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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Nine Myths About Libertarianism

Myth #1 Libertarians are Isolationists.

This is trotted out every single time some radio wag is asked to comment on either Ron Paul or Libertarians in general. Libertarians are decidedly not isolationists. What they call for is Free Trade and Non-Intervention in sovereign nations. How can you trade with another country if you isolate yourself? You can’t. It is apparent that the current regime that has been in power in the U.S for decades always wants to either buy influence or intervene overtly (militarily) or covertly (politically) with any country they choose to as a matter of policy. Libertarians find this to be a really bad idea in the long run and history proves this to be true.

Myth #2 Libertarians are Anti-War Peaceniks

Another fib boasted mostly by right-wing hawks. Libertarians believe in a time to fight and a time for war. Was it not that noted founding Libertarian; Thomas Jefferson himself who sent the Marines to smash the Barbary Pirates of Tripoli in 1804? Yes it was! Why did he do it? To stop them from interfering with U.S. shipping and commerce, that’s why. That’s the free trade part of Myth #1 for those not paying attention.

The difference is that Thomas Jefferson did not want to make an industry out of war which has been the case for the last oh, 50 years! I don’t know who made any money on Korea but the US armament factories have reaped a bundle ever since. The U.S. exports twice as many weapons of war as the second place country (Russia). Anybody born after 1956 will tell you that we as a nation have been in a virtual state of war since they’ve been alive: Korea, Vietnam, Iran, Lebanon, Nicaragua, Panama, Gulf War I, Gulf War II, the Arab conflicts and now Libya and beyond. No price can be put upon the agony these endless military conflagrations have caused. 

These wars never end. They are no longer meant to be won. Libertarians see this as a colossal waste of lives and national resources. Free trade and non-intervention would have caused many of these conflicts never to be started. The U.S. has 700 military bases world wide. Why? Can’t Greece, Germany, Japan, South Korea and Europe take care of themselves? Libertarians think that it’s about time these countries take an interest in their own defense.

Yes, Libertarians prefer peace but if it comes time to fight, it will be time to win and the full force of a United States of America should be felt. Without the will to win, a war should not be undertaken.

Myth #3 Libertarians Want to Legalize Drugs

This is no myth. The Drug War is a pronounced and utter failure which has turned our inner cities into hell-holes and has corrupted our system of government. Nobody believes that it is working; nobody believes that we are better off since the drug war began (with the exception of FOX’S Sean Hannity). Time to legalize them and instead of paying Billions of dollars to government corrections and enforcement, we should instead turn this massive amount of money to treatment and education. I have a more detailed rant in the archives of this blog. It’s worth a look.

Myth #4 Libertarianism Have Visions of Utopia

We all know Utopia is not an option. There is no perfect world there is no perfect system. But neither is the welfare state! Libertarians know that welfare isn’t about compassion or helping people when they’re down. It’s about State Control. The State taxes, transfers and decides who gets the money. Welfare is a disincentive to work.  Self-Reliance is self-fulfillment. The people on the left are well aware of this yet they continue with this policy. Why? 

Now we’ve always had to pay somebody for protection, either the King, the Overlord or whoever was in power at the time. These “taxes” paid for the protection of the “taxpayers” by the overall power of the Feudal Lord/State so nothing has really changed in that regard.

The problems come when the State becomes unwieldy, over bureaucratized, ineffectual at it’s basic functions and takes too much money out of the economy so that the people who pay start to falter. Libertarians believe that government has its hands in too many pies and is using taxpayer money to buy the vote. This is something to be stopped.

Myth #5 Libertarians are Anti-Tax, Anti-Government Nut-Jobs

Although I’ve met a few ah, “Overly Committed” folks who describe themselves as Libertarians, I can’t say there are any more of them than there are of Left-Wing Welfare State Loving Nut-Jobs or Right-Wing Warmonger Nut-Jobs. Probably less since Libertarians are a smaller group that the previously described. They do seem to stand out in a crowd though since they tend to dress in fatigues and either carries a big flag or “Don’t Dare Take My Gun” sign. God love ‘em. But by and large, Libertarians are just regular working people who are educated and in tune with how our current system of government is working. Libertarians know that wealth does not come from government and they tend to see the issues a little differently than those on the Left or Right side of the political spectrum. There is another way of looking at things.

