Monday, September 20, 2004

Why I don't hate libertarians
from the mind of  Duke.

Over at Slashdot, there is an interesting interview with the libertarian presidential candidate, Michael Badnarik. Now don't get me wrong, I think the libertarians are just as nutty as the greens, who I see as their left-wing counterpart. Forget the details of the party's platform - their core values and beliefs are hopelessly naive and logically unsupportable. They are also about as likely as the greens to ever wield significant political power in this country.

But having gotten that disclaimer out of the way, I'd like to mention a few things I admire about them:
  • They are non-confrontational. When is the last time a libertarian accosted you on the street, asking you to sign some silly petition? It's never happened to me, but with the greens, this sort of thing is a common occurrence (at least where I live).
  • They are calm and collected. Every time I've listened to a libertarian, the tone has been polite and reasonable, at least so far as such political leanings can be called reasonable.
  • Their arguments are clearly laid out, and even when they aren't convincing, they don't come across as incoherent rants.
  • They are generally pragmatic, at least compared to other fringe groups. Greens, on the other hand, usually treat their proposed policies as being beyond debate. Let me quote from the interview:
    "My approach is geared to a single criterion -- does this policy or that action serve freedom? I'm willing to be pragmatic in pursuing policies that affirmatively answer that criterion."
All of this is really just a setup for me to say that while I don't particularly admire the goals or world-view of libertarians, I do admire the way in which they are trying to get their message across. While the greens are seemingly doing everything they can to marginalize themselves through theatrics and sheer volume, the libertarians are quietly and much more effectively making their opinions heard. As such, they are more likely, for better or worse, to be successful in the pursuit of their goals.

To sum it up, if Ralph Nader asked me to sit down for a political discussion, I'd tell him to get lost (and probably a few other, less polite things). Yes, I know Nader is running on the reform ticket this time around, not green. No, it doesn't make any difference. But if this
Badnarik fellow made the same offer, I'd be happy to accept. I feel that such a discussion would be insightful and productive. And while I don't think we'd convince each other of anything, I do think we would walk away understanding each other a little better.

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