Constitutional Libertarianism

Constitutional Libertarianism

Friday, July 22, 2016

Taking small steps towards liberty

Yes, I agree, Gary Johnson is a "softball" libertarian.  Not the ideal face for libertarians.  Certainly not as good as Rand Paul.

Having said that, in this election, there is no one more qualified to bring a "more libertarian" position to the executive office than Gary Johnson.  He will bring a much more liberty oriented presidency than either of those representing the dems or reps.

Look at it as taking "small steps" toward a more libertarian approach giving people a chance to see how much better it can be than the slight "taste" they get with Johnson.

It could be just the catalyst for a Rand Paul or even an Austin Petersen the next time.  Meanwhile, we are still worlds better than with the other candidates.

He may not be the ideal libertarian but then ideals are just that.  They are something to strive for, work toward.  Johnson is only the most likely first step in a journey to more liberty.

I would rather vote for Gary Johnson representing those first steps toward more libertarian representatives than vote for, or even against, the others up against him.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

On Being Libertarian

Personally, I see there being affiliated with a political party called Libertarian and living one's life being libertarian as two sometimes very different things.

"Liberty" is defined as not having government, religious, social, cultural, etc groups dictate how you live.  Each individual has the natural, God given right to live their own life and make their own choices.

Being libertarian is to apply the ideal of liberty to your life.  You take the initiative to be educated and informed and to make the best choices and decisions in your life, letting no one one take that away from you.  You make every effort to not control other people's lives.

To be a Libertarian is to affiliate with a political party supposedly to encourage the principles and ideals of individual liberty for everyone.  I say supposedly because political parties being what they are, often find themselves compromising those principles and values far too much in order to gain public attention, funding and to push for people to get elected.  That is the reason political parties exist, is to get people elected.

For example, I see myself as libertarian but not as a Libertarian.  I do not participate in or affiliate with political parties.

While I fully support everyone's efforts to be libertarian and to have the freedoms associated with Liberty,  I cannot, being libertarian try to force anyone else to live their own life similarly.  There are people who personally believe in sacrificing liberty and it's associated freedoms for safety, surety and security.  That's their choice.  If they can find someone willing to provide that for them, knock themselves out for all I care.  As long as it's voluntary.  They should have chosen that relationship not have it forced or coerced on them.

Examples of that kind of lifestyle are those who live in monasteries and dedicate their lives to service in a religious or other group that offers a communal, shared life.

Have at it, I say.  Just don't get any on me or mine.

Take the initiative and treat people right

It's fairly common to hear people say that they treat people based on how the other person treats them first.  That if someone wants to be treated respectfully, they must show respect to them first.

On it's face, that is correct.  However, it puts the first person in a reactionary position.  They are depending on someone else to dictate their own behavior.

Let's consider some truths about the human condition.

If you treat someone as incapable, eventually they will behave as incapable.

If you treat someone as a criminal, eventually they will behave criminally.

People become that which they are treated.

Yes, people should earn respect by being respectful.  However, it is something that shouldn't be used as a criteria of initial judgement by one person of another.

By automatically assuming that someone must demonstrate respect you you before you to them, you have effectively placed a value on yourself that a supposed that you are more important or special or valuable than the other person and somehow, the other person must earn your good graces.

If all people are created equal, then we should assume no homage is due us before we behave in what we already know to be the right way.

In other words, we should each take the initiative to act right and treat other people right in the effort to show the world that you do indeed deserve respect based on your own display of behaving with respect.

No one inherently owes another person anything.  That is because no one is born more or less valuable than another person.

While I personally find police departments to be suspect and tools of government oppression, the individual people who become police officers, by and large, are people who believe they are being good people doing a job that inherently deals with other people at their worst behavior.  An unenviable position to be sure.

Not all cops are crooked or racist or abusive of power.  Not all people of various races, ethnicities or skin colors are criminals or hateful or beneath dignity.

For me, being libertarian means having ideals.  It means that I expect people to behave themselves and to be capable of behaving themselves as capable, responsible, reasonable, rational, good people.

We know, if we pay attention to life experience, that people will behave as they are treated and expected to behave.  Demanding that others must prove themselves to you before knowing anything about them is not a very libertarian way to be.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

libertarian idealism

I have often and frequently said that the biggest disagreement that I have with anarchists is that I think they are too idealistic that people can be counted on to not have a "government" designed to play the objective" and neutral "referee".  Too many times, due to the nature of the human condition, people cannot be counted on to maintain rational, reasonable and responsible conduct.

We are creatures of to many hard to control inputs.  Biological chemicals course through us, affecting our thinking.  Emotions too easily override rational behavior.  Hormonal imbalances can impair our reasoning.

It's not that I think that people in general are too stupid or incapable of the level and degree of self control necessary to have a society without government, just that there are too many ways that people find themselves not in full control of themselves and to accommodate for that, we need to have a body that can take action to deal with the person or groups of people who would intentionally or unintentionally violate the safety and well being of everyone else.

Having said that, I also believe that just being libertarian requires a certain amount of idealism as well.  For the "everyday" libertarian, we have basic expectations we place first on ourselves and secondly those around us.   These expectations are ideal in nature.

We minimally expect people to support themselves to the best of their abilities and not just expect society to do it for us on default.

We expect people to respect property rights.  The old saying that if it doesn't belong to you, you keep your hands off it.  Ask before you "borrow", don't steal from others.  We shouldn't have to nail or chain everything down or lock it up for fear of it being stolen.  An ideal for sure, but not an unreasonable one.

We also generally hold the ideal of making the effort to be our best.  We believe in setting the "bar" pretty high as a goal to reach and always work, train, practice, etc... to reach the goal.  Once the goal is achieved, we raise the bar again.  

Ideals are the bar, the goals we set to be better than we are.  To be the best we can be.  Will we always reach or achieve those goals and ideals?  Because of the human condition I mentioned earlier, the answer is definitely not.  However, that doesn't mean that we shouldn't make the effort.  It is always worth the effort to strive to be our best.

I doubt anyone will argue that ideals are of little to no value or not worth having and making the effort to achieve.  We should hold to our ideals.  It is our ideals that make us who and what we are as a person.

However, we need to be reasonable and realistic about our ideals and the practicality of them.  It's great to set a high bar, but if it's physically not humanly possible to reach that bar, then the ideal is impractical.  Essentially by setting the bar too high or having ideals that simply cannot be realized, we set ourselves up for failure from the beginning.

To me, the primary difference between libertarians and anarchists is that anarchists set the bar too high.  Both of us value idealism, personal responsibility and individual liberty.