Are there fiscally moderate Libertarians out there?

The older I’ve gotten, the more socially libertarian I’ve become. The more set in my ways I get, the more I resent any institutional imposition upon my will, so long as I’m not hurting anybody else. I’ve come to the conclusion that for some ethical and moral issues, the less government involvemet (ideally, meaning none), the better. Drugs, sex, religion; I just want Washington right out of it.

I’d vote Libertarian at this point, except that fiscally, I think they go too far. If our nation is to have any integrity, some amount of Federal funds must be brought to bear on national problems, and the idea of reducing the Federal Govt. to little more than the office of the Postmaster General strikes me as a ludicrous invitation for anarchic chaos on a national scale. We need highways, railroads, a military, basic health care standards, law enforcement, education, and so forth. The free-market utopian idea that private interests and small grass-roots movements can adequately cover the necessary bases strikes me as hoplessly naive; about as naive as Marxism, really, going to another extreme. Human nature simply won’t change quickly enough to allow this frontier mantality to work on the scale of societies. I know some will vehemently disagree, but I’m highly, highly skeptical of the full Libertarian ethos.

But again, in some ways, the Libertarians and I are very much in accord. Is there, within that movement, a more fiscally moderate school of thought? If not, are there other parties with a more realistic ethos? I suppose one could try work within the Two-Party system, but I’ve gone beyond the end of my rope with both the Dems and the Pubs. Neither can seem to resist ethical meddling on the grandest scales with individual choices, and even when one or the other swings in a direction I favor, I’m plagued with the knowledge the pendulum will just swing back again as soon as the political tides turn. I don’t want a different ethical tack out of Washington, when it comes to various personal choices. I want them out entirely, and to be silent on such issues. Dems and Pubs alike fail miserably in this regard, and I can no longer see any point in supporting them.

So what else is out there? Any less-than-whacko Libertarian approaches?

Actually, the Libertarian Party is much less ideological than the libertarian philosophy. Although they derive their views ultimately from the noncoercion principle, they are rather statist and compromising in many ways — which is why I’m not a member any longer. For example, rather than advocate the elimination of all taxes, they support a tax scheme similar to that advocated by the Founders. You can read their positions here:

I think you have anarchism in mind here. Ayn Rand, probably the most extreme of the Libertarian thinkers, certainly advocated the presence of a defensive military and law enforcement. I’m not really sure what the stance on roads is.

Ayn Rand was not a “Libertarian thinker”.

“For the record, I shall repeat what I have said many times before: I do not join or endorse any political group or movement. More specifically, I disapprove of, disagree with and have no connection with, the latest aberration of some conservatives, the so-called ‘hippies of the right,’ who attempt to snare the younger or more careless ones of my readers by claiming simultaneously to be followers of my philosophy and advocates of anarchism. Anyone offering such a combination confesses his inability to understand either. Anarchism is the most irrational, anti-intellectual notion ever spun by the concrete-bound, context-dropping, whim-worshiping fringe of the collectivist movement, where it properly belongs.” — Ayn Rand, “Brief Summary,” The Objectivist, September 1971

See also “Libertarianism: The Perversion of Liberty,” in Ayn Rand’s collection, The Voice of Reason.

Lib, I’d really appreciate your input on the questions I asked in this thread.

When I first registered to vote, I registered as being Libertarian. The main reason I joined was to express my beliefs that laws against “victimless crimes” like prostitution and marijuana should be repealed.

But after I joined I began to realize that the main focus of the libertarian party is an anti-tax stance, anti-government services in general stance. That’s not really what I care about, nor do I really believe in that aspect of libertarianism.

I remain registered as a libertarian because I’m unsure how else to express my social liberalism in strong enough terms. But when it comes to actually voting I vote with the Democratic Party.

Done. :slight_smile:

My mistake, Lib. Thanks for clarifying.

Yeah, that’s the problem I have. Worse, while the party literature and other publicity outlets do their best to appeal to reason, this anti-government sentiment seeths beneath the surface, and tends to bring the militant xenophobes out of the woodwork. By and large, the few vocal Libertarian’s I’ve encountered were straight out of the militias, and seemed to regard Washinton as some kind of foreign power that needed to be completely dismantled, peacefully if possible, but otherwise if need be. I don’t want to get into bed with Ted Nugent, for crying out loud, I just want hippies and fundies alike out of my bedroom, my classroom, and my life.

