Our rights do not originate with government, but they are to be "secured" by government.
Formerly: Libertarian Party of Citrus county

Friday, October 15, 2010

Why the Libertarian Party is Powerless

I’ve been a member of the Libertarian Party (LP) all my adult life. I am not considering nor do I plan to leave the LP, but the LP has to do some serious introspection. The Libertarian Party (LP) has remained virtually the same small portion of the electorate for decades. Its platform with two glaring exceptions best represents the founding principles of this country. The LP platform best represents the view of the TEA Party, the strongest grass roots political movement since the Civil Rights movement of the 60’s. The LP is basically a very small group, and virtually powerless except as a foil or joke for political pundits. Libertarian principles and values are main stream but the party isn’t.

Columnist Dick Morris, wrote in the National Review writing about libertarianism and the TEA party, "The libertarian strain in the American electorate has long been neglected by the mainstream media. But, through the tea party, it has gained ascendancy on the right. Those who want the government to stay out of both boardrooms and bedrooms have come to dominate the party and its nominating process."

Libertarian thought and philosophy run deep through Americans, yet the LP is virtually powerless. The reason for the LP being virtually powerless is based on the LP being hostile to the origins of libertarian thought, and the huge contradiction in the most basic tenant of libertarianism.

Libertarian thought and philosophy is a direct result of the tenants of Christianity. Man is created in God’s Image; Man is given free will; God gave man a few rules to live by. Virtually all of them were about honoring God or respecting the rights of other individuals. Taken as a whole the Bible is the most libertarian and freedom loving book ever created. That said the Libertarian party is not only open to, but a home for, atheists, Jews, Muslims, pagans, and all the other religions. Most people from other religions feel at home in the Libertarian party. Again this is a good thing, as the Libertarian party is a political organization not a religion, based on the solid principal that a person is sovereign over him/herself not the government. The basic and most fundamental tenant of libertarianism is voluntary interactions between sovereign people, and opposition to using force against others. If you've read the Gospels and teaching of Paul you'd find that is one of the underlying themes of the New Testament.

Not too long ago the definition of a unique cellular life form included a few defined criteria. For a unique cellular life form to be alive it must respirate, consume food, eliminate waste, and its cells must divide. Plant, animal, fungus, bacteria, etc., all cellular life meets this basic criterion to be called alive. For political not scientific reasons the definition of what makes something alive has changed in basic science texts. All of us pretty much know the difference between being dead and being alive. With the exception of identical twins our DNA is what clearly identifies humans as being unique. Being alive means you have life.

The primary reason the LP has remained a meaningless third party is because to a large number of Americans it contradicts itself, and is relativistic in its values, and it openly ignores the morality of the vast majority of Americans.

The LP Platform says in it’s statement of principles: . . . "that where governments exist, they must not violate the rights of any individual: namely, (1) the right to life -- accordingly we support the prohibition of the initiation of physical force against others . . . " Then in section 1.4 says " Recognizing that abortion is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on all sides, we believe that government should be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration."

All the excuses in the world don’t change the fact that in our hearts we all fundamentally know that from conception to birth, the growth in the womb of a pregnant woman is alive, and is a unique person. That the unborn child, had no choice and has done nothing to infringe upon the rights of its parents, and as such legal or not, abortion is an infringement on the most basic fundamental right of that unique human; The right to life. If you don’t have a right to life, no other liberty has meaning. The LP position that government shouldn’t protect the life of some because of their relative biological development, make most of America feeling that the LP is amoral.

The TEA Party is a true grass roots movement. Regardless of what you think, or read, this movement is not just economic, it is moral. Its foundation is based on the founding principles of this country, very simple libertarian principles: It is not moral or just for one person to be forcibly used to serve the purposes of another, and people should be free to do as they wish so long as they don’t infringe upon the rights of another. Our tax system, and the expanse of rules and regulations, all violate these principles. The fact is that every single TEA Party candidate for the House of Representatives could not be a libertarian for one reason; Every TEA Party candidate for the House of Representatives is pro-life. Unlike the LP the TEA Party believes in the founding principles of the US government. Those principles are based on solid moral reasoning. The LP is not true to libertarian principles so long as it allows compromise on the most basic right any individual has.

