tv Heritage Foundation Cato Institute Interns Debate CSPAN August 14, 2018 9:19am-11:02am EDT
history c-span 3. >> next, summer interns from the cato institute and heritage foundation take part in a debate on libertarianism versus conservatism, topics include immigration, policy and the opioid epidemic. it's moderated by stephanie slade. it's an hour and 40 minutes. [applause] >> welcome to the heritage foundation. at this time please silence your phones and other electronics. and dr. holmes.
[applaus [applause] >> welcome, everybody. what a great event. really honored to be able to welcome all of you to the heritage foundation. this is an event that all of us have eagerly anticipated. the annual event of the heritage and cato intern debate. interns have been hard at work all summer, they have come to the end of this, of their time in washington and this debate makes a fitting capstone to the experiences that all of you have had this year. i want to thank everyone here for their attendance and for those that are viewing on-line, i understand that this is the first time perhaps even the first time ever that this event has been here at heritage so i want to welcome all of you, everyone from cato to the heritage foundation. i would especially like to thank all of our cato
colleagues to make this possible. mark howser the student program manager, katie ranville, the students coordinator and thank our moderator this evening, stephanie slade from "reason" magazine. of course, i'll welcome call-- all of you to heritage and cato. all of you involved in the debates and interns who have done much work and research and thought and preparation have gone in to make this event a great event. libertarians and conservatives advocate liberty and government ap free markets and sometimes these shared values lead libertarians and conservatives to similar conclusions about public policy and i think these similarities are significant and something that we should all recognize. but there are also differences in how each apply these philosophies to the policy issues that are facing our
nation. we are here this evening to investigate and to debate these principles from different angles, from different viewpoints, and from dinner frames of reference. there will be points scored. there will be arguments defended and refuted, and there will certainly be a lively exchange. and there will also be of course a discussion afterward about who won and who lost. and that proposition is, is libertarianism or conservatism the superior political philosophy. but our efforts here this evening are not all about policy or political philosophy or differences of opinions or who wins or loses. as we look across the landscape of public discourse there is a sense that the lines of civil free speech are hardening. in the news, college campuses and in social media. the debate seems no longer a
catalyst for individual intellectual growth, but instead for group confrontation. i think we are gathered here this evening to affirm our commitment from both heritage foundation and from cato, that the ideas na can be debated freely and vigorously and also can be done in a spirit of civility and in good fellowship. that the free exchange of ideas, of opinions of the right to express these opinions is the cornerstone of american public life. the great english poet john milton said give me the liberty to know, to utter and to argue freely according to conscience and to have these above all liberties. a reflectful exchange and debate provide both an opportunity to learn from others and also to sharpen one's own thinking, which, of course, are the hallmarks of a free and engaged and informed citizenry. now, i hope that all of you
enjoy tonight's debate. it's something that will, i'm sure, i -- allow us to strengthen and defend free speech and public discourse that i hope all of you will take back to your workplaces, to your schools and all of the friends and families that you have. the advocates of these principles wherever you and however you can, and know that these principles of free speech and freedom of thought will be on display here tonight, notwithstanding the differences that may have and how they interpret them. so, i wish all of you up here to have the very best of luck. i'd like to get started, but i want to also say, as i said to you in private, let the best philosophy win. [laughter] >> thank you very much. [applaus [applause]
>> thank you, dr. holmes. i do have a few notes to our audience before our debate begins. we will have a reception immediately following the conclusion of the debate in allison foy and on our rooftop. there will be ushers outside the auditorium who will guide you using stairs or elevators. we ask the audience members remain quiet during the durr ration of the event except for applause. we certainly share your enthusiasm for the ideas expressed, but be respectful to our panelists who are not professional debaters. however, there will be time for questions from the audience. wait to be called upon by the moderator. if you're viewing in our overflow, send questions to speakersheritage. and use a #lbc debate on twitter and instagram.
the address is on the screen. and there will be a survey e-mailed following the debate and give you a chance to look at what thoughts or exchanges were most interesting and who you ultimately believe won the debate. the name. debate, libertarianism versus conservatism, not heritage versus cato. bear this in mind as you think publicly about the debate. we'd like to add my gratitude to my colleagues, seminars, lectures, it, policy provisionses and communications and event planning with the logistics of the event and mark, katie, neil at mckenzie at cato. i regret to tell you as you probably already know our scheduled moderator charles cook from national review was unable to make it this evening due to an emergency. our thoughts are certainly with him this evening and we wish him all the best, but perhaps as a testament to the
popularity of this topic and importance of this debate, that we rather quickly found a moderator ready to meet the challenge. it is my pleasure this evening to introduce you to stephanie slade, the managing editor of "reason" magazine. in 2016 she was selected to the robert novac journalism fellowship. in 2013 she was named a finalist of a prize for journalism. professional she worked as a pollster, a speech writer, and a regular contributor to the u.s. news and world report. please join me in welcoming stephanie slade. [applaus [applause] >> all right, thank you so much for having me. i'm excited to be here. a few of you may have noticed that i'm not charlie cook. i can assure you that no one is more disappointed about that man me. he's brilliant and rather intimidating to try to fill his shoes, but i'll do my best
tonight. i got the position for debate support for libertarianism versus conservatism was open because the person previously scheduled couldn't make it. i wasn't that surprised they would approach me, on one hand i do identify as a libertarian, on the other hand virtually all of my colleagues, i actually go to church. exceptional for that reason. so that makes me basically the tok token conservative around there. tonight's debate will take the form of five sections, there will be first introductory remarks and responses from both teams. second will be a topical debate, so i've selected four topics and each team will debate, discuss those topics. the third section will be persuasion, each team will try to convince you of why the other side should be-- should come over to the dark side, as it were. the fourth section will be question and answer and so that
will be a chance for you all to weigh in and i'll take questions from the audience and for people who e-mail questions, they might be watching from on-line. and then, each side will have a chance to make their concluding remarks. so first up tonight is going to be our conservatives, to give their opening statement and then we'll move along to the libertarian and invite you up to the podium at this time. >> thank you all for coming. [laughter] >> once told a parable about a professor that owned a small canary. the professor thought i think this canary would be happier outside the cage. the canary flew out and around the room and then he flew out the window and was promptly
eaten by a hungrier and bigger bird. the point of the story, just because a man is liberated from his restraints does not necessarily make him free. conservativ conservatives and libertarians share a love of freedom, opposition to the regulatory state and support of rights for all individuals. where we disagree, and where the crux of this debate lies is over the nature and extent of that freedom. the request he of tonight's debate is not should we desire freedom, but rather, what kind of freedom should we desire? we conservatives think we have a few answers. conservatism as a political philosophy is animated by the preamble to our constitution. the goal of government is to secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our
posterity. now, this historic phrase teaches us two important lessons. first, not all liberty leads to blessings. the case of the canary. only liberty does that. and secondly, we have a duty to preserve liberty for our descendents. but if we were to pass the torch of liberty from us to our children and from our children to their children, our society must promote things like personal responsibility, the value of faith and family, and positive duties to others in our communities. we can rob the future of their freedom by both overregulation and excess. and it's this belief that separates us perhaps so distinctly from our libertarian colleagues. libertarianism is an idea that seeks to maximize government and freedom in so far as it protects the freedom. the sum and substance is, let me do what i want and i'll let
you do what you want. it's simple and alluringly self-indulgen self-indulgence. french reformer was beheaded by french revolutionaries in the 18th century and went to the guillotine with the famous words, oh, liberty, what crimes have been committed in your time. the cry rings through today. in the name of liberty, laws protecting the individual family were torn down leading to intergenerational poverty. in the name of liberty, abortion access was universalized leading to the death of 60 million innocent children and in the name of libertarian, drugs spread from one corner of the country to the next, destroying individuals and communities. this is the problem with the libertarian project. not that they desire social destruction, but that their quest for liberty knows know
moderation. one said that order was the first need of the soul and there fore the first need of society. protecting the kind of society where liberty can thrive. it was ordered liberty that was the bedrock principle, that secured the last 250 years of american prosperity. and it's a principle that should be neither forgotten nor forsaken. thank you. [applaus [applause] >> at this time i'd like to invite the libertarian team to give their opening remarks. >> we would like to thank the heritage foundation for hosting this debate.
