Today we had a libertarian spokesman talk to us at work. According to him, the corporate guys – who are my bosses but I assure you I will never meet – want all employees to know what the libertarian political party is all about.
I was fine with learning about politics when I really didn’t want to. I didn’t get too hung up on the fact I was basically sitting in a new church when I wasn’t in the market for one. I swear I didn’t feel like I was being brainwashed.
All sarcasm aside, it was enjoyable. The man who spoke – a brilliant guy from what I heard – was entertaining, interesting and insightful. But if there was a lesson I learned, it was not how great libertarianism is, but why I do not subscribe to it.
Interestingly enough, I agree with the goal of libertarianism as he explained it. Whole heartedly. Liberty at all costs – the freedom of all men. The goal of government being to aspire people to pursue liberty and happiness.
Basically, the government has become this collective figurehead we, as a people, rely on too much. Less government, more efforts from people. I can buy into that.
However, I differ drastically from this in that I am a realist. This man wasn’t a fan of public housing or schooling, nor was he too keen on the idea of taxes being collected from citizens to pay for emergency services.
The problem I see is this would only work if everybody believed in it. Basically, there will always be people who NEED the government to survive: call them what you may, but many people have adopted a lifestyle that revolves around government handouts.
They would literally starve without support. Do they deserve to die? (The correct answer is “no.”)
So, if tomorrow we all woke up and had a government that totally embodied the libertarian belief scheme, all of these people – not to stereotype, but public housing residents, single parents with a low income and the inability to work due to their need to look after their child(ren) – would end up being a huge tragedy.
A tragedy with starving kids, under funded police and fire crews and a rash of suicides. A tragedy the nation of the United States is so much better than.
Under ideal circumstances, Hell yes libertarianism would work. But not with the way things are.
I am a fan of what is commonly referred to as “big” government. I think we need government (not for my own personal sake, but for the sake of others who I referred to above) to hold our hands and tell us what is right. We need the government to tell is not to do drugs, hold our hands through the house-buying process and make sure every child gets an education.
No, our Forefathers didn’t say so in the Constitution. But I believe they alluded to it and would actually be quite happy to know we’ve evolved to include this stuff. It’s a social evolution – an advancement in how we do things.
We don’t, however, need a crappy government that botches everything it touches; abuses its power by trying to do more than what is necessary to aspire us to pursue life, liberty and happiness; or tells us we can’t live in a cabin out in the woods away from everyone else because it wants to sell all the trees around it to a logging company.
As long as government is making sure everyone has equal opportunities, it’s doing good – and I think the only way for it to do so is to rear its great big head.
And what’s funny to me is, in nearly the same way religion deflects criticism, this speaker today called libertarians “revolutionists” who others would call “neigh-sayers.”
Slaves, he said, were also called neigh-sayers before they were set free.
Great. So now I can be criticized for criticizing an idealist movement that will only benefit people who aren’t poor. He’s comparing me to people who supported slavery.
That’s fine. To each his own.
Anyway, overall, it was an interesting experience. While I respect the libertarian movement, I certainly find my share of problems with it.
Thankfully, though, and in all seriousness, this country is “libertarian” enough that guys like the speaker have a right to launch their own revolution. He seemed to have overlooked that.