“Idealists in a hurry”

Some 20th century idealists who were in a hurry…

From an editorial in today’s Wall Street Journal: “Idealists in a hurry are an old story and the source of much human misery. Indeed, such misery is the end result of what the Journal called the “ends-justify-the-means logic” employed by every 20th century idealist out to change humanity and the world. Think about it:

In the 20th century Lenin and Stalin were an “idealists in a hurry”; Mao Zedong was an “idealist in a hurry”; Hitler was an “idealist in a hurry”; Pol Pot was an “idealist in a hurry”; Fidel Castro and Che Guevara were “idealists in a hurry”; Ho Chi Minh was an “idealist in a hurry.” In the 20th century millions upon millions of innocent human beings were forced to pay the price of an early death demanded by those “idealists-in-a-hurry.” Think more: All were socialists of one sort or another, and all sought (and attained) control of the machinery of government to effect their idealistic plans. Books have been written about the process, and its results.

Now? In the 21st century? Are such tragedies even possible? We don’t know at this point. But a useful inquiry is this: Who are the “idealists” of today? Are they the statist so-called progressives of the political left, or the anti-statist conservatives and libertarians of the political right? Which group displays the greater passion and appetite for political power in order to effect idealistic “change”?

Take heed and beware.

I’ve been political my entire life, starting out with Barry Goldwater and The Conscience of a Conservative in the1960’s. In 1967 I enlisted in the U.S. Marines for four years, spending nearly two of them in South Vietnam. In 1972 I was a Florida presidential elector for Prof. John Hospers, the first Presidential candidate of the national Libertarian Party which was founded that same year. During the late 1970’s and into the 1980’s I was a contributing editor and monthly columnist for Reason magazine, and I’ve authored numerous articles in the print and online media about various subjects relating to individual rights and personal freedom. Today I’m a lawyer by profession; I divide my time between New Hampshire and Florida all year long, spending much of my time practicing law in Florida. As an early supporter and past member of the board of directors of the Free State Project, I was drawn to the Live Free or Die state of New Hampshire in late 2003 when it was chosen by a vote of the first 5,000 FSP participants. In 2004 I founded the Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire, and continue today to work within the state political system to advance the traditional NH values of frugal small government, low taxes, small business, free enterprise, and self-responsibility. To all, I say “Come and see what we are building in the beautiful, healthy, livable Free State of New Hampshire!”