No problem. It’s a common misconception, and I’m glad for the opportunity to clear it up.

Loopydude, you sound like you are very socially liberal but believe that government has some duty to address the suffering of those people too poor to afford basic needs.

There are many terms for this: social democrat, welfarist, utilitarian etc.. My preferred suggestion is European :slight_smile:

Please enumerate the basic needs.

As a Popperian utilitarian, I personally define ‘basic needs’ as elements which would engender medically diagnosable suffering where they to be absent for a significant period, such as food, shelter and basic preventive healthcare (such that one does not actually ‘die of poverty’). I am prepared to stretch this definition further to include other sources of suffering such as crime, and to provide for educational needs such that one need not find oneself excluded from the job market because of a lack of essential skills sauch as literacy.

Just as I demand that someone else protects me from crime and teaches me to write, I feel it reasonable to demand that losers of the Game of Life not succumb to starvation, exposure or preventable medical conditions in a land of plenty, where so much goes to waste. I find the belief that private charity could guarantee this almost laughably naive.

So do I. But I find the belief that government could guarantee it to be equally naive. Show me the nation without a poor class, and I’ll concede the point.

I pretty much fall into the same category as the OP. Libertarian in general with some reservations about total privatization of infrastructure, military, law enforcement, etc. (But I’d still consider myself right of center.) If there is a similar party with a more economically centrist platform, I haven’t found it (only looking among the parties that are capable of getting a candidate on the ballot nationally). I still vote for the Libertarian Party’s candidate. I don’t really worrry too much about the specific platform, since they have generally been getting less than 1% of the vote. If they start getting more viable, I’ll take a closer look at it. Until then, it’s basicly just a protest vote against the Pubs/Dems.

Very astute. I’ve considered it on a number of occasions. Actually, most recently, a month-long trip to New Zealand left me so in love with the place I found it nothing less than painful to leave it behind. Very sensible, compassionate people, as far as I could tell. Certainly, their govt. wasn’t without flaw, and the legacy of colonialism weighs heavily at times on the public discourse (witness the ongoing controversy over the terms of the Treaty of Waitangi). NZ is also feeling the pangs of the necessity of slowly dismantling the most socialized aspects of their economy and infrastructure, but I think they’ll ride that out just fine in the end.

But just imagine it: A country with virtually no violent crime, yet legalized prostitution. How, how is this possible? Something about govt. projection of morality in the USA stinks on ice. In many ways, we’re puritanical savages, and I’m very, very tired of it. The laughability of our Presidents as some kind of “example” of moral leadership; the bold hypocracy fostered by our bizarre need to see govt. as some kind of guide and protector of our Calvanist moral heritage. It’s beyond disguisting. I’m tired of the calumny, the cynical use of personal issues like intimate relationships, family planning, and so forth, as a means of scoring politcal points, always with a mind to the polls…it’s among the most immoral things I’ve ever seen. I want these people to shut up about it. I don’t see my beliefs as their business; and I don’t want their beliefs in my face, or anyone elses. Keep the fucking Church out of the State. Keep your soul to yourself.

In any distribution, there will always be a poorest x percentile. It would be nice if private charity could feasibly ensure universal (or very nearly so) preventive and emergency healthcare, basic food, shelter and education and protection from crime to the same extent that certain social democracies have shown it to be possible to achieve for that x percentile.

The poor will always exist. The question is, what of their plight?

My answer would be that a big portion of their plight — at least, it was a big portion of our plight when we were poor — is their helplessness against the coercion of bullies with the power to keep them in their place. If a man already lacks the resolve to rescue himself from any plight, nothing you can do will help him. But if he indeed has the resolve, then the best thing you can do for him is to clear from his path the obstacles put there by others.

Of course, but I’d suggest that looking at individual cases is myopic. That it is possible for any given member of the poorest percentile to become wealthier is undeniable. However, that doen’t mean that the poorest percentile has grown any less populous, just that you’re not in it any more.

If everyone is in competition for higher placings, the Game of Life necessitates losers.

Well then, on what do we disagree? If as both you and Jesus say, the poor will always be among us, why is establishing who they shall be by bureaucratic fiat in any way superior to letting people decide for themselves who they shall be?