes of pain and suffering as far as it lies within the power of social institutions to do so at all. To diminish suffering, to increase happiness: That is its aim.

No sect and no political party has believed that it could afford to forgo advancing its cause by appealing to men’s senses. Rhetorical bombast, music and song resound, banners wave, flowers and colors serve as symbols and the leaders seek to attach their followers to their own person. Liberalism has nothing to do with all this. It has no party flower and no party color, no party song and no party idols, no symbols and no slogans. It has the substance and the arguments. These must lead it to victory.