Libertarians: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Yo mon, I'm just in de party for da pot

I know a few people who are die-hard libertarians; in fact, I work with at least one. Libertarians are the renegades, the people that really go against the current of popular politics, but sometimes I don’t think people know what it really means to be Libertarian. There is a quiz on the libertarian website that’s very simple, only around 10 or so questions. It’s so simple in fact that the average person regardless of party affiliation would probably rank libertarian. I know I did, but each question of the quiz left me asking my own questions.

Sure, each one sounded pretty damn good, but so do wishes granted by genies. Only after the wish is granted does one truly understand the consequences of said wish. For example, wishing to be the richest person alive may sound great when you say it, but when you wish for riches you don’t specify how you will obtain the money… if you actually obtain any money at all. See where this is going? You may have just wished for the collapse of the entire global economy and you’re the only one that retains any net worth.

Well the same could be said for what libertarians stand for. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of their ideas sound fantastic! Imagine living in a world that’s truly free. If you’re like the average American, you’ve just painted a Utopian picture in your head, but alas, I’m the person that over-analyzes and over-speculates… for good reason!

Let’s take these questions apart and compare them to actual libertarian views. I’m not going to sugar-coat any of this. I’m going to tell it to you like it is, stating the pros and the cons of libertarianism.

1) Government should not censor speech, press, media, or internet.

Most people, if you aren’t completely batshit insane will choose “agree.”

Let’s look at the other side of this issue, Libel and Slander. Libertarians aren’t even in agreement with themselves how such delicate matters would be handled, if at all. Imagine, you’ve finally got a free market society and you’ve established a rather successful restaurant that just so happens to compete with another. All of the sudden sales drop, and customers are scarce, but you aren’t sure why.

You read the newspaper and discover a number of people stepped forward, claiming to have been sickened by the food your restaurant served. Since there are now few regulations for businesses, there may be no federal or state regulation on goods and services, especially in the food industry. If someone claims your restaurant is a rat-turd infested cesspool of salmonella and Ebola, well there’s no way to disprove that except by word of mouth.

You could jump through the hoops of damage control, but by this point the damage has already been done. Your business closes and you are now up the creek without a paddle. Later on, you find out that the  twenty or so people that made claims of food poisoning were hired by your rival to destroy your business. There is no law against this, it’s a completely free market. Libertarians are under the impression that as people gain more liberties, they also gain more empathy and compassion…

They also smoke a lot of weed, which would account for the blatant naivety… or just not giving two shits to think it through. So, in case you didn’t bother to read all of the above, anyone can slander your name or place of business, and the libertarian rule of thumb is to let karma sort it all out.

Now, do I agree that government should not censor speech, press, media or the internet? OF COURSE! But once again, we need common sense and respect for one another to live in that type of world. So until then, keep libel and slander censored. You can’t take government completely out of the picture here, especially if the libertarian party is advocating a completely (for real) free society.

2) Military service should be voluntary. There should be no draft.

Once again, most people would say “agree!” I also agree with this; plus, libertarians would cut defense spending so much that there would be a dramatic decrease in the amount of military officials needed. Right now the US military isn’t so much protecting us as they are protecting the financial interests of our corporate overlords. There is absolutely ZERO reason our military should be invading anywhere. We are not defending, we are offending and taking. We’ve been doing that for years under false information fed to the general public.

This is where I agree with the libertarians. We can’t afford our military, but it’s coming out of our pockets anyways. We are paying for the interests of the ones that really control this country. Do a bit of research and figure this out for yourselves. I know a lot of people who are so obstinate when it comes to discussing our nation’s “defense” budget. A lot of them have family active in the military, and sleep soundly at night under the false notions their loved one could be killed or maimed in the worst way imaginable in defense of our freedom.

It’s all horseshit, and you are incredibly ignorant if you believe otherwise.

Also, since the inventions of intercontinental missiles and unmanned drones (now monitoring us by the way), there will probably never be a need for another military draft. We have the capability to fly a half-ton cruise missile up a moving target’s asshole from anywhere in the world. I think deploying thousands of 18 year old meat shields on the battlefield is a thing of the past.

3) There should be no laws regarding sex for consenting adults.

Couldn’t agree more. The conservative idea that government should stay out of business but keep a stranglehold on our private parts is not only laughably absurd, it’s also a blatant contradiction to their idea of “small government.” The only reason government is making laws regarding any of this is to put on a sort of real-life political Jerry Springer show to appease the hopelessly stupid that make up a startlingly large portion of our voting population.

It’s an embarrassment to this country and to the image of US citizens. People all around the 1st world already think we’re a country of complete imbeciles, but the more we continue to allow politicians to focus on these trivial and divisive issues, the more we look like a country of bigoted knuckle-dragging subhumans to more sophisticated and liberal nations. Everyone should be granted the same rights and freedoms as everyone else. Period. Sounds pretty damn simple doesn’t it? You’d think as a nation of simple-minded people we’d prefer simple policies.

You’d think, anyways.

4) Repeal laws prohibiting adult possession and use of drugs.

