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Worship an ideal, not a politician. The Key To Political Happiness and Avoiding Hypocrisy.

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

I call myself a libertarian with a small L. This distinction is pretty simple. It means I believe in the idea of libertarianism, whereas a large L would signify I’m a member of the Libertarian party. Since I believe in the idea of a constitution; technically, I’m a republican with a small R as well.

So why do I draw these distinctions?

Libertarianism and constitutionalism are principles I hold quite dear. Politicians from the Democratic Party occasionally champion libertarianism; usually on social issues such as marriage rights for the LGBT community. Republicans champion libertarianism on fiscal issues such as lower taxes and deregulation. Libertarians of course, champion libertarianism on both counts.

As such, since libertarianism can be found in all three parties at times, I don’t feel it is justified to stand silent when a member of a party other than the Libertarian Party does something good just because I don’t want to “promote the enemy.” When a politician is on the right side of liberty, no matter what party they’re affiliated with, they deserve to be recognized for it. Such respect when common ground is found helps to unite us all and gets things done. Partisans who can’t bring themselves to stand with their opponents when they agree are putting party-loyalty before the greater good.

Libertarian Party Logo
Libertarian Party Logo

When someone claims to be part of a party, they often feel it necessary to toe that party’s line as well. As such, on an issue where they might be prone to take a counter-opinion, they somehow lose their moral compass in favor of loyalty to their party.

For instance, when I was a member of the Republican party prior to understanding what libertarianism really was, I was against big government, yet was OK with  The Patriot Act.

Am I ashamed of that? Ultimately, I have to say yes, I made a mistake.

I feel that George W. Bush believed he was doing what was best for the safety of our nation. I also saw that he expressed reservations about such power and was hesitant to use them unless he felt it absolutely necessary to save ‘Murican lives. So I trusted him with this power because I trusted him as a person, and therefore expected he would not abuse it.

George W. Bush
George W. Bush

But seeing the NSA abuses (among others) that have ensued since he left office tells me that the current ruling party are not encumbered by such reservations.

As such, I realize that even if I think a sitting president will serve the greater good with powers that are proposed to be bestowed upon them, such powers are bestowed upon successive presidents as well, and I must take that into account.

So now I’m committed to the notion that I will not support a legislative power given to someone I trust that I wouldn’t support with someone I didn’t trust—lesson learned.

But let’s look at my polar opposite; political pundits on TV who were furious about the Patriot Act during the Bush administration who seem to have few qualms with Obama’s abuse of those powers now. It’s clear they’re exhibiting a cult mentality where their leader can do no wrong—or they’re just plain hypocrites.

I was a person who simply failed to see the slippery slope, which admittedly was my ignorance, but they saw it as problematic from the word go, yet somehow decided it was good now that their guy is using it.

Libertarians aren’t immune to this nonsense either. Like any other political-party zealots, they can be very cultish and don’t deserve any less ridicule for doing so. They’re no better than a Debbie Wasserman Shultz for instance; a woman who takes lying and double-speak to an exquisite art form to defend her beloved Democratic Party.

Or Republicans like Rep. Pete King who trash Obama one minute, but then fail to stand beside Senators Ted Cruz or Rand Paul when they fought with every breath they had (literally) to stop the Affordable Care Act or potential drone strikes on Americans without due process Obama has put into practice.

Senator Rand Paul (R)
Senator Rand Paul (R)

If I tweet one role of government I agree with, I often get anarchist-libertarians attacking me with vitriol, name calling, and the “you so-called libertarian” nonsense.

A fundamental part of libertarianism is the idea that people should be free to think independently, yet espouse a different belief from some libertarian zealots, and you’ll find they often seem to forget that principle. Zealots from all parties are often incapable of separating opinion from fact, and understanding that only factual information has a right and wrong answer. Agreeing to disagree is the adult-like way to handle differences of opinion.

So instead of pledging allegiance to a party made up of people who will inevitably disagree with me at some point, I champion ideals and the people who share those ideals with me when we agree. When they don’t, I attempt to respectfully critique them by explaining my grievance with logic and reason. Whether their part of the Democratic, Republican, or Libertarian party is irrelevant to me.

