Over the last few days, I’ve been reading some interesting conversations on Twitter and elsewhere about the role that libertarians will play in the presidential election. There has been a lot of talk about Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party’s nominee, spoiling the election for Mitt Romney. That has obviously caused some concern by and friction from conservatives, who are saying that a “vote for Johnson is a vote for Obama.”
Before I jump into some points, I’d like to remind my conservative friends that this is not one national race for president, but rather 51 separate races, including the District of Columbia. By my count, Romney has a long road to haul in many battleground states, including Colorado, Ohio, and Virginia. Right now, President Barack Obama holds a substantial advantage in the Electoral College, which is what ultimately matters on election day.
There is a disconnect between conservatives and libertarians. Our conservative friends tend to believe in the concept of “ordered liberty,” a principle perhaps best explained by Russell Kirk. To most libertarians, the concept of ordered liberty is really “soft statism.” As you might imagine, this view doesn’t really have much of an appeal to libertarians.
When it comes down to it, libertarians don’t fit anywhere on the political scale. While many will dumb down our beliefs as “socially liberal” and “fiscally conservative,” there is really much more to the equation. We believe in the sovereignty of the individual. Our view of morality can be best defined by what John Stuart Mill called the “harm principle.”
Most people seem to come to libertarianism from the right. It honestly makes sense when you think about it. The right tends to be a place of minimal government and typically argues for more freedom. The problems kick in on some specific issues. Many libertarians came to libertarianism after searching for a more consistent ideology.
Me? I’m a bit of an oddball. I came from the left. I came from a place of seeking more consistency on the issue of civil liberties that I was getting from the Democrats. There have been times when I wondered if there was ever being a small “L” libertarian in the Democratic Party. Based on what’s being reported over the party’s new platform, I can see that is a resounding “no.”
The piece points out several issues where the Democratic Party has decided to back away from their stances on civil liberties just four years ago. Issues like indefinite detention, closing Gitmo, illegal wiretaps, and racial profiling all pretty much continue without any modification from President Bush’s era. Even torture, for which many wanted heads on the proverbial pikes, has reportedly continued despite an executive order ending the practice.
So which conservative or libertarian publication makes such remarkes about President Obama and the Democratic Party? Townhall? Nope. Red State? Not even close.
The Weekly Standard? No. The National Review? Hardly. Reason? Wrong again. Try the left leaning Mother Jones.
Many on the left are less than pleased that Obama has done so poorly on civil liberties. That says nothing over any meaningful move on gay rights (besides the appeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”) or a host of other issues.
Courtesy of http://bit.ly/OViBY6
In 2008, then candidate Obama appeared to be a strong defender of civil liberties. At least his speeches indicated so. He assured us that a President Obama would be vastly different from a President Bush on this issue (and many others). President Obama would close GITMO, stop torture and renditions, scrap the Patriot Act, etc, etc.
Yet, for those of us who care deeply about the issue of civil liberties, the current president has turned out to be a nightmare. GITMO is still open, torture and rendition have been outsourced to foreign governments (in a clever sleight of hand by the Obama administration), civil liberties on US soil are more curtailed after the President signed off on indefinite detention (after initially threatening to veto such measures), and the Obama drone program is four times larger than Bush’s (one of the reasons he’s called “Bush on Steroids”).
Written by Julian Sanchez, a research fellow at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.
This weekend, The New York Times reported that the Transportation Security Administration’s “behavioral detection” program at Logan Airport has devolved into a racial profiling program, according to complaints from 32 federal officers who’ve seen up-close how it works. And yet to my eye, racial profiling isn’t the only constitutionally problematic aspect of the program revealed in the article (emphasis mine below):
In interviews and internal complaints, officers from the Transportation Security Administration’s “behavior detection” program at Logan International Airport in Boston asserted that passengers who fit certain profiles — Hispanics traveling to Miami, for instance, or blacks wearing baseball caps backward — are much more likely to be stopped, searched and questioned for “suspicious” behavior.
“They just pull aside anyone who they don’t like the way they look — if they are black and have expensive clothes or jewelry, or if they are Hispanic,” said one white officer, who along with four others spoke with The New York Times on the condition of anonymity. […]
This weekend Mitt Romney announced that his running mate would be Congressman Paul Ryan from Wisconsin. Ryan gained a lot of notoriety recently with his better-than-Obama’s budget proposal, which aimed to balance the budget in the next 3 or 4 decades.
It’s a sad day for conservatives when the hero to save them from their budget woes needs 30+ years to balance the budget.
Still, Ryan is the latest non-libertarian making waves about balancing the federal budget, so I would like to believe that Romney’s pick of Ryan is more about sending a message that he is (or that he wants to be) serious about fiscal issues rather than a pick to appease the Tea Party folks who don’t really care for Romney.
I am, however, a bit confused over the Tea Party excitement of Ryan. Sure, Romney could have made a worse choice, but Tea Party leaders are acting like the problems with Romney have vanished now that Ryan is on the ticket.
Let’s remember this is the same Paul Ryan who not only supported TARP but went to the floor of the House to beg his colleagues to do the same. This is the same Paul Ryan who supported the auto bailouts. How do those positions qualify anyone as a fiscal conservative?
After the most recent mass killing at a Sikh Temple in Wisconsin, the usual suspects have been calling for gun control (aka civilian disarmament). They seem to believe that if only we had tougher gun laws, some of these people or possibly all of these poor people who died, wouldn’t have. Some other cowardly politicians like our Dear Ruler, Barack Obama (aka the Messiah) say they merely want to hold a “conversation” about stricter gun laws. But never forget, “gun control” is not really about public safety or even saving lives, it’s about increasing government control over the populace.