Myth # 6 Libertarians are Racists

Libertarians love anybody with a job or who is looking for a job. As a matter of principle, they are decidedly color-blind. In fact, Libertarians feel that highlighting race at all in the way government functions ie: inquiring about race on government forms or societal segregation or the awarding of benefits based on race is bad policy. It is as Martin Luther King has said: “Judge not a person by the color of their skin but by the content of their soul.” Time to walk the talk like MLK did. I swear some of the scenes of our inner cities and the people who profit by “speaking for my people” should have MLK spinning in his grave at 100,000 rpm. Just like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

Neither side has taken any steps at ending this practice when they had their chance to do so.

Conclusion: Libertarians have well defined principles but individuals interpret them as they see them. Libertarianism is not really a party since it is made up of individuals in the pursuit of their own dreams. When there is commonality, there is consensus. We all want the same things: The pursuit of happiness, safety in our homes and businesses, to raise our children in a safe and open environment, to have a level playing field for business and to have equal opportunity for all to prosper. We cannot guarantee results or success but people deserve the best chance to succeed without government intervention.

 Myth #7 Libertarians are for Big Business and are Anti-Environment

There is a big difference between free-enterprise and the collusion of large businesses with government to artificially procure for themselves a larger market share over their competition. Libertarians regard this collusion, as seen most recently with Bank of America, CitiBank and General Motors as Un-American and would be illegal in a Libertarian governed United States. Libertarians do not believe in Stimulus or Bail-outs. In fact, there would be no GBEs (Government Business Entity) in a Libertarian administration like Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. These were doomed to fail from the start since there was never any incentive to curb lending since the government guaranteed all mortgages they purchased. We still have yet to find out just how much Fannie & Freddie has spent in public funds but the final tally will be staggering.

Libertarians believe that by putting money back into the pockets of the people to spend the way they wish will we as a society have the opportunity to achieve the things we want in life. Not utopia, just better.

As far as the environment goes, we have had government watchdogs for decades and still the environmental disasters continue. Libertarians believe that what is bad for the environment is bad for business. Libertarians are as environmentally conscious as anybody else out there perhaps a bit more so since our natural resources are linked to our individual pursuit of happiness. But we also acknowledge that resources, especially renewable resources like trees are to be used and harvested. The setting aside of lands and forests to not be used or to prohibit the clearing of brush for the purpose or fire-roads and fire-breaks is counter productive. Nobody is for cutting old growth forest but trees are being cut down and replanted all the time. Excessive fees and over regulation of any industry will lead to illegal and unregulated activity such as wildcat clear-cutting of forest and illegal dumping in wildlife areas. We’ve all seen it. Libertarians believe that by making it easier to recycle materials and waste will the environment stay clean.

Myth #8 Libertarianism is a Cult

Although Ron Paul seems to have a cult-like following, so does President Obama. Is Liberalism therefore a cult? It’s hard to shake a person’s beliefs but at the very least Libertarianism is about the individual and not the collective. If I want what you have, I’ll work for it. I will not petition the government to pass a law to make you give up what you have for me. If belief in the individual’s ability to achieve and in the right of personal ownership is a cult then yes, Libertarianism is a cult. It is a cult of self reliance instead of the reliance on the State. It is freedom or at least the closest belief system to freedom. Libertarians believe they can provide for their own retirement better than the government can. They believe that they themselves know better than government what to do with the money they earn.  If the economy is indeed 75% consumer driven, then how come government is always taking money out of the hand of the consumer?

Contrary to popular belief, people got along just fine for centuries in this country without a Social Security system or a Graduated Income tax. You cannot get married today without permission from the State. The church can’t just marry you. That would be illegal.

Myth #9 Libertarians Are Against Assisting the Poor

There is more than one way to assist the poor. You can hand them a fish in the form of Welfare or you can really help them by having a job for them to go to.

Unemployment used to last 26 weeks when I started working. When did you get a job? When Unemployment ran out! Well now Unemployment never seems to run out. Some have been on extensions for 3 years. When’s that person going to find a job? When Unemployment runs out!

Libertarians also know there are many charities that help the poor. The biggest and most efficient in the United States is The Salvation Army. But they don’t give out checks. They give you three hots, a cot and work. You still have to earn it. The Salvation Army is by far more efficient with the money they take in than the government. And therein lies the answer.

Without the government confiscating so much of our cash, we would be free to give to the charity of our choice. Americans already are the most giving people in the world but with private charities we have the best way to get help to those who truly need it on a more intimate community level rather than a nameless, faceless state that doesn’t know who’s money they’re throwing around.

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