To My Fellow Californians

To My Fellow Californians (and especially millennial Californians),

In the following few words I attempt to make my case for you to vote libertarian in this year’s Presidential election. You can cut to the chase for my case by skipping to the 5th paragraph.

The best our two parties were able to muster for 2016 are an ethically challenged opportunist and an inexperienced, ill-tempered narcissist. This is the wisdom of the crowd, albeit only about 9% of the crowd. Many feel that this year is now about choosing the least bad option. How sad. I am tired of our two-party system and I believe you might be too. So, I am asking that you to vote libertarian and to know that your vote is not a waste. In fact, your vote just may be a turning point for our narrow two-party system.

According to Real Clear Politics, the average over the last five polls in California has Clinton at 52% and Trump at 30%. The last time California voted for a republican was Bush senior in 1988. California is in the bag for Hillary, right or wrong. First, if you have a small l libertarian mindset, you have a unique opportunity to vote your conscience and not change the outcome of the election. This holds true even if 20 percentage points of Clinton votes go to Gary Johnson. The outcome will be the same: Hillary wins. We can run this experiment and not risk changing the outcome of the election. This rarely happens. Second, we will know how many Californians are libertarian. I assert that there are far more of us than acknowledged. What an opportunity to establish a meaningful and relevant third-party in one election, overnight.

I have said it for years… libertarianism (note the small l) is a powerful political philosophy, yet has horrific marketing and messaging. People want something to stand for, not against. People yearn for a positive message, yet for ratings, the media pushes negativity, anger and fear, and the leaders of the two major parties are willing participants. However, the libertarian ‘brand’ tends towards what not to do, instead of what to do. Big L libertarians, often-intellectual zealots, form extreme views of governing. Small l libertarians, however, are intellectually aligned with most of its fundamental principles, yet moderate the extremes; think of it more like a centrist libertarian. I have asked many big L libertarians whether they want to be relevant or be relegated to the dust heap of political history, such as feudalism, socialism, communism and fascism. Do you want to be right, or relevant? Do libertarians want to engage in the political process or sit on the sidelines and bitch about a rigged system? Conventional wisdom holds that libertarianism is to the right of conservatism. Wrong! Liberals often side with libertarians on social, defense and foreign affairs issues, while conservatives often side with libertarians on fiscal and regulatory issues. A great example of this was during the 2012 Presidential campaign when Ron Paul was asked to name a person whom he admired in Congress. His answer was Denis Kucinich. Stunning, how could this be? Simple, Paul aligns with Denis on social, defense and foreign policy. They just couldn’t be further apart on fiscal policy and economics.

Now, for the first time in my adult life, libertarians can be relevant and have a seat at the table. We have a once in a generation opportunity and we are blowing it. We have a four-fold opportunity and the libertarian party, and its two candidates, Johnson and Weld, are not making their case; or at least not very well, yet. First, many republican votes are up for grabs because Trump is, well, Trump. Second, Clinton has her own skeletons and, although many progressives believe that government can and should fix all of society’s ills, there are many centrist democrats that dislike Clinton almost as much as republicans dislike Trump. So some of them are up for grabs too. Third, many people in the LGBTQ community are socially liberal and fiscally conservative, yet they would never vote republican. Last are the millennials; the biggest opportunity of all. Most millennials are blind to color, creed, gender, and sexual orientation. Many millennials are idealistic, as most of us were in our teens and twenties. But, they are also the most connected and informed generation in history. Many flocked to Bernie because they believed that Bernie stood for something. And, if there is one thing that millennials don’t like are people who are cynical. Millennials crave authenticity and optimism. People want to believe and millennials want to believe with purpose. This means that millions of millennials don’t like Trump or Clinton and they believe their only choice is between… I don’t care and I don’t give a shit. But… you must care. We all must care.