a firm belief in the necessity of individual rights and limited government animates the conservatives and libertarians. in times of peril, a friendly cooperation has joined the two in common defense of freedom yet the libertarian fears he fights not besides an ally, but a friend of convenience. the libertarian must cost a suspicious eye over the conservative's freedom when it's so often forgotten in practice. it's not an heirloom to be pawned for either ends, it's the guiding principle, fundamental to america's material and progress which no libertarian will abandon. a simple progress invokes the libertarian's distrust. conservatives forget the primary importance of liberty under the freedoms of its mresing. in the democracy enjoying a
prominence that crystallizes them into custody. persuaded to elevate these in value with competition with liberty. aware that the subordination of rights to other principles is tyranny, conservatives endorse the naive fiction that the moral rejection of drugs can receive political priority without danger to freedom. yet, if at the expense of our rights, we bend too far toward a lesser principle. we threaten all of our values. but we compromise the support that guarantees them. thus, the conservative who makes liberty, but one goal among many introduces the tyranny he so zealously disavowed. he suppresses liberties at home and imposes his will abroad. libertarians, like conservatives, appreciate the virtues from which, as a foundation, americans have raised a great nation. the courage of of our soldiers,
the genius of our scholars, the quiet strength of our families. but we understand that these virtues cannot survive under the specter of despotism. the libertarian philosophy begins with the priority of individual rights. libertarianism holds that each may, respecting the rights of other, can determine his or her own freedom during the course. and latches the door against tyranny. conservatives who believes that imposing certain values by force is a means of preserving liberty, should attend to the consequences of their policies. instead of peaceful foreign relations grounded in free exchange, free movement and national defense, conservatives offer the gladiatorial speckle of arms. their wars for the expansion of liberty are the practice of
jacobions women and minorities, that they must look at the scope of propulsion. they continue to endorse with individual sex, end of life decisions. tonight we present the alternative to the attitude. that's a free society. the libertarian society. in it, recognition of the equal rights of each citizen forms a rampart against tyranny. the individual underserved by the grasping hand of government pursues his aspirations and forms his convictions in personal safety and peaceful tolerance offist neighbor's like endeavors. tested in the open competition of ideas, driven forward for the reward of priority rights, distributes its fruits, harmonizing the success of the citizens and its community.
we believe that this society and with each individual together with his fellow citizen is free to make up his life, the most he can to appeal to conservatives as well. therer to, conservatives rally again to the cause of liberty, together we can restore the free society, thank you. [applaus [applause] >> the conservative team will now give a two minute rebuttal. >> so our libertarian friends just accused us to be the ones who have forsaken the cause of liberty, but i think we would contend that it's conservatism that allows us to get the best of liberty rather than pitfalls. i'm afraid their' a caricature with des posism and imperialalism in a two minute
stretch. the request for liberty is respectable and it was largely individual choice and innovation with economic growth, which conservatives agree with. what libertarians don't acknowledge, what they call personal choices afternoon metastasize into catastrophes, opioids, a legal drug i must point out. that's not only destroyed individuals, it's destroyed regions of the country like appalachia. when conservatives say they can do something about that they say, well, that's big government and turn it against you and turn it into tyranny some day and there's a risk of power being abused, we conservatives were the first to say that when we wrote the constitution. but liberty, liberty can be just as dangerous. james madison said that freedom is threatened equally by abuses
of power and abuses of liberty. and remember, we're not just talking about this generation. the licenses of this generation can be the fetters of the next. which is why it's the conservative who doesn't dislike liberty. we want to order it and direct it so that today's people and our descendents can enjoy the liberty that leads to prosperity rather than slavery. >> and now we'll hear a two minute rebuttal from the libertarians. >> so, i think our conservative friends do an a disservice by calling us anarchists. we believe in the rule of law albeit we think that the country should have much, much fewer laws, but it's not synonymous with anarchy. libertarianism is the belief
that people should live the way they want so long as they don't harm another human being or infringe upon the rights of another human beings. have conservatives helped for all they talk about? think about the long-term tickets of conservatism in this country. do we have prosperity by expanding the size of our government and nsa taking more of our privacy rights. we're giving away rights future generations wouldn't be able to enjoy. and i'm glad the conservatives brought up the war on drugs, the failure of a bigger government policy that they defend. harms of opioid use are because the government made opioids illegal and created a black market. that's why you see 50% of opioid deaths of because of fentanyl contamination because
the government moves it into the black market and that's bad for prosperity and bad for community. what is also bad to prohibit or for the government to attempt to prohibit vices is not good for prosperity, taking away more of our rights and is ineffective. it creates more violence by creating disorder. libertarianism actually protects liberty because we understand that this is a cherished gift given to us by the founding fathers and conservatives have abandoned the found principles by expanding the size of government that have taken away our rights and made it more unsafe. thank you. [applaus [applause] >> okay. next up the point of the topical debate. we're going to start with the libertarians for this one. they'll have three minutes to answer-- to respond, and then three
minutes, one minute and one minute. the first topic that i'd like to hear from the libertarians on is this: civil society must be protected with prohibitions on individual vices. >> liberty should be the primary principle when it comes to politics. we believe there's more to life than liberty. a sense of responsibility. we're skeptical of government dictating what it believes to be correct morals and values. libertarians and conservatives believe that government gets many issues wrong. alcohol prohibition, interracial marriage and government overreach. and yet when it comes to drugs, prostitution, and libertarians understand that trying to impose such things have cost.
conservatives fail to realize that curbing these doesn't protect civil society, but only harms it when taking away our rights as well. our personal believe-- people we disagree with have individual rights as well. using government to prohibit activities is an unjust use of authority. this sets up the precedence taking away liberties that future generations won't enjoy. the only reprehensible activities are those that infringe on the rights of others, not socially harmful pie a bureaucrat or upstart councilman. and you agree that it should be punishable, but the next might think that sugary drinks is something that should be curbed. and those who murder, steal and rape, but not those who engage in private and cone sensual activities.
we must look at when the government looks at vice incorrectly. lenny bruce said two swear words in a club in 1961 and was arrested for obscenity. there was when there was racial injustice and sodomy was a felony. moreover, attempting to prohibit vices is a vain effort. people engage in activities anyway and the attempt to prohibit creates a world that's more violent and oppressive. violence hurts society more than burning a flag does. and drug to the black market and making prostitution illegal makes sex workers with no legal recourse. and what you considered vicious on the black market than exist in an open legal market. in order to live in a free society we must be act to tolerate the activities that may not align with our moral values. we must remember that the government gets things wrong.
