Well, I don’t officially claim to be a Libertarian. Good thing too, since I don’t agree with them sometimes. What I think best sums me up is either “classical Liberal with Libertarian tendencies” or “Democrat with Libertarian tendencies.”
I don’t know many absolute Libertarians. Almost everyone seems to break with it somewhere. But then, I don’t tend
to hang out with political absolutists - too many of them turn out to be dumb as rocks.
He believes in total personal freedom, and that government’s role should be limited to protecting the citizens from harm, in other words, military and police. Period.
And on that much, I pretty much agree. I’m not opposed to all social safety nets on principle, but we have way, way too many social programs right now. But truthfully, the social programs are a drop in the bucket compared to the amazing amount of wasted money on the military. As a small government liker, I find our current standing army far too big. Anything that consumes a full third of the government’s budget is just asking to be axed.
And then there’s moronic social “security” - which guarantees security only for politicians coming up for re-election. Hell, the congress has their own retirement plan they voted themselves at taxpayer expense, they don’t even have enough faith in social security to use it themselves. They know it’s going down the tubes eventually. I’m pretty sure I won’t be collecting anything I put into it. Lucky for me, I’m a rich yuppie scum with an IRA already going at age 25. Lots of poor people are not going to be so lucky when the government tells them “Ha-ha! We took 10% of your paycheck for your whole frikkin’ life and we’re not going to give you back a cent!” I’m not opposed to retirement planning (quite the opposite), but this is madness…
The military and social security make up at least half of the goverment’s operating budget. One can be dismantled entirely and the other can be reduced to a shadow of its former self.
What this translates into is a belief that it should be legal to drive drunk or otherwise intoxicated (after all, you haven’t hurt anyone YET. When you do, then you can go to jail. But in the meanwhile, it’s your business.)
I’m kinda torn on this issue. While I do believe that driving REALLY drunk is obviously dangerous, I think our current laws are both unfair in their standard of judging when driving drunk is dangerous and overkill on their penalties.
But, regardless, I don’t believe being a Libertarian (-tendencied Democrat) means we must shut our brains off. There are some things that are obviously dangerous. I would not advocate a law that allowed someone to hold a loaded gun to other people’s heads just so long as they were “very careful” not to pull the trigger. Just too obvious that there’s going to be an accident there, from which there is no way to recover. (I am non-religious and firmly believe that dead is forever.)
My standard for making things illegal might be summarized as “direct harm or obvious endangerment.” Direct harm is easy - can you see scratches, bruises, blood, obviously broken bones etc? But “obvious endangerment” is a lot slipperier. I think most reasonable people would agree that holding a loaded gun to someone’s head qualifies as “obvious endangerment.” Whether drunk driving does or not… well, that might be a matter of debate depending on the level of drunkenness, personal alcohol tolerance, speed and environment driven in, etc…
Also, I should note that this “obvious harm” thing applies only to obvious harm to other people. Suicide does obvious harm to one’s self, but I am very adamantly opposed to the government being allowed to regulate when I live and die. It’s my life. My body does NOT belong to the state. And that goes for women and abortion, too - that’s their body, get your fucking laws off it. (Well, it’s not quite THAT simple, but close enough.) And drugs, too. You’re not hurting anyone else by snorting coke. You’re a fucking moron if you do it, but you’re not endangering anyone else but sitting at home doing lines.
Incidentally, I should note that by my way of thinking, polluting the environment in non-trival ways is hurting EVERYONE, and is therefore a rather high crime.
Now, that all sounds pretty clear-cut, but in truth a lot of things aren’t necessarily. Like the drunk driving example. I attempt to never pretend that I have all the easy answers to the hard questions that often arise when trying to judge what is and is not “obviously dangerous.” But in general I try and come down on the side of personal liberty if at all possible. Which brings us rather nicely to…
and a lack of gun control so complete that it would be legal for private citizens to have nuclear weapons and biological weapons. It would only be a crime if they actually used them.
I do not personally advocate people being allowed to own what I term “weapons of mass destruction.” A strict definition is something along the lines of NBC (nuclear, biological, chemical), but anything that can kill more than, say, 5 people at once and is very difficult or impossible to trace back to the source is too dangerous. And I don’t think either private citizens, or corporations, OR the government should be allowed to posess it.
Speaking of guns specifically, I’m against registration but very much for mandatory safety training. I don’t mind licensing so long as it’s “shall-issue” - i.e., if the licensing authority wants to deny someone a gun, they have to take the person to court and prove in court beyond a reasonable doubt why this person should be denied their second amendment rights. “Well, he looked funny” or “Guns are just too dangerous for normal people” are not valid excuses for denying a constitutionally protected right.
All that said, I’m not opposed to private citizens
owning machine guns, tanks, fighter jets, and many other things traditionally considered “military only.” You can read about my views on this in the “How much gun control do you really want” thread, if you care.
he also believes, of course, that there should be absolutely no regulations of any kind on any business. None. Zip. He believes (and I believe he is deeply deluded in this) that market forces will control any badly behaved corporations.
Never have understood why so many Libertarians think monopolies are cool. Hey, people - they’re called market failures for a reason! The free market is not acting like it should! It’s failing! This is NOT HOW THE FREE MARKET IS SUPPOSED TO WORK!
Capitalism is predicated on all customers having perfect knowledge of all companies and products so they can make intelligent (or at least optimal in terms of cost) decisions. Given how duplicitious companies can be (and often are), and the general lazyness of people in general, we can throw both of these predicates right out the window.
And while I don’t like giving government the power to interfere with business, but when it comes to monopolies and other market failures, who else is going to do it? The citizens? Don’t delude yourself - give them a free six-pack a week and free cable TV, and 99% of people will gladly walk right into a jail cell and live there.
This isn’t a happy thing, nor is it the way the world should work. As a matter of fact, it’s infuriating as fuck. People are weak and easily led. But it’s true never the less. The great unwashed masses are not going to lead us to utopia. They’ll happily FOLLOW someone there. But they will not lead us there.
So, Doper Libertarians… do you agree with my dad? If you don’t agree, yet identify as Libertarian…what sort of differences would you have with him, and what would be your ideological explanation for it?
Them’s my stories, and I’m sticking to 'em. Remember I do not pretend to speak for Libertarians in general, as I can’t truly claim to be one. These are my ideas only. And you can’t have them. Nyeah.
Incidentally, Stoid, way cool topic. I wish I had a chance to post earlier. A really insightful observation about people who take the mantle of Libertarian.
But thus far, it doesn’t appear to be much of a “Great Debate.” Hell, doesn’t appear to be a debate period. ;]