My Own Pie

Libertarian Thoughts from Renaissance Guy

Archive for the ‘Libertarian Party’ Category

The Tea Party and Me

with 2 comments

     I’m a little annoyed with the Tea Party movement.  I want to know where these people have been?  I have been in the mood that they are in for 20 years and feeling like a lone voice.  Do they think that the downfall of our country started when President Obama was elected?  If so, they were either ignorant or self-deluded.

     I’m glad that they have awoken.  I am glad that they are challenging the status quo.  However, I think that they are going about it all wrong.

     If their convention, which was not accepted by all Tea Party folks, is any indication, they plan to simply endorse Republican candidates.  They hope to reform the Republican Party, apparently.  That’s absurd.  The Republican Party has been in a moral decline since the beginning of Ronald Reagan’s second term.  Gradually, steadily, they have devolved to a slightly more restrained verions of the Democratic Party.  If the Democratic Party is socialist, and it is, the Republican Party is socialist-lite. 

     The GOP has had plenty of time to shape up.  There was a glimmer of hope in 1994 when the voters sent a clear message to President Clinton and the Democrats in the mid-term elections.  But that is the problem.  The Contract With America came to nothing.  Each little glimmer of hope is extinguished by the Republican wheelers and dealers who are all about money and power rather than conservative ideals.

     There is already a political party that espouses most of the views of the Tea Parties I have heard and read about–the Libertatian Party.  Rather than continuing to endorse the lighter branch of the Democratic Party, the Tea Partiers should switch to the party of true  freedom and human rights.  Why take the hard and frustrating path of reforming a party that will only give lipservice to being reformed, when you can take the easier path of joining an existing party that you can heartily endorse?

     We don’t need one more tiny party with no power and no real voice, especially not one as splintered as the Tea Party.  We definietly don’t need cheerleaders for the Republican Party to hold pep rallies and get people to vote for candidates with an elephant rather than a donkey on their campaign borchures.  What we need is to say “Enough” to both the R’s and the D’s and hit them where it hurts.  Take away their power, take away their money.  Then, and only then, might they listen.

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Written by ambrosianideas

February 16, 2010 at 8:11 am

Libertarian Platform #2

with 4 comments

This is part of a series on the platform of the Libertarian Party. I plan to post quotations from the platform and comment on them. I will explain where I agree, where I disagree, and perhaps share my personal thoughts on each item. The statements are from the platform adopted in May of 2008.

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We support full freedom of expression and oppose government censorship, regulation or control of communications media and technology. We favor the freedom to engage in or abstain from any religious activities that do not violate the rights of others. We oppose government actions which either aid or attack any religion.

     This plank is fundamentally a restating of the First Amendment.  Most Americans agree with it in principle.  However, most Americans are willing to put up with a few violations of it for reasons that happen to be convenient or advantageous to them.

     For me it would require the abolition of the FCC.  Whoever decided that the government owns the airwaves or the electronic signals that travel through the air?  It would include the prohibition of speech codes in any public institution.  It would require a continuation of a free, unregulated, untaxed Internet.   It would prohibit all campaign finance regulation that says how much money people can spend on campaigns, when and where their ads can run, and whom money can be donated to (political campaigns versus political parties).  It would also mean an end to the “equal time” doctrine.  Media outlets could run any ads they want without being forced to run certain ones for the sake of being fair and balanced.  They could also report on issues in any way they choose and could broadcast or publish political speeches without having to present the opposing view.

     This part of the platform would also preclude the concept of “hate speech” as a crime, although it would not, in and of itself, do away with the category “hate crimes,” which I also oppose.

     As I understand this statement, the Libertarian Party is for restoring the Free Exercise Clause.  If a student wants to pray at a graduation ceremony, that person is free to do so, and if another student wants to give a speech denying the existence of a god, then that person is also free to do so.  It doesn’t mean that the school, or the Congress, have set up an established state religion.  For the school to ban the expression of students’ religious beliefs not only violates the clear meaning of the First Amendment, but it establishes a kind of “anti-church” as the official church.

     I’m sure that some Libertarians interpret the words of this plank differently than I have here.  These are my views, and I would choose to interpret them myself.

Written by ambrosianideas

January 26, 2010 at 7:48 am

Posted in Libertarian Party

Libertarian Platform #1

with one comment

     This is part of a series on the platform of the Libertarian Party. I plan to post quotations from the platform and comment on them. I will explain where I agree, where I disagree, and perhaps share my personal thoughts on each item. The statements are from the platform adopted in May of 2008.

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Individuals should be free to make choices for themselves and to accept responsibility for the consequences of the choices they make. No individual, group, or government may initiate force against any other individual, group, or government. Our support of an individual’s right to make choices in life does not mean that we necessarily approve or disapprove of those choices.

     The last statement is very important. I, for one, disapprove of the use of marijuana. I have never used it, and have no plans to start. I think anyone who does so is stupid. However, I support the decriminalization of it, since using marijuana, in and of itself, harms nobody but the user. It is no worse, as far as I can tell than alcohol or tobacco, and therefore should be treated the same way.

