January 24, 2013 2:29PM

Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall

I recently blogged that for me, the one (and perhaps only) bright spot of President Obama’s second inaugural address was this gem:

We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths – that all of us are created equal – is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.

A reader responds:

Just a little feedback for your post below. I think you are being a bit too “highbrow” by not explaining what the three place names signify. I had to look up two of them to realize what they signified. They may all be top‐​of‐​mind to Obama Democrats, but this long‐​time libertarian (30+ years) and previous to that conservative republican really knew not of the references. With Wikipedia & Google search, it does not take much to look them up, but still.…

I think a lot about why more women and minorities don’t show an interest in libertarianism, especially when libertarian ideas should be particularly appealing to groups that have suffered at the hands of the state. I think my correspondent exhibits one reason. Seneca Falls, Selma, and Stonewall represent seminal moments in the movements to liberate three groups who had suffered (and at least one of which is still suffering) state‐​sponsored repression right here in the United States. Yet this 30‐​year libertarian had to look up two of those references. I had to look up one. We didn’t know all three because libertarians do not routinely talk about these incredibly important moments and movements in the history of American freedom. Sure, we are glad they happened (and are ongoing). But we don’t celebrate them. Which we should. Barack Obama is ahead of us on this one.

Suppose you or a close family member had been in Selma. If you met a libertarian, and mentioned Selma, and he drew a blank — what would you think?