My column at the Garrison Center yesterday discusses the January 20 takedown of the White House's "We The People" page and urges its reinstatement, but I suppose it does lack a certain element of specifically libertarian grounding. How can I, as a libertarian, favor the state going back to doing something it was doing, then stopped doing?
Well, let's talk about that.
In my opinion, the "We The People" project served an objectively anti-state purpose, which explains why the state would discard it in, figuratively speaking, the dark of night when everyone's attention was on other things. As I put it in the column:
If Americans have an easy mechanism for demanding a presidential response to our grievances, and if the president doesn’t want to do what we’re asking of him, it puts him on the spot. He can tell us to buzz off, which no president really wants to be heard doing. He can offer a response that says nothing but feels good, or just ignore us, but we’ll notice.
To the extent that it makes the White House have to work harder to sell what it wants to do, versus what people are telling it should do, at least where those two things conflict, it's probably also a huge net cost savings to the taxpayer.
The "We The People" site almost certainly costs less than the price of one cruise missile fired -- hell, perhaps even one 500-pound dumb bomb dropped -- per year to maintain. If it raises enough controversy to delay the next US airstrike by even a day, there's your value proposition right there not just in human lives but in dollars and cents.
I'd rather not have a state to petition for redress of grievances caused by the state itself, but as long as such a state exists, I support making such petitions as easy as possible to create, sign on to, and compel responses to, for the much the same reasons that I support more dangerous activities like warning immigrants of impending ICE raids, putting sugar in the gas tanks of police cruisers, etc.