Knight Of The Mind

I'll do my best to present a philosophical and generally conservative look at current events and life, the universe and everything. Readers are invited to take all that's posted herein with a grain of salt. or if they prefer, a grain of salt, a slice of lime and a shot of tequila.

Location: Alexandria, Virginia, United States

Greetings and welcome. My name is Steve, I'm 35 years old and I work for the US Army as an Operations Research Analyst. Hence my blog title Knight Of The Mind.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

The Libertarian Vs The Libertine

Even the most stalwart supporters of Bush/Cheney 2004 (myself included) would have to admit that George W. Bush has expanded the role and sovereignty of The Federal Government in many ways.    Homeland Security, The Prescription Drug Benefit and Leaving No Child behind have all become significantly greater Federal responsibilities during his tenure as President.  

At times this state of affairs leaves me frustrated and makes me wish there was a loyal opposition to President Bush, as opposed to The Democratic Party.  A variety of political organizations could take up this mantle and give the American electorate a legitimate choice, rather a bunch of overfed trial lawyers in stuffed shirts.
Several smaller political parties exist and run for office on a variety of platforms.  The CPUSA, The Peace and Freedom Party and  The Constitution Party all offer strongly ideological alternatives to the current two-party system.  I find these three alternatives too strongly didactic and radical to be palitable. 
The Reform Party could have run a powerful campaign in 1992.  However, the odd vagaries of H. Ross Perot seemed to turn this party's efforts into a disorganized mess and led to it's eventual distruction.  The organization's death knell occured when Patrick J. Buchanon hijacked it's aparatus and it's matching Federal in 2000 to punish the GOP for banishing him to Far Right Mau-Mau Land. 
This leaves only The Libertarian Party as a viable 3rd Party alternative to Tweedledee and TweedleDem.   Founded on the Jeffersonian maxim that "The Government is best which governs least.", The Libertarians have the potential to put together a compelling and attractive alternative to the increasingly authoritarian Right fighting the increasingly collectivist Left over who gets to pillage and redistribute the wealth I go to work and accumulate.  In order to get this accomplished however, the Libertarians will need to settle a variety of fundamental issues.
The Libertarian movement as a whole will need to accept that freedom comes coupled with a responsibilityto those around us and that civil order must be maintained to elevate that freedom above the level of primative, Darwinistic barbarism.   In other words, all of us should be both free to compete and obligated to accept the rulings of an empowered and impartial referee.  
Having that referee present, implies a set of rules and regulations by which the referee decides when to throw the flag and what sort of penalty needs to be assessed.  Personally, I'd like to see that rule book get a whole lot smaller.  I think our government has intentionally invented enough legal gibberish so that we can no longer even understand what our rights as Americans truly are, much less effectively prevent their attenuation.
At present, the Libertarians advertise their platform as follows:
The Libertarian Party is committed to America's heritage of freedom:  
-  individual liberty and personal responsibility  
-  a free-market economy of abundance and prosperity  
-  a foreign policy of non-intervention, peace, and free trade.
All of these items have strong merit and flow from decent and noble intentions.  The followthrough is where Michael Bednarik seems to be weak and unable to advance the Libertarian Party's enlightened principles.  He seems to cure symptoms, without being able to diagnose the disease.
His primary platform bullet, an immediate cessation of all War on Terror policies and activities, would give us a temporary and illusory peace.  Yet it would not protect us from strong-willed and resourceful adversaries determined to measure our people for a funeral shroud.  
A more intelligent tact would involve an examination of how we fought those adversaries.  The USA Patriot Act could use significant improvement so that it still protects Americans without threatening their intellectual and political freedom. 
His proposed relaxation of legal restrictions on firearm ownership, recreational drug use and immigration across our national borders would probably save our tax payers billions of dollars and prevent a certain amount of tragic bloodshed.  However, it overlooks the fact that all three of these legal barriers to economic freedom were erected to solve problems that plagued our society and caused our people misery.
Again, we should be able to fight the imporation of heroin and cocaine and still remain a free society.  In fact, I'd argue we would suffer utter misery and end up fighting our own series of Opium Wars if recreational drug ever became accepted as a hobby rather than a grim transgression. 
The correct emphasis, in my opinion, is to reform this effort in a way that enables the destruction caused by narcotics to be assuaged in sinonomy with the continued personal liberty of people who aren't doing any of these drugs.   A good starting point would involve a questioning of the RICO Statute and a hard examination of how this law gets used to suppress politcal speech and dissent.  Three  Strikes  Laws may also represent an egregious and uncalled for threat to personal liberty. 
If the Libertarian Party could recognize the essential nature of a just and decent government to an orderly society, it could become what the Democratic and Republican parties should be.  The Libertarians could bust the trust-like monopoly that the two main parties seem to have established.  I forget the last time I lived under a President who actually shrank the size and power of the Federal Government. 
However, the current incarnation of Libertarianism goes too far towards unfettered anarchy.  The center may be blase and boring, but unless you happen to be the biggest and baddest hombre in The Valley of The Shadow of death, you'd better pray that center holds.   A Libertarian Party grounded enough in realism to comprehend that, would add a necessary component to our political debate and make The United States of America everything that it ultimately could be.


As you may or may not already be aware, members of the Watcher's Council hold a vote every week on what they consider to be the most link-worthy pieces of writing around... per the Watcher's instructions, I am submitting one of my own posts for consideration in the upcoming nominations process.
Here is the most recent winning council post, here is the most recent winning non-council post, here is the list of results for the latest vote, and here is the initial posting of all the nominees that were voted on.

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