The End to Our Means
Libertarian philosophy is not without its flaws, but it can surely offer perspectives that those on the political extremes might benefit from. Objectivity is often the calming element in subjectively combustible debates. There is a pragmatic void within our political discourse that Libertarians are primed to fill.
As such, –without ever realizing it– those on the political left and right often begin with the desire to reach the same end. It is the means by which they wish to achieve that end that often warrants the ideological conflict. Having no dog in the petty, cable news inspired partisan bickering… Libertarians find themselves in a unique position to expose stubborn political predispositions on both sides of the aisle, and offer a sense of propriety.
For instance, lost in the vitriolic rhetoric regarding a woman’s right to choose vs. an unborn child’s right to life, is that both sides of the conflict wish to significantly decrease, if not eliminate the need for abortions altogether. No one wants to increase the number of abortions. I can’t imagine anyone rubbing their hands together with glee at the thought of women using abortion as birth control. The disagreement takes place in regards to how it is best to achieve that goal.
One of the reasons that conservatives are losing this battle with voters, is that their solution of abstinence, coupled with a lack of birth control and sexual education has shown to actually increase the number of unwanted pregnancies, which leads to a higher demand for abortions. In this instance, it is the liberal means of providing birth control and sex ed which best reaches the “eliminating the need for abortions in the first place” end. Not to mention, that the whole vaginal ultra sound thing understandably creeps a lot of women out.
So, stay out of women’s vaginas. Liberals understand that. Conservatives seem not to.
Conversely, where it applies to public assistance and the welfare rolls, the ideological inclinations seem to be reversed. Yet with a few possible exceptions, no one from either party wants there to be copious amounts of people on welfare. It is no one’s desire to have high unemployment. Both parties understand that the best way to increase revenue is to create good paying middle class jobs, and to get people working. More money in, less money out. That is what every rational politician from either party wants. But how do we accomplish that?
Not surprisingly, it is the liberal approach to “public assistance without accountability” that has lead to generational government dependence. It is the selfish desire to create a dependant voting base which has given rise to their culture of reliance. There is certainly a difference between aid, and dependency… and that line has been all but erased.
There must come a point that people are forced to fend. That is a moral imperative. Without that, you are sentencing future generations to poverty, and denying people autonomy. Changing the nature of our social safety nets will definitely be painful, and will most likely lead to short term societal dysfunction… but for those who come after, it will provide the opportunities that America was meant to offer. Safety nets can only hold so many.
To offer some perspective, even socialists –while their convictions might lead them to believe that Government is the best, most efficient job creator– don’t want people needlessly draining the system. Making it too easy to collect money from the Government without accountability is detrimental to both the individual, and the collective. As it is with any socio/political ideology, there comes a point of diminishing returns.
So, a systematic addiction to government impedes all of our freedom. Conservatives understand that. Liberals seem not to.
However I am not a pure Libertarian either. I won’t pretend that simply cutting people off from their source of revenue –even if it is the government– is the lone answer to our economic and debt woes. Still, I would bet that even the most unmitigated Libertarian understands that steps need to be taken in order to accomplish the common goal of a healthy, work driven, capitalist economy… and to simply “pull the plug” in this economic climate would not help us towards that goal. Austerity alone won’t fix what ails us. But we do have to work systematically towards that end, and sooner, rather than later.
While the present economy most assuredly doesn’t offer enough opportunities for everyone on public assistance to earn enough in the private sector to keep a roof over their heads and food on their tables, it is a certainty that if we continue to create generations of people dependant on the state, it will accomplish that same unwanted end. Thankfully, we have in the past had such thriving economies. But job growth must accompany a concerted effort to reduce those reliant on Government appropriations. Perhaps, it should even be the other way around.
But to accomplish this, we have to focus on the common end, and allow the discourse to be a rational debate as to what the best means are to accomplish that goal. Not to call each other names, or to create purposely misleading statistics.
Libertarians understand this. Liberals and Conservatives seem not to.