     On the other hand, I heartily approve of giving to those in need, and I practice it myself. However, nobody should be forced to support those in need against his or her own wishes. In fact, giving to others by force is not true charity. True charity must be given voluntarily and cheerfully. So, although I approve of helping the needy, I cannot condone the confiscation of other people’s wealth in order to provide for others. 

      The hallmark of libertarianism is that the only proper restriction on behavior is on behavior that is unjustly aggressive toward somebody else. I agree with that approach. I believe that it is both rational and biblically sound. It does not preclude defense, either self-defense by an individual or public defense if a territory is attacked. It does not preclude just punishment for crimes, since the person who committed the crime is the one who initiated force.

     I realize that this plank completely precludes our invasion of Iraq, which I supported at one time. I definitely am against Islamic terrorism, and I want to see it stopped, if possible. However, I no longer support the use of the military of the United States to interfere in another country’s affair’s through a pre-emptive invasion. There were many problems with the regime of Saddam Hussein, but it was the responsibility of the Iraqi people to deal with those problems.

     At first glance, the plank might seem to support so-called reporductive rights, which of course really means abortion, which of course I do not condone at all. Since I regard abortion as the initiation of force against an unborn baby, I think it is perfectly in keeping with libertarianism to oppose abortion. The official positon of the Libertarian Party is that the government should stay out of the matter of abortion completely. I hope that someday that position changes.

     Anyway, I like the way that this plank balances individual rights and individual responsibilities. Yes, you have many rights, but you do not have the right to violate any of my rights.  As my fifth grade teacher said, your right to use your fist stops at the tip of my nose.  I like the way the plank recognizes freedom but demands that people accept the consequences for their freedom. You can drop out of school, if you want, but don’t whine about not being able to get a job, and do not demand that somebody else provide you a living.

     If the people of our country were to adopt this plank wholesale, most, if not all, of our problems, as a country, would be solved. As for individual problems, well, those are for each person to solve for himself or herself (with the help of willing friends and family).

Written by ambrosianideas

December 29, 2009 at 8:38 am

Posted in Libertarian Party

Another Obstacle–Drugs

with 8 comments

     As I grew up, my parents and my teachers were careful to warn me about the dangers of drugs.  I assumed that they were right about the need to keep certain drugs illegal and to put people in prison for using them and for selling them.

     Because I went along with that approach to drugs, I could not align myself with the Libertarian Party or even call myself a libertarian.  One of my turning points came when William F. Buckley, arch-conservative and one of my heroes, changed his mind.  I began to look at the issue a lot more deeply and a lot more seriously. 

     While I don’t want to see the United States of America become one giant hippie commune with everyone high all the time and billows of marijuana smoke floating over the countryside, I have decided that people should have the freedom to use marijuana (and perhaps other drugs) in the same way that they are free to use tobacco, alcohol, and caffeine.

     The War on Drugs, as it is called, is a stupid war and nobody is winning.  It is not actually preventing people from using drugs and it is actually fostering certain crimes that would probably cease to exist if we just made certain drugs legal to purchase and use.  The laws against marijuana certainly lead to more death than its recreational use does.  And lots of young people, especially black people, are in prison for nonviolent offenses.  That’s sad, and I believe that it is wrong.

     None of this means that I, or other libertarians, think that drug use is a good idea or that we do it ourselves.  I certainly never have. 

     It means that a thoughtful consideration of the problem of drugs and drug use leads me and others to the conclusion that we are better off letting individuals make their own choices and letting them suffer the consequences of those choices.  The law, in my opinion anyway, should step in when a particular drug-related action harms somebody else, but as long as people are harming only themselves (if they are doing so when they use certain drugs), then it should not be the state’s concern. 

     Worse yet, the state should not be locking people up who simply wanted to try out a new experience or who made the mistake of succumbing to peer pressure–locking them up with the result that they become hardened criminals in prison.  It’s an insane approach to take.  It is based on emotion rather than good sense.

     I knew that if I ever decided to become a Libertarian, I would have to make up my mind on this issue once and for all.  I knew that I would have to accept this aspect of the Libertarian platform.  I have, and I hope that you will consider it, too.

Written by ambrosianideas

November 4, 2009 at 12:02 pm

Posted in Libertarian Party, Libertarianism

Tagged with

My Path to Libertarianism

with 11 comments

     Why did I become a libertarian?  For that matter, why does anyone adopt any viewpoint?  I’m of the school that says that it results from a combination of factors.

     I remember reading about a study which showed that our brains might be wired for either a conservative or liberal bent.  Some combination of the structures and the chemistry of the brain might account for why people take one approach or the other.  I have always been individualistic by nature; I think my liberatarianism started there.

     My parents raised me and my siblings to be self-reliant.  They are multiple-generation Vermonters, and people from Vermont are legendary for valuing self-reliance.  They had to do so to survive.  They also value tolerance, in the true sense of the word.  People in Vermont tend not to ask what your political or church affiliation is.  It’s none of their business.  Vermont still has town meetings, where everyone can have a say.  True to the generalization, my parents are pretty open-minded.  Although they are very traditional and “straight,” they accept other people who are not.    I think my parents passed on to me these New England concepts, both directly and indirectly, intentionally and unintentionally.

