If you follow liberal and progressive pundits and pols, you've heard the line that being anti-government is inherently racist:
…politically savvy Democrats are never slow to equate advocates of limiting the size, scope, and spending of the federal government with racism, slavery, and white supremacy. Who can blame them, really? Even after the "success" of Obamacare, the president somehow has managed to chalk up his lowest approval ratings ever, and things don't look so good for the Donkey Party in the fall's midterm elections, either.
Salon's Joan Walsh is quick to cry racism in the face of arguments or developments she doesn't like, as are MSNBC hosts Chris Matthews, Lawrence O'Donnell, and Ed Schultz. Jimmy Carter, who himself stooped to race-baiting during his 1970 campaign for governor of Georgia, has chalked up "an overwhelming portion" of negativity toward Barack Obama to the fact that "he is a black man."
In my latest column for The Daily Beast, I argue that progs are wrong when it comes to libertarians and our interest in shrinking the size, scope, and spending of the government.
The fixations of small "l" libertarians include ending the drug war, mandatory minimum sentence and other prison reforms, and pushing a maximalist version of school choice, all of which would directly benefit minorities more than non-minorities. Libertarian public-interest law firms such as the Institute for Justice spend much of their time fighting occupational licensing laws that disproportionately stymie inner-city entrepreneurs who have little to no political or economic capital. IJ's first case, dating back to 1991, attacked Washington, D.C.'s absurd laws against African hair-braiding without expensive and irrelevant cosmetology licenses.
Similarly, there's no way to confuse libertarian obsessions with Fourth Amendment rights, ending stop-and-frisk policies, and reversing "the rise of warrior cops" with anything related to white supremacy. The same goes for the libertarian insistence against an interventionist foreign policy, whether through boots on the ground or via drone strikes and bombing runs. As with any group, there are differences, but libertarians have long been in the forefront of pushing for legalized abortion and gay marriage. (Reason magazine, like the Libertarian Party, was calling for the legalization of same-sex marriage in the early 1970s, when the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders still considered homosexuality a form of mental illness that should be "cured.")