Libertarian: naive, idealistic, and proud of it

The recent government “shutdown” has made some folks realize how little we need the federal government to control our everyday lives.  It also reinforces the notion that more government in your life isn’t always the answer, but also, it  reminds me of why we are libertarians – we believe in people over governments.

First, I want you to think of all the times that you have tried to talk to someone about your political viewpoint.  Think about the dialogue you had and how the other person reacted to your libertarian beliefs. I find, often, when I mention to someone that I am a libertarian, I generally get one of two responses from well-reasoned, rational individuals:

“You are too naive and the world doesn’t really work that way.”
OR
“You are being too idealistic about people and  humans need rules, regulation, and restriction to function.”

I am sure you have as well. Even as a teenager, this reaction always bothered me.  It seems to come from both the left and the right – in equal proportion – and it seems to engulf every aspect of political debate. Whether it is the economy, welfare, gun control, third parties, foreign policy, or any other hot button topic of the week – I’m always too “naive” and “idealistic”.

If I say that heavy taxation causes a deadening effect upon the economy, then I do not understand that people need the services the government provides to survive – and therefore taxes, even when exorbitantly high, are necessary.

If I state that social programs (welfare, medicaid, social security) are all government handouts that “give a man a fish, but do not teach them to fish for themselves”, I am too idealistic to assume that people can make wise financial decisions in their lives or maintain skills that make them desirable on the job market.

If I suggest that foreign intervention in other people’s lives for our profit leads only to resentment and aggression against us, I am being yet again too naive and we must fight them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here.

And the list goes on, and on, unfortunately.

I am always, and consistently, dumbstruck by this argument. It is gleefully uttered, usually with a condescending  and dismissive tone, as if it somehow denigrates my reasoning to that of a child or some other simpleton unable to comprehend the vast complexities of human behavior. At every turn, the notion that humans must be controlled in all aspects of their life (financially, socially, and religiously) is creeping into our government, slithering into our homes, and no one seems to care — as long as their political party sponsored it. It seems that these individuals do not mind trampling on the rights of the people as long as they inflict on others their will “for the greater good”.

And it hits me: both left and right genuinely believe people are evil, dishonest, and will trespass against their neighbor without constant supervision and control. They believe the people must be controlled, whether through something as obvious as gun control and forced subsidization of social programs or less obvious like the war on drugs, abortion and religion in schools — it’s obvious they believe their way is the only way. Not only is it the only way, but you will obey and accept it by the force of the gun.

However, to be a libertarian, one believes that people regulate themselves without government involvement in virtually every facet of our lives.  In order to do that, you must believe that people are inherently good. You must believe that the vast majority of people will not mass murder hundreds of innocent people with firearms, will not rob banks, be greedy and avaricious, and find their own religious path in life. Sadly, this is a scary notion to most who believe in either political party.

Truthfully, it should be scary to them - you have just announced that their party is not needed.

What a terrible world these individuals live in.  People are not inherently evil regardless of what the religious right wants us to believe. People are not too stupid to take care of themselves regardless of the self-aggrandizing left tries to force us to support.  So, I have come with a new response to those who believe I am too naive or idealistic about my fellowman: good, I am glad I believe in humanity, if I didn’t believe that most people were good  and capable of reasoning, why would I choose to live in the same society?  Why not return to caveman days, for civilization has clearly bred degenerates and miscreants, unfit to share space with one another.

So join with me in staying naive and idealistic. It might be the only shot for a better tomorrow we have left.

Time to stop the madness with a third party?

two-partiesThose who follow the nation’s politics understand that the creation of a viable and effective third political party in the US is the LAST thing Washington wants.  The dems and repubs will fight a third party with all the power, energy, zeal, vehemence, vigor, cunning, and skulduggery they can manage – and then some. 

Look.  Our political system was designed for multiple political parties … not just two parties such as we have today.

