I knew this blog was going to be necessary a couple of months ago when I mentioned to one of my yoga students that I am a libertarian, and she said, rather taken aback, "you mean - the Tea Party?!" "No - that is a new phenomenon. Libertarianism has been around for a long, long time." She looked at me blankly. But now it appears that this is what comes to mind when people hear the word.
Let me admit up front that I am, in an ideal world, sympathetic to anarchism and I don't like politics at all. I can't fully support any of the mainstream candidates, or as I call them, the "Republicrats." Nearly every election has been like, should I vote for Tweedle Dumb or Tweedle Dee? Or perhaps, Tweedle Dumb or Tweedle Dumber? Which one would be the lesser evil? Because I know the people I REALLY like (e.g. libertarian Mary Ruwart, or maybe one of the Green candidates) don't have a chance in hell of ever getting elected. It's bad enough that the guys I have voted for over the years have rarely won anything and usually get, like, 0.004% of the vote. But what is even worse is that my own party - Libertarian - has now been largely taken over by Republicans, so that "our" candidate is no longer "my" candidate and I simply cannot bring myself to vote for them.
The last few elections, the "Libertarian" candidates have been anti-choice (?!) Republicans whose main objective seems to be allowing Wall Street and the multinational corporations to run amuck while ignoring the liberty of individual citizens - whom we may marry, whether, when and with whom we will choose to have children, what jobs we are allowed to have, or even what types of plants, medicines or foods we may ingest. That is what libertarianism used to be about a long time ago, when I was a teenager: the liberty of ordinary individuals to live their lives as they please, so long as they do not harm anyone else in so doing. It was a utopian dream of people living in freedom and harmony, voluntarily helping one another because it was in everybody's best interest to do so. The role of government was to protect the innocent from those who would use force or fraud, to prevent the powerful from taking advantage of the weak, and to otherwise interfere in peoples' private lives as little as possible.
Nowadays, however, "libertarian" has come to mean the liberty of corporations, including the insurance companies, to rip people off to the fullest extent possible, while the rich get richer, the poor get poorer and the middle class becomes poor. These faux "libertarians" want to "deregulate" the banks while continuing to regulate the living daylights out of ordinary (i.e. non-wealthy) people. Our lives have become more and more regulated and constrained - usually under the guise of "protecting" us or keeping us "safe" - to the point that we would not know what "liberty" was if it came up and bit us on the ass, while we are not actually any safer.
The politicians don't care what happens to us serfs so long as they can convince us to vote for them on the mistaken premise that they are going to somehow stand up for our individual rights and liberties, when in fact they have no intention of doing so, because they are in bed with the big corporations and they bow to the almighty dollar - just like all the other Republicrats. Please don't call this "libertarianism" because it really, really isn't. Just like the "Religious Right" is not really Christianity.