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May 31, 2004
Libertarian Nonsense No Threat To Two-Party System ... Again

Jon at QandO points out that the Libertarian Party has nominated its selection for President -- the selection that CBS News breathlessly suggested last week would create a threat on the Republican's right flank. Jon, who regularly blogs on libertarian issues and philosophy, can't wait to not support Michael Bednarik:

I mean, really. It's like the LP is competing with PETA to see who can appear more ridiculous in pursuit of Idealism. 10 out of 10 for standing on principle, but minus a few thousand for doing it in a clown costume.

Why does Jon get so cynical about the Libertarian Party? As Jon suggests, take a look at the approach on issues that their candidate espouses, and try to think how these will go over with either the left or the right of the political spectrum in November:

Children take drugs because criminals actively sell them. Criminals sell drugs because they are astronomically profitable. Drugs are highly profitable only because they are illegal. The Libertarian solution is to decriminalize drugs, which will make drugs extremely cheap, which will remove the profit motivation for selling drugs, which will result in fewer children taking drugs.

While I share some of Bednarik's concern about the war on drugs, especially when you look at incarceration statistics, the claim that people sell drugs to children because the profit margin is astronomical on one hand, while in the next breath claiming that lowering the price will constitute a market barrier to children in the next is nothing short of lunacy. Lowering price barriers opens markets, it doesn't close them, and the people who directly sell to children do so to fund their own habits. Making drugs legal will not change the profit motivation for selling drugs in any case, whether to children or adults. It simply makes the profit motive legal and encourages investment, mass production, economies of scale, and lower prices to consumers. Safer supplies and lower prices will increase consumption. If you want to make this argument for the market approach, at least do it honestly.

The IRS is despised by every American old enough to work for a living. This agency is notorious for confiscating property from citizens without proper due process of law. Michael would eliminate this agency completely, without instituting a flat tax to take its place. Michael would also eliminate the NEED for an income tax by abolishing hundreds of unconstitutional offices and government programs.

Michael needs to explain how he would pay for those functions he does see as Constitutional, such as common defense, the judiciary, interstate commerce, the enforcement of the various Constitutional amendments for equal treatment under the law, and so on. Would he replace the income tax with a federal sales tax? I doubt it, but simply saying, "I'll eliminate the IRS and lots of government agencies" amounts to a fairy tale. Besides, it's interesting to note his devotion to the Constitution when he argues for its abolition:

The purpose of the Constitution is simply to outline a form of government that will put the Zero Agression Principle into practice. When it fails (and some think that it has) we have the right "to alter or abolish it, and to institute NEW government, laying its foundation on such principles (such as Zero Aggression), and organizing its power in such form, (such as the Constitution) as to them, shall seem, most likely to effect their safety and happiness."

On the other hand, in the same interview, he seems hostile to changing the Constitution when it doesn't suit his needs:

The IRS didn't come into existence the day the Constitution was ratified in 1789. The 16th Amendment and the IRS didn't come into our lives until 1913 - over 100 years later.

On monetary policy, the man takes an intellectually defensible position and hammers it into nonsense:

Article 1, Section 8, clause 5 grants CONGRESS the power and responsibility "to coin money, and regulate the value thereof..." It does NOT give Congress the authority to transfer that responsibility to another branch of the government, much less to a private company such as the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve has been inflating our money supply ever since 1933, which makes our money worth less than Monopoly money. (I estimate that Parker Brothers prints far less money than the Federal Reserve does!) In order for the United States to survive economically, we need to reestablish a non-inflationary currency based on some commodity, not necessarily gold and silver, though I admit a preference to precious metals. Eliminating the unconstitutional Federal Reserve is a logical and necessary first step.

Agency law has been well established by the courts and Congress. While he may have a point on floating currency, the notion that Monopoly money has more value than an American dollar is utter nonsense, even for rhetorical purposes. Try taking a Monopoly $100 bill and buy yourself dinner. If you think the restaurant owner will suddenly leap with joy because now he can finally put a hotel on Park Place, vote for Bednarik.

If you want to see what a Libertarian Presidency in the hands of Bednarik would look like, check out his plans for his first day in office, as Jon recommends:

I would also issue a valid executive order to the BATF and other pseudo police agencies informing them that any agent who confiscates a weapon of any kind, from someone who is not currently engaged in a murder or robbery, will not only be terminated from their position, but they will also be prosecuted for violating the unalienable rights of the citizens they have sworn to protect. ...

High ranking officials from [the IRS] would be closely monitored as flight risks, pending indictments for fraud in the event that evidence proves that they knew that no statute exists that requires Americans to fill out a 1040 form and relinquish a significant percentage of their hard earned money to an unconstitutional government that refuses to operate within a budget. ...

I would announce a special one-week session of Congress where all 535 members would be required to sit through a special version of my Constitution class. Once I was convinced that every member of Congress understood my interpretation of their very limited powers, I would insist that they restate their oath of office while being videotaped.

Michael Bednarik for President. Congress would only serve at his pleasure. Welcome the new Oliver Cromwell, whose Puritanism will save democracy! If this loon attracts more than a single percentage point of the vote in November, I'll eat my hat.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at May 31, 2004 10:07 AM

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