by accepting this, we will achieve a freer and more just society for us and for future generations. thank you. [applaus [applause] >> conservatives. >> in george washington's farewell address you can find this statement. religion and morality are the essential pillars of civil society. both libertarians and conservatives understand that government needs to prohibit certain conduct such as murder in order to protect civil society. the problem is that libertarians have ignored how law shapes culture and how culture shapes beliefs and actions. it seems libertarianism assumes the virtues of character that sustain a free market, are spontaneous and can be satisfied by mere self-interest. we recognize the free market
teaches certain values, among which are self-reliance, thriftiness and politeness, however, the economy on its own cannot fulfill the goals of the political community. let me be clear. conservatism does not say that all vices should be prohibited, rather the question conservatism urges us to ask is at what point do individual vices reverberate as a political community. i apologize, is this my three-minute statement or one minute response? >> three minutes. >> that's what i thought. i was a little confused by the time. my apologies. so, i ask the question to-- just a second ago, what we want to know at what point do individual vices reverberate throughout the political community, that's the question for us. for instance, if i decide that living is too great a burden and i take my own life, i think we could all agree, that is a tremendous tragedy. however, that does not mean the government should step in and try to ban or regulate
everything that could be use today commit suicide, but, if the medical community gets involved, and the art of this is turned into the art of killing, the government would step in and cheapen human life on a societal scale. if someone decides to go on a drug-fueled vision quest in the mojave desert there's argument to be made the government need not get involved. but when you have hundreds of thousands of people, particularly young people, destroying their lives, and families through meth and heroin, how can it be anything, but callus to continue insisting no level government has responsibility to intervene. a philosopher said release man from the context of community and you get not freedom or rights, but intolerable
aloneness. and subjection to demonic fears and passions. society and in a celebrated line is a partnership of the dead, the living and the unborn. libertarianism pretends that borders are up spontaneously, but conservatism understands frt kind of civilization that we leff was built painfully over much trial and error over the centuries. koichl conservatism is the only that can brought a self-governing society that can thrive across generations. that's why our great american heritage is a conservative heritage. thank you. [applause] now for a one-moint
rebuttal from the libertarians. >> liberty preserves our special society and preserves the institutions that the government isn't involved in, such as the family, marriage, religion, et cetera. when government interferes in these realms, they are the consequences of often disastrous. take the laws, for example, that banned interracial marriage. this is an example of the government trying to curb a vice by saying it two people of different races couldn't marry. why, if we couldn't trust the government then, why would we trust the government now? this is an example of many things that infringes upon the rights of others and also conservatives create more violence by attempting to prohibit things such as drugs. the reason that so many people are having their lives changed by heroin and meth, these products are more unsafe on the black market. this is because when you can't have this in a legal market,
they are more likely to be contaminated and this is why they're more overdoses. out of time. thank you. >> and now, one minute rebuttal from the conservatives. >> a main point of my libertarian colleagues' arguments was that the government should only prevent individuals from not harming one another. i'm glad they brought that up. because if no level of government can coerce any positive duties upon individuals, then my question is, do parents have the legal obligation to feed their children? because i know the founder of cato, didn't think so and argued in a libertarian society parents own their children and therefore should be able to buy and sell them on the open market. these positions illustrate how little true libertarianism actually cares about the moral
character necessary for a free society and they claim that conservatives or really big government leftists in disguise, but conservatism does share libertarianism's skeptical of intergovernment economy especially on this the level. the founder recognized the proper role for government especially state and local in the regulation of vices to the public morality and i don't think anyone here would call the founders sadists. thank you. [applaus [applause] >> for the next topic we're going to switch things up a little bit and start over here on my left. and the prompt that you'll be responding to is restraint should be the guiding principle of u.s. foreign policy. >> thank you. conservatives agree that
restraint should be a guiding principle of foreign policy because conservatives are decent realists. conservatism recognizes and shares libertarianism's concern about the tendency of a robust national strength to strengthen the government. but we recognize we must have a balance between maximizing freedom at home and protecting citizens from threats beyond our borders because in an age of globalized threats, we require u.s. commitments abroad. our could i have foreign policy, over dogma. national security is not a single player game. while history can conform to solutions, it can never provide a road map. that's where statesmanship is required. we have to take other nation's actions into account, which means there's no predictable
formula. our libertarian colleagues would agree that decentralized. no policy is that more true than foreign policy. equity before us tonight, what does restraint look like in the world. libertarians would say the u.s. needs to reduce its presence in the world. never can it tell you how much. guiding principles, measures to prevent it from becoming to tyranny and how to respond to threats the founders could never have conceived of. the enduring challenge for conservatives is now to maintain the flexibility required to make national security reflective without hijacking it for political endsment we believe the way to meet that chance is through prudence not through rigid axioms that cannot be expected to guide foreign policy in a globalized and constantly
changing world. nato is a great example of such a prudent policy. it protected europe and by extension, the united states, during the cold war. today it serves as a ball -- and some say that principles can be understood by kindergarteners. hate to break it to them, but foreign policy is harder than kindergarten. and foreign policy is up to the task of keeping america safe. thank you. [applaus [applause] >> three minutes for the libertarians. >> thomas jefferson's pledge in his first inaugural address was to create peace, commerce and friendship with all nations entangling alliances with none. as libertarians we share thomas
jefferson's vision and believed a restrained foreign policy is the best to strengthen our country. the united states is not more powerful when involved in unnecessary conflicts. we save lives, money, and preserve our own freedom when we do so. we are not naive passivistpassi when there's a compelling national security at stake, we know how to pay for it, we have precise mission and public support and we're sure we've exhausted all other means. under these criteria, the invasion of afghanistan, world war ii and the barberry states were justifiable. the iraq and vietnam wars are not. conservatives mistakenly think that constraint and military strength is the solution. the opposite is true. when they're fighting half a dozen foolhardy wars without a
mission we're weaker. if russia and china poses a threat to us. do we want to be spread thin with sources depleted or a strong military ready to defend ourselves. in addition we must consider the costs of the current u.s. foreign policy. the defense budget costs $700 million a year. we spend more on our military than the next seven countries combined and this contributes an astronomical national debt that makes us weaker not stronger. there are nonfiscal costs as well. we've lost countless soldiers to avoidable wars. we owe it to our troops to give them missions that are not only defined and winnable, but have the right to know that the missions they serve in are necessary as well. we should never forget that the people at home forget the threats of war. the national security agency, product of the cold war as u.s.
military -- they've lost under big brother's high. tsa, patriot act won't go back know pandora's box when the war ends. our children and grandchildren will never know the liberties that we gave away. we're not the beacon of democracy when we impose the values that can only emerge organically. the best way to show the strengths of our country is wielding when necessary. the united states ought not to go abroad into-- in search of monsters to destroy. we should be aware of the freedom of all and a beacon of liberty by setting this example and having our strength in foreign policy. thank you. [applause] the >> now to rebuttal from the conservatives. >> while our libertarian colleagues seem to want two
things, a smaller budget for our military, but also greater readiness to meet threats such as china and russia. the reality-- the claim that we don't need a cold war sized military, the question, look at the multiplicity of threats that we face today. the idea that a weak military emaciated by obama-style sequestration is callus and wonder whether the libertarians pushed to the edge would rather save money than lives. conservatism can provide a real foreign policy solution because it allows for flexible responses for complex threats and rooted in the principle of peace through strength. thank you. [applause] >> and now we'll hear a one minute rebuttal from the libertarians. >> greater military readiness will be achieved by making the military smaller than it is. we are more powerful, i repeat,
we are more powerful when we are more-- when we are ready to respond to conflicts that immediately threaten us as opposed to fighting a dozen wars that have no relevance to us whatsoever. this policy would save lives. the assertion that we want to save money instead of lives is absurd because we're the ones advocating for restraint. we're the ones advocating that we should not be sending more men and women into battle if they truly do not need to be there. we will be a safer country if we have a truly restrained foreign policy. we do not need the size of the military in the united states to be the size it's been and they say that it's not real, but the fact of the matter is we're more powerful than all of the other militaries and we would still do well to defend ourselves and our liberties by practicing more restraint. thank you.
