Three Big Disagreements With Libertatians

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Bonnie, Feb 28, 2005.

  1. Bonnie

    Bonnie Senior Member

    Jun 30, 2004
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    Three Big Disagreements With Libertarians
    By Chuck Muth (02/28/05)

    Having recently addressed the campaign nuts-and-bolts of getting limited-government candidates elected as members of the Libertarian Party, let's now take a look at three big issues which I believe currently stop many more conservatives from joining the them: Abortion, foreign policy and immigration. These are NOT minor issues.

    Two things to recognize here:

    One, it's not necessary (or shouldn't be) for people to agree with 100% of a party's platform in order to be a member in good standing of that party. A party which requires 100% thought compliance isn't a party; it's a cult. Indeed, one should bear in mind Ronald Reagan's wisdom that a person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is an ally, not an enemy.

    Second, a principled limited-government voter's disagreement with a party platform position shouldn't be based on a "feeling," but on a reasoned argument derived from the principles of freedom and liberty as envisioned by our Founding Fathers and as enshrined in our Constitution. With that in mind, it is indeed possible to be a member in good standing of the Libertarian Party (or any party) if you can reasonably articulate and defend your disagreement with a particular plank in their platform.

    In fact, platforms DO change over the years as opinion and leaders change. Heck, it wasn't all that long ago that the GOP platform called for the elimination of the Department of Education. Whatever happened to that? But I digress.

    For many voters, abortion IS a litmus test issue. And for the record, there ARE pro-life Libertarians, as well as pro-choice Libertarians...just as there are pro-life and pro-choice Republicans. That is a fact of life, so to speak, regardless of what the LP platform may or may not say in that regard. But let's take a look at the actual wording of the LP platform position on this hot potato:

    "Recognizing that abortion is a very sensitive issue and that people, including libertarians, can hold good-faith views on both sides, we believe the government should be kept out of the question. We condemn state-funded and state-mandated abortions. It is particularly harsh to force someone who believes that abortion is murder to pay for another's abortion."

    First, the party recognizes and states unequivocally that people "can hold good-faith views" on BOTH sides of this issue, while remaining consistent in its philosophy that the least government is the best government. More importantly, the LP has taken a position on funding abortions with taxpayer dollars which is even stronger than that of many Republicans. The bottom
    line: If you are pro-life and the abortion issue is a big thing for you, you CAN find a comfortable home in the Libertarian Party. Ditto if you are pro-choice.

    The next big issue, which I think particularly harmed the LP in the last election, is foreign policy - especially since many people already harbor the perception that Libertarians are nothing but a bunch of dope-smoking hippie peaceniks. And although the LP's notion of "just leave them alone and they'll leave us alone" sounds nice in theory, it doesn't acknowledge life in the "real world." For the record, here's part of their platform position on Foreign Affairs.

    "The United States government should return to the historic libertarian tradition of avoiding entangling alliances, abstaining totally from foreign quarrels and imperialist adventures, and recognizing the right to unrestricted trade and travel."

    Under ideal circumstance in the United States of Utopia this would make sense. But a LOT of people are going to have trouble accepting and defending this position in the world as it actually exists. After all, the Constitution is not a suicide pact.

    Recognizing the likes of Mohammed Atta's "right to" in the United States is nothing short of an open invitation to conduct more extensive and deadly terrorist operations on our soil. This particular foreign policy position DOES reaffirm the perception that the LP is weak, if not naïve, on national defense.

    As to the historic tradition of avoiding entangling alliances - which President Washington was so adamant about in his Farewell Address - it should be noted that had that particular libertarian theory been put into practice by France and other nations during our Revolutionary War, Gen. Washington and the Founders might not have prevailed and we'd all be sipping tea at high noon to this day. Indeed, Ben Franklin and John Adams devoted considerable time and effort trying to persuade others to entangle themselves in our foreign quarrel with King George. Fortunately, some did.

    Absolutely, sticking our nose into every foreign dispute is unwise and should be avoided; however, there are foreign alliances which serve the best interests of our national security. The key is to differentiate objectively without becoming the "world's policeman." In any event, I think the LP needs to take off the rose-colored glasses on this issue if they expect more people to join their political ranks.

    Last, there's the red-hot issue of immigration. And it's rather disappointing to see the Libertarians acting like Bush Republicans in trying to "spin" this issue and justify their position on it. Here's the LP platform language: "We welcome all refugees to our country and condemn the efforts of U.S. officials to create a new 'Berlin Wall' which would keep them captive."

    Note how the LP uses the term "refugee" rather than immigrant. A refugee is someone who flees for protection from war and oppression. Now, there may be a lot of economic problems South of the Border, but I don't think millions of illegal aliens have crossed over the U.S. border to flee war and oppression in Mexico. This is a very disingenuous use of the word "refugee." Kinda like calling an amnesty proposal a "guest worker" program.

