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Hornberger's Blog is a daily libertarian blog written by Jacob G. Hornberger, founder and president of FFF.
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Debating Lipstick and Pigs

by

While people in the McCain camp are on the attack over Obama’s comment about lipstick and pigs, some of the mainstream pundits are asking why so much time is being spent on what seems to be a rather silly issue. Why not spend time focusing on the important, burning issues of our time, they’re asking?

The reason is a simple one but one that mainstream journalists simply do not wish to confront: Philosophically, there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between McCain, Obama, Palin, and Biden. Any differences over policy are over variations and degrees, not principles. You could mix and match the four candidates and it wouldn’t make any difference whatsoever. You’d end up getting the same thing.

Consider economic philosophy. All four candidates are firm advocates of the socialistic welfare state. All of them believe that the proper role of government is to take care of the citizenry, whether through Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, education, jobs, subsidies, bailouts, and other forms of welfare. Thus, any arguments they would have would be over their own particular welfare “reform” plan.

Yawn.

Consider economic regulations. All four candidates believe that the federal government plays a proper role in regulating economic activity. When things go wrong, as they inevitably do, all four of them exclaim that the reason is because there wasn’t enough regulation. Their respective regulatory “reform” plan will supposedly cure the problem.

Yawn.

Consider the drug war. Despite 30 years of death, destruction, mayhem, and failure, all four candidates are fierce advocates of the war on drugs. They honestly believe that the federal government should have the paternalistic power to punish people for ingesting harmful substances. All four would have some “reform” plan that would be intended to finally bring “victory” in the war on drugs.

Yawn.

Consider monetary policy. All four candidates firmly believe in monetary central planning and paper money, despite decades of monetary debasement and financial chaos. The last thing they would consider is replacing the monetary socialism of the Federal Reserve with a free market monetary system.

Yawn.

Consider foreign policy. All four of them are ardent interventionists. Obama professes to be different because he opposed the Iraq War, but philosophically, he is as interventionist as the others. For example, Obama supports the intervention in Afghanistan (despite the lack of the constitutionally required congressional declaration of war) and has expressed support for a war on Iran. Let’s also not forget that Obama selected an ardent interventionist who supported Bush’s invasion of Iraq as his running mate. Any debate over foreign policy is going to be one involving where to intervene, not whether the overall U.S. policy of intervention should be ended and the U.S. overseas empire dismantled.

Yawn.

Civil liberties. All four candidates believe in torture, sex abuse, arbitrary arrests, indefinite detentions, spying on Americans, rendition, military tribunals, the enemy-combatant doctrine, and denial of due process and trial by jury — for people the military or the CIA has designated a “terrorist.” In fact, all four of them have embraced Bush’s “war on terrorism” and are ardent supporters of the CIA and the military-industrial complex. They’re just claiming that they could run the “war on terrorism” better than Bush.

Yawn.

Trade restrictions and immigration controls. All four candidates are firm believers of government control over trade and immigration. Their position is simply that no one has yet come up with the correct “reform” or intervention that will finally end the ever-growing trade and immigration “crises” They’ll be the ones who will finally come up with the perfect reform plan.

Yawn.

Gun control. All four candidates believe in gun control. The differences lie in the degree of gun control (e.g., bans on automatic weapons, registration, background checks, gun shows, concealed carry permits, etc), not in the notion of gun control itself.

Yawn.

Education. All four candidates believe that government plays an important role in the educational process. Despite the manifest failures in education, all four of them call for “reform.” None of them call for abolishing the Department of Education.

Yawn.

Given the joint commitment of all four candidates to socialism, interventionism, paternalism, and empire, what is there to debate? Whose reform plan is best? What a yawner! The debate over lipstick and pigs is much more exciting.

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.