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April 09, 2005

False Dichotomies « Politics As Usual »

This article considers it an interesting development that Montana, supposedly a "Red" (or Republican) state, is electing Democrats and passing referendums that aren't typically Republican.

False dichotomy.

Medical marijuana legality is a libertarian issue as much as a Democrat one. While making money is a Republican issue, not being willing to turn your backyard into a cesspool while sending money out of state is a libertarian attitude.

As Americans grow disenchanted with what Republicans have become in the wake of the Democrat implosion, Neo-libertarianism will grow in importance.

In this issue, I'm a follower. I'm not going to sign on to neo-libertarianism, because I don't see how it can work as a political movement. There are too many differing ideas on libertarianism is and should be (which the boys at Q and O Blog are addressing in ongoing discussions), and I just can't get over two basic issues:
1) libertarians and neo-libertarians are both for "maximizing personal freedom", but who can decide when personal freedom begins to impinge on others' freedom except for a large government bureaucracy?
2) Absent the large government bureaucracy, it still seems to me that the logical end of libertarianism is anarchy and 'might makes right'. I can't support that.

However, I support neo-libertarianism as a crucible of excellent ideas and political campaigns. For example, I support the legalization of medical marijuana. I don't support the legalization of drugs in general...but I certainly would support a general govt moratorium on enforcing laws against recreational use (retaining the illegality as an additional charge that can be brought against people who commit crimes while high). Those things aren't going to come about, or be a priority, under Republican leadership.

I think the impetus for sticking to literal interpretations of the US Constitution and a more traditional separation of powers (not allowing legislation from the bench as Democrats currently favor) is going to come from neo-libertarians, as well; not Republicans, because GOP leadership is too accustomed to dealing with and appeasing Democrats and their domesticated MSM attack dog, rather than challenging them.

Here's another discussion of a political development that is probably best viewed as an advancement of neo-libertarianism.

Bonus Extra Point That Probably Deservest To Be A Post Of Its Own So The Point Doesn't Get Buried:
Along with the rise of neo-libertarianism, I have to say that I'm actually glad the issue of Ms. Schiavo came up and was debated. As a society, we learned that not every issue can be easily divided into Left/Right, GOP/Democrat, Liberal/Conservative pairs. The number of traditional alliances that were ruptured over the Schiavo issue is staggering. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton came down on different sides! We saw which liberals truly are compassionate, and which are truly cold-hearted and cold-blooded. We saw different groups gaining a new respect for each other. We learned that you cannot take for granted what someone's socio-political opinion will be on an issue.

Bottom line: as divisive and heated as the arguments were, I think the erasure/redrawing of battle-lines will be good for the future of politics and political parties in the US. Ms. Schiavo is a martyr, but her death will not be in vain.

Posted by Nathan at 11:15 AM | Comments (3)

Great post, N. There's only one thing that I'd like to add to what you said:

" still seems to me that the logical end of libertarianism is anarchy and 'might makes right'."

Too many anarcho-capitalists forget that great success opens the possibility for greater moral fulfillment through freely-willed generosity and kindness. Too many Randroids think that being kind of kindess' sake reaps no benefits, as if they were soulless capitalistic automatons.

It is our human nature to help each other. It turns sour when it's done at the point of a gun.

Posted by: O.F. Jay at April 9, 2005 12:53 PM

I am so conservative that I make Genghis Khan look like Bill Clinton. I'm an ex-Marine with a social–libertarian streak and a William F. Buckley fiscal conservatism bent. Smoke 'em if you got 'em. I don't, but if you do, and you ain't hurtin' anybody, more power to ya'. I'm VERY frustrated with this notion of spending money on all this crap that isn't going to benefit the country. Just bits and pieces. Bit's and pieces around here, I'll help as much as I can. Bit's and pieces over there, somebody else help 'em. I love this country, but I'm tired of people trying to please the Brits, the Europeans, the French(?), for Christ sake!

Stop catering to the religious right (they're going to be shown fickle in the end anyway). Start doing what is right for America. I think that Americans will do what is good for their commmunities better than the Fed, anyway.

Stop praying in my classroom. I won't think in your church. Power to the common man. Up with the representative Republic. Trust your neighbor. Don't buy Canadian.

Posted by: Jay T. Lee Ph.D. at April 9, 2005 07:36 PM

Define fickle. The religious right would say they themselves hold true to their beliefs regardless of the political winds, and it's the politicians who are fickle.

Partisan politics is by nature a fickle exercise. Maybe having the "religious right" as part of its base is what's helped keep the GOP from drifting off course and running aground all these years -- like the Democrats have done.

Posted by: McGehee at April 11, 2005 09:49 PM
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