5/26/2004

Republicans vs. Libertarians

I was asked by someone the other day why I consider myself a Libertarian, but I have voted Republican. What the differences are in the 2 philosophies? Well, I'll break it down for you (albeit simplistically).

To answer the first part of the question, I have voted Republican in Presidential elections because I felt they have the most realistic opportunity to win...and I feel that liberalism is destroying this country. I despise everything the Democratic party stands for and they'd be the last party I'd want in control of anything (I'll save details on this for a later rant). Unfortunately, as I discovered with this administration, there is really little difference between the two parties.

What are the differences between the Libertarian Party and Republican Party? What are the basic differences in philosophy?

To distill it down to bare elements, Republicans feel morally responsible or a moral obligation to the public in some instances (personal behavior), whereas Libertarians use a more objectivist or pragmatic point-of-view. The Libertarian view is personal responsibility.

As Ayn Rand wrote, "The only proper purpose of a government is to protect man's rights, which means: to protect him from physical violence....The only proper functions of a government are: the police, to protect you from criminals; the army, to protect you from foreign invaders; and the courts, to protect your property and contracts from breach or fraud by others, and to settle disputes by rational rules, according to objective law."

Obviously, most Republicans do not agree with that philosophy.

One example of this is the "War on Drugs." The so-called war on illegal drugs is a total and abysmal failure. You might have some in law enforcement that tout their increasing drug seizures, but they won't be objective because the war on drugs has been a cash cow for law enforcement. Government doles out billions of dollars to fight the war, puts thousands of cops on the street, and seizures of cash and property help fund law enforcement in the war. I might add that the seizures are without a trial I might add...only if you're found innocent at trial, do you get your property back...so much for the 4th amendment.

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ADDENDUM on the foreiture issue:
A good friend of mine, a former police officer who worked undercover, informed me of the following:
"Forfeitures are contested only after posting a bond to get your own property back. Then you are offered a civil trial in forfeiture court. If the amount forfeited is over a certain amount there may not be any bond. However the bond is quite significant considering it is your property. You could still win your case with no conviction and lose your property.

civil vs. criminal
preponderance of the evidence vs. beyond a reasonable doubt"

This makes the State's actions even more heinous than I originally thought.
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Tell me, has this massive effort really stopped anyone from taking drugs? Illegal drug use has remained steady or grown the last 30 years. Some drugs have become more popular (ecstasy), some have fallen (LSD), while others have maintained consistent levels (marijuana). Statistics for the last 30 years can be found here. The only dip in usage was during the mid-80's "Say NO to drugs" campaign. Why? Demand fell. As a teen in the 80's, I can attest that drug usage was not cool. Of course that changed when a pot-smoking President was elected (sorry...had to throw that in there).

Do you think supply dipped? Nope, and it has nothing to do with drug seizures. In fact, the amount of drugs seized has grown over the last 10 years and during the last 5 years has grown or remained steady. All those seizures had zero affect on drug usage. During the 80's it was cool to say no to drugs. Cutting demand by teaching the hazards to kids at a young age works far better than attacking the supply. Demand CREATES supply. That's economics 101.

What are the additional costs besides law enforcement? Prison of course! Does prison for drug abusers and dealers act as a deterrent? Nope. Addicts will continue to seek out drugs because, well...they're addicts. Dealers will continue to sell drugs because there's so much money involved. How many people are in prison for drug-related offenses you ask? Well, 54.7% of the prison population or 86,165 prisoners are in prison for drug-related offenses. As you can see from the earlier drug usage charts, this so-called deterrent has not worked. In addition, violent criminals are paroled early to ease prison overcrowding. The result of more drug offenders in prision is more violent criminals on our streets.

Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. Does Prohibition ring a bell? As everyone knows, prohibition gave rise to the Mafia...and alcohol was available to anyone that really wanted it. Back then, the Mafia had a code of NOT involving ordinary citizens in any shootouts. Today's gangs have no such code. They are well armed and organized an will shoot anyone for almost any reason. Our streets are not any safer today due to the "war".

It's more than apparent to me...as it should be to you...that there is a certain portion of the population that will always do drugs. We all know the detrimental effects of drug abuse. We can attack the demand by teaching kids the hazards. I'm NOT talking the D.A.R.E. program either...it has had zero effect on drug usage. You can't tell kids NOT to do drugs, you have to SHOW them what they do to a person or otherwise make it cool to NOT do drugs. You can take your children to local police department's jail for a tour and ask the guide who in the cells are drug addicts. I took my son when he was 6 and the Police Officer pointed out what each criminal was in jail for...out of 6 cells, 2 were for drugs, 2 for alcohol, and 2 for stealing something. It made a strong impression on him. Another example of what drugs do to a person is here. I had one example of 13 years of mugshots for woman beginning when she was 19. She starts out smiling and looking good, but by the end, she looks 50. Unfortunately, I can't find it anymore. If anyone can find this photo, please comment with a link...she's a blue-eyed brunette. In fact if you can find any collection of mugshots of one individual over time, please comment with a link.

