The Back Seat Libertarian
Full disclosure. When I read this title on Mr. Lung’s post last week, “Celebrate! It’s Mr. Lung’s Liberty Inspired Coming Out Party!” I wasn’t all that surprised. See, Jeff and I met in choir in college and then got to know each other better while doing theatre. The main difference between us was that Jeff is actually good at the singing, dancing and acting so when I read that headline, well, you can see where I’m going with this.
Then I read that the coming out was actually as a Libertarian and Ron Paul supporter. Jeff, I can support you liking dudes but supporting Ron Paul? I think it’s time for an intervention.
Here’s the problem. Ron Paul isn’t a libertarian. Ron Paul has a lot of libertarian positions but it’s like being vegetarian. Once you eat a piece of meat, you can’t really claim to be a vegetarian anymore. Similarly, once you say that the government should be able to regulate one area (in Paul’s case, abortion), you can’t really claim to be a libertarian anymore.
Honestly, I like Dr. Paul. I think that a lot of what he says makes sense and that if the Republican party believed the same way as him, they would regain much of their dynamism. That being said, there’s a lot of what he says that makes no sense at all. The elimination of fiat money. Abolishing the Fed. Getting rid of most the Executive branch departments. Yes, the US bureaucracy is often unwieldy but it’s downright streamlined compared to most of our OECD friends. Like it or not, that bureaucracy is what creates highways, ensures that people are treated equally and keeps us safe from those who want to do us harm.
More than that, we live in an era of globalism that has generally profited everyone. Paul would have us close up our borders but it’s foreign trade that allows us all to have televisions in our home and computers at work for a fraction of what they would otherwise cost. Closing up shop, leaving the United Nations and forsaking NATO would leave us vulnerable and insular, like the 19th century Japanese shogunate.
Let me turn back towards my friend, Mr. Lung, now. Jeff, I applaud you for your willingness to come out. I respect your courage at opening yourself up to the same kind of ridicule Dr. Paul has both deservedly and undeservedly endured. But if anyone should understand that the world doesn’t truly follow the black and white dictates of libertarianism, conservatism, liberalism or any other -ism, it’s a baseball fan like yourself. There are rules but the rules have to be interpreted and interpretation leads to shades of gray. One man’s balk is another man’s strikeout.
Enjoy being a libertarian. You’ll find yourself back here with the agnostics soon enough.