[applaus [applause]... >> a limited legal framework for physician-assisted death allows terminally ill individuals to end their lives with dignity. to force these individuals to endure unnecessary suffering is an exceptional power for the government to assume over the lives of its citizens, and as such, it requires an exceptional justification. one which demonstrates that overwhelming harm to society would follow without the violation of individual rights. our country, which already guarantees patients' rights to refuse life-sustaining treatment and request sedation to unconsciousness without nutrition, will struggle to justify according to this standard the prohibition of similar actions by which patients may end their lives. in contrast to the dutch model,
a reasonable law restricts physician-assisted death to terminally ill adults of sound mind whose consent is verified by multiple requests and whose medication is self-administered. state laws exist in our country that, despite imperfections, substantially reflect these principles, and they have retained them unchanged for as many as 20 years. under these laws, rather than a culture of abuse, we have seen a small number of participants. in oregon, less than four-tenths of a percent those dying annually. the america of permissive european-style euthanasia remains a mirage. a humane end of life regime with safeguards against misuse is, as current experience proves, not a regime of life, but a regime of desperation. dangerous objects are in every home in america, and those who cannot end their lives in deliberate comfort will rashly avail themselves of these crude means of self-destruction to the distress of their families. far better to give them a
structured method that confirms their prognosis, enjoins their reflection and identifies coercive pressures. patients, under a system whose safeguards require them to confront the gravity of their choice, can be certain that they have made a thoughtful decision. indeed, a significant proportion of those prescribed lethal doses under state laws choose not to end their lives. far better as well to protect doctors who today must choose between their duty to alleviate the suffering of their patients and their duty to the law. the legalization of physician-assisted death because not compel doctors to prescribe lethal doses, nor should it permit them to recommend self-administration. it merely allows doctors the option to advise patients who ask of all possible remedies to their distress including the most humane, least traumatic way of ending their lives. the libertarian position embraces the dignity of human life by insisting that in our compassion for our neighbors, we take seriously their sufferings
and desires. anything less is the paternalistic reduction of the human being to an object to be managed rather than a person deserving of empathy. libertarians offer understanding to their fellow citizens faced with the tragic choice between agony and death, whichever path they choose. thank you. [applause] >> three minutes on the same prompt to the conservatives. >> for centuries one of the foundational principles of medicine was do no harm. but libertarians are content to see this line erased from the hippocratic oath in favor of their favorite substitute, a market system, a free exchange of goods and services. except here the good is death, and the service is euthanasia. no such market should exist. a society that sanctions such conduct cannot hope to long maintain its respect for human
dignity. this is why we conservatives believe in the inherent value of life from conception to natural death and oppose physician-assisted suicide. there's two primary reasons why rejecting our traditional respect for life is so dangerous. and the first is that physician-assisted suicide inevitably devolves into death by coercion. the arguments presented for physician-assisted suicide inevitably break down in practice. now, the libertarian position just advanced is an interesting one because they said it's about consent. people should be able to choose this if they're in agony. but then why, as they suggest, do we need to limit it to end of life cases or the terminally ill? if it's just about consent, why can't anybody choose to die? in fact, that's just what happened in the netherlands last year when a woman, who was 40 years old, elected for suicide. she had tonights which is a tingling in the ear that is 100% treatable, and she had two children who she left orphaned.
eventually, the argument start to fade and people start caring more about quality of life. but, of course, when it's all about quality of life, who gets to make that call? and even when you say the individual does, that also isn't how it works in practice. again in the netherlands, some studies estimate up to 50% of physician-assisted suicides happened without explicit consent, including a dutch woman who was literally pinned to an operating table last year as she screamed, "i don't want to die," and was lethally injected by her family. when life stops becoming meaningful for life's sake, consolidations -- considerations like the cost of hiving and the quality of life become elevated. and this is why, secondly, the road to -- it erodes the dignity of the human person. the reason that hasn't happened in the united states yet like it has in europe and the few states that have legalized it is because of us, conservatives, who have advocated for a right to life from birth to death and
haven't accepted this transformation of the community that is supposed to heal and to dispensers of death. inevitably, when society sanctions physician-assisted suicide, it invites a cost benefit analysis into the worth and the dignity of a human human person, especially when they're going through receiverring. and it's not -- suffering. and it's not a slippery slope before society starts see the elderly and even children as a burden. society shouldn't empower doctors to end patients' lives. [applause] >> one-minute rebuttal, please. >> we are not the netherlands, and we are not sliding toward the dutch. [laughter] laws in oregon for
physician-assisted death were passed in 1997. hawaii passed a law this year allowing physician-assisted death. guess what? it looks a lot like oregon. if the conservatives want to pat themselves on the back for insuring that hawaii passed a similar law, that's just fine with me. the point is, americans have different values than europeans, and they don't seem to be changing. we don't support euthanizing anybody, and i don't think you do either. moreover, we are not suggesting that this is some sort of cost benefit analysis that the family should do for other individuals. that is why we have safeguards, and that is why we advocate safeguards. even the faulty safeguards we have now are not doing a terribly poor job of protecting individuals. those who are surveyed that participate in physician-assisted death regimes far and away respond most often that they have made their decision because they have lost the ability to enjoy their lives. it is a far greater percentage than those who say they feel like a burden to their family or
feel financial pressure. >> thank you. one-minute response? >> the libertarian reformers in the netherlands didn't pitch the idea of physician-assisted suicide with we're going to kill your children and elderly against their consent. it started with an argument from consent. we want people who are suffering to be able to choose to tie the way they -- to die the way they want to. the problem is that almost inevitably slides. it almost inevitably turns into a slippery slope, because there is a difference between refusing treatment -- which is currently allowed in the united states -- and active killing or allowing the medical community to participate in a person choosing to kill themselves. because the latter gives medical practitioners a new ability and something new that they can recommend. for example, in belgium we learned just last week that children aged 9 and 11 were given lethal injections. 99 and 11 -- 9 and 11.
belgium adopted the assisted -- didn't adopt the assisted suicide laws because they thought that was going to happen. conservatives insist that we don't make the devil's bargain now. [applause] >> the fourth and final prompt that we'll debate tonight, and this one will go, let's see, who's up next? to my -- to the left here, to my left, to your right -- [laughter] the conservatives -- [laughter] your right. immigration reform should start with the enforcement and implementation of current laws. >> speaking at the united nations, the president said: our government's first duty is to its people, to our citizens, to
serve their needs, to insure their safety, to preserve their rights and to defend their values. conservativism agrees with this understanding of government. and consequently, recognizes two goals in regards to u.s. immigration policy that has historically governed our nation. first is maintaining and enhancing the unique culture of the u.s., and the second is preserving the public safety of american citizens. to accomplish these goals, therefore, conservativism demands we enforce our current immigration laws in order to stem illegal immigration. make no mistake, conservativism is pro-immigration. we recognize the work ethic of many immigrants, both past and present. but illegal immigration damages our prosperity by threatening the safety of our citizens and undermining american society by replacing the melting pot with the salad bowl.