    The LP platform adds, "We call for the elimination of all restrictions on immigration, the abolition of the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the Border Patrol, and a declaration of full amnesty for all people who have entered the country illegally."

    The Libertarians can debate their open borders philosophy 'til the cows come home in an academic environment, but politically speaking, "a declaration of full amnesty for all people who have entered the country illegally" is DOA with the electorate. It also doesn't square with the views on immigration as articulated by a number of prominent Founding Fathers.

    Hearing what Ben Franklin had to say about German immigration, for example, would singe today's politically-correct ears. "Why should Pennsylvania, founded by the English, become a colony of aliens who will shortly be so numerous as to Germanize us instead of our Anglifying them," Franklin wrote, "and will never adopt our language or customs any more than they can acquire our complexion." Ouch.

    Franklin bemoaned the mass influx of foreign-speaking immigrants noting that "instead of learning our language, we must learn theirs, or live as in a foreign country." Sounds a lot like former Maryland Gov. William Donald Shaeffer, who only last year said of an Hispanic-speaking McDonald's cashier, "I don't want to adjust to another language. This is the United States. I think they ought to adjust to us."

    For his part, George Washington questioned the "advantage" of mass immigration, suggesting the number of immigrants be kept small enough for the new citizens to "get assimilated to our customs, measures and laws."

    And many generally believed that new immigrants should be limited to those who possessed particular and specialized talents, abilities and skills which were needed in the new nation.

    Then there was Thomas Jefferson, author of our Declaration of Independence, who warned of the dangers new immigrants posed to our republic: "They will bring with them the principles of the governments they leave, imbibed in their early youth; or, if able to throw them off, it will be in exchange for an unbounded licentiousness, passing, as is usual, from one extreme to another," Jefferson wrote. "They will infuse into (American society) their spirit, warp and bias its direction, and render it a heterogeneous, incoherent, distracted mass." Yikes.

    Or as Alexander Hamilton put it: "The safety of a republic depends essentially on the energy of a common national sentiment; on a uniformity of principles and habits; on the exemption of the citizens from foreign bias and prejudice; and on the love of country, which will almost invariably be found to be closely connected with birth, education, and family. The opinion advanced in [Jefferson's] Notes on Virginia is undoubtedly correct, that foreigners will generally be apt to bring with them attachments to the persons they have left behind."

    Kinda like Californians moving to Nevada.

    In their defense, the Libertarians have at least taken a VERY hard line on immigrants and public assistance: "The right to immigrate does not imply a right to welfare -- or any other government service," their platform reads.
    If only the White House and the Republican Party were so adamant on that position.

    In conclusion, I think individuals can take contrary constitutionally defensible positions to the official platform positions of the Libertarian Party and still be good Libertarians; however, I suggest that the Libertarian positions on these three BIG issues discourage a lot of disgruntled limited-government voters, particularly Republicans, from making the leap to their party. The Libertarians would be well advised to go back to the drawing board and come up with some new language on them.
  2. Annie

    Annie Diamond Member

    Nov 22, 2003
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    Having a strong libertarian bent myself, the problem with the party is the whackos it has put forward. There must be a recognition of current events, ala 'right to free movement' sort of addressed by the article. Immigration should be about enforcing the laws and using common sense at borders.

    Get rid of departments that have nothing to do with defense and interstate stuff. Check. DOEd get rid of. Abortion should be state's decision, ditto gay marriage. Drugs, at least grass, legalize and tax, lower others.
  3. dunkopoulos

    dunkopoulos Rookie

    Jan 18, 2005
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    Kathianne, if you believe that a person has a right to smoke pot and that it is none of the government's business, then why are you in favor of additional government extortion of those same people ("legalize and tax")?

    That hardly seems typical of someone with a "strong libertarian bent"!
  4. no1tovote4

    no1tovote4 VIP Member

    Apr 13, 2004
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    As a Conservative Libertarian I actually agree with most of that article.

    I voted Bush this particular election in order to keep a far worse mistake from the office. In short, and the signature of one of the members of this forum, I voted to go back to the day that Kerry was a nuisance.

    I think, even as a Libertarian, that open borders and immigration is insane as it stands in the world today. However, like Badnarick, I think we should put the Military at the borders, particularly the Southern one, in order to keep out undesirable immigration. I also think that Bush's "Guest Worker" plan is an insult to every person who has waited and done everything right in order to legally immigrate to the country and an incentive for people to illegally enter.

    I am a Pro-Life Libertarian.

    I think, and on this I disagreed with Badnarick, that since we started a conflict we must finish it. We must win, there can be no other option. Simply ordering the kids home would have been disastrous and a faux pas of major proportions. Although I still believe that if you don't have enough evidence for the Senate to declare war you should not start one, I think dealing with the reality was more important than the matter of Principal.

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