Libertarians sit the fence
When people no longer want to associate themselves with the bigoted Republican party, they fall back to the Libertarian party. This is mostly due to the fact that they support Gay marriage. They support less involvement over-seas. Honestly, sometimes… They sound a bit liberal and from a liberal’s prospective, that is kind of cool.
Libertarianism is the new “independent”
Based on what I hear from the people who consider themselves Libertarians, it sounds an awful lot like sitting the fence. They’ve decided that they don’t like the views of either of the parties in our two party political system and this is their way out. They know that socially they stand for progressive issues, but they also know that they don’t support “big government”. Sounds great in a sound bite for sure!
How did we get here?
It’s funny how times have changed. In the 60’s and 70’s we were all about fighting for workers’ rights. Unions were taking back the middle class and the livelihood of our middle class was never better. We now hate unions because they are “pushing jobs overseas”, and our middle class is quickly dwindling away to nothing.
Let’s be clear here. The companies that make the choice to move overseas are the ones pushing our jobs overseas, not the unions. Our middle class has been defending itself from trickle-down economics since the 80’s and I’ll tell you… BUSINESS is booming. They have been fighting for deregulation (and got it), they have been fighting to break up unions (and got it), They have lower tax rates than probably anyone reading this post (unless you are in the 2%), they set up off-shore tax havens to avoid taxes. All of this right under our noses and no one is doing a damned thing about it.
Libertarianism is the answer?
Most of you probably relate Ayn Rand to the Tea Party, but the Libertarian party is very much on board with this ideology as well. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about… Ayn Rand is an author and a philosopher of sorts. She grew up in Russia and despised Communism. Ayn Rand moved to the US at the age of 21 in 1926. 17 years later she would publish her first masterpiece The Fountainhead and then in 1957 she published what she is best known for, Atlas Shrugged.
Ayn Rand’s philosophy, in a nutshell, goes something like this… Big government is bad because we will systematically destroy our society through social philanthropy. We will give away our best resources to undeserving people who don’t work as hard as the people who aren’t receiving the benefits. She believes that hard work, in big government, will not be rewarded and in fact will be punished because you make the others look bad. Her answer to these pitfalls, she sees, is something like this… Complete deregulation of industry. Hard workers will always triumph and their sacrifices will not go unnoticed. Wealth will trickle down to those deserving of the money through their hard work. Quality will shine through in a world of true Capitalist competition.
In my early 20’s, my dad challenged me to read Atlas Shrugged. My dad is a liberal, as am I, and the reason he wanted me to read this book was so I could examine my own beliefs. I will throw the same challenge out to anyone reading this post as well. Read Atlas Shrugged. Now, the caveat was that I was to read this book and then defend why I am a liberal. The way Ayn Rand portrays her philosophy in Atlas Shrugged is utopian. There is no way to question her philosophy if you take it at face value.
What does that mean?
It means, her philosophy is PERFECT in the context in which it is written. Here are the questions I had to ask myself after reading this book…
- Do I trust that CEO’s will act as heroes and keep the well-being of their hardest working people in mind?
- Do I believe that wealth would trickle down from large corporations with no mandate from the government to do so?
- Do I believe that large corporations would value our environment and our livelihood over profit?
- Do I believe that large corporations would compete to make quality products over cheaper products that they could market easier?
- Do I believe that doing away with government regulation would create jobs in the long run?
I’ll let you come to your own conclusions about those questions.
Is Big Government the answer?
…*sigh*… It’s not that I trust our government. I really don’t. This is something my wife and I talk about a lot and it boils down to this in my mind: It always comes down to the “lesser of two evils”. That being said, however, “big government” is still essentially within the purview of the people. We have the ability to vote our representatives in or out of office as we see fit. Unfortunately, we don’t have that luxury with corporations. Sadly, though, we seem to be voting in representatives, on both sides of the aisle, that are sympathetic to “big business”. Our choice, as it stands, is this:
Which party, that I’m voting for, is MORE for big business than the other?
Until we are able to get corporate funding out of our political campaigns, we will never have any other choice than the lesser of two evils. Campaign finance reform should be our biggest mutual goal as a collective. With campaign finance reform, we might actually start to see some real change in this country.
Back to Libertarians
It seems to me that many of the Libertarians I know aren’t really aware of what their party stands for. They are aware that their social policies are progressive and that they don’t like “big government”. Unfortunately, they’re signing up for “big corporations” instead. I don’t know about you, but… I don’t like the idea of handing over our livelihood to corporations. The future we could be heading to is one I don’t care for and I think if most of the people really understood what they were voting for, they wouldn’t be for it either.
This is straight from the Libertarian Platform:
[su_quote cite=”Libertarian Party Platform” url=”http://www.lp.org/platform“]Consequently, we defend each person’s right to engage in any activity that is peaceful and honest, and welcome the diversity that freedom brings. The world we seek to build is one where individuals are free to follow their own dreams in their own ways, without interference from government or any authoritarian power.[/su_quote]
I don’t know about you, but that seems a little like Anarchy to me.
[su_quote cite=”Libertarian Party Platform” url=”http://www.lp.org/platform“]All persons are entitled to keep the fruits of their labor. We call for the repeal of the income tax, the abolishment of the Internal Revenue Service and all federal programs and services not required under the U.S. Constitution. We oppose any legal requirements forcing employers to serve as tax collectors. Government should not incur debt, which burdens future generations without their consent. We support the passage of a “Balanced Budget Amendment” to the U.S. Constitution, provided that the budget is balanced exclusively by cutting expenditures, and not by raising taxes. [/su_quote]
So… No 911, No Social Security, No government support for arts, schools, etc…? Sure sounds like it to me. Sadly, taxes are essential to making this country work and if you think otherwise, well, just take a look at all of the things that would disappear.
[su_quote cite=”Libertarian Party Platform” url=”http://www.lp.org/platform“] 2.5 Money and Financial Markets We favor free-market banking, with unrestricted competition among banks and depository institutions of all types. Individuals engaged in voluntary exchange should be free to use as money any mutually agreeable commodity or item. We support a halt to inflationary monetary policies and unconstitutional legal tender laws. 2.6 Monopolies and Corporations We defend the right of individuals to form corporations, cooperatives and other types of companies based on voluntary association. We seek to divest government of all functions that can be provided by non-governmental organizations or private individuals. We oppose government subsidies to business, labor, or any other special interest. Industries should be governed by free markets. 2.7 Labor Markets We support repeal of all laws which impede the ability of any person to find employment. We oppose government-fostered forced retirement. We support the right of free persons to associate or not associate in labor unions, and an employer should have the right to recognize or refuse to recognize a union. We oppose government interference in bargaining, such as compulsory arbitration or imposing an obligation to bargain.[/su_quote]
Deregulation of banking and corporations, not to mention monopolies, will be allowed to exist which will squeeze out Mom-and-Pop stores all across the country. Labor unions will have no support from our government to exist, leaving employees merely at the will of the “company”, which certainly does not have the individual’s best interest at heart. This doesn’t look very friendly to small business OR the middle class.
Read the full Libertarian platform here – http://www.lp.org/platform
There’s some good stuff in there too…
I encourage you to check out their platform and read it through. Don’t just take it at face value, though. Think it through, think about the implications of what they are saying. I could get up and run for president right now… I could say, “I am doing away with taxes!” I’d be VERY popular. People view this as a good thing (on the surface), but what about the consequences of these actions? What IS the alternative?
These are questions you have to ask yourself.