Most people think that libertarians and conservatives are largely in agreement about political issues and hence, can reciprocally count, in some cases, on mutual support; and, that this is especially true when the alternative to a conservative candidate ( usually a “conservative” Republican) is so odious to both factions that allowing the success of the left-leaning candidate is all but unthinkable. However, as we approach the election of 2016, I am predicting a major breakdown in this putative alliance. This will occur because of the advent of a presidential candidate who may be more acceptable to the libertarians than to conservatives.
What is the nexus of agreement between libertarians and conservatives? It would appear to me to be pretty much restricted to economic issues, and only a subset of those, in any case. Conservatives characterize their libertarian acquaintances ( not necessarily friends ) as “fiscally conservative and socially liberal”, as if the libertarian is some sort of piebald hybrid politically. The libertarian, because he is not in complete agreement on issues, is seen ( and frequently cited critically) by the conservative as “inconsistent” in his positions . The truth, as is so often the case with foundational issues, is precisely the opposite: the libertarian totally owns the territory of consistency in principles, politically.
Let us begin with perhaps the most basic statement of libertarian principle: the entire political philosophy of libertarianism hangs on the notion of individual rights—everyone has an identical set of rights to action, which are considered “natural” (I prefer “inherent”) rights in that they are indispensable for survival and/or flourishing as human beings; moreover, the only legitimate purpose of all governmental action and institutions is the protection ( the “securing”) of these rights. It is understood that government does not grant or create rights, but only recognizes and secures them.
All things, then, proceed from the need to maximize liberty. Libertarians assert that the context of rights is basically focused on the individual, and that all that government does is for the sake of individual freedom of choice and action, the only caveat being that one person’s action may not take away, interfere with, or negate another’s rights.
Since it is non-interference that is paramount in human relations under this political scheme, the only coercion allowed would be in self-defense or retaliation against others who would use coercion to achieve their own ends. Government, when limited in this way, is constrained to use force only when dealing with those who initiate force or are aggressive against others.
Unfortunately, this notion of non-interference ( or non-intervention ) brings libertarians into conflict with conservatives, who say they are advocates of liberty, but, in my estimation, fail to view liberty as essential. For many conservatives, coercion for reasons other than retaliation or protection of rights cannot be ruled out, because conservatives believe that they know in which domains control over human behavior must be exercised, and in which domains humans might safely be allowed free rein. So, it would not be unseemly to declare that the conservative is no friend of liberty, when broadly construed. Let us say that their liking for liberty is selective, at best. One suspects that they tolerate the concept because, they think that, since the Founders used the word a lot, and moreover that was a long time ago ( i.e. through longevity has become traditional ) , it can’t be all bad. Hence, the conservative lip service re: liberty.
This attitude, that there is an elite or a group of anointed ones, who are given special knowledge of what is moral, what is virtuous or desirable, what should or should not be permitted, and that agreement among the populace (especially among those most resembling the elite!) on these matters is widespread is the basis for a developing enmity between conservatives and libertarians.
So, aside from a tenuous agreement on certain economic matters ( e.g. the huge national debt, excessive taxation, onerous regulations, property rights) there is, frankly, not nearly as much common ground as I see it, between libertarians and conservatives as you might think. The result of this is my earlier prediction: a growing unpleasantness, and indeed a growing and caustic intolerance, of any candidate who might realistically stand a chance at the Republican nomination in 2016 if such candidate displays anything other than a minimal interest in libertarian principles.
Thus, there are several areas where conservatives will attempt to pillory any even moderately libertarian candidate: these are (1) foreign policy, (2) drug policy ( including especially the “war on drugs”), and (3) so-called “social issues”, relating to marriage, the family, and sexuality.
Foreign Policy. The crucial difference between libertarian and other political philosophies is the emphasis on non-interference in all aspects of the lives of individuals ( and that includes voluntary associations of individuals ). In the economic sphere, this means that the state should not be permitted to intervene in the economic affairs of individuals and firms, and not dictate or mandate or prohibit any actions which are the purview of the individual to make as long as such actions do not violate the similar rights of other individuals. Because they are often business-oriented, many conservatives find themselves on this same page re: the desire for economic non-intervention and non-interference; I suggest, however, that it is not necessarily because conservatives look at this from a perspective of a loss of liberty generally, but only inasmuch as it affects their bottom line.
