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Brown’s Election Is No Victory for Liberty


Reaction to Scott Brown’s Senate win in Massachusetts has been glee for conservatives and depression for liberals. Conservatives have reason to be happy because Brown’s victory might spell the death knell for Obama’s socialist national health-care plan. Libertarians are celebrating Brown’s victory for the same reason.

But that’s about where the celebration ends for libertarians. For it’s obvious that Brown is just one more standard Big Government, statist Republican rather than a libertarian of the mold of Ron Paul.

In fact, those commentators who are suggesting that the Brown victory constitutes a wholesale rejection of socialism, Big Government, and Big Spending might just be guilty of a bit of wishful thinking. For while such commentators are emphasizing that Brown made his opposition to Obama’s health-care plan the central theme of his campaign, they are conveniently ignoring something just as important — Brown’s reason for opposing Obama’s health-care plan.

According to an article in the Washington Post entitled “Brown’s Victory Is Hardly a Repudiation of Health Reform,” Brown opposed Obama’s plan simply because he felt that it would unfairly cause Massachusetts citizens, who already have a socialistic state health-care plan, to subsidize health care for citizens in other states.

In fact, as a state legislator Brown actually voted in favor of Massachusetts’s socialistic health-care plan.

Now, at the risk of stating the obvious, Brown’s position is not exactly the libertarian, free-market position. Quite the contrary. The libertarian, free-market position would oppose socialist health-care plans at all levels of government, and it would call for the repeal, not reform, of such socialist health-care plans as Medicare and Medicaid, as well as other governmental health-care interventions, such as licensure and regulations, all of which constitute the root of America’s health-care crisis in the first place.

This is the big problem that the lovers of liberty face in this country. Election after election is nothing more than a choice between one statist and another. It’s statist Tweedledum vs. statist Tweedledee.

Take a look at this 30-second video of Brown after the election, where he states: “We’re past campaign mode. I think it’s important for everyone to get some form of health care. So to offer a basic plan for everybody I think is important…. There were some very good things, as you just pointed out, in the national plan that’s being proposed.”

Oh, cheesh! Why aren’t Democrats cheering this guy?

Even worse, during the campaign Brown displayed that, like other standard Republicans, he is the master of the forked tongue, in that he endorses “enhanced interrogation techniques,” including waterboarding, while opposing “torture.” He even suggested that the Detroit bomb suspect should be removed from federal court jurisdiction, where he is under a federal criminal indictment for terrorism, and delivered to the military for treatment as an “enemy combatant.”

Alas, while conservatives have much to celebrate in the Brown victory, the supporters of liberty do not. While Brown’s victory might well prove to be the end of Obama’s socialist health-care plan, his election was certainly no victory for liberty.

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.