It worked pretty well for whom?
Reader comment on: Michael Gerson on Rand Paul and the Tea Party
Submitted by benjamin (United States), May 21, 2010 10:22
I challenge the proposition that constitutional conservatism "worked pretty well for 150 years." If you were a white, land owning male, sure. Most people aren't. Women couldn't vote, blacks were enslaved a good part of the time, elderly lived in abject poverty. By what standard did things "work pretty well?" I also question the point that the market would have effectively ended segregation in the South in any reasonable timeframe. With a majority (whites) having the power to control all levers of power, the government became an enforcer of segregation. Perhaps black people not shopping at stores makes them lose money, but the white owner who SELLS to black people in Alabama in 1950 would lose the business of racist whites - undoubtedly more wealthy than their black neighbors. In this case, the free market would actually perpetuate racist tendencies. At look at the institution of slavery itself. The anti-bellum south was about as "free market" as any place or time in our history - with obviously tragic results.
Libertarians are too quick to drift off into fantasy land. They are to the right what communism is to left. Looks great on paper! But heaven forbid we ever try it in practice.
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The Future of Capitalism replies:
It worked pretty well in the sense that America became the world's most prosperous and powerful country over that period. Women's suffrage came in and slavery was abolished before that constitutional departure under FDR that Gerson refers to, and by the method of amending the constitution rather than just ignoring it in favor of "democratic choices." Also similar to communism as you say the libertarians can say it's never really been tried.
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