Dear Libertarian Party: It’s Not You, It’s Me
Needing a break from the whole healthcare drama, of which I am geographically constrained from really doing as much as I’d like, I took a stroll down my Twitter feed and came across an article entitled “Who I’m Not Voting For” by CATO Institute blogger David Boaz. Now, I’m not going to rip into Mr. Boaz one bit for simply stating his principles. He’s got them and he’s perfectly entitled to them. It’s simply that they remind me how my relationship with the Libertarian party is like that of a girl I really like who repeatedly makes it clear that I’m just not good enough for her.
I’ll bypass most of the article and get down to the list of disqualifiers for Mr. Boaz’s support.
The war in Iraq: I’ve said it before that we can debate forever whether we should have gone into Iraq. A little bit of me would have enojyed the schadenfreude of the UN imploding in upon itself in a death spiral of resolution after resolution that nobody was willing to enforce. But George W. Bush, God bless him, decided enough was enough and took the UN up on its word. Arguably, in hindsight, this may have been a mistake. But if we’re going to go by that, we’re have to factor in the results as well, and pretty much any objective estimate of them is that far more good than bad came out of it. I don’t know if Mr. Boaz simply refers to the decision to go to war or the resolve to stay in it once started. I hope it’s the former; the idea of cutting and running in the middle of other peoples trying to realize their own liberties is too depressing to contemplate.
The war in Afghanistan: Now we start to have a more serious problem. Let’s not forget, our presence in Afghanistan was triggered by 9/11. It may be annoying that over eight years later we still haven’t finished the job but the idea that Al Qaeda needed to be left alone because they’re stationed overseas is really a stance we cannot afford to take right now.
(A hypothetical) war with Iran: My view is, whether we go to war with Iran, is entirely up to Iran. Even now it’s not too late for them to turn back from the path they’re on, even as I know that the chances that they would do so are vanishingly slim. What I can’t countenance, however, is effectively giving Iran the green light to build their own nukes and take out our allies in Israel, and on their way back strangle the fledgling efforts at democracy next door in Iraq. Do I want a war with Iran? No. But no war with them, no matter what? That’s a greater leap than I can take.
The war on drugs: This is an issue on which I remember once having passions, but no longer do. Frankly calling this a “war” strikes me as a veiled insult to the military. I don’t disagree that the “war” has been very poorly fought indeed and frequently counterproductive. But to just give up? I don’t know I can support that anymore. Once I believed in the vision that all we had to do was drop all those laws and let people take whatever they want and all the violence we see waged over such things will just vanish in a cloud of rainbows and unicorns. As you can probably tell from my tone just now I have to think it’s just not as simple as that. I’m not saying I have the answer. I’m just saying I don’t like the ones being offered right now.
The Defense of Marriage Amendment: I’m not going to make the leap that the Libertarian Party has gone all pro-gay marriage, because I think Mr. Boaz makes it clear that the problem is with the idea of overriding of state laws than the actual underlying issue. But on the other hand, look at how all the state laws have come into being, via judicial fiat, and consistently against the express will of the voters. This is what libertarianism supports? Furthermore, this is a perfectly Constitutional process supporters of the amendment wish to go through. Pretty much any new amendment will override some state law, otherwise why would anyone bother? Is Mr. Boaz against any further amendments to the Constitution?
“the president’s power to snatch American citizens off the street and hold them without access to a lawyer or a judge”: AKA Hollywood’s gross mischaracterization of the Patriot Act, I suppose. I suppose that the observation that it doesn’t actually work that way in the real world doesn’t hold any water with a good Libertarian? It’s actually one of the few pleasures I’ve gotten from this administration is seeing the would-be champion of civil liberty that was our new President swallow the excrement sandwich that was the realization that, far from being the modern day version of the SS, the Patriot Act might actually be a necessary and furthermore sanely-used tool for preventing future terrorist attacks.
New restrictions on immigration: Or, as the rest of us think of them, actually attempting to enforce the existing ones. I don’t have much else to say, even two years later I’m still too worn out by that debate.
So that’s the list, and I guess I have Mr. Boaz to thank for helping me realize that I am simply not good enough for him and his party. It’s a definite heartbreak, but it’s for the best that we can find this out now than continue to dwell under the illusion that it was ever meant to be.
I’d hold out the hope that we can still be friends, but even on that score I can’t be sure. I guess I have to leave that up to you.
Thanks for the memories, Libertarian Party. It was fun while it lasted. Hope you find the right person yourself someday.