Saturday, May 30, 2009

Libertarian, yes, positive

These may be the scariest times I have lived in so far. It isn't like I am ancient, but I think, 9/11 aside, that my life has remained relatively unruffled and without much need for thoughtfulness on my end. These may be the most exciting times for me also. I have decided to try and get involved. It is no longer okay for me to sit and watch what is going on around me.

The first thing I had to do was pick my ground. I had been a party-line Republican. It was easy as they seemed to represent my views for the most part, and I was not a Democrat. But since this last election, I was just, I don't know, dissatisfied with the party. They were becoming diluted. They were leaving what I thought were some basic paths for happiness and prosperity. Then I learned that I could be a Conservative. But I needed to define that. And in trying to find out what that meant I found out that there was so much more out there. Where did I stand? I mean, for the most part I am a live and let live type of person.

I have some strong social ideas that tend to be conservative, but I also think that my way is not absolutely the right and only way. Freedom of choice is so important and it is what this country was founded on, no? So while I would love to see my social conservative values held dear by everyone, I would never force them on anyone. So in a sense, because of this, I guess maybe my conservative values do not spill into making me a hard-line social conservative. My largest hurdle here, really has been my religion. As a Catholic, I believe there are things we should not condone. By taking a live and let live attitude, publicly no less, was I not abandoning my faith and belief? I have decided that I am going to have reconcile myself, and God, to this decision. It is to be live and let live for me.

Fiscally though? That is a different story. Get out of my life. Protect my borders. Help me to be the best American I can by making me feel safe. I am still forming these ideas. I am learning the questions to ask. That has been the hardest. I have been so used to just going along that I never developed a sense for questioning. Libertarians seem to question everything. I think that is great. For my part though I have decided to put my money (time, whatever) where my mouth is. I am going to get more involved. I am going to learn. I don't want to be passive anymore. I want the right to discuss my country and my future. I see some people that have become spokes"persons" for what I am supposed to believe. They are my mouthpiece. I don't need nor do I want a mouthpiece. I will be speaking for myself in the future. I will do it with true knowledge and feeling. I will do it because I believe in it and understand it. Not because of a check I put in a box when I was 18 years old.


Bruce Penman said...

Give up. There is nothing you can do to change anything.

Buy flour, rice, water, canned goods and lots of bullets. Dig a bunker. Move to the mountains. Learn about agriculture. Start farming, barter for meat, etc.

All hope is lost. Obama and his operatives are winning. The USA is finished. We will never be the country we were just a year ago.

Not that this is a bad thing...

kevinsoberg said...

I completely understand your disillusionment with the Republican Party. I've felt that way myself as the party took the gains from the '90s and squandered them on petty power politics. The party didn't take the opportunity while in power to make the systemic changes for which we worked so hard to get them elected.
I have always been about principle over party, but known that we must work within a larger right of center coalition. The only obvious home for the coalition is the Republican Party. Any splintering of the coalition leads to our defeat at the hands of our ideological counterparts residing in the Democratic Party. We must hang together, or we will hang alone.
I remain an unapologetic Conservative. I don't believe enforcing a moral order is the same as forcing my individual morality upon someone. All laws are based on a moral order, on right and wrong. However, the government, at all levels, must operate within its limits for our liberty to be assured. It's our responsibility as people of the right, conservative and libertarian, to elect those who will work for liberty.

Jen said...


I appreciate your comments (you too Bruce)and I do understand the together we are stronger idea. But if there is never dissent, there will never be change. Or in this case, there is too much change but not for the better. I have been agonizing over where I fit and maybe I am being to idealistic. There is no party that will fit me 100%. I just need to find out what is REALLY important to me and pick my battles. I do not want to make decisions anymore based on ignorance or apathy. I need people like you who are willing to discuss the issues and hel me debate them through my mind. Thanks.

kevinsoberg said...


I agree. Dissent is definitely needed, but it needs to be within the party structure to pull it back to the right.The current status of the party should be unacceptable to conservatives and libertarians, but the answer isn't to leave it but to change it.
The primary job of voters is to elect politicians to represent them, to vote in their stead. The primary job of politicians should be to do just that; however it appears they want only to be re-elected. We need to hold them to their duty, and show them that they need to faithfully represent us, if they wish to stay in office.
Politicians need to know we are more than willing to replace them if they aren't fulfilling their obligations. We must stop automatically voting for them because they have the correct letter next to their name. There must be primary contests to remove those politicians who do not represent those who have elected them. Even if they ultimately win re-election, it will act to pull them back into the proper direction.

Jen said...


I so agree with you. I was one of those Republicans that would kick dirt towards Indies for leaving the party to make their point. I just got so frustrated after this last Prez election. I do not think a three party system is a bad idea (especially when that third party is basically conservative). The frustration lies mostly with the people who do not care enough to think about whether or not what they are being told is the truth. I like that Liberatrians are pretty passionate about their party and seem hyper aware of the party leaders. I do not like the fact that it splits the conservative party. I would have hoped that there would have been more from all parties, but I guess the Dems aren't the ones feeling disenfranchised right now.

