Libertarians: Crusaders For Freedom or Crazy Idealists?

Written by Ethan Ford.

If you are like me and spend any amount of time paying attention to American politics, you might understand when I say that the current two-party system can be incredibly frustrating. Congress bickers like kindergarteners, making it extremely hard for anything to get done since one side will stonewall the other if a law proposed by the other side gains any traction. It is also clear, however, that there is no sign of any third party gaining enough popularity to change the power balance of this system in the near future. The most well-known party, other than Republicans and Democrats, is the Libertarian party.

The Libertarian party is oft the target of scorn from mainstream media, and their constituents are sometimes be made out to be radicals whose views are, at best, idealistic and unreachable and, at worst, lunacy. For myself, I do not think it is a perfect party by any means, but with the extreme bipartisanship I see on a daily basis in our current government, it would not necessarily be the worst thing for America if Libertarians began gaining a larger voter base. Will this happen anytime soon? Probably not, but hey, a broke college kid can dream, right? Before I am thrown to the wolves for being a crazy Libertarian, I think it is important to at least know what Libertarians stand for.

The overarching theme of Libertarianism is small government. They believe the government should not be overly involved in the daily lives of its citizens, but rather that the government should only protect its citizens’ rights and liberties. This is apparent in stances like decriminalizing marijuana, which Libertarians argue would save billions in incarceration, raise billions in legal sales, and hinder the massive criminal economy that currently exists in the black market marijuana trade. Libertarians also support massive cuts in military spending, arguing that America should focus its money and defenses on its own borders, rather than maintaining military bases throughout Europe and the Middle East. In fact, as far as spending goes, Libertarians claim that the United States needs to reevaluate what is expected of the government in the first place. They feel that instead of the large amount of people who rely on the government, whether through welfare, tax benefits, or other means, we should have a government that focuses on balancing our budget and controlling our debt, something Libertarians view as being unsustainable long term.

As one might expect, Libertarians are all about liberty. They are firmly against internet censorship; they dislike the Patriot Act and would try to get it repealed. Essentially, their belief is that citizens are never safer for giving up any of their freedom, causing them to be very much against gun regulation. They believe that it is a woman’s right to decide whether or not to have an abortion until “the point of viability of a fetus,” and they support marriage equality for gays and lesbians. These are some of their views on current hot button issues, but a full list can be found at their 2012 presidential candidate Gary Johnson’s website, www.garyjohnson2012/issues.

I do not agree with everything that Libertarians stand for, but no political party is perfect. I am more partial to Libertarians because of their views on the economy and their “hands off” mentality regarding foreign policy. I think that a large government with programs costing billions and billions of dollars is not the way to go. Sure, the short term benefits are nice, but the long term cost will be too high, and then we could see our economy in a poor situation like Greece’s or Spain’s. So, if you are jaded about politics, as fed up with Washington as I am, or do not care, take a look at Libertarians. They will not be winning presidential elections anytime soon, but you just might find you agree with those crazy people more than you would have thought.

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