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Republicans, Democrats and Libertarians

May 1st 2005

Statue of Liberty

The ascension of Republicans and conservatives to power and popularity have given both an irresistible lust for power and popularity. Whereas both earned public support with criticisms of the increasing size and consistent record of incompetence of government, they are now dedicated to the premises that, "deficits donít matter," and the purity of their intentions are the assurance that their power grabs are only benevolent and benign.

Consequently, mainstream political debate in America has been reduced to demonization of either Republicans or Democrats depending on an individualís partisan affiliation. In the evaluation of this contest, it can be said that Republicans have an edge over the Democrats only because they are winning more elections. Democrats, on the other hand, have been put off balance because, even though they are losing PR battles, their big-government agenda is getting accomplished on almost every level.


Out of this political environment that is breeding mindless slogans, baseless acrimony, and government sprawl without end, Libertarians are establishing a reputation of being innovative and challenging political and social thinkers. They provide a tremendous service to the country through the fact that their disavowal of the two party system enables them to criticize both poles of it with verifiable credibility.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in libertarian reviews of history. Abraham Lincoln has been for several years the subject of aggressive libertarian criticism over his conduct of the War of Northern Aggression, or more popularly called the Civil War. Lincolnís war has been cited as the cause of the modern centralization of power that is driving American government and politics today. Libertarian historians support their positions with sufficient references to statements from Americaís founders that declare their new born union of states to be voluntary in keeping with the spirit of the Declaration of Independence.

More recently Woodrow Wilson has been the victim of libertarian intellectual assaults. Wilsonís quest to make the world safe for democracy in W.W.I did little more, say libertarians, than extend the horror of that war, force a stupid Treaty of Versailles upon Germany, establish the social and economic conditions that brought Adolph Hitler upon the world scene, and make Eastern Europe safe for Stalinist and Soviet Communist oppression. Wilson has drawn attention because much of his rhetoric is very similar to that of the current president who appeals to his supporters with utopian visions of a world delivered from the threat of terrorism by democratic governments within every border.

For all their contributions to the current political culture, however, libertarians are flawed in that many of their commentaries seem to give too much credit to institutions for the troubles or blessings of the world. Governments are not to be trusted. Free markets offer the best economic foundation for fair and equitable distribution of resources. Political parties lead to factionalism that confuses citizens and leads to an erosion of justice.


Many of the great libertarian commentators and thinkers frequently fail to connect the failure or success of institutions to the flaws or strengths of the humans that direct them. When the officials of constitutionally defined governments violate their oaths and expand the reach of government beyond its boundaries, blame need be placed on the reprobate office holders. When markets produce wealth but those who capture a large share of that wealth seek to influence laws to their favor, it proves that markets are only as reliable as the people profit from them.

This oversight of libertarians is no small matter. It can guide them to be unreasonably cynical of those institutions they disdain and uncritical of those they favor. If, however, they measured the activities in those institutions by individual restraint against the temptation to abuse their wealth and power, then their critiques will ascend to even greater heights that will be far beyond the visions of any liberal or conservative partisan that currently corrupt our government, politics, and economy.

By Bob Strodtbeck

Bob Strodtbeck has been writing editorial commentaries since 1993.  He has professional experiences in pharmaceuticals, radio, and education.  He has also served as a church elder in an Orlando congregation where he has made his home since 1986.






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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                            Last Updated Sunday, July 11, 2010 01:18 AM