Tuesday, May 23, 2006
When the good of the party trumps the good of the nation
There ain't no good guys,
There ain't no bad guys,
There's only you and me,
and we just dis-agree...
The past few months in blogger land have been somewhat depressing in many ways. Those with whom I've had the pleasure in communicating with can testify to our common theme of the moment,.. the insane "absolute-ism" that exists in the political discourse. No liberal wants to give a conservative credit for anything, no conservative wants to get caught dead agreeing with a liberal, etc. Nobody of any stripe of ideology want to throw a Libertarian a bone of any sort. Why does partisanship trump the better of the nation? why do we each feel that EVERYTHING our platform stands for is better that what YOURS stands for? How can it be that we dis-agree on 95% of everything... is it that difficult to give credit to opposing views when they show you a better path than your own?
Take foreign policy. Libertarians (the party that your truly identifies with the most) believe in virtually no foreign policy intervention whatsoever. An almost Wilsonian credo to our platform. If Hitler incarnate were to rise in the halls of the Kaiser's palace my party would say "Screw you Europe, you're on your own, its not our problem". There is a troubling absolute-ism to this issue that makes me think not everything in my party makes sense. I think most of us can readily agree that although we agree with a majority of our own partisan platform, the rest is just appeasement for the fringe elements that help us in the primaries,.. at least that is my view. Why not be honest then? Example, I am fully for a woman's right to choose and never talk about the subject as it is polarizing to the 12th degree, but that does not mean that the casual view of late term partial birth abortion is something to which I subscribe (save the slippery slope argument, I know it). For reasons of my own and that I choose not to share that's where I draw my line. There HAS to be a point that we as people can say, "Although I am a loyal partisan, my party is out to lunch in this issue and I do not support this or that"...
So in order to fully whip my own self, cleanse my soul, and flog my beliefs I offer you 3 things I DON'T fully or partially agree with within my own Party. There,.. I said it! (is this what AA meetings feel like?.... ) All of the comments on quotations (") are taken from the issues page of the libertarian party home page (http://www.lp.org/). My comments of retort, are in blue.
1. End Welfare
"None of the proposals currently being advanced by either conservatives or liberals is likely to fix the fundamental problems with our welfare system. Current proposals for welfare reform, including block grants, job training, and "workfare" represent mere tinkering with a failed system.
It is time to recognize that welfare cannot be reformed: it should be ended.
We should eliminate the entire social welfare system. This includes eliminating AFDC, food stamps, subsidized housing, and all the rest. Individuals who are unable to fully support themselves and their families through the job market must, once again, learn to rely on supportive family, church, community, or private charity to bridge the gap"
(Although I agree in principle with the reasoning behind this ideal, practically speaking we know there in no way in hell this will ever happen. There is too much inertia and "grandfathering" of social programs to believe this is even in the realm of do-ability. I wish my party would come to a practical solution that is palatable to all and not seem as draconian. I work in the affordable housing industry, and trust me, there is good work being done by good people. And those very same people use the subsidies, grants and other Federal and State funds with great care and fiscal wisdom. My party is out to lunch on this)
2. Reform education
"There can be no serious attempt to solve the problem of poverty in America without addressing our failed government-run school system. Nearly forty years after Brown vs. Board of Education, America's schools are becoming increasingly segregated, not on the basis of race, but on income. Wealthy and middle class parents are able to send their children to private schools, or at least move to a district with better public schools. Poor families are trapped -- forced to send their children to a public school system that fails to educate.
It is time to break up the public education monopoly and give all parents the right to decide what school their children will attend. It is essential to restore choice and the discipline of the marketplace to education. Only a free market in education will provide the improvement in education necessary to enable millions of Americans to escape poverty"
(Again, I think there is enough education spectrum and diversity of thought so as to make public schools, charter schools, private schools, home-schooling and other methods co-exist and not pee on each other as if they are afraid of loosing their political or union clout. Education as a whole should trump our individual career agendas, not the other way around. My party is halfway out to Brunch on this...)
The Issue: "We welcome all refugees to our country and condemn the efforts of U.S. officials to create a new "Berlin Wall" which would keep them captive. We condemn the U.S. government's policy of barring those refugees from our country and preventing Americans from assisting their passage to help them escape tyranny or improve their economic prospects"
(I love my party, but they are freakin' nuts in this issue! For a party that is for fiscal discipline and strong individual responsibility they sure act as if I love paying taxes for the caring of every refugee who can make it here,... I sure as heck don't! I swear I am neither a racist or xenophobe, but to say that the house of America is open to care for all the refugees of the world, while noble and Utopian, is not near the pragmatic thought patterns I subscribe towards. My party is not only out to lunch on this,... but I am fighting from within to fight this)
Now, If I can just get a Democrat and a Republican to tell me what 3 items on their platform are full of it, we may yet save all of us,... from ourselves.
This Libertarian man did not vote for Mr. Bush, but if I think pragmatically (and close my eyes really tight...) and look at every thing he has done, and all the laws passed by the Congressional bodies during his administration, I can find some things that I can applaud and hail as noteworthy,... and believe me, its not that hard. It just takes loving your country more that you love you party.