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Sheldon Richman warns libertarians to get their history right, especially by avoiding wrong notions about just how libertarian were past politicians (including the American founders).  They weren’t so libertarian as they are often portrayed as being.  (A work that strengthens Sheldon’s important thesis is Arthur Ekirch, Jr.’s, masterful 1955 volume, The Decline of American Liberalism.)   A slice from Sheldon’s essay:

I am not saying that if early Americans could have been seen today’s America, they would have been pleased. Some clearly would not have been. I am saying that what they favored – national and commercial greatness – prepared the way for what America has become, whether or they would have favored it. If you will the end, you will the means. You cannot build a continental empire and a worldwide political and military presence without planting the seeds of powerful government at home, a national-security state, and all that they require, including income taxation, regulation, central banking, and a welfare state to ameliorate the worst hardships of the system’s victims, if only to tamp down radical resistance.

Nick Gillespie seems to be about as impressed with Rand Paul as it is possible for any sensible person to be impressed with any successful politician.  A slice:

And there is simply no question that Paul stands head and shoulders above any other national politician when it comes to foregrounding issues of racial injustice stemming from poverty, law enforcement militarization, and the drug war. His response last summer to police actions in Ferguson, Staten Island, and elsewhere helped create a necessary and ongoing conversation that simply wasn’t happening.

David Boaz’s assessment of Rand Paul is similar to that of Nick Gillespie.

The ever-wise Shikha Dalmia is understandably not very impressed with Ayaan Hirsi Ali.  A slice:

The suggestion that Americans, who have spent trillions on multiple wars and an intrusive “homeland security” apparatus post 9/11, are insufficiently alarmed about Muslim extremism is more than a little bizarre. But setting that aside, how accurate is Hirsi Ali’s suggestion that Muslims are inherently incapable of assimilating in non-Muslim societies?

Not very, if the experience of India, the world’s most populous democracy, is any indication. Muslims make up almost 15% of India’s population, compared to 0.8% in America. And they couldn’t be any more dissimilar to the portrait drawn by Hirsi Ali.

My colleague Bryan Caplan, writing over at EconLog, wonders why libertarians get so much attention from political leftists.

Writing in today’s Wall Street Journal, Tim York and Daniel Sumner explain that market competition, global trade, and innovation go a very long way indeed to protect consumers from the effects of drought.  (gated)  Their conclusion:

Even if water remains short over the next decade, an adequate supply of fresh fruits and vegetables should not be a concern. In a global market, produce suppliers from the U.S., Mexico, Chile and beyond compete to keep prices low. The rising cost of water in California is likely to increase the cost of production over time, and that will be reflected in gradually higher retail prices. But Golden State farms will remain reliable suppliers of the produce that consumers have come to expect.

Within the first two minutes of this interesting video from Oklahoma-based Braum’s Ice Cream and Dairy Stores, you’ll learn that some successful entrepreneurs did indeed “build that”!  Private roads are still being built and used by private entrepreneurs without government funding and direction.  (HT Jay Norton)

My intrepid Mercatus Center colleague Veronique de Rugy reflects, during this always-woeful ‘tax season’ in America, on the IRS and Obamacare.