Having only two parties is extremely risky.  Over the years we have seen the two parties switch positions and recently we have watched as the Republican Party, supposedly the home of those of the conservative persuasion, adopt the liberal and progressive positions of the Democratic Party on a scale that has rendered the GOP as something of a pale reflection of the party that has been the traditional home of Socialists, Marxists, and Progressives– the Democratic Party.

What that means to Americans is simply this: We actually have two branches of the same party trying to govern in Washington today … the Democratic Party and the Democratic Party LITE. The GOP (the Republican Party) exists in name only.

Creation of another political party, as a third political party, is something of a misnomer.  In fact, it would be the creation of a SECOND political party as we currently have only one political party — with two branches — in authority in the Congress today.

I mentioned at the beginning of this piece that our Founding Fathers actually meant us to have multiple political parties and not just the two we have come to think were bequeathed to us by The Founders.

President John Adams, one of the most intelligent presidents this country has had the good fortune to have, said this:

   “There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.”

George Washington, the first President under the constitution,  agreed.  Washington said this in his farewell presidential speech:

  “The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty

Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind, (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight,) the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.

It serves always to distract the Public Councils, and enfeeble the Public Administration. It agitates the Community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.

There is an opinion, that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the Government, and serve to keep alive the spirit of Liberty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in Governments of a Monarchical cast, Patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in Governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And, there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be, by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.”

I have come to believe that the current two-party system in America is — UNAMERICAN.  Here’s why I say that:

Above I mentioned the two parties had merged their  ideologies effectively blurring the lines between them.  But what troubles me even more is the feeling I get that, between them, the two parties have created a “ruling class” in America and THAT is absolutely un-American. 

I fear I would not be welcome in any political party these days.  See, I don’t like compromise… period.  Compromise is NOT honesty — therefore compromise cannot be a virtue.  If one believes one’s political philosophy, one’s core belief,  is correct, then why compromise? Why LIE?  Seems to me that if a man truly believes that WHAT he believes IS THE TRUTH,  he will hold fast and not budge one iota from that position — for any reason.  That used to be referred to as “having the courage of one’s conviction.”  Sadly, few, these days, have such conviction — or courage.

We have become so used to compromise — going along to get along, group think, being good little socialists — that when a person who has the courage to stake out a position and refuse to give it up to those who disagree and stands pat and defends his position against all comers, he is pilloried, said to be a mental case, cursed, metaphorically spat upon, and made an outcast of our hypocritical society. 

I must tell you, there is something dead and rotting at the core of any society that treats a courageous citizen in that manner.   Look. I may not agree with that person’s conviction, but I admire his courage, his honesty. 

In the meantime, get used to the mess we have in Congress today.  It WILL get worse.  

There is no constitutional answer to this particular problem.  We can’t recall them and we can’t dissolve the Congress and hold national elections and send a new crop to DC.  (Would that we could!) We can only lawfully do it — a handful of seats at a time in both houses — every two years.

The title to this piece was posed in the form of a question.  My answer to the question is:  “I don’t know.”  Believe me, that is not meant as some sort of cop-out.  I REALLY don’t know.  I cannot escape the feeling that there is something basically, fundamentally, WRONG with the government today.  Not JUST the government, but society, as well.

Like so many Americans today, I am frustrated to the nth degree.  No matter our protestations, the government isn’t listening, therefore nothing is resolved — no matter how hard we try to get our message through to them and acted upon.  It is as though we are racing in a circle, at an ever increasing speed, in an ever decreasing circle.  Only disaster awaits us. 

I fear the old constitution-based America is in a death spiral from which it will not, nay, cannot, escape or recover.  

History tells us that when a democracy crashes and burns it is followed by a dictatorship – every time.  Already, we see evidence of the encroachment of a dictatorship in America today as many of us are convinced we have already entered the “police state” stage of devolvement. 

If my assessment proves correct, then another political party won’t make much difference now, will it?

