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Warning: Verbose Political Rant

2002-01-08 01:27:18+00 by Dylan 10 comments

Ok...now, I know the true definitions of conservative and liberal. I know that most of the folks here would consider themselves conservative in the defined sense...wanting to limit governmental influence in our daily lives, maintain our personal freedoms, and not pay unreasonably high taxes. Now...here's my problem.

Why is it that the party that we're told is the conservative party is always the one most ready to infringe on personal freedoms? And willing to do it in the most outrageous and audacious ways?

I mean yes, the Dems certainly do try to get all involved in people's business too, but when was the last time you heard a Dem trying to get the kind of unlimited wiretap access and such that the Bush administration is trying to implement?

I guess the big question that is coming to me is this:

Why do so many of my Libertarian friends scoff at the idea of voting for a Democrat over a Republican if there's no solid Lib candidate?

Do you really think that the Reeps are the party of personal freedom??? The same party that has made the Drug War its backbone for 20+ years? The same party that is presently interning people without trial? The ONLY personal freedoms I see the Reeps defending on a regular basis are 1) gun ownership (good for them, too), 2) freedom from unreasonable taxation (again, rah), and 3) freedom from campaign spending limits (if anyone here thinks that's an idealistic decision...snort...). Freedoms I see them looking to infringe on the other hand, are legion. Three-strikes. Drug war drug war drug war. Legislating morality on everything from abortion to prostitution (and any other sexual issue). Trying to ban music they don't like. How is any of that conservative??? (In the interests of equal time, it was jackass liberals who've gotten Huck Finn banned from most school libraries).

I'm not one to vote a party line. In the last three general elections I have never voted for fewer than three distinct parties for different races. I think the party system's pernicious anyway but that's a whole other rant. I just cannot understand how so many Libertarians can be so gung-ho for the republicans as a second choice. As far as I'm concerned, both parties are equally bad choices, and not just because of the creeping centrism that's turning them into the Republicrats. I don't want to believe that my intelligent friends identify with the reeps because the media says they're conservative. Englighten me.

[ related topics: Politics Libertarian Privacy Sexual Culture History moron Civil Liberties ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:34:17+00 by: Dan Lyke

Count me as a self-identified Libertarian more often than Republicans. It's hard to tell, since it's covered much of my lifetime, but I think that Atwater's successful campaign to attract southern and Catholic voters was what blew away the Republican's claim to being the party of freedom.

Not that the Democrats[Wiki] have been any great shakes for personal freedoms, but both parties participate in the pork process enough that the Republicans[Wiki] certanly can't lay claim to any moral high ground in terms of economic freedoms, and the Democrats[Wiki] do have a few people who get it, like like Patrick Leahy (D-VT).

And, in my (always) humble opinion, the Republican stance on reproductive rights, and platform statements wanting to use my tax money to promote sexist oppressive institutions make a vote for anyone who does toe that party's line a strong blow against freedom.

#Comment made: 2002-01-08 04:39:25+00 by: DaveP [edit history]

Perhaps what you mean to call youself is a Classical Liberal

Personally, I use that label, call myself a bomb-throwing anarchist (though not so much lately) or just say that I'm an equal opportunity asshole who believes the Republicans are a bunch of pinko commies (similar to the USSR's kleptocracy).

But then I rather like arguing politics sometimes.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:34:17+00 by: Mars Saxman

Beats me Dylan - if I had to hold my nose and vote for a major party candidate it'd almost certainly be a Democrat. But I'm a libertarian socialist (i.e. anarchist without the "bomb-throwing" connotations) so I'm not sure the non-socialist sort would consider me a real libertarian.


#Comment made: 2002-01-08 15:18:46+00 by: Pete [edit history]

Well, you might want to consider that a Democrat is working to unravel the anti-circumvention clause of the DMCA and affect other copyright reforms.

Virginia, the home of that Democratic U.S. Representative, has been conservative and Republican in recent times, but it has a much longer history of being both conservative and Democratic.

#Comment made: 2002-01-08 16:32:13+00 by: Dan Lyke [edit history]

Yep, Pete, and the Clinton administration was no friend to freedoms either. The CDA passed on that watch, aspects of the Gore legacy on First Amendment rights are terrifying.

