The Libertarian Moment in FergusonSubmitted by RandWatcher on Thu, 08/21/2014 - 22:56
by Nick Gillespie | The Daily Beast
A new kind of politics is being born in the discussion over race and militarized policing in Ferguson.
Just two weeks ago, The New York Times Magazine had the temerity to ask, “Has the Libertarian Moment Finally Arrived?” Among the evidence that America is becoming more socially tolerant, fiscally responsible, and interested in shaking things up: rapid increases in the acceptance of gay marriage, pot legalization, and other forms of self-expression; wariness toward our bipartisan interventionist foreign policy; widespread outrage at governmental invasions of privacy; continued antipathy toward Obamacare and declining approval ratings of Congress; and a general lack of belief that spending more money is going to fix the country anytime soon.
The usual grab bag of pundits invested in the political status quo was quick to dismiss the question. Of course there’s no libertarian moment, huffed Democratic and Republican partisans. Yet if you want more evidence that a libertarian moment is gathering in contemporary America—and that it is fundamentally a pre-political, pre-partisan impulse with the potential to seriously alter existing conversations and coalitions—look no further than Ferguson, Missouri, where a tragically delayed discussion about police militarization and race that has finally captured the public imagination.
In small towns and big cities alike, African Americans have long complained about having to deal with (predominantly white) cops who sometimes act like occupying armies. Sadly, there’s nothing particularly unique about the August 9 death of Michael Brown at the hands of police. Police kill unarmed people—especially unarmed black men—all the time, and it usually doesn’t touch off a wide-ranging national discussion about much of anything. For instance, how many Americans have heard about John Crawford III, who was shot and killed by police after picking up a toy gun in a Wal-Mart earlier this month?