Having been exposed to a number of libertarian writers and their ideas, I believe I can state without too much risk of error the following notion regarding foreign policy: libertarians believe that nation-states are fundamentally like individuals ( or, as previously noted, associations of individuals) in that the moral (and, indeed, practical ) treatment of other nation-states requires the same adherence to principles of non-intervention and/or non-aggression as those that apply to relationships with individuals, i.e. it would be improper to be an aggressor in those relationships. The strict avoidance of intervention into the affairs of other nation-states is thus seen as parallel to the need for non-interference by individuals ( or the government) in the economic ( or other) affairs of other individuals. Conservatives, however, frequently believe ( or act as though they believed) that all that is required to justify military or other intrusive interventions into the affairs of another country is that some supposed “interest” of the United States is at stake. Especially important is that this need not be some vital interest such as a territorial violation of the U.S. by military forces, or the threat of military action; it could be as simple as some postulated economic interest, such as the need to have long-term access to petroleum or other raw materials. It is not an exaggeration to say that there are many in both the conservative and modern liberal camps who firmly believe that “war is simply an instrument of state policy, to be used whenever it would promote the ends of the state.” The libertarian would, by way of contrast, limit war to situations involving our vital security interests, i.e. direct military or terrorist acts or threats to act on American soil or against American property or citizens. It is interesting to note that the Constitutional requirement that wars be declared by Congress is totally consistent with this point of view; the increasingly common use of military force by the chief executive in the absence of any legislative authorization at all, or by some alleged substitute ( e.g. the War Powers Act ) is totally consistent with the view of war as an instrument of policy, as expressed above.
That the “instrument of state policy” factions have at most times been in the seats of power and influence when war is contemplated is illustrated by the number of military ( and other covert operations type ) interventions which have occurred over the years. In the 114 years since 1900, I have noted, after consulting various lists, around 112 such interventions, or about one intervention a year on average. Now, admittedly not all such interventions could be considered major ones inasmuch as many lasted a few days to a few months, and many of them were represented to involve a need to protect American citizens or diplomatic facilities in times of civil strife. But the sheer volume of interventions is such that their frequency tends to inure one to the apparently continuous need for America to manipulate the foreign policy reality using force. If we focus instead on some of the more egregious ventures, the wisdom of such policies is drawn more and more into question.
Of the more than 100 interventions, there are at least ten which merit discussion:
|| Declaration of War?
|| World War I
||Korean War ( AKA "Police Action")
|| Vietnam War
|| Panama ( Noriega ousted)
|| First Gulf War (Kuwait)
||Yugoslavia (Kosovo, Bosnia) as NATO
|| Second Gulf War ( Iraq)
As suggested above, the only reasonable criterion for military action that satisfies the non-interference requirement as described above is that, if the action were not undertaken, some serious security threat would exist and manifest itself in short order on the homeland or on some specific American property or citizens; in other words, such action to be taken has the character of being defensive and the threat has the character of being more or less imminent. Except for the first several years of operations in Afghanistan, none of the actions cited meet these criteria for going to war.
It is not reasonable to say that, had the United States not intervened in the first World War, Germany, or some other European powers would have invaded our country, or done significant and continuing harm to U.S. property and citizens. The same is true of the Korean “police action” and the Vietnam war: no foreign power would arrive on our doorstep to threaten us; the alleged justification for these wars, from Korea onward, proceeded from some theoretical constructs concerning the overall threat presented by Communist China and the Soviet Union, or possibly the ideological threat of communism in general. The theoretical constructs included such ideas as the so-called Domino Theory and the Truman Doctrine.
Libertarians do not deny the concept of a “just” war; all such wars are defensive, however. While invoking some theory about the likely future actions of certain nations or organizations may be construed by some as defensive, and hence justified, such a long-range view does not meet the criterion of immediacy and the required degree of threat to our “vital security interests”. Indeed, we have gone so far down this road as to undertake ( and attempt to legitimize ) war as a strictly preemptive measure, as with the 2003 conflict in Iraq.
That Libertarians generally accept the just war concept implies also that they are not pacifists, even though often accused as such. Pacifism involves a complete rejection of force and violence on principle, and one of the more important individual rights that Libertarians recognize is the right of self-defense. And carrying the analogy between persons and nation-states further, they, too, have a fundamental right to make war in defense of their homeland. One also needs to recognize that in every war, there is a party who is the aggressor, and a party forced into the defensive mode; it is never the case that both parties are equally at fault for pursuing a policy of war.