in 2008 tony bologna and his two teenage sons were brutally murdered by an ms-13 gang member with two prior violent felony convictions. even though he was an illegal immigrant, he had never been deported. and this isn't the only such story. a recent texas department of public safety report shows that out of 245,000 criminal aliens incarcerated between 2011 and 2018, 66% were in the country illegally. they were convicted of 600 murders, 30,000 assaults, 3300 sexual assaults, 38,000 drug crimes and 274 kidnappings. this is why the constitutional duty to enforce our current immigration laws is essential to protecting american lives and american values. we continue to be the most generous country in the world when it comes to immigration, allowing in more than one million illegal immigrants per
year out of a nation of 330 million. but nobody has the right to be an american. it's up to us, the sovereign people, to decide who we want to accept. and that is why the constitution explicitly grants the federal government the power over naturalization. we cannot ignore the damage that illegal immigration has done to american culture. a hundred years ago we assimilated large numbers of immigrants through an education system dedicated to americanization. but what happens now that we live in a town where not only is assimilation not practiced, but actively disyoungerred by -- discouraged? conservativism understands that addressing the problem of assimilation is critical, otherwise we risk facing the same threat -- or same fate as europe. it's just like president reagan said, "a nation that cannot control its borders is not a nation." thank you. [applause]
>> three minutes. >> the typical immigrant sets out for our country because he believes in the american experiment and his place in it. he is, on average, more educated than his former countrymen, yet receives lower wages than his future countrymen. but he often joins a community of other immigrants facilitating football and cultural -- financial and cultural assimilation. he is also more likely to start a business than natives, more likely to innovate, and within a decade or so, he will earn the wage of natives. ambition, community and entrepreneurship propel them to success. nevertheless, our current laws are anti-immigrant, stifling free movement. waiting lists today are millions long, and visa eligibility rules would exclude most americans' ancestors. punished law-abiding applicants, interject state control into the labor market. some conservatives sport support
our exclusionary laws. we share concern for responsible citizenship, but immigrants are not the threat conservatives imagine. by standard measures, immigrants assimilate well. a large share learn english, and more than 90% of their children do. intermarriage rates with natives are are high too. direct measures are equally encouraging. surveyed immigrants share similar views on free speech, wealth redistribution, health policy and crime spending with non-immigrants. this is no surprise. american culture has reached many potential immigrants, and the self-reliance, entrepreneurship and innovation of those who do immigrate demonstrate their pre-assimilation into this culture. creativity is good for growth, and immigrants are responsible for a quarter of new businesses and patents. in an era of low fertility rates, immigration also provides workers for domestic businesses, increasing production and demand. from immigration we have more customers and more goods. this is because immigrants do
not simply replace natives. even skeptical researchers find positive effects of immigration on wages. immigrants add to the economy because their skills complement native ones. with freer movement, immigrants can choose destinations that need their abilities -- that meet their a abilities. this free market intuition verified by decades of empirical analysis is now economic consensus. despite favorable economic evidence, some conservatives oppose liberalized immigration on security grounds. libertarians, too, value security and accept background checks. however, data show immigrants -- legal and illegal -- commit less violent crime than natives, and from 1975-2015, the chance of dying in a foreign-born terrorist attack was less than three hundred-thousandths of a percent.
no good can come from perpetuating bad laws that only degrades our legal institutions. liberalized immigration is a step toward freedom, innovation and prosperity. thank you. [applause] >> a one-minute rebuttal, please. >> to be honest with you, i really do think that taylor actually made a lot of good points in terms of what immigration's been able to do for this country, legal immigration. and i started by saying that we are pro-immigration. but i have to question whether he answered the prompt which is that illegal -- immigration reform should start with the enforcement and implementation of current laws. and that was my focus. because illegal immigrants cheerily do not respect american values in breaking the law to come here. and the question isn't whether or not illegals commit crimes at a higher or lower rates than normal americans, but rather
that none of these crimes would have occurred at all if our immigration laws were not -- or were properly enforced. what conservativism advocates is the rule of law. what conservativism advocates is enforcing our current laws to encourage and reward legal immigrants, not to put them on the same level as those who skirt the system in order to come here illegally. and we promote, more than anything, we promote economic development but also promoting and continuing the greatness of american culture through proper assimilation. thank you. [applause] >> and a final one-minute rebuttal. >> indeed, we believe we have answered the prompt. there is no way to say that our current laws are pro-immigrant, and conservatives who support them cannot themselves be pro-immigrant. moreover, to argue for them on the basis of the rule of law is to argue that the enforcement of bad laws increases respect for law. that is ridiculous. moreover, the conservatives suggest that we have a
constitutional duty toen enforce these laws. i would ask them to find in the constitution the words "immigration and customs enforcement." [laughter] i can tell them they not find it. -- they will not find it. we have rules allowed by the constitution for naturalization, and it is true that we should limit citizenship to those that show they can join productively in our national life, who have joined our culture. but i would ask them if they believe that illegal immigrants who risk every day being grabbed and thrown from the life that they have chosen in this country and that they have -- and to be taken from there and taken back to their country which they have sol haven tearily left do not value america. >> thank you both. [applause] for the fourth section of the debate, we're going to dial up the persuasion a little bit
more, so we're going to start with the conservatives this time. and i'm going to ask somebody from the conservative team to come up to the podium and to answer the following question: why should libertarians be conservative? >> look, my pitch is pretty simple . you really love liberty, be a conservative. [laughter] look, i understand the libertarian impulse. human freedom is a beautiful thing, and big government is usually a threat to it. but i can't speak for every individual who calls themselves a conservative, but conservativism as a political philosophy certainly desires freedom. but conservatives also understand something additional and essential. unfettered autonomy, when abused, can be just as harmful as authoritarianism. not just to the common good, but
to the liberty that we prized in the first place. this is why we believe as conservatives that government has a limited but important role in ordering liberty. just as we thwart abuse of power through the checks and balances of the constitution, we thwart abuses of liberty through the rule of law. and i think there are two implications of this reality that i'll ask my libertarian friends to consider. the first is that this is why social issues, so-called, are political issues. many libertarians recoil from conservativism because they accuse us of, quote-unquote, legislating morality. forgetting that all law legislates morality from prohibitions on murder to protections of rights. those are laws based on moral claims and understandings. the question has never been will the law legislate morality but, rather, what morality will the law legislate. in answering this question, conservatives have understood
the impact that individual choices have on the political community. the only moral limits that libertarians would impose on such liberty is the nonaggression principle. the problem is, is that many choices may not directly threaten property but still affect others' freedom in more subtle but no less pernicious ways. those who are pro-choice deny freedom to the unborn. those who are addicted to drugs burden the freedom of their families. and those who have crossed the border to commit crimes have sometimes stolen the freedom of their victims forever. this is why de tocqueville once called freedom an art. what he meant is that politics is a difficult and creative balance between limiting some choices so that freedom on the whole can prosper. secondly, politics is more than just economics. many of my libbertarian friends -- libertarian friends are very excellent economists.
