Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Freedom Fighters as Democrats? Not so fast.

It is time to debunk the ridiculous idea that libertarians should join forces with liberals. Libertarians, for the most part, are upset with the Republican party. This is no secret. Despite holding the presidency and both branches of congress federal spending has gone wild. Spending for war, education, and health care has increased at an LBJ pace. Bureaucracy has become the solution and not the problem. The bureaucratic failure of the FBI, CIA, and other agencies caused our inability to foresee or stop 9/11. Fix for the problem: create another huge bureaucracy to combine the efforts of the other failed bureaucracies. Problem: Americans complain about the high cost of prescription pills. Republican solution: create a convoluted law that increases the already bloated federal healthcare system to handout pills free. There are several other examples of how Republicans have betrayed the Ronald Reagan legacy of freedom but the real question is how to fix the problem. We can either work to bring the Republican party back to its roots or try and change the world view of every Democrat. I vote to stick with the Republicans.

Two issues cited by Brink Lindsay on why Libertarians should defect are gay marriage and abortion. While important, these issues do not do not drive libertarians to the polls, trump economic issues, or constitute governmental powers which unnecessarily reach into our lives. Gay marriage is not, and has never been illegal. The government in no way says who can, and cannot get married; they only say that a gay couple cannot receive a marriage license. The first time any homosexual is arrested for being a party to, attending, or planning a gay marriage then libertarians everywhere should fight it tooth-and-nail. Until that time the issue is not very important in the freedom agenda. Remember marriage is simply a document that contractually obligates a man and a woman to stay together for the purpose of procreation. There is no reason for gay couples to enter into such a contractual agreement which puts the state well within its ability to deny issuance of a marriage license.

Libertarians also don’t universally support Abortion rights either and when they do it is not a driving issue. Their belief depends on when each individual believes life begins. If you believe that abortion is simply removing a bunch of cells from a woman then restricting the procedure would be beyond the scope of the government. Conversely, if you believe that life begins at conception then it is perfectly reasonable to say that the government should be able to restrict the taking of life. If you don’t think that government should have the ability to create a simple framework for societal behavior (ban murder, rape, theft) then you are an anarchist and not a Libertarian.

While the connection between Libertarians and Democrats is fuzzy the economic divide is deep. Free trade, low taxes, and economic freedom in general are the antithesis of Democratic politics. The power base of the Democratic party is first-and-foremost Unions. Despite the decline of Union power in recent history they still provide plenty of ground troops and money for Democratic campaigns. Unions vehemently oppose free trade, fight against the ability of people to freely be employed, and acquire increased pay and benefits for their members through pressure rather than worker efficiency. There is no way that the Democrats can completely split from the Union agenda.

Democrats such as Barney Frank say that they will support free trade, and deregulation in exchange for increased benefits for workers. This is nonsense. When Barney Frank says free trade he really means fair trade. When he says deregulation he doesn’t mean taking away government control, he means exchanging one onerous regulation with another onerous regulation with a different title. Libertarians will not get what they want while he will be expanding “benefits” beyond what is compatible with the freedom agenda. Congressman Frank’s vision of America is similar to Europe where there is government provided health care, companies cannot freely hire and fire employees, and regulation chokes off foreign competition from certain industries.

Simply citing common ground in opposition to farm subsidies is not enough for the seismic shift that is being bantered about. Democrats have not opposed the Republican spending binge (their only opposition is that they can’t spend it how they want not that is spent) while they have fought against the good things that Republicans have done. Democrats want to repeal the tax cuts, have fought against Social Security privatization, oppose health savings accounts, and killed CAFTA. Republicans simply lost their bearing as opposed to Democrats which are going in the opposite direction.

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