FreedomWorks' Matt Kibbe Talks Criminal Justice Reform

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Originally published April 14, 2015. Initial text below:

"I think a great demonstration of the old rules not applying anymore is look at the co-sponsors of The Smarter Sentencing Act," says Matt Kibbe, president of the libertarian activist group FreedomWorks. "It's guys like Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and of course Rand Paul and Jeff Flake, also with Patrick Leahy and Sheldon Whitehouse…. They all agree there is an over-criminalization of American life and they all agree the government has overstepped its bounds."

The Smarter Sentencing Act will reform federal mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenders and give judges more discretion in sentencing. It's part of a wide-ranging push to reduce America's prison population and address the militarization of police and other issues. As Kibbe explains to Reason's Nick Gillespie, criminal justice reform is a place where true bipartisanship is not just happening but is a good thing.

"I had a sit down with Eric Holder on these issues, we've meet with the White House policy staff, I've been working with [progressive groups] Moveon.org and The Center for America Progress, says Kibbe, author of Don't Hurt People and Don't Take Their Stuff: A Libertarian Manifesto. "This isn't typical bipartisanship, where you split the difference on [an] idea, this is a genuine coming together on core values."

"I think the overall trend is a skepticism of Washington," says Kibbe. "The smartest people in the room dictating how things should be doesn't work for families. Communities work better."

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  1. So when do they schedule a vote, already?

  2. Statesmen seek to abolish unjust punishments
    Across the aisle they shall reach
    But they who seek a safety valve
    Will be demagogued into defeat

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  4. When Kevin Williamson writes about economic matters and avoids freaking out about transsexuals, he’s often pretty good.

    The Left wants to withdraw from international trade and detests globalization. Progressives lament an almost entirely mythical “race to the bottom” in global commerce. (Weird that they’re still making Mercedes in Stuttgart and not in Haiti, right?) In reality, global investment does not flow to low-wage economies, but to high-productivity economies; look at the top ten destinations for foreign direct investment and you’ll see precisely one lower-income country ? China, in fourth place ? while the rest are high-wage countries: the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, etc.

    But if we move away from globalization, what are we moving toward? Autarky, for one thing, the belief that any given society should try to produce what it consumes and consume what it produces rather than engage in trade. That generally works out poorly ? North Korea being the world’s preeminent practitioner of contemporary autarky ? which makes perfect sense: If you want to discover the real value of trade, try growing your own food for a year, or ginning cotton and sewing your own clothes. The division of labor is the essence of civilization.

    1. Rather typical strawman argument, and then a comparison to North Korea. I guess he’s better than Rich Lowry, but that’s a pretty low bar.

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