including, as i understand, taylor over here. but economics can only do so much. libertarians fall prey to the hammer problem which is when all you have is a hammer, everything kind of looks like a nail. they, wielding the hammer of free markets in the china shop of civil society, threaten the viability of the entire enterprise. economics can tell you how a market will act, but it can't tell you if there should be a market in the first place. should there be a market for prostitution? for elective death? for child pornography? those are moral and political questions upon which the health of our republic depends. hayek once said that tradition and convention make liberty possible. he didn't mean just any old tradition like no-shave november or not changing your pants during the playoffs. he meant morality and civility. put simply, even the idea of libertarianism is a luxury made possible by generations of
conservativism. those who hope the maximize freedom for ourselves and our descendants should join the conservative team. the conservative emphasis on ordered liberty and civil society is not meant to detract from the value of liberty. it is precisely because we value liberty that we insist on them. thank you. [applause] >> and now i'd like to invite up the libertarians to answer the reverse prompt, which is why should conservatives with be libertarians. >> in 1975 conservative hero ronald reagan said, "i believe the very heart and soul of conservativism is libertarianism." many american conservatives were
drawn to conservativism because of its rhetoric about freedom and individualism. reagan became one of the most beloved presidents for his promises to defeat communism and make the government small, not because of his support for gun control. few were attracted to william f. buckley for his arguments supporting segregation, but because he was a fierce critic of leftist authoritarianism. both sides have claimed they represent small government, free markets and individualism, but at the end of the day, libertarianism is the only consistent political philosophy being represented on this stage. take reagan's quote again, "i believe the very heart and soul of conservativism is libertarian ism." would there still with be a place for someone with reagan's free trade principles in a conservative movement which is now dominated by president trump and his trade warsesome what about the time when george h.w. bush and ronald reagan debated over which one of them supported mexican immigration more in
1980? we have the heritage foundation's foremost conservative say that of all living politicians his favorite is donald trump for being a courageous hero for free speech principles. president trump, a man who once advocate for throwing flag burners in jail and revoking their citizenship and who calls the press the enemy of the people. anthony scalia would rightly identify this as pure applesauce. [laughter] libertarianism, on the other hand, is guided by the simple principle that individuals have the liberty to live their lives however they want as long as they do not infringe upon the rights of others. conservativism is riddled with inconsistencies. conservatives will rush to the defense of property rights when it comes to the religious baker, but many won't when it comes to social media platforms. conservatives take these interventionist approaches with the goal of preserving liberty, but what has that looked like? the implementation of the patriot act which has violated privacy rights and will continue
to violate those of our children and their children. it looks like countless unnecessary wars that are launched in the name of freedom and predicting strategic interests but end up draining our treasury and making new enemies that our children will have to fight. it looks like spending more than $1 trillion on the war on drugs which compounds the inherent risks of drug use and contributes to the national debt that no generation a may be able to pay off. conservatives like to paint libertarianism as a radical philosophy that seeks to uproot all tradition, attempting to lump all libertarians with murray rothbard and accusing us of thinking child pornography of fine, both of which things are not true, not realizing that their intellectual forefathers all had much more respect for libertarianism than they do. when one looks at the events of the 20th century critically, libertarians have been right all along. countless unnecessary and harmful military interventions have failed, moral panics about
homosexuality and rock music were unfounded, and capitalism and individual rights have suck suck -- have succeeded. ask yourself seriously if you are more inclined to libertarianism than you may have thought previously. there may have been a difference between what you thought conservativism represented and is what it actually represented. thomas jefferson said, "a wise government shall resustain men from -- restrain men from injuring one another." if you are truly and consistently devoted to the principles of small government and individualism, know that you are free to join a movement that fights to secure your rights, your neighbor's rights and your children's rights from a tyrannical government whether it leans right or left. thank you. [applause] >> thank you to both teams for that. that was great.
this is the part of the night when we open up the floor to questions. so i understand that there are, there's at least one microphone that's going to be coming around. if i call on you, please wait for the microphone. i also have a couple of questions that have come in via e-mail. the important thing is to remember that for a sentence to be a question, it has to have a question mark at the end of it. [laughter] and i know that, because i'm an editor. [laughter] if you say more than about one and a half sentences without getting to the question mark, you're not following the rules. do we have any questions? >> the war on terror started 17 years ago. how would you grade it? >> is this for anyone? both sides? >> either side. start with the conservatives. the war on terror and how would you grade the past 17 years. >> did you want like a letter
grade? do you want like a thumbs up or thumbs down? [laughter] >> to be honest with you, for the united states remarkably well. since 9/11 there has been no comparable-sized terror attacks. we look at europe where they have a considerably less stringent foreign policy, they value their national security a lot less, they have open borders, and the number of terror attacks seem to be endless in terms of what we hear about. conservativism, on the other hand, a conservative foreign policy, we're not going to argue over every little point of history or argue every single decision by a president if he has an r next to his name should be taken in line with the entire tradition of conservativism. but we will argue that a conservative foreign policy and active, strong role in the world has resulted in, for instance, under this administration the complete destruction the of isis. a foreign policy that keeps america strong helps preserve peace. thank you.
[applause] >> can each of you address the question of unfettered corporate cronyism and whether it amounts to social welfare for the rich and whether it constitutes true -- whether it generaltizes a true free -- jeopardizes a true free market economy. >> let's start with the libertarians. >> well, obviously, any sort of government support, subsidization or corrupt legislation in favor of business is, yes, something that libertarians would not support, and it is something we have done a lot to combat since the gilded age, and is we've seen a lot of improvement since then because of our work against it. it's something that we continue to fight against. >> yeah. i mean, cronyism is a problem. although i would point out probably that from the perspective of like the general
public, often times especially when it comes to large corporations, we have a tendency to both demonize them and to the think that they have monopolies a lot quicker than they do and that through cronyism and other ways people have cornered the market when they actually haven't that. the best example of that is apple and the iphone. people were genuinely saying there's no legitimate pet tore -- competitor to the iphone until samsung made, arguably, a better phone. and now they have about equal market share. the market can work a lot of these problems out by itself, and keu6s believe that just as -- and conservatives believe that just as much as think about arertarians do. >> -- libertarians do. >> go right here. >> to the libertarians, the conservatives mentioned murray rothbard and his quote that the law may not properly compel a parent to feed a child or keep it alive. do you hold that cato's founder was speaking on behalf of the libertarian ethic? thank you.