And the "longer history of being both conservative and Democratic" ties back to that period where the Republicans made a specific effort to reach out to southern voters. The South had a long memory of "Republican".

But I think the real issue is that largely neither the Republicans nor the Democrats have made any real efforts to explore the reasons for their feelings, and the meanings behind the stances they take. Thus members of both parties are largely driven by the emotional impetus of the moment, and end up with a pragmatism that doesn't serve anyone long-term. The libertarians that Dylan speaks of do the same thing when they consider Republicans[Wiki] their fall-back vote without considering each politician individually.

#Comment made: 2002-01-08 17:11:20+00 by: TheSHAD0W [edit history]

Homer: America, take a good look at your beloved candidates. They're nothing but hideous space reptiles. [unmasks them]
[audience gasps in terror]
Kodos: It's true, we are aliens. But what are you going to do about it? It's a two-party system; you have to vote for one of us.
Man1: He's right, this is a two-party system.
Man2: Well, I believe I'll vote for a third-party candidate.
Kang: Go ahead, throw your vote away.
[Kang and Kodos laugh out loud]
[Ross Perot smashes his "Perot 96" hat]

In an election between Socialist Party #1 and Socialist Party #2, I'll vote for neither.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:34:18+00 by: Alex Bischoff

As a registered Libertarian, I'll contribute my $.02 here. You make some good points in your rant, but I can still explain why I've voted for so many GOP candidates in the past.

As with you, I value my freedom, both economically and socially. The GOP believes in financial freedom, that's for sure. As for social freedom, there's a fine line between "tough on crime" and "oppressing the rights of the accused". Through September 10th, I think that the GOP largely stayed on the side of tough-on-crime (so far, so good).

From Sept 12th onward, though, the GOP as a whole made some bad decisions -- the so-called Patriot Act being a prime example. Now, to be honest, I'm not exactly sure how I'll proceed. It was truly scary to see how easy the knee-jerk bills of late-September flew through Congress.

Looking forward, I'll probably handle it on a case-by-case basis. Certainly, for local elections, I'll look for Libertarian candidates, but if none are available, I won't have much trouble going with GOP (since I consider it unlikely that a local 'superintendent' or such will be increasing police wiretap-powers any time soon, heh). However, for national elections (such as Congress) and especially for national elections with incumbents, I'm going to have to take a hard look at their voting records. Those who voted for the Patriot Act will not be let off easily. Maybe I'll even end up voting for a few Dems this time.

Alex Bischoff
alex (at) spamcop (dot) net

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:34:18+00 by: Larry Burton

At one time I claimed to be a Libertarian but for now I'll be a libertarian with my political affiliation being GDI. The LP has some great ideas that I find myself agreeing with in the abstract almost 100% of the time. My problem with being one of them is that individually they come off as crackpots. I've got enough suspicions about me without confounding them with my political affiliation. :^)

I guess one thing that might have driven me to vote for some Republicans that I otherwise might not have is that a lot of the Democrat candidates just have a way of pissing me off. I think that tends to be because the Republicans have such an easy time focusing the campaign issues on fiscal freedoms and away from explicit talk on social freedoms.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:34:18+00 by: sethg

I am reminded of a quip by the anarchist Bob Black: "A libertarian is a conservative who takes drugs."

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:35:21+00 by: Jerry Kindall

In the past I used to vote for Republicans when a Libertarian candidate wasn't available. My logic was that the Democrats seem better at curbing the excesses of the Republicans than vice versa. That is, when the Republicans try to legislate morality, the Democrats and other liberal organizations like the ACLU tend to be pretty good at blocking it or getting it thrown out, and the Republican tendency toward unnecessary military spending is usually mostly reversed when a Democratic president takes office. On the other hand, the social programs beloved of Democrats, some of which are terribly misguided, are almost impossible to do away with once the public begins to feel entitled to them. On the whole, then, my judgment has been that of the two major parties, the Republicans do less lasting damage to the fabric of our country.

The Enron scandal has given the Republicans a terrible black eye, though, and Bush himself is a weak, charisma-free figurehead. Worse, the Republicans are having unprecedented success right now in pushing through bad, rights-destroying legislation, arguably worse than anything the Democrats have ever tried to put over. These days I'm with whoever said that the word "politics" is derived from "poli" meaning "many" and "ticks" meaning "blood-sucking insects."