Oct 11, 2004

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Neal, thanks for the kind words. I just found your site through Jamie’s. I missed debate #2, and after reading about the abortion question and candidate responses, I was compelled to post.

I’d like to clarify a bit on where I stand regarding the election….

You stated “…I believe it's critically important that we elect John Kerry.” I think that’s a little less than honest. Do you really mean “I believe it's critically important that we prevent George W. Bush from being reelected.”?

Where I think you and I agree:

I believe George W. Bush is a supremely awful President. He, along with the Republicans (and some Democrats) in Congress, have trampled on individual liberty, massively increased spending, and started a non-defensive war that will make our country LESS safe by generating more enemies.

Third party candidates should be allowed in the debates.

No third party Presidential candidate has a chance of winning the election in 2004.

Where we may disagree:

I’m libertarian. I’m guessing you think of yourself as liberal…? Though I usually agree with liberals on goals, I often disagree on solutions. (When I disagree with conservatives, it’s usually on goals.)

I don’t blame Bush for the current economy. The tech bubble burst (tulip bulbs revisited) and recession started before his inauguration. I believe his tax cuts were a good thing; I believe they would have had a better effect on the economy if they weren’t scheduled to expire. Unfortunately his spending has turned the tax cuts into tax shifts, i.e., higher taxes for future generations. I do think this spending will make the economy worse in the long run.

I don’t believe the wars in Afghanistan nor Iraq are for oil or Halliburton. I believe that saying so makes non-liberals dismissive to anti-war advocates. I believe that Bush THINKS he’s making the world safer, had pre-9/11 excessive antipathy for Saddam Hussein, and only listens to people who agree. (By “excessive antipathy” I mean more hatred than for other equally or greater ruthless dictators.) I am less than 100% sure in these beliefs. I am 100% sure that the war in Iraq is wrong, and that Kerry should have voted against the authorization of force.

I believe that the federal government should obey the Constitution. I don’t believe it’s a “living document” that can be interpreted any which way we want. Almost every bad thing Bush has done is unconstitutional. There are portions of the Constitution that I am against, but if we trash parts of it, what’s to keep the entire thing from being trashed? Maybe we should just cancel the election (part of the Constitution); after all, we’re in the middle of a war. The way to change the Constitution is by the Amendment process.

It’s not the President’s job to run the country. And having the government “Do something” about a problem is not necessarily the best way to solve a problem, and can in fact make things worse.

The system is set up to ensure that we only have two choices in Presidential elections with a chance of winning, because the current system IS SET UP BY the Democrat and Republican Parties.

Where we may agree or disagree:

Many Libertarians (i.e., members of the Libertarian Party) believe that the LP should concentrate on local elections, and not waste resources on candidates that can not win. Others, including myself, believe that Presidential candidates get the message out (despite the minimal major news media coverage), and that voting for them sends a message. I want the LP to grow, so that eventually libertarian candidates win high offices or the major parties implement libertarian ideas. BTW, yes I am aware that there is a libertarian Congressman, Republican Ron Paul (http://www.house.gov/paul/); some people point to him as a reason why I should vote Republican, but his own party is against him and tries to defeat him in the primaries!

590+ Libertarians hold elected and appointed public office (http://www.lp.org/organization/), and 212+ Greens hold elected office (http://www.feinstein.org/greenparty/electeds.html) (I couldn’t find a number for total offices held), so third parties have already started on the local level. As for Ralph Nader, his candidacy strikes me as being more about Ralph Nader. If he stands for Green Party ideas, he should bow out and support GP candidate David Cobb.

To sum up:

I am not a spokesman for the LP or any other group; I am a spokesman for myself. Please don’t take my words as libertarian/Libertarian gospel. I like the kind of discussion where I can try to clear up my thoughts, and where I can learn other points of view. I am not so egotistical to believe I am always right.

I plan to vote for Michael Badnarik. It would be almost impossible to convince me to do otherwise, especially given the comfortable lead Kerry has in my home state. I will defend my reasons against anyone who attacks me for my decision. I am especially irked by the “wasting your vote” or “stealing votes” arguments. My vote belongs to no one but me.

I do not disagree with anyone planning to vote for Kerry in order to kick Bush out. There are, in fact, many libertarians who advocate a Kerry vote for this reason (http://www.libertariansforkerry.com). On the other hand, there were many libertarians advocating a Bush vote in 2000 because Gore supposedly would have been worse.

I disagree with anyone who thinks Kerry would make a good President.

I disagree with anyone planning to vote for Bush for any reason.

I disagree with anyone who doesn’t bother to learn the issues. In fact, I’d prefer it if such people did not vote. But I think the current party duopoly keeps many people from being interested in politics.

I don’t think that you can change the current major parties by staying quiet and voting for the lesser of two evils (or not voting). If you’re voting for Kerry but don’t like him (or *gasp* for Bush and you don’t like him), speak out! If you like third party candidates running for other offices, vote for them, especially if it’s not a closely contested race. Let the Democrats (or Republicans) know that they can’t betray your principles and still count on your vote!

I will discuss differences over issues; I hope that such discussions can be civil. I have seen boards and blogs (liberal, conservative, you name it) filled with venom and name-calling. The Oni Press board has been intelligent and respectful; I wouldn’t have posted as much as I have (way more than I ever intended!) otherwise. There has been the odd occasion where I thought someone was a little harsh, but politics get emotional, cold impersonal text gets misread, and people (especially me) can get too defensive. I was very heartened to read your words regarding my post to this site. :-)

Personally, I’d rather discuss comic books. ;-)

BTW, I’m sorry to say I haven’t tried any of your books yet, but the Oni Press hype for The Awakening looked so good that I pre-ordered a copy last month. I have yet to dislike an Oni book, so if I haven’t tried one, it’s due to limited funds, time, and storage space.