Derek E. Hollemans
Since its creation in 1971, the little known Libertarian
Party has been locked in a constant fight for serious recognition. Although
fifty million Americans were classified as Libertarians in a recent poll,
the party is still fighting to get out of the one and two percent categories.
However, the Libertarian Party has managed to climb the political ladder
to become the third largest political party in America today. Since its
first candidate for president, John Hospers, ran in 1972, the Libertarians
have been building up steam. Although they are not a "major" political
party, over the years they have managed to elect hundreds of officials
to state and local offices, as well as having two representatives in Congress.
Because of this, the Republocrats (Republicans and Democrats) have been
running scared, calling the Libertarian Party radical or impractical. However,
the Republocrats know that it is only a matter of time before the
Libertarians become serious contenders for all major political offices. Although constantly shoved out of the spotlight, the Libertarian Party is the fastest growing political party, the only Party of principle, and an alternative to today's political gridlock.
In spite of regulations it has been forced to overcome, the Libertarian Party has advanced numerous ideas to many political institutions around the United States. On May 21, 1996, Governor John Engler signed into law HB443, which, among other things, allows Libertarians and other "minor" party activists to serve as election inspectors. This has been the decisive victory in a battle that the Libertarian Party has been fighting for since its existence. This is not the only major Libertarian influenced legislation though; around the nation, the LP (Libertarian Party) has been on a constant campaign for personal liberty and freedom. Most notable of these is the fight against government mandates. Recently, the Libertarians have been thoroughly disgusted with the government regulation on air bags in automobiles. "This is just another example of government regulating its people to death!", said 1996 Libertarian Presidential candidate Harry Browne, and the Libertarian Party, who spearheaded the campaign against current air bag standards. It should be left to the people themselves, not the Federal Government, to decide what is best decision.
The Libertarians have constantly faced harsh legislation
by the Republocrats, instilled to discourage so-called "third party" activities.
Today, it is harder than ever for presidential candidates to get their
names on the ballot, thanks to Federal regulations. Although the Libertarians
have had their candidate for president in all fifty states for the past
two consecutive elections, they have been forced to spend funds on accomplishing
this task, that could be better spent actively campaigning. In forcing
the Libertarians to work so hard on achieving ballot status, the Republocrats
are prolonging farther the rise of power of the Libertarian Party. The
United States was not designed to be a two party system, but the greed
and selfishness of the Republocrats has forced our nation into just such
a situation. The United States political system was not formed in one day,
and it cannot be changed in one day. It will take more
campaigning then ever, before the Libertarians can show the American people the true light at the end of such a grim tunnel.
Even though he was on the ballot in all fifty states and
the District of Columbia, Libertarian Presidential candidate, Harry Browne,
was not allowed to debate his opponents, Mr. Clinton and Mr. Dole. This
is another prime example that shows the ends that the government will go,
to ensure that we have another four long years of big government. The Federal
Debate Commission acknowledged the fact that Harry Browne had achieved
all of the requirements, and was eligible to be in the presidential debates,
but for some unknown reason, told him that he was not invited to the debates.
Their excuse was based on the idea that he didn't have a realistic chance
at winning the election, so they simply did not invite him. The Libertarians
never have a realistic chance at electing a president if they aren't allowed the same exposure as the two Republocrat candidates. However, unlike Ross Perot, Harry Browne did not complain about not being invited. He merely shrugged it off, and continued his hard fought campaign, going to several other debates; debates including other minor party candidates.
Another major hurdle that the Libertarians must face is
their refusal to take taxpayer money in the form of Federal Matching Funds
to fuel their campaigns. Both Democrats and Republicans vote to use tens
of millions of our tax dollars each year to pay for their election campaigns.
