Maybe I’m Not a Libertarian

You see, I’ve always fancied myself a Libertarian-Republican, despite my dislike for hyphenated classifications. But upon further reflection, I’m beginning to think I’m actually a Republican-Libertarian. I know that sounds like a very slight difference, but it’s bigger than you might think.

My shift in attitude comes from many factors. I’ll explain, and then you can help me analyze myself in the comments.

I used to hold the Libertarian belief that everyone should be abe to do what they want, so long as they don’t infringe on the rights of others. I believed that if people chose to do things that were self-destructive, that was their problem, and they’d have to suffer the consequences for them. I believed that the government should pretty much butt out of everything and let private business do their thing.

But then I took a good look around me, and I realized some interesting things. People DO chose to do self-destructive things, but in the process, they take out other people with them. Think about drunk drivers… there are millions of them. Chances are at least 30% of you reading this article, if not more, have driven drunk. Shame on you.

The fact is, drunk driving is a self-destructive behavior, as is alcoholism, but drunk driving impacts millions of other people. My non-Libertarian leaning now is that if you hurt or kill someone when you drive drunk, it’s the same as killing someone in the act of commiting a felony… if you kill someone while robbing a bank, you get the death penalty. Well, if you kill someone while driving drunk (which is illegal), you get the death penalty. Period.

Just because you legalize everything does not mean that Darwinism will win out, because there are too many people affected who AREN’T taking advantage of the legality. If drugs were made legal, it wouldn’t cut down on drug use. It might make purchasing and selling drugs safer, but would society be safer? I doubt it. People would act like idiots. If you don’t believe me, look at the activity of people who drink (legal) and drive (not legal). People will NOT act more responsibly if drugs are legalized.

Smoking is actually the thing that got me thinking yesterday. There’s a Missouri amendment that would add a humongous tax on cigarettes… a “sin tax” if you will. The studies show that the elasticity of demand for cigarettes is VERY VERY low, H O W E V E R, the elasticity of demand for MINORS is VERY VERY HIGH. In layman’s terms… if you raise the price of cigarettes, the adults are gonna keep on smoking, but the kids are going to be less likely, because they have less means to support the habit. It’s simple economics, and the studies have shown it to be true.

But, my Libertarian leanings are diametrically opposed to the concept of a “sin tax.” It’s government interference with the way people choose to live their lives.

The thing was, as I thought about which way I would vote on the amendment, I realized I was leaning towards voting FOR the tax. Easy for me to say, since I don’t smoke, right? It’s true. I don’t smoke. I think smoking is disgusting, expensive, and well… stupid. I’m the epitome of an intolerant non-smoker.

Smoking has many implications for non-smokers, though. Smokers always try to say that’s not the case, but the numbers just don’t support their nicotine-stained logic. Smoking is a tremendous burden to the economy. When someone without insurance gets lung cancer… the hospitals aren’t allowed to send them away without treatment. They absorb the cost and spread it out among everyone else. When someone WITH insurance gets lung cancer, it drives the cost of insurance up for EVERYONE.

And then there’s the issue of second-hand smoke. Children with smoking parents are MUCH more likely to get asthma and allergies than children with non-smoking parents. Non-smokers don’t even get the benefit of the filter that the smoker gets to have. I thank God every day that smoking has basically been shoved into the individual’s car and home. It’s irresponsible to blow your smoke on someone who doesn’t want to breathe it, just as it’s irresponsible to drink alcohol and then endanger everyone on the road by driving. Incidentally, having an “non smoking” section in your restaurant is like having a “non peeing” section in your pool. It’s just moronic.

So what it ultimately boils down to is this. I can look around and observe that people act like fricking idiots with alcohol and cigarettes, both of which are legal. Therefore, I can logically expect that if we legalize other dangerous activities like drugs and prostitution, people will act like fricking idiots with those as well. While I suspect that individuals and private entities SHOULD be the ones driving these decisions, I know that they just won’t do it, for whatever reason.

If people won’t choose to be smart, it sounds like they need to be forced. And suddenly that just doesn’t sound Libertarian at all. In fact, it doesn’t even sound Republican.

The only thing that gives me pause is that God only knows what the NEXT thing the government will decide to put a sin tax on… McDonalds, for instance.

Interesting how it’s easy to vote for a tax on other people, but not so great when it’s you…

I’m so confused. Help me clear up my muddled thinking… please!

  9 comments for “Maybe I’m Not a Libertarian

  1. November 2, 2006 at 11:19 am

    No matter what the rules are, there are certain people who will always behave self-destructively, and won’t care who gets hurt in the process. I have NO sympathy whatsoever for people who drive drunk and then kill people. I think being convicted of “vehicular manslaughter” is bull. They knew when they got in their car that they were drunk, and therefore could risk hitting another person.

    I’ve always believed that drugs and prostitution should be legalized, so that at the very least it can be taxed and regulated. (And personally, I can see how drugs would be illegal, but prostitution just never made sense to me. If people want to pay to get laid, let them.) There are probably just as many (maybe more) people strung out on legal prescription drugs than on crack, or speed, or heroin.

  2. November 2, 2006 at 1:11 pm

    As much as I hate smokers and their second-hand smoke the last thing I want is more government telling me how to live my life. I already have them telling me how I can and can’t raise my kids and how to take care of my pets; I don’t want them running my life, thank you very much.

  3. Dave
    November 2, 2006 at 3:41 pm

    Personally, the government always stayed out of my pets’ lives. Maybe Kansas is more lax on petcare cause we have more animals than states like rhode island. The point of government is to limit the harm that people can willingly inflict on others, be it other nations or other citizens. Government is supposed to protect people – not from themselves – but from other citizens, even if they are just “exercising their rights.” A ban or tax on McDonalds is ridulous, because my eating a double-quarter pounder can’t give you cancer. Sure, if I do it often, I’ll die, but hopefully not until my kids are grown and won’t be a burden to the state.

