Sep 3, 2010

"Excuse me sir, but what's a Libertarian?"

The afternoon was coming to an end. My friend and I relocated ourselves to the nearby Wal Mart. The petitioning was not going as well as I had planned. My friend enjoyed watching me make a fool of myself as I became use to the typical exchange of "Excuse me, but would you..." "No!". I figured we would stay for only a few more minutes when the oddest of events happened. While everyone tried their best to ignore me, one person finally walked up to me!

"Excuse me sir," she started, "but what's a Libertarian?"

Sir? Did I seem that much older to her? There was probably not much more than two or three years difference between us. I marked it off as being respectful. Her questioned is what really mattered at the moment.

"Simply, a Libertarian is a person of a political party that follows the libertarianism philosophy. Libertarians believe in small government, low taxes, and high personal liberties."

It was a generic answer, but it helped me explain who they were in the short time most people would give me to answer.

"That seems to be what every politician is calling for today," she justly replied. "Can you tell me their stance on specific issues?"

"Of course!" My excitement for her curiosity showed in the phrase. I toned it down as I continued. "Libertarians are against interventionism. That is, they not only believe in the withdrawal of troops from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also the removal of soldiers from any other country that they might be vacating now."

"Does this mean they believe in isolationism?"

"Actually, quite the opposite. They believe in free trade with all nations. This includes lifting all trade restraints in such countries as Cuba. What they wish to avoid is permanent alliances that may pull us into more wars and hurt oversea trade routes."

"You've mentioned lowering taxes. A lot of politicians say that's what they plan to accomplish, but they never suggest how."

"During these hard economic times, it would seem wise to start paying back the national debt. Raising taxes seems like a logical, although painful approach. By cutting spending, however, we can also lower the debt. This can be done in two ways. The first is to eliminate government run programs which range from not being efficient to programs that are plain unconstitutional. The second way is to take current government organizations and privatize them. No longer will tax payers have to pay for numerous programs they might not even use. Therefore, reducing spending would lead to lower taxes while lowering the debt."

"After those programs are privatized, won't tax payers still pay for them outside of taxation?"

"Yes, but each tax payer has different needs. They will not have to pay for services that aren't needed by them. Also, Libertarians believe in the free market, a powerful market correction tool. Instead of having one government run business, in a free market several different companies will compete for that business. The result would be better product quality and cheaper prices. The free market would also eliminate any regulations the government has over non government run businesses, causing the people to become the regulators. The results will be the same: higher quality, lower price."

"Okay, I understand their economic and foreign policies now. What about the liberties of the people?"

"Libertarians will not tread on the constitution. Free speech means you have the freedom to express yourself. Gun laws would be looser. Those issues not mentioned in the constitution will be decided upon by either the states or individuals. For example, doctors who choose to perform abortions would have the right to, but, at the same time, doctors who do not believe in abortion have every right to not provide that service."

"Then marriage would be up to the people involved in the marriage while the government couldn't force someone to or not to perform a marriage they do not believe in."

"That's right!"

"Thank you sir. The Libertarians hold some refreshing views. I'll be willing to sign."

"Awesome!" Great! I was about to get another signature. Until, "Oh, but you need to be registered to vote to sign. Are you registered?"

"No, I'm sorry, but I won’t be able to vote until next month."

Darn! Another signature lost. Trying not to frown, I said in cheery tone what I said to even those who wouldn't sign, "That's all right. Have a good day!" She thanked me again and walked off. I figured I would follow her example and take off too. My few minutes had come to an end.