In 1996, Harry Browne qualified for over five hundred and seventy thousand
dollars in Federal Matching Funds, but turned the money down, because it
is against Libertarian principles for candidates to take taxpayer money
for campaigns. They believe that no campaigns should be unwillingly paid
for by any taxpayer. Being strong believers in personal freedom, the Libertarian
Party believes that each individual should decide what cause he is going
to donate his money to. There are many other vicious programs that have
been instituted in which the Federal Government takes its citizens money
and wastefully squanders it on
Violent crime is another area in which our government
has proven that it fails miserably at everything it attempts. Violent crime
is everywhere, and violent offenders are getting released from jail earlier
and earlier. Criminals go into jail knowing that they will only serve a
fraction of their sentences because there is simply no room left in our
jails. Unfortunately, we cannot fight violent crime because so many resources
go to a war that we can't win, the "War on Drugs". It is common knowledge
that as soon as something is made illegal, there is an immediate black
market that is created. The prohibition of alcohol is a good example of
this. Earlier in this century, alcohol was made illegal. Immediately a
huge scandalous market was created on the illegal transport and sale of
liquor. During this time, police were forced to turn their attention to
enforcing the new law, and had to relax vigilance on other, more offensive
crimes. Prohibition caused a drastic increase in violence, due to turf wars between bootleggers. The only two things that prohibition succeeded in achieving, was making a handful of powerful mobsters wealthy, and increasing the rate of violent crimes in America. Once the government learned the folly of its ways and ended prohibition, so did violence related to bootlegging, and crime in general went down tremendously. For nine years after, the per capita murder rate decreased.
Crime continued to decline until the war against drugs was declared. Once this happened, crime rates shot up once again, past those of the days of prohibition. Today our jails are packed with non-violent drug offenders. These are people who never harmed anyone in society but themselves. These people are merely pawns in a lucrative game of chess being played by international drug rings. This was never a problem in America until drugs were made illegal, thus creating a huge black market. Violent crimes associated with drugs are mostly committed by the dealers, not the users. Consequently, if drugs became marketable products, the pushers would be taken off the streets, and crime would decline. Over five hundred Americans die due to alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs every year. Of this, ninety five percent die due to tobacco products such as cigarettes and smokeless tobacco and alcohol. Overdoses on legal drugs are responsible for four percent of these deaths. Even though over twenty six million Americans use them, illegal drugs account for only one percent of the five hundred thousand annual deaths related to these three factors.
The Libertarian Party believes in the repeal of all laws prohibiting the sale, possession, or use of drugs. This is just another infringement on the rights of the citizen to decide his own fate. He may act in any way he sees fit, so long as he does not interfere with the liberties of his fellow citizen. This is the main principle of Libertarianism. Should drugs be legalized, it would eliminate the extreme profitability from dealing. There is no reason to commit violent crime when operating a legal business. Just because drugs are legal, it wouldn't necessarily mean that the government would encourage use, just as the government doesn't encourage the use of alcohol or tobacco products. This would simple be another right of the individual to make decisions for himself without the government forcing itself into another area of individual rights. Freeing the non violent drug offenders would create room in jails and would make sentences longer for the violent criminals. The Libertarians believe that people who act peacefully, should be left to act peacefully. It is time the government stop telling peaceful people how to run their lives and start concentrating on the real crimes that are plaguing our country.
The government has sent our military all over the globe in an attempt to act as the world's police force. The same government that sees its cities crumbling, send its military to resolve conflicts between two outside parties. The United States military is not being used for what it was originally intended to be used for, the defense of the United States. Instead, our government chooses show the whole world that we are military bullies, and tries to stick its nose into other nation's affairs. This just isn't right. In most cases, nations should be left to resolve their differences alone. Only in the most extreme cases should the U.S. send its military in to help resolve foreign conflicts. Thousands of American troops are shipped to foreign soil every year, as the United States military furthers its attempts to be the Earth's peace-keeper. As usual, they are doing a less than satisfactory job.
The Libertarian Party calls for the immediate removal of all troops and weapons from all foreign lands, bringing all American troops home immediately. In an attempt to further restrict the president from gallivanting soldiers all over the world, the LP calls for an amendment limiting the president's role as commander-in-chief, back to the original Constitutional meaning. They also call for the termination of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, or any other agreement that prevents national defense systems. It is a stern Libertarian belief that America should be securely defended at all times. The military draft is also something that the Libertarian Party calls for ending immediately. They support the idea that all military service should be voluntary. A military focused on defending America would reduce manpower needs and further eliminate the need for a draft. This does not leave the nation vulnerable either. It has been proven through time that any patriotic citizen will rise to the occasion when a cause that he believes in is in danger. We just have to be sure that these citizens believe in the U.S. should there be a time of struggle in our future. Our people must be supportive of their government, which in today's sad reality, is not happening.