I love the fact that you are talking to me about this, but I have to go to school, so I want to pick this up again later.

kevinsoberg said...


True, there is nothing wrong in being a member of the Libertarian Party, in and of itself. However, party membership leads to party loyalty, and that's the problem. It's the same with all third, or "alternative", political parties.

"Alternative" political parties are, almost exclusively, ideologically based in the strictest sense. Whether it be the Greens, Communist, Natural Rights, Conservative, Libertarian, et al, they are centered around a very tightly held set of beliefs, which inevitably leads them to be relatively small groups. People voting for these parties have only a marginal effect on elections, but the result can be to the detriment of the larger ideological movement to which each of these parties belong.

The United States has, and has had, a two party system since its inception. These two parties, which have gone by many different names over time, represent the overwhelming majority of U.S. voters. They do so because they represent the two larger ideological movements, center-left and center-right, in respect to the overall body politic of the time.

No third party will ever gain enough voters to have any positive outcome for its greater ideological movement. The moment it wins a majority of the movement's voters, it would cease to be a third party, but would continue to split the movements votes. The movement would continue to be powerless until its members come together under one party.

We do not operate under a parliamentary system. It's winner take all. People with deeply held political convictions should bring that passion and drive back into the major parties. They should influence those parties in the direction they want them to go.

Jen said...


You make so much sense, it makes me sad to think I might be selling the party out. I see what you mean about the third party being marginalized and ineffective. The more I learn about the Libertarians the more I wonder if they ARE the party for me. I am with-holding judgment though as I have some books coming that might help me.

If I am honest with myself, the things that attract me to the party are actually the same things that the Republican Party still hold dear(even if they have lost their way). Less government, lower taxes, personal responsibility, religious freedom, pro life, etc. Although with the pro-life, as a woman, I still waver between pro life and pro choice. I do not know if I feel it is okay to put my beliefs on someone else.

So, here I sit, on this very uncomfortable fence. I have ruled nothing out and if I had to vote today, I would find a Republican I could believe in. I just hope that by the next major election I know where I stand. loves me right now.

kevinsoberg said...

There is nothing to be sad about because you're not selling out "the Party". Yes, I am a Republican, but I am primarily a Conservative. So, if there is an election in which I find I agree more with the Democratic Party candidate than the Republican, I vote with my ideology. No one should vote against their core convictions out of "party loyalty".

You say your beliefs tend toward Libertarianism. My beliefs are most definitely within the ideology of Conservatism. These are our ideologies, and are not necessarily identifiers of political party affiliation.
We gather into political parties to forward our principles. The principles of Libertarianism and Conservatism are overlapping, and the two ideologies are both considered to be "right-of-center". The spectrum this refers to is the understanding that on the furthest left lies totalitarianism and on the ultimate right is anarchy. Both of our ideologies are to the right of a center point between these two extremes.

As I've written, the two major parties represent the vast majority of American voters. This is because each is a coalition of voters on their respective sides of the American political spectrum. When it comes to politics, as opposed to ideology, the spectrum slides in relation to the political beliefs of the general population. The beliefs of the voters set the scale by which left and right are measured.

As an example, think of the political spectrum as the range of colors broken down from white light. In shorthand the spectrum of light is ROYGBIV (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet). Just looking at it the center color of light is G; however, the actual center, or average light color, of a star's light depends upon the elements present in the star which are undergoing nuclear fusion. So, the "center" color of a star is the average of all the light colors emitted by the star.

In much the same way, the center of a population's political beliefs depends upon the people being measured. Americans have historically had a political center which is to the right of Europeans. As a people, we want less government than do Europeans. However, this is not an absolute and is not static. It bounces around from one election to the next.

Let's say in one election all voters show up and vote for one of two parties. The party which attracts not only their half of the spectrum, but just one additional person wins. The next election the losing party is going to try to get back that one voter, and take another one to win. This back and forth would continue as each party tries to take a majority of all voters. In reality, all voters don't participate, and more than two parties participate, both of which draws voters away from the broad coalition each major party represents. In the current situation, Republican party leaders look at the last election and see only those voters to the left, Democrats, as voters to seek next time out, forgetting non-voters and alternative party voters.

If you are unhappy with the Republican Party as it exists, and you are unhappy with the direction the Democrats are taking the country, then you must become active in the Republican party to bring it back to the Right. Growth in alternative parties only allows the apparatchiks within the Republican party hierarchy to continue drifting left in search of "the center". In reality the center remains where it was, but voters have been left behind on the Right. These voters must become active in the party machinery, and vote in primaries to remove candidates who undermine the party's right of center ideological coalition.

Yes, I understand that you have unresolved ideological questions, and don't agree 100% with the Republican Party platform. So do most people, to one degree or another. No one tightly defined ideology is going to win an absolute majority. So, we must work together to move the country in our direction, the Right. Just remember what Reagan said, "Someone who agrees with me 80% of the time is my 80% friend, not my 20% enemy."