By Katy Kappele
If it harm none, do as ye will.” — The Wiccan Rede and the fundamental tenant of Libertarianism.
Libertarians are commonly perceived as wanting to have sex and smoke pot all day, but as for me, neither of these things holds appeal. I just think YOU should be allowed to if YOU want to. What business does the government have telling me whom I can marry, what I can do to my body, what I should wear, or anything else about my own personal life?
The party’s platform states that “all individuals have the right to exercise sole dominion over their own lives, and have the right to live in whatever manner they choose, so long as they do not forcibly interfere with the equal right of others to live in whatever manner they choose.”
I’m encouraged that the country seems to be awakening to these beliefs. I believe in a free and peaceful country in which the government minds its own business.
A Libertarian government is a minimalist one. Minimalism in government reduces spending. For example, defense spending. The purpose of a standing army is to defend our freedoms in case of an attack, not to police the world! In fact, the Founding Fathers made no provision for a standing army, because then what do they do all day? Hence the Second Amendment. The Founding Fathers thought that everyone should defend his country in a time of need. In a truly Libertarian society, pretty much everyone would be armed, so attacking us would be pretty risky!
Critics of Libertarianism point out that there are no provisions for the environment and the poor. The truth is that there are, people just don’t like our provisions because they require work. And yes, you will hate me if you don’t agree with me — I am calling you lazy. Freedom isn’t free; it must be paid for daily in sweat and often in blood.
But I digress. Strong private property rights provide economic incentives to protect our planet. If you pay for something yourself, there is pride of ownership and an incentive to upkeep.
As for the poor, the government has no incentive to lift people out of dependency. But without welfare programs, the poor have the correct incentives to better themselves. As I said before, freedom isn’t some magical thing conferred on us by a law, it’s a product of difficult, everyday labor. Thomas Paine put it best in Common Sense: “What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value… it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated.”
And yes, Libertarians do care about cooperation. We just don’t like to be FORCED to cooperate. After all, that isn’t really cooperation, is it?
By Cutter Kilgore
Minimalist government, no programs to help the less fortunate, no standing army and everyone and his mother has a gun. So, pretty much like Afghanistan?
Why vote for a government whose policy is that government should have no policies? Deregulate everything and then what? Let corporations rule supreme?
Libertarians want to diminish or abolish government aid to students and seniors, and government programs like the Environmental Protection Agency, the organization responsible for holding companies to a minimum standard of ecological safety. And they want to sell $40 billion worth of government protected land to the states, who will likely sell it to oil companies to do with as they wish.
I guess Libertarians don’t see the need for protected national parks and forests and clean oceans and watersheds that we depend on?
In their world, corporations have full reign to police themselves. No emissions standards for cars or coal or energy-producing factories. Do you live next to one of those? Are you getting sick from the chemicals dumped into the air? Too bad! Move! There’s no government protection for you, because Libertarians believe that corporations are trustworthy enough to make the responsible decisions when it comes to your health and safety.
Libertarianism seems to appeal to a lot of young conservatives I’ve met: those disillusioned by the current state of politics. They want to believe in a just world where everyone is capable of governing themselves responsibly. They think that the poor and disabled who can’t work or pay for school probably are in their positions because they deserve it. Poor citizens are lazy and stupid, right?
Government programs like food benefits and low-income housing, Social Security…gone. The Libertarian answer to everything is “get a job, you lazy incompetent!”
Eliminate welfare programs? As if there’s something inherently wrong with someone who needs a little help. We ALL need a little help from time to time. Why vote for policies unwilling to provide it?
The Libertarian is the person who walks swiftly by the food bank with a disapproving look and tells you to better yourself by going back to school. Except they won’t approve government funds to help you do it.
But they’re right about one thing: everyone deserves personal freedom. This includes the freedom to clean air and a healthy planet. It includes the freedom to affordable health care and higher education and to not be looked down upon and called “lazy.”
I’m not in love with the idea of giving everyone a gun, deregulating government and vital services, and trusting that we’re leaving the country in good hands. “Everything will be all right,” says the Libertarian. “Trust me.”