Also, conservatives frequently claim that Libertarians who espouse a non-interventionist foreign policy as described above are, in fact, isolationists, as if these terms were somehow interchangeable. The lie of this assertion is given by the fact that nation-states which are isolationist frequently have the following characteristics: (a) they wish to isolate themselves from contact with others; (b) they have minimal trade with other countries; (c) they express a wish to become self-sufficient, especially in important commodities and raw materials, i.e to practice autarky. All potential libertarian candidates who could influence foreign policy are great believers in international freedom to trade and diplomatic relations and exchanges with other countries.
Finally, when war is viewed as an instrument of state policy, and not as a last resort to counter aggression, the reasons to go to war are frequently peculiar to a limited set of the ruling class, and pursue goals which, if they were generally known by the citizenry, would result in its unqualified rejection of the idea. It has been almost universally observed that the common people of a nation are against going to war in most cases, and that it takes massive propaganda, and continuous efforts by the authorities to whip up a fervor against the proposed enemy, painting him in the most grotesque strokes. Those among us against the war are vilified or worse.
Could it be that ordinary citizens of the lower and middle classes possess a wisdom beyond the usual attribution of limited intellect by the elites, and that they realize that all war is an unmitigated disaster, i.e. a net negative, even when done in defensive mode? It creates goods, only to see them destroyed or used up; the lives of great numbers of innocents and combatants alike are invariably either lost or ruined. When defense is not the motivation, war is the ultimate attempt by one person or group to gain something at the expense, frequently the ultimate expense, of others. Did not Kant suggest that morally this is categorically unacceptable?
So, to summarize my points regarding foreign policy:
- Libertarians follow a morality in which non-interference in the lives and affairs of others is fundamental.
- They also believe that relations between countries or nation-states are fully analogous to relations between individuals or groups domestically; if conservatives believe otherwise ( i.e. subscribe to the notion of the war being “an instrument of state policy” with few, if any, restrictions), then it is incumbent on the conservative to make a rational argument for violating the moral imperative of non-intervention. I have observed that on this they typically are unable to hold forth without resort to rants, diatribes, and other pretty much emotional displays, devoid of reasoning and argumentation.
- Libertarians are not completely opposed to war if it can be justified as absolutely necessary to defend the homeland and its citizens; they are not opposed to all violence on principle. They simply have a fairly strict interpretation of what a serious threat is to the country’s vital interests.
- The recent history of American foreign policy is replete with a number of ill-considered major interventions into the affairs of other countries ( as noted in the table above), virtually all of which do not meet the “vital security interest” criterion. They can all be easily shown to have originated in the minds and wills of a select group of leaders and government officials, often based on some questionable theory of foreign relations. In some cases (e.g. the First World War), the real reasons for the war were concealed from the populace and justified instead with some bogus imperative ( “making the world safe for democracy” or “fighting the war to end wars”) In almost all instances, the wars which resulted were not forced by the populace upon the leaders at the top; there was, in most cases, no insistence by the citizenry that we go to war, and, in the case of both World Wars, an extreme reluctance initially when war first broke out to enter these European conflicts.
The conservative who would put himself in the position of criticizing a libertarian-leaning presidential candidate on foreign policy would therefore seem to be required to adopt the following positions:
(1) Non-interference by one person ( or country) in the affairs of another person (or country) is not a fundamental moral imperative; moreover, there is no significant analogy between persons and nation-states when it comes to what is appropriate to their relationships.
(2) War is an appropriate national response whenever some foreign policy end is desired by the nation-state, i.e. it is an acceptable “instrument of national policy”. All that is required is that we be sufficiently powerful to carry it off.
(3) Wars do not have to be defensive in nature, and leaders should not have to satisfy some super-stringent criteria ( like a direct attack on the homeland, or getting a declaration of war from Congress ) in order expend huge resources and send people to their death.
As I implied above, these positions are not easily defended. Let us move on to the second issue.
