For those interested, the debate has disappeared from the internet.
I just returned from Freedom Fest 2010 in Las Vegas from 8-10 July. Well over 2000 attendees were there and I debated Dr. Daniel Walker Howe on the Articles of Confederation versus the Constitution on FRI afternoon. The debate was quite cordial and I do not think that Dr. Howe had a good weather gauge of the audience or the focus of the entire conference. He is an erudite and gentle man but he clearly thought that a conventional rendering of the benefits of Constitutional government and the usual bigger is better pep speech on the joys of Federal living would suffice. Au contraire. I get the sense now that libertarians and liberty-loving conservatives (what few there are) are losing patience with the usual arguments and rationales for better living through bigger government.
There were about two hundred folks in the audience and my arguments seemed to be well received. I was asking for a complete change of perspective. Not only was I actively criticizing a document that has an almost mythical reverence rendered to it across the political spectrum but I was plumbing parts of our history that have been willfully and actively been ignored and distorted. Not only was I questioning the very legitimacy of THE Founding Document but asking people to examine its real effects over the span of time since its ignoble creation and adoption. The Founding myth has so permeated our consciousness that it has created a practically indestructible meme that has penetrated from right to left. Whether collectivist or individualist, all the usual suspects have been able to bend the document to their will whether to advance war, social programs or freedom. This should have set off warning alarums long ago to show that the document is so flexible and malleable that it may have no substance which can actually liberate folks from government control.
I had the joy of seeing Tom Woods give what was the best speech of the conference on new book, Nullification, and bring the house down. I have stated before that the Supremes and the entire fetid Federal judiciary serve only to rubber stamp the tyranny production emanating from every facet of the Executive Branch. Woods opined that he discovered that between the years 1937 and 1995, the Federal Courts had not overturned a single US regulation. Good God! No surprise to the readers of this blog.
I got to see Thomas DiLorenzo give a great speech on the Lincolnian nightmare we presently live in and what got us here. I also saw Larry Reed of the Foundation for Economic Education dismember and devour an unfortunate PhD Keynesian apologist who had deigned to defend the socialist policies of the RedDR machine in the 1930s and 1940s. One almost needed an apron because of the intellectual blood spatter.
My wife and adult children had come with me but the wife and daughter had little interest in the conference. I had strategically booked the Mandalay Bay to ensure my beloved bride would be amused while I was otherwise engaged at the festivities. I had the fortune of both my adult children meeting us in Vegas and my son, Kyle, was really excited by the opportunity to get the intellectual shot in the arm that the conference always delivers on. My favorite Congressional candidate, Brian Miller, was there and he got to meet some important folks like the future Presidential contender for the Grand Old Politburo, Gary Johnson, former two term libertarian governor of New Mexico. Both are that rara avis in the political candidacy of early 21st century America – genuine lovers of freedom and liberty. I am hoping that by 2012 their respective races will be confined to the west where they will run on new national tickets after America breaks apart and finally divides into its natural constituent parts.
All in all, a very satisfying opportunity to see the superstars of the liberty movement in America. The show booths were a great time to see new books on the market and meet some of the authors.
I am now a confirmed speaker at the Freedom Summit in Phoenix, AZ 4-6 December 2010 helmed by the energizer bunny of libertarianism, Ernie Hancock. My speech is entitled, “Secession and the End of America: The Coming deSovietization of the West”. This is the same weekend as the Small Arms Review Gun Show so the weekend will be the best combination of guns and freedom.
I will be posting the debate in audio as soon as I work through the technical issues of getting it posted for this very techie-challenged blogger.