The “L” Word – libertarian

libertarian_definition_bumper_sticker

It took me over a decade to fully admit that I have a strong libertarian bent.  When I first heard the term in high school, I simply did not understand.  I kept thinking that it must represent something I would never completely understand.  What is so controversial about wanting less government and wanting to give people more control over their lives?  I still do not understand the misconceptions.  For example, the idea that libertarians want no government.  Of course we need government for national security, infrastructure, etc., but the real question is why aren’t more people questioning the daily, routine intrusion of the federal government in our lives?  There is a pervasive idea, particularly among millennials, that government is the answer to everything.  It sickens me to recognize that so many people do not understand how government overreach can shutdown small business and job creation.  I actually lost a friend over such an argument – a man with whom I attended business school at that.  Most people do not see the connection between the two and think that government can create jobs.  It simply can’t.  It can only help to create an environment that is conducive to new job growth and business creation.

It saddens me just how politically cynical I’ve become over the last few years.  The person I would have loved to see elected President dropped out of the race recently.  I will once again hold my nose and vote for the person I perceive to be the lesser of two evils.  Neither, no matter who wins the Republican and Democratic nominations, will fully represent my political views.  I do not care much about social issues.  There is a role for government to create a safety net, but it is non-profit organizations, which deserve much more support, that are in the best position to make the largest impact.  As for issues such as gay marriage and abortion, what needs to be changed?  While I completely disagree with the idea of abortion, I recognize the necessity of legalized abortion and firmly believe that everyone should have fully control over what happens to his or her body.  I can’t imagine being told what to do with my body.  At the same time, there is much to be done to help support pregnant women who are thinking of having an abortion.  They need to know ALL of their options, not just abortion.  That type of work does not require the government at all.  As for gay marriage, now that it has been upheld by the Supreme Court, I fail to understand why it was such an issue in the first place.  If two consenting adults want to get married, why not?  Why should government be involved in marriage at all?

If I had to pin down my own beliefs, I would say that in theory, I am fairly liberal on social issues, even though conservative values have always shaped my own personal life.  The thing is that I’ve never expected anyone else to live by those values.  I cannot stand people trying to impose their values on me, so I try not to impose my values on anyone else.  Fiscal issues are altogether different.  I am a fiscal conservative.  Sadly, this is exactly where both parties fall far short for me.  Both spend like crazy and are doing next to nothing to rein in spending.  The way I look at it, the less money in the hands of the government, the more money in the hands of people like you and me.

I originally decided to write on this topic in an effort to better understand why libertarians are so misunderstood, why exactly I am so drawn to libertarian ideas, and why I believe what I believe.  It all comes back to the idea that I believe government is way too big and that our freedoms are slowly, surely being eroded.  If that makes me a rebel, so be it.

penn

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