Monday, October 02, 2006

Libertarian Democrats

I liked Kos' essay on " The Case for the Libertarian Democrat" over at Cato. The responses are interesting as well. To me, there are major components of the libertarian philosophy: personal freedom and economic freedom. I understand that many libertarians would not separate the two but I do.

Personal freedom is freedom of speech, civil liberties and the general notion that government should not interfer in my life. Bush's elmination of habeas corpus rights an anathema to personal freedom. If one person can lock you up indefinately without any judicial oversight, the rest of your rights are meaningless. Free speech won't do you a lot of good in Gitmo. Neither will the libertarian's cherished right to bear arms.

Gun control is area where many of the comments to Kos' essay say the Democrats are restricting personal freedom. I would argue that both Republicans and Democrats are for weapons limitations. Neither will let private citizens own nuclear weapons or F16s. Its matter of where the limits are set. Anyone who falls in the very tiny minority who thinks they should be own F16, shouldn't vote for candidates for either party. I'd argue assult weapons fall on the same side of the line as nukes and F16s. I understand libertarians don't agree but I have little respect for the notion that an assult weapon is going to allow an citizen to defend themselves from a tyrannical government with nuclear weapons and F16s.

There's fair case that no Democratic candidates belives in the extensive notion of economic freedom (from taxes, regulation, etc) that the true libertarian ideal espoues. I think it is also fair says the Republicans don't either and when they say do, they are lying. Just looking at the amount the pork, like the Medicare drug bill, that the Republicans have handed out special interests shows they don't beleive in markets. I believe in the markets when they work. They work for a lot of things. However, they have notiable short comings in some areas like health care. Markets by themselves also don't handle a lot of safety issues well.

Republican approach to tax cuts is bogus. The Bush tax cuts are just defering taxes since there were no spending cuts. Republicans really don't take less of your money than Democratics, they have just shifted to the future the time when your money will be taken.

At the end of day, personal freedom is alot more important to me than tax rates. Low taxes don't do you any good when the government is holding you indefinately without charge. I would hope libertarians will recognize the huge threat the Bush's adminstrations eviceration of the Constitution is and realize they can no longer trust the Republican party.

1 comment:

HARM said...

Agree with your reasoning on the Republican attack on the Constitution and total lack of fiscal restraint. If destroying our personal liberty and mortgaging our grandkid's future are "Conservative" values, I'd rather be a socialist.

However, I take issue with "I'd argue assault weapons fall on the same side of the line as nukes and F16s". Anyone who owns guns (and I'll wager based on your statement that this does NOT include you) knows how absurd it is to call one rifle with 10-round magazine and no pistol grip a "hunting/home defense rifle", while an identical rifle with a 30-round clip and pistol grip is an "evil assault weapon". The distinction itself is a P.C. fiction dreamed up by some Liberal pol trying to win votes from the hysterical anti-gun Berkely crowd.

Do I think it's ok for most people to own a .50 caliber chain gun? Of course not. But does adding a 30-round banana clip or pistol grip to my 7.62mm hunting rifle turn it into a child-murdering "assualt weapon". Please. The only thing it does is a) reduces the number of magazines I need to carry with me, and b) improves accuracy, both of which are good things.

The media and liberal pols just love to use Hollywood images of gun-toting bad guys to whip up irrational public fear of "assualt" weapons. Easy way to sell politicians and newspapers I guess. Protect us from the evil guns, please!