Why don't people vote Libertarian?
Tags: libertarian libertarian-lite negative market externalities
Why don't people vote Libertarian? published by The 1st Amender
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Posted on 2020-03-17
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As a Libertarian myself, I want to do everything I can to help spread Liberty. I joined my local county Libertarian party, we promote and push for Libertarian ideology. We go out there and hand out pamphlets, we run for non-elected seats in our county to ensure funding goes back to people (yes this has worked), etc. I start to realize as I speak with more and more people on why people "don't" vote Libertarian. I've gotten a myriad of answers, but here are some of the most common.
Democrats like the part with respecting autonomy, but hate anti-regulation of corporation.
Republicans like our economic anti-regulation, but hate the idea of autonomy.
We are anti-government funded education.
We are anti-government funded anything.
On 1 and 2 just requires a little bit of education to get them to see that the ideas are sound. As for the 3rd and 4th one, people have a very hard time getting behind and I think this is somewhat at our own fault for associating ourselves with the most staunch, purest, Libertarians around: Anarcho-capitalists. I agree mostly with what anarcho-capitalists believe in but it seems to me to be an internal pipe dream which will never be reached. Even Murray Rothbard had difficulty bringing up history of anarcho-capitalist societies without having to go back to Pennsylvania in 1740 in his book series: Conceived in Liberty. (Read all 4 damn volumes. Only one example of a pure ancap society)
When I understood the anarcho-capitalist Rothbardian philosophy, it made me start to think that people who are anti-Libertarian use this against us. They will say things like: "You are anti government education" which is factually true! So you could be an anarcho-capitalist which is an ideology hardly anyone can swallow; As a potentially better option, more moderate and understand that there can be some nuance, or grey area to ideology itself. A perfect Libertarian in my eyes would have been someone more like Milton Friedman.
Milton Friedman is someone who understands the concepts of market failures, and wouldn't ditch an entire government structure just to preserve this concept of a "perfect autonomy where no aggression can happen at all" but knows that you needed to have a certain level of government for people to even swallow the ideology, or think about it seriously. Not only would Libertarianism be taken more seriously, but it would allow for certain instances of market failures to be minimized with power of government, albeit a very tiny form of government compared to the gargantuan nightmare it is today.
This is compatible with Libertarianism and I think a more moderate approach is far better for Libertarianism in general. Here are some of the ideas presented that are compatible with Libertarianism which result in "smaller government" instead of the far more extreme point of view: "no government at all."
Public education is needed given that some people might not be able to afford the product, even in a pure capitalist free market society. A school is not the same dichotomy as shoes or food are (as stated in Rothbardian principles in The Libertarian Manifesto). The solution is the Friedman idea of "school vouchers" which does not destroy the entire system but instead incentives competition under anti-competition we have right now. (Free to Choose, Milton Friedman)
Investment of infrastructure is needed at a federal level. While it makes sense to avoid as much cost as possible to the United States government, it is safe to assume that basic investments in infrastructure quantifiably raise the quality of living for everyone around them giving more options of trade and travel. Milton understood this well.
Hierarchy of law is a good thing. While states should decide what is good for their state for some things, federally there are laws on the books that promote autonomy, not reduce it. Take for example of restaurants in the south that turn away business because the customer was black. While it is up to a person's circumstance to "not" do business with people that they don't want to, they should do so based on merit of free trade, and not dogmatic ideological approaches that reduce the autonomy of certain individuals. This gives a credence to protected classes if you wish to preserve liberty.
The drug was must end, but there is a negative externality to drugs in general. It would make sense to have the government stop spending on a drug war in favor of rehabilitation centers where people who are addicted on drugs can get back into the work force.
I think if we have a moderate approach to Libertarianism instead of an extreme approach we can look far more palpable to the average person without having them learn about economic principle and Rothbardian mental gymnastics.
TL;DR: Moderate Libertarianism is more palpable than ancap. We should learn to be more moderate so the masses can accept us as the first third party to rise above Democrats and Republicans.
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