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Which Votes Wasted?
Why I Became A Libertarian
I was in my late twenties, I had no interest in politics. Then, in a conversation
with a friend, I had a revelation about the importance
of politics. In the same conversation, I was introduced to the Libertarian
Among other things, I believe in freedom, personal responsibility, and
the value of diversity. I think it is important not to impose ones values
on others, and that people who are responsible and innovative should be
rewarded, and those that aren't shouldn't.
In my opinion, the agendas of the Democrats and Republicans simply aren't
consistent with those values. They want to take what you earn, and decide
for you how the money should be spent. They also want to choose how you
can and cannot live your life, regardless of whether or not how you live
your life interferes with the rights of others.
A choice that is made for you is not, for you, a choice. I consider
that unacceptable, and was in search of a political home.
When the values of the Libertarian Party were described to me, I felt
that they very closely matched my own, and that's when I realized I was
For me, it was a fairly simple and quick step to realize that I was
a Libertarian. If the decision is not as easy for you, you may wish to
consider the following questions:
Here are some more questions. These are from
Browne's 1996 campaign.
Do you frequently find yourself voting for someone solely because you dislike
his or her opponent more? (Put more colloquially, are you cutting off your
nose to spite your face?)
What direction has government taken in your lifetime? Look at the ``big''
picture, not at individual events. Can you honestly say that life got consistently
better when one party was in power, and consistently worse when another
party was in power? Or did government generally get bigger and a lot more
expensive while your taxes grew significantly and your life became more
complicated, regardless of which party had the most control?
Do you think the Democrats and the Republicans differ more in direction
or in degree?
Do you tend to focus on one issue to the exclusion of all else? Are you
willing to sacrifice your values on almost all of your issues in order
to support a candidate who matches one of your values exactly, even if
another candidate better matches your values over all?
Do you have different standards for Democrats and Republicans than you
do for other parties? Do you expect third party candidates to be perfect,
even though you are willing to overlook major imperfections in Democrats
Are you so certain of Democratic and Republican ``problem solving'' approaches
(e.g., more money and bigger government) that you are willing to gamble
your freedom and your income on them?
Do you expect to see any Social Security benefits when you retire? If not,
do you care? Harry Browne proposed an equitable solution in his book
Government Doesn't Work, but the Democrats and Republicans, it
seems, don't even want to discuss the problem.
Do you see the Democrats or Republicans ending the War on Drugs any time
soon? Do you think drug producers grow more crops when drug agents destroy
Do you think the prohibition of drugs keeps organized crime in business
the way prohibition of alcohol did? Do you think most of the problems would
go away if the profit disappeared from the drug trade if drugs became legal
again? Do you think the War on Drugs money could be better spent on education
and rehabilitation programs?
If you pay for your local school district in real-estate taxes, do you
have a neighbor who has more kids than you do? Do you think it's fair for
you to have to subsidize their education, or for people with fewer kids
than you do to subsidize yours? Did you have any say in how many kids your
neighbor was allowed to have (or were you taxed without representation)?
Which kind of entity do you think is more responsive to people's needs,
a government agency, or a private one (business or club)?
If a company such as Underwriters Laboratories or Consumer Reports tested
products at the rate the Food & Drug Administration tests drugs, they
would quickly go out of business. Do you see the Democrats or Republicans
shutting down slow, inefficient government programs in favor or faster,
leaner, private solutions?
If a company such as Underwriters Laboratories or Consumer Reports was
in the drug testing business and made a mistake, they would most likely
go out of business. When the FDA makes mistakes, are they more likely to
be shut down or to claim to need more money and resources in order to ``do
the job right''?
How many of our Constitutionally guaranteed rights must be whittled away
or blatantly eliminated before we consider the government an unconstitutional
Isn't it more prudent to make a non-violent change in direction now than
to try to recover from an unconstitutional police state later?
Do you feel your taxes are (way) too low, just right, or (way) too high?
Do you feel we have too little government, just the right amount, or too
Would you be willing to give up all your favorite federal programs in exchange
for never having to pay income tax again?
There is also a
Browne Facebook page, and
TrendsAction.com sells his