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View Diary: I Am NOT a Libertarian (76 comments)

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  •  I'm going to agree with Richard Lyon (1+ / 0-)
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    Richard Lyon

    who said above that regardless of how diverse libertarianism's roots and flavors are, if we're going to talk about it, Ron Paul is basically the brand name item.

    I still think though that it's very difficult to categorize libertarians.  I was very involved in that party for a long time.  Consider for a moment that there are two already premade parties on the shelf for people who don't want to think about these things too much: Republican or Democrat.  When somebody chooses Brand X, that choice is bound to have some element of rebellion against the status quo.  

    I suspect the Greens are at least a little similar in this respect as well.  They could have been Dems, but they said fuck that and signed up as Greens.  Never having been personally involved in the Green movement, I can't say.

    But libertarianism at the roots, back when I was involved, was NOT a party for the wealthy by the wealthy, no matter how many rich people rule the world in Atlas Shrugged.  I don't think even Ayn Rand understood what stupid, narrowsighted, clueless douchebags the very wealthy are.

    No, the average libertarians when I was involved in it (a long time ago, so much has to have changed) were freaks and geeks.  If libertarianism has become "mainstreamed" that might not be true anymore.  That's good for us Dems, though, if it's true, because it means we can have the freaks and geeks all to ourselves.

    The first time I ever met an outspoken and OUT gay man, was at a seminar for libertarian ethics put on by the Free Enterprise Institute.  I'm not gay.  It shocked little ol' me.  I thought it was exhilarating, though, just to be in the presence of people that unapologetic about being different.  I met lifestyle bondage people (there have always been quite a few of those in the SFcon crowd, as well) and other alternative lifestyle things, like people who wanted to practice polygamy but couldn't find women insane or stupid enough to volunteer.  And lots and lots of stoners.

    Why would a stoner ever feel like he wanted to be a libertarian other than for the right to smoke dope?  Well, you gotta realize, people who smoke a LOT of dope also oftentimes have to deal it, at least to a small extent.  They are the very definition of the SMALL BUSINESSMAN!  No cushy government loans for them.  Armed with their scale, their bong, some Doors records, and a trashbag full of thai stick, they were formidable forces of capitalism.  Hail!  Hail!  And always, there is the man ready to come and drag you away to arrest you for nothing more than the terrible sin of selling people what they want.  

    When I was in my early 20s, it was a perfect place for me.  I had an oppressive family telling me how I had to live my life and I wasn't going to put up with it anymore.  And here's this party full of people that says, "The government is an oppressive force trying to tell us how to live our lives and we aren't going to put up with it anymore!"  It was a match made in heaven.  Of course, some of us grow out of that phase, and some don't.

    •  What made you grow out of it? (1+ / 0-)
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      I understand your initial attraction -- experiencing oppression and fear of punishment for conduct which does not harm others and for which one feels no moral culpability would no doubt make libertarianism attractive.

      So what changed?

      You mentioned being a stoner, but it sounds like that's a thing of the past. Did libertarian ideals lose their appeal when the potential for imprisonment was removed?

      "Growing out of it" seems to imply that libertarianism is an infantile philosophy. If that's the case, why?

      I think it's fascinating to learn about how individuals have formed their views, particularly for people who have significantly altered those views at some point. So, thank you in advance for sharing.

      •  I think for some people it is... (1+ / 0-)
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        Valar Morghulis

        Not infantile nexessarily but adolescent rock & roll.

        I just got too busy with work to care about that stuff very much anymore.  I voted for Daddy Bush in 1988, and I can probably say I was LESS dissatisfied with him as a president than I have by Obama, if we measure it in terms of sheer frustration.  But healthcare was the issue that made me say to hell with this.

        I'm bipolar.  I went into the deepest depressions of my life about 1987.  Pretty bad.  Crippled what was shaping to be a great career as a computer networking consultant.  It started in 1985, got worse in 1986, through to 1987, before I got on anti-depressants that started to relieve it.  At one point, they told me they thought I had a brain tumor because of lab work that came back showing my pituitary hormone levels had changed.  They determined that it wasn't the pituitary, must be the hypothalamus, and ordered MRI's.  The doctor told me he thought it was a brain tumor, and the MRI would show it.

        I had no health insurance.  I was an impulsive ass with little thought for things like that, young and relatively healthy.  I suddenly found that I couldn't qualify for medical insurance and was on the verge of what would probably be a six-figure operation and recovery with part of my brain gone.  No insurance, and I would have a hell of a preexisting condition once I had the MRI done.

        I lucked out.  No tumor.  It turns out, as a later shrink told me, if your depression is REALLY REALLY bad, it can even throw your hypothalamic precursor hormones out of whack and shut down or overstimulate your pituitary.  The endocrinologist hadn't known that.

        During the 1992 campaign, healthcare became a very big issue.  I can't remember the name of Bush Sr.'s health care advisor -- it was some woman who looked like she'd roasted herself alive in a tanning bed.  I think her name was Lynn something.  She went on a Nightline Town Hall and said something that left me stunned, that there was no reason anybody in the US could ever be unable to get health insurance.  I yelled at the TV, "PREEXISTING CONDITIONS YOU STUPID IGNORANT BITCH!"  So I voted Clinton in 1992, thinking he would get us some kind of national healthcare plane, which, of course he didn't, and I still blame him for that.

        It's hard being a Democrat.  John over at Balloon Juice, who turned Democratic because of the Iraq War, said that he had no idea that becoming a Democrat would require so much deep self-loathing, heh.

        So, people just change.  The things that matter to you at one stage in your life don't seem as important later on.  Back in 1992, when healthcare was my big issue, I wouldn't have thought the day would come when torture would be the single biggest motivating political issue to me, but, then, I wouldn't have thought the day would actually ever come when torture in America would be such a prominent reality.

        •  Thank you. (1+ / 0-)
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          I want to challenge you on some things. You seem like someone who would welcome that.

          Lemme ask you this -- could it be more accurate to say that you faded out rather than grew out?

          I'm not arguing semantics, but I'm sure that you know that.

          •  No, I think grew out is the right word. (0+ / 0-)

            I didn't just fade.  I changed.  Not politically.  I moved on to a different place in life where I had more stuff of my own, more responsibilities, more real world things I had to worry about.  Libertarianism as I experienced it then was not very real world.

            I think many of the liberals here don't have the slightest idea what libertarianism was like.  I can't say that I know what kind of people gravitate to it now, but back then, it was outcasts, misfits, artists, geeks, people who mistrusted and despised the status quo.  The kind of people I could identify with non-politically.  In terms of sheer personal identification, I felt more at home with them than I did with Democrats and Republicans.  I can honestly say the Libertarians I have known were usually far more interesting personalities than those I've met

            I don't always feel very comfortable on DailyKos, either, to tell you the truth, and I've been here for years and know everybody and have shared a lot of love.  I sometimes think, "I'm not like these people and sooner or later they're going to realize it and turn on me."  

            That's one reason I get very upset about a certain kind of diary that pops up frequently here, the "Why we liberals are the way we are," which lumps us together as being better than those other people because at our core we naturally have more compassion or we are more open to new ideas or we are more optimistic about or we play well with others or we are optimistic, etc.  I'm not here because of my personality being a good fit for this peer group.

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