Sunday, November 02, 2008

Why It Is Ok for Libertarians to Vote Obama

Brad Smith at DOL writes down the arguments for why Libertarians should, if not go for McCain, at least stay away from Obama. Mostly, he is responding to this Reason article and demonstrates (accurately, in my view) why many of the Libertarian Obamanauts are using faulty logic, such as "retaliation" to the Republicans.

To be sure, if I was registered to vote, I would not vote for Obama. However, I think Libertarians can justify a vote for Obama on other grounds:
  1. Libertarian philosophy is not just limited to economic realms, and to the extent social and political freedoms can be (if at all) seperated from economic freedoms, Democrats are often closet Libertarians. Legalization of drugs, looser immigration, and a zero propensity to return military conscription.
  2. I suspect, as do many others, that Obama is much more likely to get us out of Iraq, and sooner rather than later.
  3. Affirmative Action will continue to lose its appeal as a majority of Americans who are under no coercion to hire a black president decide to do so of their own free will.
  4. I suspect Tyler Cowen is right in his theory that big swings in the ideological spectrum are more likely to occur when the president is of the opposing ideology. Of course, this may require a Republican congress, but maybe we will squeeze some economic freedom out of him yet.
  5. From what I can tell, the free trade move to make is to shoot down the Columbia Free Trade Agreement, which would be a publicity loss but would be the better of the two outcomes.
  6. Obama will be more likely to keep Congress from involving the government more in marriage and religion. As an aside, Libertarians have not capitalized enough on the government's attempts to render homosexuals to the status of second class citizens as a means of gathering additonal party support.
I could give easily give Libertarians a solid 10 reasons not to vote Obama, but it would all depend on how you way these different items. Anyway, if you are voting, may I suggest you cast a write-in ballot of "Palin/Binden." Now that would be good comedy! ;)


Anonymous said...

When intelligent Libertarians examine Barack Obama, they see his high intelligence and intellect as an asset, conducive to rational [libertarian-style] thinking.

Combined with his background as a civil rights lawyer and constitutional law professor who is favorable to voluntary, free community organization, and who as a Senator, took a daring stand against the Iraq War -- it becomes easy to see that Barack Obama is more "libertarian" than not.

McCain is highly “pro-war" which would mean at least another four “Bush Years” of endless billion dollar [war] occupations, plus more BIG GOVERNMENT SPENDING, "taxes-from-the-middle-class-to-finance-wealthy-tax-cuts" and "socialized" corporate profits/bailouts with little, if any "trickle down" effect of job growth which, by the way, has NOT happened in spite of Bush's tax cuts provided to big corporations and the Warren Buffet wealthy.

By voting for Bob Barr, it would be a truly dangerous wasted voted this year, after all he’s NOT going to win. "Wasted Votes" and [conservative] Libertarians who voted for Bush, helped Bush win two terms.

Obama is the best [major] candidate to work on four top libertarian reforms:

1) Iraq withdrawal
2) restoring the separation of church and state
3) easing off victimless crimes such as drug use
4) curtailing the Patriot Act.

Libertarians living in the real world know that only Obama or McCain can actually win. And in that real world, Bob Barr is an ex-CIA Republican and on that basis he is questionable as being truly “Libertarian”.

Because Bob Barr spend most of his political career as a rather right-wing conservative Republican, many long-time Libertarians don’t see him as a “true” Libertarian but some sort of right-wing conservative Republican infiltrator.

With a history of hostile right-wing conservative Republicans infiltrating the Libertarian Party over the years, they have pushed out long-time, true Libertarians and founders.

This hostile LP take-over by conservative Republicans is not easily forgotten -- and well, as a backlash -- I can see a lot of Libertarians wanting to get Republicans out of power.

And the best way to do this is by voting for Obama and a straight Democratic ticket.

Anonymous said...

Come on, guys. On almost issue after issue, the Republicans are better than the Democrats in this presidential election from a libertarian perspective.

You mentioned immigration. Great. Who has fought to really reform immigration and to have a softer line on immigration? Not Obama, who helped torpedo reform.

Most libertarians understand that the so-called separation between church and state has very little to do with a libertarian creed, especially as proper interpretation of the Constitution does not say anything about separation.

The Democrats are probably better about the drug issues, on the whole, though the most prominent voices for real reform are Republican.

Finally, it is not especially clear how the Patriot Act is so bad. Most of its onerous provisions sunset, and some of its other provisions have helped catch terrorists. If this is the best you can do, go back to the drawing board!

On all the other issues:

1. Healthcare: Obama makes the system worse, McCain makes it better.

2. Taxes: Obama claims he will only raise them on a few, and lower them for the rest -- there's one problem -- he will need Pelosi's approval, and he knows this. We haven't heard a lot about making Bush's tax cuts permanent. Where is the meat? We know McCain will do the right thing.

3. Spending: one man has spent his career fighting wasteful spending while one man has willfully taken home hundreds of millions of pork.

4. Education: one man supports the forces that make public education bad (teacher's unions), one man supports at least one structural innovation that may alleviate some of problems (vouchers).

5. Law: McCain will appoint judges who respect the Constitution, while Obama will appoint judges who twist the Constitution to say whatever they want it to say.

On defense, reasonable libertarians can differ on who is better, but on almost every other issue, there is not much of a comparison. From a libertarian perspective, McCain is clearly better. This says nothing of the regulations Obama would promulgate in every sector of our lives, thereby constricting us -- McCain probably isn't a lot better, but we know he would be.

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