There has been a gratifying influx of mail from Radley Balko readers in response to yesterday’s post, which discussed whether the average citizen is qualified to pass judgment on specific numbers associated with the economy. My point was that without extensive research and reasoning, few of us are qualified to comment intelligently on certain complex issues.
I say “gratifying” not because those readers agree with me (they don’t), but rather because they disagree for specific reasons and bring up a variety of points that would be well worth debating. I find this a refreshing change from the position of many conservative members of the GOP (General Opposition Party), whose entire argument often boils down to circular reasoning: “Obama is wrong because his policies are bad because Obama is wrong.”
While it seems unlikely that I will ever embrace the principles of Libertarianism, for a variety of reasons, I’m beginning to think that this toddler of a political party just might grow up to be the best hope for the country—not because Libertarians are “right” but rather because they may be capable of building a viable third party in America.
During the past six decades or so, politics in America has devolved to such an extent into a destructive, two-party war of words that it’s damn near impossible to get anything done any more. The government in Washington—that incredible, 230-year-old experiment—grinds away, eating up trillions of dollars and the lives of dedicated men and women. Due to obstructionism and partisan politics, it too often accomplishes very little. The waste of time and human resources is incalculable. The government is like a good furnace, working away in a house with all the doors and windows open.
Because of its two-party system, America has been increasingly been caught in the vice of either-or fallacies: government or the market, states’ rights or federalism, capitalism or socialism. Staking out a position for only one of each of these pairs is like deciding which type of person should inhabit the planet—men or women. If either side wins, once and for all, the result will never be fruitful.
Enter the Libertarian Party—which, if I understand correctly, places much greater emphasis than either of the other two parties on individual rights. From that perspective, it concerns itself with matters such as privacy, individual sovereignty, and minimal interference of government in the lives of its citizens. It seems to be generally opposed to legislating morality in matters like abortion and gay marriage. It appears to reject a relationship between government and its citizens that is either nurturing or controlling, paternal or maternal. My impression is that Libertarianism demands an adult-adult, businesslike relationship between what government is necessary and autonomous, responsible citizens.
Libertarians have staked out a territory that is neither big government nor big business. It’s not about who has the right to control the populace but whether anyone does—other than individuals themselves. Inserting this new perspective into the public discourse has the potential to completely change—and enrich—the tired, repetitive old rhetoric of “us-vs.-them.”
There are other territories, as yet uninhabited, on the political landscape. Perhaps it’s time for someone—Al Gore, for example—to found a Green Party in America, which could help focus attention on our nation’s relationship with Planet Earth. Personally, I’d be likely to vote often in favor of a party (perhaps it could be called the “Darwinian Party”) dedicated to promoting reason and scientific literacy.
Breaking out of the old two-party paradigm has the potential to free the entire nation to take a fresh look at our increasingly new world. Democrats and Republicans alike, we really must stop just repeating ourselves. So Libertarians, I may not agree with you about many things, but in all sincerity, I wish you well!