Politics & Policy

Freedom First

Libertarians are not part of the "Right."

Jonah Goldberg says that “libertarians…need to understand that operationally they are still members of the capital ‘R’ Right.”

Sorry, but we don’t accept that. Choosing between “left” and “right” today is like choosing between the Yankees and the Mets. Neither one is a carefully defined political philosophy that stands consistently on one side on every issue. I defy Mr. Goldberg to define conservatism in one sentence (or even one paragraph) that can tell you, for example, which of George Bush’s initiatives conservatives should support.

Both political movements are hypocritical. Conservatives sometimes claim to be for economic freedom, but the people they elect consistently vote for corporate welfare, foreign aid, government education, farm subsidies, government health care, and $2-trillion budgets. Liberals claim to be for personal freedom, but their leaders consistently vote to censor the Internet, put a V-chip in your TV set, continue the insane War on Drugs, and violate the Bill of Rights in every conceivable way.

You Can Be Part of a Consistent Movement

Libertarians stand for something identifiable and consistent — the superiority of your freedom over government. We don’t believe an agency of force can improve upon what individuals in pursuit of their own welfare can achieve. Thus we oppose all attempts to substitute the force of government for your ability to choose what is best for you.

If you really do believe in individual freedom, we invite you to join us, the Libertarians. You won’t have to make excuses for your votes — claiming that you’re “buying time,” or that you’re just being “realistic.” You don’t have to pretend to cheer a president who’s pushing for the opposite of what you want — who’s really just Bill Clinton in drag.

You can vote for what you really want and abstain from voting when no choice satisfies you.

Sure, we Libertarians aren’t winning many electoral victories yet. But neither are you — not if you believe in individual liberty, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and small government. It’s no victory to elect a man who wants to increase subsidies to the destructive education system, who wants to enlarge the disastrous government health-care system, who wants to add religious charities to the list of institutions hooked on government aid and control, and who claims that government (an agency of coercion and bureaucracy) can be “compassionate” so long as he is the one running it.

We Libertarians have too much self-respect to pretend to cheer when someone promotes the very things we oppose. You can have that kind of self-respect, too. All it takes is to ask yourself what it is you really want — and then make sure you don’t support anything that’s working against it.

If you consistently want individual liberty, you’re a libertarian — not a conservative.


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