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How about freedom ... across the board

December 29, 2011 - Lee Smith
I notice that former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson has fled the Republican Party — and his presidential run within it — in favor of the Libertarian Party and a try for its nomination.

Johnson, who wasn’t even invited to Republican debates because his poll numbers were so bad, has a snowball’s chance in Hades of becoming president, so it makes one wonder what he is thinking. An alternative choice to the eventual Republican nominee represents votes taken away from the effort to rid the nation of Barack Obama’s sad tenure. Yet I can understand Johnson’s motives in an ideal sense. He says he is fiscally conservative and socially liberal and doesn’t feel the Republican Party’s interests coincide with his any more.

He isn’t the first Libertarian to shift between mainstream politics, with the Republicans, and the more principled approach of Libertarians.

In thinking about this, what strikes me as peculiar is how there is not a Libertarian alternative on the Democratic side of the aisle. While Democrats ostensibly back civil rights, rights of the accused, gay marriage, free speech, etc., there seem to be few in the party who openly and vociferously commit themselves to economic freedom. Why is that?

Some on the left openly — and loudly — criticize the irrational religious right in America. Fair enough. Yet how rational and consistent is it to say people should be free in every aspect of their lives except when it comes to their incomes, investments, retirements, estates, etc. Specifically, liberals do not think twice about supporting the taking of others’ money — via taxation — for various social engineering purposes or flat-out wealth redistribution.

I heard on the news recently that more and more Americans are becoming independent — rather than party-affiliated — voters. Johnson argues that is because more citizens reflect his own views but are caught between two political parties that are losing touch. Yet the zealots in both parties still dominate the nominating processes. That’s interesting as political evolution and history. It’s also rather sad.


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