"The first people totalitarians destroy or silence are men of ideas and free minds." ~ Isaiah Berlin
Right-Libertarianism's Image Problem
Libertarianism, of the kind that believes free markets and property rights are at least as important as free speech (and in fact self ownership means the two are inseparable), can get a raw deal perception-wise. Let’s face it, too many of us free market libertarians get mistaken for Republicans at first glance; and as everyone knows, Republicanism is the party of the old, white, but not necessarily dead, male. In a recent email conversation with a liberal arts-major friend of mine, it was said that libertarians tend to be white because white people are used to being left alone, whereas minorities need the power of the government to set things straight. Judging from the crowd that attended the Freedom Fest last May in
From my vantage point here in Democrat/Republican-controlled
As many may know,
To many of my fellow Sacramentans, libertarianism that is at least as much free market as it is free speech, still smacks of a reactionary “government get off my back” attitude that is all too similar, at least in rhetoric, to the crap we heard at the Republican National Convention. After all, even Sean Hannity, that beacon of common-sense nationalism pitted against the placid Alan Colmes every week on Fox, is apparently unhappy with recent moves by the FCC to suppress raunchier forms of free speech. To the politically correct establishment at the heart of
There is another world, apart from the typical dichotomy of “liberal” and “conservative,” that too many people can’t or won’t comprehend. My public school upbringing taught me to reflexively respect figures like Cesar Chavez and Abraham Lincoln. The American Indians, it was rightfully taught, were wronged by an imperialistic, land-hungry Anglo-Saxon government; in addition to all this, I was taught that respect for the “environment” was a loftier-than-thou virtue.
Now, what if I was to think that Cesar Chavez was responsible for making the plight of the Mexican American worse, yet by no means be anti-Mexican? What if I was to question the legitimacy of the Civil War, yet be disgusted by the idea of slavery? What if I was to find a contradiction between the rights of modern day native Americans and the environmentalist agenda? – so well uncovered by Diana White Horse Capp, a victim of the encroachment of the federal government onto sovereign
On the “progressive” west coast, you are either with the zeitgeist or against it. There has been a slew of left-wing documentaries lately, all proudly playing in the local independent movie theatre. From “Super Size Me” to “The Hunting of the President” (a boo-hoo fest for our former commander in chief). How many directors of the ‘in-crowd’ are interested in exposing the crimes of the government in
Libertarianism, as long as it is seen by most to be a fringe offshoot of the corrupt and statist Republican Party, will suffer a serious image problem. Right-libertarianism needs to show that the state has in fact been harmful more often that not in its treatment of minorities. The massive regulatory state is an awful imposition to small business owners of any color, and the destructive and ineffective public school system is failing the large majority of inner-city school children. The issues most important to the relatively young and free spirited – like gay marriage, the job market and Social Security – can best be tackled by showing the state’s incompetence toward every one of them. In the end, substance will overcome style, and we can share at least one dream of Karl Marx’s – that the state will indeed wither away.