Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What the heck IS a libertarian?

I've come to the conclusion lately that most people do not really understand what it means to be a libertarian.

When I mention that I voted for Bob Barr and not Obama or McCain, I get blank looks, a polite chuckle and a quick change of the subject.

In general, I've found that folks think libertarians are quirkily eccentric at best, and just plain looney at worst. So, in my meager way I will attempt to share my libertarian beliefs in a simple, user-friendly way.

I call it the "Is it OK?" chart:

Is it OK for our government to:

- protect citizens' rights* from being violated by foreign aggressors? YES
- create ginormous standing armies with which to police the world? NO
- protect citizens' rights from being violated by other citizens? YES
- take money from some individuals and give it to others? NO
- create and administer a justice system to handle violators of the law? YES
- spy on, prosecute and imprison citizens for choosing to put
mood or mind altering substances in their bodies? NO
- use citizens' money to fund military interventions into
other countries' sovereign affairs? NO
-legislate morality? NO
-conscript citizens into the military? NO
-enforce equality before the law as impartially as possible? YES

* These include the human rights of life, liberty, property, "the pursuit of happiness", and the rights listed in the Bill of Rights (free speech, religions, press, trial by jury, habeus corpus...etc.). They do NOT include the right to free health care, food and housing.

That's a pretty good summary of my beliefs on the proper role of government. No drug war. No 567 military bases worldwide. No draft. No income tax.

And if you are going to ask how we'd pay for government, my first answer will be that we won't have to pay near as much because it won't cost near as much. My second answer would probably require research and another post and have something to do with tarriffs.

Just for kicks - check out the Political Compass. It's a pretty quick survey on where you stand politically. And even though I would've checked "Huh?" as an answer a few times, I mostly thought the questions were good. Here is where I ended up:

My daughters would approve. I'm purple.

What are you?


Deborah said...

That test was great, and I'm sending it along to friends. Not a surprising result for me. Gandhi is my guy philosophically, but I think I appreciate government more than my results show.

Anonymous said...

great post. Let's not forget the cost of corporate welfare.

- sk8.

Sue said...

Deborah - yeah, that test was fun. Where did you end up?

sk8 - any kind of welfare falls under "taking money from some people (by force) and giving it to others".

HaynesBE said...

Definitely purple. My favorite color!!