D.C. libertarians and conservatives were in a festive mood last night for the annual Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) dinner. Despite the recent growth of government, the mood was mostly upbeat, save for a few references to that well-traveled path known as the road to serfdom.
“We appear to be on a road to serfdom paved with green bricks rather than red bricks,” said R.J. Smith as he accepted the Julian Simon award. Smith, a veteran free-market environmentalist, lambasted federal land ownership. “We are returning to the age of the king’s land, the king’s forest, and the king’s wildlife, and we may have to become robin hoods to survive,” he said.
Keynote speaker Daniel Hannan, a libertarian-leaning member of the European Parliament, brought the house down. He talked about Britain’s classical liberal legacy and the wisdom of America’s Founding Fathers — and he was heavy with criticism of Barack Obama: “In repudiating what Britain stands for now, he’s also repudiating that bit of your constitution, that bit of your constitutional make-up, that also came from Britain.”