    Smoking disables and kills innocent victims. I’m against so-called “choice” that ends up killing or hurting an innocent fellow citizen, including drunk driving, smoking, murder, abortion, rape, child abuse, and etc. You can do all of those things if you want to, but no reasonable society allows anarchical policies that gives license to put others at serious risk. duh.

  4. BlackJack
    November 2, 2006 at 5:03 pm

    Embrace your Libertarian leanings Incredipete. Don’t stray.

    You are allowing socialized programs like insurance cloud your judgment a little. If you do not like the insurance rates because they are high due to vice driven behavior, don’t buy it. You might respond “well I need insurance” no you don’t. You choose to have it to reduce the financial risk to you and your family.

    Don’t get me started on secondhand smoke and its effects. You’re being misled. It is agenda driven, junk science like global warming, Trans fatty acids, high sodium diets, and the DDT scare if you are old enough to remember. (That activist driven research is now costing millions of people in the world there lives today) Thanks again liberals who have too much time and too much guilt.

    It is absolutely none of the governments business what I do as long as it is not subversive or directly harms others.

    Sin taxes are all about raising state and federal revenue and making the masses feel good about it. I wonder why they just dot make smoking illegal if it is so bad. The fact is it is a great revenue source – so much of the government looking out for you.

    Government only survives by growing and taking more control. It is a slow process that requires generation but it is constant and relentless.

    I would like to make the distinction between legalizing drugs and decriminalizing them. I think the more you can take the profit motive out of it the better. A nuance but one that is important.

    Smokers pay higher rates on their insurance. The fact is smokers, those who die prior to the actuary tables are actually are less of a burden on Medicare, Medicaid, and Social security long term because they are not around to go through three hip replacements, and a boat load of cash for meds.

    Embrace your Libertarian leanings Incredipete. Don’t stray. Hang tough.

    You are allowing socialized programs like insurance cloud your judgment a little. If you do not like the insurance rates because they are high due to vice driven behavior, don’t buy it. You might respond “well I need insurance” no you don’t. You choose to have it to reduce the financial risk to you and your family.

    Don’t get me started on secondhand smoke and its effects. You’re being misled. It is agenda driven, junk science like global warming, Trans fatty acids, high sodium diets, and the DDT scare if you are old enough to remember. (That activist driven research is now costing millions of people in the world there lives today) Thanks again liberals who have too much time and too much guilt.

    It is absolutely none of the governments business what I do as long as it is not subversive or directly harms others.

    Sin taxes are all about raising state and federal revenue and making the masses feel good about it. I wonder why they just dot make smoking illegal if it is so bad. The fact is it is a great revenue source – so much of the government looking out for you.

    Government only survives by growing and taking more control. It is a slow process that requires generations but it is constant and relentless.

    I would like to make the distinction between legalizing drugs and decriminalizing them. I think the more you can take the profit motive out of it the better – a nuance but one that is important.

    Smokers pay higher rates on their insurance. The fact is smokers; those who die prior to the actuary tables are actually less of a burden on Medicare, Medicaid, and Social security long term because they are not around to go through three hip replacements, and a boat load of cash for meds like their healthy, holier than thou peers.

    Out

  5. November 2, 2006 at 5:13 pm

    Yes, but Dave, if I eat McDonalds and have congestive heart failure, that raises the cost of insurance for everyone…

  6. November 2, 2006 at 5:38 pm

    My city recently enacted an ordinance that basically makes my cat the same as my dog, i.e. it needs to be restrained at all times. You know, in case some drug dealer wants to use Gizmo in drug deals. Or in case he suddenly decides to maul small children. Idiots.

  7. Jodie
    November 2, 2006 at 8:09 pm

    Sorry warcrygirl. I happen to agree with your city’s ordinance. As a non-cat owner, I am plagued by neighborhood cats that seem to be let out by their owners for the simple reason of not wanting to maintain a litterbox. Therefore, I have cat feces left around my plants, and in any loose dirt on the property. Cats are just as capable of spreading disease as dogs, and should be restrained from wandering the streets. Perhaps keeping them indoors will also lower the “extra” cats that will inevitably come about from roaming cats. And, as shown in recent years in Michigan, cats become feral if left unattended. They can and WILL attack anyone for any reason. That’s why they opened season on cats and made it legal to shoot them if out running amok. I think if you have a cat as a pet, then it should be cared for as a pet. INDOORS.

  8. November 2, 2006 at 9:04 pm

    “If drugs were made legal, it wouldn’t cut down on drug use. It might make purchasing and selling drugs safer, but would society be safer? I doubt it. People would act like idiots.”

    As a former pothead I can assure that it isn’t a gateway drug, nor did I act like an idiot. I watched more TV, slept better and ate lots of weird shit….munchies you know. So I think that the Gub-ment needs to legalize the drugs, because NO ONE doesn’t do drugs because they are illegal, if they want to they will if they don’t they wont. Period.

  9. Livieloo
    November 2, 2006 at 10:36 pm

    I totally agree with your thinking on the whole smoking issue. Most people are really just too careless with themselves and others to be let loose on the world. I’ve always felt that the belief that people should be left to their own devices is based upon the belief that all people are basically good and, if given the chance, will act in favor of those around them. But what I see more and more everyday is that most people really don’t give a shit about anyone accept themselves and when it comes right down to it they’re going to do what makes them happy, even if it costs someone else something. Of course, there are good people in the world and I’m not saying that all people are basically bad, it’s a paradox that we all struggle with. That’s all I have to say.

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