Drug Policy: Once again, the centerpiece of libertarian thinking places the individual and individual rights in the vanguard, and so, libertarians assert that first among all property rights is the fact the individual owns himself! One of the incidents of true ownership is that the the owner gets to make all the decisions regarding his property, including, in particular, what substances to ingest. For the state to create a list of “controlled substances” which may not be possessed or consumed, is, to the libertarian, an abuse of the law and a denial of a fundamental property right. Certainly, it cannot be said that we own ourselves if others may use force against us for possessing or ingesting a controlled substance because the purpose of the criminal law is to prevent violation of rights and no rights are being violated per se by such ingestion.
Now the conservative, who is quite certain he knows which substances are harmless and which must be controlled, will claim that rights are being violated by using illicit drugs because of the possible or potential criminal ( i.e. rights-violating) behavior of those who take them. The key words here are possible and/or potential—it is hardly a certainty that an individual, having ingested one of the substances in question, will invariably violate someone else’s rights. It cannot be denied that individuals under the influence of controlled substances have violated others’ rights by driving while impaired, assaulting others, and through other forms of negligence. The conservative will argue that the drug, not the person, is responsible for the bad behavior, and hence, the banning of the drug is justified. Yet this argument fails when applied to the culturally accepted drug, alcohol, which is statistically responsible for much more negligence, violence, and mayhem than all the other controlled substances put together. We tried to ban alcohol but the unintended consequences of that ban forced us to rescind that decision and to take the position that the individual must regulate his behavior vis-a-vis alcohol, i.e. must choose not to over-indulge, not to drive, not to quarrel, etc. And we hold him ( not the drug ) responsible for his transgressions, subject to the criminal code. So, the question is, why accept the premise that other so-called “controlled substances” cannot be used without being abused? It seems to be virtually mandatory for anyone still arguing for drug prohibition to hold out that every single illicit drug has characteristics that are so much more powerful, so much more threatening, so much more addictive, that individuals cannot be just casual users, and cannot moderate or control the circumstances of their use. The problem is, if you look about you, poll your friends and acquaintances, or simply stop to reflect on things only momentarily, it could not be the case, given the volume of illicit drugs claimed to be in illegal commerce, that the typical user is a strung-out addict; more likely he or she uses a moderate amount, perhaps only on weekends, and likely holds down a paying job. A perusal of a table showing usage percentages for any illicit drug usage broken down by lifetime, last year, and last month strongly suggests that, with respect to any particular drug, users come and users go throughout life.
For those not already wedded to the collectivist notion that we do not own ourselves, and who will not uncritically accept the authoritarian pronouncements about what is or is not harmful, and who can understand that drug prohibition per se is a bad idea which has already proved itself to be so in the case of alcohol, the foregoing should be enough for them to at least consider adopting the libertarian position. For those I can still hear cursing me for even suggesting decriminalization, consider these additional, practical arguments against the war on drugs.
First, virtually all of the criminal activity that deserves to be called such ( stealing, violence, etc. ) associated with illicit drugs stems from their illegality; the lion’s share of such activity is either (1) gang violence regarding who gets to be sellers, or (2) burglary and theft by those who wish to buy the drugs. There are some instances of crimes arising from negligence ( child endangerment, DUI, etc.) but they are dwarfed by the property crime and internecine violence. And all of this is because the drugs cost so much!! Their very illegality and the risks in trafficking causes a particular amount of any given illicit substance to sell for anywhere from 10x to 50x its intrinsic worth, i.e. what it actually costs to produce, procure, and transport in an unregulated, fully legal environment. For example, one gram (1/28 of an ounce) of cocaine costs about $ 2.78 if you ignore the costs associated with illegality, while the illicit equivalent costs $ 66.00 per gram to the ultimate consumer. Similar costs are estimated for heroin ( $ 3.00/g and $ 140/g respectively ), and for marijuana ( $ 12.50 per pound versus $ 200 ).
So, it is the huge profits to be made in the illegal drug trade that are behind the related criminal activity: the extreme violence seen with gangs fighting over territory, the high rate of residential burglary and other property crime by users who simply do not have the money to pay the exorbitant prices generated by the substances’ illegality. Make the production, procurement and transportation such that one will not be incarcerated for doing so, and the price will quickly come down to something approaching the much lower costs involved; yes, the number of sellers and the general level of competition will ramp up, but this is a phenomenon of the market without which the lower prices will not emerge. What is advocated here is decriminalization, not legalization. Not taxation and regulation, either. To do these once again raises costs, and depending on the taxes and regulated price, may well create black markets in spite of the legalization. Furthermore, by decriminalizing rather than taxing and regulating, you remove at least some of the potential government imprimatur or tacit approval; it may develop that venturing into neighborhoods where people typically transact for drugs will inhibit the casual experimenter. Many conservative opponents of decriminalization seem to think that hordes of people who now appear to have no interest in taking drugs will suddenly line up as customers just because the fear of arrest has been removed; my own opinion is that this attitude is not too dissimilar to the notion of original sin—everybody has it within them to bad things in the absence of explicit restraints!
