Why I Registered Libertarian
I’m not very into politics. In fact, this is probably one of the few times that I will post a blog about it. Yesterday I registered as a Libertarian, and I’ve felt really happy with the decision. Here’s a peek at my thought process that moved me to make this decision.
Over the years, I’ve become less and less impressed with both Republicans and Democrats. I’ve felt that each extreme seemed to quantify a set of values, and everyone was expected to conform to those values. I honestly find value on both sides of each issue. I consider myself a peacemaker, and it has always been easy for me to listen to an argument and say, “I see where you’re coming from there.” This has always been true, even if I don’t agree with the statement. Life is not black and white (or in this case red and blue). There are great arguments on both sides, and I didn’t like the conformity that I was seeing.
Too Much Fighting Between Republicans and Democrats
In the last few years, I’ve seen a huge spike in the hostile words exchanged between political parties. Perhaps that’s just because I’m growing up and am only just able to see it. However, I’m of the opinion that hostilities have increased dramatically over the last five years or so.
I hate this. I hate fighting, no matter what the issue. No dispute can be easily solved through fighting, and no dispute is worth fighting over. For me personally, if someone tells me I’m wrong and wants to fight about it, I’m far more inclined to stand fast. There’s less of a chance that I will change my stance on the issue. A healthy, and civil, debate on the other hand, is much more likely to influence my stance on that same issue. I’ve also found it easier to convince others of my views when I do so with a calm demeanor.
Social media is part of the problem. It’s difficult to have a civil conversation about controversial subjects when you can’t see a persons face. Misunderstandings ensue, people get upset, and it’s very difficult to calm people down when you can’t visually prove that you’re not angry. Face to face conflict is the best way to hold a discussion on political issues. I have had the privilege of knowing many people with ideas far more liberal than what I personally stand for. Almost never have our conversations been out of hand. They have been civil and thought provoking. Online, in contrast, I have learned to stay out of hot issues for fear of being morally attacked.
It is my personal belief that, if left unchecked, the current escalation of hostilities between Republicans and Democrats could eventually lead to a second civil war. We’re not there yet, but I think it’s certainly possible, given current trends. As a side note, my LDS friends might find it interesting that Joseph Smith prophesied just that in 1844. I wouldn’t call it doctrine, but it’s definitely interesting.
Everyone is So Sure They’re Right
And here’s the biggest problem I have with the fighting: everyone is so convinced that their arguments are correct. Let me give you an example. Yesterday the supreme court ruled that Hobby Lobby had the right to withhold birth control from their insurance based on religious freedom.
Now, I have a lot of liberal and conservative friends, and it was very interesting to see the polar reactions to this ruling. On the one side, the conservatives saw the ruling as a major victory for religious freedom and fully in harmony with the Constitution. On the other side, my liberal friends saw it as a denial of a Constitutional right to be able to do whatever they want. Many also considered it a front against women, denying them birth control as if they were lesser than men.
Both arguments have merit. You may agree strongly with either one, and I’m not debating the issue. Obviously my explanation here was a small summary, and there is a lot of additional info to shed light on the subject. My point is that every person I’ve seen share an opinion on the subject was so convinced that they were right, that they naturally thought everyone who thought differently were idiots. Who is right? I’m not sure there’s a solid answer to that question. Both are for a lot of different reasons. But you can’t just assume that the other person is wrong. They are coming from a different angle, and you might agree if you were coming from the same angle. Which brings me to my next point.
People Need to be Educated
Like I said above, I’m not super into politics. I specifically avoid talking about many political issues because I honestly don’t know much about them. To fully understand an issue, you must study both sides of the argument. Thanks to several of my friends who share different opinions from me, I have had the chance to see where they’re coming from, and it makes sense from their point of view. I might not agree, but that doesn’t mean their argument is “dumb.”
However, there are a lot of arguments that are dumb. I see this in memes and social media all too often. Back to the Hobby Lobby example, here are two memes I saw on my Facebook feed yesterday. I find them both to be blatenly uneducated on the topic, and kind of an insult to both parties. Take a look.
First, the liberal meme completely ignores religious freedom and assumes that the federal court ruling is an attack on feminism. While I don’t know for sure, I’ll bet anything that that wasn’t the intent at all. The conservative meme compares Amendments to Obamacare (not an Amendment) and vilifies democrats. Both are implying that the opposition is dumb for their beliefs.
There are Better Things to Worry About
Honestly, most of those reading this article live in a 1st world country. We get too entitled to what we have and forget just how blessed we are to have it. We have freedom of thought and speech. We can believe whatever we want, and it is unconstitutional to try and tell others what they should/shouldn’t believe.
I couldn’t care less about whether Hobby Lobby provides women with contraceptives when I’m more concerned about other countries who don’t have, you know, food. If we would all focus outward on helping others, the lack of love between political parties would diminish. That I’m sure of.
The Need for Balance
And honestly, if any one political party were to impose their ideals on the other, we’re talking about an end to democracy. The difference is, instead of a single tyrant, we’re talking about a tyranny of thought. There must always be balance between Republican and Democratic parties. Otherwise, one would take over, and the other would become an oppressed minority for not conforming to the same ideals. I believe it could happen. We must watch out for this.
The Values of Libertarians (Pro-Agency)
So all of that to get to why I separated myself from both Republican and Democrat parties to associate with the Libertarians. The Libertarian values are based in freedom. They believe in a government that has a minimalist influence on its citizens and serves mostly to protect them. The Libertarian websites states,
“Libertarians believe that being free and independent is a great way to live. We want a system which encourages all people to choose what they want from life; that lets them live, love, work, play, and dream their own way.”
They also believe in the concept of “no such thing as a free lunch.” Everyone is free to work for what they want, and earn their place in society. I really like these ideals. I don’t always think people make very wise decisions, but I believe they have the right to make those bad decisions. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, of which I’m a member, focuses a lot on the doctrine of agency. We are here on Earth to learn to make the right decisions. We can’t do that if we aren’t allowed to make bad decisions as well. And that, is the primary reason why I’m a libertarian. I may still disagree with my party on some specific issues, but it’s definitely a better fit.