Voting with your conscience

I know that I’ve been posting a lot about politics of late, but hey–it’s election season here in America.

“Fiscally conservative and socially liberal” is a descriptor I’ve heard a lot lately. It’s been used to describe a portion of independent voters, and it’s also been used to describe libertarians. What I find fascinating about both of these groups is how they vote. Usually, people who fall under this umbrella tend to vote for republicans.

What I find particularly interesting is the message that this send to people like me. If you value smaller government, lower taxes and fewer regulations but you also value a government that stays the hell out of your personal affairs, then what does it say to the rest of us when people you vote for the republican candidate?

Quite frankly, it says to me that you care more about your wallet than how other people are treated. It says that you’re willing to look the other way socially and let people be oppressed so long as it doesn’t hurt your financial situation. In short, it’s moral cowardice.

Here’s the libertarian platform, straight from their own mouths. Let’s take a quick look at these points and then how the republican party factors in.

Individuals own their bodies and have rights over them that other individuals, groups, and governments may not violate. Individuals have the freedom and responsibility to decide what they knowingly and voluntarily consume, and what risks they accept to their own health, finances, safety, or life.

Sounds great! So why vote for the republican? They’re the ones that think they can legislate what you can and can’t do to your own body. Abortion, anyone? Marijuana?

We support full freedom of expression and oppose government censorship, regulation or control of communications media and technology. We favor the freedom to engage in or abstain from any religious activities that do not violate the rights of others. We oppose government actions which either aid or attack any religion.

Again, great! So why would you vote for the party that doesn’t seem to understand or support separation of church and state? Why vote for the party that wants to put the ten commandments in government buildings?

Libertarians advocate individual privacy and government transparency. We are committed to ending government’s practice of spying on everyone. We support the rights recognized by the Fourth Amendment to be secure in our persons, homes, property, and communications. Protection from unreasonable search and seizure should include records held by third parties, such as email, medical, and library records.

Two words: Patriot Act. And yes, I’m aware that democrats overwhelming voted for that. But so did republicans. That party still supports legislation that most libertarians do not.

Sexual orientation, preference, gender, or gender identity should have no impact on the government’s treatment of individuals, such as in current marriage, child custody, adoption, immigration or military service laws. Government does not have the authority to define, license or restrict personal relationships. Consenting adults should be free to choose their own sexual practices and personal relationships.

If you believe this, how can you justify voting for the only party that actually is trying to define and restrict personal relationships?

Recognizing that abortion is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on all sides, we believe that government should be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration.

Again, if this is the case, how can you justify voting for the only party that wants the government to insert itself into the issue?

We favor the repeal of all laws creating “crimes” without victims, such as the use of drugs for medicinal or recreational purposes, since only actions that infringe on the rights of others can properly be termed crimes.

The republican party is waaaay worse about this than their liberal democrat counterparts. So why vote for them?

The only legitimate use of force is in defense of individual rights — life, liberty, and justly acquired property — against aggression. This right inheres in the individual, who may agree to be aided by any other individual or group. We affirm the individual right recognized by the Second Amendment to keep and bear arms, and oppose the prosecution of individuals for exercising their rights of self-defense.

At first glance, it finally seems like we have a reason to vote for the republican over the democrat. But find me a democrat that wants to abolish the second amendment. Gun control isn’t necessarily the same thing as “persecution of individuals for exercising their rights of self-defense.” In fact, I’d bet you could find near universal agreement upon liberals that the second amendment fully applies to self-defense.

We support a clean and healthy environment and sensible use of our natural resources. Private landowners and conservation groups have a vested interest in maintaining natural resources. Pollution and misuse of resources cause damage to our ecosystem […] We realize that our planet’s climate is constantly changing, but environmental advocates and social pressure are the most effective means of changing public behavior.

This doesn’t even outright deny that climate change is happening or that man has an impact on it. In fact, as time goes on, the number of Americans who think climate change is real and that we have an effect on it is increasing. So why vote for the party that has politicians who think it’s a hoax? And who base their environmental policy on biblical scripture, like the “Climate change can’t be real because God said he’d never flood the world again after Noah” congressman.

While energy is needed to fuel a modern society, government should not be subsidizing any particular form of energy. We oppose all government control of energy pricing, allocation, and production.