For instance, I make no bones about believing Rand Paul is the best hope to shift our country towards libertarianism despite him being a Republican, yet I don’t agree with him on his stance against gay marriage and abortion. Once I discovered he differed from me on these issues, I didn’t start insulting him as if somehow he had unforgivably betrayed the cause, or become the Antichrist. I accept that we simply don’t agree on these particular issues, but that we still agree on most of the others.

If you endeavor to find a candidate who is entirely in line with your beliefs, you’re on the most foolish of missions. Getting enraged because the candidate you like suddenly espouses a belief you’re vehemently against only serves to needlessly increase your blood pressure, and frankly, if you’re the type to do this, you deserve it. It’s time to put on your adult-shoes and accept that no one is your ideological identical twin—get over it.

It is inevitable that at some point, those you place complete trust in will disappoint you. From your sweet & innocent little baby that destroys your prize lava lamp to see what’s inside, your spouse who accidentally forgot your birthday, or your favorite politician who is pro-life when you’re pro-choice. If you’re not going to put your kid up for adoption, or divorce the forgetful spouse, why crucify your favorite politician?

So while people and parties will occasionally disappoint, ideals never will, and frankly, no one outside your party respects a party zealot anyway. If you want to get things done, put aside parties, and stand with those who champion your ideals. The rise of independent voters is well noted. So I’d like to think I’m not the only one thinking this way.

Libertarian Party Nominee Gary Johnson
Libertarian Party Nominee Gary Johnson

If I were to run for office, I’d proudly run as a Libertarian or a Republican just as Ron Paul and Gary Johnson did, there’s nothing wrong with identifying with both if you care more about ideals than parties.

 

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The Case for Rand Paul

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

As the 2016 presidential election nears, the speculation as to who the Republican nominee is the grand question for the GOP.

On one hand, you have traditional but young Republicans like Marco Rubio or Paul Ryan. You have wild cards like Chris Christie. There is the old guard like John McCain or Peter King, but then there is the libertarian wing of the GOP headlined by Rand Paul, formerly his father Ron Paul, and although maybe the least known, but arguably the most libertarian, Justin Amash.

Senator Rand Paul (R)
Senator Rand Paul (R)
Congressman Justin Amash (R)
Congressman Justin Amash (R)

Unless evidence is uncovered that Hillary Clinton had an affair with Fidel Castro, it would seem clear she will be the DNC nominee. She will certainly be a formidable opponent to any GOP selection. So the question begs who has the best chance of beating her.

Let’s first discuss polling that is out there. Throw every single one of them out. No matter how reputable these polling organizations are, there is simply too much time until the election for new evidence to come in and change people’s minds. Whether it be a scandal that is uncovered, or just getting to know a candidate better, the last Republican primary and its consant shifts in the front-runner proves that the debates and higher scrutiny of election season can change everything in an instant.

Many on the right feel that a typical Republican is the best way to go because that person will rally the troops. The idea is that the best candidate is the one that makes Republicans the happiest. I get that notion, but it is completely illogical; let me explain why.

This Gallup poll shows that while 25% identify as Republican, and 31% identify as Democrat, an astounding 42% say they are independent.

Party Affiliation Gallup Poll
Party Affiliation Gallup Poll

With that in mind, that means that if every single Republican votes for a traditional Republican candidate, and they manage to split the independent vote, they still lose by 6%. They must win the lion’s share of that group as well as their own party.

So how do they do that?

When you ask people why they don’t like Republicans, more often than not, you hear that they are stuck in the mud on gay rights, drug laws, or other social-conservative issues they refuse to let go of. While a predominance of people are still religious, many of them don’t want it legislated. We want a free society, and the 1st amendment honored.

Rep. Justin Amash is a shining example of this; he couldn’t be less hypocritical. He is an orthodox Christian, arguably someone who has a higher level of faith than the average Christian, yet he understands that matters of religious faith should be kept between family and friends, not enforced by government at the point of a gun.

