"The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient warrant." ~ John Stuart Mill
Lady in Red
Exclusive to STR
I got a phone call this morning from a passionate woman asking for my husband. He wasn't at home, so she decided to feel me out instead. Now, there's something that doesn't happen everyday!
Christine Smith is seeking the Libertarian Party's nomination for President. She's been invited to attend the Libertarian Party of Michigan convention and she's looking for financial support, which has been less than forthcoming. I suggested that perhaps it is because Michigan is in a bit of an economic bind right now with an estimated 350,000 people out of work. The state LP itself is on shaky legs.
I was unaware of contenders for the Libertarian Presidential nomination, much less a woman, but we seem to be all the rage right now. If you check out Smith's website, you'll agree she's easy on the eyes, which doesn't hurt. (A lot easier than Hillary, despite her professional coiffeur or Condi and what must be her amazing shoe collection.) I do not vote on principle, but I couldn't resist asking Smith a few questions.
I had to start with Ron Paul. Many who read Strike The Root share my disinclination to vote, but if they did come out of the woodwork, my guess is, like me it would be to vote for this man. (C'mon, be honest, isn't there just a teensy bit of hope that, given a chance, he could and would roll back the Leviathan of tyranny eating Amerika alive?) I asked Smith about him.
She clearly did not wish to discuss any other candidate. I pressed on with, 'Why should anyone vote for you rather than him?' With a deep breath, she adequately responded that corruption is rampant in the Republican Party, and as Dr. Paul has chosen to align himself with it, he has tainted himself by association. It's too true that the Republican Party makes for fear and loathing in Washington (not to mention the rest of the world).
Does the Party of Principle have a significantly better track record? Ok ' the LP is insignificant ' this is an advantage? Admittedly, no one is afraid of the Libertarian Party. When it comes to politicians trying to screw you, small is better.
Ron Paul's reputation for Constitutionality speaks for itself. (See why he's called 'Dr. No.') His alignment with the Republican Party of bloodthirsty whores does give me a queasy feeling. Paul runs on its ticket simply to get elected--something he couldn't do as a Libertarian in Texas , or probably anywhere else, for that matter.
The notion of true liberty is just not a best seller in the U.S.S.A. If the idea of freedom can't be sold at home, 'home on the range, where the deer and the antelope play,' it probably can't be sold. (At least not to the majority of people who think that voting is a good idea.)
Also, the question must be asked, even with good intentions, how much ability does one person have to reshape a nation? The actions of George W. Bush represent a shocking answer: too much. Total information awareness, no accountability and no rule of law are bad enough, but his signing statements seal the deal on unbridled power. Are we to believe that another person with a finger on 'the button' would behave differently? It seems to me we've heard this before, and look where we are now--at the end of a long march to tyranny. What was that quote about absolute power and corruption? I know I've got it here somewhere . . . .
Besides climbing into bed with the Republican Party, one must sadly wonder what else Dr. Paul might be willing to do as a means to an end. Naturally, the same question must be asked of any candidate for office. For some reason, the view changes when one gets behind the wheel. It's as if every demon known to man is called to attention. How immune is anyone to the seduction of power, which is faster than a train, more powerful than a locomotive? Look, up in the sky ' it's superpower! The drug of choice for political royalty ' the 'crack' of the upper crust! They can quit any time they want--they just don't want to! Don't look now, but there is only a War on your Drugs.
Politics is just a grown up version of a game we played as kids--'King of the Castle.' The object of it is to stay on top of a hill, while all the other players try to push you off so that they can 'rule.' The person on top has a strategic advantage, militarily speaking, so staying there is easier than getting there. The winner taunted the losers by singing out, "I'm King of the Castle--you're a dirty rascal." The main difference between this and today's elections is nicer haircuts and more expensive suits; the childishness and love of 'lording it over' the lesser beings is the same, except that politicians are playing with live ammunition. A real shove to the president would likely cost you your life, professional or otherwise--look what it infamously did for Valerie Plame's career.
Having been caught by surprise with Smith's phone call to someone she mistook for an LP office holder, I pressed on. (Admittedly I'm not the fastest thinker on my feet or over the phone.) I know I'm bad, but I had to drop the 'A' word: abortion. I wanted to hear what she had to say (no doubt an unusual experience for a Libertarian candidate). Admittedly, a politician being lobbed that query is about as predictable as the answer you'll get should you ask a revivalist minister what it is he wants to talk to you about, so I assumed she was prepared.
