Beyond White Libertarianism

I am an American, but I am not a Democrat  or a Republican.  I am a Libertarian, a member of the largest national third party in the US.  We are believers in liberty, individual freedom, and limited government.  We support marriage equality for same-sex couples, gun rights, and ending the drug wars.  We oppose international military and economic intervention and aid.  I am a strong supporter of Israel and I am a friend of the IDF.  I support Israel with my credit card and my checkbook, through trade, tourism, education, and philanthropy, but I believe the correct amount of U.S. government aid should be zero.  I am a Life Member of the Libertarian Party,  I serve on the Libertarian National Committee, and I am a candidate for the Libertarian nomination for President of the United States.

Liberty is more than just freedom.  Liberty = Freedom x Power. You can set an animal free, but an animal will not get liberty.  Liberty requires self-determination.   An animal cannot make decisions for itself, cannot control its environment, cannot choose its own destiny. You can fall in a deep hole, and nobody can control or oppress you, but you have no liberty unless you can get out of the hole. Freedom can only give you liberty if you already have power. LIbertarians, as a group, already have power.  We are mostly white, intelligent, and well-read.  We have political organization.  We have ballot access.  But we don’t have the numbers to win national elections.  We have excluded large numbers of the powerless.  We want smaller government, without recognizing the millions who are disenfranchised, but depend on government nevertheless. This is an important criticism of Libertarian thought, it sounds like “I am on board, so we can pull up the lifelines now.”

I was a non-voter for a long time. I was born in Washington, DC. I never even registered to vote, because I thought “politician” was just
another word for “liar.” It was in 2009 that I learned about the Libertarian Party, the party of principle. The center of the philosophy was the non-aggression principle or NAP, expressed in the Libertarian pledge:

“I hereby certify that I do not believe in or advocate the initiation
of force as a means of achieving political or social goals.” This is the message of fiscal responsibility, smaller government, lower taxes, and social tolerance, ending the drug wars and military interventions around the world, supporting the second amendment, and assuring marriage equality.

Legalization of marijuana and same-sex marriage have led people to ask if we are experiencing a “Libertarian moment.” But the Libertarian
Party remains very small, and Rand Paul, the most libertarian-ish of
the Republicans, has gone from being “the most interesting politician
in America” to nearly an afterthought. I found it strange to go to Libertarian meetings and see a group nearly completely composed of idealistic white men. Why would a movement of freedom be composed ofone of the least oppressed groups? This has always been a puzzle to me. I may have found an important clue.

At the February 2015 Oscars Patricia Arquette appealed for gender and pay equity in her acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actress:

“To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this
nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights,” she said.
“It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all, and equal
rights for women in the United States of America.”

“To every woman who gave birth” This excludes transgendered women, lesbian couples who have adopted, and women who by choice, or not by choice, have not given birth. “To every taxpayer and citizen of this nation” excludes people who do not make enough income to pay income tax and residents who are not yet citizens. “We have fought for everybody else’s rights” sounds like it is time to focus on taxpaying citizen biological mothers. This tent is getting increasingly small. It is an ideology of exclusion.

The ideology of too many in the Libertarian Party, has become a narrow white Libertarianism that does not recognize the equally important but different experience of the black struggle, the Latino struggle, the struggle for the majority of poor, who are not only oppressed, but devalued, disenfranchised, and discriminated against.

The Libertarian Party must embrace, not only gay rights, but also
women’s liberation, black civil rights, the Hispanic fight for quality
education, and the struggle for representative government for the 99%
of Americans, as Lincoln said, so “government of the people, by the
people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” This will
not happen by giving more power to government or giving more power to corporations that control our government. Laws do not empower the
individual. Laws take power away from individuals and give it to
government to enforce those laws. It must be through effective
private, voluntary, action of empowered individuals.

We must remain dedicated to the ethical principle of non-aggression.
At the same time we need a new political principle, a pro-empowerment principle. “Act to maximize the power of all individuals, (white, black, Latino, LGBTQ, Christian, Jew, Muslim, atheist, etc.)  to make decisions to control themselves, their property, and their
environment, as long as they are not infringing on the rights of
others.” We cannot remain simply the party of Gays, Guns, and Ganja.
We must also become the party of women’s liberation, Hispanic
education, religious rights and civil rights, and #BlackLivesMatter.
Call me an intersectional Libertarian populist, or just call me a New
Libertarian.

About the Author
Libertarian candidate for President of the United States. I am a practicing physician at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, USA. I participate in Daf Yomi talmud study in blessed memory of our son Alec. I have a sister and cousins who live in Israel. I have been a contributing columnist for the Cleveland Jewish News.
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