Democrats certainly do this on the renewable side. But republicans do it on the fossil fuel side. They’re just as guilty of it as anyone else, and their subsidizing increases pollution, unlike the renewables that democrats support with your tax dollars.

The United States should both avoid entangling alliances and abandon its attempts to act as policeman for the world. We oppose any form of compulsory national service.

So why would you vote for the republicans?

American foreign policy should seek an America at peace with the world. Our foreign policy should emphasize defense against attack from abroad and enhance the likelihood of peace by avoiding foreign entanglements. We would end the current U.S. government policy of foreign intervention.

Well then the republican candidate isn’t for you, are they?

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.

Don’t democrats support free trade? Didn’t Bill Clinton sign NAFTA? Doesn’t Obama support the TPP? You can go back in time and look at virtually any of these free trade bills and see that they get democratic support.

 Government should neither deny nor abridge any individual’s human right based upon sex, wealth, ethnicity, creed, age, national origin, personal habits, political preference or sexual orientation.

That sounds more like the democratic platform than the republican one.

Well there you have it. If you go over that page, you’d find that literally THE ONLY reason a libertarian would vote for the republican candidate is economic policy: Free markets, privatizing social security, ending welfare programs, lower taxes, reduced government spending–those are really the only parts of the libertarian or fiscal conservative/socially liberal agenda that overlap with the republican platform.

Which, to me, just underscores the idea that given a choice, most of these people would cast a vote that preserves economic freedom as they see it over the civil liberties of other people. Hardly an ethically or morally defensible position. Of course, libertarians and like-minded independents could solve that by simply not voting for the republican candidate. But even libertarians don’t vote for the libertarian candidates for some bizarre reason. Some math puts that number somewhere around 9%, which is pretty paltry.

A lot of analysis also indicates that even though the amount of individuals who fall into the fiscally conservative/socially liberal category are significant in number, they aren’t numerous enough to carry an election. But they can certainly swing an election. It’s just not clear to me why how you could possibly justify swinging the election in favor of someone who will lower your taxes but deny your neighbor the right to marry whomever they want. vote.jpg

Let that voice be an ethical one.

 

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5 thoughts on “Voting with your conscience

  1. I see that you couldn’t resist, huh? You’re wrong in many ways about libertarian philosophy and these simple voting patterns. Although you’re right about people like us (about over half of our tiny minority) voting for GOP but its usually only because most of the social issues in this country are trending towards the libertarian “side” (maximizing individual rights, etc) but you’re missing something….in fact, its the same thing that bothers me: they vote republican for the fiscal issues, even though most of the republicans voted as president (or who run as president) are NOT fiscally conservative. Hardly. Trump is more fiscally liberal than Clinton in many ways.
    Also, much can be said about those that vote Democrat. It has been said often that liberals lack economic knowledge. A huge knowledge gap in that field. However, these economic decisions change everything for everyone. However, knowing what I know how capitalist policies fair better for the impoverished rather than socialist policies…then why do liberals keep voting for those same policies? Virtually every country in the world is moving AWAY, not towards but AWAY from centralized planning, in many respects…..However, the Bernie Sanders crowd is led to believe that were in a crisis from a liberal presidency, using the examples of capitalist countries believing that they’re socialist.
    My point is you seem to barking up the wrong tree here. You assume that libertarians are a little silly for voting GOP? Let’s just say that almost all libertarians don’t like the GOP stance on social issues. But seeing how Roe v. Wade is now made abortions not against the law, it won’t be going away any time soon.
    “If socialists understood economics, they wouldn’t be socialists” -Hayek

  2. Oh, the reason why people don’t vote for the libertarian party is because they hardly run. Also, most of the GOP people are hardly fiscally conservative. Also, a great deal of socially liberal people are not as liberal as many would like them to be. Its kind of drag.

    1. No worries. So why do you think the libertarian party has such a difficult time running people? From everything I’ve read, up to 25% of the electorate identifies as leaning libertarian. That’s no small number of people, and lines right up with the number of people who identify as democrats or republicans. Is it simply a lack of organization? An unwillingness to engage in the current political system?

    2. For the record, there is nothing wrong with being a libertarian. Even I found myself agreeing with *most* of what was on that party platform website.

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