If you add to the foregoing the additional societal evils that the “war on drugs” has spawned, including in particular, the militarization of police departments, even in smaller municipalities, the now routine SWAT team raids, many of which have tragic outcomes like the flash-bang grenade that lands in a child’s crib before exploding, and the advent of prosecutorial tactics like asset forfeiture. Add to the preceding the damage done in the form of an arrest and/or conviction to those whose only crime is possession and its influence on the ability to obtain gainful employment; add also the huge number of additional incarcerated persons such that the U.S. now leads the world in total prison population per capita, which is indisputably related to the increased enforcement levels of the drug war.
Alas, the conservative who advocates for the punitive authoritarian position in this matter often proves himself to be an enemy of liberty in general and exhibits a willingness to ignore or deny all manner of practical arguments. Notice, in particular, the vitriol with which he will castigate the libertarian candidate who dares raise these issues.
I now move on the last area of concern, the “social issues”.
Social Issues. This topic includes abortion, same sex marriage, laws involving various sexual practices, and various proposals to encourage or discourage certain behaviors on the grounds that they either represent the practice of virtue, or when discouraged, the promotion of vice and/or sinfulness.
Libertarian views on the use of force in human relationships require that its use be restricted to self-defense, retaliation, or in response to those who initiate force. With the exception of immediately required self-defense, we give government a monopoly on the use of force. That being the case, and force being the mode used for enforcement of laws, libertarians want to see the number and scope of laws reduced to the absolute minimum. This would, it seems to me, absolutely preclude laws which are the product of subjective opinions about what is morally or socially acceptable, outside the realm of inappropriate use of force. Laws then, are primarily for the prevention and/or punishment of situations involving people who initiate the use of force.
This is not to say that libertarians do not sometimes ( maybe even often ) wish to discourage or eliminate certain behaviors which they regard as crass, ugly, inconsiderate, unhealthy, etc., etc. But it is felt that the strong arm of the law is too blunt an instrument to wield, and prefer the sanctions and expressed disapproval found in civil society to mitigate against this type of behavior. Critics of relying on civil society and the various mechanisms of disapproval which it can employ frequently characterize this as a form of interference or intervention and brand the libertarian as a hypocrite. But these critics make the same mistake as those who accuse a corporation of stifling an employee’s free speech rights, namely that it is only government that can violate these rights because only government can employ the force necessary; civil society can make one a pariah, and corporations can fire you, but they cannot throw you in jail.
Repeating what was said earlier about non-interference ( or if you like, non-intervention ), there is no way libertarians could tolerate government attempts to control who marries whom, who has sex with whom, what reading ( or media ) materials are allowable, whether to allow games of chance, and a whole host of similar, personally chosen activities or behaviors that do not directly impact others.
Now, I can hear the conservative saying that the impact need not be direct, it is the myriad impacts of indirect, publicly obvious, and to them, revolting practices that pollute the social environment and we would be better off to be rid of them. Can you not see how utterly subjective and capricious such an attitude is? So much so, that to give such preferences the force of law is an essential affront to liberty. And this is true, I aver, even when 50% plus one of the voting adopters wish to have it so. It is the basis for most of what has been called the “tyranny of the majority” and is a major failing of unconstrained democracy.
Perhaps the issue is put more succinctly in this discussion, from an essay by Nathan Schlueter, which attempts to justify the authoritarian mode of government which has become the norm for many conservatives:
“The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.” The “harm principle,” first formulated by J.S. Mill, is a moral claim. It cannot be derived from moral skepticism without committing a self-referential fallacy: The argument, “We don’t know what is right or wrong, therefore it is wrong to do x,” is obviously invalid.
