by Cody Quirk
This editorial has been long overdue for those that have followed, or paid close attention to my political progression over the past 4 years, of which has changed a bit drastically since our last presidential election. This editorial, in addition, will also serve somewhat as an apology to several Libertarian bloggers and commentators that I have argued and spared with online in the past over ideology, the U.S. Constitution, and various other government and social factors that, I now realize I was wrong and they were right… Along with having to take back a previous conclusion that I made about Libertarianism and it’s political voice, which I now identify with -from an old editorial, long ago.
While I might be knowledgeable on many things- I’m still only human, and of course I can be ignorant, even foolish on some subjects and in some situations, including politics and previously on the subject of Libertarianism itself. Back then I was blind and in denial for a long time about the practical application of libertarianism with our country’s system of governance, general society, and the matching comparisons that it has with our nation’s constitution and the views of the majority of the founding fathers. I even kept my head in the sand about the truth of how the right-wing populism from the days of George Wallace in the minor-party world, and social conservatism in general -are dying off as the Baby-boomers and Reagan Democrats grow much older and smaller in their numbers and influence are likewise dying off while the younger generations and the American mainstream of today look to more socially liberal beliefs and ideologies that are not exactly defined by the left-right political spectrum. Hence, even in the world of American politics; the times indeed are a-changin’.
While of course right-wing populism is enjoying a sudden surge in mainstream politics at this moment because of the candidacy of Donald Trump and the unorthodox, “anti-establishment” message that he is presenting; nevertheless it is through the Republican Party, and that major party alone, that such an ideology might prosper for a time in this country; after all, through the decades the GOP has successfully gained and still maintains a monopolistic hold upon such mass reactionary attitudes and notions here, and that is not going to change anytime soon. Yet unlike Europe and that continent’s politics; in the United States, however -such a right-wing shade is not going to last in the long run with the general voting public; our nation and the cultural/social institutions with it that have come to mold and define our cultural and social norms are much too individualistic and not collectivist enough to sustain such an ideology. The same can also be likewise said about various forms of populism and nationalism that also inhabit the left & far-left side of the spectrum. The United States of America just has never been one to harbor and allow politically radical ideologies to permeate to the dire point that it would bring about military coups or militarily effective uprisings against our governing institutions. However, even with this being the case; our American government is still on the verge of becoming an authoritarian, tyrannical one in a matter of time; all thanks to some radical, wealthy, and influential anti-liberty individuals of the past and present that were machiavellian enough to hide their agendas from mainstream scrutiny and the law, gradually introducing such into government and various legislation over time, and now is beginning to bear horrible, Orwellian fruit.
Some that might be reading the above paragraphs may not know much, or anything about organic politics (politics and political ideology based upon one’s national/regional culture, religion, and history -of which I believe is the most accurate definition of politics on the world-wide scale that there is) like I do and subscribe to, and therefore might be a bit confused. Nevertheless, I will discuss how my political beliefs turned libertarian on the views and stances which I hold today, and also explain how libertarianism is the ideology that best conforms with the organic politics of our country…
I don’t have to bring up the personal views of the founding fathers to emphasize enough of where I stand on church & state, and even before my conversion to libertarianism; my personal opposition to sectarianism and idea of a state religion in this country has been publicly made clear a thousand times online, and not just because of the past history of various former kingdoms and governments and the vile, brutal manner in which they enforced that governing religion’s dogma upon their own people and various ethnic groups; but from my own childhood of being raised in an evangelical fundamentalist household and how much I despised it and built up my religiously libertarian resolve from it. In reality, such forms of religious fanaticism, especially when applied through the state -are as evil and despicable as communism and those marxist-inspired state atheist regimes of Asia and Eastern Europe in the 20th Century which persecuted and killed Christians and other religious believers on a massive scale. So, on the flip side of the coin- yes I most certainly oppose government interference with, or restricting religious liberty and worship when such religious expressions and exercises do not advocate for, or attempt to carry out serious infringement and persecution upon the religious rights of others. After all, forced secularization and the sheer infringement of government upon religion is the opposite extreme of what I previously described above that is, nevertheless just as evil, vile, and as totalitarian as any religiously authoritarian state. In my view, the proper libertarian would oppose both totalitarian extremes, regardless of their ‘moral’ opposition to each other.
