Yeah you read that right: I’m a Libertarian.
No that doesn’t mean I’m a crazy anarchist. Honestly, I think MOST Americans are Libertarian and don’t even realize it. (Seriously, click that link back there and take the quiz!) I have known since high school where I stood politically, but tended to vote Republican so that my vote ‘counted’. But then 2016 happened and I couldn’t do it anymore. The two-party system is so fucking broken that there was no way I could choose the ‘lesser of two evils’ anymore. Since then, I have voted Libertarian. And I encourage you to join me so that we can fix this insanity. But, in order to sway more people to consider this valid 3rd option, I need to clear up what being Libertarian REALLY means. So here goes. This is what I, personally, believe as a Libertarian.
Less government, more personal responsibility
Ideally, according to me, there would be no income tax, no welfare, and no universal healthcare (coming from a person with CHRONIC illness y’all. I’ve thought about this. A lot.) Things like adult drug use, prostitution, gay marriage, and abortion would be a personal choice and completely decriminalized. My personal motto here is “Just because I would or wouldn’t choose it, doesn’t give me the right to choose for someone else.” That doesn’t make anything ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ it simply puts the decision making back on the individual and takes the government out of it.
What this type of thinking DOESN’T do is eliminate churches, treatment programs, adoption programs, community resources, charity, corporate programs, etc. For example, I believe in treatment for drug addicts, not incarceration. So you can bet your ass that if I could choose where my money (tax dollars) went it wouldn’t be to prisons, it’d be to treatment centers.
Being a Libertarian is about progress.
Government has a purpose. Taxes have a purpose. But today our government’s reach goes WAY too far. Does that mean I want to immediately eliminate things like welfare, income tax, and medicare outright? No. Because I’m not an idiot. These things are ingrained in our society. People currently NEED them. Instead, it becomes ‘How do we decrease dependence on these programs?’ How do we free up people to DO more so that they can own their own lives? To me, being a Libertarian is not extreme, it’s logical. Just because I have certain ideals, doesn’t mean I want to completely upend our country. After all, it took us hundreds of years to get here, it’s going to take some time to fix it.
I think it’s pretty obvious at this point that sticking with the two-party system is never going to get us anywhere. Especially when people simply ‘vote the party’. What’s so different about electing Libertarians? They hold staunch views in both ‘traditional’ camps while also looking to make America what it was SUPPOSED to be: FREE and FAIR for ALL. A place where you get to choose what you believe, how you live, and what you support. Without having a say in the personal lives of others.
Being a Libertarian lets me see the bigger picture
Lately, I have been stuck on the ‘fair’ part of my beliefs. Because this country has never ACTUALLY been fair to a large percentage of Americans (Looking at you POC). And while my Libertarian beliefs technically excuse me from things like reparations, my sense of personal responsibility does not. ‘Fair’ isn’t me enjoying my white privilege without repercussions while Black people still battle to make up for years of abuse.
So while my ancestors didn’t show up in America until long after the 16th amendment, I’m still enjoying the passed down privileges of American whiteness. Therefore, I’m ok with things seeming a little ‘unfair’ to me right now while we work to balance out the system. I am a Libertarian, and in my ideal country, we don’t have deep-rooted racism because all people are TRULY equal. Therefore we must fix it. I want every American’s life to be about choice, not circumstance. And that means doing the work. NOW.
Being a Libertarian is defending other people’s rights, even when you don’t agree with them.
The piece of human trash that refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple? I support their right to refuse. BUT! You can bet your ass I’ll boycott the hell out of that shop. I’ll probably start buying cakes I don’t need from another shop that steps up and gives the couple a free cake. But no, I don’t think there should be a law forcing that first shop to make the couple a cake. And I’ll fight for their bigoted asses on that front. Why? Because that’s their decision (and it’s their right to make it). It’s a stupid, hateful, awful one… but it’s theirs. Not mine. And it’s their right to make that shitty decision. We often forget that we don’t have to like how others use their rights.
Libertarianism is recognizing the difference between rights and privileges
This is the part where people will get mad at me. You have the right to love whoever you want. You have the right to identify as a certain gender, have children, have sex for money, do drugs, speak freely, practice any religion you want, have a fair trial, give your money to whoever you want, to vote etc. You have the right to your OWN life. Simple as that.
You know what you don’t have a RIGHT to? A driver’s license, health insurance, an education, retirement income, a cell phone, etc. Those things are PRIVILEGES. These things (that we WANT) are the reasons we work hard and make good decisions. So we can obtain them. Again, this is my IDEAL. We are not there. The playing field is not currently level and we’re in this gray area of rights vs. privileges. So it becomes, ‘How do we level the playing field?’ A Libertarian balances these things and works for real progress. Instead of this asinine see-saw we’ve been riding for the past 200+ years.
No, I’m not advocating for a free for all
Murder, sexual assault, battery, and other violent crimes and still crimes. Our justice system should still exist. Police should still exist. Public school teachers should still be paid by our taxes. Etc. Our country cannot function without government, and that’s not the point. To me, the point is weaning America off a broken system so that it can finally be the country it’s supposed to be. A place where people can pursue their dreams and live the lives they choose without fear. A place people can agree to disagree and still be friends. I want to live in the country we’re SUPPOSED to have. That is why I am a Libertarian.
Anyone can be a Libertarian
No, really. It’s true! You can be a Libertarian and still believe in social welfare programs. You can be a Libertarian and be pro-life. I have no idea where this idea that you have to be 100% anti-government to be Libertarian came from, but it’s simply not true. How many Republicans do you know only vote that way because of money? They’re all in favor of gay marriage, pro-choice, and against the ridiculous immigration laws…. but they say they’re Republican. On the flip side, how many people do you know that are pro-life, pro-welfare, and against gay marriage but say they’re a Democrat? My point is this: you don’t have to a die-hard to affiliate with a certain political party.
If more people voted Libertarian we could have a 3-way presidential debate. We could avoid stalemates in Congress and the House, and we could have a truly impartial Supreme Court. Yeah, we might not see a Libertarian president for a while, but we can start to shift the landscape and force ACTUAL change. Simply by accepting the fact that there is a third option. One that many Americans identify with naturally to boot!
So do yourself a favor and get outside the elephant and donkey boxes and think for yourself. We don’t have to live like this. We can have the country we deserve.
Please go check out Jo Jorgenson to learn more about your options for 2020. Guys, it’s 2020. It’s time. Let’s make some real change for once.