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Fearless Philosophy For Free Minds: Choose and Lose

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Choose and Lose

For the first time in my life, with roughly two months until an election, I am unsure as to how or even if I will vote. No matter how I vote I will be forced to compromise some of my values. This is nothing new of course given the choice between the socialist party (the Democrat Party) and the socialist-light party (the Republican Party). In the past I have been willing to choose the lesser of the two evils (the socialist-light Republican candidate) because, like many Americans, I had bought into these notions that “if you don’t vote, you shouldn’t complain” or “half a loaf is better than none.”

As of the last year or so, I’ve began to question both of these statements. If I cannot stand any of the candidates, how can I not complain if I cannot bring myself to vote for either? On the “half a loaf” statement, I’m beginning to believe that the Republicans are offering fiscal conservatives and libertarians mere crumbs at best; I could live with a half a loaf if that was what they were offering.

I do not believe I am alone in this thinking. Neal Boortz has put together a list of reasons why to not vote Republican, Democrat, or Libertarian for his upcoming book Sombody’s Gotta Say it. Boortz explains: “Everyone seems to be telling you why you should [vote]... so here's your why you shouldn't list.”

Here are a few of my favorites for each along with some of my own comments following each statement. You can read the complete lists here at near the bottom of the page.

Why You Shouldn’t Vote Republican:

“They have absolutely no fiscal discipline whatsoever. No congress has ever blown money on vote-buying programs quite like the current Republican congress has.”

But I thought Tom DeLay said that the Republicans had spending “pared it down pretty good.”

“There are far too many Republicans who want to take their personal religious blueprints for behavior and make them law.”

This is one of my biggest complaints about the Republican Party; most of the “loaf” is going to the Christian Right. These are the kind of people who want to take a wrecking ball to the First Amendment and other constitutional rights in the name of their religion. One person in-particular who embodies my worst fears of the Christian Right, Roy Moore, fortunately lost his bid for Governor of Alabama in the Republican Primary.

“They can't even protect America's borders.”

I don’t think that they can’t protect the borders, the problem is they won’t.

“Do you want your kids to come home from a government school and tell you that the Earth is only 6000 years old?”

Um, no I do not.

Why You Shouldn’t Vote Democrat:

“They clearly will not defend America from Islamic Fascism ... not now ... not until the price of that defense is catastrophic.”

This is the most obvious reason I cannot vote Democrat.

“Their war against individualism.”

If only the war against individualism were constrained to the Democrat Party. The Republican Party, perhaps to a lesser extent, no longer believes in the sovereignty of the individual. The writings of John Locke would be foreign to most of our elected officials.

“They think America is great because of its government.”

They don’t even try to hide this belief. No wonder their mascot is a JACKASS!

“They seem to think that income is distributed, not earned.”

This is apparent in the phrases they use such as “economic equality,” “income gap,” and “living wage.”

Why You Shouldn’t Vote Libertarian:

“With over 50% of the American people harboring strong libertarian feelings, they can't manage to mount a viable third-party campaign. How would they manage to govern?”

I sometimes wander if Libertarians even want to win. It’s much easier to shout from the sidelines about what a lousy job the Republicans and Democrats are doing than to get into the game and try to make a difference. I think the fear stems from the idea that the party will lose its purity because of the need to make small short-term compromises with the R’s and D’s even if it means accomplishing long-term goals.

“Not only will they not defend America's borders, they don't really think the borders need defending.”

While I agree with most of the Libertarian Party’s domestic philosophy, its foreign policy philosophy is fatally flawed. I wish America could safely be on its own without foreign entanglements. In the age of world trade, world travel, the internet, Islamofascism, and nuclear weapons this approach is suicidal. The day we pull our troops out of all foreign countries and beat our swords into plow shears will be the day we cease to be free.

“They never jumped on eminent domain abuse as the party agenda. People will react when they think their property rights are being threatened....and the Libertarians couldn't take advantage of this.”

Even if they had made this the party agenda, what good is taking a position when no one even knows you exist? Libertarians spend too much energy arguing philosophy with each other and not enough energy putting their views they do agree on in front of the American public. When was the last time you saw a Libertarian Party advertisement on TV, radio, or in print? I know the Libertarian Party does not have anywhere near as much funding as the Republicans or Democrats but surely they have as much as some of the 527 groups do to mount some sort of campaign. If the party would run ads about such issues as eminent domain abuse, the losing war on drugs, and the notion of limited government they would find that their message would resonate with more people who currently know little about the party now. The Libertarian message is a winning message but remains a loser if the message isn’t communicated.

So these are the choices I have: hold my nose and vote Republican allowing the party to continue its leftward slide, vote for a Libertarian who has no chance (if this choice is even available), or stay home and hope the Republicans lose control of the House in order to “send a message.” No matter how I choose, I still lose.


Blogger Carola Von Hoffmannstahl-Solomonoff said...

I'm sure you've heard the old line "don't vote-- it just encourages them". But imagine how happy politicians would be if nobody voted.They wouldn't even have to pretend to represent us! So keep on trucking to the voting booth. Seeing pols sweat to seem like true public servants is one of the few real bangs we get for the tax bucks that pay their saleries.

7:39 AM  

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