Independents are generally sick of the two-party system because both seem to have a penchant for “screwing the public” as they see it. Why do they say this? Because they see bills with pork barrel special favors, government waste, corruption, and infringements to basic rights. Whether it be gun rights, the right for a gay couple to marry, for a person to smoke a joint, or to engage in paid sexual activity. People instinctively want to be free to do what they want so long as they aren’t hurting anybody. So the candidate that best represents that will win those votes.

Independents often say that they are socially liberal, but fiscally conservative when describing why they don’t affiliate with either party. That is libertarianism at its core! If I had a dollar for every person that was a libertarian and just didn’t know it, I’d have enough money to run my own campaign.

If the GOP select a traditional Republican, that candidate will get Republican votes, and that is all they will get.

If they select a libertarian candidate like Rand Paul or Justin Amash (if he were running), they will get all the Republican votes. Because let’s be honest, the GOP’s unofficial slogan for the next presidential election will undoubtedly be “Anybody but Hillary, 2016.”

But with a libertarian, they will also pick up independent voters who are non-religious. Then they will pick up those who want to use recreational drugs like marijuana since neither party seem to be overwhelmingly behind that. There are millions of voters in that demographic—you’re fooling yourself if you think otherwise.

Lastly, they will pick up some voters who would have otherwise voted for the Libertarian Party candidate because now they can comfortably pick a libertarian Republican. I voted for Gary Johnson, but a libertarian like Rand could sway my vote back to the GOP, and I’m sure I’m not alone.

So why doesn’t Rand Paul poll well against Hillary currently? Because everyone knows Hillary, while Rand remains somewhat unknown. They don’t know that Rand Paul does pro-bono eye surgeries for his constituency. They don’t know that Rand is actually frugal with his office budget, so much so that he returned $500,000 last year to the federal government. (Update: Rand Paul returned 1.8 Million the following year.) Senator Johnny Isakson should be commended for doing this as well as there are not many who do. Lastly, Rand hasn’t debated Hillary yet either. Since he has facts and history on his side, he will overcome her popularity with ideas that stand on their merits.

Once people are presented with a candidate who embraces the age-old libertarian mantra of “no victim, no crime,” that person will win independents by a landslide.

The GOP love to invoke The Gipper often, but seem to forget that he considered himself a libertarian. He said quite succinctly that “If you analyze it, I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism.”

Lastly, I would also point out that Rand Paul is the only one reaching out to minorities and other non-traditional GOP supporters in an effort to grow the party in a way no other candidate does.

He visited Howard University before he was even running, taking many questions from all the students. He went to Detroit ahead of their expected bankruptcy. (Update: He also visited Ferguson after the unrest there.) An effort many

So GOP, if you want to win, you shouldn’t just want a libertarian, the numbers and history indicates that you need one. Do yourselves a favor; Rand Paul 2016. It’s truly your best hope.

What now?

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

There are a couple ways we can interpret this last election. Some feel this was the entitlement society voting for free stuff, but that’s an ignorant view in my opinion. While that was a percentage of the defeating vote, it’s not the majority of it. Most people want to earn their keep, but they want personal liberty more than anything.

Some say Gary Johnson defeated Mitt Romney, but even if Romney had gotten the Libertarian vote, he still wouldn’t have won. Polls of Gary Johnson voters showed that only about 2/3’s would have voted Romney had they only been given the two choices.Gary Johnson

So let’s be honest about what really happened here. The RNC excluded Gary Johnson from the debates after the first one, even though he was polling similar to Herman Cain, John Huntsman, and others who were allowed to carry on. Then to make matters worse, they didn’t let Ron Paul speak at the RNC convention without getting a transcript of what he expected to say first for their approval.

The fact is, folks like Ron and Rand Paul, Gary Johnson, Justin Amash, the Tea Party, etc., care about liberty and limited government more than anything. We also believe that the Libertarian Party should not be separate from the RNC, but instead the future of it.