So let me make my case, with reason, passion and purpose. We are positive, open, optimistic, and accepting. We believe it is our self evident and unalienable right to make a living as we see fit, love our families and friends as we choose, and live our lives out peacefully, without the fear of other persons or institutions infringing on these rights. We defend another’s right to live their lives, as long as they do not bring harm to others. We believe in personal liberty, and in being responsible for our actions and the results of those actions. We are accountable and, if we harm others, we make restitution. We are skeptical of power and any power garnered by government should be kept in check. We believe in limited Federal powers not necessarily because of what’s written in the U. S. Constitution, but because of the wisdom and principles enshrined in those words. We respect the rule of law and envision a level playing field so that Jews and gentiles, black people and white, men and women, gays and straight, all have an equal opportunity to reach for their dreams. We believe that everyone has equal rights under the law. We do not wish to rule over or conquer anyone, but simply to live our lives in peace. We do not hate or despise. We accept others for what each has to offer. Each of us has our own gifts and we dream of a world where everyone has an equal opportunity to pursue those gifts. We see a world free from hate, greed and intolerance and, instead, desire to build a world of voluntary and free exchange of ideas and commerce. Moreover, and this is imperative, the best way that these principles are sustained is when we engage in public discourse and participate in public service. This means we show up and debate other public servants who hold policy views alternate to our own. This means we run for public office. This means actively participating in civic duty.

Last, a political philosophy, libertarian or otherwise, is not synonymous with ethics. The belief that it is not the State’s right to infringe or coerce is not the same as an individual condoning an act. Libertarianism is a political philosophy, not an ethical framework for making personal decisions. Hence, public policy that supports legalization of certain drugs, or a woman’s freedom over her own body, or what happens between two consenting adults, does not imply choosing to smoke weed, have an abortion or lay with a prostitute. Personally speaking, drugs are destructive, abortions are a travesty and prostitution degrades and enslaves women. But, when we mix policy and ethics into our governing philosophy, we run the risk of creating a government where there is tyrannical rule by a few over the many. Last, although not a political philosophy, my personal hope is that we operate from a place of humility and kindness; as James Stewart said in ‘Mr. Smith goes to Washington’, we should all occasionally look out for the other guy. Please watch the four-minute, 1940 movie clip of Charlie Chaplin in The Dictator, in the last scene where he frames things up exceptionally well.

If you are somewhat convinced but still not sure about running the experiment, then I ask you go to www.isidewith.com. Please take the test and see who you line up with. You might be surprised. I recommend that you don’t always answer yes or no, instead, click on the ‘other’ option and expand the particulars of the question. This will give you a better outcome, as many issues are not black orwhite, but nuanced. Below is my list of 80 libertarian principles, as well as a list of libertarians, both our current era and historical. The historical list is particularly impressive. You don’t need to believe in every item listed below, but if you believe in a majority of them then you are probably libertarian. To learn more, please go to www.cato.org or www.libertarianism.org.

80 libertarian principles (a partial list, in no particular order):

