Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Where are the compassionate Libertarians now?

I'm behind on my reading and posting, so I have kept letting this post by Waldo slip back in the "to do" pile, but I can't let it languish there forever.

He raises the critical point, "Where are the compassionate conservatives now?":

One of the orthodoxies of conservatism for a long time has been that we can confidently cut off governmental funding to the homeless and hungry because back in the day private initiative and churches and charities took care of all that and we all did just fine, and given the chance, they will again- aided, of course by faith-based initiatives money from the feds and exemption from the civil rights laws.

Well, we can all see that in the tanking market situation individuals, churches and charities are hurting too. As the need goes up, their ability to meet it is declining. You can read your local version of the story in your hometown paper.

Even the Gates Foundation has reduced its grant-making plans for next year and the only places in the world you can find more money that it's got is in a Chinese government vault and under an azalea outside Henry Paulson's office in the Treasury Department.

Given that Libertarianism does share with conservatism the premise that more reliance on private, self-organized efforts to provide relief and support to people who truly need it, it's a question that Libertarians as well as conservatives need to answer.

But it's also one I find difficult to answer personally, because I was raised to do rather than to talk about the doing in this regard. Still, it's important enough to bend that rule a bit.

At our household we downsized Christmas this year for three reasons: (A) the economy and our personal financial situation; (B) a growing reaction against the consumerism; and (C) because--with the full input of our children--we decided to significantly upsize our charitable giving, not just during this season but as an ongoing percentage of family income.

I have to say I have rarely been happier with my children. We had explained the budget and divided the possible presents into categories roughly big, medium, and small [and big is a hell of a lot smaller that it was last year]. Within that confine, everybody was going to get two "big," two "medium," and several "small" gifts. At the dinner table the other night, one of my twins suggested that it might make more sense for everybody in the family to forego one of their "big" gifts and add that money to what we were going to do for other people this season. This led to a discussion of what we could keep doing after Christmas.

No, I'm not going to tell you how much money that involved or what we're going to do with it: too much information and none of your business.

But what I am going to do is challenge my fellow Libertarians, both as individuals and as part of Libertarian or Boston Tea Party groups, to step up to the plate and put some money where your ideology is. Yes, we pay too much in taxes. Yes, we have to pay for political stuff, like supporting ballot access or anti-war efforts. Yes, we're strapped like everybody else.

None of which is an acceptable excuse from people who say that if the government would shrink the citizens of America would do it themselves.

So let's step up and start doing some of it--publicly. I mean this especially toward Libertarian and BTP state affiliates.

What has or is the Libertarian Party of Delaware going to do publicly this year for those in real need?

This is critical, because the next time I see Waldo face-to-face I've got to be able to tell him that the difference between compassionate conservatives and responsible libertarians is that we walk the walk.


Angela Keaton said...


May I reprint or repost this?

Angela Keaton

Steve Newton said...

You have carte blanche to reprint or repost anything from DL anytime as long as there is attribution.


Shirley Vandever said...

Waldo says: One of the orthodoxies of conservatism for a long time has been that we can confidently cut off governmental funding to the homeless and hungry because back in the day private initiative and churches and charities took care of all that and we all did just fine.

I don't think that it even true. Not remotely true.

It would nice to be some backup on that statement, as it seems to have come out of thin air.

Eric Dondero said...

Funny you would waste time talking about the truly obscure Boston Tea Party, that garnered a grand total of 19,000 some votes in 2008, yet ignored Libertarians in the Republican Party.

Shame on you for your obvious and blatant bias against Libertarian Republicans. And this in a State where some Libertarians ran as Republicans cross-endorsed.

Steve Newton said...

Get a life, or for once actually read and respond to the content of a post rather than your own fantasy that if you redefine the term "Libertarian" narrowly enough you can apply it to the GOP.

Kn@ppster said...

Far from "ignoring libertarians in the Republican Party," the Boston Tea Party even went so far as to endorse one for election (BJ Lawson in North Carolina's 4th US House District), and adopted as its 2008-10 program the campaign platform endorsed by the Campaign for Liberty, "libertarian Republican" Ron Paul's organization.

"Obscure" we may be, but we elected two candidates to local office our first time out and already have congressional candidates and ballot access efforts ramping up for 2010 (as well as possible local campaigns in 2009).

If the BTP really picked up 19,000 votes, I'm unaware of it (the number I recall is in the neighborhood of 2,500). Got a source for that?