If we look back at the election, the Republicans that won were the Tea Party limited government candidates while social conservative such as Akin and Mourdock lost in largely Republican states. The lessons are there to learn, but will the RNC learn them?Don't Tread On Me

People on the religious right might think I’m asking them to abandon their religious views, but I’m not. I’m asking them to simply understand that they should say something like this:

While I personally don’t support gay marriage, marijuana legalization, right to choose an abortion, etc., liberty is my number one value as a legislator. I will always encourage everyone in my circle of friends and family not to do these things, but I will never believe it is the government’s business, right, role, nor its duty to be involved in them.

When I talk to the majority of people who are either apolitical, or generally not that interested, most of them say they are socially liberal but fiscally conservative. I have news for you. If this describes you, you’re basically a Libertarian.

While both parties have done well to brand Libertarians as fringe anarchists and pot smokers, those of us who actually consider ourselves Libertarian/Republicans find that view of us misleading and insulting.

I wish that the DNC voters understood what Reagan understood and taught us. That taxing the rich has never helped the poor. That Ronald Reagantrickle-down economics actually works. And, that assured destruction via the world’s strongest military is the best insurance against someone attacking us. (In case you didn’t notice, while Reagan was often criticized for military spending, every president who has succeeded him has put more troops in harm’s way, either through war, or conflicts such as Somalia. Which do you prefer? Spending money on a military we don’t use, or cutting their budget and making us vulnerable to attack? As long as there are irrational people who hate America, you can’t have both and remain safe.) But sadly, the masses don’t often understand these points. However they do get the concept of personal liberty.

For two years, we have to hope that USHOR will throttle the Senate and White House’s tax and spend agenda. If the RNC embraces the Tea Party’s limited government ideas, it can promote religious views as long as it vows not to legislate them. Then it will be quite possible to pick up the Senate in 2014, and if they choose someone like Rand Paul in 2016, I have no doubt they would take back the White House also.

Some say Rand could not beat Hillary, the odds on favorite for the DNC in 2016, but let’s be honest. I don’t believe there are Romney voters this cycle that would vote Hillary over Rand, but I think there can be no doubt Rand would steal a lot of votes from the DNC’s not-so-faithful.

Social conservatism must remain a personal choice within those who choose to follow that dogma, but polls have shown that people are far less religious than they used to be, while the desire for personal liberty continues to grow. Conservatives must get to work changing the RNC mantra, and fast. Leave the Akins and Mourdocks behind and start pushing Rand Pauls, Gary Johnsons, and Justin Amashes for the future.

JFK’s most famous quote is “Ask not what your country can do for you­—ask what you can do for your country.” Does that sound like the message coming from DNC leaders now? Of course not. Socialism is slowly infecting the party on the left, and we can defeat that nonsense.

Ronald Reagan once said, “I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism.” He won 44 out of 50 states one election, won 49 out of 50 the next. Including states like California and New York which haven’t even thought about a Republican since. He did it by championing limited government, not by getting in bed with the religious right.

We can win back our government, but we need another Reaganesque libertarianish Republican, not the religious zealots that the RNC continues to field. Our current president claims to be a Christian, but he’s never tried to legislate those beliefs, and he won. It wasn’t about entitlements; it was about personal liberty, a narrative that is supposed to be the RNC’s domain, but that we let the DNC steal from us by allowing the left to define us as ignorant flat-earthers.

So what can defeat the new socialist party that is the DNC? The new libertarian party that the RNC can become; that’s what!

Libertarians Are Not Mindless Anarchists, Time for the GOP to Embrace Us!

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism. I think conservatism is really a misnomer just as liberalism is a misnomer for the liberals–if we were back in the days of the Revolution, so-called conservatives today would be the Liberals and the liberals would be the Tories. The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.” ~ Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan

I believe that libertarians are simply the staunchest of conservatives. We want the government’s role to be limited more than any other faction, even more so than your average Republican. Where they often differ is the legislation of morality such as the war on drugs, gambling, and prostitution laws, etc.