  1. We the People…
  2. The right to follow one’s dreams and act in accordance with one’s plans
  3. My rights do not allow me to inhibit another’s rights
  4. Self governance, personal responsibility, and civic duty
  5. Skeptical of power and belief in the separation of powers
  6. Laws designed to enhance freedom, and a duty to uphold those laws
  7. Tolerance
  8. Constitutionally smaller government (not zero government)
  9. Belief in the American people and in American exceptionalism
  10. Fiscally conservative, socially liberal, and careful in foreign affairs
  11. The U.S. Constitution, enumerating federal powers, protecting the majority from the tyranny of the minority
  12. The U.S. Bill of Rights, enumerating individual rights, protecting the minority from the tyranny of the majority
  13. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely
  14. A federal government is necessary, especially for the general welfare and the common defense, just not larger than is minimally neccessary and practical
  15. The separation of powers; no imperial Presidency
  16. The absence of constrain against the release of one’s own creative energy
  17. The ability to use one’s knowledge for one’s own purpose
  18. Not in my bedroom and not in my pocketbook
  19. Freedom from coercion
  20. Justice for all
  21. A woman’s right to choose
  22. LGBTQ equal protection under the law
  23. Parental rights
  24. The right for a family to choose how and where to educate their children
  25. Spending on education belongs at the state level, not federal
  26. My right to deal with my own problems without government interference
  27. Free and fair international trade
  28. Limited foreign interventionism (no Iraq war)
  29. Never trade a known despot for an unknown despot
  30. Peace
  31. Free markets
  32. Meritocracies
  33. Egalitarianism
  34. Competition; heads I win and tails I lose
  35. NOT… heads I win and tails I get a government bailout
  36. Voluntary association
  37. No minimum wage (sorry, but this is about supply and demand)
  38. Progressivism has unintended consequences — abuse of power
  39. Conservatism has unintended consequences — moral superiority
  40. Socialism is a massive constraint on human rights
  41. Abolish the death penalty
  42. I am not subject to the will of another
  43. But, I honor the moral authority of another
  44. Honors and accepts all races and creeds
  45. Science, scientific inquiry, and empirical investigation
  46. Global warming is real
  47. But, creative minds and free markets have the best shot at solving it
  48. Disavow crony capitalism
  49. No corporate subsidies
  50. Eliminate corporate income tax
  51. But, end corporate welfare
  52. Dislikes most of ‘K Street’ immensely
  53. Consumption tax instead of production (income) tax
  54. Lower, but progressive taxes
  55. Overhaul the tax code, eliminating all loop holes and deductions
  56. Natural rights; values over rules
  57. Covenants over contracts; what is legal isn’t always right and what is right isn’t always legal
  58. End all forms of discrimination
  59. Level the playing field; same rules apply to everyone
  60. Rules that enable us to live among one another peacefully
  61. Constrained, not expansive government
  62. Federal government should be small, constrained and keep an eye on it
  63. Liberty is more important than democracy
  64. Libertarianism is not to the right of conservatism, but a blend of liberalism and conservatism
  65. Let people live as they choose
  66. To speak and worship freely
  67. Property rights, including intellectual property rights
  68. To invent and capture the benefits of such inventions
  69. Equal protection under the law
  70. Privacy rights, no unreasonable searches and seizures
  71. Central Bank and Federal Reserve powers are too great
  72. The war on drugs is a failure
  73. Legalize and regulate marijuana (other stuff over time as we study and learn from science and sociology)
  74. The military industrial complex is real, as is the government media complex
  75. Strategic independence, including energy independence
  76. Too many non-violent people in our prisons
  77. No promises to any group over any other group — we the people
  78. Nothing is too big to fail
  79. Equal opportunity, not equal outcomes
  80. The greater the government intervention the greater the bubble

Famous current era libertarians (in no particular order):

  • Gary Johnson — Current candidate for President of the United States
  • William Weld — Current candidate for Vice President of the United States
  • Ron Paul — Former candidate for President of the United States
  • David Brat — Congressman
  • Milton Friedman — Economist, Free to Choose
  • David Boaz — Director of the CATO Institute, The Libertarian Mind
  • Allen Greenspan — Former Chairman of the Federal Reserve
  • Jeff Bezos — Founder and CEO of Amazon
  • John Mackey — CEO of Whole Foods
  • Craig Newmark — CEO of Craig’s List
  • T.J. Rogers — CEO of Cypress Semiconductor
  • Jimmy Wales — Founder of Wikipedia
  • Thomas Sowell — Economist
  • John Stossel — TV Talk Show Host
  • Mark Cuban — Owner of the Mavericks
  • Clint Eastwood — Mayor of Carmel, Actor
  • Kurt Russell — Actor
  • Hugh Downs — TV Talk Show Host
  • Drew Carey — Comedian
  • Rob Lowe — Actor
  • Jesse Ventura — Former Governor of Minnesota
  • Montel Williams — TV Talk Show Host
  • Kelly Clarkson — Singer
  • Penn & Teller — Entertainers
  • Sandra Bullock — Actress
  • Angelina Jolie — Actress
  • Woody Harrelson — Actor

Famous historical libertarians (in no particular order):

  • Thomas Jefferson — The Declaration of Independence
  • James Madison — The Federalist Papers
  • Thomas Paine — Common Sense
  • Benjamin Franklin — Inventor, signer of the Declaration of Independence
  • Lao-tzu — Taoism, Tao Te Ching
  • Alexis de Tocqueville — Democracy in America
  • John Stuart Mill — Liberty
  • John Locke — Theory of the Mind
  • Immanuel Kant — Philosophy of the Mind
  • Frederic Bastiat — The Law
  • Ludwig von Mises — Economist, writings on Human Action
  • A. Hayek — The Road to Serfdom
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