Hat tip to Andrew Sullivan for digging up this quote:
“We look upon authority too often and focus over and over again, for 30 or 40 or 50 years, as if there is something wrong with authority. We see only the oppressive side of authority. Maybe it comes out of our history and our background. What we don’t see is that freedom is not a concept in which people can do anything they want, be anything they can be. Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do,” – Rudy Giuliani, March 1994.
This is being interpreted in different ways by different bloggers. Even if we concede, as Matthew Yglesias does, advantages of ceding some discretion to authority, this is hardly a satisfactory view of what freedom means, especially in light of Giuliani’s poor reputation with regards to civil liberties.
Those who have been following some of the discussions on Rudy Giuliani here, such as in the comments to this post, may view Giuliani and his alleged libertarian support in a new light. As is noted from the comments of Eric Dondero, who bills himself as Acting Chairman of Libertarians for Giuliani (as well as leading a number of other “libertarian” organizations which I suspect represent groups of one), this is a strange variant of libertariansm. Giuliani’s top “libertarian” supporter dreams of what would amount to a military dictatorship in which only “Military Guys and Military Veterans” have rights and no dissent from “leftists,” “wusses,” or “girlie-men” (i.e. anyone who disagrees with him) will be allowed.
Obviously Giuliani cannot be blamed for the views of his more crazed supporters, but it is impossible to read this quote and not see this all fitting together. We have Rudy Giuliani who advocates faux-freedom supported by a well known faux-libertarian. (In fairness to libertarians, it should also be noted that Dondero and his “organizations” are not considered to be libertarian by many libertarians and he is seen as a laughing stock on many libertarian blogs and discussion boards so his authoritarian views should not be construed as representing libertarian thought.)
New Yorkers Prefer Bloomberg to Giuliani
Sorry Rudy, The Republicans Are Not The Party of Freedom
More Signs That Rudy’s No Libertarian
Libertarians And The Abandoment of George Bush
Finding The Libertarian Democrat
The Delusion of Republican Libertarians
Republican Principles and The New Social Conservativism
Rudy Giuliani’s Vulnerabilities