Politics is a strange world. On the street we pass by others from all walks of life. People of various races, all ages, many cultural backgrounds, different religions, and those who are wealthy and poor. We say “hi” if we want to, but mostly just go about our own way. We all get along.
But in the political arena, that sensibility somehow disappears. We become preoccupied with each other’s lives. We debate about whom someone else might be marrying, whether they might earn too much or not enough, or what type of plant they might be smoking. The politicians are eager to exploit our differences, splitting us into groups and dividing us against each other. The strife in our society comes about when some attempt to use the force of government to control others. Naturally, those who would be controlled aren’t too fond and try to fight back. This is the source of all of today’s political rancor.
What if politics could be more like how we already conduct ourselves in our daily lives?
‘Live and let live’ credo
This “live and let live” credo is the foundation of the Libertarian philosophy. You should have broad discretion to live your own life however you choose, and to earn or spend your own money how you choose, so long as you don’t infringe upon the equal right of others to do the same. Libertarians support liberty in four key areas: personal freedom of lifestyle, strong defense of all civil liberties, a free and open marketplace for entrepreneurs and consumers, and a return to international peace.
The Libertarian Party of Minnesota has been discussing issues as diverse as police accountability, fire safety codes, new solutions to poverty and the ongoing war in Iraq. In nearly every case, we’re proposing ideas that many have never heard before. All rely on voluntary, entrepreneurial solutions rather than the coercive force of government laws, taxes and mandates.
Here’s one example of a Libertarian solution. Light rail remains a controversial issue today. Those who support it press hard for government to build it. Others won’t use it and oppose their taxes being used for this purpose. One group will win. The other will lose.
It doesn’t need to be that way. In an open marketplace, light rail wouldn’t be built by politicians, but by entrepreneurs. The entrepreneur would decide if there’s enough demand to build a light rail system, obtain their own financing to build it, and set a price which covers their costs but is still affordable to customers. Libertarians would not hand out taxpayer funds to build it, nor offer bailouts if the venture should fail, but since risk must be balanced by reward, the entrepreneurs would be able to keep the profits gained by building something that provides value to others. Those who like the rail service and find the prices reasonable can become customers. Those who don’t like it can refrain from using it and wouldn’t be forced to pay for it through taxation. When all those involved participate voluntarily, everyone wins. There are no losers.
Active in all 50 states
The Libertarian Party is a grassroots organization, now active in all 50 states, built by ordinary people who understand that working within either of the Two Big Old parties is no longer an option. We don’t receive funding from any special interest groups or wealthy benefactors; all of our funding comes from our individual members and supporters. Our leadership consists of activists who came from both the GOP and DFL, as well as former independents, who now realize that the Libertarian Party offers the best path to helping every individual have maximum choice and opportunity in their lives.
A chance for the public to learn more is around the corner. Our state convention on Saturday, April 25, features numerous speakers and workshops discussing our solutions, along with plenty of time to socialize and have fun. It will be held in Maple Grove, and the public is welcome. We believe it’s time for a new party, a new message, and a new approach. If you’re ready for an alternative, our website has more information about our convention. Live Free!
S.L. Malleck is the vice chair of the Libertarian Party of Minnesota.
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