Monday, November 01, 2010

A question for my Libertarian friends

On the eve of the 2010 elections, I find myself puzzled by the choices of some of my Libertarian friends.

They are lining up in droves behind Tea Party candidates: a mixed bag of wannabees characterized by angry anti-Washington rhetoric, mostly around the government spending and taxes (TEA = Taxed Enough Already). I'll ignore for now the obvious question of where these hot-heads were during the Bush years.

The Libertarians have always prided themselves on being fiscal conservatives and social progressives. Indeed, the banner from the Libertarian Party website says "Minimum Government, Maximum Freedom."

Hey, sounds good to me.

Their 2010 platform preamble goes on to say:

We believe that respect for individual rights is the essential precondition for a free and prosperous world, that force and fraud must be banished from human relationships, and that only through freedom can peace and prosperity be realized.
Consequently, we defend each person's right to engage in any activity that is peaceful and honest, and welcome the diversity that freedom brings. The world we seek to build is one where individuals are free to follow their own dreams in their own ways, without interference from government or any authoritarian power.

Which is why I'm confused.

Part of their platform says:
We condemn bigotry as irrational and repugnant. Government should not deny or abridge any individual's rights based on sex, wealth, race, color, creed, age, national origin, personal habits, political preference or sexual orientation. Parents, or other guardians, have the right to raise their children according to their own standards and beliefs.
Yet they are lining up behind candidates like Rand Paul, Sharon Angle, Christine O'Donnell and Joe Miller.

Rand Paul opposes to same-sex marriage and is calling for a constitutional amendment outlawing abortion.  Sharon Angle built her campaign on anti-immigrant / anti-Muslim bigotry -- going so far as to suggest parts of the US, including communities in Texas, are operating under Sharia law. She's also come out opposing legalization of marijuana. Joe Miller claims he is "unequivocally pro-life." Never mind that he appears to be a compulsive liar (he first denied and later admitted misusing Fairbanks North Star Borough computers in 2008 and was suspended without pay and placed on administrative leave): he needs to buy a fucking razor. Christine O'Donnell lacks basic understanding of the constitutional basis for the separation of church and state (in addition to being, well, an idiot).

Despite Libertarian pronouncements that "no individual, group, or government may initiate force against any other individual, group, or government," some Tea Partiers missed the memo: Rand Paul supporters restrained and stomped a 23 year old female protester (attacker Tim Profitt - a former campaign organizer - opined that *she* should apologize to him after he was booked for assault). Joe Miller's "private security force" handcuffed a journalist and detained him in handcuffs for about 20 minutes until Anchorage police arrived and told Miller's guards to release him.

I could go on about this merry band of pranksters, but why?

The willingness of some Libertarians to climb in bed with these knaves and fools leaves me questioning their supposed commitment to the social freedoms of which they so loudly boast. If the financial issues are all you really care about, just say so. This starts to look like a transparent attempt to deflect Berkeley Breathed's comment about Libertarians being "whiny tax-dodgers."

You might want to re-read your own platform before you get back to me. I'm looking forward to you losing some of that smug superiority.

1 comment:

Gar said...

It's possible, you've hit upon one of my ongoing issues with "Libertarians" although I claim to be one.

It's a frustration level with an, unfortunately, growing number of libertarians. Instead of sticking with the platform, they just start aiming rockets at "government as usual" without regard to how close the rockets match their own platform.

So instead of preaching the "less government, more freedom" doctrine. They say, "Look! This group of people seem to be shaking up things at the foundation. Let's help them rumble!"