Saturday, August 29, 2015

John Robson: Why I’m voting Libertarian

John Robson: Why I’m voting Libertarian | National Post

August 27, 2015 - "So how am I going to vote? The short answer is, I will cast a ballot that doesn’t make me feel unclean. The medium answer is, the Libertarian party has solved my personal problem by finally finding a sacrificial candidate in my riding. The long answer is the short one: I won’t cast an unclean vote, and I hope people in other ridings follow the same advice....

"I have long described myself as libertarian on policy and conservative in metaphysics.

"I’m metaphysically conservative because I believe man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward and there is no remedy for the human condition on this side of the grave. So those libertarians who think dramatically reducing government will usher in a new and radiant form of human existence strike me as the mirror image of socialists who think dramatically expanding it will do the same.

"I also have significant differences with many libertarians on national security. Mind you, they couldn’t possibly run defence spending down further than Prime Minister Stephen Harper has. But I’m libertarian on most policy issues because conservatives who consider governments (both provincial and federal) that are as bloated and arrogant as ours to be compatible with anything they hold dear are out of their minds. And if they know, and don’t want to act, they’re in even worse condition."

"Those who espouse a conservatism of prudence too often and too easily sink into timid immobility, even smug complacency, in the face of looming disaster. Now is never a good time, and then never comes. But is it genuine prudence to set an aging population on a collision course with Soviet-style health care? Starve defence in an increasingly disorderly world, while aspiring to a major global role? Praise families in every other press release while watching that institution disintegrate?

"If not, then no mainstream party is prudent and anyone who considers themselves remotely conservative should be demanding that we dramatically shrink the welfare state. Even Liberals like Louis St. Laurent or Wilfrid Laurier would regard modern Canadian governments as a shocking affront to human dignity, as well as a menace to prosperity.

"The problem, Charles Murray argues in his book, In Pursuit: Of Happiness and Good Government, isn’t just that governments cannot deliver the free lunches they promised; it’s that free lunches don’t nourish. We are not cattle to be fed, watered and pastured. We must strive. That’s why G.K. Chesterton said self-government must mean ordinary people 'are to be, within reasonable human limits, masters of their own lives.' Can you find any party or candidate whose platform now embodies this understanding?

"It need not be libertarian. Obviously I think it should. But I grant that plenty of people of good will and sound mind are liberals or socialists because they genuinely believe the right sort of government intervention does, or can, help people regain control over their own lives and immediate circumstances. The thing is, to achieve that goal, the party or candidate you support must at the very least not be part of a vast, cynical, intellectually crooked partisan machine."

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