“May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.”

"This report is maybe 12-years-old. Parliament buried it, and it stayed buried till River dug it up. This is what they feared she knew. And they were right to fear because there's a whole universe of folk who are gonna know it, too. They're gonna see it. Somebody has to speak for these people. You all got on this boat for different reasons, but you all come to the same place. So now I'm asking more of you than I have before. Maybe all. Sure as I know anything I know this, they will try again. Maybe on another world, maybe on this very ground swept clean. A year from now, 10, they'll swing back to the belief that they can make people . . . better. And I do not hold to that. So no more running. I aim to misbehave." ~ Captain Malcom Reynolds

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Small "l", big "L"

Feeling a ton better, and appreciate the well-wishes everyone... it's amazing what a couple of nights of actual sleep will do to help out with that... and actually having a couple of days of not having to work. Next thing you know, I'll have a vacation at some point - I know, crazy talk!

Anyways, a bit back Meadowlark had asked me to expand a bit on what I meant by "small "l" libertarian" & I wanted to take the chance to do so.

First off, I certainly can't take credit for the label - I've seen it a number of times on the interwebs over the past several years, and am unsure who has the original claim to the term, but it's certainly not me. Full disclosure moment passing by now...

Libertarian/Constitutionalist/Browncoat mentality I certainly identify with - mixed in with a healthy dose of P.J. O'Rourke, world-weary cynicism, and the idealism that the founding fathers had it pretty darned close with the original operating manual & the Bill of Rights. Sure, we've had to add a few others along the way (along with some that certainly WEREN'T needed), but as an operating system the free market & open society, while not perfect, is beating every other game in town. I say that with the experience of having lived in & visited a number of spots that did not have these same freedoms, and seeing the end results in practice as opposed to classroom theory.

And, like a great many people, I think our govenrment and society has gotten a whole lot larger than it's britches were ever intended to house... When you have a great portion of our nation seeking further opportunities to suckle at the teat of public largease, and the natural tendency of a bureaucracy to continue to grow like a cancerous mass, we have changed greatly from what we were even 75 years ago. Note, I am not blaming this on any one president, party, or philosophy - just a trend which has travelled down an ever-steepening slope towards madness. Between an ever-increasing amount of our children's futures being spent before they are born, the growth in regulation until simply breathing without permission will soon be a crime, and the actions of our "representatives" whose sole goal is to remain in office as long as possible and "vote their conscience" as opposed to actually listening to those they claim to represent, we travel further each year down a road away from the republic.

Our world has changed - despite what some would wish, the global marketplace, and the ease of travel of not only people but more importantly information and ideas, means that we will never again be living in a simple, agrarian self-sufficient society as a whole. Note, I'm not saying individuals cannot choose this route, simply that as a member of the modern world the nation as a whole can't retain that lifestyle. Be that as it may, like I feel a great many others do, I long for some of those simpler ideals to return to the forefront of our nation. The same ones you try to teach your kids when they are growing up. Take care of yourself and your things. Be nice to other people. Stand up for what's right, even when others don't. Keep your hands to yourself. Share your toys nicely. Tell the truth. etc. etc. etc.

The Libertarian Party on the other hand, as a political entity, I cannot support or believe in. What was once based on many of these same ideals, has grown instead into the party of "anarchy lite" - wanting not only a free market, but hell a completely open market. No prohibitions on drugs, pornography, or any other kinds of sales or regulation. No military action or involvement overseas for any reason (#1 we've seen how well that has worked as a plan in the past, and #2 see my comment reference a global society above). No involuntary commitments in mental institutions (and I can tell you from experience how many people who need help THINK they need help). No more welfare. No more affirmative action or protection against any form of discrimination (not that our current policies are great, but they were put in place for a reason). No government involvement in labor laws or collective bargaining, minting of monies, etc. Basically a nice return to the years of the robber-barons, where the rich will nicely hold all the power, since the government can't step in. Oh, of course this won't happen, because this platform drinks from the same fluffy unicorn kool-aid as a lot of other ideas & trusts in human nature to make inherently good decisions... For those of you who skipped the last 5000 years of recorded history, I'll wait while you catch up. But basically it can be summed up as the Libertarian Party has taken the platform that ANY government is bad, and people don't need it. Again, not a fan of big government, see my notes prior to this... but we need to have some things to help mediate the "common good".

So, that's the reason for my statement in the title bar - because while I don't identify with either the Democratic or the Republican party as they now stand by any stretch, and while most of my ideals would be labeled as being somewhat constitutionalist or libertarian, I do so as an individual not as a member of that party either. Hope that explains it somewhat... a whole lot of others on the web do a better job of it than I do, so if you're new to the concept read & explore.

I'm going to wrap this up with a few things. #1 is a quote that sums it up well I think:
  • "The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities." - Ayn Rand
#2 is a link to a much better written essay on the downsides of the Libertarian Party, by Steven Dutch.

and, for your closing lighter note, if you haven't done so already go & read Republican Party Reptile & Parliament of Whores by P. J. O'Rourke - a great introduction to his work & one that addresses a lot of these ideas with a great dose of humor.


Meadowlark said...

Thanks. Actually, I hate to say I hadn't put much thought into capital L Libertarians.

YoungSon told me I'm a producerist, and I think he may be right: Producerism sees society's strength being "drained from both ends"--from the top by the machinations of globalized financial capital and the large, politically connected corporations which together conspire to restrict free enterprise, avoid taxes and destroy the fortunes of the honest businessman, and from the bottom by members of the underclass and illegal immigrants whose reliance on welfare and government benefits drains the strength of the nation.

I just know that I'm disappointed by both major parties and yearn for something different.


Front Porch Society said...

Well said.

I belong to no party. The past 10 years have left me pretty disgusted with both parties.

And isn't it amazing how much politics has changed this country? Too much government has been and always will be a bad thing. Of course, I claim my Southern Confederate roots on the whole issue of state rights. ;) And I still strongly believe that what the South tried to do was justified. Big government is bad. And look where it has gotten us today - higher taxes, higher costs of living, less individual/state freedoms, lack of morals, etc. But I digress.....

TOTWTYTR said...

Nice description. I too consider myself a libertarian as opposed to a Libertarian.

I think the debate is more over how much government we need where, not whether or not we need government at all. Libertarians are too close to anarchists for my liking.