Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Two Out of Three Ain't Bad

I have always liked the libertarians, so I checked out the Libertarian Party platform. Here are some annotated highlights of the three major sections of the platform.
1.0 Personal Liberty: Individuals should be free to make choices for themselves and to accept responsibility for the consequences of the choices they make. No individual, group, or government may initiate force against any other individual, group, or government. Our support of an individual's right to make choices in life does not mean that we necessarily approve or disapprove of those choices.
Basically: Live and let live. This works for me. Details in this first section spell out a platform that is for freedom of religion and against government regulating interpersonal relationships or individual decisions that do not affect others. They lose me a bit with the gun stuff, but just as it pertains to defending assault weapons.
2.0 Economic Liberty: A free and competitive market allocates resources in the most efficient manner. Each person has the right to offer goods and services to others on the free market. The only proper role of government in the economic realm is to protect property rights, adjudicate disputes, and provide a legal framework in which voluntary trade is protected. All efforts by government to redistribute wealth, or to control or manage trade, are improper in a free society.
This section spells out opposition to taxes and support for a balanced budget amendment. Some of this section is a bit much for me. For instance, I am not a fan of their position on education. On the other hand, I like their view on end-of-life decisions. Overall, they have a bit too much faith that the free market system can take care of everything, while I am a bit too cynical for that.
3.0 Securing Liberty: The protection of individual rights is the only proper purpose of government. Government is constitutionally limited so as to prevent the infringement of individual rights by the government itself. The principle of non-initiation of force should guide the relationships between governments.
In this final section, they condemn bigotry and intelligence gathering that infringes on personal liberties, and other infringements on personal liberty.

Libertarians have a few positions that are ridiculous. At times, they remind me of a fraternity brother of mine who consistently used ludicrous extremes to make every point. I liked him and often agreed with him, but some of the extremes he went to for his arguments made it hard to be solidly on his side.

Overall, I think the Libertarian platform is a really readable document. I agree with close to 2/3 of the platform, which is certainly a higher percentage than for either the Republican or the Democratic platforms. The extremes of the Libertarians are as nutty as extremes of any party, but there is lots to like in what the party as a whole stands for.

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