In what alternate reality is Richard Epstein an “arch conservative”?

March 21st, 2014

I often get frustrated when libertarians are called conservatives by the media. But I accept it.

However, when libertarians are described as *really* conservative I get annoyed. Recently I chuckled when the New York Times called Cato “ultraconservative.” Huh?

In a recent blog post, LawProf Eric Segall calls Richard Epstein “arch conservative.” Huh?!

The proceedings began with ultra-liberal Erwin Chemerinsky and arch conservative Richard Epstein debating whether the Constitution is dead or alive.

In no conceivable sense is Richard an “arch conservative.” I don’t think he can even plausibly be called a “conservative.” For crying out loud, he just published an 800-page book about the liberal Constitution.

I would also take issue with the first characterization. Erwin Chemerinsky is not an “ultra-liberal “in either the classical or modern sense of the word. Chemerinsky is great supporter of using the power of the state to ensure equality, far more than protecting liberty by itself. Remember when he proposed abolishing all private schools to ensure equality in education? That is not a liberal position. He thought there would be nothing unconstitutional about the government forcing individuals to buy broccoli or GM vehicles. Is that a liberal position? Or when he recommended that Justice Ginsburg retire because she is too old. Garrett Epps and Dahlia Lithwick easily disposed of this silly, ageist, border-line sexist, non-liberal claim.

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