Posts Tagged ‘libertarian’

TakeTheKeys

If you won’t give me the keys, don’t get mad if I get out of the car.

In the days leading up to the Indiana primary last week, being a Cruz supporter felt like being the only sober person trapped in a car full of loud, mean, uninhibited drunks, and no one will let you drive. I have never been so embarrassed about my country and disgusted with my countrymen – or more accurately, a specific majority of them. American culture has been so debased that 71% of those who voted in Indiana cast a ballot for either a criminal, a communist, or a con-man. They knew it, and they did it anyway.

Now we are left with Trump or Clinton; simply put, our choice is between the evils of two lessers. Eventually the carload of drunks are going to sober up and discover we have wandered into communist East Germany without passports. When they do, they’ll blame it on all the other drunks, and even us sober folks. Then they will look for a solution, and all we’ll be able to say is, “You killed it Tarzan, you eat it.”

The Trumpaloompas are annoyed and surprised that #NeverTrump movement is still there, but they shouldn’t be. It was a clear “here I stand, no matter what” pledge. It is more appropriate to be annoyed by the assertion that refusing to vote for Trump means you will vote for Clinton.* But maybe we don’t have to choose between the evils of two lessers. I usually reject an either/or premise, as it is often a classic logical fallacy of “insufficient options”. There are nearly always more than two ways.

There have been several news items reporting a sharp rise in Libertarian Party interest, discussions of independent third party runs, pledges for write-in campaigns, and other such stirrings among the disaffected. It would be a much-needed miracle for our Republic if a movement like that showed a realistic chance of making a difference. At the moment it seems to be only a pipe dream. So while I am hopeful, I am also skeptical. Time will tell. Without it, we really will find ourselves with insufficient options, and the only remaining fallacy will be the notion that casting a vote makes any difference at all.

 

#NeverHillary #NeverTrump #john1633

*Another assertion is that to vote for neither Trump nor Clinton will create by default a Clinton win. This is simply false; Clinton won when Trump became the presumptive Republican nominee. That’s exactly what #NeverTrump was trying to prevent.

On Friday, May 8, 2009, Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) wrote to his constituents in an email newsletter that the “President Proposes Cuts to Key Ag Programs.” He writes that the proposal “includes ill-advised cuts to the farm safety net without a serious attempt to trim back the bloated federal budget and reduce our national debt.” This is probably a valid point. I don’t pretend to know the nuances of our “farm safety net”, having never heard of it. But I am certain that we need a serious attempt to cut spending and reduce our national debt. I might have just deleted the email, but there was one glaring example of the systemic problems we battle when it comes to a huge, imperial federal/central government and career politicians.

At one point he writes, “Time and time again, we have seen the administration unfairly target agriculture programs to achieve savings and completely discount the hardworking men and woman that rely on these programs for their livelihood.” Read that again, especially the last bit. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

I really want to know what programs provide “hardworking” folks their “livelihood”. I’ve tried to imagine what that really means. I know that many (if not almost all) people who work in the ag industries are hardworking. Farming ought to be the fundamental example of how entrepreneurship, hard work, personal responsibility and the free market works. But it bothers my work ethic to picture anyone using any Federal program as a regular and primary means of support, and this is worded in a way that assumes just that scenario. It also assumes a permanent flow of funds, rather than temporary assistance through a tough season.

I think he may have simply overstated the level of their reliance (I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt), but it does highlight a point or two that should be made.

First, Chambliss the politician is typical in that he hates to see a cut in programs that benefits his own constituents, even if the benefit is actually a shackle that keeps them from moving on to better things. From a libertarian point of view, this type of welfare, by keeping entrepreneurs locked into an unsuccessful business model, hinders freedom and the creation of new products, services and industries and is therefore not an actual benefit at all.

Second, Chambliss can display outrage at the kind of unprecedented spending we’re witnessing, but the Federal government has been overstepping it’s fiduciary authority (and thereby enslaving people while buying their votes) for generations – even when the Republicans were in charge. Saxby’s Republicans differ only in a) to whom the funds are targeted and b) what the size of the check will be.

Now that the Democrats won so handily in 2008 there seems to be some legitimate remorse in the Republican Party, and they are beginning to (perhaps desperately) look at many issues now in the same way that the Libertarian Party already does and always has. But there’s no guarantee of his continued contrition once a Republican returns to office. There are, however, extraordinarily good odds that a Libertarian Party candidate will adhere to libertarian principles once in office. Why would he run as a libertarian if he didn’t already hold those values as his own?

The two major parties are different only in degree. Voting Libertarian is the real vote for change.

