First, here’s the link to the show I was on again. It’s a local talk radio show for the greater Rochester area. Talking Back with Shannon Joy, September 30th. (Link no longer available, sorry!)
I think I got down the Life, Liberty and Property bits of Libertarianism during the broadcast, which I wanted to do last time. There were a few things that I would have liked to explain a little more on the show, but didn’t get the chance. Here it is.
The Republican Party
The libertarian movement has a love-hate relationship with the Republican Party. Sure they have the rhetoric, but do they have the small government policy? Not often enough. That’s why many of us convert to the big “L” Party or awkwardly straddle the line between the two. I detailed my thoughts about the relationship between libertarians and Republicans in an earlier post.
TLDR: Duverger’s Law makes it mighty hard for a third party to function, so sometimes we’ll have to work with the Republicans until we reform the voting system. Increasing ballot access and switching to an instant run-off vote should be top priorities.
At one point during the broadcast, I accused Rand Paul of falling back on conservatism. D’oh. That was a gaffe. Meant big government, conservative statism. He did say that weird thing about inter-species marriage coming after gay marriage but I really wanted to emphasize abuse of executive authority. Libertarians have some worries about the guy and they’re not all unfounded. He’s no Ron Paul. Still, hope I didn’t lose folks with that.
The official position of the Libertarian Party is pro-choice. That’s just how it is. I should have made that clear during the show instead of waffling like a slimy politician. However, as I noted, it is not inconsistent with libertarian philosophy to be pro-life. Again, it all rests on when you believe rights begin, whether its at birth, conception, or sometime in-between. The Reason video I was talking about is here. It’s about fifty minutes, but certainly worth a watch if you want a good debate among libertarians on this very divisive issue.
We’d all like to be finished with this business wouldn’t we? Let’s just get out of the marriage game all together!As long as marriage is between consenting adults and someone is willing to marry them, what business does the government have getting involved?
Unfortunately, that’s very difficult. The benefits of marriage are so intertwined with our system of common law, that it would be extremely difficult to separate the government from marriage entirely. It would be desirable, but difficult to convince people to give up the tax benefits. The next best solution is for the government to recognize the marriages of any consenting adults willing to tie the knot.
Are you a real Libertarian?
As the Genesee County Libertarian Party Chair Phil Ricci says: ‘There are two types of Libertarian: Those who don’t know they’re libertarian and those who think others aren’t libertarian enough.’ or something like that. I really wish I had said that on the show.
There’s some push, even within our own local chapter, to purify the party. No one can be libertarian enough. It makes sense: The entire purpose of the Libertarian Party is to stand on consistent principle in contrast to the major two parties who sell out to the voters and special interests at every opportunity.
However, we can’t push people away. If people like Glen Beck want to be libertarian, so be it. We’ll call him out when he inevitably fails to live up to the label and advocates for statist policies. But that’s no reason to exclude him from the club. If we continue to push people out, the libertarian movement, and especially the Libertarian Party, will stagnate and die. We can let people in without allowing them to co-opt the movement. I came in to the libertarian party from a conservative perspective, but it’s not impossible that I’ll eventually be thrown out of it myself for not being pure enough.
Unfortunately, Shannon Joy didn’t know this context, and pounced on a discussion we had during the break. Of course, she is “allowed” to be libertarian and I hope that that show did not drive anyone away from the Libertarian Party and to the Conservative Party. I hope to get another chance to flesh this out.
Ah oops, turns out it isn’t the third Monday anymore. This month’s liberty forum is October 28th. But still they’re a lot of fun. Good discussions on a number of issues, plus beer! Hooray Beer!
Free-Market Anarchists (Voluntarism)
Ah, here’s an interesting faction of the LP. Lot’s of great intelligent people that I’m friends with are Voluntarists. Not my cup of tea, but it’s interesting to take libertarianism to its logical end. I tried to give a fair argument for Voluntarism in a minute or less. For a really solid explanation on how law and order functions without government, check out this video series.
Follow up for further education:
After the show, I spoke to Shannon about good books on Libertarian government philosophy. Fredrick Bastiat’s The Law is a great place to start. He outlines a minimalist vision of government where the state only exists insofar as it socializes the protection of life, liberty, and property from other individuals but not much else. Here’s a free .pdf of it.