Friday, August 15, 2008

Why I finally decided to endorse Eric Schansberg (for whatever the hell that's worth to him)

When I first mentioned Eric Schansberg, Libertarian candidate for Congress in Indiana's 9th Congressional District, I didn't feel like I could give him a whole-hearted endorsement (and, damn it, I can't find the post right now to link to) because he is socially considerably more conservative than I am.

Yet I really found myself wanting to like him, even if we differ on abortion rights or (I suspect) gay marriage.

After all, we're both academics (he's an economist; I'm a historian), both built our families in part through adoption, and both share a commitment to civility in political campaigning (although I suspect I'd be a bit more in-your-face than he is).

But it has been the experience of reading Eric's personal blog that has convinced me that I unconditionally support his bid for a seat in Congress, even if I'm a pro-abortion rights Catholic (don't tell the bishop) and Eric is an anti-abortion rights Evangelical.

Because Eric is a thinking man who takes both his commitment to Christianity and Libertarianism quite seriously.

Here's the post that finally did it for me [with one of Eric's comments appended]:

“Most of us are not really approaching the subject in order to find out what Christianity says: we are approaching it in the hope of finding support from Christianity for the views of our own party.”

--Mere Christianity, book 3, ch. 3

Actually, this is true for many people on many different topics and in many facets of life. On the latter, people already know what they want to do (and are going to do)-- and seek "input" that verifies the conclusion they've already reached while dismissing that which does not agree that conclusion.

On topics, do yourself (and others) a favor and read something on "the other side"-- whether on global warming or not, skepticism or Christianity, eschatology, prohibition or legalization on drugs, and so on.

And the comment:

Taxation (always) equals theft is too simplistic.

One key distinction is whether the recipients are individuals or "the general welfare". For example, it is different to take your money and give it to Fred-- compared to taking your money to help provide for the national defense. (National defense is provided by the State-- constitutionally and in terms of efficiency [govt vs. mkt provision of so-called "public goods"].)

That said, few things provided by the govt fit either the Constitutional or the efficiency category. (Another example would be regulating pollution.) These other cases reduce far more easily to taxation equals theft.

Aside from the "general welfare", if your friends are ok with taxation ethically, then you're left with ethical cases that are bothersome to them or cases where it's practical. At the least, a Christian must allow that coerced taxation is second-best to the Church stepping up and taking care of its business.

Eric thinks.

Our poor republic needs as many thinking people in Congress as it can get.

So, Eric, for what it's worth [the paper it's not printed on, I suspect]: you have my full, unconditional endorsement for Congress. You are the kind of Libertarian we need out there. I'm only sorry it took me so long to work my way around my own prejudices to realize that.


Anonymous said...

Interesting . . . a pro-choice blogger supporting an anti-abortion candidate. As a pro-choice citizen and someone who disagrees vehemently with the far-right anti-abortion rhetoric, your endorsement is a good first step toward a much needed political civility in our country today.

Too many times we (liberals, conservatives and libertarians(?) ) focus too much on a few issues to make our voting decisions. It is important for each of us to realize that we need to look at the entirety of a candidate to make our decision.

One last item, one should always for vote a candidate, never against.

Eric Schansberg said...

What's it worth to me? It's certainly encouraging whenever someone shares encouraging words. So thanks very much!

I actually pursue your line of thinking with a number of people: Hey, you may not agree with me on everything. But you don't agree with the other two on everything either. And at least you know that I'm candid and knowledgeable about the topics. To your point, that should be valuable to voters-- especially these days!

Thanks again, Steve!