Sunday, November 02, 2008

Some Thoughts on Voting

Here are a few thoughts on voting in this presidential election from some of the more Libertarian points of view. I have just snipped portions out of each essay, you will want to click on the title links to read each one in its entirety.

Todd Zywicki in a column on Libertarian Voters:
...One reason I speculate that this is what I "think is going on here" among libertarians is that until fairly recently this is exactly what I was thinking, even until relatively recently, and I was genuinely on the fence between McCain and Barr (acknowledging that Barr is both a bit of a nut and has some statist tendencies himself). But one reason why I linked Pete duPont's sobering WSJ column the other day is that I have slowly come to the conclusion that as bad as McCain is, Obama really is much, much worse than I realized for a long time. Maybe I'm just slower at this than others, but it really took a long for it to sink in to me exactly how far left Obama really is. On every single issue that I am aware of, he seems to be at the far left end of the Democratic Party spectrum. I mean really out there.

I think that my slowness to really pick up on this was due to several factors. First, Obama's demeanor is essentially moderate--he doesn't come across as a Howard Dean crazy type. I think this leads one to assume his policies are moderate. Second, my resistance to McCain was really quite strong--I've criticized him here before, especially for the way it seems that he approaches problems. Third, until recently McCain has really run a terrible campaign in terms of explaining the differences between himself and Obama in terms of illustrating exactly how far left Obama is. Fourth, because of media bias, the media has tended to reinforce the idea that Obama is a moderate and not to highlight the embarrassing parts of his message.

Perhaps most fundamentally, given the history of the world over the past 25 years I think I just had assumed that no serious politician or thinker would in this day and age hold the sorts of views that Obama seems to hold. Raising taxes in a recession, protectionism, abolition of the secret ballot for union elections, big spending increases, nationalized health care, and most appallingly (to my mind) the potential reimposition of the "Fairness Doctrine"--I mean this is pretty serious stuff. And when combined with a Democratic Congress, I think we may be talking about (to use Thomas Sowell's recent phrase) a "point of no return." I guess I just assumed that Obama would be sort of Bill Clintonish--"the era of big government is over" and all that stuff. That he would have absorbed the basic insights of recent decades on taxes, trade, regulation, etc...
David Bernstein - The Libertarian Vote:
In past election cycles, I really haven't had a strong preference among the candidates. I voted for the Bernstein/Bernstein ticket in 2004, and can't really remember who I voted for, or for that matter whether I voted, from 1988 to 2000. But I'm much more of a Republican partisan this time, for a few reasons:

(1) Libertarians have been heavily involved in some of the most important constitutional Supreme Court litigation of the last two decades, either in terms of bringing the case, being among the most important advocates of one side's constitutional theory, or both. Among the cases in this category are Lopez, Morrison, Boy Scouts v. Dale, U.S. Term Limits, Grutter, Gratz, Kelo, Raich, Heller, and probably a few more that I'm not thinking of offhand. With the minor exception of Justice Breyers' vote in Gratz, in each of these cases, the ONLY votes the libertarian side received were from Republican appointees, and all of the Democrat appointees, plus the more liberal Republican appointees, ALWAYS voted against the libertarian side. The latter did so even in cases in which their political preferences were either irrelevant (Term Limits), or should have led them to sympathize with the plaintiff (Lopez, Kelo, Raich)...
Ilya Somin explains Why I Won't Abstain or Vote for the Libertarian Party:
Two possible alternatives to voting for McCain or Obama are abstaining from voting and supporting Libertarian Party candidate Bob Barr. Many people believe that voting is irrational because the chance that your vote will influence the outcome is infinitesmally small. I think this logic is incorrect, for reasons I discuss in detail in the first part of this article. To briefly summarize my argument, I contend that voting is rational so long as 1) the cost of voting is low, 2) you care at least slightly about your fellow citizens as well as yourself, and 3) you believe that there is a significant difference between the rival candidates. The low probability of your vote being decisive is balanced by the enormous benefits that will accrue if it is. I'm no paragon of civic virtue; but I do care about the future of the country as well as my own. And I also believe that the cost of voting is low and that there is a substantial difference between Obama and McCain, even though I have serious reservations about both. Thus, it will be rational for me to vote in the 2008 election.
And more from Ilya Somin with A Vote for Divided Government.

If you are still wavering in your decision to vote, or in who to vote for, read what these folks have to say. They all contribute to the Volokh Conspiracy and seem to be pretty sharp cookies.

1 comment:

Libertarians For Obama said...

When intelligent Libertarians examine Barack Obama, they see his high intelligence and intellect as an asset, conducive to rational [libertarian-style] thinking.

Combined with his background as a civil rights lawyer and a constitutional law professor who is favorable to voluntary, free community organization, and who as a Senator, took a daring stand against the Iraq War — it becomes easy to see that Barack Obama is more “libertarian” than not.

McCain is highly “pro-war” which would mean at least another four “Bush Years” of endless billion dollar [war] occupations, plus more BIG GOVERNMENT SPENDING, “taxes-from-the-middle-class-to-finance-wealthy-tax-cuts” and “socialized” corporate profits/bailouts with little, if any “trickle down” effect of job growth which, by the way, has NOT happened in spite of Bush’s tax cuts provided to big corporations and the Warren Buffet wealthy.

Just as bad, is voting for Bob Barr, who would be a dangerous “wasted vote” this year. After all he’s NOT going to win.

“Wasted Votes” and [conservative] Libertarians who voted for G. W. Bush, helped Bush win two terms — and those “Neo-Con Libs” helped enable an incompetant religious conservative G. W. Bush take us from a “Democratic Budget Surplus/Thriving Economy” to a “Republican Record Deficit/Expensive War/Economic Meltdown.

Obama is the best [major] candidate to work on these top libertarian reforms:

1) Iraq withdrawal
2) restoring the separation of church and state
3) easing off victimless crimes such as drug use
4) curtailing the Patriot Act.

...and favoring
5) a ban on torture
6) gay rights
7) privacy
8) free speech
9) pro-choice

but also...
10) against a ban on flag burning

Libertarians living in the real world know that only Obama or McCain can actually win.

And in that real world, Bob Barr is an ex-CIA Republican -- and on that basis he is questionable as being truly “Libertarian”. Because Bob Barr spend most of his political career as a rather right-wing conservative Republican, many long-time Libertarians don’t see him as a “true” Libertarian but some sort of right-wing conservative Republican infiltrator.

With a history of hostile right-wing conservative Republicans infiltrating the Libertarian Party over the years, they have pushed out long-time, true Libertarians and founders.

This hostile LP take-over by conservative Republicans is not easily forgotten — and well, as a backlash — I can see a lot of Libertarians wanting to get Republicans out of power.

And the best way to do this is by voting for Obama and a straight Democratic ticket.