As advocates of political freedom in the Lockean(1)/Randian tradition, we recognize neither the Democrats nor the Republicans satisfy our minimum requirements of:
- mental comprehension of freedom, much less
- how to achieve it in practical political action
Occasionally we see a libertarian anomaly who is technically a member of one of the two lesser parties—let me propose a polite term for the combination of Democrat and Republican: Cratican—sneak into the statehouse. But on a national scale, no libertarian has ever run as a Craticandidate. Thus no Craticandidate in modern times has had any knowledge of or interest in implementing the Lockean principles of individual rights.
[Barry Goldwater may have been close, but 1964 is no longer modern times. Further, one need not be a Leftist to appreciate that Stanley Kubrick's brutally hilarious satire, Dr. Strangelove, wasn't completely off-base regarding the Old Right's (incl. Barry and friends) dangerous assessment of objective nuclear strategic reality vis a vis the Russkies.]
On local levels, which tend to be nonpartisan, Libertarians are already out in relatively large numbers. These fine people are the bread and butter of the modern libertarian movement and its source of future national and statewide legislative winners… as the body politic continues to raise its level of awareness.
But on the national level, particularly, none of us who believe in political freedom can contentedly vote for a Craticandidate, however warm and fuzzy they may make us feel relative to the other lesser-party poobah. Neither comes within 50 parsecs (one parsec = the distance light travels in a year) to meeting libertarian requirements.
Just look at George Bush and John Kerry. Talk about hemlock or hanging!
The Bush administration has unconstitutionally—without a Congressional declaration of war—invaded a country that was militarily boxed in, presenting no substantial threat to our people. (One may argue independently the merits of the downfall of Hussein, one of the most despicable tyrants we've ever supported, but Constitutionally, the US is not in the business of tyrant removal, any more than it is the business of tyrant installation.)
The war and its aftermath have been expensive in terms of blood and treasure. Incredibly expensive! Dubya, after stating in a 2001 message to Congress that his term would see the retirement of $1 trillion in debt, has instead increased the debt TWO TRILLION DOLLARS (!) to a projected total debt of $7.4 trillion when, we hope, he leaves. At least two-thirds of that increase is non-terror-war related.
[As vice president and imperial potentate behind the throne, Dick Cheney, told former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, "Deficits don't matter." (The Debt = the sum of annual deficits.) Remember that, dear citizen, as we're taxed to pay simply the interest on the debt every year, which has now risen to $330 billion! A subsequent column will be entirely devoted to the problem of the Debt.]
Bush, like Darling Ronnie and Bush No. 1, is a big-government conservative. Which is to say, a catastrophic contradiction in terms. And Bush No. 2 travels even further down the road of irrationality: he panders shamelessly to the Holy Rapture Fire and Brimstone lobby—which believes women, pleasure—not to mention the ability to think—are the handiwork of Satan, who by the way will be rounding up all sinners next Thursday… and that means you.
Though John Kerry doesn't appear to be delusional or given to speaking in tongues, from a liberty-lover's perspective he's no prize: His drug warrior zealotry as prosecutor and legislator has aided in devastating the lives of many peaceful human beings guilty of no real crime. (Anti-(drug)war policy experts suggest he'll at least listen to reform ideas.)
And he's a big-government liberal, seldom seeing economic solutions in the absence of government intrusion in our lives.
Historical national debt data tells us Kerry will, however, be considerably less expensive, and therefore less intrusive in our lives than Bush. No president in history has been as costly or intrusive as Dubya, and Bush being an babbling idiot to boot, Kerry is clearly the better conventional choice.
But let's look at a hypothetical situation in which the Libertarian candidate for president is a bonafide contender, a legitimate presidential candidate, not some cerebral, Mittyesque party hijacker like Michael Badnarik—Badnarik conceivably may have been suited to the Constitution Party. If, for example, Aaron Russo had won the nomination and were showing real numbers in the polls, a well-intentioned Libertarian might face a dilemma:
Do I vote for Russo to give him the show of support in the numbers, but in so doing take a vote from Kerry and facilitate the reelection of Bozo II… or vice versa? That's a tough decision, to the extent one expects the vote deprived from one to benefit the other to the same amount… and, I might add, to the extent you feel one candidate is going to be an unmitigated disaster (immeasurably worse than the other).
Okay, then, consider the situation where the two older-party candidates are tweedledee-tweedledum—for example, arguably, Carter vs. Ford, 1976—and the LP has a legitimate candidate. Say under these conditions, you, as a would-be LP voter, happen to locate an individual who wants to vote for some leftist charlatan like Nader (but is hesitant to vote Green for the same reasons you are hesitant to vote Libertarian).
Then why not make a deal!
In return for that person voting for Nader (and not the Democrat), you'll vote for Russo (and not the Republican). (Remember such a deal may not be applicable this year because of the depth of the Bush-Cheney Cretincy and my guess is most Libertarians are inclined to vote for Kerry as the considerably lesser evil of two lessers.) Clearly, many permutations of exchange of voting commitment are possible.
The deal is win-win. Each major party candidate has his support reduced in equal measure and your vote is not "wasted." Rather you, and the person you trade with, can make it count in the increased percentages—which are actually more reflective of popular opinion—for the candidates and parties you truly believe in. In turn, the increased percentages for a good "minor" candidate can move public policy more in that direction.
To facilitate this vote-trading agreement, naturally a website needs to be developed. Complete with forums and a clearinghouse for certifying each party to the exchange did in fact vote for whom they, indeed, truly wished to vote for.
[A full list of all Vote Exchanging sites are found on our What You Can Do page. Ed.]
The vote dealing idea has the potential for making political representation more representative; this type of website may become the MoveOn.org of future national elections.
- Locke, John. Second Treatise of Civil Government, 1690. back to text
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