Libertarians face many trite and tired arguments against their ideology, but none is more famous than the ever-present Who would build the roads? attack.
But while libertarians are forced to spend a good bit of time talking about roads, the rest of the country is typically less focused on our nations infrastructure that is until this week when Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg made comments that ignited a firestorm over the topic.
In remarks made about the trillion-dollar infrastructure bill, Buttigieg alluded to the racist design of Americas highways and his plans to use the funds to address the problems theyve caused.
I dont think we have anything to lose by confronting that simple reality, he said. And I think we have everything to gain by acknowledging it and then dealing with it, which is why the Reconnecting Communities, that billion dollars, is something we want to get to work right away putting to work.
In response, conservative pundits went to work defending the government which they often do when accusations of systemic racism come up. Its an odd stance given the fact that the Right claims to believe the government is inherently corrupt, vile, and perverse. But racist? Not a chance, how dare you allege such a thing.
If we step back from the culture war for a moment, though, it is easy to come up with a number of examples of systemic racism that most on the Right would not argue. Gun laws were implemented to ensure black people did not have access to firearms after the Civil War. Government schools, which are assigned based on zip codes that are affected by the policies of redlining, consistently produce racially disparate outcomes. And occupational licenses have commonly been put in place to block certain people from entering careers.
While the policies that built our nations roads may be less familiar to many, there are countless historical examples that back up Buttigiegs claims.
Our highways were mostly built throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Ambitious engineers sought means to link downtown business districts with the suburbs, and to do so, they often had to cut through existing neighborhoods, meaning a great deal of disruption to those residents and a good amount of eminent domain seizures. Wealthier neighborhoods, which tended to be white, had the political might to fight off these projects while the poorer neighborhoods, which were often mostly black, did not.
To build Interstate 10 in New Orleans, engineers cleared a large portion of land along the oak-lined commercial thoroughfare of North Claiborne Avenue. The black residents fought this plan unsuccessfully at the time, and dozens of homes and businesses in the community were destroyed while the nearby French Quarter was left untouched.
Its a pattern one can find replicated dozens of times throughout virtually every city. According toThe Pew Charitable Trusts , In Miami, Interstate 95 flattened swaths of a Black neighborhood called Overtown, forcing some 10,000 people to leave their homes. In Nashville, Tennessee, the I-40 expressway demolished 620 houses, 27 apartment buildings and six Black churches.
The impacts on the black community were severe. Not only were they not compensated for their properties at market rates eminent domain seizures rarely are but the roads ruined black-owned businesses, caused home values to fall, increased pollution, attracted homeless camps and crime under overpasses, and cut communities off from one another.
This is what people mean by systemic racism. And whether it was done intentionally by government actors to cut black communities off from white neighborhoods as segregation became illegal, or if it was merely done because these communities lacked the political power to fight back, the results are the same.
We should not seek to tear down existing roads as Buttigieg has flirted with, but we should seek to learn from our history and use this as yet another example of the failures of government power and central planning.
One thing is certain: If libertarians built the roads, theyd have a lot better chance of not being racist.
Hannah Cox (@hannahdcox ) is a libertarian-conservative activist and a contributor to the Washington Examiners Beltway Confidential blog.
