Sometimes the bad guys do us all a big favor, by openly stating what they stand for after spending years denying it. I recently received exactly this sort of favor from an economist, one Don Boudreaux, at the renowned libertarian Cato Institute, a hotbed of free-trade thinking. He wrote:
Why should you or I celebrate less an improvement in the welfare of a South Korean than we celebrate a comparable improvement in the welfare of a South Carolinian? (original here)
That's it. So finally we have it: after years of telling us that libertarian economics -- deregulate this, deregulate that, believe that the free market is always right -- is best for America, they admit that, in the end, they just don't care.
This philosophy has the perverse virtue of perfect logical consistency: if you don't care about what's good for Americans, why not have free trade? I must grant -- and the reader should, too -- that the entire policy of free trade makes perfect sense if one adopts this premise.
The idea of caring equally about the well-being of people all over the world sounds, of course, like a very sweet and humanitarian philosophy. And in a perfect world, maybe it would be. But there are two very big realities that get in the way:
1) We live in a world of ruthless economic rivalry, so if Americans aren't willing to stand up for the economic interests of Americans, we just get rolled by multinational corporations and foreign powers that lack such delicate qualms.
2) Libertarianism, for all its pretensions of universalist humanitarianism, is in fact a notoriously selfish philosophy. Someone once defined a libertarian as "an anarchist with a credit card;" they were onto something.
The South Korea Free Trade Agreement, America's largest free-trade agreement since NAFTA, is back on the front burner. So when the libertarians speak up on this issue, as they will, just remember where their hearts are.
How to vote
Vote-by-mail ballot request deadline: Varies by state
For the Nov 3 election: States are making it easier for citizens to vote absentee by mail this year due to the coronavirus. Each state has its own rules for mail-in absentee voting. Visit your state election office website to find out if you can vote by mail.Get more informationTrack ballot status
In-person early voting dates: Varies by state
Sometimes circumstances make it hard or impossible for you to vote on Election Day. But your state may let you vote during a designated early voting period. You don't need an excuse to vote early. Visit your state election office website to find out whether they offer early voting.My Election Office
General Election: Nov 3, 2020
Polling hours on Election Day: Varies by state/localityMy Polling Place