-

The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.

-

archive

Vote Libertarian

Mark Poyar | Tuesday, November 7, 2006

“The American political system is like a gigantic Mexican Christmas fiesta. Each political party is a huge piñata – a paper donkey, for example. The donkey is filled with full employment, low interest rates, affordable housing, comprehensive medical benefits, a balanced budget and other goodies. The American voter is blindfolded and given a stick. The voter then swings the stick wildly in every direction, trying to hit a political candidate on the head and knock some sense into the silly fool.”

These lines ring as true today as they did fifteen years ago when PJ O’Rourke published his classic, “Parliament of Whores.”

Election time always brings out the worst in the candidates. While there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with negative ads that attack the opposition candidate’s voting record or policies, this is seldom the type of ad used. After taking a few actions of the opposing candidate out of context, the commercial not-so-subtly implies that not only does the other guy cheat on his payroll taxes and hate his constituents, he probably also eats babies and kills puppies for a living. These types of ad hominem attacks are cheap attempts to distract from the real issues in an election, yet character assassination is usually the only strategy used. In the minds of the two major parties, there is no right or wrong. There is only power.

While each party would have you believe that their party represents a clear alternative to the other fiscally, the difference is largely one of rhetoric, not of principle. Neither has a problem with taking your money and giving it to someone else to whom it does not belong; the only debate is over who should be the recipient of this confiscated wealth. Whether your wealth goes to pay people not to work through welfare, to pay old people because they are old through Social Security or Medicare or to pay corporations because they are well connected through no-bid contracts, it really doesn’t make too much of a difference; Both parties either view the citizen as a sheep to be fleeced or a constituent to lavish the money of others upon. Each views the citizen as a thing to be regulated and controlled.

If you actually believe that the Republicans represent an alternative to the tax and spend Democrats, consider the fact that between the years 2001 and 2006, federal spending has increased from $1.657 trillion to $2.488 trillion, all years of Republican control of both the House of Representatives and the Presidency. The Republicans have been in full control of both the Executive and Legislative branches since 2002, yet the self-proclaimed “party of small government” has been responsible for this unprecedented increase in federal government spending, unrivaled in the last 50 years except for the “great spender”- Lyndon B. Johnson. Clearly, the Republicans are no alternative.

Similarly, while each party would have you believe that their party represents a clear alternative to the other on social issues, the difference is again largely one of rhetoric, not of principle. Neither actually believes that a person owns himself – if he owns himself, he has the right to do what he pleases with his own body and property, as long as he doesn’t infringe on the right of others to do the same. No one’s rights have been violated when a person decides he wants to play poker with his own money online. It is his property and he has the right to use it as he pleases. No one’s rights have been violated when a person decides that he wants to use drugs in his own home. He owns himself and therefore has the right to put whatever he wants in his own body, even if it hurts him. No one’s rights have been violated when a person decides he doesn’t want to live any more. Since he owns himself, he has the right to die if he wants. No one’s rights have been violated when a person says something offensive on a college campus. Victimless crimes are not crimes, yet internet gambling is illegal (except for a few exceptions), the Drug War persists, euthanasia is illegal in most states and speech codes are prevalent. Again, the citizen is viewed as a thing to be regulated and controlled.

This election, vote for the only party that wants you to keep what you earn. Vote for the only party that believes that it is none of the government’s business what you do as long as you don’t hurt others. Vote for the party that believes the Constitution means what it says. Vote for one of the only parties that has consistently stood against the war. Do as PJ O’Rourke would: knock some sense into the silly fools. This election, vote for the party of peace, freedom and free markets: vote Libertarian.

Mark Poyar is a junior Finance major. He is currently Vice President of the College Libertarians. Their website is www.nd.edu/~liberty. He can be contacted at mpoyar@nd.edu

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.