Answering Some Questions – Politics

Day 7 of answering questions posed by Diane Owens.

Question #7
Are the politics of today’s society helping or hurting us?

Both. In many ways liberty is expanding at the individual level. There is less institutionalized discrimination than in the past. People have more choices of lifestyle now than ever before. But in some ways liberty is being compressed. Politicians continue to try to find new ways to tell people what to do and how to live. And people constantly demand government do something.

In addition, when it comes to politics, people seem to do a lot of “if you’re not with us then you’re against us” thinking. By that I mean many people seem to have this notion that the political positions they like are held by good people, and the political positions they do not like are held by bad people. Liberals talk as if conservatives want people to get sick and die in poverty. Conservatives, on the other hand, talk as if liberals are a bunch of immoral idiots who do not care about family. And do not even get me started on how liberals and conservatives both make nasty comments about libertarians. And to be fair, many libertarians say the same kind of thing about liberals and conservatives and even some other libertarians.

And as a libertarian, I do think the mentality that the only practical solution to any given problem is for government to do something is hurting us. We keep turning to this “government has to do something” and it keeps having detrimental unintended (though not always unforeseen) consequences. Rather than admit that, we tend to say “next time it will work if the government just does more.” So government escalates the war on drugs or makes new deals with corporations or finagles some legal mumbo-jumbo justification for more authority to do something, and the “practical” people keep saying “next time it will work if the government just does more.” Meanwhile, people are getting fined, or thrown in jail, or having their rights infringed, or killed. This is harmful to society.

But I think people are starting to wake up to this, even if only a little so far.

3 Responses to “Answering Some Questions – Politics”

  1. Have you heard about this?

    “MIDDLEBOROUGH – On the first morning that swearing in public became a civil offense in Middleborough, Corey Mills said he heard more swears than he has ever heard in his life. He was answering the telephone at the police station, where he is a sergeant.

    This is a small town, but the calls were coming from far and wide, for the previous night at its annual town meeting, the residents had overwhelmingly voted to give police the opportunity to hand out $20 tickets for using profanity in public. One angry veteran came into the station to argue that he had fought to defend his right to swear; he had to be shown the door.”

    The only person in the lot worried about personal liberties is the one man who put his life on the line to defend those liberties. People need to stop looking to the police to be responsible for the behavior of their children (teenagers though they may be) and either be accountable for them or don’t. But if you don’t want to be accountable for your child, or simply can’t exert any control on them, then don’t be surprised when they do all the normal things teenagers do when trying to ‘find themselves’. Like curse or shoplift or mess around with boys that in the end don’t respect them, or get too drunk or any other number of things that all of us have done and most of us have turned out alright. Most of us. Here is the thing about setting your child free upon the world, what you don’t teach them, they will later see for themselves reflected back to them in the eyes of those looking at them. They will learn.

    I am glad I got the chance to demonstrate that I am more than just sour grapes and profanity myself. But, I am glad you wrote about it or you might have slipped past me. 🙂

    • I partially recall reading a story about that or a similar situation. While I agree that society should stop asking police to do the parenting, that is not all that is at work in these situations. Some people believe they ought to be able to use government to control society. We see it from people like New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, former Senator Rick Santorum, former Vice President Al Gore, Senate majority leader Harry Reid, and on and on. But these people have lots and lots of support. And they have good intentions. But they ignore that their plans to control society are generally immoral and often come with unintended consequences worse than the problems they believe will be solved. But I believe people are starting to take notice of these things more now than in the past. Certainly the stalwarts of the establishment are starting to get worried. And that is a good sign.

      • “stalwarts of the establishment are starting to get worried”

        You know what I know.

        Or at least I think you do. Many L/libertarians do.

        Too late to get into it tonight. Another day.

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