“We believe that religion is instituted of God; and that men are amenable to him, and to him only, for the exercise of it, unless their religious opinions prompt them to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others; but we do not believe that human law has a right to interfere in prescribing rules of worship to bind the consciences of men, nor dictate forms for public or private devotion; that the civil magistrate should restrain crime, but never control conscience; should punish guilt, but never suppress the freedom of the soul.”
-Doctrine & Covenants Sec. 134:4
Converting to the LP on this topic wasn’t too much of a struggle for me; even though I used to be more socially conservative and a tad traditionalist when I was younger- the issues of abortion was never one that I was passionate about or much of a demagogue on and instead was more of a conservative-libertarian about; granted I am still Pro-Life in my personal outlook, yet exceptions for rape and incest should always remain legal and available. Likewise too when it comes to all other alternative forms of contraception. I understand though how divisive and conflicted some libertarians are on the issue, since it doesn’t only involve a woman’s body but the body of the developing child within her; so, from my standpoint I personally feel this situation would be largely resolved by overturning Roe v. Wade and returning to the previous era of abortion being regulated by the states and local governments (minus any taxpayer funding) AND by continuing scientific advances in contraception and medicine to the point that a better and more humane alternative to abortion is developed and can be used on a widespread scale to the point of where there would no longer be need for surgical abortions except for such cases of extreme fetal deformities or medical necessity. But in the meantime, the LP’s stance and approach on this specific matter is satisfactory enough for now, in my view.
Freedom of speech
Not too bad of an adjustment, though previously I didn’t have problems with some moderate forms of censorship when in came to pornography and certain forms of art/behavior deemed publicly indecent or obscene by legal authorities and the legal code of the area that it might be situated in.
However, being more politically enlightened now, my view today is that- unless it creates a serious public danger or infringes upon an individual/family/group/business/organization’s personal privacy, private property, or even one’s basic civil & constitutional rights- then free speech and expression must be respected and upheld, regardless.
Alternative marriages/lifestyles and other social issues
Same-sex marriage I originally thought would be best solved by leaving it up to the states by either a vote of a state legislature, or left to a vote of the people of that state, and even had the Obergefell v. Hodges case gone the other way, same-sex marriage would still have become legalized in all 50 states in due time, since many states, like Maine and Maryland, had already legalized it democratically beforehand. The same could even be said of the past state bans on interracial marriage had Loving v. Virginia gone the other way; since likewise, many states were doing away with old anti-miscegenation laws or passing laws legalizing such before that SCOTUS ruling came down. However after I had realized that the libertarian ideology was the correct one to go with -I pondered and considered the issue of democracy verses individual rights & liberty, and realized that to put one’s right to a consensual relationship with another legal adult of the same gender (or even multiple legal adults), up for a vote of the people or a governing body -is actually authoritarian and the wrong way to go. In a country like ours that originally valued individual freedom in both principle and practice, we need to stop trying to legislate morality and criminalize (or even re-criminalize) certain lifestyles that do not interfere with the rights and privacy of others; otherwise we are no better then those old European kingdoms that many fled from and sought refuge here, of which the founders of this nation also despised greatly, and not just because such past governments eagerly legislated and tyrannically enforced various sectarian and religiously fundamentalist standards of the conflicting Christian denominations in old Europe to the point of violent persecution and mass bloodshed. When it comes to the rights and liberties of others, especially those that engage in or desire to engage in alternative relationships and lifestyles -I could care less what biblical scriptures say about such; religious scripture of any kind should never, ever serve as secular law, nor be forced upon others through any branch of government or law enforcement.
Therefore, the best situation on the issue of marriage and of other divisive social issues in question is to simply remove government regulation thereof and keep it and the law, out of the home and private property, unless it involves a non-consenting individual(s), or an individual(s) below the legal age of consent. Nevertheless this potential and libertarian (albeit minarchist) approach would solve a lot of problems and put a good damper on the polarizing ‘culture wars’ raging in this country; why take sides when there are alternatives and satisfactory compromises that most libertarians and the LP itself offer to the general public which could potentially bring about an unexpected peace and make moot the majority of flash-points of our culture wars to all involved except for the most extreme and uncompromising fringes that irrationally cling to absolutes and will never be satisfied.