From the time I was 16 and became interested in politics; largely thanks to Reagan, I considered myself a Republican. In recent years, I gravitated towards libertarianism. The distinction feels somewhat misplaced to me. because to me, they should be the same party. Ron Paul is and Gary Johnson was a Libertarian running as a Republican after all.

Someone dismissively referred to me as a “Paulbot” for saying I was libertarian. Never mind that my first choice would be Gary Johnson, not Paul. I believe Reagan was the best president in my 40+ year lifetime and probably the 3nd best president of all behind Lincoln and Washington.

George Washington
George Washington

A recent survey shows I’m not alone. Sadly, many in the Republican Party often talk about libertarians with the same dismissive attitude that the liberal elitists use to talk about conservatives, which is troubling. Just because we embrace libertarianism as Reagan sometimes did, doesn’t mean that we have no brain and cannot think for ourselves. Referring to us as Paulbots has no place in adult-like political discourse.

Stereotypes are the work of fools. Republicans AND libertarians should strive to be better than these figures, yet many on radio and TV sadly can’t be bothered to be better. We both promote personal responsibility, which is part of acting like an adult. So let’s lead by example.

“Paulbot” implies one is a mindless robot that agrees with whatever Ron Paul says. The insulting nature of this statement is obvious, and it’s arrogant and stupid to think you understand someone solely based on their party affiliation. I disagree with Ron Paul and Gary Johnson on more than one issue, but I don’t let it push me away from men who are the most like me, that are contending for the presidency.

Ron Paul
Ron Paul

The reason libertarians seem so fanatical is because we’re passionate about liberty, freedom, and the Constitution. We don’t believe government has the right to tell someone how to live their life, and we get upset when people try to take that from us. If I said I was going to take away your freedom, you’d get pretty passionate too.

The left isn’t completely stupid though, they rephrase these positions using words like fair share, regulations, and protections for the consumer. Republicans use phrases like public health, responsible behavior, etc. Sorry folks, it all means “government control and loss of freedom” no matter what you call it.

The Libertarian Party does have a platform on their website. I defy many of you to find a considerable amount in there that you disagree with. As a Republican, I used to dismiss Libertarians myself. After I read their platform, I couldn’t help but think, “Why are we fighting when we generally want the same things?”

Libertarian Party Logo
Libertarian Party Logo

Many people think libertarians are anarchists. It’s like saying all Democrats are socialists. While many Democrats champion social policies, few of them actually advocate making everything property of the state. Most Libertarians reject anarchy too, I assure you. It’s another incorrect stereotype that needs to be quashed. Judging the majority of a party by its fringe is simply irresponsible.

So with that being said, I’ve come up with Gary’s three roles of government that I think we all can agree on:

• The government should protect me from OTHERS that would do me harm, but NOT from myself.

• Do the things that need to be done for the common good (such as infrastructure), but ONLY if the private sector cannot or will not do it themselves due to a lack of financial incentive.

• Get the heck out of my way!

Most conservatives generally espouse those principles. Libertarians just emphasize the third one more, and adhere to them more strictly.

I understand that conservatives are often times religious, and things like gambling, assisted suicide, marijuana use, gay marriage, etc. are things they think people should not do. On occasion, we agree with you.

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Gavin McInnis
Gavin McInnes stated it perfectly on an episode of Fox News’ Red Eye when he said that just because we want to legalize it, doesn’t mean we endorse it. He’s right!

I personally think recreational marijuana use is irresponsible behavior. But it’s not the government’s role to protect that person from themselves. It’s a free country and you should have the freedom to be an idiot, irresponsible, and foolish, up until the point you become a danger to others.

Someone else said about gay marriage that opposition to gay marriage by a straight person is like someone being mad at you because you’re eating a doughnut while they’re on a diet. At some point, we simply have to recognize it’s none of our business how others live their lives as long as it doesn’t affect us.

Republicans and Libertarians should unite just as Romney and Paul seem to have done during the election by largely avoiding pot shots at each other, and realize that either is better than Obama. But please stop with the mischaracterizations of us being mindless anarchists. It’s utter nonsense.