- In N.H., its live Free State or leave thats libertarianism? - The Boston Globe - September 11th, 2022
- Cryptos Libertarianism Is Running Headfirst Into Reality - The Atlantic - September 11th, 2022
- The 'red wave' was such a sure thing, of course Republicans are blowing it The Nevada Independent - The Nevada Independent - September 11th, 2022
- Jim, Sigal, and Michele just living their best lives - Nevada Current - September 11th, 2022
- Long Live the King (My President)! - Econlib - September 11th, 2022
- How Housing Is Captive to Investment Demands - Santa Barbara Independent - September 11th, 2022
- Arkansas governor candidates hitting the campaign trail - 4029tv - September 11th, 2022
- Aaron Rodgers Sounds Off On Government: NFL World Reacts - The Spun - September 11th, 2022
- David Boaz - Wikipedia - September 7th, 2022
- Arlington Heights board gets petition from Koch brothers-backed group calling for law that may impact Chicago Bears' stadium plans - Chicago Tribune - September 7th, 2022
- Georgias Senate Race Is Much Closer Than The Governor Election. Will That Hold Until November? - FiveThirtyEight - September 7th, 2022
- Letter: The threat against democracy | Letters To Editor | berkshireeagle.com - Berkshire Eagle - September 7th, 2022
- Vote in the State Primary - mysouthborough - September 7th, 2022
- Group catering to nonpartisan voters launches ahead of the election The Nevada Independent - The Nevada Independent - September 7th, 2022
- Libertarian Party of Wisconsin: Wisconsin Libertarians oppose student loan forgiveness ideas as theft - WisPolitics.com - September 2nd, 2022
- Guardrails of Democracy, Extended: Comparing Notes On The Team Libertarian Report - Reason - September 2nd, 2022
- Attempted Murder Arrest; Libertarians On The 2022 Ballot? PM Patch NH - Patch - September 2nd, 2022
- Chase Oliver could send Georgia's Senate race to a runoff - he's OK with that - The Atlanta Journal Constitution - September 2nd, 2022
- Rep. Stephen Handy, ousted at GOP convention, to wage write-in bid - Standard-Examiner - September 2nd, 2022
- J. R. R. Tolkien among the Illiberals Catholic World Report - Catholic World Report - September 2nd, 2022
- We Made It Through The Primary. Now It's On To The November General Election - Honolulu Civil Beat - September 2nd, 2022
- The Great Separation: Why American Politics Is Coming Apart at the Seams | Cornell Chronicle - Cornell Chronicle - August 30th, 2022
- Palfrey eyes the exits- POLITICO - POLITICO - August 30th, 2022
- Armstrong: Behind those misleading headlines on Colorado teacher pay - Complete Colorado - August 30th, 2022
- What is a Libertarian? Beliefs & Examples | Study.com - August 29th, 2022
- Libertarian Vs. Liberal (Whats The Difference?) - The Cold Wire - August 29th, 2022
- Libertarianism Philosophy and History - Study.com - August 29th, 2022
- Republican effort to remove Libertarians from November ballot rejected by Texas Supreme Court - The Texas Tribune - August 29th, 2022
- Media organizations and civil libertarians sue to stop a law that restricts recording videos of cops - Arizona Mirror - August 29th, 2022
- How a Tiny Minority Can Lead the World Toward Liberty | Dan Sanchez - Foundation for Economic Education - August 29th, 2022
- GOP Candidate Saying it's 'Totally Just' to Kill Gay People Resurfaces - Newsweek - August 29th, 2022
- Third Party Candidates: Alabama Libertarians to appear on general election ballot - WHNT News 19 - August 15th, 2022
- Sick and tired of the two-party system: Pa. Libertarian Party sees surge in interest | Today in Pa. - PennLive - August 15th, 2022
- Voter registrations in North Carolina continue to trend mostly unaffiliated and slightly Republican - The Mountaineer - August 15th, 2022
- After Koch's Kinder, Gentler Rebrand Attempt, He Spent Over $1 Billion On 2020 Elections - Daily Kos - August 15th, 2022
- Libertarian, Green, and Independent Candidates not Invited to Gubernatorial Debate The Amarillo Pioneer - The Amarillo Pioneer - August 15th, 2022
- Runoffs to decide final nominations begins with early voting next week - Yahoo News - August 15th, 2022
- Podcast: Muddling Through the Mar-a-Lago Mess - Reason - August 15th, 2022