Finally, the hypocrisy of what is legal and illegal is quite annoying. Two destructive drugs are available to anyone of age (and illegally to those not of age). What 2? Alcohol and nicotine. Of course, we're all familiar with the problems of excessive alcohol consumption and the addictedness of nicotine, so why are those drugs legal? Simply put, money.


What about prostitution? It's the world's oldest profession so it's safe to say it isn't going away. In fact, it's gotten easier for anyone with internet access and cash. Simply do a google search for Escort and your city and you'll come back with tons of hits. I believe our neighbors to the north (Canada to those of you geographically challenged) got it right, require them to register and receive regular blood tests. Does jail time ever stop them? Nope, too much money for a few hours work. You might say, "what about the poor girls doing this kind of work?" I'll respond...personal responsibility. People choose their own paths.

What about abortion? Though I'm personally opposed to abortion, I'm not about to carry any child for 9 months either. I do feel that Roe vs. Wade is bad law, but only because the Supreme Court legislated from the bench, rather than it being a states-rights issue (similar to the sodomy decision last year). Because it is NOT my body, it cannot be MY decision. I'm going to beat a dead horse on this later...personal responsibility. The difference is that Republicans view the fetus as a separate entity...again, a moral issue and to many, religious belief that the soul enters the fetus upon conception. I am vehemently opposed to late-term abortions (abortions after the 6th month) because those "entities" can live outside the mother's body. In those cases, because those fetuses can live outside the mother's body...it IS murder. Yes, I know that it's technically outlawed by Roe vs. Wade, but late-term abortions can and do happen...all they need is a doctor's opinion that "it's for the mother's health" and it's ok.

Personal responsibility is a major difference between Democrats and Republicans...Libertarians just take it a step further. Stay out of my house...it's my body and my life. Let me live it the way I choose...so long as I'm not hurting anyone else. If I choose self-destructive behavior...it is MY choice...and MY responsibility. Conversely, if I choose to work hard and be a success, it's MY success...and I shouldn't have to share so much of my earnings with the government (this year, the first 5 months of the year go to taxes of one kind or another). Protect our shores, protect me from miscreants that would harm me or my family, and protect my property. Government nowadays does none of those tasks especially well...because they've got their hands in too many places. That includes the one place I hate the most...my wallet!


12 Comments:

Blogger eskadoni said...

hey. i'm in love with myself, too, but not enough to turn my back on people less fortunate than myself. if we all were given equal opportunity to succeed then i might go with you on this "my life, fuck off" philosophy, but we're not.

are drugs a big issue with you?

i do argee that laws that only stop us from hurting ourselves should be done away with.

May 26, 2004 at 7:01 AM  
Blogger eskadoni said...

my biggest problem with republicans is their moral hipocracy using the notion of christian religions mores to dictate things like who i can sleep with and marry, but then are too bothered to use passages like acts chapter 2 to support others. you can't have it both ways.

you shouldn't tie yourself to a set of beliefs if you don't have the fortitude to stick to them totally. what good are absolutes if they aren't absolute?

May 26, 2004 at 7:05 AM  
Blogger Liberal_Slayer said...

If you want to help people, go right ahead. You can donate as much of your money and time to charity as you'd like. Why force ME to do it?

Secondly, using the "equal opportunity" argument is an excuse...a crutch. Once you reach adulthood, excuses are moot. You either persevere or you don't. It's convenient and easy to make excuses for people...no hard work is required. Once again it's a personal responsibility issue...where liberals want to make excuses a conservative wants people to take responsibility for their lives. Besides, before big government stepped in and decided to "help" people, there were other forms of help available...the extended family and charity. Both work much better than government.

I'm NOT in favor of a socialistic approach to anything. We aren't living in Star Trek and Socialism/Communism does not work.

May 26, 2004 at 7:33 AM  
Blogger Liberal_Slayer said...

If someone wants to ruin their brain on drugs, go ahead and let them. It's their choice. We waste too much money on the issue. The Netherland's has legalized drugs...and guess what? The number of addicts has remained stable.

May 26, 2004 at 7:38 AM  
Blogger eskadoni said...

how can you say equal opportunity is an excuse? even if it's totally up to you when you're an adult, there are many who don't get chances to even make it that far. if we are a society that believes all people are created equal, then we need to takes steps to prove it.

before government help we had slavery. that worked did it?

none of us know if true communism will work as it is yet to be tried.

and i'd be cool if we all took care of each other without governmental policies, but what if everyone adopts the "me first, fuck you" philosophy?

i'll end this little rant with this: i believe that personal responsibilty is paramount in making this country work, but we also have a social responsibilty that was laid out when this country was founded. i believe that we should work to give everyone an opportunity to succeed. that doesn't mean we have to make sure they succeed, just that they really have a chance to make it.

May 26, 2004 at 8:09 AM  
Blogger Liberal_Slayer said...

Charles, you never addressed my major point...instead you tried and end around by bringing up slavery.

Before government decided to take care of everyone, this country was successful for the better part of 150 years by using community, family, and charity to help those of lesser opportunity. Don't even try to bring slavery into the equation.

