By Matthew Boyer. Matthew Boyer is a School of Arts and Science sophomore with a major in political science and a minor in German. His column, “Legalizing Life,” runs in The Daily Targum on alternate Wednesdays.
Every election, America faces a battle between two dominant political parties, which in turn divides America. We bicker about the opposing party’s policies and are distracted by trivial matters. We then elect a new president who typically behaves similarly to the one prior. Four or eight years down the road, half the country regrets who they cast their vote for. This scenario has essentially been an ongoing ordeal for decades. The American people have let the establishment of the two dominating parties overshadow the possibility of new voices in American politics. But there is a fresh alternative to the Democrats and Republicans we have all come to love and hate: Libertarians.
Putting aside talking points from watching an hour of MSNBC or Fox News, what are the legitimate differences between Democrats and Republicans? Well, let’s start with America’s history of military interventionism. Many people consider Democrats to be anti-war, whereas Republicans are considered warmongers — hence the anti-Condoleezza Rice sentiment among the University faculty. However, since World War II, history in the White House has shown an overwhelming pursuit of war, regardless of which party held office.For example, our current president continues Middle Eastern interventionism, global spying programs and unrestricted drone use, and he is a Democrat. Somalia intervention was under Bill Clinton, a Democrat. The Iraq and Afghanistan wars were under George W. Bush, a Republican. The Gulf War was under the President Bush senior, also a Republican. The Vietnam War was started under John F. Kennedy and continued through Johnson’s administration. Both were Democrats. It was Franklin D. Roosevelt who established the Japanese internment camps across the United States through executive order. The striking similarity in both parties’ foreign policy suggests the need for a new party that would boldly proclaim their pro-diplomacy, pro-peace and anti-war policies.
Similarly, both political parties have enacted social programs costing the nation billions of dollars, which hinder prosperity. Social Security was established by FDR in light of the depression to secure finances for most Americans. A program generally deemed successful in the 20th century, is now seen as one of the largest threats to the nation’s financial wellbeing. Today, the pool of resources set aside to pay for Social Security is used for other back-door deals in Washington. We are a generation of taxpayers who are paying into a system we will not redeem the benefits from. A modern example of this is the Affordable Healthcare Act, or Obamacare. Our current Democratic president championed this health care reform package, but the idea of universal health care in America actually stemmed from the circles of D.C. Republicans some decades ago. A social program championed by Republicans that has already failed is the No Child Left Behind Act. This system of standardized testing in public schools was scrapped under the Obama administration from the 2009 stimulus package. It was replaced by a new system of standardized tests called the Common Core. These complicated social programs work against liberty and prosperity, the essential principles of libertarianism.
Democrats and Republicans have been on the wrong side of history for quite some time, whereas Libertarians have been consistent in advocating for all liberties for decades. Years before it was even mentioned in democratic circles, libertarians have been advocating for marriage rights due to their understanding that the government does not belong in one’s bedroom. Similarly, as the United States has increased its war on drugs especially since the Reagan administration, libertarians have been advocating for the decriminalization of marijuana. This comes out of concern over America’s astronomical incarceration rate. In light of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars when the two main parties united, libertarians stood strong and opposed the Mid-East conflicts.
The Libertarian Party has the potential to be the party of grand compromise in a time when America could use it most. As the nation is split between which liberties to advocate for, economic or social, libertarians advocate for both. Seeing liberty as a whole truth, you will always find a libertarian that stands for transparency, privacy, individual rights, prosperity and peace.