Dear DogCatcher – Are you libertarian or not?


If being libertarian is being reliably fiscally responsible and socially liberal then yes I am libertarian.

Yet being libertarian often seems to go much further than that: there are no shortage of libertarians that believe that government is inherently almost evil and the kids on the playground, if left unbothered by government, would get along just fine because they would find a way to work it all out … on their own.

There are lots of other kids on the playground, and only a very few care about libertarian perspectives — although the general appeal of libertarianism is HUGE.

Once the kids start to play then reality sets in as they realize that only one ball is needed and only a few bats are needed for the game. Those that were there first with the ball and the several bats find that they have leverage over the others kids on the field … and so they usually make some special rules or threaten to take their ball and go home if they can’t … and they usually do … we all learn the rules as kids … when we are purist libertarians in our unstructured playgrounds.

Have kids meet two times in a row for almost anything and they will form a government with a hierarchy and a social order. Libertarianism is more of a guiding light rather than guidance for actual life.

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I agree with lots of libertarian theory and thought. When given the opportunity I opt for minimal government interference in our lives and in our choices and freedoms. I believe in minimal taxation but also believe that taxes are an essential evil within our existence. Ultimately I try to be a pragmatist and so I also opt to support what are obviously non-libertarian positions as my primary position.

On a really, really, really good day a libertarian-minded candidate might get 5% of the vote in an election. That is a really, really, really good day. But blend in some pragmatism and many libertarians play quite nicely with the other kids on the playground, and the other kids will also play with them.

My brand of pragmatism also causes me to doubt the sincerity of some libertarians; libertarianism has its own internal spectrum of beliefs ranging from anarchism to corporatism (think Koch Brothers).

Claiming to be libertarian provides a great excuse for wanting government out of our lives so there is no one to play mediator as we shake down and empty the pockets of the public. Or playing as a libertarian is a great way to shift the burden of business costs onto the general public while minimizing our individual responsibility for taking care of our employees and providing them a decent wage and some meaningful benefits.

So if being libertarian is just being reliably fiscally responsible and socially liberal then yes I am libertarian.

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