As a moral claim, the harm principle is not neutral with respect to competing conceptions of the good. Underlying it is the conviction that the good for human beings is to live according to one’s own conception of what is good, and to live in a society in which that freedom is protected. For the sake of this conception of the good, it requires the repeal of legislation enacted by those with a different conception of the good. It thus deprives them of their right to choose and live according to their own conception of the good. In effect, libertarians wish to compel other persons with whom they disagree to live in a society that these others find, often with very good reason, to be hostile to human flourishing.
What I would say to Mr. Schlueter is this: you are not in a position to determine what is or is not hostile to human flourishing such that you may make rules that have nothing to do with aggression and compel others to obey these rules. Only the individual can discern what is hostile to him or not. The fact that legislation “was enacted by those with a different conception of the good” does not invest this conception with any special relevance, save that some gang of people got together and mandated it. That is all. To call it the wisdom of the collective, is to give it the name it deserves—collectivism. The only pretense to moral authority in democracy is that of “my gang is bigger than your gang”. Furthermore, and more importantly, the so-called “right to choose and live according to their own conception of the good” which depends on supporting legislation is bogus because it can and often does conflict directly with other rights that are inherent to humans, such as the right to own and keep property. Your right to enact legislation which forcibly removes my income or wealth for the use of you or your kin is incompatible with my right to keep and use my income. Hillel Steiner has noted that rights in a set of rights that conflict with one another are considered not compossible, to use his term.
So, I will wrap this up by asking you to reflect on the fact that all three areas where libertarians disagree with conservatives can be derived from a single common libertarian theme, that of non-interference or non-intervention.
- Foreign policy should be conducted as if individual nation-states were entitled to be treated as individual persons are treated, without interference in their internal affairs. Just wars exist when it is necessary for a nation-state to defend itself and is the only exception to the first norm of international behavior.
- It is a fundamental truism for libertarians that each person has the right to property and the singular property which all possess is oneself. Ownership of the self implies that all decisions regarding that self normally be made by the individual, including what to ingest. To mandate what one may eat, drink, or otherwise ingest, is so basic an interference that such mandates are deemed totally inappropriate and hence, unacceptable.
- In opposition to the authoritarians among the social conservatives, libertarians believe in “laissez-faire”, which basically means “leave it alone”; let a person live the kind of life he, and he alone decides is appropriate; legislation which imposes positive or negative duties with respect to non-aggressive social behavior is outside its proper realm, and is the height of inappropriate intervention.
On the other hand, there is no such consistency by conservatives with respect to what they believe about foreign policy, drug policy and social issues:
- On foreign policy, it would seem that most conservatives are not constrained by any moral qualms and are willing to settle for any policies which they, in their infinite wisdom, deem to be “in the interest of the United States”. Some conservatives are willing to appeal to the notion of “the lessons of history”, but my experience is that their assertions are, often as not, contradicted by history.
- Suggesting an end to drug prohibition ( while failing once again to recall the problem with that other Prohibition ) makes most conservatives apoplectic, such that they are almost disabled from entertaining any logical dialogue on the subject. The primary objection to drug use appears to center on its on being an example of vice rather than virtue.
- Conservatives seem to view social issues that relate to the family, sexuality, etc. as being fair game for the coercion inherent in government, i.e. that the creation of laws are perfectly appropriate to mitigate or, better still, eliminate societal problems, and are preferred to the voluntary nature of efforts by civil society to tackle the same problems.
So, in the last analysis, the conservatives would seem to have no central guiding principles which inform their decisions in the three areas discussed ; it’s all pretty eclectic. Like Edmund Burke, though, they aren’t real keen on rationality, on making cogent arguments, relying instead on tradition, religion, and various other sentiments to justify their opinions. I tried examining various lists or collections of conservative “principles” or “tenets” which might be applied to our three areas, but, alas, I found most of them to be simply lists of policy positions or platform planks with little in common to bind them into a coherent whole.
For the most part, the items discussed did not qualify in my mind as principles. As I see it, a principle is a statement which can be logically applied to a situation resulting in a solution or resolution. For example, conservatives talk a lot about ‘being in favor of limited government’ as a principle. Limited how? In size? In powers? A limited government principle might be stated as follows: “The role of the federal government is to be limited to certain specific and enumerated powers; the required appropriations should be commensurate with this limitation.” Since when was any conservative you can recall responsible for actually moving in the direction of eliminating those programs, agencies, or institutions that are clearly not provided for in the U.S. Constitution? Fat chance!