Again Ms. Smith passed the sniff test. She said that Roe v. Wade was a decision of the legislative branch and that she doesn't believe reproduction is any of their business ' music to my ears! She promises to ensure women's right to choose without government funding abortions. Check, plus, Christine! She warmed up to me after I told her that I could never have an abortion myself, but I'd be damned before I'd ask the government to stick its dirty snout up the privates of my neighbor to ascertain that she's not having one. Government doesn't protect ' it is merely in the protection racket, which is a very different animal altogether. Don't get me started on the damage government has actually wreaked on humanity under the guise of protection, security, justice, freedom or any other lie.
There was lots to like about Smith's website. She says America 's borders are already 'open' and calls for an end to another miserable failure - the federal government's immigration policy. She calls for an immediate withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Iraq and an end 'to U.S. government meddling in the affairs and conflicts of foreign nations.' More music to my ears--this phone call was getting good. I am hetero, but this lady in red knew how to get me to take off my shoes, close my eyes and ask for more.
She calls for a restoration of the Bill of Rights and an end to the 'insane War on Drugs.' Oh baby! She also wants a full investigation and prosecution of government and military wrongdoing of the 2003 Iraq invasion. (The only problem with that is the government investigating itself.) In short, 'Shrink dramatically the size, power and cost of federal government for less regulation of your business and less intrusion into your private life and pocketbook. Free Americans from the burdensome federal income tax, from private property seizures and burdensome regulations.'
Gentlemen, start your engines! I know these are sweet nothings being whispered into my ear, but don't stop now! I'm old enough to know better and too young to resist. This sweet talk was waking up all my senses and leaving me breathless. How many people call you and talk this way?
'As an American, no matter where you live--urban or rural, no matter your race, no matter your faith, no matter your financial situation, seek something in common with every other American: Freedom to create the life you envision for you and those you love.' I'm whispering, yes, yes. 'Such true freedom exists when everyone is given equal opportunity to pursue their dreams and goals free from big government intrusion.' Hmm, equal opportunity--now that gives me pause.
Despite his other, distinctly statist tendencies, like Martin Luther King Jr., I dream of a colorblind society. The problem with racism is that government institutionalized it, made a career of it and still does. Even if racism wasn't rampant within government itself, no action on its part can ever eradicate it from human exchange because it is a human characteristic (albeit not a desirable one). The word 'equality' is an open invitation to the prying eyes of government into every corner of human interaction along with the use of force--a contradiction of freedom.
Smith goes on to say, 'It's time for a People's America ,' which definitely gives me pause. My eyes are open now. Smith says we need a smaller government and respect for 'state and local control regarding environmental protection, conservation, land use, ecosystem management, public health, etc' and that these things will eliminate federal special interest lobbying and federal intrusion.
'Et cetera?' (Damn! It's all just another LP wet dream.) Government couldn't even limit itself when its boundaries were clearly delineated by a constitution. 'Et cetera' makes the sky the limit! Nor is there any way that the big boys in Washington are going to let taxpayers wiggle free when there is lunch money to be bullied out of them. What is it that Libertarians don't see about that? It's like Moses parting the Red Sea ; besides being contrary to natural law and recorded history, barring an act of God, how likely is it to happen? What Americans have is a sea of debt, and that's not going anywhere soon.
I admit I have affection for the LP, much like I would a prodigal son ' you just can't help but love someone with good intentions no matter how futile or misguided their actions may be. There's no way the LP candidate for president will even garner more than single digits of the vote, even if she were not shadow boxing the reputation of Ron Paul. After 30 odd years as a political party, the Libertarians are wasting their time, energy and resources. What don't they get about that?
In their defense, they are trying do something about the loss of liberty in America . In fact, Libertarians are the only candidates actually paying lip service to liberty. Democrats don't even know the meaning of the word. Greens think it's evil. Republicans have molested it like everything else on which they lay their dirty hands. The problem is that the Libertarians are barking up the tree of politics to try to harvest some liberty; unfortunately it is simply not the fruit borne of that particular tree.
Christine Smith is ambitious, articulate and passionate as hell. Maybe one day she'll wake up, come to her senses and you'll be reading about her recovery from politics and conversion to anarchism in the e-pages of Strike The Root. All that passion has to go somewhere! I wouldn't mind a little more of it coming my way in the daily edition of my favorite webzine.