A Libertarian Case for Romney
When firefighters are putting out a home blaze, do they carefully cover up all the furniture and belongings so they aren’t harmed by water damage? After a horrific car crash, do the EMT’s carefully disrobe a critically injured patient so as to protect their clothing? No. There is a crisis, a risk to life and property. After the crisis is dealt with - the fire’s put out, a pulse is restored - there is an opportunity to assess the damage and rebuild in a thoughtful, methodical way.
Our country faces crises in the financial and civil liberties sectors. I don’t need to outline the scope here, especially for libertarians. Though we are antsy to achieve the government and society that will ensure and promote civil liberties and free market economic policies, first, in 2012, we need to restore the pulse of the economy before rebuilding the society that’s been systematically taken apart since the New Deal days.
Obama’s plan for the economy involves over-regulation, effectively banning new domestic gas or oil production, and tax increases of unparalleled scope beginning January 1, 2013. Beyond that, there’s not much of a plan - Harry Reid has failed to get a budget passed in well over 1,000 days.
The Romney/Ryan plan leaves much to be desired both in its scope and timing, but it is a beginning. Negotiations can go from there. Even if passed in its current form, it puts water on the fire.
Romney’s plan will not go far enough in limiting government and promoting civil liberties to please libertarians or even all Republicans. But we have a crisis. These key issues MUST be straightened out before we can get back to the drawing table and create the government and society we desire.
Libertarians in general cling to principle over all else, which is admirable. In the libertarian world, there isn’t just one answer to a certain issue - among those who consider themselves libertarian you can receive five or ten different solutions to the same problem (foreign policy, war on drugs, regulation of financial institutions, abortion, and more). But when it comes to the economy, rather than vote for a half-assed plan, the common libertarian answer is to “let it fail” or that they’ll vote for the LP candidate to prove a point to the GOP. In this case, with Republicans and libertarians being (supposedly) on the same side of fiscal conservatism, using vitriol or a “my way or the highway” mindset is not a path to victory or having your (libertarian) voice heard or respected.
Assuming libertarians are successful in teaming with conservatives and electing Romney this year, during the next four years liberty-minded people should keep talking to their friends about the issues of free markets, individual choice and responsibility. When New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, in her speech at the GOP Convention, told the story of conversation in which she realized she was really a Republican, I thought that there’s probably a significant portion of the country who subscribe to at least a few libertarian principles but have no idea that they do. This thought was emphasized to me just yesterday while discussing healthcare, gay marriage, and religious liberty with my far-left stepmother. We found that we completely agreed on the ultimate solutions to these issues (hint - get the government out), and she even agreed with me that the GOP would do very well in elections if they could learn to separate personal behavior and government policy.
So let’s use the next four years to talk about these important ideas with members of our communities so they will realize they have a lot more libertarian in them than they know.
In closing - how important is it that libertarians vote for Romney this year? My Twitter friend @GoldenGalt summed it up perfectly:
“Libertarianism has been around for centuries, and politics ebbs and flows with the events that challenge our times. At times, it comes rushing back in full force, and others it ebbs and gives way to despotism and tyranny. If we as libertarians choose to sit this election out, and vote our principles, which again I respect, I believe that the fundamental principles that this country was founded on will be destroyed by a self-righteous and dangerous despot.”