The LP takes an almost utopian view of human nature and morals in general. The Platform section 1.3 reads “Sexual orientation, preference, gender, or gender identity should have no impact on the rights of individuals by government, such as in current marriage, child custody, adoption, immigration or military service laws. Consenting adults should be free to choose their own sexual practices and personal relationships. Government does not have the authority to define, license or restrict personal relationships.”

This is a morally bankrupt position that does not take into consideration human nature, and ignores the basic libertarian principle of not infringing on the rights of another, and completely ignores how sexuality affects the military. The Military does and should be allowed to create laws that govern relationships. Sexual relationships in general and specifically between those of differing ranks, all affect military cohesion, readiness, and performance. Military law can and should be allowed to restrict behaviors that affect performance. The LP position also ignores the fact that all Military enlistment is voluntary. Hence military members are free to join or not join knowing that the contractual obligations to taking military employment include specific behavior expectations. Officers being prohibited from personal relationships with enlisted personnel are not an infringement upon anybody’s rights.

Platform section 1.3 shouts in the face of the vast majority of people in this country. This entire platform position reads as though militant gays are trying to force acceptance of their lifestyle on the majority of the people. Most Americans believe that two consenting adults should be free to choose their own sexual practices and personal relationships, so long as it doesn’t infringe upon the rights of others. This platform plank says that the LP is amoral and does not care about the traditions and values which the country was instituted. This amoral position puts the LP in the minds and hearts of the vast majority of Americans as being un-reliable, untrustworthy, and anti-religion, thus the LP is dismissed and has no power.

The LP Platform position 1.3 should simply read “The Government does not have the authority to license or restrict personal relationships of consenting adults” without all the sexual relationship explanation which attacks tradition morals. The associated position voiced by the LP should be that the government should offer no preference or benefit in any law, including tax laws that pertains to an individual’s voluntary relationships with others. Tax laws should be based on the idea that all taxes for every individual should be treated equally regardless of relationship status. Would accomplish the same goal righteous goal, to promote the rule of law, and promote equality under the law without attacking the moral structure that created this country.

Reading a posting on FB, where a libertarian posted a very amoral pro-gay, decadent video (nothing illegal) designed to offend the sensibilities of the majority of people. It did, the responses included such comments as NAME is reconsidering my Libertarian vote.........C'mon Michael. The LP being home to and promoting gays, sovereign extremists, anarchists, etc. project the image that the Libertarian Party is amoral.

Most Americans believe that an amoral government cannot make moral choices. The LP is not trusted because we put out an amoral contradictory stand, when we don’t have to. But since the image is amoral, the American people won’t trust the Libertarian Party with their money, their rights, or anything. At its roots libertarian philosophy is very moral and upright and the philosophy of libertarianism is by far more moral than the alternatives offered by both the GOP and Democrats. Libertarian philosophy best represents the Christian model for how people should live. The LP however throws the extremes of what the freedom to choose how to live your life in the face of a very conservative and moral public, who will then question the ability of Libertarians to govern. Look at the legal but scandalous actions that get politicians un-elected, adultery, whoring, etc., the people of this country won’t elect a party whose attitude is, no big deal and you should keep your nose out of other people’s relationships. Wanting liberty for all is not the same as wanting somebody of poor moral character running the country.

Until the Libertarian Party starts to portray a party which will protect the liberty of everybody without promoting amoral and antisocial behavior, it cannot expect to come to power. The TEA Party, which has virtually identical platform and desires as the LP is what has captured most of America’s heart. They project liberty and freedom for all, and promote and elect moral leaders. Americans want to elect leaders who will protect their freedoms, who they would trust with their children. The current image of the LP is not one America would trust with her children and with very few exception is not considered a serious alternative. Concerning liberty, rather than putting the image of I may not agree with you but I’ll defend to the death your rights, the LP appears to be embracing the shocking amoral extremes of liberty.

