Defending Libertarians  

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

John Hawkins took a shot at the Libertarian Party this week. For the most part, he was spot on, but did stray from reality somewhat in an update (PS #2):

I know some people might say that if the Libertarian Party gathers a high percentage of the vote, it forces the two mainstream parties to try to go after their voters, but that's not true, because Libertarians have beliefs that are so far out of the mainstream that it's impossible to try to cater exclusively to them. When you're talking about people (many of them at least) who favor legalizing crack and prostitution, favor open borders, favor abortion without restriction, gay marriage, essentially oppose any and all government intelligence programs designed to stop Al-Qaeda from killing Americans, then it's practically a given that no politician can make them happy on most issues without alienating 90% of the general public at the same time. Since, as a politician, you know going in that you can't truly make Libertarians happy, all you can do to reach out to Libertarians is emphasize any parts of your platform where you happen to agree with them and hope they don't notice everything else.
Libertarians aren't looking for people to "cater exclusively to them." Just ask Sage sometime when you find him lurking in the comments section.

Legalizing prostitution has been quite successful in Nevada, so demonizing them for advocating that is stupid at best.

While I don't agree with the libertarian position on drugs at this time, I can see very well their point. Much effort and money has been spent trying to get people to avoid drugs and to no avail whatsoever. It could even be argued that the "war on drugs" has inspired people to try the "forbidden fruit" and caused an increase in illegal drug use, not because people like it any more, but rather because it is illegal in the first place.

While I'm on the fence about whether drugs should be legal, I definitely believe that the consequences of people's drug use should be their own to deal with. If you ruin your life by using drugs, then you deal with it. It's not the job of the American taxpayers to take care of you.

I don't know any Libertarians who favor open borders, though I will admit to knowing only about three of them. The most staunch Libertarian I know (unless I'm mistaken) has advocated sending the US military to the border to deal with illegal aliens. I know he doesn't favor "open borders" or amnesty.

Abortion without restriction and gay marriage are matters best left to the states, though I would support a Constitutional amendment defining marriage as one man to one woman simply to avoid the problems that could arise should these people move from one state to another. Libertarians favor unrestricted abortion because they don't believe the government should involve itself in people's private lives (I disagree with them on the grounds that abortion interferes with the private life of the baby that dies in an abortion). Libertarians, I think, would agree with me on gay marriage, at least to the point of leaving it in the hands of the states. I see nothing "loony" about these positions save for the disregard of the rights of a child who is killed in an abortion.

Libertarians don't support spying on al-Qaeda because they have an isolationist view of things. While I do not share this position, it's quite common among Democrats and Republicans alike, so I'm not exactly sure what Hawk's beef is with them here, either.

In the comment area, I posted the following, which, strangely enough, drew not a single response:
Since, as a politician, you know going in that you can't truly make Libertarians happy, all you can do to reach out to Libertarians is emphasize any parts of your platform where you happen to agree with them and hope they don't notice everything else.

Actually, all it would really take to impress most libertarians would be to make sure you backed up every policy position you had with a statement explaining how you figured it was duly authorized by the Constitution.


by RightWingRockerUSA on 2006-11-14 14:16:30
This is the essence of the Libertarian Party and the positions most Libertarians make. They want the Constitution respected and followed.

Look at every point above that Hawkins makes. Apply the Constitution to each thing. You will find that most of these positions that HAWKINS takes has questionable constitutionality. Legalizing crack, prostitution, abortion, gay marriage, and being skeptical of spy programs that could inadvertently involve spying on innocent Americans are all presented as being "out of the mainstream", yet some of these things are legal and not causing much in the way of problems, and it's not like the Libertarians are making their decisions without first consulting the Constitution.

My point in the comment, of course, was that Libertarians would most likely be more than willing to listen to an opposing view if people would only demonstrate exatly how their position would be justified under the Constitution. They love sprited debate and thinking about other people's opinions just as much as the rest of us. They aren't a bunch of hard-heads who are looking for people to cater to their every position exclusively.

Hawkins does note that this piece was meant for the Libertarian Party and not Libertarians in general, but who exaclty votes for Libertarian candidates? LIBERTARIANS IN GENERAL. Therefore, his discalimer had to be taken with a grain of salt. Libertarians are a whole lot closer to the truth than Republicans or Democrats quite a bit of the time.