My Libertarian Credentials

A lot of people lately have doubted that I’m for small government. I’ve had to fend off long litanies and lists of examples of why government is bad.  Yet no one seems to believe me when I say, “Yes, I know government is bad.”  Honestly, I know that. That’s old, old news to me.

But I sometimes have some additional points to make, like, “It’s a fallacy to say all of anything is bad,” or “Sometimes government is good,” or “Sometimes big business needs a kick in the rear.”  And those points keep getting lost because some of you feel the need to convert me even though I’m already converted.

So I feel the need to list my credentials, to “show my papers” to the border guard of your judgment.  I hope you will view these bona fides with approval, and nod me on so that I can get back to writing on topics I prefer.

A lot of you may not know what libertarianism is, so here it is in a nutshell.  I’m for small government.  On both sides of the aisle.  If you’re conservative, I agree with you on half of the issues — that generally government should stay out of our finances.  If you’re liberal, I generally agree with you on half of the issues, that government should stay out of our personal lives.  I prefer individualism to collectivism, innovation to control, freedom to tyranny.  If you need further details, go google it.

Just how small-government am I?  A portion of my mind is constantly dedicated to figuring out ways to privatize everything without causing mass chaos, much the same way a sci-fi authors ponder how to get between stars in a human lifetime without defying the laws of physics.  If I could think of a safe way to privatize even the military, I’d be for it!

Here are my creds:

  • I voted for Ruth Bennett in 2000, the candidate who got 7% of the votes, making the LP temporarily a major party in Washington State.
  • In 2001, I bought a handgun simply to exercise my Second Amendment right to do so.
  • In 2002 I was an election volunteer (“Observer”) representing the LP in Benton County, Washington.  I observed the delivery of ballot boxes, as well as the testing of counting equipment.
  • I helped with the Bruce Guthrie Senate campaign in 2006.
  • I started the Wikipedia article on Neo-Objectivism (It persisted several years, but since, sadly, has been unfairly merged into the Objectivist Movement article. Those bastards!)
  • I subscribed to Reason magazine for several years, and have one of the coveted personalized issues that has my name and satellite image of my house printed on the cover.
  • My copies of Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead, and Anthem are very underlined, dog-eared, and annotated in pencil.
  • Have a look at the books I have tagged as “Changed My Life” on Librarything.com.  These books had a profound effect on my outlook.
  • I convinced an anthropology-majoring, socialist-leaning, pot-smoking lesbian that mandatory recycling is wrong.
  • I regularly donate to the EFF, ACLU, and other civil liberties organizations.
  • My major heroes include Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, Benjamin Franklin, Ayn Rand, Wendy McElroy, Penn & Teller, Ron Paul, David Brin.
  • Karl Marx is a scumbag.

So why do my posts sound Liberal/Socialist/Right-Wing/[insert evil side you oppose here]?  Because there are already millions of information resources for Libertarian/Objectivist/Civil Liberties/Small Government Conservative philosophies.  There are organizations like CATO, ACLU, EFF, and the Reason Foundation.  There are blogs like the Agitator and Below the Beltway. Anyone can go out and read Adam Smith and Ludwig Von Mises books until their eyes swell.

And of course for every one libertarian evangelist, there are 100 right wing or left wing authors repeating the same things.  (Since again, libertarians are half-breeds.)

I don’t merely want to parrot all of the above.  Why should I when I can link to them, or reference them, or just rest assured those voices are out there saying what needs to be said?  If I repeated the same old lines, this blog would be boring, and you wouldn’t be here reading it.

In fact, it is because I am a true individualist that I choose to not be a parrot.  Instead, I choose to be an innovator.  I want to think of original ideas and new twists on old ideas.  I want to look at issues in a fresh way.

As a blogger I get to write about what I am most interested in.  I find most interesting those areas where I disagree with the rank and file.

This is not so I can be a contrarian, to disagree for disagreement’s sake.  I simply hold reason above ideology. So while my core values match those of core libertarianism, I am always asking questions. “Where does my ideology break down?  Are there exceptions to my ‘rules’?  How do my core principles really apply to this topic?” I am not comfortable with jumping to a conclusion based solely on my old assumptions.  Nor am I comfortable arguing for something I know very little about, even if doing so would follow some party line.

I find exceptions to the rule extremely fascinating and worthy of discussion.  Just because I disagree with you on one point, or a dozen, doesn’t automatically put me on The Same Side As The Enemy.  That is a thought terminating clichè which could be disabling your ability to thoughtfully consider what could otherwise be very good ideas.

So before you go getting all excited, please rest assured: I believe government sucks.  There are major problems with the EPA, FDA, IRS, Federal Reserve, SEC, NSA, CIA, DEA, and most every other member of the Government Acronym Soup.  I love liberty and support our troops and red meat is tasty and the internet should be free.  People should be responsible and personally accountable for all their actions.  Hard work and innovation should be rewarded.  Capitalism and democracy are the greatest human forces yet discovered to increase happiness and quality of life of every person on earth.

Honest.  I get that.  I really do.

So now that I’ve regurgitated the party line, I hope to get back to the business of being an individual.  Like writing about something you haven’t heard before.

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Published in: on August 31, 2009 at 9:54 pm  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. You did a very good job explaining what you stand for. There’s even some humor – or least a few spots that I found humorous. The page design is excellent. Thanks very much.


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