May 25, 2010

Steve Pomper

Third Parties can Kill Liberty.

author photo ihis

In a day and age where folks, especially political folks, try to complicate issues, often to obfuscate the truth, it’s important to try to keep things in perspective and in context, and more importantly, keep it simple. One problem facing the conservatives, libertarians, and right of center independents is that of their opposing views.

Within each of these groups are so-called pro-life and so-called pro-choice factions, those who advocate for an aggressive foreign policy, some for a more stay at home until we’re needed approach, as well as other conflicting positions. These issues may be arguable, but I think it’s important to put aside those arguments and to remember the essential common denominators all of these factions espouse: Individual liberty and limited government.

If we can keep our eyes on this prize, we can accomplish a lot. If we can’t, we’ll see the pro-liberty/limited government movement fractionalized into actual and de facto third parties—the proverbial circular firing squad. On Rush Limbaugh’s show recently, a listener called to say he’d voted (written in) a Republican candidate he supported, who’d lost to Tim Burns in the primary, for Pennsylvania’s 12th District—the Murtha Seat!

And what may have resulted from this “principled” vote? We get a likely vote for the Obama agenda, rather than a vote for liberty in office. And once again a voter lets the perfect be the enemy of the good. Should the Republican Party have supported this other candidate over Burns? Perhaps, but as with Rand Paul’s decisive victory in Kentucky, if the people want the person, whom “the party” backs won’t matter much.

Limbaugh asked this caller if, as a Republican, he’d wanted to keep a Republican he didn’t like as much from office more than he wanted to keep a Democrat from office. The man said, “no,” but this is essentially what he did. Again the caller reiterated his “principled” stance in wanting to express his displeasure with the Republican establishment’s choice. The caller also indicated that when presented with only two choices this November, he’ll cast his vote for Burns.

Come on people. Let’s think practically. And I’m saying this from the position of someone who used to be a principled moron when it comes to voting. In 1980 I voted for Libertarian Ed Clark, which was followed by wasted votes for Libertarian Party candidates Ron Paul in 1988 and in 1996 for Harry Browne—good people, but wasted votes. I have popular radio talk show host Michael Medved, who often addresses this subject, to thank in large part for my evolution, or perhaps more appropriately, maturation, in understanding there is nothing wrong with being a libertarian, but there’s a lot wrong, in major elections, with voting Libertarian.

I now regret not having voted for Ronald Reagan and, my differences with him aside, I am still thankful to have come to my senses to have voted for George W. Bush twice, especially when considering what the alternative would have done to this country.

Elections have consequences—boy, do they—and every vote counts. This current administration has shown me like nothing else in my life what Thomas Jefferson meant when he said, “The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.” We get fooled into thinking that once liberty is achieved, it’s ours forever. On the contrary, liberty is only attained, and then we must jealously maintain and preserve it or we’ll lose it for sure.


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