October 20, 2017

Advice to My Daughter: GOP

Advice to My Daughter: GOP or Libertarian?

My daughter struggling with whether she is a Republican or a Libertarian. Here’s her post. Here’s my answer.

Dear Noel,

First of all, remember that your political principles are your own. I can influence you, but it is your vote. You are a citizen. It is your privilege and opportunity to exercise that wonderful, blood bought, hard kept right- and you should cast your vote in a way that you believe expresses your principles.

The problem is this: at age 18, you don’t really have many political principles. You have a Christian worldview, but your political philosophy is still developing. That’s normal, and you have written elsewhere that you know you need to work on this. In college, you have the chance to learn and try out various ways of thinking. I want to encourage you to look at the Right, the Left, the Center and the any other political options. If you don’t understand Marx, you won’t understand why we value our constitution. If you don’t understand Third Parties, you won’t see how the two party system works- and doesn’t work.

Libertarians have a lot to offer. I agree with them on many things. I have described myself as a Republican leaning towards libertarianism on many issues. I am for a much reduced war on drugs. I believe personal liberties are important. I am suspicious of state power in any form. I loathe anything done in the public sector that is not specified in the Constitution. I believe the pimary purpose of the Federal government is a common defense and the least workable amount of national government possible.

I am also impressed with Libertarians like John Stossel and Harvey Browne. I could easily be a libertarian. The reasons I am not? Well, let me list a few.

-Libertarians tend to be fringe types. I watched a Libertarian convention once on C-SPAN. It looked and behaved like the Star Trek Convention without the costumes. The personalities on display were a frightening group of eccentrics. I find this to be true in general. Other than a few impressive libertarians, this party seems to be about an intellectual fringe looking to assert individual freedom without serious engagement with the larger questions of the world in which we live.
-Libertarians are great in peacetime, but in a World Wide War on Terror that could end in a Nuclear holocaust, I simply do not trust them. We need a strong government to fight and win this war. Perhaps war is always on the side of bigger government, and that is a tragedy. But in this case, I could not sleep at night if Harvey Browne were President.
-Libertarians don’t put forward electable candidates. They put forward Gatewood Galbraith types and others who are basically about legalizing pot. I am for decriminalizing drugs, but do we have to run apparent drug users as our candidates?
-Libertarians are an adolescent political movement. Their approach to complex problems is, in my opinion, too simplistic. We need less government in a lot of ways. But that doesn’t mean that what government does is meaningless.
-Libertarians have yet to convince me they would really guarantee individual rights, and wouldn’t just neglect such issues as they pursued their personal freedoms. Would Libertarians have taken a strong stand for racial equality like the GOP did in the 50’s and 60’s? I tend to be skeptical.
-I know a lot of smart young Republicans who want to bring Libertarian insights into our party. As one of the two parties in our system, the GOP can win elections and influence culture. A Libertarian vote, at this point, is basically a vote for the Democrats. And I cannot agree with electing liberals who insure BIGGER government and MORE taxes at every turn, just because the GOP isn’t perfect.

If you were turned off by Kerr’s negative campaigning, find a way to express your unhappiness. But I am not sure embracing an entirely different political party should be based on being turned off by a negative ad. Fact is, Kerr is running against the candidate of the party that dominated Ky politics for 40+ years. What our state has become is the legacy of Chandler’s party. he has tried to run AGAINST his own party most of his life! The best reason to be a Republican in Ky is not perpetuating what the Dems have done with their one party system. I can be hacked at Kerr and still vote in good conscience against the Dems. OTOH, a vote for the Libertarian candidate would further increase the chances of more Democratic politics in Ky.

Also I wrote you about the No Child Left Behind plan. It may be bad policy because it is more of a Democrat/Liberal scheme than a GOP approach. As a Republican, I am for vouchers. Get the government out of education and let people choose.

That’s where I am. I hope you will learn all about the Libertarian Party, and make up your own mind. BTW- the BHT’s resident Libertarian, Jack Heald, is a dangerous anarchist. (JN) Beware if he buys you a drink.