Skip to comments.Goofy May Be a Libertarian
Posted on 08/11/2002 8:44:07 AM PDT by quidnunc
The Libertarian Party is having its national nominating convention at the Marriott Hotel in Anaheim, Calif., from June 30 to July 3.
But there's a much better site in the same city Disneyland.
What could be more fitting for these laissez-faire visionaries than to convene in the theme park's Fantasyland? Goofy might even be available for their national ticket.
I recently sat down with the man who will likely be the party's presidential candidate this year (as he was in 1996), Harry Browne. An author and investment guru, Browne is charming, articulate and, well, about what you'd expect of a Libertarian ideologue.
The party boasts that there are "over 270 Libertarians serving in public office" nationwide. But its highest elected official currently is a Vermont state legislator. Of course, there is also Art Olivier, who served one term as mayor pro tem of Bell Flower, Calif. Based on his resume, Olivier is now running for the party's vice presidential nomination.
In 1996, Browne drew 485,120 votes. As the candidate of the Green Party (which wants to repeal the Industrial Revolution), Ralph Nader pulled in 651,771 votes.
Still, I'm surprised Browne did as well as he did. I have to assume that most of those half-million voters didn't read the party's platform and were unaware of the nominee's more exotic stands. Libertarians have taken a good idea opposition to bullying government and turned it into a crusade for a utopian agenda.
The party's ideal society could exist only in the realm of theory. Its platform calls for "the elimination of all restrictions on immigration." If 50 million Mexicans chose to move to California and Texas, resulting in chaos and the obliteration of national identity, why should that concern Libertarians?
If these new Americans (then constituting a majority in the states where they settle) wanted to secede and reunite the territory with Mexico, presumably Libertarians would not stand in their way.
The party's position on national defense is equally loony. In a Browne presidency, no American soldier would set foot on foreign soil. "What if China invaded Taiwan?" I asked. None of our business, he replied. Well, what if it invaded Mexico? In that case, Browne said he'd fortify our southern border and await an invasion.
Is there never a role for alliances or the use of U.S. forces abroad? According to Browne, even our involvement in World War II was a mistake. The Nazis and Japanese posed no direct threat to us, Browne claims (a la Pat Buchanan).
Libertarian aversion to government often leads to strange dichotomies. Browne assumes "life begins at conception." He believes Washington should be neutral on abortion. (Roe vs. Wade was "an example of judicial activism at its worst.") Sound reasoning.
Abortion policy should be set by states, Browne says. However, "Do I believe the states should outlaw abortion?" the Libertarian rhetorically asks. "I do not."
I said, "You assume that the unborn child is human life, but you don't think government at any level should act to protect that life? What about laws against murder?"
Browne doesn't think much of them, either (look at all the murders despite the law) though he hastens to add that he's not calling for their repeal.
A Libertarian government would consist of open borders, no troops abroad, no alliances and the repeal of laws against prostitution and drugs. If someone on crack cocaine kills your family, you can go to your private arbitration agency for adjudication.
Impractical? Delusional? Let's just say that if there were Libertarians in the Third Reich, they would have probably been drawing up plans to privatize the autobahns when the Gestapo arrived to take them away.
Leaving aside the obvious, that a plurality who espouse the philosophy are single-issue libertarians and Libertarians they want the right to get stoned without having to worry about getting arrested or fired there is one aspect which should geve every thoughtful person pause.
Those who take libertarianism to its logical conclusion are apt to wander into the fever swamp of populism, with its all-to-ready tendency to have a soft spot for authoritarianism.
If you want to see libertarianism taken to its logical conclusion take a look at Somalia or much of sub-Saharan Africa.
Ideologically pure libertarianism leads to tribes and warlords.
Here's a little interesting history for you. Feder, in the 60s was the head of YAF at Boston University. He left YAF to become a founding member of something called the New Right Coalition, which was a libertarian organization, YAF having been deemed too traditionally conservative.
I guess he must figure he was a sinner by those actions and has been repenting ever since by doing Libertarian Party hit pieces. I'll certainly give him credit, he was no fool but not a real bright guy, but a determined hard worker who has been somewhat successful in his field.
So, what's your point?
His second grave mistake is that the author assumes that the drug war is doing anything. Well the drug war IS doing something, it's taking more money each year for taxes than all societal costs combined alone, plus obliterating state power in addition to destroying search & seizure rights while still allowing everyone who wants to do that crack cocaine to do it now.
As for WW 2, and Taiwan and a standing military, I think HB is looney on that also. Also, last I heard, Harry Browne isn't running for president anymore. Lastly, Harry Browne would have received far more votes had the vote not been close. Many libertarians voted for Bush (like myself) out of fear of Gore, and I know a great many of my libertarian/libertarian-leaning friends did likewise.
Or, Libertarians may be Goofy. Either is possible.
That's not true.
Quid has a point and one often made by Objectivists. Remember that ideologically pure libertarianism is anarchocapitalism.
But I'll bet that quid cannot begin to define what is ideologically pure Conservatism.
Taken to its logicval extension a libertarian state would have no constitution.
libertarian (n. )
1.One who advocates maximizing individual rights and minimizing the role of the state.
2.One who believes in free will.
Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Anarchy is, after all, libertarianism run amok.
When people begin to feel threatened they will band together in bands (read: tribes) for protection.
This is the genesis of tribalism and warlordism.
Or look no further than in Ohio where a loony Libertarian murdered a policeman Friday night over a mere traffic ticket. The man was the victim of the police initiating force (a traffic stop), and according to the Libertarian lunacy, he was within his natural rights to resist that unconstitutional force (commit murder).
You don't seem to be grasping the whole point if libertariansim.
A nations constitution is a statement of the rules under which that nation is founded.
Ideologically pure libertariansim rejects any such rules which would fetter any person's freedom to do as he or she pleases as long as that conduct does not harm any oither person.
Therefore, a nation founded on and functioning according to libertarian principles would have no constitution.
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