People are 50/50 on this, mainly because some drugs make people do crazy things. So how do you determine if all drugs should be legal or just some? What are the lines here? Libertarians don’t know, and nor do I think they’ve thought it all the way through. When it comes to drugs in their natural form like mushrooms, cocaine (not chemically processed in any way), marijuana, opium, tobacco, etc… I don’t see why any of that should be illegal or controlled. If someone wants to grow a garden of pleasure for themselves and friends to enjoy, that should be fine.

But how do you regulate controlled substances like hydrocodone and Xanax, synthetic drugs like meth and “bath salts.” Would this also be a free-for-all venture as well? Would society be better off if something that was restricted was available to the masses with no restrictions or regulations? The general consensus is that like a person hitting 21 and drinking for the first time, the coolness factor gets old pretty fast, and if you’re not genetically prone to alcoholism, it becomes something you may do once or twice a week instead of every night.

However, alcohol isn’t quite like heroine, meth or crack. These are drugs that once you use them, there is no build-up to full-blown addiction. All it takes is one or two times and that’s it, you’re life is fucked. Now don’t get me wrong, natural drugs can be just as bad and lead to dangerousneglectful or even abusive behavior, but synthetic drugs CAUSE PEOPLE TO EAT OTHER PEOPLE’S FACES. You can’t repeal laws prohibiting drug use and possession unless you specify.

And also let’s face it, do people really think the general public is truly capable of wielding this sword? There is a quote that says “I’m not saying we should kill all stupid people. I’m just saying we should remove warning labels and let the problem sort itself out.”

I’m not asking what YOU would do if all illegal drugs were made legal; I’m asking you to think about what would everyone else do. Couple this with Libertarian confusion over where child protective services lie, and we could have a bit of an issue on our hands. But what’s a few hundred-thousand still-born crack babies and neglected children to the rest of us in this free society?

Now I know if people want to do drugs, they will find a way to do them. Making it easier to access certain drugs doesn’t help the situation either.

Putting drug-users in prison isn’t helpful either. All prison does is make criminals out of people that weren’t criminals before. There’s a bit of a conundrum for you. How do you go about fixing this problem while having no federal or state funding to do it? You could rely on the kindness of the community, or you could be realistic and wake up to the fact that humanity doesn’t work this way. It never has. Even back during the settlement era, tight-knit communities still burned each other at the stake or left their elderly and sick to die in the woods.

A free-for-all society is just that. If you have drug problem, it’s your problem and your family’s problem. It’s not going to solve any crime problems, if anything, it will add more fuel to the fire.

5) There should be no National ID card.

This was a question that had me thinking about men wearing tin-foil hats, but then I thought about the question. They aren’t talking about state-issued ID’s here, they are talking about mark-of-the-beast type stuff. It’s completely unnecessary, and it only adds to the xenophobic tenancies of the average American. How much do you actually want to give up to feel “safe?” Let me tell you something, you aren’t any safer now than you were in 2001 or 1993 or whenever any other terrorist group got a wild hair up their asses and did something terrible.

That’s really all I want to say about this. If you want to read more about the whole national ID spiel that never happened but “could,” (no not really, but perhaps!), then go here.

6) End “corporate welfare.” No government handouts to business.

Sounds good! In fact, in a libertarian-run country there would have been no reason for corporate hand-outs at all. There would be no income tax, no restrictions on free trade, no regulations. Why on earth would they need handouts… unless they failed.

But wait…

What if that company employs half a town or a large chunk of a county in a state? What happens to the people that worked for that company? Then what happens to the companies that depend on those people’s incomes in that town or city? Didn’t we just go through this in the “Great Recession” tumble-down economics of failing corporations leading to failing small businesses leading to an economy working in reverse?

Let’s face it, in either situation the little guy loses, but in a country that offers virtually no help to the unemployed, what’s a poor, unemployed bloke to do? The Libertarian plans to eliminate this problem by letting the free market do what it does best, create jobs. But if you have no demand because there were massive layoffs, how do you increase the demand for employment? Oh, well we’ll just let the chips fall where they may.

I agree with ending corporate welfare, but I don’t agree with the “sink or swim” method either. Sometimes bailouts work sometimes they fail. However, surprisingly no one is ever held accountable. I guess the corporation itself could be held accountable and disciplined accordingly, after all they are US citizens now.

7) End government barriers to international free trade.

This sounds freaking awesome, doesn’t it? It sounds good because we don’t really know the long-term effects this will have on our economy. From what I’ve read, the good outweighs the bad, and it’s all speculation anyways.

8) Let people control their own retirement; privatize Social Security.

I’m in the middle here as well. Social Security works… kind of. It wasn’t really supposed to be a permanent thing, rather an emergency placeholder to give us time to seek other avenues. Look at the way Social Security is structured. You are forced to pay a percentage of your income toward someone else’s retirement, and those people that are now collecting social security paid for a generation before them to retire. This is because of inflation.

Obviously if you were paid $1.50 an hour back in the 50’s (which was a decent wage back in the day, comparable to about $14-$18 an hour today), you put a percentage of that into social security. Obviously as inflation occurs and wages increase, what you put into retirement during those years isn’t going to do much for you when you retire. So, in order to fix that problem the next generation picks up the tab.

