What is a Libertarian?

Gary Johnson
Gary Johnson
Gary Johnson has been an outspoken advocate for efficient government, balanced budgets, rational drug policy reform, protection of civil liberties, comprehensive tax reform, and personal freedom. As Governor of New Mexico, Johnson was known for his common sense business approach to governing. | Photo: GaryJohnson.com | Gary Johnson, Libertarian, Governor, New Mexico, Candidate, 2012, Election,

A Libertarian Presidential Candidate has not been elected.

Libertarians are much like the old tale of the Flying Dutchman, a ghost ship destined to sail forever without ever making port, or to use another ages-old analogy, a bridesmaid, one of several at every wedding, but never the bride.

A Libertarian presidential candidate has never been elected president and perhaps never will be unless a way can be found to unlock the organizational and financial dominance of the two major parties. To be a Libertarian is to be a person who exists on principles, some of them righteous and worthy, some foolishly implausible.

More or less to be a Libertarian is to be an alternative conscience, a reflection of perhaps what America was more like in its beginnings, and what enthusiasts maintain it should strive to be more like today.

The Libertarian Party has two symbols, a penguin and a porcupine, and this is emblematic because of the diversity and mix-mash of the viewpoints of its adherents.

The party can’t even decide on a single animal to represent it. Thus the party waddles around some issues like a penguin, promoting avoidance of foreign entanglements and wars while avoiding use of the negatively-seen word “Isolationist.”

The porcupine symbol or Free State Project (FSP) was a plan to concentrate Libertarians in one state New Hampshire to develop a power block and more clout and thus perhaps figuratively stick some sharp quills in the butts of opponents.

However, generally the main symbol of the party today is the Statue of Liberty. This is possibly the party’s best idea of all, picking a meaningful symbol instead of an elephant or a donkey.

As in other political parties, the Libertarian Party supports ideas that often sound good but would be proven true in reverse as Libertarians like members of other political parties seldom seem to believe in “Murphy’s Law” (anything that can go wrong likely will).

For example, Libertarians call for the U.S. Public School System to be abolished. This would end they maintain the communistic, exploitive big-government left-leaning classrooms with their permissive and subversive teaching and instead place responsibility for educating children in the hands of parents-----who themselves are often permissive and subversive depending on your viewpoint.

Accordingly the party would give parents the authority to educate their own children at their own expense without interference from government and one sure way to get parents to howl in wounded indignation is to place education at their (the parents) own expense.

In this case free is better even if it’s paid for with taxes and is subversive.

The Libertarian Party viewpoint on the environment is also likewise a hodgepodge of good intentions with dubious probability of reality. The party supports a clean and healthy environment. That’s good. But the party believes that government, unlike private business, is unaccountable for damage done to the environment, completely ignoring the fact that if the big government of Abraham Lincoln had not clamped protective status around Yosemite Valley----it would be today a condominium development.

Reverence of private enterprise for the environment has been about as successful and consistent historically as intelligent statements coming from Paris Hilton.

Libertarians believe in abolishing the IRS and taxation although its members are sometimes unclear on how funding to maintain the country would be raised----a flat tax or through voluntary donations. The party also calls for unregulated unmonitored free-market unrestricted-competitive banking practices which the recent revelations from Wells Fargo Bank (scams) and the Great Recession of 2002 caused by unregulated banks running amok would seem to contradict.

It’s easier to call for removal of something and harder to come up with a viable replacement.

The Libertarian Party favors a free-market healthcare system without government oversight and recommends the right of individuals to determine the level of health care they want, which for millions of Americans will no doubt be no health care at all after the pharmaceutical companies jack up the prices to make a killing----in this case yours because you can’t get the medicine you need.

Thus, freedom isn’t always free.

It is also interesting that Libertarians promote free and unrestricted trade and the crossing of national borders among people and money without limitations, except for the import of people (foreigners) who represent a threat to the country. This is another example of pie in the sky or have your cake and eat it too---freedom to do anything except wrong but we don’t know it’s wrong because of the freedom.

Libertarians believe Social Security should be abolished and in its place transition to a private voluntary system as “Retirement planning is the responsibility of the individual,” despite the fact that millions of Americans never planned for retirement and currently depend on Social Security. Wasn’t it Scrooge in Christmas Carol who when trying to distance himself from helping the poor said, “Are there no (private) flop houses for the poor?”

Libertarians are surprisingly tolerant, for legalization of drugs, pornography, prostitution, gambling, and acceptance of sexual (LGBT) orientations, while opposing capital punishment and the registration of guns.

I consider myself a sort of Libertarian.

I won’t say in which way.

That’s in keeping with the generally “Unrestrictive” philosophy of the party. Much of being a Libertarian today is that of being a “Spoiler,” taking votes away from the Democrat or Republican candidates. As usual a Libertarian candidate will not be elected to high office this year.

The platform of the Libertarian Party promotes an America more self-reliant, less corporate-conglomerate---less of a world policeman and a worldwide colossus. Ironically, many Libertarians are young upwardly mobile twenty-year-olds. Much of their agenda is somewhat reminiscent of the America of 1776.

There will always be room for those who exist on the fringes of what America should be and if nothing else, serve to tweak our collective consciences about it.

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Updated Dec 8, 2018 9:33 AM EST | More details


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