Saturday, April 2, 2016

Quickies: A First And A Welcome One

     According to Reason’s Hit & Run blog, Fox Business Network televised an unusual debate yesterday evening: among three contenders for the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination.

     No, I didn’t see that program, nor would I have stayed up to watch it had I known it was coming. This whole business of candidates’ debates has made me weary unto death. Moreover, I’ve distanced myself from the LP for reasons that have only grown stronger these past few years, so my interest in its conventions and such is zero.

     However, I’m glad it took place. A rising percentage of Americans are disgusted with the two major parties, and for good reason. No matter how often they “pass the baton,” the Democrats and Republicans will not alter America’s political vector. Their inner circles are heavily invested in the status quo. They’ve strained to persuade voters that there are no alternatives to their political duopoly, precisely because any real change of direction would be unfavorable to both of them.

     But no such effort can succeed 100%. The disillusioned are increasing in number. They persist in searching for a way out of the duopolists’ maze. They sense, perhaps unconsciously, that the fault lies in the assumptions both parties maintain. Those assumptions imply the perpetuation of the major features of the status quo:

  • America as “world policeman;”
  • The ever-expanding regulatory regime;
  • The most luxuriant welfare state in history;
  • Effective government control of all education;
  • A fiscal system that propels the erosion of the dollar;
  • The nullification of Constitutional constraints on government action;
  • A legal system so involute that every American is vulnerable to prosecution.

     Only by rejecting those assumptions is significant change possible. Say what you will about the LP, at least it “starts from a different page.” That makes its candidates and their positions potentially interesting, though some features of “party libertarianism” contradict important fundamentals that must be respected.

     After all, what else but a hunger for alternatives to politics as usual could explain the rise of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump?

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