Now because of that, it’s very hard to stop this nonsense. All that money you are putting into social security is going to be gone when the system either collapses in on itself because of the exponential growth in population and inflation while wages barely increase, or it will be done away with and privatized. Either way, you’re paying for someone else’s retirement. That money that should be yours when you retire will not be there. I promise you, it will not.

So obviously government failed to come up with a solution to Social Security. Why not privatize it and let each individual take charge of their own financial security? Ask anyone who thought their 401k investment made enough money they’d be able to retire before the bear market.

Don’t get me wrong, there are advantages to playing the slots on wall-street, but don’t put too much faith in it when it comes to your retirement. The key to 401k or any stock is to buy low and sell high, obviously. If you bought low, and the stock you’ve chosen is trending well, you could be set for the rest of your senility, and still have a nice fat inheritance to leave the kiddies when you bite the big one.

HOWEVER, if the stocks in your mutual fund were trending upward during your working career and the economy tanks 1 week before retirement, you’re fucked until the market recovers, or you reinvest in something that may work during and after the recession… but in worst cases you have to start all over again.

I’ve always been a big fan of saving money for retirement (savings, IRA’s), but again in this face-paced materialistic society we live in, putting the amount of money we need to away is a lot harder than you think, especially when the inevitable disaster happens and you have to dip into those precious savings accounts. We are a society where a lot of us have negative net worth, low pay, and a pretty pessimistic view of our futures. Right now, with 2012 upon us, some don’t think we’ll make it to next year.

I guess the conclusion to this would be at least you have a choice where your money goes. Right now uncle Sam wants you to pay social security and you damn well better like it.

9) Replace government welfare with private charity.

Again, naivety of the libertarian party thinking human beings are instinctively charitable. Right now, if you’re sitting here thinking of joining the libertarian movement, and you clicked “agree” so hard you broke your mouse, you are probably sick of all those lazy good-for-nothing black/hispanic/white trailer trash bottom-feeders sucking away your hard-earned money because they keep squirting out kids and won’t get jobs.

You’ve already made the decision that you’re sick of providing charity to these people, am I right? Okay so the average hard-working Joe isn’t going to be providing handouts to these supposed failures of humanity (generalizing here, not saying all people on welfare are failures… just most of them). You could say the Catholic charities could pick up the slack, but with the absence of welfare, there would be such a strain on resources, the churches would have to opt for silver everyday creature comforts instead of solid gold ones. The church not-so-humbly declines. This leaves corporate citizens and individual philanthropists to help those poor, poor hopeless people.

But wait, why would they do that now? No income tax means no need for tax deductions. Things aren’t looking good for Consuela, Manuello and their 7 screaming kids the government no longer pays for. So… yeah. What happens now? I mean, people will obviously stop breeding when they can’t afford it, but what about those already sucking the life-teat of the social welfare system? How would you keep track of this if you tapered it off, but cut the amount of the bureaucratic douche bags in charge of dolling out those undeserved checks every month?

Now, what about people on disability (like my mother for example who has a gaping pus-filled hole in her stomach due to some careless and unskilled surgeon). You know, people that have worked all their lives but ended up with some kind of debilitating disease or injury? Charity? That’s okay, their already burdened kids will take care of them, pay for their medical bills, treatments, medications.

Let’s face it, this will fail too. There NEEDS to be social safety nets for people that legitimately need them. I guess that’s the bleeding heart liberal in me. Granted this question said welfare, but if you read what libertarians want, it’s total freedom from the government. No taxes, no social programs. No medicaid, medicare, disability, welfare, food stamps… none of that.

You are always going to have the soulless waste of human life gaming the system and living off of government assistance when they are perfectly capable of making their own money. But then there are those that will probably end up dying because there is nothing they can do about it. I’m not seeing a more charitable society here. I’m seeing a society where the have-nots will descend into anarchy, become desperate, hijack public transit and drive them into buildings. That’s what I’d probably do in that situation, provided I had the money for bus fare.

10) Cut taxes and government spending by 50% or more.

Sounds great, until you realize what they are cutting. And also, unless you are generating revenue through taxes, you won’t have any money to spend. If you abolish federal taxes, you’ve done away with federal programs. If you cut state, local and sales tax, you’ve just gutted your police, fire fighters and school system. But that’s okay, if you’re libertarian, you believe that education is NOT free, and agree to pay for your child’s education.

This could also lead to privatized police and fire fighters, even privatized military. By this point though, the US constitution is nothing more than a pretty piece of paper behind fancy glass. If the government loses power, it definitely will not shift to the people. Or maybe it will…

Libertarians think that the constitution, like the Bible, is set in stone. What the forefather’s wanted is still relevant today, and while that is the case with our basic principles, the constitution is amended all the time. It is a constantly changing thing.

In conclusion (thank God, because I’m extremely tired), the libertarian part will never be taken seriously because none of their policies are anywhere near thought out. The US will probably never be ready for a libertarian (Oligarchy) government, even if the entire country collapsed tomorrow.

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