Tuesday, June 9, 2009

And That’s What Sucks About Being a Libertarian

I am a very big libertarian.  My political spectrum (shown on the left there) says so after all.  I will probably always be this way, mostly because I am an introverted loner who just wants everyone else to leave me the hell alone.  I think that libertarian ideas are the only ideas that truly capture the nature of freedom and offer the best solutions to economical and social problems.
But libertarian movements never really seem to catch on with the general public.  Sure, when John Stossel does a special on the innate differences between men and women, every conservative applauds him for doing such great work (I applaud him for throwing cake at his wife, but that is another story).  However, when a solid libertarian runs for office, most conservatives run for the hills, even though he or she tends to share the same views on taxation and government spending.
The main problem with libertarians is their tendency to piss off everyone in the room.  They piss off the liberals because they want to downsize government to its basic functions and thus destroy their entrenched voting base and they piss off conservatives because they tend to view social issues as either trite and not worth fighting for or they side with liberals when it comes social policy (abortion, gay marriage, etc.).
You could say that we all have permanently stepped on the third rail of politics and, like the stubborn asses we are, refuse to come off.  No matter how many jackasses and dumbos are in the room, we always seem to get into some kind of fight with them.  I have personally been dealing with conservatives telling me that waterboarding is not torture.  When I point out that their primary source is the Justice Department under Gonzales and that my primary sources are the people who have experienced it, they stand their ground, put their hands on their ears, and shout, “lalalalalalalala.”
Needless to say, fighting against the current is a pretty difficult thing.  Having the balls to point out the illogic in compromising your ideals by voting for McCain has many conservatives ultimately ignoring what I have said and then proceeding to accuse me of being anti-Semite.  I really do not know where they get that from, but once they start arguing like liberals, I start arguing like a liberal back at them once I have pointed out that they have opened that door, not me.
Ron Paul, a very unattractive politician by any measure, still managed to get impressive votes in the primaries and caucuses last year.  Despite the fact that he was a Congressman, not a Senator or Governor, and gave some better candidates a run for their money makes this odd.  But it was not Ron Paul’s charisma that won him so many votes, it was his ideas.  And if enough people are able to put aside their emotions and think critically, rather than attach themselves to a candidate endorsed by a talk radio show host, imagine how libertarian thought would have faired if Ron Paul was a 40-year-old family man who looked like Johnny Depp.  Obama would not have stood a chance against him.
I guess that is our problem really.  We often fail to recognize that most voters are irrational dolts who end up voting based on emotions such as fear and admiration rather than the serious political issues at hand.
As for my fellow conservatives, who I cherish far more than liberals, I offer this solution.  I offer a truce between us where we will set aside our differences in social policy and instead combine forces and work to utterly annihilate the welfare state in every shape and form.  Instead of squabbling over torture, gay marriage, abortion, war, etc., we should all instead do as much as we can to eliminate the welfare state at all levels of government from Social Security to agriculture subsidies.  For many of us, it will be as simple as living a lifestyle that accepts nothing (and I mean nothing) from the government in the form of income or benefits, unless we work there.  But for others, it will involve a unity in action focused on throwing the bums out who pay lip service to smaller government and lower taxes.
Unfortunately, I have yet to see any fellow conservatives come on board with this idea, although I have seen many libertarians acknowledge it.  I guess we have alienated them all to the point that they do not want to find common ground.
And that’s what sucks about being a libertarian.  You end up being just another leaf in the wind.