I’ve gotten some pretty incisive hate-mail recently due to my stand on health-care.
One person pointed out that as I’m an atheist, I ‘wasn’t capable of understanding the “real America.” ‘
Another was polite in her suggestion that I would be ‘better suited in another country where my beliefs were more in keeping with the majority.’
Yet another told me that the First Amendment didn’t apply; that America was a “Christian nation”, and that if I didn’t like it, I should ‘get the hell out and leave the place to real Americans.’
However, the one that really got me was from a gal who’d been a longtime reader (until she fell in-company with the Birthers and other Fundiewhacks) who told me that because I supported national health-care, I couldn’t possibly be a Libertarian.
Y’see – I registered as a member of the Libertarian Party in 1988. I was a delegate to their convention here in Portland a few years back. I’ve been a Libertarian since before it was cool – and I can tell you that a lot of people who are calling themselves Libertarians are one step removed from being National Socialists (that’s “Nazi”, for those of you who might not know.)
I know – I’ve explained this before – but I’ll do it again, just so everyone here knows: A Libertarian supports freedom and liberty; the responsible kind, which exists up to the point where those freedoms encroach on the freedoms of others.
I’m what’s called a ‘consequential Libertarian’, if you’re looking to split-hairs; I break with the ‘classic’ Libertarians who believe we could do without things like a national government, taxes, compulsory education, national defense, and things like that there.
Those of us who are ‘consequential’ Libertarians believe that there are consequences for actions, both positive and negative – and that due to human nature being what it is, it’s necessary to impose things like speed limits, ownership restrictions for firearms, and preventing twelve-year-olds from being able to go to the grocery-store and buy codeine.
We don’t, however, believe that it’s necessary to tell responsible adults that they can’t smoke marijuana. We believe that the war on drugs is a joke, and has done nothing but increase the prison population (something, by the way, for which you and I pay, and pay dearly).
We believe it’s far cheaper to build an adequate education system at $12,000/student than to imprison the same person eighteen years later at $120,000/year.
We believe that it was a good idea, overall, to ban private ownership of machine-guns in the 1930’s, what with organized crime using them to settle their differences.
We believe that prohibition was the worst idea to come out of the depression-era (and that it contributed to a lot of that organized crime in the first place).
We don’t see the logic in making multibillionaires out of people who turn around and thumb their noses at the rest of us – because with wealth comes responsibility for the common good; otherwise you don’t have a country; you have a perverted sort of feudal-meritocracy where blind luck and cojones the size of basketballs rule over common sense and logic.
(What I just described, by the way, is where we’re headed – in fact, we’re well down the road toward that sort of thing; it’s the sort of place that gave rise to armies which goose-step – but that’s another topic, entirely).
True liberty involves responsibility for each other – but that seems to have failed the logic of the rightists in this country.
So, now that you know what we are – here’s what we aren’t:
1. If you believe that the First Amendment guarantees that you can put the Ten Commandments on every courthouse in America, try every case by the Bible, and the phrase “Congress shall make no law regarding the establishment of religion” applies to Buddhists, Atheists, Muslims, Wiccans, Native-Americans, Zoroastrians, and anyone else who isn’t a Right-Wing Fundamentalist/Evangelical Christian – you’re probably not a Libertarian.
2. If you think Fox News really is ‘fair and balanced’ – you’re probably not a Libertarian.
3. If you believe that you should be entitled to keep everything you make without taxes or some other contribution to the common good, you’ll make a great anarcho-capitalist – but you’re not a Libertarian.
4. If you believe you have an unalienable right to attend a Presidential town-hall meeting toting a loaded assault-rifle, there’s a damn good chance you’re a right-wing whackjob – but you’re not a Libertarian.
5. If you believe it’s all right to pick a fight with someone outside a mosque and then cry ‘freedom of speech!’ when they call the police – there’s a better-than-even chance you’re a thug – but you’re not a Libertarian.
6. If you’re a pastor, and call openly for the death of the President because he’s “not an American”, and “not a Christian” – then there are several classifications for you, some which ought to land you in the nuthatch or prison – but it’s safe to say that you aren’t now, nor have ever been, a Libertarian.
7. If you think Chief Justice Roberts is a great man, you’re probably a died-in-the-wool Bush Fundie – but you’re definitely not a Libertarian.
8. If you actually value a political leader who goes to war because “god told him to” – you’re batshit-crazy, but you are definitely not a Libertarian.
9. If you think Roe vs. Wade was a bad idea — I might agree with you; the Supremes should likely never have even taken the case (it’s not a Federal issue) — but if you believe that a woman’s body isn’t her own, and that medical procedures should be banned because ‘god doesn’t like them’, and ‘Jesus isn’t happy with it’ – -then you’ve got a solid grip on your relationship with your imaginary-friends – but you’re not a Libertarian.
10. If you think that taxes are for huge armies and police forces to ‘deal’ with everyone who Doesn’t Think Like You – then you’re not a Libertarian.
11. If you’re in favor of bailouts, as long as they reinforce the status quo (and help your Uncle Cletus replace his 1989 Ford F-150) – you definitely have no grasp of economics, and you’re definitely not a Libertarian.
12. If you think printing up $5,000,000,000,000 in brand new $1 bills is a great way to get the economy working again, there’s a damn good chance you failed eighth-grade math – and you’re not a Libertarian.
13. If you think taking citizens of other countries to government-run torture camps and waterboarding them is a great way to ‘preserve our way of life’ – it’s a lead-pipe-cinch you haven’t a clue what America is about – and you’re definitely not a Libertarian.
14. If you’re in love with the idea of the death-penalty – regardless of the fact that it’s unevenly applied to persons-of-color, the mentally-disadvantaged and the poor — then you’re no doubt a heartless and cruel moron – but you’re not a Libertarian.
15. If you think going to war with nations which have or had no beef with us is a great idea – then you have no sense of justice in the world – and you’re not a Libertarian.
Lastly — if you think that allowing the likes of Bush, Cheney, and their minions to run about free, spouting their lies and apologetics without answering for their crimes is a great idea – then here’s some good news: You probably take company with about half the country. You have a lot of friends. You’re probably aching for the day that someone kills that black-assed son-of-a-bitch Leninist/usurper in the White House –
– but you’re no American. And you’re definitely not a Libertarian.