State of Liberty, Self, and Grace

Libertarians took selfishness and turned it into a political philosophy.¬† Now, admittedly I’m biased. I was once engaged to an ardent Libertarian (who gifted me with Ayn Rand’s collection of novels.) He ended up cheating and embezzling, spoiler alert. And I’ve had some Libertarian friends along the way.

But it turns out, they took their character flaws and elevated them into a political ideology. Because poke around in Libertarianism, particularly as it is currently realized in the States, and what you find is justification for not helping people in need.

The “liberty” in the name of their movement means to be liberated from responsibility toward others. Let me put it this way. Libertarians would have been the ones most opposed to going to war to fight the Nazis. Because they don’t get involved.

In 2016, this translates into a platform that if Israel were to initiate going to war against any country, including Iran, the Libertarian presidential candidate would NOT support Israel. With reference to the Israeli Palestinian situation, Gary Johnson has said he doesn’t know enough to have an opinion.

The man who aspires to be the leader of the free world does not know enough to have an opinion on a significant source of conflict in the Middle East. Apparently, Libertarians are too self-involved to educate themselves.

They are literally so miserly that in tough times they would be the first to steal school lunch money from children. Libertarians would generally prefer to own ten guns than have ten neighbors. They prefer to be self-sufficient to the extreme.

Some exhibit an almost pathological aversion to social connections. There have been psychological studies that have shown that Libertarians have less empathy and compassion toward others than either liberals or conservatives. (Trump being an obvious exception.)

Libertarianism rejects religious doctrine. Yet it maintains that private charitable giving would supplant a benevolent government. Which means they are opposed to all forms of public health care.

When one of the more prominent Tea Party Libertarians became gravely ill several years ago, he did not qualify for health insurance. No prob…because, charity.

Except his friends, including his boss Ron Paul, contributed less than 10% (less than $40K) of his medical bills. His elderly mom was left with over $360K to manage repaying.

If it were up to Libertarians, there would be no Affirmative Action or Equal Pay, because they believe only private individuals should correct massive, gross legal and societal injustice. Roe v. Wade is considered gratuitous, so they would leave women to die in back alleys. Despite the inherent abuse in sex trafficking, prostitution would be legal. They would pretend there was no history before this moment in time.

This results in an extremely dangerous idiocy. In Johnson’s litmus test on discrimination, gays are construed as equivalent to Nazis. He actually said that just as a born-again Christian baker cannot refuse to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple, a Jewish baker cannot refuse to bake a cake for a Nazi couple. As if peaceful, law- abiding gays are the same as the perpetrators of one of the worst atrocities known to humankind. As if opposition to Nazis and the Holocaust on the part of Jews is religious discrimination.

It should not be surprising that so many racists and misogynists and anti-Semites comprise this movement. The overwhelming majority are relatively young, white men.

And as Trump crashes and burns his own campaign, desperate, misogynist voters are in a real pickle. They know Johnson can’t win, but a few would rather go down a dark, dead-end anyway.

I blame Trump for making stupidity seem like a worthwhile goal. But given that Libertarians have never before received more than 1% of the vote, I blame his vile rhetoric for making Johnson seem like an even remotely reasonable alternative.

It’s ironic that some leading Republicans would turn to Johnson now, and even more alarming that millennial voters would see him as an option. On the one hand, the Libertarian influenced-Tea Party has destroyed the Republican party. They paved the way for the madness that is the Trump campaign.

McCain originally put the obnoxiously insipid Palin on the national stage. Thanks to the cruelty and greed of her ilk, McCain now has to contend with the sociopathic rise of Trump. This quandary can best be described as hoisted by his own petard.

And the young, white male Libertarians who would shirk all civil, personal and societal responsibilities are like the self-obsessed gamers playing in their mom’s basements. They do not have a real life understanding of the consequences of their actions, or lack thereof. Like Trump, they see the world in the permanently infantile perspective of winners vs losers. Like Trump and Johnson, they see most women as the losers. It’s their teenage dream.

It’s no accident that the first woman major party candidate had to accrue nearly 50 years of serious, professional political experience before getting nominated, while any white male is a consideration just by virtue of his existence. It’s not atypical for any professional woman that she has been subjected to as many years of vicious sexism and slander, so much that it’s accepted as universal gospel. And it’s no coincidence that white, male voters are the toughest demographic for Clinton.

This hyper teenage boy mentality has been dominant in American politics for too long. Political Conservatives have been like the boy who gets a girl pregnant and runs away, off to a life of adventure, absolved of responsibility. This is in fact the root of wealth inequality and the unfortunate predicament too many Americans find themselves in.

How many Libertarians does it take to screw in a light bulb? Irrelevant. Because according to them, everyone should have to screw in their own darn light bulb, without so much as a hand to hold the ladder steady.

If Clinton does indeed need to convert more white, male voters into supporters in order to win, she will have the singular job of turning tungsten into light. She will have to lead Americans into focusing on greater emotional discipline. It is seemingly easier to live in the self-comfort of blame and fear than to reside in a state of gratitude. But ultimately this is a life of disappointment and despair, regardless of external circumstances.

I believe she should win. I believe she will win, in the fullest sense of the word, by persuading voters that her slogan, ‘We Are Stronger Together’ is the deepest truth of our lives.

She will have to demonstrate how this is strategically attainable. This is the easy part for her and she has already made inroads. The greater challenge will be for Clinton to change the conversation from minutia and inspire Americans to feel called on and empowered to bond together. This is key. We all have a hand in improving our lives as individuals and as Americans.

In turn, the American electorate is going to have to rise to the occasion of being grown ups. It is indeed time for a fundamental change and there is no room for even trickle-down sexism, racism, or selfishness anymore, not from the right, the middle, or the left. Come November, whether we want to recognize this or not, we are responsible for one another.

About the Author
Dana is a Jewish feminist, writer and poet. She is passionate about her daughter, love, kindness, spirituality, the artist's voice, and speaking out for the vulnerable. She lives in Music City, Nashville, TN.
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