Libertarianism: the party of principle

Clarence Cooper, Graphic Designer

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Polarization is the thorn of American politics and of society. Party division in our government has caused stagnation—the worst stagnation in congressional history. Career politicians on both sides of the aisle refuse to compromise or put forth any kind of bipartisan effort to help mend our broken nation. This lack of action, which affects all Americans, continues to divide the American public. The situation is worsening, and nothing is getting done.

Though our guarded beach community may feel isolated from the greater issues of the outside world, we are more involved than most realize. Split down the middle, Laguna Beach is the home of conservatives and liberals alike. We appear to coexist peacefully; however, after the last election, tensions are rising.

This is exactly what George Washington warned us about in his farewell address. He clearly advised us to avoid separatism, foreign wars and political parties. Not only did we create parties, but we went as far as making two complete opposites, each hellbent on making life hard for the other. He had the foresight to see that a two-legged stool would fall. Well, the stool is falling, and we’re all going down with it.

It is actually rare for an individual to adhere completely to a Democratic or Republican platform. Most of us find ourselves in the middle, not radicalized enough in either direction. This is where the Libertarian Party steps in. Members of the Libertarian Party oppose a strong central government and put great emphasis on personal freedoms. Some call them liberal Republicans; others call them conservative Democrats. They are, however, not left, nor right—just free.

I’m a Libertarian.

After the last election, I found myself disillusioned with the major parties. Neither was capable of putting up a competent candidate, nor did either platform really represent how I felt this country should be run. Instead of losing hope and embracing the apathy that plagues our public, I began looking at all my options.

The Republican Party is too conservative, the Democratic Party is too socialist and the Green Party is not a logical choice of leadership. I originally made the mistake of associating all Libertarians with Gary Johnson, the man who forgot about Aleppo and completely wrote them off at first. I then recalled that Trump doesn’t believe in global warming and Hillary Clinton had “lost” thousands of classified emails, so maybe Gary wasn’t that bad.

Not until I visited their website and read their mission statement did I realize how much I identified with Libertarians.

Libertarianism is the party of principle. An individual has the right to exercise sole dominion over his or her own life. It is not the government’s job to dictate how we live and act. Personal liberty is not something that is given by the government; it is something we are born with. Support of a citizen’s right to make choices does not mean you necessarily approve or disapprove of those choices; you just believe that no individual, group or government has the the right to take that choice away.

On multiple issues the Libertarian Party doesn’t take a stance. The only real stance it takes is that the individual has complete sovereignty, not the state. This allows for great diversity within the party. For example, you have both those who agree and those who disagree with the morality of same-sex marriage, yet each of them will fight for that person’s right to get married. Christians, Muslims, Atheists—the Libertarian Party shows no bias or preference toward any belief system. All are allowed to have their own opinions as long as they respect the rights of others.

Also important to the party is the establishment of a fully free market. The more the government is involved in the economy, the more economic freedom is taken away from the citizen. Economic independence is a key principle of a truly free society. Government should not inflict debt upon the people; therefore, Libertarians believe that the income tax should be repealed and cutting spending, not raising taxes, is how the budget should be balanced.

All policies and ideas held by the party make sense to me. I don’t believe that anybody has the right to tell you how to live your life, especially the government. I may not agree with abortion or see the purpose of owning assault weapons, yet I recognize an individual’s right to each of those things.

What made the Libertarian Party stand out most was that, unlike other political parties, it was not a group of like-minded individuals. It is an assembly of those who appreciate and wish to fuel the diversity that true freedom brings. Instead of finding comfort in similarity, they embrace their differences and aim to create a world where individuals could chase their own dreams in their own way.

Libertarianism is rooted in our nation’s oldest and most basic principles, yet it is a welcome remedy to modern crisis. As our nation divides, more and more people are left abandoned in the middle of the political spectrum, irrelevant and without representation. Those people who have been forgotten have a choice: to give into the apathy that allows the government take away your freedoms, or to fight for a free society. If liberty is something you value, then this is the only party for you.

Libertarianism is the way of the future. The government has too much power as it is, and both major parties want more. As Ronald Reagan once said, “Government is not the solution to our problems; Government is the problem.” Corruption and greed thrive while the people suffer. It is apparent that something needs to change, and soon. Reform of the existing establishment won’t cut it. We need a new establishment based on the principles of freedom. We need a third party establishment.

You may think my disdain for the current government means I’m not a patriot. That, however, could not be further from the truth. Patriotism is the love of one’s country, not one’s government. I love America, but I think it is sick. It believe it is infected with the disease of a two party systema stool ready to collapse. I believe the Libertarian Party is the cure.

If you are also dissatisfied with the major parties, then help mend the divide in our country by refusing them your support. The power they hold is power that was given by the people, and that power can be taken away by the people. You have a voice; use it to make change. Use it to stand up for your rights and the rights of all people. Be a Libertarian.

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