Honestly, this was a tough one for me, since I previously was a Pat Buchanan-style economic protectionist and a big time believer of U.S. government regulating and restricting big business on a national scale in order to keep them in line with our national identity and the popular interests of our country and it’s people… Though never to the extent of favoring nationalization of all or even certain industries, of course. It took some time and personal meditation to realize the the general libertarian economic model and deregulation of industry & free enterprise based upon either a near laissez-faire, or at least an economically classical-liberal model is the best way for us to go. While this topic is one that LP’ers are usually the most passionate about, I still admit that my knowledge and passion of the libertarian perspective of economics is still a bit limited for now, and I haven’t had the time to delve thoroughly into the Austrian School, nor the teachings and theories of Ludwig Von Mises or other well revered libertarian economists and scholars, so I therefore won’t dwell too much on this subject, and yet on a unorthodox basis- I will still explain how an economically liberal society is better then a economically protectionist one…
On the surface (or a short term basis) having high tariffs and legal protections for the American worker that will afford him perpetual job security might sound great and awesome; but the fact that high tariffs and even bans on certain imports have only lead to boycotts, embargoes, and gradual economic depression most of the time -upon which the national economy and hence the American worker him/herself suffers greatly. The Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act is one extreme example of such, and helped worsen the economic situation in America right before the Great Depression. In addition, as we progress further into the 21st century in the fields of business, communication, and transportation -we are economically and technologically progressing at a rate that would render protectionism and economic isolation as deeply archaic and gradually obsolete in the functional sense. And along with vast improvements in various labor laws, workplace safety, environmental regulations, and business ethics -are certain status-quos, stereotypes, and societal norms of not only the workplace, but also of the working class and the white-collar upper-classes changing and progressing (in some areas) to the point that labor unions, certain economic theories, and ideologies are gradually becoming obsolete and inept with today’s world. An example of such would be how the manufacturing sector worldwide is turning more and more to robotic automation, of which would gradually reduce the need for human labor; though that is not the only career field that will eventually see serious upheaval from the growing ‘robot revolution‘ via creative destruction, of which is to be expected in the digital age. Yet is adding legal restrictions and even prohibitions on developing robotic automation in order to protect jobs in these industries the right answer? No! The practical answer, which also addresses the matter of globalization too -is for our country to economically adapt to it. So it is my viewpoint that the best economic approach for us to take in more globalized, interconnected world that increases in such -is an economically liberal one, and the most viable political organization in this country that would best implement such, is the Libertarian Party, of course.
Granted, there may be some countries and even regions (like Europe) that might be justified in turning to economic and cultural nationalism, along with enacting tougher protectionist laws -since the cultures, lifestyles, and organic politics of those nations and regions would be too severely hurt by the shock of globalization itself, and therefore must take a much slower and gradual approach to it in order for those nations/regions to fully adjust and peacefully assimilate later on.
However, the United States of America does not belong in such a category, unlike these other nations.
Our organic politics, our history and culture has always been one of individual liberty and self-reliance, coupled with moderately controlled yet open borders and economically liberal free enterprise -as advocated and a core belief among the Anti-Federalist camp in our nation’s early days. Sadly, that is not the case in the present. Protectionism and economic nationalism has always been more of a liability then an asset to our nation’s economy and the stability of such dwells in the better and more prosperous hands of deregulation and economic liberalization.
In another aspect, protectionism, specially American protectionism doesn’t at all help the average American Joe; aside from how it indirectly hurts and stunts economic growth while also driving up the price of goods, wages, and eventually the standard of living- it maintains the status-quo of the class system and in fact greatly hurts the working & middle classes more then it benefits; as the rich might get a little richer, yet the middle and working classes will only get poorer in an American economy with even stricter protectionist standards then what we have now. The main economic goal of the Libertarian Party is to create an America where the average American Joe, instead of getting a long-term dead-end job at some factory; can start his/her own business or enterprise without having to deal with ridiculous fees and ludicrous red tape in the process, or instead can get into agriculture and grow vegetables or even marijuana and not have to worry about a bureaucratic agency or law enforcement stopping them, or simply go live off the land and be a hermit instead of having to stick with and follow a conformist, metropolitan life. In the wider scope of such an economically libertarian America- while some jobs might still get outsourced; far, far more jobs will be insourced from other countries and overseas at the same time due to limited or zero taxation, minimal regulation, and non-excessive laws concerning wages and labor; since in a very fiscally conservative future, could our country become the business capital & job center of the world. In such a potential economic environment much of our former manufacturing base that got outsourced to China, Vietnam, and other developing countries would come back and flood the job market with a vengeance with how incredibly business-friendly a libertarian America would be, thereby making foreign competition for business and jobs moot (especially with China), and further make America shine even brighter as an economic beacon to the entire world then even during our country’s former glory days of the 20th century. And with that kind of potential future ahead of us, there is no question that you will see more domestically-made products & items in your local Wal-Mart store -then in a government regulated, ‘strict protectionist’ economy.