>> allow us to publicly disavow murray rothbard. >> cato was founded by three different people, and they cut ties with murray rothbard. and also we don't represent the cato institute, we represent libertarianism. but, no, i'm not a murray rothbard supporter, taylor isn't. i can't think of a single person at the cato institute who is, so, no. we think that parents should feed their children. [laughter] [applause] >> thank you all very much for being here. for the libertarian side, you all have been critical of american governmental policy. social, foreign and immigration policies. can you name another country that better exemplifies these libertarian ideals, preferably one that doesn't, preferably one that doesn't live under the american military umbrella. >> well, the american military
umbrella is just about everywhere you would like to go in the world, so i'm sorry, but from your list of two countries, i can't pick one. however -- [laughter] i would like to suggest to you that we are not arguing against america. we think america is a great country founded by libertarians who wrote their constitution. nevertheless, we hi it is an excellent country -- we think it is an excellent country which thrives on libertarian principles and which has fallen away from them in areas. we would like to improve those, because we think america can be better with libertarian policies. >> do we have any questions for the conservatives? we've had two for the libertarians in a row. all right. let's come up here. >> the libertarians sometimes are very critical of the federal reserve thinking that it essentially plans the economy by artificially lowering interest rates that raise the values of
the assets of the people who have the assets, making the. rich:er and distorting the free market. what's the conservatives' view about the federal reserve and its central-manned economy that they basically control? is. >> of course. i'm really glad you asked that, actually. no, we agree. the federal reserve has drastically expanded its powers since its creation in 1913. and like other administrative agencies which conservativism opposes, it eliminates accountability and hinders the free market. we really believe in doing three things when it comes to reforming the federal reserve. first, we want to decrease the regulatory and supervisory powers of the fed. it eliminateds competition for larger banks. second, we want to make sure it does not serve as a lender of last resort which shifts the incentives towards expansionary or you might know it better as inflationary policies. and third and finally, we need to move away from just this discretion the fed has at the hands of bureaucrats, because no
economist -- however good -- can centrally plan a nation's monetary circulation effectively. so we agree that the fed is an agency that has burdened our economy far more than it's helped it. it's grown beyond his original charter, and we think it needs to be significantly reformed and audited. thank you. [applause] >> a question down here. >> thank you. i would appreciate if you could, both of you, could give perspective on trade issues especially on american current trade war with china. thank you. >> go first? okay, yeah. i mean, not only has the heritage foundation officially probably been most critical of trump in this area, but so have we privately -- you wouldn't know us -- [laughter] free trade in the free market system has done more to lift people out of poverty in the
last 50 years than any other system ever devised by man. if you look at the u.n.'s numbers, private number, the people living in crippling poverty around the world has decreased since freer markets have happened since the collapse of the soviet union and before then. so tariffs are taxes on american consumers, basically, so they are harmful to not only our economy in, but in the long run, everyone's economy. so we believe in free trade. >> i don't think we can add too much to that. the idea that there are grave national security concerns being addressed by our present tariffs is laughable. if i were a laughing personality, i would be laughing right now. [laughter] [applause] >> second to the last row. yep. >> [inaudible] [laughter]
>> this question is for the conservatives. so given that between 1930 and 2005 one million of the two million people deported from the united states were actually american citizens, how would you see immigration policy enforced where it didn't affect u.s. citizens? that severely. >> well, i have to apologize, but i do take issue with your numbers. i just don't think -- the fact of the matter is that we believe in deporting illegal immigrants. believe in controlling immigration to this country because we want to reward the immigrants who are part of our process and go through all that time. we're not saying the immigration laws we currently have don't need to be reformed. we're not. the rule of law is critical. our opponents brought up, i think in their rebuttal, well, how does enforcing bad law
generate respect for the rule of law? under that logic the government should just choose which certain laws -- not even the federal government. like cities and states nullifying federal law, choosing which laws they think are good and which are bad and enforcing based on that ethic. or as a society that's rooted in the rule of law, rooted in the constitution, we believe that we should have an immigration policy that's followed. and if appropriate revisions need to be made, it should be done through a legislative process. just one last thing. i don't want to go too long. the idea while this is an argument for immigration policy is something that's not in accordance with the will of the american people is simply false. i mean, gallup polls show that less than 30% of americans support increased immigration. i think our legislators and administrators should listen to the will of the people on this issue and begin enforcing immigration laws so we don't have more instances, more incidents like tony bologna's family or kate steinle's murder.
thank you. [applause] >> hands down. i want to the take a couple of our internet-based questions. the first one for the libertarians. what is the philosophical basis for libertarians respecting other human beings? why are human beings worthy of dignity, in your view? [laughter] i wish i could take credit for that question. >> i mean, libertarianism is based on like a natural rights tradition and that the belief that not all libertarians believe this, but the founding fathers who were libertarians believed that your rights were given by atity. by a deity. is the question why we should respect human beings? >> yep. why are they worthy, why are human beings worthy of dignity in your view? >> i would -- >> yeah, go ahead. >> i would suggest if that principle isn't self-evident to you, that you not shake my hand
afterwards. i would like to avoid meeting you. [laughter] >> humanity is, like, a beautiful thing. there's lots of things that go bad in the world, but the amount of progress we've achieved, the inherent good in people. i don't know, i'm sure conservatives think the same thing. i don't think this is a libertarian versus conservative issue. i don't know. >> a question for the conservatives. if, as was mentioned, the word "naturalization" is in the constitution but not immigration, how does government have the right control who crosses borders? >> do you want the take -- >> i'd like to take this. >> go for it. [laughter] so two things. one, i'd like to see one quote from a supposedly libertarian founder saying we should have open borders. i'd like to see that. and i'd like us to think through the implications that the government should control naturalization but not have any say whatsoever in immigration. i mean, of all people i know they've been disavowed by ourliertarian opponents -- by our libertarian opponents.
even murray rothbard was against open borders. he said that allowing people into a community without the community's voluntary consent, using public transit and services, that was unjust. and i'd like to point to a final thing as well in terms of arguing about the founding. one of the very first acts passed by congress was the naturalization act of 1790. where's the immigration? it regulated immigration. it was an immigration act, and you can look this up. so the reality is, or is that america's always had immigration policy, and we've always understood as a nation we have to have federal government control over that. and that's why the constitution explicitly gives the federal government the power to regulate immigration. [applause] >> we had a hand up here. >> thanks. i have a we for the conservatives -- a question for the conservatives. you said earlier in your talk
that expanded access to opioids led to more deaths. i'm, i would like to know what your response then would be to the fact that since 2011 the government has actually made it harder to get opioids, and opioid prescribing has decreased per capita and yet opioid overdoses have increased by 84%. >> yeah. so it's a complex crisis, but i think there's a couple important lessons for us as we're dealing with drug policy. the first is, is that the fact that there was a black market for illicit opioids even while there was still a legal market. the problem with opioids in particular is how addicting they are, and so people and entire communities were hooked on opioids and are hooked on opioids. and so they can get them legally, they can get them illegally. the point is that this sort of cultural phenomenon and the individual addiction drives the desire to get opioids more than the legal status does. and the point is that that analogies to the past often
times in drug policy are misleading, because when individuals may not even show a propensity to get addicted to something and then an entire community can get addicted, and even making it legal makes it worse. sometimes it doesn't have much effect. the cato institute put out a report two years ago that said legalizing marijuana in colorado hasn't changed usage rates, but with opioids, there's a far greater addiction rate and societal dependence. it seems logically to core late with increased addiction. the problem with the libertarian position at root is that it is committed fundamentally to people being able to choose these things, and so being able to purchase them without restriction. i mean, in the libertarian world there's little they can say philosophically to prevent heroin from being sold on amazon, and i struggle to imagine how that won't increase use. i mean, if you thought the heroin crisis was bad now, imagine what this country could do with free two-day shipping. [laughter]
[applause] >> question for conservatives. if conservatives are not willing to accept the several hundred thousand undocumented migrants coming across the border from countries, especially many of them from countries with some of those draconian anti-abortion laws on earth, what makes you think you'll be able to accommodate the 50 million, additional americans born instead of aborted under roe v. wade? that's my question. >> sure. i think josh's point was not that the country demographically just couldn't handle that many people as if this is a malthusian chart where we're running out of space. rather, because our culture is segregating people based on cultural and ethnic lines rather than assimilating them, it would
be much harder to assimilate groups of people than it was in 1900. this is as opposed to if we were to stop abortions, which i believe is the greatest tragedy of the 20th century, those children ideally would be brought up in homes and in families. and the society as a whole should do their best to make sure that that happens, which is a completely different situation than bringing in massive amounts of people over the border, combination of legally and illegally. >> can i adjust one thing to that real quick? thank you. no, i think -- i think chris hits at a very important point, the assimilation point. it's not a numbers thing. here's the thing, a people as the declaration acknowledges in its very first sentence is a distinct group. and in america what defines us as a people, to paraphrase john jay, is we are people with diverse backgrounds, but what makes us an american people is our shared language, history and reverence for the political principles found in our founding
documents. self-government is a virtue. it has to be taught and cultivated. we aren't just all -- america isn't -- we aren't the united markets of america. we aren't just radical individuals floating around associating with each other in markets. we are a people. and if we lose that idea of a people of being bound together by a shared heritage and shared political virtues and political principles, we no longer have a nation. >> do we have a last we for the libertarians? a last question for the libertarians? all right. >> so why would libertarians be against, say, child porn if it were generated by a machinesome it makes a market, it only seems to -- doesn't seem to harm anyone. i just want to hear a principled argument against it. >> are you arguing that child pornography does not harm children? >> not if it's made by, like, virtual -- by a computer or something like that, which it actually is. and that's what there's been a lot of debate. a lot of our child pornography
is used to ban manga from japan, and i just want to hear a principled argument against this if it doesn't harm children. thank you. [laughter] >> child pornography would not be compatible with libertarianism because it involves infringing upon the rights of another human being who cannot consent to the activities. i have no idea about what this machine is, so i can't comment on that. [laughter] i will only -- >> [inaudible] like a picture . someone -- like an artistic -- [inaudible] like why would you be against it? >> i guess i'll just wait to see when that becomes a problem in the future and let the supreme court decide. i don't, i -- what would you say, taylor?
