ISSUES IN FOCUS
Week of October 16, 2000
WHY I AM VOTING LIBERTARIAN
Do you believe you possess the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Do you believe you should be able to live in freedom, free from the initiation of physical force from others? If so and if you vote according to these principles, then there is only one political party that explicitly upholds these principles: the Libertarian Party.
But it is the practical issue that has kept so many—including myself—from voting Libertarian in past elections. Not wanting to see the worst candidate (Democrat) win the election, we ended up voting for the lesser of two evils, supported the Republicans and hoped it would buy us some time to persuade others to fight for freedom.
Has this tactic worked?
In some previous elections, the answer is a qualified yes. In 1972, it would have been a disastrous blow to freedom if George McGovern had won the election. Richard Nixon was no champion of freedom, but it made sense to hold your nose and vote for Nixon just to keep McGovern out of the White House. But even with a vote for Nixon, freedom continued to evaporate, just at a slower pace.
But it is the chilling spectacle of Republican behavior since they gained control of Congress that has dramatically altered Republicans as a hope for the future of freedom. Prior to 1994, Republicans were an opposition party. They generally opposed the efforts of Democrats to bring us a socialized society, although the Republicans’ inconsistencies led them to cave in, too often, and support the destruction of freedom. But at least they slowed the process down.
Since 1994, Republicans have been falling all over themselves to support and enact statist legislation that has robbed you of more of your freedom. And this year’s oratory by most Republican candidates, especially George Bush, proves that Republicans, if they win the election, will do little to slow down freedom’s gradual demise in America. In fact, Republicans have become virtually indistinguishable from Democrats and will continue the destruction of individual liberty just as surely as Democrats will. Republicans may even bring us an accelerated decline of freedom, since they are more eager to remain elected to their offices than to defend freedom.
Will a Bush presidency and a Republican Congress reverse freedom’s gradual decline in America? Will they turn this country in the direction of expanding individual freedom and the protection of your right to life and liberty? Will they protect you from the initiation of force? Will they make any difference over the long haul? The answer on all counts is: No.
Will a Gore presidency be worse than Bush? Probably, but not by much. Both are statists to the core.
Democrats know they have a foolproof method—as long as they are dealing with Republicans—for dragging America into tyranny. Since Republicans are just a watered-down version of Democrats, since Republicans agree with the tenets of statism (here is the definition of statism), all Democrats have to do is propose some new program and Republicans will support it if it is just a little less than what Democrats are seeking. This is exactly what has happened in the case of the proposal, originated by Democrats, to pay for prescription drugs for the elderly. Republicans quickly agreed and came up with their own plan.
As long as the debate is just a family squabble between statists (Democrats and Republicans), America’s direction will never change and its freedom will continue to decline.
According to a recent poll, 16% of Americans actually agree with the core philosophy of the Libertarian Party. What would happen if these individuals actually voted their principles? It would shake statism down to its roots. And that is an exciting, practical result—if it occurred—that would begin to turn the tide in favor of expanding individual freedom.
It would refocus the political debate in this country and bring a public spotlight on the central issue in politics—the initiation of force. This would leave statists no place to hide. They would have to defend the indefensible: their initiation of force against you and others. No statist can justify his use of force.
While I do not agree with every position taken by a Libertarian candidate, Libertarians are clearly against the initiation of force. And this is the fundamental issue: no one has the right to initiate force against you—and this goes double for the government. If you are free of the initiation of force, then you are free to disagree on other issues.
Democrats and Republicans are for the initiation of force. The only difference is a matter of degree, not of principle. Both Democrats and Republicans are for the politics of plunder—for the use of government force to rob you of your money to give it to your neighbor. They are simply two wings of the same political philosophy: statism.
For years, I was deterred from voting Libertarian because of the arguments from Ayn Rand. She described them as hippies of the right and blasted them for stealing her ideas, not giving her credit for the thoughts she originated. At the time, she was largely right. But today, most Libertarians freely acknowledge their debt to her. And, today, there is no question that Libertarians are the only ones who are clearly on the side of liberty: your freedom to live your life as you see fit.
The first vote I cast, at the age of 21, in a presidential election, was for Barry Goldwater, in 1964. He was an uncompromising defender of liberty and he was the last candidate for president I have been excited about. With Goldwater, I knew I was voting for something: freedom and individual rights. With each ensuing election, I was largely motivated to vote against the worst candidate. I voted for the lesser of two evils. Well, these two evils are now pretty equal and voting for evil, even the lesser, will only bring, long range, evil results.
I am tired of taking showers after I vote. If you continue supporting the Republicans we have today, freedom’s decline will continue and eventually implode altogether.
For myself, I am voting my principles and for practicality. I am going to support the only political party that is dedicated to stopping the initiation of force by the state, dedicated to your right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And as to practical matters, the harsh reality is this: the only way America is going to avoid eventually sinking into some sort of dictatorship is if the Libertarian Party receives your support.
Vote for liberty. If you do, we will eventually win.
October 17, 2000
© Copyright 2000 Fulton Huxtable
SEND THIS ARTICLE TO A FRIEND
SEND THIS ARTICLE TO YOUR FAVORITE RADIO TALK SHOW HOST