Being fairly new to politics, and being increasingly alarmed at the direction the “majority” seems determined to take things, I was excited to attend the Atlanta Tax Day Tea Party on April 15, 2009. This event, and those held in over 800 cities and towns across the nation, was intended to bring attention to the idea that there is absolutely no consensus on the actions taken by the federal government in the last few months, especially in regards to bailouts, “stimulus” spending, deficits, pork, taxes and our Federal government’s obvious efforts to push the country away from capitalist free markets towards socialism. Media imbalance, legislative constitutionality and fiscal responsibility were also topics of great concern, judging by the amateur signage and speeches.

15,000-20,000 protesters fill the streets outside the GA state capitol

15,000-20,000 protesters fill the streets outside the GA state capitol

One look at the faces in the crowd and you knew this was not your typical political protest rally. The average age of the participants seemed to be around 55-65 years old. In addition to the grandparents, there were children, teens, college kids and mid-lifers all in evidence. It was as varied as a crowd at a state fair. And although most of the crowd was Caucasian, there were several Hispanic and Black people present – despite what some “news” outlets were reporting, I learned later. (Beware anyone who objects to something because of some perceived but otherwise completely fictitious racism. I did see one rebel flag at the rally, but the prevailing opinion was, “Why is that moron flying a rebel flag?”) There may have been some pro-Obama, pro-fascism counter-protests somewhere, but none that I could see. For many, it appeared to be their first foray into political demonstration of any kind. The crowd was obviously full of rookies.

My personal disclaimer – I loathe Sean Hannity. I don’t know who John Rich is. None of the speakers were familiar to me, with the exception of Dick Armey, who gave a logical, impassioned speech about how even Keynes would find the recent efforts of our President and Congress appalling. (And he looked great in that cowboy hat.) So there wasn’t much for me to see onstage. But I stuck around for the whole thing, because it was all still quite moving. No tea party anywhere was going to “accomplish” anything, but they were not (as some mainstream newsman put it) “silly and pointless” – the people who came were making a statement of unity and expressing their outrage. They were saying, “We don’t have all the answers tonight. But we know that these things are wrong, and nobody has been listening. 536 elected officials in D.C. have ignored us up until now – and will continue to do so at their own peril”

I learned the next day how outrageously biased the news coverage was on the tea parties. I think whatever small kernel of respect I had left for MSNBC after their abysmal coverage of the election was completely destroyed by their distasteful mockery of this honest, grass roots effort. Keith Olbermann used his broadcast to denigrate the protesters through double-entendre, suggestion and vulgarity. That was too much.

Despite the shrill claims of the Obama courtesans, there is no evidence that this was a “GOP funded and orchestrated” movement, and neither FOX nor the GOP ever had a valid claim to sponsorship. Homeschool moms, local bloggers, and Facebook links were not just the catalyst of most of the local events, but they were responsible for nearly everything that followed. FOX was admittedly enthusiastic in their coverage, but looking back and comparing the media’s saccharine accolades and embarrassing fawning that accompanied the Democrat National Convention and the inauguration, the FOX coverage was reserved, detached and actually informative. I’ve seen clips of the CNN coverage, and it was embarrassingly bad journalism – not worthy of a closed-circuit television class at a community college.

Being there was quite an experience. I parked 11 blocks and walked the rest. At 6:00 pm I was pretty close to the stage. By 9:15 most of the crowd had moved half a block away toward the Pajamas TV large screen where it was much easier to see and hear the goings on. This meant that no one could leave the area due to the crushing crowd at each end of the block, but ironically also caused a large section of the street very close to the stage to almost completely empty out. You couldn’t see anything from there, and the sound was horrible. I was able to take a cell phone call in this relatively quiet middle ground – and got to speak to my friends at the Libertarian Dime in time for their podcast.

Our phone interview ended around 10:00, just as the event began to break up. It was time for the long, somewhat frightening walk back to the car. I think the 15,000-20,000 people who attended in Atlanta made their point. I guess nation-wide it was near a million. It’s encouraging to see so many people come to something like that. I think it means that our public servants (that’s what they are – don’t let their arrogance or apparent power fool you) in Congress will have to consider their actions even when an ineffective, Republican minority is unable to halt their excesses. And don’t imagine the Republicans are ignorant of the meaning of the tea parties, either. I think that for any political lifer, this kind of spontaneous activism is a huge wake-up call. Or it ought to be, anyway.

This is encouraging for the libertarian. The protesters understand that big government is a threat to freedom. Our Constitution is in jeopardy and requires defense. Personal responsibility is preferable to a nanny state. Federal efforts at “social justice” are either misguided altruism or outright fraud. So although most of the protesters would probably identify themselves as Republicans or conservatives, the concepts that make them active are those that are most effectively aligned with libertarian ideas and ideals.

To borrow a (much over-quoted) phrase from Rahm Emanuel, the Libertarian Party should not let this crisis go to waste. There’s an enormous opportunity to score some points with people who are thinking about these things – some for the first time in their lives.