Gary Johnson a spoiler in the 2012 elections? Think again

It is inevitable.  If the Republican Party loses an election – especially one against an entirely beatable candidate like Barack Obama, the blame game begins.  A popular victim in this game of placing blame?  The libertarian party, and this time, the supposed spoiler is Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.

The problem?  Johnson had absolutely nothing to do with this election.  The spoiler in this race for the Republican party was none other than Mitt Romney.

Without exception, polls show the American people are disgusted with their government.  The people find politicians untrustworthy and, in many cases, downright criminal.  Americans place very little confidence in the economy and especially our political class’ ability to manage it.  This election was ripe for a change at the helm.

Unfortunately for the GOP, facts stand in the way of placing the blame on Gary Johnson.  In an election where nearly 105 million people voted, Johnson received just over one million.  Romney and Obama both garnered over 52 million a piece.  One million votes do not, under nearly any circumstance in an election of this magnitude, make or break an election.  If you cannot beat Barack Obama because a third party claimed 1,012,617 votes, then you have a serious problem on your hands.

The problem was Mitt Romney.  The larger problem is the entire Republican party.  The issue lies in the destruction of the Republican base at the hands of GOP leaders in Congress, primarily lead by limp-wristed John “Obamacare is the law of the land” Boehner.  The utter abandonment of any semblance of small government within the Republican party effectively destroyed the GOP’s chances at beating Barack Obama even in times of extreme economic uncertainty, huge debts and low poll numbers.  In short, Republicans were unmotivated to vote.

Gary Johnson had nothing to do with this election.  The problem lies with the Republican party, and until they begin taking personal responsibility for their own failures, this country will continue to see Democratic rule from the top spot in the land.

A vote for Johnson is a vote for Obama? How?

Popular wisdom seems to indicate that when votes are placed for a Libertarian or other third party candidate, that essentially counts as a vote for the Democratic contender.  Unfortunately, not only is that logically untrue, it is mathematically untrue as well.

The only way to vote for a candidate is to – you guessed it – placing your vote for that candidate.  Voting for a third party is not the same as voting for one of the “Big Two” political parties.  The real argument is that a vote for a third party will not directly cancel out a vote for the “other” major political party.  That is an accurate representation of the issue, but slaves to the two-party system refuse to accept it.  The fundamental ignorance and collective lie being perpetrated by these empty talking heads stands as a perfect example of why our country has maintained the two-party abyss that we find our nation in.  Advancing a purposeful untruth does not effect political reality.  It never has.

Gary Johnson a candidate worth looking at

Imagine a candidate who proposes a 43% cut in the military budget (yes, nearly half), an end to the wasteful War on Drugs program, an immediate stop to the never-ending War on Terrorism, believes in true Internet freedom and actually has a chance at winning the election in 2012, albeit remote.  Who is this candidate?  I’ll give you a hint: it’s not Ron Paul.

This candidate’s name is Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party and ex-Governor of New Mexico.  Johnson has successfully dented Mitt Romney’s stronghold on the “other than huge government” crowd and promises to continue fighting and striving for victory.  “The idea is to win,” Johnson said in an interview with the Huffington Post.

Johnson strikes me as, well, appropriately small government.  The man supports an end to these costly wars overseas and might be the only major politician who does not want to bomb Iran.  He supports removing the government from the business of marriage and wants the Internet to remain free of government censors.  He supports repealing the Patriot Act, which he calls an “assault on privacy” and believes in a woman’s right to abort until the fetus is viable.

The real world gives Johnson next to no chance at securing victory in 2012.  But then again, the real world does not make a lot of sense either.  Every day, Americans break laws that they did not even know existed.  Americans have become complacent and comfortable within the confines of a so-called government “safety net”.  They have become content – until something jarring enough hits them hard enough to knock them out of their own little worlds.  This year, it’s health care.

Johnson’s web site says 15% support in the polls gets him a podium at the debates.  Let’s find out if Americans feel that sensibility in government is worth not throwing their vote away on the “big two”.