The government is notorious for sticking its nose into every American's life; telling him what he can listen to, what he can watch, and what sights he can go to on the Internet. The government has no right to infringe on the people's rights to choose what they want to watch on television, or what sight they want to go to on the Internet. The government feels it can impose it's power on everyone in the country, claiming that this censorship is a good way to make sure that America's children aren't watching things, or going to web sights they aren't supposed to. What may seem inappropriate for small children may be totally acceptable for responsible adults. Just because a sight is on the Internet does not mean that everyone has to visit it. It should not be left to the government to decide what is good or bad for an individual to watch, it should be left up to the individual, or in the case of minors, his parents.
The Libertarian Party supports the immediate repeal of all laws regulating freedom of expression or speech, and is a strong supporter of the Blue Ribbon campaign for free speech on line. Since this campaign has been in existence, its supporters have battled hard, proving that the Communications Decency Act is un-Constitutional to many Americans. This nation was founded on individual rights. Something that only a few people seem to hold dear today. These rights of expression have somehow become lost in the mix, and the government is taking every opportunity to further take those rights away from the people. Government has already proven to the people that it can't succeed in anything it tries, so why are so many people just sitting back and watching their Constitutional rights being snatched right from their hands? It is time that the people let the government know how they feel; and let government know they support the one document that so many of our ancestors have fought and died in protection of, the Constitution of the United States of America.
If America continues on the path it is going right now, it will self-destruct in a matter of years. The government is constantly taking money from the pockets of the working man, and wasting it carelessly on useless government programs. The income tax has been a thorn in the side of Libertarians for years. We had no income tax before 1914 and America prospered. Since the creation of the income tax, the government has constantly spent more money that it had, and now the nation is bankrupt. To combat this, the government simply dips into the pockets of its citizens and takes their hard-earned money. The average American works two hours and forty-five minutes of every eight hour day to pay taxes. The money made on one hundred and twenty-seven days of every year is given up to the government, and over fifteen years of every career is spent to pay taxes to the government. Our country is in a sad state of affairs indeed. Something must be done, and something must be done immediately. Any private business operating so irresponsibly would have gone under years ago.
To combat the deficit and help stimulate the economy,
our government has decided to raise the minimum wage to five dollars and
fifteen cents per hour. However, this will do nothing to help the problem,
rather, it will only make things worse. Eight hundred and eighty four thousand
jobs have been destroyed by the government meddling in the minimum wage
between 1977 and 1989. It has been estimated that almost two hundred thousand
more jobs will be destroyed when the minimum wage is bumped up to five
fifteen. The issue that one must look at is buying power? Who does this
raise benefit, other than teenage part timers, who are working for minimum
wage? The answer is no one. For anyone making a substantial rate, say $14.00
an hour, they watch their buying power plummet. While everyone else has
their payrolls at $5.15, the $14.00/hr worker is still making $14.00. As
part time workers see their
wages rise, the $14.00/hr worker is still making $14.00. As businesses must charge more due to inflated payrolls, the $14.00/hr worker is still making $14.00. The only fair wage is the wage that an employer and worker voluntarily agree upon. We must abolish the minimum wage.
The Libertarian Party is not about getting rid of government entirely. Some people go so far as to claim that the Libertarian Party stand for lawlessness. This is not the case either. The LP merely wants the government to be cut down to its original size, as stated in the Constitution. It is not up to the government to tell people what to do, so long as they do not harm anyone else. Every individual should be given the right to sole dominion over his own life. The government would only be there should someone overstep his dominion. Libertarians are merely people who are sick and tired of the government taking their money and telling them what they can and cannot do with that money. The U.S. is not full of infant children. America does not need the government breathing down every citizen's back, watching out for them. They should be able to make those decisions for themselves. The government should merely be there for what it was originally intended to be there for; the protection of the people.
The Libertarian Party truly is the only party that will have its government of the people, by the people, and for the people. America would finally be given back to the people. So the next time you step into a voting booth, don't hesitate to look beyond the standard Democrat and Republican candidates? There are other people on the ballot too. These aren't politicians, but rather people who are fighting for the rights of the average American. These are people who believe in personal freedom and have true morals and goals. These are people who want to see America delivered back into the hands of the citizens the way that it was originally intended to be. These are people who will defend your Constitutional rights, and will stand up for your liberties. These are people that are proud to call themselves Americans. These are Libertarians.