Thursday, March 09, 2006

Should Libertarians Vote Democrat:

That's the question Karen poses. My answer is no (I'm not telling you to vote Republican either). I'll give my brief reasons in a follow up post. Now, I'll just let you read her question and see if any commenters react. Tonight, I'll post this over at Positive Liberty and see how they react. Then I'll give a brief response.

Dear Jon:

I don't often see you write on current political stuff so much - or current Constitutional legal questions (like the NSA spying and 4th amendment issues) But I’ve got sort of a side-line question for you (and not in a particular hurry for an answer – As IF I do not realize how busy you are!) But, since you are a self-described “Libertarian” I am curious about the governing philosophy and what it would mean to have such a theory running our government. If one imagined a true multi-party system where independents or libertarians could become a plausible and challenging alternate to the two-party system of Dems and Reps currently in our political system – what and how would libertarianism function?

And not intended to be insulting – but most self-described libertarians and independents (not you) I’ve come across don’t seem to be really be so “independent” or truly as libertarian as they say It seems to me many other libertarians are more like closet GOPers based on a dislike and distrust of any Government and paying Taxes to support it. And many independents are not really so independent either (but wish to *appear so* for what ever reasons.)

I tend to identify with the DEMs political philosophy more than libertarianism on the basis of both seeing the Government as necessary to perform the type of Top-Down governance required in a country as large and diverse as the U.S. - and taxes as the necessary evil to pay for those requirements. There is a legitimate purpose for government, and a function it should perform for the benefit of those governed. And it’s important to say that it must (MUST) function both Effectively and Competently to address the nationwide issues we face in a Top-Down governing fashion.

I see libertarianism as more suited or suitable for a bottom-up type governance – but not for the kind of intensive Top-down management needed to address both short term and long term issues facing our nation. And secondly, there really is not (as of yet) any real hope for a third party or multi-party system to challenge the dominance of the GOP. Without gaining Dem seats in the Congress and at the state and local levels, there is no way to make the political changes necessary to get back to proper oversight and checks-and-balances appallingly missing from this one-party dominance over these branches of government.

And what do I mean by Top-Down and Bottom-Up governance? Well, if you recall going that set of posts over at DBV – one in particular - explaining this issue from “Collapse” by Jared Diamond – if you haven’t yet read that book.

Top down Governance -

But what I am really concerned about is both the political threats of Collapse to our Constitutional system of government as demonstrated by the reactions to the NSA spying and the Republican Congress’ failure to either check Executive political abuses or provide required oversight to it’s own party Executive. But, equally and as importantly, is the threat of Collapse to our environmental and geo-political world from these ill-conceived and poorly executed GOP policies and failed ventures and unwillingness to countenance facts or science on serious issues affecting our world and country.

As kind of a multi-pronged question: Is libertarianism, in your opinion, suited to be a good governing philosophy for this modern U.S. and could it provide the much needed and coordinated and effective Top-Down governance? And even if it is - we are currently in a two-party only dominated system. Alternate parties have demonstrated no chance to succeed - But what would or should a libertarian or independent DO when they do not identify with the GOP or the DEMs?

Should they support the best alternate? (That lesser of two evils?)

Abstain? But the problem with abstention is that it does not contribute to any good governance choices being made.

Stick to principles and Vote for libertarian or independent candidates (even those with no hope of succeeding)? This may actually have helped the GOP to win in these last election cycles by siphoning off much needed support to challenge the GOP candidates.

Cheers again, Karen McLauchlan


Karen McL said...

Hmmmm...will be Looking for the follow-up to this *NO* answer.

Be most curious to hear the rationale for what our government NEEDs at this point in time - in conjunction with what will Work for an new direction. (Unless ya thing things are just going along Jim-Dandy that is. *wink*)


Perry Willis said...

The problem with top-down governance is that the state is so massively incompetent. It fails to accomplish its claimed purposes far more often than it succeeds, and creates far more problems than it solves. This is a problem for all levels of government, but it is magnified at the federal level. Mistakes at that level hurt everyone. Mistakes at the state or local level tend to confine the damage.

The voluntary sector simply works better than the coecive government sector.

When you vote for Democrats and Republicans you are essentially endorsing the idea that you want more government-caused harm. When you vote for a third party candidate you are expending your time and money in a rigged game that can never be won. And the small vote totals third parties receive because of the rigged system tend to marginalize the ideas those parties represent, sending a message that those ideas are not worth considering.

I no longer believe there is a partisan political solution to the problem of government-caused harm. I have come to believe that social pressure aimed directly at the heart of the problem, Congress, is the correct approach to reducing government-caused harm. That's why all of my efforts are now devoted to

Karen McL said...

The point of "Collapse" and the necessity of a Competent Top-Down governance is that there are particular problems which can not be *solved* on a small local or state level - like Global warming, or devloping a National Energy policy, or rising CO2 levels and ozone, etc.

These can be the kind of things that affect the Nation and the World and if not *solved* lead to a societal collapse.

So, i am not following the very generic complaint of "voluntary sector " verus "coecive government" waht does that refer to in a real example situation of the kind of things that can cause society to collapse? or are those just typical *libertarian* - "I hate governement intrusions" complaints?

Give me a specific here.

sexy said...