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July 17 2019

Angry Politicians Living Rent-Free in Your Head?

by Charlotte Hays

Quote of the Day:

Our lives are too short, too fleeting, too important to spend all of our waking hours engaged in the systematic organization of hatreds, which is as good a working definition of politics as there is.

--Nick Gillespie explaining why he is a libertarian

Are angry politicians living rent-free in your head?

Reason magazine editor at large editor Nick Gillespie has a solution: smaller government.

Gillespie takes a pretty dim view of the current political scene, adopting a pox on both your houses stance toward both sides of the aisle.

I don’t buy quite a bit of Gillespie's analysis. For example, I don’t share Gillespie’s disgust for an administration that has given us a great economy and provided opportunities for many who were left out previously.

But he has written a must-read piece on why the follies of our political class are an argument for reducing the size of government, and for being a libertarian.

Here is just a tidbit of what Gillespie wrote:

Libertarians are not anarchists but believers in limited government. Certain rights cannot be voted away but we believe that there are areas of life where consensus legitimately rules and that policy should be set by the group rather than the individual.

Precisely because politics is a form of force and coercion, though, the parts of our lives governed by consensus should be as small as possible, limited to essential services such as basic infrastructure, law enforcement, safety standards, welfare for the indigent, and some education.

The government should treat all people as individuals and all individuals as equal before the law. Over the years, I've become less dogmatic about exactly how little or how much the state should do, preferring instead to talk about libertarian as an adjective or a pre-political sensibility, "an outlook that privileges things such as autonomy, open-mindedness, pluralism, tolerance, innovation, and voluntary cooperation over forced participation in as many parts of life as possible." Where you and I draw those lines will likely differ on a variety of things and, by all means, let's have fierce yet civil debates over the scope and efficacy of specific policies and actions. But let's also avoid the sh-t show currently on display.

This is politics at its absolute worst. It helps explain why the long-term trend of Americans refusing to identify as a Democrat or a Republican proceeds apace. Last month, Gallup found just 27 percent of respondents admitting that they are Democrats and only 26 percent admitting that they are Republicans. Each of those numbers is at or near historic lows.

Who can blame us, really? Especially when there is a legitimate alternative to reducing your entire existence to political grudge matches between repellent teams who explicitly tell you to check your brain at the door? "The Libertarian Moment" didn't materialize when Matt Welch and I first coined the phrase in 2008, nor did it materialize when it was being talked about in the pages of The New York Times Magazine, that's for sure. But the idea of living in a world beyond politics, where we can agree to disagree about how to live most of our lives, is looking better and better all the time.

As I said, there are many things about which to disagree with Gillespie.

We may be turned off by the current political atmosphere, but at the same time acknowledge that some of the ugliness reflects the gravity of the issues at hand.

Sometimes people are intense because important things are up for grabs.

But a smaller government that got into our lives less does sound appealing.

 

 

 





Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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