On Libertarianism

Nothing new here, a simple re-posting of some comments I made in the comments section of another post – for easy finding, you can find what I said here:

…In the general election I’ll have a mail-in ballot, but I’ll just be voting for Democrats across the board… you know, so my vote “counts”. Because in prior years I’d vote for the Libertarian candidates…

…As far as libertarianism goes, I am much more in alignment with the textbook ideal of libertarianism than with the actuality of libertarians that exist in the world, and even less aligned with those libertarians who organise and run for office. Which is why I did not re-register as a Libertarian when I changed my official address this year; the party does not reflect what they should, or me.

My votes in previous elections for Libertarians were tied to my intention to vote “against” the two-party system. This time around I have something more important to vote “against”, and … depending on how the next 3 years go I may be forced to take action myself and organise the actual “against” party I have spoken of a few times before. More news as it develops.

Oh, and feel free to tell me why I’m wrong…

Now, Nanda had a response to this:

“As for Libertarians…I’ve always associated them with: thrift store camouflage, gun catalogs, teenage angst, and webpages with black backgrounds and red text. Oh yeah, and long-winded defenses of their “philosophy” that really says nothing at all, other than how much free time Libertarians must have. You are the only person with Libertarian inclinations that I know of who does not fit this stereotype. I guess my mentality is that it doesn’t matter what the “ideal” or “theory” behind it is, because it’ll never come to fruition. I think Communism sounds pretty good on paper, but that doesn’t mean anything more.

I personally don’t really have a problem with only 2 parties. It’s nice and basic, “yer either with us or against us.” Okay nevermind. I guess it is different for me, being very well-aligned with the Democratic party. I don’t really know what it is like to hold opinions that agree with and disagree with the views of multiple political parties. But I can understand why people would want more options if their beliefs don’t translate to such a cut-and-dry candidate like mine do.

I like to say I vote for people, not the party, and it just so happens that the people I find worth voting for are those that hold the most liberal ideals. And Republican, Libertarian, or Independent liberals are just not popping up on the ballots, for some reason.

Anyway, local politics is often one-party, not two-party. I’m switching to Independent to take advantage of the open primaries. And to vote for the lesser of two “evils” when there’s no Democratic candidate running.”

And in response to the conversation generally I did some reading, which resulted in the following response:

Okay, I started here and read what was on the pages of the main issue links there. I agree at least basically with every position they listed there, save one: They mention in one place (not under the Gun Laws link, but under the Crime and Violence link) that they want to repeal waiting periods for gun purchases. I believe that waiting periods are a good idea, and that basic background checks (is this person a convicted felon?) should be required, even for gun show purchases. Putting guns into the hands of people who have shown that they cannot be trusted to do what is right, or into the hands of people who may be hot-headed does not seem prudent. But I definitely think that the constitution protects the individual’s right to own guns. That seems clear.

Everything else there seems reasonable and appropriate, and if I believed it was possible to get more libertarians into office who followed those positions, I would vote for them this year. If we used an instant-runoff method for voting, I could simultaneously show my support for Libertarians without risking the election of those who would support Bush.

I like this quote, from this page: “The Libertarian way is a logically consistent approach to politics based on the moral principle of self-ownership. Each individual has the right to control his or her own body, action, speech, and property. Government’s only role is to help individuals defend themselves from force and fraud.” That is the ideal that I support. It is clarified here.

I have not read the entire platform yet. I may at some point, but I must sleep soon.

Still, there are two things about the Libertarians that, in the current state-of-things I support, but that I don’t exactly believe in. I do not believe that Privacy exists, so whether or not it is protected is moot. I do not believe that capitalism works in the long run (and here my longview is longer than most, I suppose), though there are lessons to be learned from it. But since I don’t believe it is the government’s job to control the economy, Libertarians are more in line with me than Democrats or Republicans.

As far as the two-party system goes, I believe it is a result not of human nature, but of our electoral process. (See Also) I hate that I have to be for one group and against another; I don’t agree with either one wholly. I like some ideas some Republicans have had, I like some ideas some Democrats have had, I like most of the ideas Libertarians have had, and I have my own unique views on many things (see my other post regarding prisons, for example) … I like the idea of Schwarzenegger, who is economically conservative and environmentally liberal, but I don’t agree with everything he’s been doing.

Sigh. The whole thing is a mess. I must sleep. Really. I’ll try to read more later.

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