Thursday, July 16, 2009

Why I'm a Libertarian

The more I learn about libertarianism, the more I see what a big tent it really is. There's all different flavors like Limited-government or Anarcho-capitalist. I'm not quite sure where I fit in specifically, but what I do know is that I wasn't always a libertarian.

Growing up, my father always talked about and voted for Democrats, as did my mother. I started to hear his views on things the older I got. I soon adopted them for myself. They were your typical liberal positions. After I was re-converted to my faith, got married, and moved out, I began reading a couple of columnists in my local paper, Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams. They wrote about economics and caught my interest. I bought Sowell's Basic Economics and began studying the subject. I fell in love with it.

As I learned more about good economics and bad, I began taking a conservative position on government fiscal and regulatory policy. I could actually see and understand the cause and effects of bad policy, of which there has been plenty over the last few centuries, and the suffering that it can ultimately cause. At this time, I began to follow the conservative columnists and thinkers via Townhall.com.

Those articles on fiscal policy I could agree with, but with them came the articles on foreign policy. I thought that as a conservative, I needed to align myself with the Republicans and support the war on terrorism, support the war on drugs, and promote laws that prohibit various vices. But as I had understood that economic freedom was good, I was confused on why I would see personal freedom as bad. This was a time of exploration for me.

I soon found the libertarian think-tank The Cato Institute. I started to study libertarianism through them, as well as John Stossel's columns and books. I eventually discovered the Austrian School of economics and the Ludwig von Mises Institute. What I was learning about libertarianism was that it was the only logically consistent position on freedom.

As a liberal, I learned the logic behind supporting personal freedoms. As a conservative, I learned the logic behind supporting economic freedoms. As a liberal, I learned the flawed logic behind quashing economic freedom. And as a conservative, I learned the flawed logic behind quashing personal freedoms. This is somewhat of a generalization of both sides (modern definitions), but what is apparent is that although they both support some freedoms, they also both support some totalitarianism.

Although there are different flavors of libertarianism, I find in all of them the minimization or elimination of government aggression. I find libertarianism to be logical and rational. I find it to be the beacon of freedom in all areas. This is why I'm a libertarian.

2 comments:

Josh said...

Enjoyed the article. My path was similar; both parents are staunch labor-union Democrats, discovered a conservative voice (Limbaugh in my case), became conservative because of the economic positions, and eventually gravitated toward libertarianism when I started questioning the War on Drugs primarily, along with other things.

Anonymous said...

Great story!

I like the libertarian party over the two party system. I believe where the party itself falls short is in its lack of stance on the moral basis for a free society. They certainly understand economic truth! That doesn't mean every libertarian minded person feels the same. My personal belief is that the most correct principled party is the constitution party. Of course I support principled statesmen such as Ron Paul who has always been in office on a republican ticket.
-wyp8riot

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