A theater of advocates came out last night for Government: What is its Proper Role?, a debate between Miles Rapoport and Yaron Brook moderated by Brian Lehrer. Hoots were let out for Rapoport when he’d say that wealth should be spread more evenly, or that Reagan waged a war on the middle class, and clapping commenced when Brook championed the industrial revolution and the privatization of public schools.
Lehrer posed questions about first principles, the fundamental elements of the role of government, like the right to democracy, defense, and taxation, and seemed surprised when Brook claimed the right to democracy doesn’t qualify. He claimed the majority would impose on the individual, and that any imposition, or “force” on the individual is unfree. In his mind, free market competition is an extension of the individual and his or her competency.
Rapoport supported the power of taxation, and gave credit to regulatory programs after 1960 as the most successful. His main points were about helping those who are capitalistically held down by widespread economic and social discrimination; the people in underprivileged neighborhoods who didn’t win the charter school lottery. He blames the free market for the current economic situation.
Let’s be clear though, these debaters aren’t arbitrarily pulling their ideologies from thin air—there are voters out there who support their words.
It may surprise you to hear clapping at some points during the audio below. I know I was shocked (leftist biased of course) to hear clapping for “Life, Liberty, Property” or the selling of all U.S. public schools to private companies with the thought that competition would create better lessons and smarter students. I’ll take credit for all distorted screams heard on the recording during Rapoport’s rebuttal to that section. Listen for yourself.