Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Why would I ever want to vote Green?

While I'd guess that more of my readers are sympathetic to Greens rather than Libertarians, my friends and readers cover a wide political spectrum, and my hope in this series of posts is to demonstrate the issues that each of the parties, in my mind, demonstrates constructive and positive leadership with.

Now, I don't identify as Green, or as a representative member of ANY party. I have a number of concerns about many Green policies and beliefs. Folks seemed to have trouble understanding that I don't feel well-represented by any party when I wrote my last post, I'm sorry you had trouble understanding that, but it was pretty clear both in that post and in this blog in general, if you haven't gotten the message I respectfully submit that perhaps you are just not listening. In both this and the previous post, I'm listing those issues which pull me toward a particular party, regardless of the issues that mitigate that support. Kapish?

When I see Republicans and Democrats working together to eliminate competition, I want to vote Green, for their leadership in promoting proportional representation.

When I remember the roll call of people who voted against the Patriot Act, and think about the harm it's done to our civil liberties, I want to vote Green, for their consistent opposition to that Act.

When I look at children being raised by same-sex partners denied the protections that would come to them if their parents were allowed to marry, and remember that the Green Party is the only notably sized party to include marriage equality in its platform, I want to vote Green.

When I see the consistent giveaways of federally-owned natural resources, I want to vote Green to support their use. Yes, the natural resources "owned by the government", gas, oil, timber, minerals, yes, many of those will need to be used, but to work "well" in the context of a capitalistic framework it's critical that the indirect, environmental and opportunity costs involved in resource extraction be modeled in determining appropriate royalties. Ditto grazing fees, etc.

When pufferfish (toxins intact) get sold as food, and thousands of pets die from poisons in the pet food supply, the Green party's pre-crisis support for agricultural regionalization looks forward-thinking and attractive.

And when I remember the words of JFK, that the "gross national product":

"Too much and too long, we seem to have surrendered community excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things. Our gross national product...if we should judge American by that - counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for those who break them. It counts the destruction of our redwoods and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm and the cost of a nuclear warhead, and armored cars for police who fight riots in our streets. It counts Whitman's rifle and Speck's knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children.

"Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages; the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage; neither our wisdom nor our learning; neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country; it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it tells us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans." Address, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, March 18, 1968.

...and reading those words, when I recognize that the Green Party is the only party I'm aware of that specifically recognizes that "economic growth measured by GDP" is not the only thing in life that we should necessarily optimize for, well, voting Green sure sounds, even if only for a moment, like a damn fine idea.

Saturday Linkage

Densar on LJ links a video of Bill Maher and Ron Paul finding common ground on the subject of foreign policy. This is an excellent example of one of the primary themes of Liberty Cocktail--that issues, individual issues, are more important than the choice of the "red or blue" team, and that there are important ideas to be heard from many parts of the spectrum.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Why would I ever want to vote Libertarian?

As I stress repeatedly, my politics are pretty complicated and often not well-served by any particular political label. You can see in my political beliefs elements of thinking from the libertarian, Green, Democratic and old-school Republican thought. For all that variety, though, the label that seems to elicit the most derision and "running away shrieking" is the L-word, libertarian.

And some of that running away shrieking is understandable, the usual images of libertarians tends toward Stan Jones, rather than Milton Friedman, and frankly, most people, myself included, do think that government-provided fire departments are probably a good idea.

(And, by the by, for those party-line Democrats in the audience who think that Milton Friedman and Satan are synonymous, I'll remind you to reflect on his participation in the ending of the draft.)

This leaves me in an awkward position, however, since people tend to recoil so much by the adjective "libertarian" that they stop hearing whatever else I'm going to say. So I've decided to try and talk about the moments when I feel my impulses run in that specific direction, and hope that litany will provide some insight.

When I have to "show my papers" to get an "over-the-counter" remedy for my sniffles, and nobody in power thinks this is stupid, I want to vote Libertarian.

When owning a few harmless sex toys is a crime, and nobody in power thinks this is stupid, I want to vote Libertarian.

When "freedom of religion" feels limited to Christian beliefs, and nobody in power seems concerned, I want to vote Libertarian.

When the Ninth Amendment is held by courts to have no effect or meaning, and nobody in power is concerned in the least, I want to vote Libertarian.

When most of the money paid by the uninsured for prescriptions go to pharmacies, not pharmaceutical manufacturers, and yet the political debate on prescriptions is focused on the latter, easiest targets, I want to vote Libertarian, or at least "something else."

When the FDA prohibits uninsured people I care about from buying drugs from overseas, when "Canada" is made out to be a third-world country only for the purposes of the quality of drugs that happen to be shipped there to serve political and financial ends, and when few in power can stand up and stay "this is stupid... and hurting people", I want to vote Libertarian.

When the FCC is more concerned about the word "fuck" than people having their heads blown off, and nobody in power is willing to say this is stupid, I dream of voting Libertarian.

And when people I care about can't enjoy the legal protections marriage would afford the children they are raising, when those kids are put at risk out for reasons that fail to meet any sensible interpretation of "freedom of religion", and when not a single major-party political candidate can come out and simply state "This is wrong, this is stupid, this is harmful, this shall not stand.", I feel the urge, strongly, to vote Libertarian.

And for those of you who care about your major parties, I urge you to think about your own parties participation in these failures of government. I urge you to try and see if you can make a difference in even a single stupidity from this list. Because, if you can't, I might be tempted, despite better judgment, to not vote for the "lesser of two evils" in '08 and vote again, as I did in '04, for someone outside the major party duopoly.

You wouldn't want that, would you? At times it feels as if many of you almost assume that, by virtue of claiming to be the "lesser of two evils", hold the deed and title to my vote. You don't, and neither does your party.