>> i didn't think this would be the relevant experience i would need for the debate. they should have chosen a different debater if it was. [laughter] >> okay. thank you all for your questions. i'm sorry we couldn't take more. [laughter] [applause] we do have one last section, so if we could bring the volume down a bit. the last thing we're going to do is hear closing remarks from both sides. we're going to start with the libertarians. they'll have four minutes, and then we'll turn it over to the conservatives, and they'll close it out with their four minutes. >> now you face a choice. consider your freedom, your material well-being too. ask yourself whether you side with those who are dedicated to each or those who have promised both and delivered neither. if you, like me, would choose
the former, all that remains is to honestly assess whether -- as we have argued this evening -- conservative policies have failed to make us more free or more prosperous. a broad conservative policy has been a circus of gratuitous force. spendthrift showmanship promising security by military parade. theatrical deterrence conceived in forgetfulness of the founders' admonitions has swelled a standing army and raised a worldwide archipelago of military bases. as conservatives engorge national defense to needlessly overwhelming superiority, the rights of our citizens become prey to the needs of its ever-expanding scope. still, we should not impugn the motives of conservatives who have often viewed an expansive foreign policy as a tool and a noble attempt to protect the rights of others. rather, we must regret that such attempts have largely failed. if by wizardry conservatives could create liberal democracies
from ashes, there might be reason to reconsider their methods, but experience suggests their magic wand is nothing more than a stick. on the border conservatives denounce free markets not by name, but in the language of immigration control. why here do they set aside liberty when they proclaim it so loudly elsewhere? why do conservatives reject the aspiration, the skills and the entrepreneurship of immigrants, not to speak of the freedom of the domestic businesses who would hire them? it cannot be security. immigrants commit less crime than natives. it cannot be prosperity. immigrants increase our pool of human capital and allow us to produce more. perhaps it is fear for the fate of american values, but american culture is not monolithic. it is defined by its dynamism. immigrants participate in that one great, shared american tradition enshrined in wagon trains and frontier towns, road trips and new lives in new states, the quest for freedom and opportunity.
at home, even at home, conservatives misled by a toesal ya for an idealized past bare their fists in the quixotic ambition to suppress individual liberty and voluntary exchange. concern for others' rights does not dissuade them from futile compulsion. instead, they dictate to their neighbors how they should live and how they should die. they take grenades and rifles to the streets to attempt once more the task of prohibition. if conservativism has stumbled, if it has betrayed itself through inconsistency, conservatives should not despair. their attitude and practice to give in to custom and coercion contains the kernel be of political wisdom, an appreciation of liberty. so long as conservatives fail to resolve their own priorities, their policies will continue to be erratic and ineffectual. but holding fast to freedom, they will find that they better achieve their own goals through consistency. their wealth enlarged by
exchange and their beliefs protected by law. tonight you have been offered two competing visions; the solace of familiarity and the opportunity of freedom. do not settle for the warm familiarity of conservativism. behind tranquility it hides the trust of force. choose instead as an american, choose liberty. choose command of your own high and reject the paternalism of the state however it might be disguised. our hope as humans rests on neither the imitation of the past nor the wisdom of the few, but on the striving of each of us together in community and independent in thought to claim for ourselves the lives of our aspirations. so choose libertarianism. thank you. [applause] [laughter]
>> republican self-government is a rare and fragile thing. it is, as reagan said, "never more than one generation away from extinction." so the question before us tonight is, how do we -- as a civil society -- cultivate self-governing citizens capable of passing the torch of liberty to the next generation? conservativism argues that this is the most important issue facing americans today, even more important than the question of how to restore limited government. because you can only have limited government when individual citizens are capable of self-government. libertarianism, on the other hand, is a contradiction in terms. it desires the most minimal government possible while also demanding the maximum degree of license for individuals to destroy themselves.
it is so concerned with the freedom of the present generation that it does not bother to concern itself with building a political community capable of passing freedom on to future generations. what will happen, we should ask, if the rad call the individualism championed by libertarianism creates citizens so obsessed with indulging in their private lives that they no longer prove capable of defending liberty from internal or external threats? libertarians will tell you about the importance of liberty, but they have nothing to say about the importance of using it well. in the long run, this problem of neglecting to think about the future is what makes libertarianism fundamentally unsustainable. which is why libertarianism has never governed in a political community. and it never will. [laughter] tonight we have demonstrated how a conservative foreign policy
believes in prudential restraint. our libertarian friends talked a lot about restraint, and it's interesting that they don't seem to the care very much about the concept of restraint when it comes to shooting heroin, but they're all about restraint when it comes to cutting the budgets of our men and women in uniform. rather than be flexibly -- inflexibly dogmatic, conservativism embraces a foreign policy dedicated to securing american independence through every available means. we have demonstrated how the legalization of physician-assisted suicide, rather than increasing individual autonomy actually fatally undermines it. the conservative belief in the intrinsic worth of every human being places upon us a duty to protect the right to life at every stage, from conception through natural death. the right to life must never become a duty to die. killing must never become cheaper than caring. we have demonstrated how an
immigration policy, which ignores the importance of americanization, eats away at our national foundations. rather than turning the flood of illegal immigration into a tsunami, we must instead begin vigorously enforcing our current laws to protect american lives and american values. conservativism recognizes that the americans of today have no right to squander the blessings of liberty for the americans of the future. conservativism is the only political philosophy capable of protecting liberty because it creates the type of society where sustainable liberty can thrive. responsible self-governance was the guiding principle of the american founding and the foundation of american greatness. we should not abandon it for the fool's gold that is libertarianism. thank you and good night.
[applause] >> well, i want to be the first to congratulate all four of our debaters on a fantastic, you know, job well done tonight. i thought it was really, really interesting. i remember, actually, the first libertarianism v. conservativism debate that i watched almost a decade ago, and i remember being so impressed by the debaters back then. of and i'm even more impressed now that you all look so young to me now that i'm in my 30s. [laughter] it was great. thank you to heritage for hosting us, thank you to my friends at cato for thinking of me for this count. for this opportunity. if you enjoyed this event, the new edition of reason magazine will be out in three weeks. it's issues where libertarians
disagree with each other, and we've got people on both sides arguing those, and we have a bunch of points/counterpoints that are going to be in that issue in about three weeks. keep an eye out for that. there is a reception afterwards, so have a chance to come up and congratulate our debaters and say hello. and thank you all so much for being here. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
booktv all this week in prime time on c-span2. >> saturday morning at 10:30 eastern booktv is live at the mississippi book festival for their fourth annual literary lawn party at the state capital injection with discussions on race and identity, southern history, us politics and presidential leadership. authors include the author of loving, interracial intimacy in america and the threat to white supremacy. jack davis with his pulitzer prize winning book the making of an american see. former mississippi governor haley barbour, her book is the great revolt, inside