Sunday, February 10, 2008

In defense if libertarianism

To contend libertarianism is a vestige of agrarian days past is a fallacy. There are genuine contemporary issues that fall squarely within the states' rights arena; gay marriage, Bush v Gore, Lawrence v Texas (which thankfully overturned Bowers v Hardwick), medical marijuana, affirmative action, universal suffrage, etc., and libertarianism asserts these along with a host of other issues should be decided on the state level. Hence, libertarianism is the most sure method for ensuring individual liberty as the states are far more accurate barometers of the will of the people.

Libertarianism advocates, as Ron Paul does, a non-interventionist foreign policy, something neither the Democrats nor Republicans can claim. It's not unreasonable to assume that had the U.S not employed such a heavy handed policy approach to the Middle East we wouldn't be at war in two countries and contemplating attacking a third. Conceivably had the U.S not attacked North Korea or North Vietnam, over 100,000 dead US soldiers might be alive today, not to mention the angst created here at home during Vietnam and the millions dead in SE Asia. As a result of the Korean and Vietnam conflicts, the fall of communism was accelerated by maybe 5-10 years, hardly worth the financial and human cost. A libertarian president would have never prolonged or instigated those conflicts.

Shouldn't the individual governments, i.e. state and municipal, be given the autonomy to make bad decisions? Shouldn't our system be a meritocracy instead of an egalitarian utopia where the federal government is bestowed with more wisdom than it possesses? It has been demonstrated time and again that the feds are as, if not more, incompetent than their smaller cousins. Government is a flawed entity but a necessary evil and the choice to adhere to one construct or another should be made on a more intimate basis, a rationale that ensures the will of the people is more accurately reflected. A vast federal bureaucracy is what ensured Bush v Gore was the law of the land, all despite no precedent and the Court's one-time-only qualification (something never done in Supreme Court history). It is a logical outcome because the locale one resides in is far more cognizant of local standards than an entity 2500 miles to the east.

Expecting the powers that be in Washington to govern with any meaningful restraint at the local level is foolish. I don't see how an expansion of government power is covetous of individual liberty. That's akin to saying a fat lion is less ravenous than a skinny one. Both will wage war to preserve their station. A massive federal mechanism does not ensure individual liberty as it is unwise, incompetent, and unqualified. I'd rather err on the side of supporting a smaller government, one that may not be more qualified but can more accurately reflect the will of the individual. The Constitution was written so that the system functioned from the bottom up, i.e. the states dictate to the feds. When federal government functions with little to no fear of the people it will no longer be controlled by the people and is therefore unaccountable and drunk with power.

Some will contend that federalism will lead inexorably to mass migration of business overseas and people from one state to another. Only one state has even come close to outlawing abortion, the schools were desegregated via Brown v BOE, work place safety laws are nearly universal, child protection laws are nearly universal, etc. Concepts that are truly noxious to individual liberty will differ little, if any, from state to state. The concept of "philosophical cleansing" that some fear would not happen...much ado about nothing I say. Taxes and socio-economic status will exist in stratus and no amount of government intervention will eradicate poor and rich folk. To constrain small or big business in such draconian fashion as is practiced here in the U.S. will stifle economic growth. Government and business are intertwined by a common trait and will ruthlessly squelch any attempt to undermine their autonomy...too bad the individual lacks the same mindset. The marketplace is the most sure method of reining in corporate excess, not draconian legislation. Wal-Mart for all its vile business practices is the largest private employer on earth and forth largest commercial employer. If you supress the environment in which Wal-Mart operates too much millions will suffer as other employers will be effected. If the yoke was loosened from 'round the neck of business, both large and small, just a skosh you might find the environment is more habitable. The point is a federal bureaucracy should not control business, as the corporate sector is the life blood of our economy, and a true capitalistic libertarian mindset ensures economic growth.

What do you think drove certain industries to move capital offshore? Heavy handed regulation. It's insane to impose labor union mentalities to a service oriented economy yet there the outmoded unions sit driving costs up and stifling productivity, as does an intrusive government rationale. It's insane to offer government subsidies to big business as is paternalistic regulation. Corporate welfare, the kind that gave the airline industry a multi-billion dollar bailout right after 9-11 and the kind that pays farmers to keep grain in silos to keep costs up, is counter productive; it strips away accountability, and leads to a corporate nanny state as does protectionist governmental policy.

In this information age where 70% of American households have internet, 99% have telephone & TV, and nearly all have access to multiple channels of information, you simply don't have the luxury of saying the info is too difficult to obtain. That's abetting a lazy mentality where far too many vote without regard to issue or candidate viability. It is one's duty to exercise your ability to gather information, as an uneducated vote props up a flawed system. That's precisely how Jr got elected president...TWICE. I have no sympathy for someone who says information is too difficult to obtain.

Libertarianism is the only method to ensure liberty and national prosperity.