If you believe in limited government, then you need to know that Libertarians are the most dangerous people in America. Because thanks to Libertarians, Democrats – completely controlled by left-wing oligarchs and public sector unions – are going to extend government control into every facet of American life. If you doubt that, come to California, a one-party state where Democrats enforce everything from the trivial – outlawed plastic straws, to the tyrannical – water rationing, urban “densification,” confiscatory taxes.
Libertarians apparently believe their principles justify them running candidates that steal far more votes from Republicans than Democrats – for the obvious reason that people who favor limited government tend to vote Republican. But despite all their intellectualizing – go online and try not to puke as you read their high-brow badinage as they banter over Hayek and the Austrian School and “objectivism” – they can’t understand simple math: If you siphon votes away from Republicans, Democrats win.
Just this week, a Libertarian candidate in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District attracted 1,379 votes, which handed the election to a Democrat who won by 627 votes. Good job.
If the Libertarians, thank God, hadn’t ran a vapid stoner for President in 2016, Hillary Clinton would be our president today, falling down the White House stairs on her way to turning America into California, instead tripping while touring the Jahaz Mahal palace in India. Think about that.
And what of “libertarian” thought? On every political issue of significance to this nation, Libertarians are wrong.
When it comes to immigration, Libertarians believe in open borders. “Free movement of people.” Wonderful. But when you pin them down, Libertarians acknowledge that they don’t believe in welfare, or government-sponsored multiculturalism, or racial hiring quotas, or any of the other taxpayer funded programs that make America a magnet for destitute immigrants. Like Democrats, Libertarians love to pat themselves on the back because they support “open borders.” Because they’re not racist. We’ll worry about ending all that welfare stuff later. Meanwhile, let millions more pour in, and let government expand to accommodate them. Don’t worry, there’s only 1.5 billion people in the world who live in extreme poverty. No problem.
Then there’s infrastructure. Libertarians don’t want government to get involved in funding football stadiums and concert halls. Fair enough. But what about freeways? What about airports, seaports, railroads, reservoirs, aqueducts, and the like? According to libertarians, a “public/private” partnership is a dirty word. Creeping socialism. Libertarians, a pitiful minority, nonetheless manage to mobilize the pseudo-intellectual heft and activist outrage necessary to help kill these projects, especially since approval usually hangs by a thread. They hand victory to environmentalists who don’t want to build anything. And public sector unions laugh all the way to the bank, since they get to pocket all the money the public saved, in the form of increased pay and benefits.
What about government sponsored research and development? “Never,” cries the Libertarian. Let the private sector make those investments. That’s fine. Nobody’s stopping them. But it was government funded research that gave us aerospace technology, atomic power, computers, the internet, life-saving medicines – the list is endless. Perhaps the U.S. government should stop funding all of this vital research, so other nations who’ve managed to curb their libertarians can overtake us in every strategic technology sector where we remain competitive.
Which brings us to trade. According to libertarians, “free trade” means if you can make cheap wool, and your trading partner can make cheap tea, then you should stop making tea, and they should stop making wool, and everyone in both nations will buy cheap tea and cheap wool. But what if the wool is actually steel, and what if the tea is actually oil, and what if all of a sudden you need a lot more steel, and a lot more oil, and all of a sudden your trading partner doesn’t want to sell it to you any more? Or what if the country that made wool paid their wool manufacturers a subsidy, so they could sell it to you for nothing right up until all your own wool manufacturers went out of business? Or what if you bought so much wool, and tea, and steel, and oil, that you had to borrow money and hock all your assets just to pay for it all?
The real world is messy. Let’s not finish without considering the military. According to Libertarians, everyone in the world just wants to trade freely, and move freely, and the “principle of non-aggression” will keep us all safe and secure. Stay out of foreign entanglements. Abandon the sea lanes. Demilitarize space. Vacate overseas military bases. But power, like culture, abhors a vacuum. Disengage, and soon enough, the world will become a far less libertarian place. Funny how that works. Libertarians – please get your nose out of Adam Smith and read some Edward Gibbon instead.
Libertarians haven’t really thought things through. If all they manage to do is put Democrats in power, America might actually have a chance. But imagine if the Libertarians were in power. In their perfect world, everyone is a super-yuppie, who trades thin gold coins for services. Some of them are software engineers, and others design websites. They’re all around 26 years old, have stylish tattoos, and have sophisticated taste in music and fashion. But here’s the deal – in the real world, people aren’t all super-yuppies. They’re old, battered, hard working, ordinary Americans. And they deserve more.
Ultimately, libertarians are arrogant simpletons. The world they want is a Social Darwinist hell. The world they’re going to give us, if they don’t wake up, is a Socialist hell. Tough choices.
An edited version of this post originally appeared on the website American Greatness on March 24, 2018.
Edward Ring is a contributing editor and senior fellow with the California Policy Center, which he co-founded in 2013 and served as its first president. He is also a senior fellow with the Center for American Greatness, and a regular contributor to the California Globe. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Economist, Forbes, and other media outlets.
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