b The Longhorn Mafia <$BlogRSDURL$>

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Politics: Pick a Side! 

I spent a few minutes tonight perusing the Libertarian Party Platform. It's an interesting read, I admit.

I know several people that shun the Democrats and Republicans in favor of Libertarianism. To each his own, I suppose. Most of them seem as though they would lean more toward the Republican side, if forced to choose, but since I had never really read any of their literature to know for sure, I thought I'd check it out.

Upon reading their planks, my principal conclusion is: Libertarians are just a strange lot. They're not merely the "Republican Lite" that I expected, but they aren't necessarily Democrat either. It seems to me that the Libertarian Party is a collective group of fence-sitters, who would rather make absolute statements for the sake of making absolutes, than actively try to make a difference in society.

I'm all for Rugged Individualism, but in a land as prosperous as the USA, I find the LP's sense of Darwinistic "survival of the fittest" somewhat alarming. And while their ideas for separation of certain societal functions from government (e.g., education, healthcare, etc.) sound great on paper, I fear what our nation would look like if we ever put them into action. And what about their isolationist stance toward foreign policy? I'm not sure that's possible even if we wanted it to be.

The LP ideals, however, aren't really what bother me, per se. I'm more annoyed with the smug, obtuse manner in which their followers present Libertarianism as some utopia, as if modern society were an Ayn Rand novel. I hear Libertarians speak of their disdain for Republicans and Democrats as if their choice to elect Michael Badnarik over George W. Bush or John Kerry were an act of noble sacfrifice. "I can't, in good conscience, blah blah blah..."

It's all crap. I'll be the first to admit that the current two-party system in America has its drawbacks. It's flawed. It encourages petty partisanship as often as it promotes civil dicourse. It inherently creates gridlock and bickering at the expense of an over-burdened, tax-paying public. But you know what? It's what we have, and it's not going to change as long as people think that the solution is to waste a vote on a candidate that's so insignificant that for him to garner even a single percent of the popular vote would constitute the biggest moral victory in recent American political history.

An old adage states that change comes from within. There's a lot of truth to that. If Libertarians really wanted to change the system, they'd get involved with one of the parties that provides at least some manner from which to be heard. Is it a tough proposition? You bet it is. But come talk to me on Nov. 3, after Badnarik fails to garner enough votes to get elected mayor of Dallas, much less President of the United States, and tell me that my idea is any less sensible.

The thing is, I don't think that the hardcore Libertarians want to change anything. It's much easier to sit on the sidelines and promote yourself as the uncorrupted voice of reason, as opposed to getting in the trenches and making an actual difference. It's like in the Eddie Murphy movie, The Distinguished Gentleman. The local senior citizen party's chariwoman tells Murphy, "A Democrat can win. A Republican can win. A Silver Fox can only make a statement." Well the LP will likely fail to achieve even that.

Their candidate for the 2000 Presidency, Harry Browne, pulled 384,000 votes. That's less than four-tenths of one percent of the popular vote. Is that a statement? It was such a minute amount that it made little-to-no difference in the overall election results, save for possibly Florida, where Browne's 16,000 ballots was significantly more than the 600-vote difference between the two major party candidates. But then again, Pat Buchanan finished third there with 17,000 votes, so Browne wasn't even the bridesmaid in the gem of the 2000 election.

I've looked at Michael Badnarik's personal platform. He seems like a good man. But I cannot take his quest for the Oval Office seriously, and that's because he obviously doesn't either. If he did, he'd campaign in in a way that would give him the opportunity to share whatever vision he may have, with the American people.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?