The Libertarian Party image, in order to be acceptable to America needs to be that considers “Part of the cost of liberty is to tolerate the extremes of human nature so long as they don’t infringe upon the rights of another.” Embracing the extremes makes us look extreme, and hence unelectable. The LP is powerless because America will not knowingly elect immoral leaders.

Tom Rhodes
10/15/2010

2 comments:

  1. TEA Party + Anti-War + Social Tolerance = Libertarian

    There is a difference between the current Palin-Beck TEA Party and the Ron Paul libertarians who thought they started the TEA Party, but saw it hijacked by "teo-cons."

    Candidates like O'Donnell make me really wonder if the dominant faction of the TEA Party _really_ "want the government to stay out of both boardrooms *AND* bedrooms" (emphasis added).

    re: "Libertarian thought and philosophy is a direct result of the tenants of Christianity." <-- Not really. It's a result of Objectivism, and it's quite a stretch to say Objectivism relies greatly on Christianity. It believes in much more "free will" than Christianity does. You can give as much credit to the Wiccan Rede, "Do as thou will, an (as long as) ye harm none" as you can to the Christian concept of free will, which puts guilt-tripped prohibitions on activities that don't harm anyone in any realistic sense of the word.

    "The TEA Party is a true grass roots movement." <-- Not since Palin (who gave up a governorship to pursue greater fame and fortune) and the self-described "rodeo clown" got involved. The Ron Paul libertarians, now called Campaign for Liberty, are a true grassroots movement.

    "The fact is that every single TEA Party candidate for the House of Representatives could not be a libertarian for one reason; Every TEA Party candidate for the House of Representatives is pro-life." <-- That's incorrect. (Although their pro-war views might disqualify them.) The LP has many pro-life members. See: the Libertarians for Life website: http://www.l4l.org/

    "Officers being prohibited from personal relationships with enlisted personnel are not an infringement upon anybody’s rights. " <-- The military has strong prohibitions already against "fraternization" among the troops, to protect both men and women from unwanted (and even consensual) sexual advances. You may think that your position is part of the "vast majority," but actually, opinion polls are a lot closer than that.

    "The LP being home to and promoting gays, sovereign extremists, anarchists, etc. project the image that the Libertarian Party is amoral." <-- a) Most people in this country do NOT consider homosexuality immoral. Most people consider it none of their business whom others "get it on" with.
    b) Sovereign extremists? I think that might cover some of the TEA Party candidates, though I couldn't give an exact example. Aren't some for "nullification?"
    c) In practice, I have no problem explaining to people the difference between Libertarianism (working within the system) and Anarchy. If they are geeky, I pull out Robert Capozzi's phrase, "Asymptotic Anarchist," which means that libertarians are always advocating for smaller gov't, but never getting to zero gov't.

    IMO, the reason why the "American people" aren't voting for us in mass numbers is because a) they are scared to give up their "entitlements" b) they want freedom for themselves and their own way of life, but aren't willing to extend that right to everyone else c) not enough outreach to reach those who already agree with us but don't know we are here, and d) the U.S. electoral system, which penalizes voting your third-party conscience by rewarding the major-party candidate least sympathetic to your views. Let's see, that chalks up two points for the electorate's selfishness, one for the LP's inadequacy, and one for structural inadequacy, IMHO.

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  2. (continued)

    "Libertarian philosophy best represents the Christian model for how people should live." <-- That is actually a statement I agree with. I think it best represents the Buddhist, Jewish, Pagan and Unitarian Universalist beliefs, too...maybe others.

    "Look at the legal but scandalous actions that get politicians un-elected, adultery, whoring, etc., " <-- Here you lose all the socially-tolerant people again, by comparing breach of a marriage vow--which obviously hurts someone else--to consensual adult activity which hurts no one.

    The first sentence of your last paragraph seems to be missing some words.

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