by Abdul-Hakim Shabazz

As I get ready for Monday night’s Republican U.S. Senate Primary debate, I think we need to clear the air just one more time.   As you know, I have been accused by one of the candidates who originally declined to participate in the debate and later changed their mind, that I am a liberal and an untrustworthy conservative.  I’m not going to get into a back and forth with the candidate. I gave them an opportunity to come on my weekend radio show this past Saturday so we could clear the air, but they never got back to me.  What I am going to do however is make a confession. It’s only fair to say this as we go into Monday night’s debate. Yes, I am a liberal, in the classic sense of the term.

According to the Mises Institute, classical liberalism is defined as “a term used to designate the ideology advocating private property, an unhampered market economy, the rule of law, constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion and of the press, and international peace based on free trade.”   And that is pretty much me.

I believe free markets and capitalism can do more to lift people out of poverty than any government program ever could.  I believe people should be allowed to engage in free-spirited debate and practice their religious beliefs without fear of government retribution.  And I believe when countries engage in free trade, they are less likely to go to war with their business partners.

Of course, all this doesn’t take place in a wild, wild west environment.  We need the rule of law to make sure people behave.  The government should act more like a baseball umpire; call the balls and strikes, and occasionally throw players out of the game, but otherwise, let them play and may the best team win.   Government is not here to ensure your success in this world.

If I may steal a section of Wikipedia (I did double check the source), as a classic liberal, I also believe the government should do most the following…

  • Protect individual rights and to provide services that cannot be provided in a free market
  • A common national defense to provide protection against foreign invaders
  • Make laws to provide protection for citizens from wrongs committed against them by other citizens, which included protection of private property, enforcement of contracts and common law
  • Building and maintaining public institutions
  • Public works that included a stable currency, standard weights and measures and building and upkeep of roads, canals, harbors, railways, communications and postal services.

I would also throw in a few other items, such as educational opportunities via universal school choice and vouchers.  And when it comes to reproductive choice issues, I believe those decisions are much better made by individuals rather than the government.  

So, if the belief by certain campaigns is that I am a liberal, they are absolutely right. As someone who believes in free markets, free trade, school choice, etc. I am the biggest liberal in the universe, in the classic sense of the word.  

And as we all know, classic never goes out of style.

Abdul-Hakim is the editor and publisher of IndyPolitics.Org.  He is also an attorney affiliated with the law firm of Lewis and Wilkins LLP.