Libertarianism Cato's David Boaz on What America Can (and Shouldn't) Learn From the French Revolution


Is America poised for another revolution? 

David Boaz, executive vice president of the Cato Institute, isn't betting on it.

"35 years ago, when I was a college student," Baoz reminisced, "the first libertarian speaker I ever heard said 'We are going to have hyper inflation. Buy gold and guns. That's the only thing that will save you.' And our political system averted that disaster."

At FreedomFest 2011, Reason's Nick Gillespie sat down with Boaz to discuss revolution (American and French), the way out of the current fiscal crisis and the recent rise of liberty-loving youth. 

Held each July in Las Vegas, FreedomFest is attended by around 2,000 libertarians and advocates of limited government. spoke with over two dozen speakers and attendees and will be releasing interviews over the coming weeks. For an ever-growing playlist, go here now.

Approx. 6:50 min. Shot by Zach Weissmueller and Jim Epstein and edited by Meredith Bragg.

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NEXT: Another Day, Another Independent Analysis Projecting That ObamaCare Will Make Health Insurance More Expensive

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  1. Bonjour, scum.

  2. Off with their heads!

  3. Buy gold and guns.

    Always good advice. Hyperinflation or no.

  4. I’m trying to picture citizen-militiamen running up the stairs of the United States Capitol, corpses of the disciples of the usurper laying everywhere, the Gadsden Flag leading them farther.

    Then I wake up and realize that shit’s about as likely as a second civil war. Tough luck, I guess.

    1. *lying

  5. Other than the terror unleashed by Robespierre, the subsequent Napoleon war of conquest that consumed Europe and the general backwardness of the French industrial revolution compared to England and Germany – the French revolution was a wonderful advancement for man !

    1. It sullies the name Enlightenment to toss the French Revolution in with ours.

    2. If the price of finally ridding ourselves of this plague of The Enlightened? is a Robespierre and a Napoleon, I’d still pay it gladly and consider myself to have gotten off cheaply!

    3. There was a revolution in 1789 and another revolution 1791.

  6. If there’s going to be a revolution in this country it’s not going to be in the name of liberty.

    No, it’s going to be a class warfare revolution to cast off what few restraints are left on government by the Constitution, nationalize industry, confiscate wealth (of those who are not politically connected to the revolutionaries), declare things like like health care and employment to be guaranteed rights, and basically destroy the last bastion of freedom left on the planet.

    1. Optimist!

    2. I suspect that will be how it starts, yes. The spark will be the collapse of government-funded pensions and featherbedded jobs.

      Wisconsin was our early warning on that front.

      How it ends? Well, the American Revolution may be the only one that ended the way its instigators wanted.

      1. Yep. Looking back at popular uprisings throughout history, the way ours ended was a complete fluke (in that it ended without massive internal massacres and set up something that was actually better than what came before).

        I think it all boiled down to sheer luck that we had guys like Jefferson and Washington there, at that time. And remember, Washington only turned revolutionary after he didn’t get what he really wanted…an officer commission in the English army.

        He could have made himself king, but in the end, helped by the men around him, he was able to say, “no”, and threw the ring into the fires of Mt. Doom. No one since then has been able to do that.

        1. God save the Republic.

        2. This is why I fear the idea of a constitutional convention, which occasionally gets proposed here (in the comments, that is). That opens the door to things we probably don’t want to see.

          What we need is a revolution in political and economic thought that gets a large enough minority to make it stick. That, along with a healthy and general distrust of government might make things a little better.

          1. Yep. If we had another convention now, jobs, homes, unions, and healthcare would all get written into the BoR.

          2. No. Seperatism is the answer. FUCK “saving” the whole country. It can NEVER happen. Understand that.

            Just how onerous does it have to get before individualists will pull a Zionist-like scheme of mass immigration to a particular area with the intention of ultimately creating a minimalist State of their own?

            The free-state project is a moronic joke. The two “finalists” were New Hampshire (a tiny domain surrounded by the worst sort of statists, and lots of them) and Wyoming, near the Dakotas (a libertarian Indian reservation, no infrastructure or resources whatsoever, with the bonus of itd be total dependent on a benevolent US government allowing unrestricted transportation to/from the territory).

            1. “Just how onerous does it have to get before individualists will pull a Zionist-like scheme of mass immigration to a particular area with the intention of ultimately creating a minimalist State of their own?”

              Thank god, then we can be done with all this freedom bullshit with a couple of nukes.

        3. sheer luck that we had guys like Jefferson and Washington there


          At that time [the American Revolution], there were only about two and a half million citizens of the United States. Today there are about a hundred times more. So if there were ten people of the caliber of Thomas Jefferson then, there ought to be 10 x 100 = 1,000 Thomas Jefferson’s today. Where are they?

          Carl Sagan.

          1. Man, if Carl Sagan is pessimistic, I’ve lost all hope.

            1. You’d be pessimistic if you were dead and abandoned on Mars, too.

  7. Obscure pop-culture joke name off.

  8. Who would play the role of the Jacobins in this ‘glorious’ revolution?

    1. Teachers Unions?

  9. When government runs out of goodies to give away, it’s game over for the government. That day approaches, though it may still be far off (or not).

    Method to my madness:

    – The people will continue to demand that government give them things the government does not have (like social security payments)
    – The government will continue to give the people what they demand they be given. In order to do this, the government will effectively print money – which is not wealth.
    – Eventually, the monetarist equation will announce itself. “???? ???!” And hope everybody’s up for gyros ’cause we’re all Greek, then.

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  11. very interesting, thanks.

  12. Just how onerous does it have to get before individualists will pull a Zionist-like scheme of mass immigration to a particular area with the intention of ultimately creating a minimalist State of their own?…..c-114.html

  13. “Vanity made the revolution; liberty was only a pretext.”


  14. “The Founding Fathers envisioned a robustly Christian yet religiously tolerant America, with churches serving as vital institutions that would eclipse the state in importance.”–Ron Paul

    “Alahu akbar!” Muhamed Ata

    “Va t’faire ebculer chez les Grecs!”–Robspierre

  15. “Sorry, eNculer!” Robspoerre’s secretary.

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