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Libertarian Party not the answer, but… October 26, 2008

Posted by vsap in 2008 Presidential Election, Blogroll, Uncategorized, US Politics.
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As I understand it, Libertarians in America favor minimally regulated or laissez-faire markets, strong civil liberties, minimally regulated migration across borders, and non-interventionism in foreign policy that respects freedom of trade and travel to all foreign countries. While I would agree with the first two planks of the platform, I substantially disagee with the latter two planks. This does not allow me to support the party or its candidates. But…if they grow stronger, they will be useful in keeping the two major parties in check unlike the special interest-based parties, like the Green Party.

From a Republican point of view, minimal regulation of markets is not only the best path, it is the only one. George Bush will not go down in history as the worst president in the 21st Century in part because he allowed the Democrat-inspired mortgage debacle to run its natural course…to disaster. I don’t agree with much of what he’s done to try to fix things, since, from the Libertarian point of view, he shouldn’t. Let the markets ferret it out for themselves. However, the Libertarian point of view begins to disintegrate shortly thereafter. I’ll get to that after one more point of agreement.

The Liberterians have it right on one significant point: Civil Liberties. And that, no surprise, has national security, law enforcement and global political implications. For example, legalize the currently illicit drug market and control it like you would alcohol and tobacco and you have taken the largest underground economy in the world and brought it to the surface. I am not naive enough to think it is a perfect solution. There are still bootleg cigarettes and liquor available but it is relegated to the minor leagues of crime, has no national security implications and certainly poses no global political threat. Wouldn’t it be nice to have that said of illicit drugs now being trafficked to America? And, yes, people do abuse legal prescription drugs. There is a black market for it. But, again, the deaths and crime associated with it are a bullet in a Kevlar vest compared to the Colombian drug traffic to America alone. On final example is prostitution. That it is illegal in most states does not stop it from being another stream in the underground economy, often related to the drug traffic problem. Legalize it and control it. Again, not perfect, but seek out Nevada authorities for advice on what works and what doesn’t and form policy accordingly. These two things alone would ensure tax reductions and the stability of Social Security and medical programs for the next 100 years or more. I end with that since it is obvious and it would take far too long to make my point if I went chapter-and-verse with everything that should be legalized and controlled by the state.

Sidebar (probably supported by Libertarians): I have advocated normalization of trade and other aspects of policy between the United States and Cuba for at least ten years. I came to it late, I admit, but it’s still not too late, although the sun is setting quickly. An open and accessible Cuba would make diplomacy in the hemisphere easier and the trade and social benefits would be valuable to both parties. They are Communists, but they are “our” Communists, just 90 miles from our shore, and we should do what we can to aid them and seek their assistance in the global war on terror and to keep things safer in our own backyard.

Having said that, I don’t think any reasonable person living in a major metro in the USA would agree with easier immigration policy. That’s what we have now and it is costing us in resources that should not go to help this flood of illegals. The old saying is “don’t pay where you don’t owe”…we owe illegals nothing but a quick trip back to where they came. The Libertarians are dead wrong on immigration.

Finally, Libertarians are most out of whack on “non-interventionism” with other nations. Woodrow Wilson and FDR both discovered that this was not a realistic course in their days, as the world spilled acorss seas to shake America from the course of “non-interventionism”. Wrong then and “wronger still” today! We may disagree on the Iraq conflict. We may believe what we will about the Islamofacists or internal terror groups, but the facts are obvious: there are clear and present dangers to our nation and our national interests abroad that will not be addressed by isolationist policies. If it didn’t work in 1911 or 1941, what in the name of all that’s good can make any reasonable person believe it’s a rational course of action for today?

The bottom line for this election is the answer to this question: What is the most important issue to the USA today and going forward? You will answer with your vote. At the moment, I can’t support my Libertarian friends. Nevertheless, I am glad to see them involved and asking the tough questions of Democrats and Republicans that the media seems to miss.

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