Even though own job history has repeatedly been with the blue-collar variety until earlier this year, and have endured the full fury of our economic recession these last eight years and have barely managed to get by until I obtained stable employment just a few years ago; yet I would rather live in a economically ultra-liberal world instead of one where I might have a job that pays well and would also be legally prohibited from outsourcing or relocating overseas, yet at the same time would have to deal with excessively priced basic food items that are domestically limited, and also live in an area that might have jobs, but with a standard of living that would make Beverley Hills look like a Ohio suburb, and yet would be the cheapest place to live while the local and national job markets are limited and the unemployment rate has surpassed that of the early 1930’s -all thanks to how legally and financially constrained business and free enterprise is, and therefore would indirectly make it impossible for me to get a better paying job or even afford college so I could get a degree in order to get a much better paying job.
Yeah, I’ll take deregulation and economic liberalism (fiscal conservatism), thank you.
This was the toughest change for me to do, since I previously favored secure and militarized borders and a serious crackdown on all businesses and individuals hiring illegal labor. To confess, I admit that I used to believe in the stereotypical hype about Libertarians and the LP -that they wanted to have open, unrestricted and uncontrolled borders with no national boundaries of any sort. This stereotype, however; while a influential mindset in the party back in it’s early days when it was still on the fringes of American politics; where those of the radical, anarchist-oriented persuasion were a guiding force of the party and had the numbers and influence to craft the platform to replace their views as they saw fit until the LP became more mainstream and pragmatic later on as it grew and adapted more realistic and reasonable language on the immigration issue, of which I quote from the current LP platform here below:
We support the removal of governmental impediments to free trade. Political freedom and escape from tyranny demand that individuals not be unreasonably constrained by government in the crossing of political boundaries. Economic freedom demands the unrestricted movement of human as well as financial capital across national borders. However, we support control over the entry into our country of foreign nationals who pose a credible threat to security, health or property.
One of the main factors in my conversion on the immigration issue was the countless times that I had often worked alongside those that may not exactly in this country legally, and might be poor in their English. Every now and then I even came across one or two that do fit the false stereotype of being crime-prone, anti-American, and chauvinistic -however, the majority of whom I have met and befriended have shown themselves to be the some of the most humble and sincere people in our nation’s workforce; their dedication and work ethic is nearly unrivaled, especially when it comes to working for low pay. Furthermore, having listened to some of their personal stories about the hardships and struggles that they have endured in their lives, along with how even some of them had immigrated legally and yet ended up ensnared by the ridiculously bureaucratic red tape which makes up our current immigration/naturalization laws. Along with the horrific dangers, systematic abuse, even torture that many of them or their loved ones had suffered at the hands of those they had payed large sums to, just to get them smuggled across the border… Only to get taken advantage of. Therefore, I could not continue with such a harsh and semi-ignorant stance since my own conscience is hurting for them and understand that their ordeal and plight is something that must be taken into consideration… As some of our nation’s founding fathers (including Thomas Jefferson) did when our nation was still young.
Aside from personal feelings and testimony, while the issues of the drug/cartel violence and terrorism are a very real and serious threat to our country however; yet other aspects of undocumented (illegal) immigration have been greatly hyped up and distorted, thanks to poor immigration laws, polarized politics, cultural differences, language barriers, and racial prejudice -that what could have been quickly solved through immediate bipartisan cooperation on overhauling our immigration/naturalization laws and better synchronizing the way we patrol and guard the borders (with respect to private property and civil liberties); instead has been made overly complicated and highly polarized by political & activist groups on both sides. Hence, it is a complete mess at the moment. Oh, and if you think those of the undocumented persuasion steal American jobs and are the major factor of Americans being out of work, think again.
Yet due to several economic factors (including the recent recession); undocumented immigration appears to have fortunately simmered down, including those migrating illegally from Mexico. For several reasons, a good portion of those that crossed over illegally are now heading back to their home countries as the economies of Mexico and much of Central America began to stabilize and rebound from decades of poverty, government instability, and war -among the main reasons. As a Libertarian, I certainly welcome this and for this issue to someday become moot, even if that scenario is a ways off. Yet in the meantime, besides the necessity of reforming our immigration/naturalization laws in order to deal with the issue and also help those whom have lived here illegally for a long time and yet are law-abiding taxpayers that work hard and have assimilated into the cultural fabric of our nation -become U.S. Citizens themselves.
