“I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it.” – Thomas Jefferson (1791)
Fear and anger drove voters to the polls in Tuesday’s Massachusetts Senate race. Conservatives were angry about the patently socialist policies of Obama, Reid and Pelosi. They were afraid a Coakley win would validate that trend. Liberals were afraid that Brown’s election would undermine their “steamroller majority” in the Senate. They were angry that political opposition has slowed down their frenzied rush towards a full-blown Marxist state. But lest our sound-bite conditioned attention spans overlook the familiarity of this process; fear and anger drove voters to the polls in 2008, 2006, 2004, 2002, 2000; ad nauseum.
The fear/anger motive; perpetuated by the banking/corporate/media/political cabal; is quite handy at keeping us all distracted, overly emotional, and decidedly non-objective. In contrast to this abuse, the libertarian movement has consistently employed reason, sound principles; fact-based analysis and flawless logic to advocate the only truly American political ideology.
On those rare occasions when the media blackout, public ambivalence and obstructionist campaign laws have allowed the libertarian message to squeak through, our predictable responses to the possibility of actual libertarian governance are; you guessed it: fear and anger! Why? Not due to the beneficence of libertarian objectivity, but rather to the possibility that a libertarian vote will keep one or the other least worst scoundrels from being elected. Such a voting strategy is fomented by and only serves the continuation of the untenable status quo.
When we take the time to rationally examine the tenets of Libertarianism, most people agree with at least as much of its platform as with the major party they normally support. In fact, when it comes down to an objective appraisal of our own worthiness of liberty; our acceptance or rejection of Libertarianism is as good a measure as any. Simply put; Libertarians deserve liberty, the rest, not so much. The proof is manifest in the current level of economic ruin and political corruption that is both the result and the cause of us fighting over the scraps of state-perpetuated cannibalism.
As much as some will argue the existence of some ill-defined middle ground, it does not exist, either in principle or fact. The advocacy of this magical middle ground where we can sacrifice small parts of our liberty and still remain free defines the threshold between human dignity and serfdom.
Since no rational person would even consider such a choice, emotion is the wedge employed to separate us from our reason. Advocates of tyranny play on the entire emotional spectrum; from the most virtuous to the most loathsome. For some, envy and greed are ample motivations. For others, compassion and generosity are invoked. The results are the same in either case. Our emotional responses become the pretense of rational sanction and bit by bit our liberties are eroded. The fact that this process establishes the practical basis for absolute tyranny is ignored by most everyone, except in the nagging subconscious fear that helps perpetrate the system.
The only alternative to this emotional exploitation is the rational, sober consideration of the legitimate role of government, and the stalwart defense of those limits regardless of the circumstances. The Libertarian Party Platform eloquently defines the political philosophy rooted in the bedrock of the American Ideal.
The indispensable tenet of the American Covenant is that neither private citizens nor government officials may for any reason employ force to compel or restrict the rights, behavior, choices or beliefs of harmless people, period. Any deviation from this doctrine constitutes a wholesale repudiation of our inborn rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Whenever emotion enters the realm of politics, it is an indication that this tenet is being violated. Anger and fear are sure signs that either: someone is demanding that government provide something for which it is not intended at someone else’s expense; or voters are being emotionally manipulated to accept a violation of their rights by the agency whose sole purpose is to protect them. No rational person is going to be angry or fearful about the dutiful execution of what amounts to glorified guard duty.
The rather blasé but essential federal government responsibilities defined by sound morality, the ethics of free market economics and the enumerated powers of the Constitution are:
• Protection of a reliable national currency;
• Provide military protection for our national borders and citizens abroad;
• Prosecute acts of counterfeiting and piracy on the high seas;
• Provide federal courts for constitutional validation of federal and state legislation; and to arbitrate appeals filed against judgments from lower courts.
Everything else is rightly either the province of the states or of individual citizens. So, the degree to which emotions like fear and anger play into the electoral process is in direct proportion to the actual or proposed violation of these simple limits. Happily, the libertarian political agenda provides a remedy for emotion-charged elections; because the legitimate government mandate does not arouse much emotion.
Officials are either fulfilling their duty or they are not. If they are, incumbents are a shoe-in; if not, they can be easily defeated by newcomers. No panic here; just the simple process of electing the best guardians for our liberties.
So, when we tire of the frayed nerves, injustices and economic calamities that arise from government misconduct, we can simply stop voting for people who promulgate those conditions and calmly elect Libertarians or libertarian leaning politicians to office. The worst possible result will be the challenges of too much liberty, prosperity, peace and justice.