I am a Libertarian. At my core, I am distrusting of the government, skeptical of corporations, and prefer to keep my relations with people at arm’s length unless I have a proven track record of trust and comfort. I value honesty, both in word and in action, hard work, volunteerism, and mutual benefit in all aspects of life. I tend to be non-interventionist, with the exception to those that I have a proven track record with, and then to only give advice and intervene as minimally as possible. I believe that people should be both free to choose, and held accountable for their actions. I am not opposed to legalizing drugs, and choose not to take them myself (God knows I struggle enough with my relationship with food).
But Libertarianism doesn’t ever seem to work on a national level. People have come to expect that the federal government needs to “do things.” When national tragedies happen, whether they are natural or man-caused, the common refrain seems to be, “someone needs to pass a law about _______ (insert disaster here). I would much rather focus on freeing people from the myriad of laws and regulations that are on the books than trying to save the world from such nebulous concepts as “climate change.”
I am much more on board with the market being able to tackle those larger issues than I am with the government. The free market will figure out how to accomplish the goal of planting more trees or eliminating plastic waste cheaper, faster, and more efficiently than any government panel or agency, because the free market will create. The government doesn’t create, it regulates.
I have written before about my personal ideological base and my necessary beliefs. The government has followed the Progressive timeline for over 100 years, working toward the bureaucratic state being the actual gears of power and control rather than the elected officials. It is necessary that Libertarians accept that view of reality and begin the 100 year return. And what do I mean by that, you may ask? Well, if we want a society that doesn’t rely on the government to function or determine our morality, we must first identify where we are, and slowly, incrementally work our way toward that goal.
The first phase of this would be to use the current power structure to break up the large monopolistic corporations that have come to dominate the public sphere. With them giving so much influence to the economy, using their wealth, power, and influence to sway policy and direct funds toward their interests, it is up to the people to create a disincentive for that type of behavior. This would include the defeat of all current and future politicians that accept money from corporations and corporately funded political action committees.
The second phase would be to re-establish the separation of state and the press. For too long, we have allowed an intermingling of corporate news persons to become part of the government media relations apparatus. They would be tapped for press secretary jobs, then would head back into corporate media, writing books, doing speeches, and profiting off their time in government. This back and forth creates the incentive for the media to act kindly toward the government, even at the cost of their own credibility. They would, depending on who is in power, use their influence to either demonize or lionize the leader, members of their cabinet, or others within that party. This part would be difficult, and would take the creation of networks of information distribution that could and would rival the distribution of the current corporate media, including the rise of a decentralized internet that can’t be controlled by the large institutions.
The third phase would be the reassertion of core values on a cultural level. Culture is upstream from politics. Returning to a world in which we are bound together by common understanding and values is key to everything. The idea has shifted from people being able to decide their individual destiny and being responsible for themselves to the government should be responsible for the well-being of the people has been one of the fundamental transformations in the neo-leftist agenda. The promotion of the general welfare used to mean that the government is the guardian of liberty and must therefore ensure that people have the opportunities for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Nowadays, it’s taken to mean that the government must be the supplier of those promises, and must ensure equal outcomes, regardless of how much it tramples on any one individual.
The fourth phase would be the systematic retaking of the institutions that have been captured by the neo-leftist ideology. Again, this would be a long process and would likely take the creation of additional institutions that would rival those that have given into the neo-leftist ideology, while focusing on the necessary values of stoicism, merit, and liberty.
This process won’t be accomplished in a single generation. It has taken 100 years to get to this point, and will likely take as long or longer to unwind. But it is necessary. Libertarians have for far too long focused on being left alone. It is all well and good, and I am in favor of the government leaving the individual alone, but left to their own devices and ungirded from a foundation that values empathy, integrity, honesty, merit, and liberty, quasi and non-governmental institutions have become just as oppressive as any tyrant. Libertarians must become more active if they are to be seen as a legitimate alternative to the corporation corrupted parties currently in power. We’re running out of time to salvage this country. And the longer we wait, the harder and bloodier things will get.