Friday, July 14, 2017

Wild-Eyed Libertarian (Part Three)

If you're new here, this is a weekly column consisting of letters written to my grand/great-grandchildren to haunt them after they become grups or I'm dead.

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Irregularly Appearing Imaginary Guest Stars 
Marie-Louise.....My beautiful muse (right shoulder) and back scratcher 
Iggy....................Designated Sticky
Dana..................Designated gentlereader (left shoulder)

"If you put the government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there'd be a shortage of sand." -Milton Friedman

Dear (eventual) Grandstickies & Great-Grandstickies,

OK class, let's review.

In part one I declared myself to be a wild-eyed libertarian with a bleeding heart and conservative impulses. I explored what I mean by libertarian.

"... I want the playground to have minimum rules and maximum fun. I want just enough rules to give everyone an equal shot at some swing time and neutralize the bullies." -me

I promised to explain (justify?) my bleeding heart and conservative impulses in part two.

In part two I only explored my conservative impulses; my bleeding heart was left out in the cold. I explained that this was due to my writing style, edited stream of consciousness.

To wit, while I prefer to travel with the current and try to stay in the middle of the river for the sake of safety and efficiency, shtuff happens. Also, I often don't know where I'm going till I get there (pretty much the story of my life...).

This was/is all true. But it's also true that I had/am having a helluva time nailing down the bleeding heart part.


As I mentioned in part one, I discovered that left-wing libertarianism is a thing. It's such a thing that Wikipedia has separate and distinct articles for both it and its right-wing brother sister cousin ex-spouse?

I wasn't exactly shocked. As I mentioned in part one, I'm aware that libertarians are all over the political map. But I have to confess I've never gone walkabout in the tall weeds even though I voted for the Libertarian Party candidate in the last election. Your dilettante about town (that would be me) was unaware that left-wing libertarians versus right-wing libertarians is a thing.

For the record, I think of myself as a center-right libertarian sort, but I strongly support the No Labels movementI'm a big fan of compromise for the sake of maintaining a peaceful playground (compromise, don't demonize) where all the kids can have fun.

Now, I was aware that support for a gummit run social safety net is generally considered to be a center-left/liberal/progressive fundamental, which isn't/wasn't a big deal to me and my bleeding heart.

But when I read the Wikipedia entry for left-libertarianism, in short order, I tripped over the words socialist, anarchist, and communist. Yikes! There are far lefties that call themselves libertarians? Huh? Why didn't I know that? 

In my defense, my fascination with current events dates back to grade school, and if anything has gotten stronger over the years. However, a fascination with politics has faded in direct proportion to my ever expanding political cynicism.

I firmly believe that my fellow Citizens of the Republic should strive to stay informed and vote if they honestly believe they've got a clue. I also firmly believe that in politics, and everything else (but particularly politics), the best you can do is hope for, and strive for, the best -- but always be prepared for the worst.

When I was an idealistic callowyute, my hippie with a job period, I had a vague, ill-considered notion that socialism and hippie sensibilities would save the world. I didn't actually know all that much about socialism, but it sounded good.

Alright, I admit it, I didn't have a clue. At least I didn't vote. It was widely understood at the time, at least in certain circles, that "the man" was in control of everything so there was no point to it. This is embarrassing, let's move on.

Now that I've reached the ripe old age of 39, I  believe I do have a clue. As I mentioned above I want the playground to have minimum rules and maximum fun. You may disagree but the Founding Dudes are on my team. And I have been paying attention for the better part of, um, 39 years.

In my semi-humble opinion, socialism and communism, not necessarily in theory but always in practice, generate big, sticky, bureauonated, liberty-limiting gummits where everyone is equally miserable -- except for the boss(es) who embody the lesson of Orwell's, Animal Farm. "All the animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."

[Alright, I'll bite, what's any of this got to do with you trying to define your bleedin' bleeding heart? Dana is awake. Marie-Louise got here first and is scratching my back, she loves Animal Farm. 

Iggy materializes, the gang's all here.  Hey, Iggy! Hey, Poppa, like, what's Animal Farm?]

And don't even get me started on anarchists and anarchism. Sure, there are thoughtful, gentle, well-spoken anarchists in the world. However, I can't help but notice that there seems to be no shortage of doomed to be forever broken hearted romantics and idealists who haven't/can't/won't become grups.

Also, there's the issue of the sociopathic/psychopathic cohort. For example, the masked, black hoodie-wearing types that destroy and/or loot businesses, large or small, and toss paving stones at the cops that try to stop them. (Google the following: riots at anti-globalism protests.)

And there's another problem.

Although it might get me banned from certain libertarian clubhouses, I am all for a rationally designed social safety net run by the gummits and The Gummit.

However, I want a system that's set up to accurately measure (real, not politically motivated) results that is run by a flexible bureaucracy required to put the customers (us) first.

Surely the nation that put a man on the moon can do better than the complex, expensive (and growing like a weed), often ineffective system we now have. Did we lose the war on poverty and the war on drugs?

I'm also acutely aware of, though admittedly barely familiar with, something called public choice theory (PCT). Wikipedia sez "... the use of economic tools to deal with traditional problems of political science."

I know enough to know it maintains that politicians and gummit employees behave no differently than the rest of us do at work. Some are driven/dedicated/etc, many are weasels, most fall somewhere in between.

"...governments are not run by omniscient benevolent despots, but by individuals. Individuals acting in the political arena are the same individuals who act within markets. They are just as self-interested and  prone to ignorance as any other population." -Students For Liberty

Sounds right to me, commonsensical in fact. The guy who came up with PCT called it "politics without romance."

The Economist: "James Buchanan, a Nobel Prize-winning economist and the architect of 'public choice theory'...eschewed the professions embrace of complex models and maths in favor of serious reflection on political philosophy...". Rock on! Dr. Buchanan.

So, in light of the above, and parts one and two, just what do I mean when I describe myself as a wild-eyed libertarian with a bleeding heart? I want a compromise, a social safety net that combines the best aspects of the private and public sector. See...

Ah geez, I've already broken the word limit...

Stickies (and gentlereaders), looks like there's gonna' be a part four. Two years and there's never been a part four before. Sorry, it's me, not you. I didn't plan it this way.

I don't plan. I just write, see what happens, clean it up or throw it away. Not as I would, but as I can. (Hey! I just invented a tagline?/motto?/_______?)

I pinky swear that not only will the next part be the last part I'll define my bleeding heart early on. I need to talk about some other shtuff. Poppa loves you.

Have an OK day.

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©2017 Mark Mehlmauer   (The Flyoverland Crank)

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