Recently a reporter contacted me to ask what President Obama's top priorities should be. I, being lazy and not having time to answer myself, passed the question on to several NJ Libertarian activists. Below is a sample of the responses I received:
I think his Presidency is significant because he has inspired a new generation of people to be politically active and reinvigorated our republic. His top priorities should be improving our international relations by using the Department of State more than the Department of Defense, reducing the national debt and securing America's energy infrastructure from terrorism. I also think he should normalize relations with Cuba.
Regardless of the political views of any of us or our colleagues, I find it reassuring that Americans did not look to the color of a candidate's skin, and that that candidate -- now our president -- is willing to listen to views opposed to his own.
As a libertarian, I disagree with the globalist-humanist views of Obama's inaugural address. We are not the world's police force, nor the world's breadbasket, nor the world's father-figure, nor the world's big brother. It is not for us to involve ourselves in the internal politics of other nations, nor for our *government* to directly subsidize the modernization of the worlds' emerging nations through political means (even if it is done on a "teach me to fish/elevate my neighbor" sort of basis).
I am also concerned about his interest in developing a national healthcare plan. While most of our "first world" colleagues consider this to be a hallmark of a "civilized nation", the costs of such a plan will no doubt leave us paying more than we already are, into a plan as ineffective and downright dangerous as Medicaid/Medicare. I am concerned that to provide more than the most basic of information, to those who are healthy and not in need of anything more than simple preventative medicine, will bankrupt our society.
On the other hand, his call for 'responsibility' resonated as much -- or more -- to individuals than to our governments (state and national). A number of youth and teens interviewed said they were inspired by Obama's win and inaugural to find opportunities for community service and public service. This suggests an incoming generation more interested in giving (voluntarily, and of themselves) to assist and elevate those less fortunate... As long as this is not manipulated to serve the ends of the State or Statism, this is a positive development.
Obama also mentioned a willingness to examine all government programs for effectiveness, and to terminate those programs which are not effective. Much has been made of this by political commentators. Termination of government programs, and lessening the chains of excessive government, are words that resonate to every libertarian. If government programs are terminated, without replacement, then that is (at least incrementally) a good thing. However, based on this nation's history, I reserve judgment until such time as these programs are terminated and dismantled, without more-intrusive successors in their place.
I would urge President Obama to scale back the size of government. As the private sector shrinks, we can no longer afford gargantuan government programs. Government has become a drag on the economy. Government absorbs 35-50 percent of our productivity. Let the American people do what they do best, innovate, invent, and invest and the economy and America will prosper.
R. Jay Edgar
As a black man, I was very proud to see a competent, well-spoken Afro-American, elected President. But I am troubled by his lack of regard for property rights. I've always said that political philosophies are distinguished by "their relative regard for the personal property of others"; Libertarianism being at one extreme of the scale and pure Communism, where the state owns all of the means of production, being at the other extreme. Our new President has good motives and is a good leader, and I believe him to be a good person, but his lack of regard for the personal property of others is frightening.
President Obama is much, much more willing to take my property from me, than I would be willing to take his property from him. My liberty and my property are inseparable. If you take everything from me except my property and the rights that accompany property ownership, I am free. If you give me everything in the world, everything except the right to my property, I am enslaved.
President Obama, judging from his spoken words and thoughts, is much too cavalier in his regard for the property of the citizens of this free Country.