Make sure to read Richard Epstein's column piece "My Rand Paul Problem". The article is an excellent attempt at demarcating hard-line libertarian and classical liberal positions on a number of vital issues. However, I feel that Epstein is inaccurate in depicting Rand Paul as a figurehead of the hard-line libertarian camp.
An impression that the following addendum at the very bottom of the article seems to support.
In my recent Hoover column, entitled "My Rand Paul Problem," I drew distinctions between hard-line libertarians and classical liberals over a broad range of issues dealing with taxation, eminent domain, copyright, and the like. Just today, I received a gracious handwritten note from Senator Paul noting that, in his view, his positions should not be associated with the hard-line stances of writers like Murray Rothbard and Karl Hess, whose work I focused on in the piece.
As several Ricochet members pointed out, Senator Paul has said:
What I've promoted is a flat tax, 17 percent for individuals as well as corporations with about a $50,000 deduction for families, similar to what Steve Forbes promotes.
That is certainly a far cry from a no-tax position, and very close to the uniform tax structure that I propose (it should be noted that I have no preconceived notion of what the appropriate tax rate in such a system should be). It is also a vastly superior alternative to the current tax system, which engenders endless battles over the appropriate forms of taxation, the appropriate rates, and the appropriate exemptions. My apologies to Senator Paul for misstating his position.
As to the other issues I discussed, I make no further comment here. Senator Paul is certainly well able to fend for himself. I continue to think that grasping the basic distinctions between hard-line libertarians and classical liberals is essential to understanding our current political debates, and I hope readers study the piece on the merits of the message it attempts to convey.