Saturday, February 6, 2010

lovable libertarians

Libertarians (especially with a capital L) have a bad reputation for negativity and disregard for the less fortunate and insane moralistic seething opposition to anything having to do with government.

There's an element of truth to that, tragically, but it's not universal. First of all, pragmatic (as opposed to moralistic, Ayn Rand types) libertarians aren't nearly so virulent or berserk about their reasoning. That doesn't help the stereotype much since these people rarely call themselves libertarian, but that's what most independents and New England conservatives are when you come down to it. Nonetheless, while not considered untouchable, they still aren't associated with teddy bears and rainbows. A bit... severe, maybe. School marm-y.

But really, we should be considered more rainbow-like! I'm libertarian because I have faith in the human spirit and the ability and desire to meet the standards that are set for them. I don't want to get in the way of amazing people doing amazing things, and in fact I think we should culturally expect that kind of drive and personal responsibility and creativity and looking out for yourself and your loves ones. And, I have faith in human compassion and the tendency to rally around those who've had unavoidable catastrophic bad luck. I would rather rely on people to fix those things than give them the cop out option of relying on the cold, heartless, bureaucratic government to do it.

The world is just a more beautiful place when people set high standards for themselves that they have the freedom to pursue. And that's the kind of pie in the sky idealism that honestly drives my libertarianism (ok and the fact that I hate being told what to do...)

I think I tend to sound much more cynical and snarky in writing than I really am (it's the easiest form of humor, and the most tempting subject matter). But I'd really like avoid that and to promote a happier face of the libertarian movement. Garrison Keillor meets Vernon Smith. A slightly more down-home smiling version of David Brooks. You see what I mean.