David Hines
Homeless on the range
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By David Hines
July 23, 2010

We libertarians are indeed politically homeless. If it wasn't already obvious, eight years of George W. Bush and over a year of Obama have demonstrated this fact.

A raving liberal called me a fanatic conservative because I don't support governmental constraints on the practice of religion, outlawing of all guns, and government health care. Apparently consistency means nothing to liberals. To them, liberty is reserved for only those who agree with the liberal agenda.

Two very disparate Republicans Ron Paul and RNC Chairman Michael Steele have been excoriated for even questioning the wisdom and feasibility of funding global warfare. The GOP establishment is determined to spend whatever it takes, even if we don't have it, to make the world safe for corporatocracy.

A Tea Party conservative claims that I disregard the Constitution. Because the document authorizes tariffs as a revenue measure, this guy holds that it therefore demands punitive tariffs, and that sound economic thinking is thus immaterial. Yeah, and because the Constitution authorizes Congress to declare war, they must declare war on anyone and everyone! Just because the Constitution or the law permits something doesn't guarantee that it's a good idea.

Libertarians have for some time been aligned with the right, since on economic issues we are closer to conservatives than to liberals. Yet eight years of Dubya demonstrated that for the GOP it's all hat and no cattle, as the man from Crawford might say. The GOP values war and subsidies for ordnance corporations to the virtual exclusion of every other principle.

Some say libertarians ought to switch their allegiance to the left, citing Bush's attacks on civil liberties. But the left cares nothing about economic reality, and are happy to use coercion against the politically incorrect. They would reserve liberty only for those who accept and repeat the party's self-contradictions. Abetting such constrainers of freedom would be akin to shooting ourselves in the foot.

Conservatives think liberty is given as a gift by pointing a gun and demanding that the target receive it; liberals think it is given to the elect as a reward for conformity to the party line.

Some say the TEA Party people offer the best hope of a fruitful alliance. Maybe so, but some things have yet to be resolved. The TEA parties represent a lot of unfocused dissatisfaction. They haven't come to terms with what they really want. They'll cheer Sarah Palin complaining about overspending, and cheer just as loudly when she proposes spending more on what she and the GOP want. Doesn't sound much like fiscal responsibility to me. There's much diversity of opinion within the movement; when the differences come to the fore, centrifugal forces may pull them apart.

Some say libertarians need to create a moderate center, as the swing voters who can determine elections. But since when has truth been a compromise between two bad options?

Liberals want me telling Christians they can't be Christians, and conservatives want me telling liberals they must be Christians, or at least force them to obey laws designed to coerce them into some facsimile of Christianity. Both sides believe in the collective use of force to coerce personal and political opinion. What happened to the First Amendment? What's wrong with liberty?

For each side there are questions that are deemed impermissible to raise. That in itself suggests that each side knows it is rife with hypocrisy; they are deathly afraid of having it pointed out for all to see. Anyone mentioning the unmentionables must be declared a heretic.

Both major political cabals operate under delusions about economics. Neither has the courage to resolve the real problems; they concentrate instead on peripheral issues for political advantage. They are paper tigers, merely complaining when the other party is in power. The nation is heading toward the status of Greece, or even worse Zimbabwe. If you think you've seen depression already, and that either of those parties will stop it, you're in for a rude surprise.

Though we libertarians are heretics to all of them, they all want our votes. They tell us, "Forget about your priorities and join me in solidarity, comrade, behind my agenda." The appeal to collectivist groupthink with all its blind spots holds no appeal at all.

What to do? Nothing. Keep telling it like I see it. Try to live with integrity under an increasingly authoritarian regime. Like alcoholics, some people will not come around to common sense until they have hit rock bottom. Until then, no amount of coercion or persuasion will change their minds; the only remedy is grim reality. And those types vastly outnumber li'l ol' me.

When the political hacks have wrecked the entire system, there will be many politically homeless. I'm just ahead of the curve.

© David Hines

 

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David Hines

Born in a mill town, David Hines has seen work as a furniture mover, computer programmer/analyst, and professional musician... (more)

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