On the welfare issue, I agree with a large part of Mitt Romney’s idea of ‘self-deportation’ when it came to the issue of welfare benefits & financial assistance to non U.S. Citizens through our government. While it’s no question that religious groups, private charities, and likewise should be allowed to help and financially assist anyone in need, regardless of their national status. Yet when it comes to government welfare, I think paleoconservatives and a good majority of Libertarians are in full agreement that those not here legally should not be automatically entitled to any form of taxpayer-funded government welfare/assistance. Therefore, largely cutting off the “welfare magnet” would solve a lot of problems when it pertains to those that are here illegally that have no intention of becoming permanent residents and simply want to suck at the government’s teat until the milk runs dry. Indeed, it certainly is the way better and more libertarian alternative to mass deportation -of which if attempted right now in this very country, would only result in a violent civil insurrection that could mirror that of the American Civil War at worst. And in such a case, then expect to see our government quickly turn into a complete Orwellian state, where nationwide martial law would be the least of our worries.
While I am for the reasonable enforcement of our borders against the criminal and terrorist elements while still respecting private property and civil liberty at the same time; yet no matter how much some try to deny or whitewash it- this nation was founded by immigrants and the descendants thereof, and many famous American historical icons that have contributed greatly to the social, scientific, and technical progress of this country were themselves immigrants that came here for a better life and to best serve their adopted homeland. It indeed wound be damming to pull out the welcome mat to those that want to come here and/or become U.S. citizens for the same reasons.
Aside from these significant libertarian issues that I have addressed, which I have become enlightened on; in general I am indeed a believer of the Libertarian ideology at present and remain as such and am registered to vote as a Libertarian in my state for the foreseeable future. I may even become actively involved in the LP later on at some point, yet am still hesitant to at the present moment, owing to the tumultuous events a few years back with the drama that happened between me and the Constitution & Independent American parties, that and also working full time and attentive to other more productive hobbies and responsibilities on the side. I also am not looking forward to dealing with any strife and potential infighting that does exists at some levels and state affiliates of the LP, along with (despite being quite outspoken and vicious on the blogs at times) being quite hesitant to engage more seasoned and dedicated LP’ers that can easily run circles around my own experience and dedicated activism that I’ve done in the political field -in debate. Now I might and already do butt heads with some in the LP, including those of the radical persuasion; yet while I consider a few to be possible entryist plants, or trolls, or way too dogmatic in libertarianism, or just plain cuckoo to ever be considered viable to the LP in my view; however the majority of them I view as the same way as one views a sibling rival that you might somewhat hate and fight with all the time- yet in dire circumstances are still family and your brother/sister, no matter what animosity there might be between you at times. Libertarianism indeed is a big tent ideology that includes various factions and individuals that have diverse views on it. Some even identify with another ideology that is yet syncretic with libertarianism too… I am one of those. But then again, if some of the more old school and radical anarchist figures from the late 19th and early 20th centuries could syncretize their interpretation of libertarianism with left-wing anarchism or even socialism, then the same can be said on the other end with libertarian conservatism and right-libertarianism (of which, my own international affiliation (Integralism) can still fit right in).
I could further discuss other issues that the LP and/or the libertarian philosophy addresses, or emphasize the vital importance of voting for the current LP presidential ticket running this year; since despite their imperfections, they are the only viable chance to stop the authoritarian slide that our nation is heading down… But this is enough for now. While again this piece does serve as part of my apology, I am quite confident that those whom have read this whole article, whether they be libertarian or not -might take serious issue, or even offense to it… If so, then I don’t give a damn.
Throughout my life, I have always lived up to my last name and have never been able to conform much to anything, except in my personal loyalty and dedication to my close friends and loved ones. And while I have a lot of personal regrets of past decisions I have made in politics -which I am deeply ashamed of now; yet some of the few things that I do not regret is standing up for, and holding fast to a certain belief or opinion, despite how unpopular and taboo it may have appeared at the time, and despite whatever ridicule and harsh criticism I have dealt with then and even still deal with today because of it; yet my political and philosophical integrity does not bend or buckle so easily, and while maybe in the future my political beliefs and viewpoints might change a tad; libertarianism and nationalism are my permanent ideological homes that I intend to stick with.
“…And I don’t want no pardon
For what I was and am;
And I won’t be reconstructed,
And I do not give a damn.”
– ‘Unreconstructed Rebel’