The Libertarian Moment, Approach the Bench?

One of the big debates swirling around the freedom movement these days is whether or not America is currently going through “a libertarian moment.” The libertarian moment, as defined by Reason magazine editors Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch, is “a time of increasingly hyper-individualized, hyper-expanded choice over virtually every aspect of our lives.”

By this, the pair are largely talking about the crumbling of institutional power centers giving way to an empowered mass of individuals, each being able to customize her own life and choices.

In the realm of consumer choices, this is undisputed. What is less well known, however, is the effect this trend is having in politics—more to the point, politics. More to the point still, local politics.

While Donald’s Trump flirtation with fascism and Hillary Clinton’s flirtation with everything just short of fascism have libertarians grabbing the nearest fifth of Jack Daniels on Tuesday night, something very different is happened at the local level.

Two controversial prosecutors with a record of being soft on criminal cops were thrown out.

In Chicago, voters kicked out the Cook County prosecutor Anita Alvarez, who was extremely slow to indict the police officer who shot black teenager Laquan McDonald in the back 16 times. Alvarez also has a history of using kid gloves to deal with the Chicago Police Department.

Her opponent and election victor, Kim Foxx, made the McDonald shooting a centerpiece of her campaign against Alvarez.

In Cuyahoga County, Ohio, voters also threw out incumbent prosecutor Timothy McGinty. McGinty’s office refused to press charges against two Cleveland officers for shooting Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old Cleveland resident, in 2014.

So in at least a few jurisdictions, voters have clearly had enough of “soft-on-crime” prosecutors who are literally letting law enforcement getting away with murder.

Libertarians have railed against abusive police practices and their threat to individual liberty and justice for decades.

It looks like voters are starting to agree.

And in light of these victories, pro-liberty advocates should be setting up grassroots organizations that focus specifically on judicial, prosecutorial, and county sheriff races.

These advocates, if victorious, could fundamentally transform the criminal justice issue in favor of liberty without having to change one single law.

And with a new law enforcement community more in favor of reform in hand, the momentum to actually change laws for better would be unstoppable.

Call it a libertarian moment for the bench.

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