- The Story Behind the Wrenching Finale of 'The Anarchists' - WIRED - August 15th, 2022
- The Search of Trumps House + the 5th Amendment - Econlib - August 15th, 2022
- Libertarians see opening to gain ground in Georgia 2022 elections - The Atlanta Journal Constitution - August 4th, 2022
- State Libertarian Party asks for 'relief from oppressive ballot laws' - The Albany Herald - August 4th, 2022
- Election 2022: Primaries clear Michigan fields; more will come at conventions - The Center Square - August 4th, 2022
- The Industrial Revolution and the Colonial Conundrum - Econlib - August 4th, 2022
- School choice is the free market solution to failing public schools - Washington Examiner - August 4th, 2022
- The primary is over Here's who you can expect to see on JoCo ballots in November - Shawnee Mission Post - August 4th, 2022
- Climate change and the Supreme Courts version of police abolitionism - The Hill - August 4th, 2022
- Discontent Is Never Enough - by Jonah Goldberg - The G-File - The Dispatch - August 4th, 2022
- Progressive Conservatism: How Republicans Will Become America's Natural Governing Party - The Ripon Society - August 4th, 2022
- Local News: Donnie Brown elected as 149th representative (8/2/22) | Standard Democrat - Standard-Democrat - August 4th, 2022
- Former TV anchorman wins GOP nomination in Missouris 4th Congressional District - Missouri Independent - August 4th, 2022
- Penn Jillette: Did His Libertarianism Survive Trump and COVID? - Reason - July 29th, 2022
- Libertarian and Anti-functionalist: What Is the Memphis Design Movement? - ArchDaily - July 29th, 2022
- 11 Pick Up Lines For Libertarians To Use If They Ever Meet A Girl - The Babylon Bee - July 29th, 2022
- Nudged into the oncoming lane - Econlib - July 29th, 2022
- Quebec's Conservative party surges in the polls as some of its candidates spread conspiracy theories - CBC News - July 29th, 2022
- Accusations of racism and abortion politics- POLITICO - POLITICO - July 29th, 2022
- Zeldin's Fraudulent Independence Party Signatures Show How Difficult it is to get on Ballot in NY - Yonkers Times - July 29th, 2022
- How Republicans can build on Trumpism and become the party of progressive conservatism - The Hill - July 29th, 2022
- Illinois quick hits: White withdraws from race; Durbin tests positive for COVID - The Center Square - July 29th, 2022
- Romney's Family Plan Isn't Great, but May Be Better Than the Alternatives - Reason - July 29th, 2022
- Andrew Yang's third party Forward isn't enough to transcend politics - MSNBC - July 29th, 2022
- John Cleese: Wokeism Is the Enemy of Comedyand Creativity - Reason - July 29th, 2022
- What's Wrong With Abortion Federalism? - Reason - June 29th, 2022
- The myth of American conservatism - UnHerd - June 29th, 2022
- CHAMPLAIN IS TREASURER: Whitewater to face Sterling in November; Brecheen, Frix head for D2 Congress runoff - Tahlequah Daily Press - June 29th, 2022
- State Auditor Cindy Byrd wins reelection; other state offices head to runoff - Oklahoman.com - June 29th, 2022
- In the 1980s, My Friends In Texas Said I Was 'Overreacting' - Medium - June 29th, 2022
- Dont Believe the Obits for Bitcoin - The Wall Street Journal - June 29th, 2022
- Kansas GOP governor candidate arrested on felony charge plunges ahead with campaign - Kansas Reflector - June 29th, 2022
- Watters and Gutfeld Throw Down on Drug Legalization - June 22nd, 2022
- Smart Ass Cripple: Libertarian Union-Busting Tactics Target Illinois Health Care Workers - Progressive.org - June 22nd, 2022
- Biden administration wants to take the buzz out of cigarettes - Axios - June 22nd, 2022
- Economics, politics, and the parables of Christ: An interview with Fr. Robert Sirico - Catholic World Report - June 22nd, 2022
- Biden Falls Off the Metaphorical Bike - Reason - June 22nd, 2022
- Upstate political candidate responds to allegations he isn't eligible for office - WYFF4 Greenville - June 22nd, 2022
- 'We Believe in Human Cooperation:' Justin Amash's Vision for the Libertarian Party - Reason - June 20th, 2022
- Shock and Awe - Splice Today - June 20th, 2022
- Out with the old: is neoliberalism really dying? - The New Statesman - June 20th, 2022
- 10 Popular Video Game Debates That Need To Die - WhatCulture - June 20th, 2022