A reader asks about “voting Libertarian” – and my thoughts about Libertarianism as a political movement:
In reading your articles, it’s clear you advocate libertarian principles, but I’m curious what you think of the Libertarian Party as an organization? Especially during the “Corona crisis,” it’s become increasingly clear to me that Democratic or Republican, the “lesser of two evils” is well, still an evil. However, I also believe just voting Libertarian (or any “third party”) as a “protest candidate” every four years isn’t going to do much good; the only way to make any headway through the political system would be to support Libertarians (or independents who support the same basic principles) all the time and from the ground up — for city councils, county/township trustees, school boards, etc. (even running ourselves if we have the political acumen to do so) — in order build momentum and a national following. What is your thought on “voting Libertarian”? Is this a viable method of political and social change, or should we try to “work with the system” and try to influence the major parties?
I support a Libertarian movement rather than a party. It’s the ideas – and changing them – that will determine things more so than who gets elected. We suffer from too many (and tyrannical) laws and are under the thumb of those who impose them and enforce them largely because so many people want them. If a critical mass of people no longer wanted to be herded and micromanaged, they’d automatically be in favor of not herding and micromanaging others. The difficulty lies in making them conscious of this duality – and that is the job of a Libertarian movement.
But I am also a practical man and understand that it is sometimes necessary to accept the good rather than insist upon the perfect; that the perfect will likely never exist. Because humans are imperfect.
Still, we can try. And we ought never to give up.
Accordingly, I will support political movements that are favorably inclined toward more respect for the rights of the individual; the more articulate and consciously so the better. Republicans are terrible in this respect as they – generally – have no defined principles beyond “less government” (means what, exactly?) and (worse) accept most if not all the principles of the supposed opposition. An obvious example being “repeal . . . and replace” Obamacare. No opposition to the idea of mandated/government-enforced health care. Just a “better plan” than the other side’s.
How about leaving people free to “plan” (and decide) for themselves? What a concept!
A Libertarian Party is almost as oxymoronic as Marx’s idea of the “withering away of the state.”
Libertarians could and arguably should get behind a platform which echoes what Jefferson meant when he wrote the Declaration – but bollixed up when he allowed poetry to mar clear elucidation of principle. What I mean is the babble about “all men are created equal,” which is evil nonsense. That one flowery but incandescently dangerous line is the ultimate reason for the rotting of the tree of liberty, which is now about ready to topple over on account of it.
Any imbecile can see that men are not equal. Is it really necessary to elaborate? Is AOC the intellectual equal of Stephen Hawking? Is an NBA forward the physical equal of a sumo wrestler? We are all wildly unequal – in every way that can be measured, from our physical attributes to our mental attributes; even the congeniality of our personalities and the attractiveness of our faces and bodies differs from individual to individual.
Some are just lucky.
Life is sometimes unfair. The smarter and stronger and better-looking do start out with more advantages than the average person. But it is no guarantee of success, wealth and happiness – either way.
It is up to us, as individuals. The smart and attractive are sometimes lazy and unpleasant. Average intelligence can be made up for by hard work. Average looks can be made up for by a winning personality.
We all get dealt a certain hand – but it is up to us how it is played. Unless we permit others to play that hand for us.
The results of the quest for equality – of condition, of outcome – can be read about; see Kurt Vonnegut’s short story, Harrison Bergeron. And if not read about, will be experienced.
All men are not created equal. They can never be made equal, except in death. But they do have equal rights.
Not just before the law – though that’s part of it. No person should ever be treated more harshly – or more leniently – by the law. All people should be held accountable to the same extent for the same harms caused.
But it goes deeper than that.
Each of us has the same equal and inalienable right to self-ownership, a proposition infinitely more “self-evident” (because who can deny it without defending slavery?) than the beautifully dangerous nonsense penned by Jefferson.
Self-ownership means just what the words mean. You own yourself exclusively – and no one else even fractionally.
No masters. No slaves – even a little bit.
It means you have the right to make use of the gifts nature and circumstances bestowed upon you. That no one else has a rightful claim to any part of you – or any part of the fruits of your labor, the work of your body or your mind.
It means you have an absolute right to live – and an absolute obligation to let live. To not harm others – and to expect that others refrain from harming you. To be held accountable for any harm you cause – but never for any harm you haven’t caused.
These are the ideas – the principles – a Libertarian movement ought to espouse. And which are worthy of being supported, to the extent they are espoused.
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