Is it possible to ever achieve majority support for libertarianism? Or is libertarianism always going to be a political and economic and social philosophy supported only by a few? When it comes to voting, the Libertarian Party generally gets about 1% of the vote or a bit more. Votes for individual libertarians (generally running as Republicans) are somewhat higher. But a libertarian running as a Republican is also handicapped by having to follow the doctrines of the Republican Party. Ron Paul, his son Rand Paul, and Representative Justin Amash of Michigan are libertarians who have been forced to run as Republicans. Which creates a “conflict of interest” as the tenets of the Republican Party are not the same tenets shared by most libertarians. Drugs, same sex marriage, and foreign policy today are different for Republicans than they are for libertarians of any philosophy. We also differ more in our philosophy than do Republicans or Democrats for that matter.
While public opinion polls do indicate that there is support for things like repeal of the “War on Drugs” and opposition to the Republican efforts to “outlaw” abortion, it is likely that only a few people would support ideas like repeal of Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid. Support for ideas like the concept of a “Basic Income” (mentioned earlier in this blog) most likely would require more definite determination as to what the actual cost of doing this would be. As I’ve stated, something like the Basic Income needs to be more than just replacement for our current welfare policies. It should replace “all”, including Social Security, SSI, the EITC, SNAP, and every financial assistance policy now being considered. If this is done, then the cost is likely to be “manageable”. As I’ve previously stated, the benefit should be in the $10,000 a year range and include provision for catastrophic health insurance that would kick in when medical costs exceeded $10,000. Assuming that only American citizens over the age of 21 would be eligible, the total cost is rather close to our combined cost of welfare programs, Social Security, Disability (SS) and SSI all put together.
I suspect that there is a fair amount of support for repeal of those laws such as prescription laws that mainly serve to enhance the income of doctors. The same thing would apply to the various regulations that give lawyers their monopoly over various aspects of the law. Our current regulations regarding hospitals also now encourage the wasteful use of over qualified people doing tasks that could be done just as well at lower cost by lesser qualified people. The same thing is likely true of various equipment regulations, which serve to increase costs to every patient who goes to the hospital, but are only used by a few. Showing the American voter that there are “alternatives” to “the way things are” is perhaps a good project for us, because we do reflect a different viewpoint from the two major political parties. We aren’t just “me too”. Some of our ideas are original and are worthwhile discussing. We are also the only “third party” that doesn’t want to “grow government” (as do the Greens). That is something that we can point out to people.
There appear to be numerous cases where it would be possible to reduce the cost of a government service, or turn the task over to the state concerned. There is little need for the federal government doing things that would be better done by the states at less cost. Do we need a Department of Agriculture or could the state departments doing much the same task do whatever is needed for less cost. Do we want a federal Department of Education or would the similar state departments be able to handle the problem? What about Energy? Or departments of natural resources? Fish and Game? Do we need both federal and state agencies doing much the same tasks? The federal government employs about 2.7 million people. We do need the military and the state department, any other department that deals with foreign powers, but do we need every one of the agencies we have there in Washington D.C.? Or with the number of employees that they now have? Do we want to continue with the sort of military activities we are now doing? What about the National Security Agency and its wiretapping, its spying by various means on everyone else? Which certainly hasn’t endeared the US to the rest of the world. Part of its activities apparently are done to make it possible for American businesses to have a “leg up” on the rest of the world thanks to the information it supplies to them. In the short run, good for us, in the long run the opposite. I suppose we learned this stuff from the Soviets, but they weren’t a good example to follow! We are supposed to be “better” than that!
As I’ve written in previous posts, we need to consider our ideas in relation to what effect they would have upon non-libertarians. That is if we are serious of ever being more than just a “debating society” that exists on the ballot more as “none of the above”…