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Liberty Has Arrived!

February 3, 2010

Charlie Sprague
Liberty Has Arrived!

Do you love liberty and penguins? If so, Liberty’s Last Stand, a new libertarian periodical created by and for CMC students, may be the best thing since sliced bread. The purpose behind Liberty’s Last Stand, the brain child of Karthik Reddy (CMC '10), Spencer Kline (CMC '10), and other collaborators, is made clear in the publication’s introduction: libertarians have no campus publication to call their own at and their viewpoint is frequently underrepresented in national affairs.  It’s already received praise from Charles Johnson, but I thought I’d offer a more nuanced and detailed review of the new publication.

To begin with a few criticisms, the obviously ideological nature of the publication can at times lead the authors to ignore obvious realities. For example, Karthik Reddy’s article on America’s recent turn to Keynesian economics, mentions that the stimulus may lead to “crowding out,” whereby public expenditures displace private investment by raising interest rates. Yet he must be aware that interest rates remain near zero and simply refuses to include this uncomfortable fact while describing the danger of crowding out. The publication also has no qualms about unappealing metaphors. Though Liberty’s Last Stand surely takes pride in being controversial, Spencer Kline (an editor-in-chief) might have considered it prudent to avoid referring to cheap low-skilled labor as “the grease that keeps our economy functioning at peak efficiency.”

On the whole, however, Liberty’s Last Stand is enjoyable and worth reading. Ariel Katz has the courage to argue in favor of the legalization and state recognition of polygamy and Andrew Jarmon presents a persuasive case for abolishing the corporate tax. These article in particular highlight the unique contribution a libertarian publication can make to campus discourse. To be sure, many of the articles will find a receptive audience at the generally liberal Claremont Colleges. Matt Fillipo’s manifesto for progressive libertarianism will speak to many students at the Claremont Colleges (and CMC in particular) who are staunchly opposed to Prop 8, but would like lower tax rates to keep more of their lucrative consulting salaries after graduation.  Additionally, Livia Romano’s article on the human suffering in Latin America caused by the War on Drugs is informative and interesting. The international perspective is particularly appreciated, especially given how infrequently we Americans tend to examine the effects of our policies on other countries. Liberty's Last Stand also has a blog, Penguins in Claremont, which features a collection of posts that generally attack the anti-liberty policies of various governments. Some of these posts are quite funny, such as one that mocks Australia's selective crackdown on pornography with small-breasted women.

What does the future hold for Liberty’s Last Stand? Though I wish the publication the best of luck, the Libertarian Club has limited membership to draw contributors from and organizing libertarians has been compared to herding cats. With all but one of the writers being seniors, the publication will need to inspire new writers and editors if it wants to continue past May.

Disclaimer: I am friends with many of the Ron Paul fan boys who write and edit Liberty’s Last Stand.

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