Richard Tallent’s occasional blog

Libertarians, Check your Privilege!

I’m happy you found in Gary Johnson a candidate who agrees with you on social issues, foreign policy, and domestic security. I’m right there with ya.

But before you jump on that train, you should understand libertarian *economic* positions, because they are downright bonkers.

(If you think I’m making any of this shit up, go read the party platform, as well as speeches and interviews by the current and past candidates.)

Libertarians do not believe in Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare assistance, minimum wage, labor laws, health and safety laws, product safety laws, public parks, subsidized health insurance, unemployment insurance, public transportation, air or water pollution regulations, restaurant food safety inspections, laws against discrimination for jobs or commerce, or requiring liability insurance for cars. They don’t even believe in city ordinances that require your neighbors to cut their grass.

The libertarian response to any infringement of your life, health, or property by another person (including a huge corporation) is that you should sue them. So, if you don’t like the air being polluted, for example, you would need to sue the local refineries and PROVE in court that it affects your health.

Libertarians would also turn public schools over to private corporations, who would then run them into the ground to scrape as much profit out of each voucher as possible.

They also don’t believe in corporations paying taxes, or estates of the ultra-rich being taxed, or even a higher tax rate on someone making $100 million a year over someone who made $10,000. And they’re perfectly fine with not having ANY laws to limit the campaign donations of corporations or the rich.

Basically, the libertarian response for everything is “you’re on your own, or good luck finding charity.” If you’re educated, middle class, white, young, straight, healthy, etc. (and I’m all of those, so that’s no dig), this may sound tempting, because any dollar you don’t pay in taxes is a dollar you can spend on Pokemon purchases, and if the shit hits the fan, you have your own cushion or support network to fall back on.

But we do have a BUNCH of people in this country who, through no fault of their own (or even because of a dumb mistake), NEED institutional-scale help to stay afloat, or dig themselves out of an economic problem, or to help their kids have better lives than they’ve had, or to ensure that they aren’t taken advantage of because of their race, gender, sexual orientation, economic status, etc.

So, if you can vote for someone who, given the opportunity, would completely dismantle the protections that government provides ALL of us against unreasonable actions by other people and a safety net if you end up falling on hard times, you really should recognize that while you might have the privilege necessary to weather the next economic storm or personal health crisis, not everyone does.

(If you basically agree with the Libertarian Party but *do* believe in government helping the poor and protecting your property and health from corporations, you might want to check out the Green Party. As with Gary Johnson, there’s no hope in Jill Stein even getting into the debates, but if you’re going to vote your conscience rather than for the lesser major party evil, vote for the lesser third-party evil!)


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