Do you even know anyone that has lived in a communist country? I work with a number of Chinese and Russians that left their country due to the repressiveness of the society. I can't believe that you think communism could be successful. It's a failure. Communism works under the assumption that everyone is equal...so there's no incentive to strive for excellence. You only have the fist of the state to motivate people. In our country, everyone has an opportunity to succeed irregardless of their background...it's entirely up to them.

Also, many of these Russian and Chinese immigrants came here with absolutely nothing but their brains and a hard work ethic. If they can do it, why can't our native born citizens? They can't because they rely on government.

Finally, thanks for making my point. If everyone did take care of themselves (and family) first, we wouldn't need the government to do it. Instead, people are looking for government for solutions to their problems.

May 26, 2004 at 9:59 AM  
Blogger LittleOrangeFox said...

Well the country was founded on Juedeo Christian beleifs and tradiotional conservative would like to keep it that way which is why they seem pushy. Libertarians and Republicans dont level on morals but are one in the same when it comes to wanting smaller gov't involvment and just downsizing gov't period. Which is about all they have in commen. I ,myself, probably live liberaly but would rather have republican control over the "big" picuture. The last thing i want is someone like me running the country. As fun as living freely and liberlay some rules have to be made and I like to think of the children lol. As many drug problems as we have and the fact that in 11th grade I could reach out and touch any given person sitting beside me and get free weed off of them I think legalization of drugs is very stupid. They are already availbable enough to kids. Thats like the parent buying the beer keg cause they figure the kids gonna drink anyway. Last thing I need is the drunk and High person slaming into my car under the influence. call me a radical right but whatever. The new republicans are not as nearly restrictive as lets say the 50 year old stereo tpye people perpetuate. I could say all Libertarians or Liberals were hippies or something jsut as easy as they could lable all Republicans stiff religious freaks...neither is a good idea.

May 26, 2004 at 10:15 AM  
Blogger eskadoni said...

first off, i'm not saying all republicans are stiff religious types. i said that the thing i like least about republicans, and by that i mean the party and it's current leader, is the overt religious nature of almost every arguement. most of the other things i don't like about them are also shared by demos.

i'm not saying that the current forms of communism work, but they aren't true communism. you have to work with an idea to make it work. look at democracy: direct democracy would never work, but we have had success with representative democracy. on an aside, russia is no longer communist, and yes i do know people that came from communist states.

as far as the equal thing: i think people deserve an equal chance to make it. if you think we have that in this country, you're kidding yourself. our society is nowhere near a caste system, but we do have class problems. face it: a child born into poverty does not have the same opportunity to make it that a child born into the middle class would have. this doesn't mean that a person from poverty can't make it, but the odds are stacked against them. our citizens are not equal, and just saying it is won't make it so.

again, i argee that we need personal resposibility, but i think we have a social responsibility to give everyone the chance to succeed, not just those born into opportunities.

May 26, 2004 at 12:48 PM  
Blogger Liberal_Slayer said...

I'm well aware of the country being founded on Judeo-Christian ethics, and I don't have a problem it. I think a moral foundation is fine...but I do have a problem with government regulations and laws telling me how to live my life...so long as I'm not hurting anyone else, it's none of their business. I do NOT do drugs and I have no desire to. If they were legalized tomorrow, I would not be at the corner store buying joint, heroin, or crack. Most people wouldn't.

Well in terms of the futility of the drug war, you kind of make a point for me. Drugs are illegal yet readily available to teens. Demand is not decreasing, if anything it's increasing. You can't attack the supply and make the drug problem go away...you have to attack demand to make it go away. For example, if you had the death penalty for possession of narcotics, demand would likely fall. That isn't realistic or desired. But the bottom line is that the war on drugs is a total failure...it's time to face up to that fact. There will always be a demand for narcotics and rather than creating a huge industry to fight the "war", we're better off spending that money in prevention and education (as they do in the Netherlands).

Simplistically, it's economics 101. Demand creates supply. Do away with the demand, and supply drops. Remove supply and the prices may increase, but not enough to dent demand.

May 26, 2004 at 1:14 PM  
Blogger eskadoni said...

did you ever see that star trek where they killed people for every single infraction?

anyway, i agree with you on the drug thing.

May 26, 2004 at 1:23 PM  
Blogger Liberal_Slayer said...

Charles, in terms of opportunity, the only thing I'll say about opportunity is educational opportunity in this country is crap. I have a long rant on this, but I'm still doing research.

But I'll give you a preview. Who controls education in this country? What unions? What party controls almost every inner-city school board? Does spending more money on education make a difference? Do ideas like social promotion work? What about school choice?

If you're honest with yourself while finding these answers, you may be surprised. I'll have a long and detailed rant on public education. I got started on it by one of my co-workers who believe that although affirmative action is not necessary for him, it is necessary to offset the inequality of education. More on this to come.

May 26, 2004 at 1:25 PM  
Blogger Liberal_Slayer said...

Charles...yeah, too bad they didn't kill Wesley! He managed to get lucky there (he was always lucky).

May 26, 2004 at 1:26 PM  

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