     When I was a teenager I read a book that changed my thinking irrevocably.  It was entitled Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal by Ayn Rand and others.  It was a book of essays that explained what capitalism really was and how it had never been fully practiced.  It exposed the lies that monopolies are created by free enterprise and that the free market caused the Great Depression.  From then on I was a libertarian at heart, though I identified as a conservative and a Republican.

     During that time I read Animal Farm  and 1984.  I also read Witness by Whitaker Chambers and quite a few essays by William F. Buckley.  I read the novels of Ayn Rand and listened to the speeches of Ronald Reagan.  I evolved into a fully convinced capitalist and anti-statist.

     I thought that Ronald Reagan would take our country in the right direction.  Although he did not get us all the way to freedom, he was able to shift things for a short while.  I was happy, because the economic prosperity of the 1980s helped propel my family a few steps up the socio-economic ladder.  I was in college and was starting my career in those days.   Although things were not perfect, they were better.  I remembered the 1970s all too well.

     I was very much caught up in the Conservative Christian movement.  Like millions of other people, I thought that participation in the Republican Party was the ticket to transform America.  Then along came George Herbert Walker Bush, then Bill Clinton, and then George Walker Bush.  Although he is a crummy person, in some ways Clinton was a better president than the Bushes.  At least you got what you expected, what he promised.  The Contract With America was put forward during Clinton’s adminstration.  What a flop that turned out to be!

     During this election I stuck with the Republican Party one more time.  We nominated John McCain.  Need I say how disappointed I was? 

     No more.  I’m a libertarian.  I am now also a Libertarian.  I am not a radical libertarian, nor a perfect one, but it’s definitely what I am.

Written by ambrosianideas

October 8, 2009 at 2:07 pm

What’s Coming

with 2 comments

     I hesitate to reveal my plans for this blog, because I hate to put my plans out there and then fail to carry them out.  However, listing my plans might whet people’s appetite and keep them coming back.  In addition, it will help me to stay focused.  Finally, it will give people the chance to hold me accountable for what I promise here.

     Future topics include:

  • A Realistic and Practical Critique of Libertarianism
  • Another Obstacle to Becoming Libertarian–Drugs
  • My Path to Libertarianism
  • Essential Differences Between Conservatism and Libertarianism
  • Why Not a Different Third Party?

Written by ambrosianideas

October 5, 2009 at 11:13 pm

One of My Obstacles–Abortion

with one comment

     One reason that I took so long in making the move from theRepublican Party to the Libertarian Party is that I have been ardently pro-life most of my life.  From the moment that I saw pictures of a developing human fetus at age ten, I knew that abortion was a terrible thing to do.  What I saw in the pictures was not a blob, but a tiny human being with eye spots, arms, and legs. 

     Mind you, I was not a Christian.  I had not been told that aboriton is condemned by God or that the Bible implicitly teaches that it is morally wrong.  I simply knew, intutitvely, that it was wrong to take the life of a tiny human nestled snugly in his or her mother’s womb.

     That’s right, his or her–not its.  From the moment of conception, the child is either a him or her, depending on whether it inherited the special Y chromosome or the special X chromosome from the father.  The zygote has all 46 chromosomes that determine everything the child will become–at least naturally speaking.  It is what you once were.  You are what he or she will become, unless natural causes or human will destoys the little thing.

     I had a stomach and a conscience.  That is why I opposed abortion even before I cast it in terms of sin.

     The Libertarian Party is pro-choice, which seems on the surface to be consistent with libertarian thinking.  In general libertarianism is about freedom and a minimal amount of intrusion by government authorities.  However. . .

    I have always thought that abortion is contrary to libertarian principles, since it infringes on the right to life of the fetus.  It is also the abnegating of responsibility by the parents.  The father, especially, gets to abnegate his responsibility thanks to abortion.  Who could be a more “deadbeat dad” than the man who pays a young woman to “get rid of it”?

     Lo and behold, there are other people who agree with me.  I discovered the Libertarians for Life website, which is listed in my blogroll.  There I found some of my ideas, and others besides, expressed and explained. 

     Although I remain pro-life, I cannot in good conscience support the Republican Party.  After all, what have the Republicans actually done to stop abortion?  Although I think that protecting human life is more important than any other political issue, I think that an economic climate of freedom is also very important for the welfare of babies.  In fact, more economic freedom could mean that fewer women feel compelled to abort their babies because of financial hardship.

     I will still do what I can to end abortion in America.  I will also work to persuade other Libertarians to become pro-life and to persuade other pro-lifers to become Libertarians.  In the meantime, I am at peace about joining a party that is largely pro-choice.  I have been in the minority as a Republican, and now I will be in the minority as a Libertarian.

Written by ambrosianideas

October 2, 2009 at 12:32 pm