On Saturday, Representative Justin Amash offered a number of important thoughts at the International Students for Liberty Conference. One that should not be overlooked is the inverse relationship between money and the fight for liberty.
As Amash pointed out, many legislators receive massive donations from PACs and special interest groups. These groups do so in order to lobby the government for subsidies, special tax breaks, and other favors. After all, companies have powerful incentives to enhance their wealth at the expense of the American people. And given that the benefits are so concentrated and the costs so widely dispersed, the public doesn’t even notice.
However, for principled legislators who oppose this corporate welfare (or crony capitalism if you prefer), political life is much harder. How many PACs exist to serve the public interest? After all, it is much harder to raise funds and to lobby when the end result does not lead to an appreciable increase in one’s own personal wealth.
Liberty candidates and causes routinely face this significant hurdle and thus this situation helps explain why government at all levels continues to grow. Although it is great to have leaders like Amash, it also helps explain why he and people like him are very much in the minority.
The same holds true for organizations. As an example, for the last year or so I have been attempting to create an organization to educate, motivate, and activate students at college campuses across Virginia. However, every time the issue is addressed, the question of funding remains unresolved. If anyone out there reading this post has any suggestions, please let me know.
Will the dream of increased liberty remain unfulfilled? Will liberty candidates be able to compete with the establishment? Will those who toil for the cause be required to do so without proper funding? Where’s the profit in liberty?