The arrogance of civilian disarmament advocates is best shown by these comments by Josh Sugarmann, director of some outfit called the Violence Policy Center:
“There is no valid reason for civilians to have assault rifles, semiautomatic handguns and high-capacity magazines,” he said. “We have to start ratcheting down the firepower in civilian hands in the United States.”
First of all, who the hell does Josh Sugarmann think he is!? Just because some left-wing douchebag somewhere gave him a fancy title at a silly anti-gun group, he thinks he knows what’s best for everyone else. I own a semi-automatic AK-47 clone, a 12 gauge shotgun, and a .22 rifle. Personally, I don’t think that’s anywhere near enough firepower for me. I would like to add one of those semi-automatic pistols Joshy boy hates so much for example, among a few other weapons. I like having options to deal with whatever comes my way.
Based on this from Cato’s Roger Pilon, apparently, the National Rifle Association only cares about some parts of the Bill of Rights:
NPR ran a story this morning, “NRA Targets One Of Its Own In Tenn. Race,” that nicely illustrates the perils of single-issue politics, although you’d never learn the principle of the matter from the NPR account. It seems that the NRA has launched a $75,000 ad campaign against state Rep. Debra Maggart, a long-time NRA member and avid gun-owner who a year ago had an “A+” rating from the NRA. Her sin? She and several other Tennessee Republican officials opposed a bill that would have allowed employees to keep guns in their cars while parked in their private employers’ parking lots.
The NRA’s Chris Cox, who’s spearheading this political vendetta and, in the process, is supporting Maggart’s tea-party backed opponent, invokes both “our First Amendment right to assemble to petition our government” and, of course, the Second Amendment, seemingly oblivious to the fact that neither is relevant here. In fact, the issue could not be simpler: individuals, including employers, have a right to determine the conditions on which others may enter their property.
Freedom shouldn’t be all that complicated. Unfortunately, it apparently is.
Far to many people feel that freedom really only means freedom for the things they like. Oh sure, the Second Amendment is sacrosanct, but the freedom to not have to hear Christianity rammed down someone’s throat? No, that’s a whole other ballgame. The fact that the First Amendment prevents the establishment of a state religion - and Christianity is a relgion - appears lost on many of these folks.
For a nation to be free, and I mean truly free, then we must tolerate things which we may find objectionable. Drug use, prostitution, alcohol consumption (and yes, there are people who still want alcohol prohibition), or whatever. It doesn’t matter, because real freedom must mean that people have the freedom to do a certain amount of bad things.
Should that mean people are free to rape, murder, rob, or anything else? Absolutely not. Those all involve violating the rights of another, and that should always be off limits. I can’t think of a living soul who argues otherwise though I’m sure such fools exist.
However, there are a lot of laws that dictate what I can and can’t do with my own body. Take, for example, laws that prevent me from consuming raw milk. Personally, I think it’s not a smart thing to do. However, I still believe I should have the right to consume it if I so choose. After all, consuming non-pastuerized milk hurts no one but myself.
Many people can see that, and agree with me. However, many of those same people will argue that drug use is a whole other ball game. After all, they say, drugs create a whole world of crime around it. That is true…but only because of prohibition. There is zero evidence that legalizing drugs would do anything but decrease the crime that surrounds drugs.
Our own Chris Frashure blogged yesterday that Delegate Bob Marshall (R-Va.), a U.S. Senate candidate, has introduced a bill in the Virginia House of Delegates that would direct the state government to refuse to comply with the National Defense Authorization Act’s indefinite detention provisions. Chris writes:
Virginia Delegate and now U. S. Senate candidate Bob Marshall, author of the famous Virginia Healthcare Freedom Act, has introduced a bill into the General Assembly to address the indefinite detention prevision (sic) of the National Defense Authorization Act that President Obama has signed and codified into law. Specifically, the bill “[p]revents any agency, political subdivision, employee, or member of the military of Virginia from assisting an agency or the armed forces of the United States in the investigation, prosecution, or detainment of a United States citizen in violation of the Constitution of Virginia.”
Marshall’s bill is just the latest way that opposition to Section 1021 of the NDAA is being expressed at the state level. As we reported earlier this month, Montanans have launched an effort spearheaded by Oath Keepers founder and president Stewart Rhodes to recall their entire congressional delegation for casting votes in favor of the NDAA. But Montanans don’t have to wait to be rid of Tester and Rehberg. They can reject them both in this year’s U.S. Senate election by drafting a viable GOP primary opponent to Rehberg before the June 5 primaries who can then take the fight to Tester over the NDAA.
Tonight President Obama will deliver his third State of the Union address, but something that happened yesterday illustrates the true state of our union far better than anything you’ll hear tonight. As we reported yesterday, Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was detained by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials at the Nashville International Airport. Paul was detained by TSA officials after refusing an invasive full body pat-down following some kind of anomaly in the body scanner’s reading. Some might argue that there’s nothing to get worked up about here. After all, shouldn’t we expect senators to be treated like everyone else? But it is precisely because everyday citizens are subjected to these invasive procedures on a daily basis that Sen. Paul’s detention is so alarming. His high-profile detention by the TSA serves as a reminder that Americans are having their privacy violated every day on their way through the nation’s airports.
You probably won’t hear about Sen. Paul’s detention by the TSA in President Obama’s address tonight. You’re not likely to hear anything about it in the GOP response delivered by Governor Mitch Daniels (R-Ind.), nor even in the Tea Party response offered by businessman and former presidential candidate Herman Cain (R-Ga.). You probably won’t hear about the National Defense Authorization Act, the Stop Online Piracy Act, or any of the other manifold ways that Washington has undermined the Bill of Rights. But whether our politicians want to raise these issues or not, these are the issues that define the state of our union in the 21st century. And the state of our union is dire.